Principal's Message

Sept 27-Oct 1

What a Week!

October? We're talking about October?


Thank you to students, staff, and families for a great first month of school. It's been a LONG time since so many of us have been back in the building and yet we've learned our routines, are building relationships and beginning to dig into rigorous content.


Speaking of new routines, our new Back to School Night model was met with tons of positive feedback from teachers and caregivers. I'm thrilled that we were able to open classrooms to families and have students take the lead in showing off their learning spaces. Thank you staff and families for making it a great night at both campuses. The growth area in what I heard was time to build community among the grade level families, and that is a fantastic growth area for us to address this year.


On the learning front, we are in the middle of our beginning of year testing - collecting data that we'll use to target instruction and begin to fill in the gaps that our students have. We are learning more and more about our students each day. After spending some time in classrooms and reviewing data myself, it's clear that our students are not in the place we're accustomed to. From the unusual numbers of kindergarteners who are learning to hold a pencil for the first time to 4th and 5th graders who are learning foundational computation skills, we all - caregivers included - have our work cut out for ourselves this year. For K-5 students, these gaps will be addressed through differentiated instruction, WIN time (what I need), and after school tutoring. WIN started this week at Watkins and will continue throughout the year and tutoring will start soon. Parents of students selected for tutoring will be notified in the coming days.

Key Dates


  • Oct 7 - No School for Students, Parent Teacher Conferences - all virtual
  • Oct 8 - No School for students, Professional Learning for Staff
  • Oct 11- Indigenous People's Day. Holiday for DC.
  • Oct 14 - Watkins Hispanic Heritage Celebration


Every Thursday: Asymptomatic COVID testing for students.

Student Excuse Notes - reminder

Please be reminded that all student excuse notes, including doctor’s note should be provided to the main office or emailed to:


Watkins: WatkinsESenroll@k12.dc.gov/ Peabody: PeabodyESEnroll@k12.dc.gov

OSSE Vouchers for Aftercare

Both FLEX and Joe's Den are exploring the OSSE program that provides vouchers to families in need of financial support for after care. It may take many months for OSSE to approve our partners and for this program and then parents can apply for the voucher. This is not a short term solution, but may be a long-term answer to support more affordable after care at both schools.

Response to Symptomatic Students - Reminder

The following COVID-19 symptoms as outlined in this Ask, Ask, Look document warrant a student being sent home:


1. Any one red flag symptom:


  • new or worsening cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • fever

OR

2. Any two of the following minor symptoms:

  • chills
  • extreme/ unusual tiredness
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • runny nose and congestion
  • muscle or body aches
  • sore throat
  • nausea or vomiting


Please be reminded that students displaying any red flag items or two of the minor symptoms should remain at home and be tested for COVID.


If a student displays any of these symptoms during the school day:


1. A teacher will call for a Patient Care Technician to escort the student to the Health Isolation Room (HIR).


2. Once in the HIR, their caregiver will be contacted and they will be tested for COVID. If you don't want your child tested, you must submit an opt out form to your school's front office.


3. To return to school, there are 3 options. Students must:

  1. Get a negative PCR and submit documentation to your school's front office
  2. Get a doctor’s note stating a non-COVID and non-contagious diagnosis i.e. Asthma, allergies and submit documentation to your school's front office
  3. Stay home 10 days and be symptom free


All documentation should be sent to front office staff or an administrator. Please do not send to your child's teacher.

No shots, no school Immunization Reminders - Reminder

In an effort to protect the health and wellness of all students, District of Columbia law requires that all students attending school in the District provide up to date immunization certification or proof of medical or religious exemption. Students who are not up to date on their immunization requirements will not be allowed to attend school, past 20 school days, until appropriate records are submitted (View OSSE’s Immunization Attendance policy here).


All non-compliant students should have received a notification letter. If you have submitted all required immunizations for your child and still received a letter, please contact your school's registrar: Shelia.Roy@k12.dc.gov (Watkins) or Virginia.Turner@k12.dc.gov (Peabody).


To make an appointment, call your child’s physician office. If you do not have health insurance or need a healthcare provider, please refer to DC Health Link or contact the Citywide Call Center by dialing 3-1-1.


Student Immunization Clinics (Routine Immunizations & COVID-19 Vaccine)

Starting Saturday, August 7 through September 30, pop-up immunization and COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be open at DCPS buildings throughout the city.

  • Routine Immunizations: Families can schedule appointments for required immunizations regardless of their students’ enrollment at vaccinate.dc.gov or 1-855-363-0333. Appointments should be made so that providers have time to access the student’s immunization history. Families are still encouraged to call their child’s doctor to schedule an appointment for their vaccines and annual physicals. POC: healthservices.dcps@k12.dc.gov

COVID Response for PreK - reminder

Given the differences in the PreK classroom environment and learning experience, social distancing is more of a challenge. In the case of someone in the PreK class testing positive for COVID, all unvaccinated members of that class will be required to follow the quarantine protocol. So far this has not happened at Peabody, but we should be prepared for the situation.


If the situation arises, teachers will begin virtual instruction for the entire class. Devices will be available for students and our staff is readying for the shift to virtual. Given the unpredictability of this event, teachers may need some time to implement a full virtual instruction schedule, so we're asking everyone to be patient.

Asymptomatic Testing for Students - Reminder

Asymptomatic testing for students will take place at Peabody and Watkins on Thursdays. We successfully completed our first round this week! You can read more about this year's test here.


All students are automatically enrolled in the testing program. Caregivers can opt out by returning this form to the school. Please send the forms to the school's office.


More information about DCPS health and safety practices can be found here.


How do you get your child's results? Directions are here. This first week hasn't been smooth for all parents. For what I've heard, trying both schools and all parent info has worked. Here are some other tips some parents have shared, however, we cannot verify at the school:


If you don't yet have an account, you click the "Sign up for an account" link. You need your school code to sign up; the three CHCS school codes are:


  • Peabody: peacphil

  • Watkins: wescphil

  • Stuart-Hobson: stuhobms


Two big notes about the signup process:


  1. DCPS only sent a single parent's information to the testing portal company for each student — so if you get the error that your information doesn't match an existing parent, try your partner's information. (In my case, it was my wife's info that was on record, not mine.)

  2. Each parent is tied to only one school, so if you have kids in more than one school and you get the error that your info doesn't match an existing parent, try one of the other schools your kids go to. Note that this is true no matter which child you're looking for results for; two parents couldn't create an account to find their SH kids' results because they also have kids at Watkins, and had to sign up for their account using the Watkins school code. (But once they did, both their kids were listed.)



The portal help desk (833-762-0762) is actually really helpful, so if you run into problems, definitely call them.

Peabody

FLEX Before and After Care at Peabody - Update

FLEX is signing up families on their website, https://flexacademies.com/

Peabody families interested in a partial or full scholarship should complete this form.


Our building use agreement is complete and FLEX has hired its staff for the programming. The last hurdle is the clearances all people working with DCPS students are required to have. Staff has begun the process but it can take up to four weeks to completely clear any person serving students. We will start after care as soon as the first person is through the process. For now, this will probably be the last update before we begin. I'm so sorry for these delays.

Nurse's Suite Update

We were informed during the first week of school that our health suite would need to pass an inspection for Peabody to be able to receive a nurse. The same week, DCPS’ Health Services team came out to assess the suite and provided a punch list of items that need to be addressed, including some school specific items. The school specific items have been completed and we are now awaiting the facilities issues (i.e. furniture installation) to be completed so that the inspection can take place. We are monitoring this situation very closely and are in constant communication with DCPS' Health Services and Facilities teams.


Please know that the health and wellness of our students is very important to us and we have escalated this situation to DCPS’ Health Services team and IS Stover and we are in constant contact. Both parties have also escalated via their respective avenues. We will continue to advocate until this issue is resolved. Additional action steps taken on our end:

  • We have asked in the meantime that we at least be provided with phone coverage nurse support so that our school community has someone to communicate with—this has been addressed and we now have a nurse providing phone coverage.
  • We asked to be provided with basic first aid items (band aids, ice packs, etc.) to be able to address daily student issues—Thankfully, we have received those items!
  • Recognizing that a number of our students have severe allergies, we worked with Student Health Services to identify a plan that would allow for students’ epi-pens to be stored in their classrooms—this would require teachers to complete the 1 hour epi-pen training followed by a meeting with the parent, admin and health designee to create an action plan—A few of our teachers have completed the training and action plan meetings have taken place.