Principal's Message Sept 21-24

What a Week!

Watkins 4th and 5th graders had an amazing surprise visit from Grammy-nominated musician YBN Cordae and Olympian and tennis Champion Naomi Osaka! Our guests reinforced how they've used Panther PRIDE: perseverance, respect, integrity, and dedication to excellence, to excel in their field.

We are so grateful to our visitors and our staff who helped this special event come together at the last minute. The connection came from Mr. Hill (thank you!) and the details came together thanks to the quick and hard work of AP Boisvert and DSL Montgomery. See more of the action on our Instagram Page (link below).

Big picture

Key Dates

Items for Parent Newsletters

Both Schools

Key Dates

  • Sept 17-19 - 2nd Annual Cluster Cup Scavenger Hunt. Starts at 4pm!
  • Sept 21 - Peabody Back to School Night
  • Sept 23 - Watkins Back to School Night
  • 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.

Every Thursday: Asymptomatic COVID testing for students.

Back to School Nights!

Dear Peabody and Watkins families,

We will host our Back to School Nights this year in person! And asynchronously! Due to covid, we are making changes to the typical plans.

All of the information that is typically communicated during the event will happen asynchronously. Teachers are working on their presentations this week and we will have them posted on our website before each event. Parents should read through the content before visiting the school so that all questions can be answered. We will send a message when information is posted.

We will, however, preserve the classroom experience while maintaining safety precautions in person. The in-person portion of the event will occur from 6:00 - 7:30 on September 21 (Peabody) and September 23 (Watkins). All families are welcome to tour their child's classrooms for up to 10 minutes in order to experience the learning environment. Homeroom teachers, special educators, specials teachers will all be available! However, very little time will be available to talk with teachers, so follow up questions should be asked via email before or after the event.

We are taking the following safety precautions:

  • All visitors must be masked.
  • All visitors will undergo the Ask, Ask, Look health screener and take hand sanitizer upon arrival.
  • Extra masks and sanitizer are always available.
  • Classroom visits are limited to 10 minutes.
  • Only 12 family members will be allowed in the class at one time. If the room is at capacity, people will have to wait in the hallway, socially distanced. Please be courteous to other families and limit your time to 10 minutes.
  • All families will need to sign in, with a time in and time out, should we need that information for contact tracing.
  • We will stagger entry, as possible, for families:
Last names beginning with A-H visit 6:00 - 6:30
Last names beginning with I-Q visit 6:30 - 7:00
Last names beginning with R-Z visit 6:50 - 7:20. *Earlier times to conclude visits at 7:30. Teachers will need to rest to be their best the next day!

  • The staggered start will help with crowd control and wait times at classrooms. If there are personal schedule restrictions that necessitate an earlier or later arrival time for your family, we will be flexible within the 6-7:30 window. Most of all, we want you to attend!

All caregivers and siblings are welcome! Peabody and Watkins students should come to show off their classroom!

SHARED SNACK REQUIREMENTS, including birthday celebrations - reminder

All snacks brought into the school for the purpose of sharing it with a classroom must be prepackaged, individually wrapped and nut free. If parents want to offer something to their child's class, it should be coordinated with the teacher.

No Nuts Served at School. Nut-based foods and snacks can be sent with students.

Last week we communicated that both schools were nut-free campuses. That was a mistake. DCPS, Peabody, and Watkins do not serve nuts to students. Caregivers are able to send their student to school with nut-based snacks and meals (like PB&J sandwiches). However, given the possibility of a classmate with a severe nut allergy, we'd recommend families sending nut-free snacks and meals. Students with severe allergies are on the radar of our school leaders and precautions are being taken. If you have concerns, please email you child's teacher and school leader.

Student Excuse Notes

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

Watkins: Peabody:

No shots, no school Immunization Reminders

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: (Watkins) or (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 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:

Response to Symptomatic Students

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


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.

COVID Response for PreK

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.)

  1. 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.

2nd Annual Cluster Cup - September 17-19

We already have 25 teams REGISTERED for tomorrow's 2021 Cluster Cup Scavenger Hunt!

Please read/print out the attached Cluster Cup Scavenger Hunt sheet for more details!

  • WHO: The Cluster Cup is open to all current Cluster families, staff and administration!
  • WHEN: The Cluster Cup starts at 4:00pm ET on Friday, September 17th and ends at 12:00pm ET on Sunday, September 19th!
  • WHAT TO DO: Download the GooseChase app to your Android or iPhone from wherever you get your apps.
  • Only ONE PHONE per family!

Find our game in the app by searching “2021 Cluster Cup Scavenger Hunt”.

Create a player name and profile. Be creative!

The game will go LIVE at 4:00pm ET on Friday with the first “wave” of missions!

And remember -- PRIZES for the TOP TEN FINISHERS!


WIN Time to Begin This Week

Our teachers and staff will be ready to begin our intervention and enrichment next week. We are targeting Wednesday to begin. During this time students should receive "What I Need" (WIN) for 30 (1st and 2nd grades) or 45 minutes (3rd-5th). This is a key lever for our teams to fill some of the learning gaps we know many of our students have.

We are using what we know about our students to make the groups. It's important to know that these groups will change over the course of the year based on student learning and needs. We will communicate what support your child receives next week.


FLEX Before and After Care at Peabody

FLEX is signing up families on their website,

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

The start date is not yet determined, but the Building Use Agreement is underway. It's expected to be complete by Sept 20. We will be in touch with the FLEX team and once staffing is fully in place, we will be able to announce a start date for the program.