Hearst Family Update

February 12, 2021

Big picture

Principal's Message

Good evening, Owl Families,

It's been brought to my attention that there is a lot of conversation on the Hearst PTA listserve about Term 3 and Term 4 at Hearst. Our Term 3 reopening plan is indeed a conservative plan in comparison with some other schools in our district (see all DCPS school plans here: https://dcpsreopenstrong.com/term-3-reopening-plans/ & note that the number of seats at Hearst is incorrectly listed). The Hearst plan was driven by health guidelines around cohort size and room use, student and staff availability, and parent feedback collected through the Reopen Community Corps (RCC). Each school community varied widely in terms of student and staff availability and the feedback collected during the RCC process, and because of this, directly comparing the number of Term 3 seats at different schools to one another without understanding these differences is unfair at best.

As an example, in our Term 3 RCC meetings in December, our Hearst families were strongly against using the simulcast model of instruction where teachers instruct a group of students who are in person while simultaneously instructing another group of students who are virtual. Also in the feedback in December, many parents prioritized consistency over cohorts rotating in and out of the building. Other school communities felt that the simulcast model was a good approach and combined it with the model where cohorts of kids rotate in and out of the building over the course of the week, thus being able to bring back larger numbers of students than Hearst. As another example, in speaking with a principal colleague yesterday, she said that fewer 10% of her staff had all virtual ADA accommodations in Term 3 and at Hearst our number was 40%, making a significant difference in the staff who are available to work in person in Term 3. These are two small examples that I hope illustrate that reopening is nuanced and each school community created their Term 3 plans with different parameters in mind.

While we don’t yet have firm plans for Term 4, the goal, assuming health conditions and student and staff availability allow it, is to open at least one in person class at each grade level in Term 4 and we are brainstorming how to best make this work at each grade level. Please know that we will also be exploring outdoor learning if/when weather permits it and will also be engaging in the RCC process again for Term 4, including surveying families to understand your preferences, knowing those may have changed since December when we last surveyed you. Please also know that I’ll be holding recurring chats in the coming weeks and months during which I’ll share information about Term 4, summer programming at Hearst, and next year as it becomes available. I also hope to share the Term 4 RCC schedule with you next week. We're all in this together and I thank you for your continued partnership in service of our kids.

Have a great weekend,


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

  • Friday, February 12 - Term 2 Report Cards, IEP Progress Reports, and MOY Data Reports Mailed Home
  • Monday, February 15 - President's Day - no school for all
  • Tuesday, February 16 - CSC/CP due at noon (see below for more information)
  • Tuesday, February 16 - All virtual day for students and instructional staff (building closed)
  • Wednesday, February 17 - LSAT meeting, 4:30-5:30pm
  • Wednesday, February 24 - Virtual Coffee Chat for Families on Term 4, Summer Planning, and Next Year, 9:00-9:30am (link forthcoming)
  • Friday, March 5 - Parent Teacher Conference Day (no school for students)
  • Wednesday, March 10 - PTA Meeting, 5:00-6:30
  • Wednesday, March 24 - Hearst Spring Picture Day
  • Wednesday, March 24 - Virtual Coffee Chat for Families on Term 4, Summer Planning, and Next Year, 9:00-9:30am (link forthcoming)

Quick Updates

  • DCPS has updated the School Planning blog with information around the new school planning process at the Foxhall & MacArthur sites in Ward 3. This is where they will share updates, meeting materials, etc., after the working group meetings in the coming months. Because the opening of these schools may impact the Hearst boundary and/or feeder schools in the future, please be sure to regularly review the site to stay up to date on the latest developments.
  • Reminder: Because our building is open to students, any non-staff members who would like to come to the building to pick up materials, switch out a device, etc., must have an appointment in order to come into the building. Please email Ms. Johnson (kestaganer.johnson@k12.dc.gov) or call (202-282-0106) to set up an appointment if you need to come into the building for any reason. Thanks!
  • Reminder: DC is publishing COVID data specific to DCPS and it can be found here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/node/1506966. With both staff and students back in school buildings, please visit dcpsreopenstrong.com/health/response/ to learn more about DCPS' COVID-19 Response Protocol, including testing available for students and staff.

Term 3 Updates as of 2/12

This week marked the second week of Term 3 and of our 61 total in person seats available, here is where we stand:

  • 61 total seats = 56/61 Accepted = 92% of seats accepted
    • PK CARE = 7/8 accepted (4.5 days per week in the building)
    • K-2 CARE = 9/10 accepted (4.5 days per week in the building)
    • 3-5 CARE= 11/11 accepted (4.5 days per week in the building)
    • K IPL= 10/10 accepted (4 days per week in the building)
    • 2-5 ELL CARE+ = 9/11 accepted (4.5 days per week in the building)
    • 2-5 SWD CARE+ = 10/11 accepted (4.5 days per week in the building)

We have offers out for any unfilled seats and will continue to work through our wait lists until the classes are full. We also hope to open additional classrooms later in Term 3 and Term 4 and as those plans come together, I will be sure to share them. One final note - we were made aware that a robocall went out from the Mayor's office on Thursday night about calling your child's school if you want to enroll in open in person seats. Please know that if we have open seats in our current classrooms, you'll be hearing directly from Ms. Hinchey or other school staff with an offer.

Reminder: Information for Families with Students Returning In Person in Term 3

We are excited for Term 3 and to welcome back our students who are participating in in-person learning.Please take time to review the In-Person Learning family guide for resources to help you prepare for the first day back to the classroom. It includes important forms that parents or guardians need to sign:

We will send home these documents with students on their first day of school and ask that you return them as soon as possible. If you'd like to print, sign, and send them in with your students, we welcome that as well.

As you know, school will look a little different this year. There may be instances where class is cancelled for the day due to staff availability, quarantines, or building operations. In those instances, we will notify you via Bloomz as soon as possible.

Reminder: Access to Reading Materials/Books

There are many different ways that you can access physical and digital books for your child to read at home. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. Vandivier or your child's homeroom teacher if you are having difficulty getting access to a wide variety of books and/or books at an appropriate reading level for your child. We are here to help!

  • Option 1: Check out books from the Hearst library!

  • Option 2: Check out books from the DCPS library!

    • As a Hearst student, your child can get a library card for DC public libraries! Please head over to the DCPS libraries website for more information on how to sign up and how book checkout/pickup works: https://www.dclibrary.org/

  • Option 3: Purchase books from Scholastic!

    • Each class has a Scholastic account. Due to the pandemic, you can currently purchase books and ship them directly to your home! It is very convenient. Website https://clubs.scholastic.com/home Please reach out to your homeroom teacher directly for a class code.

  • Option 4: Sora

    • You can access Sora for free via the Clever Portal. Sora offers a wide variety of books to read and to listen to!

  • Option 5: Epic

    • Epic is an extra website that you may have access to! Some classes have a class account. Epic provides TONS of books at all different levels. https://www.getepic.com/sign-in Please reach out to your homeroom teacher or Ms. Vandivier directly for a class code.

Reminder: Spring Portrait Day

We'll be holding our Spring Portrait Day on Wednesday, March 24, from 9am to 3pm. Portraits will be outdoors and socially distanced and you can sign up for an appointment at https://tuab0xbvaa.timetap.com/#/. Please see the attached flyer for additional information.

Reminder: Yearbook Photos Needed

Ms. Schiers and Ms. Boyle are getting started on the SY 20-21 Hearst Yearbook, and need your help collecting photographs! Please upload any candid or posed photos that you have of your child and Hearst children from THIS school year! Please know that by uploading a photo into this album, you are giving consent for that photo to be used in our yearbook. More information is forthcoming regarding how to order your yearbook, and about a socially distanced and outdoor portrait day with Freed Photography.

News and Announcements from DCPS

February 16 is a Day of Virtual Learning

Next week on Tuesday, February 16, all DC Public School students will have a day of virtual learning and in-person programming will not take place that day.

This schedule adjustment is being made to provide flexibility for school staff who are receiving their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine the day prior, should they experience any side effects.

On February 16, all students will learn virtually and should plan to log online per their normal class schedule. Meal service will continue as planned from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at locations listed at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/food.

More than 2,700 DCPS staff received the COVID-19 vaccine in January and will receive their second doses this month on February 15 or 20. We thank our partners at DC Health and Children’s National Hospital for supporting our staff vaccination clinic.

Reminder: DCPS FY22 Budget Update

As we get closer to the release of initial school budget allocations for Fiscal Year 2022 (School Year 2021-2022), we'd like to point you to an exciting new budget resource. Our new budget website, dcpsbudget.com, is now live! While we don't yet know exactly when FY22 school budget allocations will be released, spending time now to review the information on the site will help ensure you're properly prepared when the time comes.

Dcpsbudget.com replaces the old DCPS Datacenter site that LSAT members from previous years will likely remember. The new site is a one-stop-shop for all things DCPS budget. In addition to housing the FY22 Budget Development Guide, information about how DCPS is funded, how schools are funded, and how the Central Office budget is developed, the site's Budget Data page has School Budget Worksheets from previous fiscal years. This is where you will find the FY22 initial allocation worksheets when they become available. Additionally, the Budget Data page has an interactive tool where you can compare an individual school's budget year-over-year, see how a school's submitted budget may have differed from their initial budget in a given year, and compare budgets from school to school.

In addition to the resources available on the new budget site and in the LSAT Toolkit, please stay tuned as budget release gets closer as we hope to offer live opportunities for LSAT members to interact with the DCPS School Finance Team and other Central Office content teams who play a role in school budget development.

If you have questions while reviewing the information on the new site or at any other time during the budget development process, please email dcps.schoolfunding@k12.dc.gov and a member of the School Finance Team will be available to support.


DCPS Community Action Team

Reminder: Travel Guidance for In-Person Students and Staff

We recognize that some staff working in person and families attending in-person programming may be traveling over the upcoming long weekend in January.

Per the Mayor’s Order 2020-110, individuals who have traveled to any place other than Maryland or Virginia are required to either (1) self-monitor and limit daily activities—including not attending school—for 14 days after returning to the District (or coming to work for a District agency), or (2) self-monitor and limit daily activities—including not attending school—for three to five days and then receive a negative COVID-19 PCR COVID-19 test.

All DCPS staff members who are working in person, whether they are a District resident or not, can show their school ID to be prioritized at any District public testing sites.

See DC Health’s Guidance for Travel for more information and the flyer below for easy-to-follow dos and don’ts on this topic.

DCPS continues to follow the CDC’s and DC Health’s Holiday Travel Guidance released November 9th, remember the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home. Gatherings with family and friends who are not a part of your household can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.

Reminder: DCPS Immunization Compliance Updates and Immunization Requirements for CARE and In Person Classroom Participants

As a reminder, all public and public charter schools in DC are required to verify student compliance with school immunization requirements before students may participate in any in-person learning opportunities. Students must be up to date with all required immunizations in order to accept a seat in a DCPS CARE or in person classroom. Our school nurse can confirm students’ current immunization status and whether they have been cleared to participate in in-person learning. She can be reached at SyFisher@childrensnational.org. Immunization sites across the city are posted here.

News and Announcements from Other Organizations

Invitation to the Second Edition of "Student Voices: Distance Learning Town Hall"

Good afternoon,

My name is Caitlin Peng and I am the program associate at the D.C. State Board of Education. I am reaching out on the Student Advisory Committee’s behalf to invite you all to their second student-led town hall, where high school students from across the District will be discussing the following topics:

  • Student mental health
  • Testing and standardized tests
  • School reopening plans
  • Online learning platforms
  • Synchronous v. asynchronous balance
  • Grades
  • Communication and transparency with teachers
  • Student engagement in online settings

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30 p.m. and will be held over Zoom. It would be great if you all could attend and share widely with your respective networks! The students will be largely following the same format as last time: students will present their remarks on a topic and then follow with a live Q & A. Bring questions and comments if you plan on attending!

The registration link is: bit.ly/SACStudentTownhall

Please feel free to forward this email or share on social media/retweet our initial tweet! I am attaching social media materials, as well.

Sample Tweet:

Mark your calendars for February 16 at 6:30 pm! The Student Advisory Committee is holding another town hall on #distancelearning, #reopening, #mentalhealth, #standardizedtesting, + more! There'll be live Q+A with the audience, so register today!

Don't forget to register here: bit.ly/SACStudentTownhall

Thank you!



Caitlin Peng

Program Associate

D.C. State Board of Education

Pronouns: she/her/hers