Principal's Message October 11-15

What a Week!

Even though we have two days without school, our staff works extra hard on Parent-Teacher Conference day and professional learning day. I'm sure our teams are tired and I know we all deserve a break. Thank you staff for two long days of family engagement and professional development! I hope everyone gets the much deserved rest this weekend.

There have been too many safety incidents outside of Watkins recently and I want to shed some light on how we communicate when these incidents happen.

When there are emergency situations at or connected to our school, the community deserves accurate, clear communication about what happened and what we might do in response. In order to ensure these standards are met, the school works with the DCPS communications team, DCPS security team, and often many other teams, including MPD and sometimes city council members’ offices, in order to source and report information accurately. School leadership collaborates on sharing information and finalizes the public letter together before sending it to staff and families. I recognize that communications can often seem slow, especially compared to what is shared on social media. Working with multiple stakeholders across the city government takes time in order to produce a robust and accurate response.

Lastly, if any students or families would like to talk with someone at school, please email our social workers, or

Both Schools

Key Dates

  • Oct 11- Indigenous People's Day. Holiday for DC.
  • Oct 13-15 - Student Panorama Survey (3rd-5th graders only)
  • Oct 14 - Watkins Hispanic Heritage Celebration
  • Oct 26-27 - Congressional Softball game on Watkins field. No outside activities at Watkins.

  • Every Thursday: Asymptomatic COVID testing for students.

Parent-Teacher Conferences Feedback Please!

Families, please complete this survey to share your experiences with yesterday's conferences. We'll use it to make improvements for next time! Thanks to the 75+ families who have responded so far but that's not everyone yet!

Reading at Home Expectations

Student become better readers by reading! All students PK-5 should be reading daily - this includes being read to by a caregiver or sibling. Peabody staff encourages students to read independently or with someone for at least 15 minutes a day.

At Watkins, we increase the expectation with age:

Grade 1 – 15 minutes daily

Grade 2 – 20 minutes daily

Grades 3-5 – 30+ minutes daily

Caregivers - please partner with your children to support them and enjoy some reading time yourself!

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.

No shots, no school Immunization - Nurse Updates

Our nurse shortages have been noticed and we are doing our best to advocate for and ensure the best possible health services at both our schools. We have some updates to share.

At Peabody, Children's has agreed to process the Health forms that Ms. Turner receives so that our immunization compliance and parent communication is where it should be.

Good news: the Health Suite materials were delivered this week and a virtual inspection will be scheduled soon. The following step is the on-site inspection and if we pass, our nurse will report.

At Watkins, our school nurse will be the same person for the next few weeks and Ms. Roy is working with her to ensure the transfer of information from our system is reaching theirs so that our immunization records and communication are consistent, timely, and accurate.

In general, the process is for our registrars to process the Universal Health Form in our system (Aspen) and then pass that information to our school nurse, who processes the information in their system and furnishes non-compliance letters to our schools to distribute to families.

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:


Outdoor lunch has begun!

At Watkins, we started having some students eat lunch in our outdoor classroom. The work on the space is complete and we are ready to enjoy our lunches outdoors.

How will it work?

  • Homerooms eating in their classes will be the only students to eat outside. If your student is eating in the cafeteria, they will continue to do so. At the end of the term, we will switch.
  • There is a rotating schedule where 1st-4th graders will eat outside every other day.
  • 5th graders will eat outside every day, assuming the weather cooperates. This is function of our master schedule and cannot change.
  • Students will sit with 3-4 other students in their homerooms in a seating chart that aligns to the classroom seating chart.
  • We are still working with students to teach them how to socially distance in the new setting.

Why not at Peabody?

  • We don't currently have eating space at Peabody outdoors for a class or grade level.
  • The transition for students to eat outside would significantly impact time to access to learning.
  • Using the restroom for students would be needed and is a challenge for Peabody given the distance students would need to travel.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage - Esperanza

Watkins will host an evening to celebrate Hispanic Heritage with the theme "Esperanza" or "hope." Please attend our event!

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W.I.N. time has begun!

We have finished our first week of W.I.N. - what I need. This is our new intervention and enrichment block to challenge and support all learners. Some students are identified as needing additional instructional support and some students have been identified as needing addition enrichment opportunities. Some students are identified as candidates for both! This time is 30-45 minutes per day.

W.I.N. is an all-hands on deck approach to supporting and challenging our students. Homeroom teachers, special educators, instructional aides, instructional coaches, and specials teachers all support students in all grades.

Our team as reviewed our student data from BOY testing and classroom assessments and determined that the individualized plan is best. Our staff will assess our initial launch on the October 8th PD day. The following week, we will send out the details of the plan for all students, as that day and our subsequent data review may alter the initial plans somewhat.

3rd-5th Grade Panorama Survey

One of our CSP goals is to increase the percentage of students that feel loved at school. We gather this data during the Panorama Student Survey that is given twice a year. Last Spring, Watkins had an all-time high of 68% of student reporting that they feel loved to 75% this spring.

Twice a year, we ask students in grades 3 and higher to complete a survey about social emotional learning for DC Public Schools, the Panorama Student Survey, to help DCPS and school administrators better understand what students think about their school experiences and their social and emotional learning. Parents can opt their student out of the survey but this data is valuable to our school planning. Read more here.


Learning about Hispanic Heritage

Peabody's Specials Team will incorporate a celebration of Hispanic culture and the Spanish language into our four special subject classes over the coming weeks. Students will enjoy read alouds, arts and crafts, music and movement and more!