Hearst Family Update

April 3, 2021

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Principal's Message

Good afternoon, Owl Families,

One of DCPS’ core values is Equity —specifically, working proactively to eliminate opportunity gaps and investing in effective strategies to ensure every student succeeds. Beginning in November when we started planning to bring students back to in-person programming, we prioritized students who had the highest needs and were experiencing the greatest learning losses through virtual learning. To do this safely, we prioritized the following in our learning model design:

  • Providing a safe and supportive learning space for students who had the greatest challenges with virtual learning.
  • Offering in-person instruction for students with known opportunity gaps to mitigate learning loss.
  • Maximizing learning time and maintaining the integrity of the instructional program for all students –whether at school or at home.

As the school year progressed, we were able to bring back more students in part because of updates to our local and national health guidelines, a strong vaccination effort for staff and DC residents, and more asymptomatic testing and rigorous health and safety protocols in schools. Where we once struggled to convince teachers and families our schools were safe places —the best places —for their students to learn, we are now challenged to meet the demands of some of our families. In many cases, these families represent our white and privileged families. In some cases, this unmet demand has led to a challenging and oft times racially driven tension filled dynamic between parents and DCPS as an organization, school leaders, and teachers.There have been demands, accusations, and complaints made that have ranged from incompetent leadership, not working hard/smart enough, failing children academically, and purposefully keeping children out of school because we don’t care about their success. These exchanges have magnified the city’s racial disparities and inequities and it's not okay.

I continue to urge everyone to be mindful of how the impact of your words, tone, and approach may not match the intent of your hearts and spirits. We know every parent wants the best for their child and we support the family's role as advocates for their child’s needs. It is our role as a district and school to ensure the needs of the full community are met and we strive to exemplify the values of DCPS and Hearst for our students and each other. I ask for continued grace as we work hard for you, your children, and the entire school community.

To that end, know that we're still waiting on feedback from DCPS about our Term 4 plan for 2nd-5th grades. As soon as I know their decision and work through the ramifications of whatever that decision may be, please know I'll post that on Bloomz as an addendum to the Term 4 announcement made this past week.

Hope you're enjoying the weekend and thanks for your continued partnership,


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

  • Tuesday, April 6 - Deal Feeder School Chat for Families, 6:30pm, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81102034942, Meeting ID: 811 0203 4942 One tap mobile:+13017158592,81102034942# US
  • Friday, April 9 - Asynchronous day for students of staff returning to the building for the first time in Term 4; Tours for students returning to the building in Term 4, 9:00-1:00 (see Bloomz sign up)
  • April 12 - School tours for students returning to the building in Term 4, 9:00-1:00 (see Bloomz sign up)
  • April 12-16 - Spring Break for Students
  • Friday, April 16 - Emancipation Day (no school for students and all staff; building closed)
  • Monday, April 19- Term 4 starts
  • Thursday, April 29 - Term 3 Report Cards Mailed and Published in Aspen

Quick Updates

  • Reminder: Term 4 Forms (Family-school agreement, asymptomatic and symptomatic consent forms) are printed and available for pick up from 8-4 daily at the main entrance. There is no need to call before coming to pick up the forms, simply buzz at the main entrance and someone will be available to hand you a packet of forms.
  • A reminder that the playgrounds, soccer field, and basketball court are closed to the public from 11:00am to 1:00pm on school days. This ensures that our in person student cohorts are not mixing with other kids and adults outside of the school during school hours. As we look to Term 4, please know these hours will expand in order to provide our in person students with additional outdoor time.
  • Reminder: DCPS has updated the School Planning blog with information about the Foxhall/MacArthur planning process. This is where they will share updates, meeting materials, etc. once the process kicks off. 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. The presentation from the most recent meeting last week is now posted online here as well. 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.

Reminder: Friday, April 9 - Asynchronous day for students of staff returning to the building for the first time in Term 4

Friday, April 9 will be an asynchronous day for students of staff returning to the building for the first time in Term 4. This additional day to prepare to welcome back students on April 9 has been approved by DCPS for Hearst staff. In addition to being a day to prepare classrooms, AP Chen and I will be providing small groups of students returning for Term 4 with quick tours of the building to help them get acquainted with arrival procedures and the locations of their classrooms. We'll send out sign ups for April 9 as well as April 12 via Bloomz at the end of this week.

Reminder: Updated Medical Documentation Required to Return to Learning in the Building in Term 4

Help your kids #StayOnTrack and ready for school-entry with on-time vaccinations.

Hearst has a current immunization compliance rate of 90% as of 3-14-2020. Remember to send your child's updated medical documentation (Universal health certificates, Medication authorization forms, immunization records) to manik.hinchey@k12.dc.gov. Make appointments with your health care providers and provide the proper documentation before the start of in-person school (see here for a list of required immunizations). Immunizations must be up to date to take an in-person seat or CARES seats. Immunization sites across the city are posted here.

Reminder: Information for Families with Students Returning In Person in Term 4

We are excited for Term 4 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:

These documents will be available for pick up at the school starting on Monday, March 29.We will also 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 on their first day, 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 about the closure and how instruction will shift for the period of the closure.

Reminder: Supporting Students' Social Emotional and Mental Health

Greetings Hearst Community,

I hope that you are all doing well! The mental health team is excited to announce a series of virtual social, emotional support groups that we will be offering to students beginning on March 16, 2021. Each session will be conducted by myself, Ms. Brown, the school social worker and by our school psychologist, Ms. Dewerd. Groups will occur weekly via MS Teams and will be designed to target student's skills and needs by pairing grade levels. During these groups, we will be teaching students about self regulation, particularly mindfulness and the benefits of incorporating these practices into their daily routine. We will also utilize these sessions to teach useful executive functioning skills. Each session will occur during non- instruction periods, so that everyone who wants to, can attend. Sessions will also be recorded, to increase accessibility. By giving your child permission to participate, you are also consenting to the recording. If you or your child do not wish to be recorded, please feel free to disable your camera function. The good thing is, students will not have to participate interactively to benefit from each session!

The schedule for the groups by grade level is included below as well as the links to join.

Kindergarten-1st grade (pre-k is free to join!) Tuesdays 11:45am-12:30pm Click here to join the meeting

2nd-3rd grade- Tuesdays 3:45pm-4:30pm Click here to join the meeting

4th-5th grade Thursdays 3:45pm- 4:30pm Click here to join the meeting

Again, groups will start next Tuesday, March 16th. Please only join the session that corresponds to your child's grade level. Students will not need to bring any materials but are free to have pencil and paper to take notes if they like.

There is a lot happening in our world right now that is beyond our control and many of us are facing unexpected challenges! We are looking forward to connecting with the students in our community and assisting with building social, emotional skills that that can support overall wellbeing!

Take care,

Mental Health Team of Hearst ES

Reminder: Order Your Hearst Yearbook for the 20-21 School Year

Yearbooks are on sale for pre-order! The early bird special is $22 until the end of March. In April and on each book is $25. Please see the attached flyer for directions to order your yearbook! The yearbooks will arrive near the end of the school year. This year, there is an option to ship the book directly to your home. Otherwise, it will ship to the school and we will find a way to do a safe and secure pickup.

The Hearst yearbook contains portraits of each homeroom class and some candid photos from the year. Thanks to the creativity of our families we've been able to collect a ton of photos for the book! Don't forget to attend school portrait day on Wednesday March 24th with Freed, to have your child's photo taken for the yearbook.

Every year we sell out of yearbooks; don't let it happen to you. Reserve your copy today!

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.

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.

News and Announcements from DCPS

Transitioning to a 10-Day COVID Quarantine Protocol for Staff and Students Starting Term 4

The CDC and DC Health have revised guidelines for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Now, instead of a 14-day quarantine, the new recommendation states that close contact exposure warrants a quarantine of 10 days. Starting on Monday, April 19 (Term 4), DCPS will officially transition to a 10-day quarantine period for those who have been identified as a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. With questions, please contact healthservices.dcps@k12.dc.gov.

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 spring break. 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 in Term 3—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.

Reminder: Join DCPS for Family Cornerstones Live!: Family Activity Virtual Events

Join DCPS Family Engagement for their newest Family Engagement Program:

DCPS Family Cornerstones Live!

We are happy to announce that we will be hosting Family Cornerstone Parent University workshops! Fun and learning for the whole family.

Family Cornerstones Live are hosted on Thursdays at 5:30pm

Family Cornerstones - Banking On Our Future

April 8th

Join Operation Hope virtual event as they focus on Supporting Habits for a Financially Stable Lifestyle RSVP HERE

Family Cornerstones - Environmental Stewardship Starts on Your Block

April 22nd

Join Urban Adventure Squad's virtual event as they focus on Encouraging Community Involvement RSVP HERE

Family Cornerstones - Represent Yourself and Community through Public Art

April 29th

Join Urban Adventure Squad's virtual event as they focus on Celebrating Being Washingtonian RSVP HERE

What are Family Cornerstones?

Discover activities to try as a family on our Family Cornerstones page!

All DCPS Families can and are supporting their child's education in many unique ways. Family Cornerstones provide a roadmap for families from Pre-K to Graduation that highlights a few key shared learning experiences. These key experiences are essential to the partnership between DCPS schools and families.

Reminder: Impact Aid Survey – Amendment Deadline (5/30)

DCPS submitted the Impact Aid application on January 13, 2021 for all surveys received to date. Please continue to encourage all DCPS families to complete one survey per child in their preferred language as eligible surveys collected through Sunday, May 30 will be included in our application amendment to generate additional federal funds for DCPS. Surveys can be found on our Impact Aid webpage. For additional questions, please contact DCPSImpactAid@k12.dc.gov.

News and Announcements From Other Organizations

Reminder: Next W3EdNet Meeting Mon April 5 at 7pm -- Community Working Group on Foxhall and MacArthur

The next meeting of the Ward 3 - Wilson Feeder Education Network (W3EdNet) is on Monday, April 5 at 7pm via Zoom (link below). We will provide an update of the Community Working Group discussions on the proposed DCPS schools at Foxhall (adjacent to the Old Hardy School building) and on MacArthur Boulevard (the former Georgetown Day Lower School). *** Please note that these discussions involve changes to boundaries and feeder patterns. DCPS will be visiting many schools this month to present outcomes and hear feedback, and will likely make a final decision at the end of May. This is an opportunity to get informed about changes that may affect your family! ***

This group is advisory, and DCPS will make the final decision after additional community engagement in the feeder pattern and around the city. Slide decks for these meetings (through March 18) may be found at: https://dcpsplanning.wordpress.com/category/wilson-feeder-pattern/ (the latest deck is attached for your convenience).

The discussions for the Foxhall site have centered on opening a new elementary school, which would potentially change boundaries and feeder patterns for Stoddert, Key, and Mann. The discussions at the MacArthur site have focused on three options: a new middle school, which would likely change the feeder rights for some schools in the southern part of the Deal MS boundary; a new high school, which would likely have Hardy MS feed into it; or a ninth grade academy for Wilson HS.

The registration link for the Zoom meeting is:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

At our May meeting, we will host Council Chair Phil Mendelson.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Melody, Karin, and Brian


The Ward 3 - Wilson High School Feeder Pattern Education Network (W3EdNet) is a group made up of PTO Board and LSAT members as well as other interested community members. We aim to work together to support schools in the Wilson feeder pattern, host community events of common interest, and advocate for better schools across the city.

Website: https://www.w3ednet.com/

Twitter: @W3EdNet

Email: w3ednet@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/W3EdNet

Future W3EdNet Dates:

Monday, May 10 -- Council Chair Phil Mendelson

Monday, June 7 -- DC Education Research Collaborative