Hearst Family Update

August 2, 2021

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Principal's Message

Dear Hearst Families,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! As we look toward the start of the new school year in August, I imagine that you may have many questions about what it will look, sound, and feel like for your kids. The latest DCPS health and safety guidance is below and this is informing our planning for the upcoming year. We anticipate that DC Health and DCPS will release new updated guidance on Wednesday, August 11, and I'll be sending out an update to families on Friday, August 13, with information on how that health and safety guidance will be operationalized at Hearst. We will also hold two Hearst town hall meetings about the new school year on August 18. These meetings will give me a time to share our school level planning to date and answer questions specific to our Hearst community. Links for these meetings will be included in the August 13 update.

Thank you for your partnership and I hope you're all having a safe summer,


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

August 7 - Incoming PK Playdate @ Newark Playground,10:00-11:00am

August 17 - New Student & Family Orientation, 3:00-4:30pm

August 18 - Back to School Information Session for Families, 9:00-10:00am & 7:00-8:00pm
August 20 - First Day for 10-month Staff

August 27 - Open House for Students & Families in afternoon (specific times will be shared in August 13 update)

August 30 - First Day of SY21-22 for K-5

September 2 & 3 - First Days of SY21-22 PK classes (Half of class comes Thursday & the second half comes Friday - more details will be shared in August)

Quick Updates

  • Some families have reached out about the possibility of students eating outdoors this school year rather than in the cafeteria or in their classrooms. Please know we are actively exploring this option and have ordered additional outdoor furniture to accommodate this. More details will be shared in future updates.

Returning DCPS-issued Devices and Chargers

If your child borrowed a DCPS device and/or charger and you haven't yet returned it, the office is open from 8:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday for you to do so. Returning the devices will allow us to update them over the summer and ensure that they are ready for use in August.

The 2021-2022 School Year at Hearst (as of July 30, 2021)

As DC Public Schools and Hearst plans for a full reopening to in person learning in August with all staff teaching in person, we are focused on enhancing the school experience and student learning by: strengthening relationships between students, teachers, and families; providing joyful opportunities at school that accelerate learning; continuing our unwavering focus on health and safety; and addressing inequities through systemic change. We also plan to offer before and after care and will be partnering with a new organization in the coming year to provide these services.

Please read below for an update on the health and safety measures that will be in place for in-person learning, as well as a new virtual option available for eligible students for School Year 2021-2022.

Health & Safety for In-Person Learning

For SY21-22, here’s what families can expect at school to maintain a safe environment for in-person learning:

• HVAC enhancements allow for well-ventilated spaces at every school, including state-of-the-art HEPA filters in classrooms and air quality sensors throughout the building.

• All staff, students, and visitors must wear a mask or face covering, and daily PPE and hygiene supplies will be provided.

• Enhanced cleaning protocols for high-touch surfaces, and a deep cleaning completed after a suspected or reported COVID-19 case.

• Space arrangements: Students should be separated as far as possible, and individual desks and tables are to be facing the same direction to the extent feasible.

• Student cohort interactions will be limited to the extent feasible, but there will be no cap for student or staff cohort interactions in any grade.

• Screen for illness: Students and staff will complete a daily “Ask, Ask, Look” screening, but temperatures will not be taken upon arrival at school.

• COVID-19 reporting protocols: Schools will report positive cases with a school community if a person has been in the building during their infectious period, along with a quarantine protocol. Additional information about asymptomatic testing will be shared over the summer.

Virtual Learning for Students with Medical Need

We hope and expect the overwhelming majority of our students will return to full-time in-person learning in the fall. However, we know there are students who have a documented medical condition who need to continue virtual learning. To support these students, DCPS will offer virtual instruction for a limited number of students who meet medical eligibility requirements. Virtual instruction based on medical need will be available across all grades.

You can review the medical eligibility form and read a FAQ for families at https://dcpsreopenstrong.com/sy21-22/virtual.

After the https://octo.quickbase.com/db/brg2gc9m6, families will be notified once their virtual learning request is processed. You can also drop a completed medical form off at the school. DCPS will safeguard information in alignment with all privacy laws. Families will be asked to provide their student’s name and ID number on the registration form. We encourage those who need virtual learning to complete this process by July 6 to help us create class schedules for the fall.

Our 21-22 Hearst Team

Below is a quick list of our staff for the coming school year. Except where noted below, DCPS email addresses follow the format of firstname.lastname@k12.dc.gov. Please know that the Hearst website (www.hearstes.org) will be updated next week and include updated staff contact information and photos. While we have selected candidates for all positions, until they receive their official offer letters from DCPS, we are unable to share their names here. Stay tuned for additional information about our new staff in our August 13 summer update and visit https://www.hearstes.org/faculty_staff_directory for more information.

Our Staff

PS-PK CES: Danielle Shea, Kendra Schenck, Rhonda Forbes (rhonda.hughes@k12.dc.gov)

Pre-Kindergarten: Denise Dawkins & Grace Fraser, Skyelar Haith (skyelar.riseling@k12.dc.gov) & Patricia Morales

Kindergarten: Maggie Clark & Sumita Singh, Dawn Gray & Jonyce Cole, Beth Prince & Courtney Evans

1st Grade: Sarah Schiers, Victoria Ouellette (awaiting DCPS email), and Elizabeth Volpe

2nd Grade: Ashley Boyle, Oda Solms, Takiyah Thompson

K-2 CES: Elana Marber, Ellen Hicks, Lyssa Weaver

3rd Grade: Hannah Halpern (ELA/Social Studies), Megan Burleigh (Math/Science)

4th Grade:Cassi Duvall (ELA/Social Studies), Rachel Wiggins (Math/Science - rachel.wiggins2@k12.dc.gov)

5th Grade: Katie Dilley (ELA/Social Studies - kathryn.dilley@k12.dc.gov); New Hire Awaiting DCPS Offer Letter (Math/Science)

3-5 CES: Carolyn Diaz, Janice Hargrove, & New Hire Awaiting DCPS Offer Letter

Special Education Teachers: Shareen Beech, Sarah Boone, MaryEllen Noonan

General Education Partner Teachers: Gene'sha Williams and New Hires Awaiting DCPS Offer Letter

English Language Support: Brian Garfield, Erica Geppert (erica.molinogeppert@k12.dc.gov), Ali Ibrahim

Inner Core Teachers: Carol Baker - Performing Arts, Hunter Coleman - Health/Physical Education, Joe McCright- Spanish (awaiting DCPS email), Joshua Harms - Art, Elizabeth Vandivier - Library Media Specialist

Social Worker: Keri Sartin (lakeri.sartin@k12.dc.gov)

School Psychologist: Caroline DeWerd

Instructional Support: Jana Banks - Math Specialist, Janna Walker - Reading Specialist,

Instructional Coach: Tara Souza

Custodial Team: Lawrence Stephenson, Shawn Harrington, Russell Hart, Ramon Zamora

Registrar: Manik Hinchey

Business Manager: Kestaganer Johnson

Assistant Principal: Elke Chen

Principal: Jen Geoffroy (jennifer.geoffroy@k12.dc.gov)

Update on Bloomz and Homeroom Assignments and Requests

Today families will receive an invitation from Bloomz, our family communication platform. Each family will be connected to the school wide Hearst Bloomz site, as well as the page for their child(ren)'s homeroom. Be on the lookout for these invitations as this is how your family will receive notice of homeroom assignments for your child(ren).

Please note that we remain unwavering in our dedication to equity and closing opportunity gaps. Therefore, students will be scheduled and placed in homerooms in ways that promote equity, including some grouping based on current academic needs as well as whole group academic opportunities. Due to the complexity of scheduling and class list creation, we will not be taking homeroom requests from families.

Additionally, it's important to note that the vast majority of our staff, including teachers and partner teachers, are on summer break until August 20. While you're welcome to reach out to staff before August 20, please know they will likely not respond until they report to work on August 20.

Thanks for your understanding and if you have any questions about Bloomz after you receive the invitations, please reach out to manik.hinchey@k12.dc.gov. Thanks!

School Supplies

We are happy to announce that we have chosen to create prepackaged school supply kits for the coming school year that can be ordered through School Tool Box. School supplies can be ordered at www.schooltoolbox.com and will be delivered to your home (note: please do not deliver them directly to the school as we do not have the ability to receive individual supplies for all of our students). For more information, see the flyer below.

News and Announcements from DCPS

You’re invited to our upcoming Parent University Series: Our Doors Are Open!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 4:30 PM

Preparándose para Pre-Kínder : consejos para una transición fácil - Register

Thursday, August 5, 2021 5:30 PM

Getting Ready for Pre-K: Tips for a Smooth Transition into School - Register

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 5:30 PM

Parent University: Getting My Child Ready for School This Year - Register

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 5:30 PM

Parent University: Accelerating Learning In and Out of the Classroom - Register

Thursday, August 19, 2021 5:30 PM

Parent U: Mentally Preparing Myself & My Child for the New School Year - Register

DC Reads with Amira

DCPS is partnering with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, D.C. Public Library, HMH, our region’s professional sports teams and others for the Read 20: DC Reads with Amira Initiative to provide an opportunity to support your child’s reading skills over the summer! Through this partnership, every DCPS student entering the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th grades next year has access this summer to Amira: a personalized, automated reading tutor. Participating students will also receive exciting recognition and prizes. Information and login details are below.

What is Amira?

Amira is the first intelligent reading tutor that provides in-the-moment help to accelerate reading improvement. Once your child is logged into Amira, the software recommends stories for them to read. As your child reads out loud, Amira listens and, when she sees an opportunity to reinforce a reading skill, Amira provides personalized help, drawing from over 30 different research-based tutoring techniques, developed by leading reading experts.

Amira is available anytime, accessible through Clever on your child’s school-issued device. So your child can read with Amira at home, at the library, or anywhere with a WiFi connection.

What is the Read 20: DC Reads with Amira Initiative?

Read 20: DC Reads with Amira is designed to encourage children to practice reading as much as possible throughout the summer. From June 24th to August 30th, your child is encouraged to read with Amira at least 3 stories a day, 3 times per week, for 8 weeks (a total of 72 stories or more over the course of the summer).

Research has shown that children who read with Amira frequently (about 45-minutes per week) have more than doubled their reading growth in 2 months. As your child reads and grows with Amira, we hope to send the message that:

  • Reading is fun!

  • It’s okay to make mistakes

  • Your child isn’t expected to know all the words! They should try their best to sound out words or skip them if needed - Amira will learn over time the best ways to help them.

Participating students who read regularly with Amira during the summer will be eligible to receive recognition and prizes - including special opportunities from top D.C.-area professional sports teams (more details to come!).

Who is eligible to participate?

Students attending DC Public Schools who are entering the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade next year are invited to participate. Your child is ready to read with Amira if they can read a simple story, including 3-letter words (e.g., can, mom, bag) and high-frequency sight words (e.g., am, see, is) on their own without adult help.

How to access Amira: You can access Amira on Clever!

  • Using your school-issued device, go to your school portal
  • Open it, and begin to “read a story!”

Want to learn more? Visit Amira’s DC support page at https://www.amiralearning.com/dcps

  • Watch the video “Family Training
  • Review all the support pages for how to use Amira, including:
  • How Amira works
  • Tech setup
  • FAQs
  • Send us your questions! This Chat button in the bottom right corner of your screen connects you with a member of the Amira team who can help you throughout the summer.
  • Come talk with us! Amira will hold office hours for DC parents throughout the summer Mondays at 4pm and Thursdays at 10AM. Link: https://bit.ly/3vnpM3R
  • (Or, log in to Zoom and use the Meeting ID: 88545680497 & Passcode: 015991 )

DCPS Summer Meals

This summer, youth 18 and under have continued access to grab-and-go meals at several DC Public School locations throughout the city. Effective July 6, youth, or parents/guardians on their behalf, can receive up to 3 breakfast and 3 lunch meals at a time at the following locations. Meal site hours will remain Monday – Friday (10AM – 2PM). Current meal locations will remain open until summer meal distribution begins on July 6.