Principal's Message Jan 18 - Jan 21

What a Week!

Dear Peabody and Watkins,

This week was tough for many of us and certainly all of our staff. We are lucky to be in a better place than most schools, but the effort and commitment to our students that our staffs have show at both schools has been incredible. Teachers are missing planning periods, missing the typical supports, and kids were missing outdoor recess almost all week. (Sorry Peabody - Watkins went outside on the field yesterday.) All of our staff who missed this week want to be back in school supporting their kids and colleagues. It's important that we acknowledge the how our staffs met the challenge of this week and even though we're all tired, will continue to do so. Please thank an educator today. Here are their email addresses: Peabody Watkins.

Our Watkins front office was down to just AP Boisvert on Thursday as I was at Peabody. Most of the team should be back next week. We were lucky to have some central office staff covering the front desk and phone for some periods of time, but please excuse any service that wasn't up to the high standards set by Ms. Carraway and Ms. Roy.

Both Schools

Key Dates

  • Jan 14 - I HAVE A DREAM - postponed! Updates coming soon.
  • Jan 17 - Martin Luther King Holiday, no school.
  • Jan 18 - Flex Enrichment, winter sessions begin
  • Jan 19 - Picture Day Retakes
  • Jan 25 - NAEP Assessment - 4th grade only. What is NAEP?
  • Jan 26 - End of Term 2. 1/2 Day Records Day, 1/2 Day PD.
  • Jan 26 7pm Equity Audit Meeting #3
  • Jan 27 - Watkins Talent Show, 6pm - postponed! Updates coming soon.
  • Feb 1st - LSAT
  • Feb 8 - Peabody Open House, 6pm VIRTUAL
  • Feb 9 - Watkins Open House, 6pm VIRTUAL

New Asymptomatic Student Testing Schedule!

Every Friday: Asymptomatic COVID testing for students.

9:15 for Watkins

9:15 for Peabody


The below update was sent to families earlier this week. Please find it again below, in case you missed it:

Hello Families,

Please be reminded that picture day retakes will take place on Wed. Jan 19 at both Peabody and Watkins. Retakes will automatically be scheduled for:

  • Students who were absent on the original picture day- we have a list of these students; and
  • Students who enrolled after the original picture day.

If your child was present on the original date and you would like to have their picture retaken, this will also happen during Retake Day:

  • On Tues. Jan 18, please send your child to school with the original photo package, including original envelope and all picture products. Your child's teacher will collect these items. The photographer will receive these items before retaking the picture. You will not need to fill out a new order form.

Please contact your school's main office with any questions.

Social-Emotional Supports for Dec 17 Incident

Our Mental Health team, and the DCPS central office team, is still available to support students who would like to talk. Homeroom teachers or parents can reach out to our social workers to arrange a time for their child to talk. is the point of contact on the team.

Volunteers and Subs Wanted!

We’d love to have parents volunteer or substitute in our schools! Please consider giving a day or even a half-day here or there. Or even a more consistent commitment! Any day an extra adult will be a help to our students and staff.

Anyone will have to complete the clearance processes that are involved. Please see the links below for more information.

Equity Audit Meeting #3

The painful incident that was reported recently has only reinforced the need for the comprehensive equity work in which we are engaged as a community. We know that oppression in all its forms, including racism and antisemitism, is taught and learned. It is not innate or inherent to who we are as human beings. We also know that if we are not naming and having courageous conversations about the ways that oppression shows up in and impacts our community, we are only serving to perpetuate the status quo of an inequitable society that does not support all of us in thriving.

To interrogate the inequitable status quo and cultivate a safe, loving community in which we all feel a sense of belonging and can fulfill our greatest potentials, we must continue to prioritize our shared equity work.

Our community-wide equity audit process will continue and is a critical component of this work. The ultimate goals of this process are to develop:

  1. A shared vision of equity for the Peabody and Watkins community
  2. Aligned, data-based recommendations that will catalyze progress toward the shared vision
  3. Deepened relationships, trust, and community

During our first two audit sessions, we launched this multi-phased process, engaged in community-building conversations, and began to brainstorm a shared vision of an equitable, anti-racist, and inclusive Peabody and Watkins community. The last communication about the audit is here. I will provide a more robust recap (and our homework assignment) of our second meeting later over the break. We can look forward to the following meetings

  • January 26, we will create inquiry teams and begin our data analysis
  • March 7, we will share reflection on our data and begin to craft recommendations for change
  • March 28, we will integrate our teams and have inter-team sharing

More meetings will be scheduled soon. All occur at 7pm and include community building dialogues.


This work can only be done well if the people doing it represent our students

COVID Communications - Sequence of Events

With all of the anxiety around COVID and the notification, we can share some details about how the process unfolds.

  1. The positive case becomes known to school leaders from parents, teachers via parents, the asymptomatic testing (usually on Sundays), and recently the parent portal.
  2. School leaders start contact tracing almost immediately upon receipt, even on weekends and evenings. We talk to homeroom teachers, specials teachers, special educators, before and after care, we check the breakfast logs, and talk to anyone else that may have information about a possible exposure. Principal Berkowitz and Ms. Montgomery do this for both campuses. The APs support their campus only. These are the only staff leading this work.
  3. We make phone calls to caregivers right away and explain the exposure and the quarantine period. We'll follow up with email if necessary.
  4. We'll also make the report in the centralize system so DC Health, and DCPS can begin the office communications processes.
  5. New since late December - we can send form letters for close contacts and the impacted homerooms before downtown processes the report.
  6. Finally, the official community letter is furnished by downtown and shared with all staff and families. Since December this has been happening within 12-18 hours of us completing the report in the system. As the community letter states, by this point in the process everyone connected to the exposure has been in touch with a school leader.

Contact tracing is an imperfect process. There have been a few times when the sequencing described above is off, but I'd say we've been very consistent. If you have questions about any cases, please let us know.

More information here:


After consultation with DC Health, DCPS is working with DGS to turn water fountains back on in all schools. Watkins was originally scheduled for December 20-26 and Peabody for January 10-16; however, this process has been delayed.

We will provide updates as we receive them.

Year 2 With Kindred - Advancing Equity at our Schools - Partners Wanted!

Are you interested in advancing equity at Peabody and Watkins? New Kindred dialogue groups launching soon!

The Cluster’s Partnership With Kindred: Kindred supports communities in collaborating toward the creation of an anti-racist and liberated society. The Cluster began partnering with Kindred last year to bring caregivers, staff, and leaders together to advance educational equity and racial justice in our community. This work took the form of two diverse dialogue groups and the ongoing development of an equity team. This year, our partnership will include three new dialogue groups to grow the community of caregivers and staff working together to cultivate a Cluster culture in which everyone experiences a sense of belonging and can thrive.

More About This Year’s Dialogue Groups: Recruitment has begun for two new caregiver dialogue groups and one new staff dialogue group. Over the course of ten sessions, participants will come together to build trusting relationships, examine their own and learn about each other's multifaceted identities and histories, and explore how racial inequity shows up in our society and our school community. After the dialogue experience, group members will join the Kindred Equity Team. This team was formed by members of last year’s dialogue group and represents a space for equity-driven collective action, as well as for continued community building and identity processing.

How To Get Involved: If you are interested in joining one of the dialogue groups, please reach out to Ryan Jones ( or Meredith Morelle ( from the Kindred team to schedule a one-on-one conversation and learn more about the dialogue process.



The Fall Basketball season is now slated to begin in January, not December as previously communicated. See updated schedule below.

Recent update: sports this season will NOT allow spectators to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Home Games (Watkins ES)

4pm Start Time

(Boys) 1-20-2022 vs. Drew

(Girls) 1-21-2022 vs. Payne

(Girls) 1-28-2022 vs. West

(Boys) 2-4-2022 vs. Ludlow Taylor

(Boys) 2-8-2022 vs. Aiton

(Boys) 2-15-2022 vs. Payne

Away Games

4pm Start Time

(Girls) 1-24-2022 @ Oyster Adams Bilingual

(Boys) 1-27-2022 @ Browne EC

(Girls) 1-31-2022 @ Miner ES


New Weekly PreK 3 and 4 Testing Requirement

With many of our youngest learners ineligible to access the COVID-19 vaccine, DCPS is dedicating testing resources to weekly testing of all Pre-K students.

Students in PK3 and PK4 will be sent home with a rapid test each Friday, starting today, and will be required to upload their results each Sunday before returning to the classroom here:

Unlike last week, students will not be able to test at school. Students without a test result on Tuesday (regularly Mondays) will have to return home to test.

This week, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, families should test on Monday, January 17 instead of Sunday and upload their results by 4:00 p.m. that day.

Kindergarten students will also be receiving weekly test kits and are highly encouraged to test each week. This is not a requirement. K students will still be randomly selected for weekly asymptomatic testing.

Pre-K families, IMPORTANT NOTE: due to the nature of these classes, if one student tests positive, the whole class will need to quarantine. This will not apply to next week's testing results as the date of the test result will be more than the 48 hour window of infection that is used to determine close contacts (for example: close contacts of students who test positive on Monday would've had to come in contact with them starting Sat. Anyone they were in contact with earlier than Sat will not need to quarantine).

Mini Rock-the-Red Assemblies at Peabody to celebrate the start of our Winter Reading Program

"Peabody is Blasting Off to Read!"

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday January 19, 20 and 21, PreK 3, PreK 4 and kindergarten respectively will join mini Rock-the-Red assemblies on their floor lobby in the morning (exact times will be announced soon). All students should wear a red shirt on their day!

Virtual Bedtime Stories with Ms. Bloom

An extra bonus during our cozy Winter Reading Program, Ms. Bloom will read virtually with any Peabody students who want to join from 7pm to 7:30pm on four Wednesday evenings. The dates are: January 19, February 2 and 16, and March 2! Let’s BLAST OFF TO READ TOGETHER!!!

To join the virtual Bedtime Stories with Ms. Bloom, click on the following link:

You can also go to the Peabody Library Canvas Page and click on the black PJ's and Bedtime Stories button.


Due to supply chain issues, we have not received some of the materials we ordered as a replacement for our dramatic play centers. If you have gently used or new extra play items, we are asking our school community to consider donating these items to classrooms for use in our dramatic play centers in December/January. These items may include but are not limited to:

Doll beds, child-sized wooden stove, sink, ironing board, iron, carriage, stroller, high chair, dress-up clothes, hats, shoes, boas, jewelry, pots, pans, dishes, other kitchen equipment relevant to different cultures, dolls representing different ethnic groups, child-sized broom and mop, toy telephones, pocketbooks, briefcases, plastic food, empty food boxes relevant to different cultures, doctors kit.

If you have any questions, please contact AP James at Peabody.