Hearst Family Update

January 15, 2020

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Principal's Message

Good evening, Owl Families,

Thanks to all those who joined our Term 3 Town Halls on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Below is some of the information shared during the meeting, along with the slides from those meetings. I'm sharing this to provide additional context for the Term 3 plan and if you have questions after reviewing the information, please reach out.

The original Term 3 reopening plan we developed prior to winter break was a more ambitious one than the current plan, opening an in person option, CARE+ or In Person Learning class, at each grade level. However, over the course of winter break changing demand for in person seats from our priority students, as well as changing staff availability meant multiple changes to that original plan.

Could we have brought back more of our instructional staff and particularly homeroom teachers for Term 3? The answer is yes, but doing so would have meant a significant number of students across all grades would have new teachers and/or a new schedule in Term 3. Additionally, bringing back more homeroom teachers would mean that multiple teachers would be teaching new grade levels and/or content areas. Given the feedback from families about the desire for consistency with schedules and/or teachers, our approved model allows us to provide our priority students with in person instruction (K IPL, 2-5 ELL CARE+, 2-5 SWD CARE+), while also ensuring consistency for the vast majority of our students who will remain virtual in Term 3.

Admittedly, our approved plan is a conservative plan to start Term 3 and I had hoped we'd be able to offer more in person options for our students. However, given the fluidity of the multiple factors that go into creating a reopening plan, for example seat acceptance rates, staffing, and vaccine availability, among others, it seemed prudent to start with conservative plan and try to build on it over the course of Term 3. As additional staff get vaccinated throughout Term 3, our hope is that we can begin to offer more in person options for students. I heard the feedback from our community loud and clear that you wanted to know the Term 3 plan and any changes that may impact your kids as early as possible. With the exception of possible changes to our supplemental CARE staff, I'm confident we can implement the approved Term 3 plan as written. I'm also hopeful that the Term 3 plan serves as a strong foundation to build upon over the course of Term 3 and into Term 4. If you have questions about any of the above or would like to dig deeper into the details of the plan creation, please email me at jennifer.geoffroy@k12.dc.gov and I'm happy to answer them.

Thanks for your partnership, stay safe, and watch this space to see if there are any updates about the DCPS operating status next week,


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

  • January 18 - MLK Holiday (no school for all-building closed)
  • January 19 - No school for students and teachers (building closed)
  • January 20 - Inauguration Day (no school for all-building closed)
  • January 21 - iReady Reading MOY assessment for 3rd-5th grades
  • January 29 - Term 2 Ends (no school for students)
  • February 1 - Term 3 Begins
  • February 10-11 - Term 2 Report Cards Published in Aspen
  • February 12 - Term 2 Report Cards and MOY Data Reports Mailed Home
  • March 31 - Hearst Spring Picture Day (see below for more information)

  • Ongoing during month of January, Janna Walker will be completing TRC/DIBELS MOY assessment for K-1 students and DIBELS for 2nd grade students

Quick Updates

  • Reminder: Because our building is now 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 (Now including names of staff returning in person in Term 3)

The approved Term 3 plan allows us to serve just under 20% our of students in person and includes the following in person learning options for students in Term 3:

  • PK CARE classroom, maximum of 8 students, staffed by two contract teachers, one with several years of experience leading PK4 classrooms
  • K-2 CARE classroom, maximum of 10 students, staffed by Rhonda Forbes, Hearst partner teacher
  • 3-5 CARE classroom, maximum of 11 students, staffed by DCPS staff with education experience
  • K in person classroom, maximum of 10 students, staffed by Dawn Gray (Hearst K teachers) and Jonyce Cole (Hearst K partner teacher). Families with students in Ms. Gray and Mrs. Cole's classroom, we'll be following up with you directly about the Term 3 transition.
  • CARE+ classroom for English Language Learners (ELLs), maximum of 11 students, the morning CARE classroom component will be staffed by Genesha Williams, Hearst partner teacher, and the afternoon in person instruction will be led by Brian Garfield, Hearst ELL teacher.
  • CARE+ classroom for students with disabilities (SWDs) in the general education program, maximum of 11 students, the morning CARE classroom component will be staffed by Ian Norden, Hearst partner teacher, and the afternoon in person instruction will be led by Sarah Boone, Hearst Special Education (SPED) teacher.

(note: DCPS will be finalizing supplemental staff rosters on 1/21, after which I will share the names of those CARE staff with you)

While we were hoping to open in person learning classrooms for our students in our CES classrooms in Term 3, DCPS staffing requirements for CES programs in combination with our staff availability in combination unfortunately will not allow for us to open in person CES classrooms in Term 3. We will revisit this in Term 4 in hopes that we can offer in person options for our CES students then as part of our plan to open additional in person classrooms during the final term of the school year.

Finally, the CDC has published a document called "Making Decisions about Children Attending In-person School During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Information for Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers," and the link for it can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/decision-tool.html. In addition to helping families make decisions about returning to in-person instruction if offered a seat, it can be a helpful resource for talking with kids about why some kids are learning in-person while others will continue learning virtually.

Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action

From February 1-5, 2021, Hearst will be participating in Teaching for Change's D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice D.C. Area Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. This week of action will be built on the momentum of past local weeks of action and the National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action campaign taking place in cities across the U.S. to promote a set of national demands based in the Black Lives Matter guiding principles that focus on improving the school experience for students of color.

Our goal is for every student at Hearst to engage in an activity related to BLM during the week of action. This may be a lesson directly connected to their grade level curriculum, a continuation of the conversations had with students in the aftermath of the events on 1/6, or a discussion incorporated into morning & afternoon meetings. Please look for more information from your child's teacher and reach out to Dr. Chen if you have any questions.

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.

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

Community Engagement for Foxhall and MacArthur Blvd Sites

DCPS is kicking off the community engagement process to support planning for the capital investments at the Foxhall site (1500 Block of Foxhall Rd NW) and the MacArthur Blvd site (4530 MacArthur Boulevard NW, formerly GDS). As you likely know, DCPS identified Capital Improvement Plan funding beginning in FY21 to construct a new facility – “Foxhall” - on the Old Hardy site, as well as funding in FY21 to purchase the newly vacant GDS lower school facility – “MacArthur Blvd School”, both located in Ward 3. The goal of these investments is to help address overcrowding in the feeder pattern. DCPS has not yet determined the program scope for these buildings, including considerations such as boundaries, feeder patterns, and final grade configurations. These topics will be the focus of the upcoming engagement process.

If you have questions about the process, please feel free to reach out to Hearst's representatives on the working group, LSAT Member and Kindergarten parent, Jonathan Topping (jtopping@zztopping.com) or Principal Geoffroy (jennifer.geoffroy@k12.dc.gov). DCPS will be adding information about the working group will also be published here: https://dcpsplanning.wordpress.com/.

Reminder: Free Internet Service

Mayor Muriel Bowser wants to make sure your student has internet at home for virtual learning. Through a new program called Internet for All, DC Government will be paying for a year of residential internet service for eligible households provided by Comcast and RCN.

How it Works: DC Government will reach out directly by text, phone call and email to SNAP and TANF eligible households with PK3- 12th grade students enrolled at DC traditional and charter public schools.

Once you agree to participate in the program and allow Comcast or RCN to contact you, they will reach out to initiate the internet installation process. Please be sure to answer their call! Please contact your student’s school to check your eligibility and program status. Internet for All is part of the Tech Together DC Partnership. Find more information online at techtogether.dc.gov and see the flyer below.

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.

News and Announcements from Other Organizations

I Have Pride Contest for 3rd-12th Grade Students


My name is Ceon, I am a youth ambassador at The Black Swan Academy.

To begin, I would like to wish you and the whole Hearst Elementary School community a Happy New Year. Here is a special invitation for students school-wide to participate in the I Have Pride Black History & Culture Writing Contest, with an opportunity to win up to $500!!!!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world a better place” and at the Black Swan Academy we believe the same thing! We look forward to reading their essays, songs, poems, skits and short stories.

For eligibility and to enter please have students visit https://www.jotform.com/blackswanacademy/2021IHavePride.

The deadline to submit work is January 25, 2021 at 11:59p. We cannot wait to hear from your wonderful scholars.

If you have any additional questions please email me or contact us at contest@blackswanacademy.org.

All the best,

Ceon Dubose-Palmore

Youth Ambassador

The Black Swan Academy

Hearst Park December 2020 Update

Dear Community Stakeholders of Hearst Park:

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the DC Department of General Services (DGS) are pleased to share the November 2020 construction update for the Hearst Park and Pool project. Please find the flyer attached for progress information.

For additional information, please visit the project website for information and resources: https://dgs.dc.gov/node/1135096.


  • Peter

Peter Nohrden, ASLA

Capital Projects, Planning and Design

DC Department of Parks and Recreation

1275 First Street, NE, 8th Floor | Washington, DC 20002

P: (202) 671-1852 | E: peter.nohrden@dc.gov

DPR.dc.gov | Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @dcdpr

Reminder: Cupids Kid's - Community Edition

The DC Department of Aging and Community Living would like to invite your school to participate in our Annual Cupid’s Kids campaign and help lift the spirits of homebound seniors during Valentine’s Day. This year, we are doing things a little different! In partnership with DC Public Library, we are inviting everyone in the community to help make handmade Valentine’s Day cards for isolated and homebound District seniors. Isolation during the pandemic has made it harder for seniors to stay connected and the winter months are a peak time for social isolation and loneliness for many in the District. Your school’s contribution would spread kindness to seniors, many of whom live alone, and teach students how they can make a positive impact in the community—one individual at a time.

This year’s goal is to send handmade Valentine’s Day cards to over 6,000 recipients of DACL’s home-delivered meals program. The cards will be included in the February meal delivery. We are hoping schools will pass along the toolkit to families and encourage them to make cards from home. Handmade Valentine’s Day cards will be collected at select DCPL sites. Locations are listed in the toolkit, which also includes instructions on how to make a card. You may also visit our website https://dacl.dc.gov/page/cupidskids for more information.

Looking forward to receiving your cards!

Kind regards,

Sadia Siddiq Ferguson | Community Relations Specialist


External Affairs and Communications

Department of Aging and Community Living

202-727-0374 (Office) | 202-304-2390 (Mobile)