Hearst Weekly Update

August 25, 2019

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Principal's Message

Good afternoon Owls,

We're so excited for the start of the 2019-2020 school year and can't wait to see all of our K-5 Owls tomorrow morning and our PK Owls starting on Thursday! Although there have been a few unexpected issues leading up to the opening of school, our Open House on Friday afternoon made it clear that it's going to be a joyful, fun, and learning-filled year at Hearst. Below are important notes about the logistics of tomorrow and the school year, so please be sure to read through the information and reach out to your child's teacher, the main office, or me with any questions. Also, if you see any of our gardening gurus, all volunteers from the Hearst community, please be sure to thank them for making the outside of our school as beautiful as the inside. Have a great afternoon and see you at 8:30 in the morning on the soccer field for arrival!

In partnership,

Principal Jen Geoffroy (pronounced Jeff-roy; formerly Thomas)

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, August 26 - First Day for K-5 students
  • Thursday, August 29 - First Day for PK students; PTA Welcome Back Breakfast

What I'm reading this week: The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey

News and Announcements from Hearst

Arrival and Dismissal on the First Day of School

The weather forecast looks great for Monday morning, which means we'll have outdoor arrival. Staff will be supervising breakfast in the cafeteria beginning at 8:15am and will be on the playground starting at 8:30am to receive kids. Please note, if you are bringing your child to the playground prior to 8:30am, it is your responsibility to supervise him or her until Hearst staff arrives for duty. At 8:40, we'll blow a whistle for classes to line up on the soccer field and after introducing our new staff to everyone, we'll head inside. In order to transition into the building smoothly, we ask that families say goodbye to their kids on the soccer field before kids head inside with their teachers. Any supplies that you bring can be left on the soccer field in your child's classroom line and the custodians will bring those supplies in once the kids transition inside.

Dismissal is at 3:15pm every day. Students who stay for any after school programming will be transitioned to the gym, where they will be met by after school personnel. Students who get picked up at 3:15 will wait for pick up with Hearst staff on the front plaza and we'll have cones designating where each grade level will wait for pick up. Please be sure that your child knows his or her after school plan and that this information is also communicated with your child's teacher.

Update on the Hearst Playground

We received notification from the Department of Parks and Rec that the playground will not be available for use during the first week of school. However, we will continue to have access to the turf field, basketball court, and tot lot and utilize those spaces for arrival, PE, and recess. The goal is for access to the playground to be restored on Tuesday, September 3rd, with additional upgrades to the playground surface and installation of shade structures to occur over the course of the school year. We will work with the construction crew to ensure that during arrival, recess, and dismissal, the playground area is clear from construction equipment and there is safe passage to and from the soccer field, basketball court, and tot lot.

Items to Be Left at Home

Students should not bring money to school unless parents receive notification from a Hearst staff member to do so. Because the school will provide sports equipment for recess and PE, students are not permitted to bring sports equipment (footballs, soccer balls, etc.) from home. Additionally, students should not bring toys, trading cards, electronic games, or cell phones to school. In the event that a child brings any of the above items to school, Hearst is not responsible if said items are lost or stolen and staff will confiscate items that are visible or in use during school hours. All items that are confiscated will be held in the main office and must be picked up by a parent. If you need to get a message to your child during the day, please call the main office (202-282-0106) and office staff will ensure the message is passed to your child.

Food and Nutrition Services at Hearst

Breakfast is free to all DCPS Students. If you would like to see whether or not your child qualifies for free or reduced priced means, please complete this application: SY19-20 FARM Application.

Any student that requires a different meal than what is being served (due to medical, food allergy, or philosophical reason) must complete this form (SY19-20 Dietary Accommodation Forms) and submit it to the school nurse. This allows us to create menus and prepare meals that reflect the unique needs of the student. After submitting, the school nurse must send in the completed forms to Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). Please keep in mind that it can take 3-4 weeks from the time forms are received by FNS from the school nurse for dietary accommodations to be made in the cafeteria.

Other Helpful Links:
DCPS Website | Food and Nutrition Services

37th Street Traffic

We love our Sidwell neighbors and want to play nice with them. Although Sidwell's first day of school is September 3, let's not wait until then to develop our drop off routines. Be sure that when you’re dropping off your Owl in the morning, you’re not parking in Sidwell’s drop off line on their side of the street. We can keep the traffic on 37th Street moving in both directions if the drop off zones in front of both schools are used for dropping off and not parking.

“But what about the buses in front of Hearst?” you may ask. “They block traffic on 37th Street too,” you may think. During morning arrival, bus attendants are responsible for getting students off the bus safely at school. After handing off students to another adult on the playground or inside the school building, bus attendants are required to look on and under every seat to ensure that students are no longer on the bus and that student belongings have not been left behind. In addition to actually driving the bus, drivers must conduct inspections to ensure that the vehicle’s safety features are operational before they pull away from the school. On top of all of these official duties performed for the safety and security of our students, drivers and attendants have been on the bus for close to two hours by the time they arrive at school in the morning and sometimes simply need to use the bathroom.

At afternoon dismissal, after drivers conduct the safety inspection, bus attendants are responsible for ensuring that the students safely board the bus and that students are wearing their seat belts before the bus departs. As parents you know that it can be a challenge to get one child in and out of a car on some days. Knowing that we have as many as eight kids on a bus on any given day, I hope your empathy and patience eclipse any frustration about the traffic on 37th Street. Thanks for your understanding and cooperation!


If your child will be absent, please email attendance@hearstes.org to let the school know. This email is monitored by office staff and by sending 'attendance notes' to this address, office staff are able to efficiently input daily attendance. Thanks for your cooperation!

Reminder: Hearst is a Nut Free School

Hearst is a nut-free school. Students can bring in foods that have been processed in a facility that processes tree nuts, so long as those foods are for personal consumption. In order to minimize the risk of cross-contact issues that can result with nut oils/residue left on surfaces, our staff is being extra vigilant about cleaning surfaces after eating and ensuring that students wash their hands after eating. For ideas for nut-free lunches and snacks, visit: http://school.familyeducation.com/slideshow/lunch/71131.html or http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/10/07/nut-free-school-lunch-ideas/

Reminder: Administration of Medication at School

With the beginning of the school year come many questions from families about how we address student health needs. This year we are excited to again have Nurse Fisher on site on Monday through Friday from 8:00am-4:30pm. Additionally, we have six medically trained staff who can address student health needs in the event that Nurse Fisher is out. DCPS and DOH policies are in place to protect all students and staff and without appropriate paperwork from a doctor, medications (prescription and over the counter pills or liquids such as Benadryl or Dayquil, inhalers, prescription lotions/creams, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.) cannot be sent to school with kids. If you have questions about your child's medical or treatment needs, please contact the nurse’s office at (202) 282-0258 or visit https://dcps.dc.gov/page/health-and-wellness.

Link to medical forms.

In a medical emergency, first call 911 and contact the parent of the child who is having the emergency. During medical emergencies, appropriate medical services can be provided to a child of any age without parental consent when the health provider believes the child is in immediate need of such services and such services are the only alternative to probable death or serious physical or mental damage.11 Students should not go to the hospital alone. A DCPS staff member should accompany them and remain until a parent or emergency contact arrives.

Reminder: Volunteering at Hearst

All volunteers, including parents and anyone chaperoning or attending a field trip with Hearst students, must complete the DCPS Clearance process before volunteer services can be provided. To complete the DCPS Clearance process, complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the online Clearance Application found here.
  2. Complete a TB test or obtain documentation showing cleared TB test results from the last 12 months.
  3. Report to DCPS Central Office (1200 First Street NE, 10th Floor) during operating hours to complete the fingerprinting process Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 8 am - 3 pm. TB test results must be provided upon reporting to Central Office for fingerprints*. Individuals who fail to produce TB test results from the last 12 months will be denied fingerprinting services.
  4. Wait 3-10 business days for a clearance letter, indicating cleared fingerprinting results.
For additional information, including exceptions to the above process, please visit the DCPS Volunteer page here. Answers to frequently asked questions, see Volunteering FAQs. For additional questions, contact DCPS Clearance by email at dcps.clearance@dc.gov.

News and Announcements from DCPS

Annual Health Forms Required for All Students (Due 10/31)

Due to recent measles outbreaks across the country, and in an effort to prevent a DC outbreak through Mayor Bowser’s “Don’t Wait, Vaccinate!” campaign, it is critical that schools ensure they are collecting health forms from all students. Annual health forms tell us who is immunized against potential outbreaks as well as other important health information. As a reminder, annual health forms and immunizations are required by DC law and must be submitted by Thursday, October 31. Please see below for a map and listing of pediatric immunization locations in DC.

Join the Student Safety Task Force!

DC Public Schools is establishing a citywide Student Safety Task Force in order to engage families around the implementation of sexual misconduct policies and protocols, as well as student sexual health curricula. The task force will consist of 20-25 individuals and will meet from 6:00-8:00pm at DCPS Central Office (1200 First St NE) on the following dates:

  • September 25
  • October 30
  • November 20

The application can be found at bit.ly/DCPSstudentsafety and the deadline to apply is September 3rd.

News and Announcements from Other Organizations

First W3EdNet Meeting of the School Year: Monday, September 9 at 7pm

Come out to the first Ward 3 - Wilson High School Feeder Education Network (W3EdNet) meeting of the year on Monday, September 9 at 7pm at the Cleveland Park Library!

We will be welcoming staff from DC Public Schools'. Office of Strategic School Planning and Enrollment (either Teresa Biagioni or Claudia Lujan) to talk about the opening of the Stevens School, which will be opened as a PK3 and PK4 early childhood center at 1050 21st Street in 2020-2. They will also talk about other school planning developments.

We will also be welcoming staff from the Office of Operations (either Patrick Davis or Andrea Swiatocha) to talk about an update on renovation plans for schools in the Wilson Feeder pattern.

At our first meeting of the school year, we especially welcome new representatives from schools in the Wilson Feeder pattern to come introduce themselves and to share their priorities for the year.


Brian and Melody

Other meetings this year:

Monday October 7 (also at Cleveland Park Library)
Tuesday November 12
Monday December 9
Monday January 13
Monday February 10
Monday March 9
Monday April 6
Monday May 11
Monday June 8