Hearst Weekly Update

June 29, 2020

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Principal's Message

Good morning, Owls. What a school year the 2019-2020 year has been! Thank you for your support and partnership throughout our year together. The Hearst community is one that I continue to feel blessed to be part of because it is so supportive of everyone in it, generous, and we hold each other to our commitment to do what is best for kids in our school. This was true during in the first 7 1/2 months of in school learning and especially true when our worlds turned upside down and we had to figure out at home learning together.

I especially want to thank our auction committee, the PTA, the LSAT, and the host of volunteers who have supported our school community this year in a myriad of ways. I've said it before and will say it again - we can't do what we do at Hearst, without the amazing families and individuals who give their time, energy, and resources to support our school and our families.

As we look toward School Year 2020-2021, I am excited to announce that Dr. Elke Chen has been selected as Assistant Principal of Hearst. Her introductory message is below and I hope that you will join me in welcoming her to our school community.

I know that you have a lot of questions about summer learning and the upcoming school year and below are dates that we'll be holding town hall meetings to share updates with you. In addition to posting town hall meeting log in information here on Bloomz, I'll also be sharing quick updates with you throughout the summer, so please be sure to check Bloomz regularly in the coming months. These updates will include information about Summer Bridge, the family survey that the LSAT is creating, staff who are joining our team, and ways you can get involved in our continued work around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

One final ask is to complete enrollment by Wednesday, July 1. Accurate enrollment data will help us begin to plan for a variety of scenarios for SY 20 - 21. Please visit https://enrolldcps.dc.gov/ to enroll today.

Thank you again for your support and partnership over the past school year and enjoy your summer,


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

  • Wednesday, July 29 (PM) - Zoom/Teams town hall meeting with updates on what we do and don’t yet know re: reopening
  • Thursday, July 30 (AM) - Zoom/Teams town hall meeting with updates on what we do and don’t yet know re: reopening
  • Friday, July 31 (AM & Afternoon) Zoom/Teams town hall meetings re: Summer Bridge program for incoming 3rd graders
  • August 10 - 20 - DCPS Summer Bridge at Hearst for incoming 3rd graders
  • Wednesday August 12 (PM) Zoom/Teams town hall meeting with updates on school opening
  • Wednesday August 19 (PM) Zoom/Teams town hall meeting with updates on school opening
  • August 24 - 28 - Instructional Staff return to work for professional development
  • Friday, August 28 - Final school opening communication to families
  • August 31 - First day of the 2020-2021 school year for K-5 students
  • September 3 - First day of the 2020-2021 school year for PK students

Staff Transitions

Each year we say goodbye to a few of our fellow Owls as they leave the Hearst. Below are messages from the Owls who are leaving us this year as well as an introductory message from Dr. Elke Chen, our new assistant principal.

From Mr. Munz:

Thank you all for the love and support these last three years. I am continually inspired by the love for STEM that my wonderful students and their parents display. Keep tinkering and experimenting!

From Ms. Moss

I hope everyone is staying safe and well! I'm writing to share some important personal life news. My partner has received a new job opportunity and we will be moving to Boise, Idaho this summer. Unfortunately this means I will not be returning to Hearst next year. It has been very difficult to come to terms with this in the midst of COVID-19 and being away from school. I feel heartbroken that I was not able to close out the year in person with the Lounging Leopards but also feel incredibly grateful to have been a part of the incredible Hearst community for a year.

While this timing is less than ideal, I am excited for this new life opportunity and to enjoy the outdoors out west. It has been such a pleasure to teach the Lounging Leopards this year and I will dearly miss the Hearst community. Thank you for all that you do!

From Ms. Dittamo

Dear Hearst families,

Thank you so much for such a wonderful school year. I have had a great time getting to know each of you and sharing in the creating process with you. I will be leaving Hearst to explore other opportunities but I wanted to take the time to thank you for welcoming me this school year. If you have any questions feel free to email me at elizabeth.dittamo@k12.dc.gov. I hope you have a wonderful summer!


Liz Dittamo

From Ms. Nishimura

Dear Hearst Community,

I am writing to thank you for 4 great years at Hearst and to let you know that I am moving on to a new position within DCPS for the upcoming school year. I am so thankful for my time at Hearst and becoming part of the Owl family. I will miss all the kids, families and staff and I thank you for the opportunity to work with such a caring community of learners. As an alumna of Hearst and a neighbor living down the street, I will always be a Hearst Owl. I look forward to keeping in touch and I encourage you to contact me if you’d like to stay in touch (brenda.nishimura@k12.dc.gov). Best wishes for a safe, restful summer and hopefully a smooth start in the new school year. Please keep in touch. Hoot hoot!!!

From Ms. Hincklin

Hello Hearst Family,
First, I would like to say working here at Hearst ES has been one of my greatest decisions I have made. I have learned so much and have build so many lifelong relationships. From the bottom of my ❤️ Thank-you.
With that being said I “ Mrs. Hicklin “ will not be returning to Hearst ES next school year. I have accepted a job at Children’s Hospital (which I started last week). As hard as it is for me to leave my Hearst Family, it’s now time for me to figure what’s next for me. For a long time working with sick children has been something I have considered. Now, I’m able to move forth on this journey.
I will miss you all so much and I wish you nothing but greatness next school year.

From Ms. Walsh

Hi Hearst Family!
I have decided to move back home to Connecticut and will not be returning to Hearst next school year. Thank you so much for collaborating and welcoming me the last 3.5 years. I will miss everyone and hope you all keep in touch!

From Dr. Chen

Dear Hearst family:

My name is Elke Chen and I am thrilled to be joining the Hearst Elementary School community as an assistant principal. I started my career in DCPS over 15 years ago as a special education teacher and have served as a middle school instructional coach and assistant principal and look forward to supporting and continuing the strong academic excellence at Hearst.

Alongside with the teachers and staff of Hearst, I will work to ensure that we are preparing our students to learn and practice important skills they need in and out of the classroom and beyond college. We will continue to use data to drive instruction and address gaps that resulted from the Covid19 learning disruptions last spring. We will also continue to provide opportunities for students to improve their relationship building, problem solving and critical thinking skills through purposeful learning activities that encourage them to be engaged global citizens.

As your assistant principal, it is important to me that everyone feels welcomed at school and are excited to be here. Such an attitude helps make Hearst a fun, positive, and nurturing environment for teachers, students and parents. I will work hard to build strong purposeful relationships with you, our students and our community members -- whether we are meeting in person or virtually. I welcome your feedback and input throughout the school year. Please feel free to call or email me (elke.chen@k12.dc.gov) to discuss any concerns you may have. I am eager to begin the best year ever and look forward to meeting all of you soon.

In partnership,


How to Access PK Progress Reports

In order to access your child’s report card online, please follow the step-by-step directions below:

1) Go to the website: dcps.tech/onedrive

2) Log in with your child’s student ID followed by @students.k12.dc.us (example: 12345678@students.k12.dc.us). If you do not know your child’s student ID or password, please contact your child’s teacher.

3) Once you’ve logged into the account, click on the ‘Shared’ link on the left side of the screen.

4) Click on your child’s report card PDF file to view or download.

Important: If you do not see your child’s report card in the shared folder, please contact your child’s teacher.

Additional Resources to Support Talking with Your Kids About Race and Racism

Recent protests in response to police violence against African Americans have underscored the need to better understand how race impacts all aspects of society. The following resources highlight ways families can discuss race and racism.

10 Tips for Teaching and Talking to Kids About Race

Strategies and points for parents to consider when talking to their children about race.

Read more

Six Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Racism

This article offers advice on how to help children cope with racism and how parents can address it.

Read more

Talking About Race: Parents & Caregivers

In its "Talking About Race" resource page, The National Museum of African American History and Culture offers resources tailored specifically for parents and caregivers.

Read more

How to Use Children’s Books to Talk About Race and Racism

How children's books can be used to effectively educate children about race and racism.

Read more

News and Announcements from DCPS

Summer Bridge for Grade 3

As part of our commitment to #ReopenStrong, we know how important the start of a new school year is, especially as students begin 3rd, 6th, and 9th grades. We invite families to sign up for a special program just for these three grades. Summer Bridge 2020 is an opportunity for students to attend their school ahead of the new year and reacclimate to what learning is like in the classroom after learning at home this past spring.

Students entering 3rd, 6th, and 9th grades will build relationships as they engage in a variety of academic and social-emotional learning activities designed to prepare them for success as they transition to a new grade level or school building. Students will be introduced to new health protocols, including social distancing, and masks will be provided daily. Student use of masks will follow DC Health recommendations.

Read more about how we are keeping students and staff safe in the Summer Bridge FAQ.

Summer Bridge will take place in-person at schools for two weeks as long as health conditions allow. Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day. The dates and times are:

  • Monday, August 10 to Thursday, August 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm.
  • Monday, August 17 to Thursday, August 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The deadline to sign-up for the optional Summer Bridge program is July 6. Students who are entering grades 3, 6, or 9 in 2020-2021 can register for Summer Bridge at this link. Registration is accessible on both your mobile devices and computer.

If you have questions, please contact your school principal or email SummerBridge@k12.dc.gov.

Summer Reading Challenge

To support summer learning and student participation in the Summer Reading Challenge, DCPS school libraries and DC Public Library (DCPL) are partnering to offer thousands of free e-books for staff and students. Using the Sora app from your DCPS Clever account, users are automatically connected to DCPL resources. For more information on how the Sora app works, visit Getting started with Sora.

SY20-21 Parent Advisory Board

Applications are now open for Parent Advisory Board for the 2020-2021 School Year. Parents who serve on the Advisory Board will learn more about DCPS priorities and provide input in the implementation of policies, programs and new initiatives. Our goal is to recruit a diverse group of parents who can represent all students and families’ voices across the District. We are looking for 32 parents and guardians (four per Ward) to join for next school year.

Interested individuals can review more information about participating and sign up online at bit.ly/dcpsparentadvisory. Applications are due by June 30. For more information, email ceo.info@k12.dc.govand share the attached flyer with your school community.

Reminder: Enrollment for SY20-21

DCPS is excited to open enrollment for School Year 2020-2021 to our families and welcome new students to our community. This year, we are launching an electronic submission process for SY20-21 enrollment, and the enrollment packet can be found here.

For more detailed information on changes in enrollment, please see our Frequently Asked Questions. As always, we are ready and eager to support you with any enrollment questions you may have, especially if you need help with the new electronic submission process. Please don’t hesitate to contact Ms. Hinchey (manik.hinchey@k12.dc.gov) or the DCPS Enrollment Team at enroll@k12.dc.gov or (202) 478-5738.

Reminder: FREE Student Tutoring Services Available

A team of seniors from School Without Walls High School has started a free online tutoring service called, “Washingtutors,” to help DCPS families support their students with learning at home, and they have also partnered with GWU to add service capacity. Tutoring is available for all grade levels and subjects include Math, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Computer Science, as well as Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Hindi. Clusters 1, 2, and 9 encouraged to share with their students.

News and Announcements from Other Organizations

Grocery and Meal Sites

Grocery sites and meal sites continue to operate across the District. At dozens of sites, anyone under the age of 18 can walk up for a free meal, Monday through Friday. Additionally, families can continue to access free bags of fresh groceries at schools across DC.

Find a full list of meal and grocery sites HERE.