Hearst Family Update

December 13, 2020

Big picture

Principal's Message

Good evening Owl families,

It was amazing to have kids back in our building this week for the opening of our two CARE classrooms! Although I think we, kids and adults, were a bit nervous on Day 1 unsure of how everything would go, that nervousness quickly disappeared when we saw how excited the kids were to be back in the building and learning with their friends. Highlights include one student jumping out of the car and sprinting to the front door every day and a 5th grader who's been with us since PK proclaiming that Wednesday was the best first day of school ever! The kids and staff have been following the health and safety protocols, wearing masks all day without issue, sanitizing and washing their hands regularly, staying 6 feet apart, and wiping down desks and frequently touched surfaces regularly. The first days of reopening our building have been successful and certainly could not have been done without the support of our amazing team. A huge thanks to Ms. Forbes, the Wilson HS staff of Mr. Martin, Mr. Burks, Mr. Long, and Mr. Parker (officially known as Tiger Owls now!), Ms. Johnson, Nurse Fisher, Mr. Stephenson, Mr. Zamora, Mr. Hart, Mr. Harrington, our Patient Care Technicians, Katie, Sharleah, and Sharnita, our security guard, Officer Williams, and our virtual staff who have been patient and flexible with us all as we help kids adjust to their new routine.

Thank you for your continued partnership and I hope you've had a great weekend,


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

  • December 14, 9:00-10:30 - Asymptomatic COVID Testing for CARE Students at Hearst (only for students with permission slips on file)
  • December 16 - Hearst Reopening Community Corps Meeting, 4:00-6:00pm (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89975157537?pwd=Zis4Y3FSUWVCN3h0YldMM3VQZmxsUT09; Meeting ID: 899 7515 7537; Passcode: 720273)
  • December 23 - January 3 - Winter Break (no school for students and teachers)
  • January 6 - Additional CARE Classrooms tentatively open @Hearst
  • January 18 - MLK Holiday (no school for all)
  • January 19 - No school for students and teachers
  • January 20 - Inauguration Day (no school for all)
  • January 29 - Term 2 Ends (no school for students); 1/2 day PD; 1/2 Mark Entry

Quick Updates

  • 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!

  • With the opening of our two CARE classrooms, the Hearst playground will be closed to the public during school hours. Thanks for your understanding.

  • DC is publishing COVID data specific to DCPS and it can be found here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/node/1506966


The Wellness Committee is excited to announce our #ThankAnOwlChallenge which officially kicks off today and runs through 12/18.

The goal behind the #ThankAnOwlChallenge is to spread some positivity in the Hearst community and to share our gratitude with one another. The challenge is to send a thank you to a Hearst student/staff/family member and for the recipient to pass it on to at least 3 other people. The message can be informal via an email, text, or whatever format you prefer. If you want to do a public shout out, you can also post it on the Hearst Kudoboard.

We hope you join us in the challenge!


The Wellness Committee

HVAC Update

At Hearst Elementary we are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students. I believe that communicating home about issues that impact our school community is critical to fostering strong partnerships with families.

To that end, this notice is to inform you that beginning Monday, December 7, 2020, our facility began to undergo Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) piping replacement and on the first floor. Piping replacement on the second floor took place during the month of November prior to CARE classrooms opening. This project will not impact our ability to safely maintain CARE Classroom programming.

We are taking several steps to ensure that we maintain our health and safety commitments related to HVAC enhancements throughout the project. Piping replacements on the 1st floor will start in Building A, the historic building. During this time, students enrolled in our CARE classrooms programming will occupy Building C, the classrooms across from the library, and will have their own entrance and exits separate from any contractors or other onsite staff. Once Building A is complete, we will move students to that building and the contractors will focus on completing similar work in the remaining buildings, employing the same protocols to ensure safety throughout the process.

During building maintenance and repairs, it is our priority to maintain student safety throughout the repair work while limiting disturbance to in-person instruction. We will work closely with the Department of General Services (DGS) and the DCPS Facilities team to ensure students are safe during this necessary building project.

I am committed to providing updates in my weekly newsletter to families as they become available. Please feel free to contact me directly with questions or concerns at jennifer.geoffroy@k12.dc.gov.

Reminder: Virtual Learning Updates

The Academic Leadership Team (ALT) met earlier this week to discuss the challenges in student class and independent work completion in virtual learning. Our teachers noted the importance of streamlining work expectations for students and families and utilizing our blended learning program to provide opportunities for personalized and independent learning based on students’ skill levels. In light of our discussion, here are the two action steps we will be implementing at Hearst starting this week for our K-5th grade classes:

Action Step 1: Connect all assignments to either in-class work or blended learning programs

What it means:

  1. Teachers will identify and prioritize assignments that are MUST Do’s for students.
  1. Async work will only additional practice or must do’s from live lessons
  1. Students will use blended learning programs such as Zearn, First in Math, iReady Reading and Lexia for asynch work. Students should aim for 30-45 minutes of personalized learning in each subject area (Reading and Math) each week. Your classroom teacher will provide more directions

Action Step 2: Provide families and students a way to easily see what assignments are due each week

What it means:

In the class weekly updates in Bloomz, families and students will have access to a chart of weekly assignments that identifies:

1) In-class work that needs to be submitted for a grade
2) Other in-class work

3) Blended learning options

4) Weekly Objectives for subject areas

5) Materials needed

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your student’s homeroom teacher and/or Dr. Chen (elke.chen@k12.dc.gov).

Reminder: Staff Absences and Coverage of Live Instruction

The availability of substitutes who can effectively step in to cover live instruction for our staff is limited right now, even more so than a typical school year. We were reminded of this last week when a staff member had an unexpected family emergency. As in previous years, we will do our best to arrange substitute coverage using our own staff, but doing so means pulling staff from the live instruction that they were scheduled to provide to other groups of students.

Please know that in the case of staff emergency absences, we will always attempt to provide some coverage of live instruction but may not be able to secure a substitute for the full day of live instruction and therefore may need to cancel some live sessions. The call to cancel live classes is never ideal and we understand the disruption and stress that can cause families. We will do our best to limit cancelling live classes and thank you in advance for your understanding if we do have to cancel live classes because of a staff emergency.

Reminder: Impact Aid Survey Open (10/30-12/22)

Each year, DCPS asks all families to complete the Impact Aid survey to generate additional federal funds for DCPS. This year, the survey has moved to an electronic format using the Seamless platform and will be open for completion from October 30th to December 22nd. All DCPS families should complete one survey per child, not household, in their preferred language and submit by Tuesday, December 22, 2020. Please complete the survey using the links below:

Amharic: https://dcgov.seamlessdocs.com/f/DCPSImpactAid_Ahmaric

Chinese: https://dcgov.seamlessdocs.com/f/DCPSImpactAid_Chinese

English: https://dcgov.seamlessdocs.com/f/DCPSImpactAid_English

French: https://dcgov.seamlessdocs.com/f/DCPSImpactAid_French

Spanish: https://dcgov.seamlessdocs.com/f/DCPSImpactAid_Spanish

Vietnamese: https://dcgov.seamlessdocs.com/f/DCPSImpactAid_Vietnamese

If you have questions, please contact us at DCPSImpactAid@k12.dc.gov.

News and Announcements from DCPS

Initial OSSE Guidance on Spring 2021 Statewide Summative Assessments

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has released its initial guidance on Spring 2021 Statewide Assessments. OSSE is currently planning for both in-person and distance-learning administration options for PARCC. For all other assessments, only in-person administration is expected if students are reporting to schools for instruction. DCPS Assessments Team is working with OSSE to obtain more information and will promptly communicate with schools. You may email questions to dcps.testing@k12.dc.gov.

LSAT Budget Webinar Recording Now Available

Thanks to those of you who were able to join us on Wednesday of this week for a webinar on the DCPS school budget development process. If you were unable to join, you can find a recording of the webinar along with the presentation slides in at bit.ly/lsattoolkit in the LSAT Webinars folder. If you have questions as you review the webinar material or at any other point during budget season, you can email dcps.schoolfunding@k12.dc.gov and DCPS School Finance Specialists will be available to support.

As always, for general LSAT questions and support, please email us at ceo.info@k12.dc.gov. If we don't hear from you before winter break, we wish you happy holidays and look forward to reconnecting in the new year.


DCPS Community Action Team

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.

W3EdNet December Meeting - ReOpen plans for W3EdNet Schools

Quick reminder that our next meeting is Monday 12/14 at 7pm. Please plan to come and share ReOpen plans from your individual schools. We know many of you are busy working with your schools to figure out how to bring children back safely and maintain learning supports and quality live learning for all students, whether in person or at home. We would love to hear

1) Creative ideas your school is proposing to meet community needs

2) Challenges/needed supports your community has identified

If common themes emerge we can raise issues with DCPS Central to ask for needed supports.


Melody, Karin & Brian

Topic: W3EdNet December Meeting
Time: Dec 14, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 814 0140 4469
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,81401404469# US (Chicago)
+16465588656,,81401404469# US (New York)