Sah Brown, photo via DCPSEastern High School’s principal is passing the torch to a new leader prior to the upcoming school year.

Sah Brown will lead the school in the 2016-2017 academic year, according to a D.C. Public Schools press release. Brown will take over for outgoing principal Rachel Skerritt.

Brown recently led Roosevelt High School as interim principal and served as an assistant principal at Cardozo Education Campus. He also formerly worked at Hardy Middle School.

Read the full DCPS announcement below:

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Miner Elementary School (Photo via DCPS)New principals will lead Miner Elementary School, Eliot-Hine Middle School and Amidon-Bowen Elementary School next year.

Andrea Mial, TaMikka Sykes and Isamar Vargas will lead Miner, Eliot-Hine and Amidon-Bowen, respectively, according to announcements from those schools.

The new principals will start at the beginning of the next school year, according to D.C. Public School (DCPS) officials.

View the announcements below:

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Kingsman Community Club cleanup (Photo courtesy of Vanessa Brancato)A new middle school club is doing whatever it can to help the community, whether it is picking up trash or cultivating a garden for the neighborhood.

History teacher Vanessa Brancato of the year-old Kingsman Academy Public Charter School (1375 E St. NE) started the Kingsman Community Club back in March.

The young members of the club have been hard at work over the past few months cultivating the community garden in preparation to sell vegetables in August, Brancato said in an email to Hill Now.

Anticipated fresh vegetables for sale likely will include peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, herbs and tomatoes.

The students picked up trash weekly from the Kingsman Dog Park as well, in response to a neighbor who worried about his dog eating the trash, Brancato noted.

“The purpose [of the club] is to connect the school with the community,” she said. “The school hasn’t had a lot of community outreach.”

But the club doesn’t intend to stop at vegetable sales and dog park cleanups.

It is looking to add a complimentary dog walking service for neighbors who live next to the school, Brancato said.

Photo courtesy of Vanessa Brancato


Payne Elementary School (Photo via D.C. Public Schools)A Hill East school is set to have a new principal for the 2016-2017 school year, D.C. Public Schools announced yesterday.

Veteran educator Stephanie Byrd is slated to take the helm of Payne Elementary School this fall. She will replace interim principal Annie Mair, who has led the school since Vielka Scott-Marcus stepped down last summer.

Byrd, a District native, has worked in D.C. schools for 20 years. Throughout her career, Byrd has taught students of various ages and has served as an academic dean and an assistant principal.

She most recently served at Woodson High School and J.O. Wilson Elementary School through the DCPS Mary Jane Patterson Fellowship for Aspiring Principals program.

Her bachelor’s degree is in psychology from Howard University and her master’s degree is in curriculum and instruction from The George Washington University.

Photo via D.C. Public Schools


Photo via Eastern High School career dayEastern High School (1700 East Capitol St. NE) is looking for local professionals to share stories about what they do for a living later this month.

The school seeks people to visit on May 27 and tell students about their jobs as part of its fifth annual career day. Those interested must fill out a short survey in order to participate.

More than 100 people took part in last year’s career day.

Photo via Facebook / Eastern High School 

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First Lady Michelle Obama surprised some Capitol Hill students with a visit to their school last week.

Obama met with fifth grade students at Watkins Elementary School (420 12th St. SE) to talk about gardening and healthy eating as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to fight childhood obesity.

“We snuck a whole team in here. No one knows we’re supposed to be here,” Obama said in a video released today. “We’re going to go up and check in on a fifth grade class. They’re doing a little cooking, and I’m going to surprise them.”

She then entered a classroom, drawing gasps and applause from the children inside.

After greeting the students, the first lady got to work making tortillas and mixing a salad with the kids.

“You guys have this amazing garden, and I’m so proud of you,” Obama said. “And I want the world to see all the great things you’re doing and how you’re learning so much about good eating from your garden and your school.”

Video via YouTube/Let’s Move

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akilah-johnson google doodle

Visitors to Google could soon see an illustration by a Eastern High School student on the site’s homepage.

Sophomore Akilah Johnson is a finalist in Google’s annual doodle contest, in which grade-school students compete to have their artwork featured on the search engine’s homepage. The theme of this year’s contest is “what makes me… me.”

Johnson’s illustration, titled “My Afrocentric Life” was selected as the best entry from D.C. and will now compete against the winners from all 50 states and two other territories.

In her illustration, Johnson used a box braid to spell out Google and surrounded the word with symbols of black pride and Afrocentrism, including a picture of Africa and a person holding a “Black Lives Matter” sign.

Johnson told the Washington Post’s Michael Cavna that the illustration took her about two weeks to complete and was inspired by her time as a child at Roots Public Charter School and Roots Activity Learning Center.

Supporters can vote for Johnson’s illustration online until Feb. 22.

The vote will select five finalists, from which a panel of judges will pick the winner. In addition to having their artwork featured on Google, the winner will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship and the winner’s school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant.

Photo via Google

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Jefferson Academy Middle SchoolStarting at a new school can be hard for kids and parents. As parents start gearing up for school enrollment season in the Spring, several Capitol Hill area schools are holding open houses. These open houses will give parents a chance to check out their kids’ prospective new schools and meet some of the teachers and other parents.

Here is a rundown of all the school open houses happening later this week and in the next couple months:

Watkins Elementary School
420 12th St. SE
Open: Nov. 18, 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Stuart-Hobson Middle School
410 E St. NE
Open: Nov. 19, 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Van Ness Elementary School
1150 5th St. SE
Open: Nov. 19, 9-10 a.m.

Miner Elementary School
601 15th St. NE
Open: Nov. 19, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Dec. 8, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Jan. 14, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Feb. 18, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Jefferson Academy Middle School
801 7th  St. SW
Open: Nov. 20, 9:30-11 a.m.

Brent Elementary School
301 North Carolina Ave. SE
Open: Nov. 23, 9-10:30 a.m.

Maury Elementary School
1250 Constitution Ave. NE
Open: Nov. 30, 9-10:30 a.m.

Capitol Hill Day School (PreK-8th grade)
210 South Carolina Ave. SE
Open: Dec. 8, 9-11 a.m.
Tours also available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Schedule a morning tour by emailing [email protected]

Ludlow Taylor Elementary School
659 G St. NE
Open: Dec. 10, 9:30 a.m.
Jan. 14, 9:30 a.m.
Feb 11, 9:30 a.m.

School Within School
920 F St. NE
Open: Jan. 14, 6-7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20, 9-10:30 a.m.

Eastern High School
1700 East Capitol St. NE
There are currently no open houses scheduled, but families can make appointments to tour the school at [email protected]



Reach Inc books (Photo via Facebook/ Reach, Inc.)

Reach Incorporated, a program that hires teenagers to be elementary school reading tutors, will release four children’s books written by local high school students on Thursday.

The books were written by teams of three teenagers, all of which included students from Eastern High School. They will be officially released at a book launch party from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery at 702 8th St. NW. The four new titles will bring the total number of books created through the program to 13.

Reach Incorporated Executive Director Mark Hecker said that the books have all been popular among the elementary students in the tutoring program.

Hecker attributes some of that success to the fact that the teenagers can tell stories that local elementary school students can relate to, but which are not often the subjects of children’s books. Past topics have been growing up in a shelter and dealing with the death of parents.

“Our teenagers are willing to dig into issues that generally don’t get broached in children’s literature,” Hecker said. “But they are issues that the kids we work with deal with all the time.”

Hecker said the tutoring program currently reaches about 125 elementary school students throughout the District, including several students at Payne Elementary School in Hill East. This year, Reach Incorporated won the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize for its tutoring program.

The groups of teens spent about six weeks writing the books over the summer. Hecker said that although Reach Incorporated emphasizes the need for more diverse characters in children’s literature, the stories are entirely created by the high school students.

“The teenagers become very thoughtful about not only what story they want to tell, but how they want people to connect to the book,” he said.

Reach Incorporated also holds book readings at elementary schools, where students get a chance to meet the authors.

“In many cases, we set up the readings at the authors’ former elementary schools and kids ask questions about writing books too,” Hecker said. “It gives them something to aspire to in a really cool way.”

Hecker said he also hopes the readings and books help change perceptions of teenagers in the area.

“There’s a lot of media attention given to teenagers in this town but it’s mostly negative,” he said. “A lot of people really appreciate that our teens are out there giving back to their community.”

Tickets for the book launch party are available online in addition to opportunities to donate copies of the books to local elementary schools.

Photo via Facebook/ Reach, Inc.


Burberry coat (Photo via Flickr/Robert Sheie)

High-end clothing, purses and baby gear are expected to come to a yard sale at a Capitol Hill school this weekend.

The Maury Elementary School Parent Teacher Association is planning to include a “Couture Corner” at its annual yard and bake sale Saturday. The event, which raises money for the school, is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1212 Constitution Ave. NE, rain or shine.

To make the Couture Corner possible, the PTA is asking Capitol Hill residents to donate items in “excellent condition” from Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Ergobaby and other similar brands. Locals can drop off these donations, along with any other items for the sale, at the school.

The high-end goods will be sold at “fair prices,” according to the PTA. But after 1 p.m., shoppers can pay $20 to load up a Maury reusable bag with whatever will fit.

Photo via Flickr/Robert Sheie


Miner Elementary School (Photo via DCPS)Ward 6 Councilman Charles Allen and D.C. State Board of Education member Joe Weedon will attend the monthly ANC 6A meeting tomorrow night to participate in a public forum on education in northeast Capitol Hill.

The forum will take place at Miner Elementary School at 601 15th St. NE at 7 p.m. Thursday. Representatives from Miner, Eliot-Hine Middle School, Maury Elementary School, School Within School and Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School will also participate in the forum.

“This is a great opportunity for our schools to share about their programs and areas that we as a community can assist them,” ANC 6A chairman Phil Toomajian said in a Facebook post about the event. “It’s also a great opportunity for community members to learn more about your neighborhood schools and to learn how you can support them and get involved in them now.”

The forum is expected to last a little more than an hour according to the meeting agenda.

Photo via DCPS


(Updated at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday) Van Ness Elementary School in Navy Yard officially welcomed kindergarten and Pre-K students inside today after it shut down almost a decade ago.

This group of children will be the first students to go through the school at 1150 5th St. SE since nearby building demolition and construction led to its closure in 2006. The school currently offers Pre-K through kindergarten classes, and plans to add a grade every year until it reaches 5th grade.

Outside, most of the building, including the main entrance, is still fenced off as renovations continue. The playground behind the school also is still under construction, but is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 and ANC 6D commissioner Meredith Fascett joined the Van Ness Parent Group for a kickoff celebration in front of the school as students arrived for their first full day. Former ANC 6D commissioner David Garber, who is now running for an at-large spot on the D.C. Council, was also at the event.

Cynthia Robinson-Rivers, the new principal at Van Ness, said the school will have a creative focus, with a particular emphasis on experiential learning.

“We’re focused on building a compassionate, nurturing and welcoming environment for our students and our families,” she said.

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Mr. Henry's Restaurant Capitol Hill Jazz Jam (Photo via Facebook/Mr. Henry's Restaurant)

A restaurant on Capitol Hill is looking to a help a local school with some jazz this week.

Mr. Henry’s Restaurant at 601 Pennsylvania Ave. SE is asking locals to bring in school supplies to donate during its Capitol Hill Jazz Jam Wednesday night. The drive, which is scheduled to run from 8 to 11 p.m., will benefit Two Rivers Public Charter School. The school has campuses in Near Northeast.

The restaurant hasn’t hosted a school supply drive before. But its employees are “interested in working with local schools as we rebuild Mr. Henry’s and develop local connections with Hill residents,” restaurant manager Mark Steele said in an email.

Admission to the jazz jam is free. But each attendee must order at least two items from Mr. Henry’s menu. School supply donations are optional.

Photo via Facebook/Mr. Henry’s Restaurant


Eastern High School

Eastern High School is looking for donations of calculators, notebooks and other school supplies before its students begin classes Monday.

The school at 1700 East Capitol St. NE will accept the contributions tomorrow and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

In addition to calculators and notebooks, Eastern is asking for:

  • Khaki pants.
  • White or light blue polo shirts.
  • Tissue boxes.
  • Reams of copy and lined paper.
  • Pens and pencils.
  • Subject dividers.
  • Backpacks.
  • Three-ring binders.

Locals also can sign up online to volunteer for the school’s annual “Beautification Day” Saturday. From 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., participants will work to prepare the Eastern campus for the first day of classes.


D.C. United volunteers at Jefferson Academy Middle School (Photo via Flickr/KGDG)

Several D.C. United players, officials and soccer fans kicked off the team’s partnership with a Southwest middle school at a back-to-school cleanup over the weekend.

The cleanup Saturday was the first event in a partnership with Jefferson Academy Middle School at 801 7th St. SW through D.C. Public Schools’ Adopt-a-School initiative, which was launched earlier this month. By adopting Jefferson, the soccer team has agreed to host at least three school-based events this year and to organize at least one donation drive for the school.

DCPS suggests that partners like D.C. United help schools with mentoring programs, property beautification and school supply donations.

On Saturday, more than 30 volunteers, including D.C. United players Sean Franklin and Miguel Aguilar, helped install bulletin boards, decorate classroom doors and paint murals.

D.C. United and Jefferson haven’t publicized plans for future events and initiatives. But the “adoption” process required D.C. United to commit to at least a year-long partnership.

Neither a representative of the team nor the school could immediately be reached for comment.

Photo via Flickr/KGDG


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