Connecting art & emotional responses: Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors field trip

Last week, Ms. Mills took a group of students on a field trip to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirschhorn Museum. Artist Yayoi Kusama’s avant-garde pieces are known for their ability to evoke various emotional responses based on her unconventional use of space, color, light and reflection. In her Infinity Mirrors exhibit, Kusama created six rooms of wonder on the beauty, stereotypes and evolution of the human condition. Students viewed the rooms as well as her earlier creations such as “Works on Paper.” Students then analyzes the six rooms and critically discuss Kusama’s perspective on the “incredible beauty of humanity.” Check out photos from their day below:

If you are interested in this exhibit, information on their free timed-passes is here. 

Eliot-Hine Staff Feature: Ms. Weaver, Autism Teacher

EH Staff_Ms. Weaver jpg
Ms. Weaver, Autism teacher
  • Where are you from and what experiences led you to where you are in education today? I was born and raised in Washington DC. I’ll never forget my 2nd grade teacher. Growing up, math was not my best subject. However, the way my teacher took me under her wing and showed me different ways to approach math ultimately drove me to succeed and want to become a teacher.
  • How long have you been teaching at Eliot-Hne?  I have been at Eliot-Hine for four years. When I started working at Eliot-Hine, I was an aide. Now  I am a lead classroom teacher here.
  • How would you describe Eliot-Hine students? My students are life-changing. Each year I get students that open my eyes to different things. I learn something from them each day!
  • Share something about Eliot-Hine staff: The staff here are like family. We all come together and are a great team. We are very supportive of one another. Our strong bond makes collaboration a lot easier. Just recently, I collaborated with Ms. Harrington, who teaches my students robotics!
  • This is Eliot-Hine’s first full year as an International Baccalaureate (IB) middle school. How does this IB framework shape your teaching? We teach our students the IB learner characteristics and apply these with their social skills’ lessons. This helps our students succeed: remaining open-minded, knowledgeable, balanced. These all touch on their social skills.
  • What is something people do not know about Eliot-Hine? We are forever changing. There are more sports this year with the addition of a football and a bowling team. Next year I’ll be coaching and adding a volleyball team!
  • Describe Eliot-Hine in one word. Optimistic! Throughout everything we keep persevering and pushing. The whole school is optimistic and we love to all be here.

Eliot-Hine’s March Highlights & Upcoming Events

March has been very busy at Eliot-Hine! Check out the photos and highlights below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • Eliot-Hine TV Network interviewed new DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson last week! He also met and heard from staff and current students.  
  • A group of students took a field trip to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirschhorn Museum. (A separate blog post on this coming up next week!) 
  • Eliot-Hine students read Ungifted by Gordon Korman and engaged in a book discussion with Kitty Felde of Book Club for Kids Podcast. Stay tuned for this podcast coming out in May!
  • 3 of Eliot-Hine’s Ski Team places in their recent competition:
    • Malia: 1st place, middle school intermediate division
    • Ja’shon: 5th place, middle school intermediate division
    • Elizabeth: 8th place, middle school novice
  • 5 students compete in the Science Olympiad at American University and place in five different categories they competed in!
  •  8th grade students met with their community mentors as they work on their International Baccaleaurate (IB) Community Project. Topics for this year’s research projects include raising awareness about the homeless shelters and population in DC, evaluating high school drop out rate and its consequences, how to address bullying in middle school, education reform, etc. Mentors will continue to meet with students until their presentation in late May.

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, March 23: Eliot-Hine STEM Fair Expo, 1-3 PM. This event brings together our students to demonstrate their abilities to create, problem-solve, and innovate in the fields of math and science. You will be able to view: 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Science Fair Projects; 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Math Projects; STEM demos.
  • Saturday, April 1st: Pollinator Garden Installation & Enrollment Event, 9 AM – 12 PM.

Eliot-Hine April 1st Event Flyer

Spring has arrived at Eliot-Hine: New GrowLab!

IMG_4630

IMG_4631

Eliot-Hine’s new GrowLab, indoor garden, was funded as part of an OSSE Farm Field Trip Grant. The purpose of this grant is to increase the number of District students who visit local farms. Students helped plant the milkweed seeds, water them consistently, and track their progress. Then in April,  6th and 7th grade students will take a field trip to Hard Bargain Farm in Accokeek, MD. Also as a part of the grant, Eliot-Hine’s required follow-up activity will be installing a pollinator garden. Everyone is invited to this April 1st Pollinator Garden Installation event. Join Eliot-Hine as they continue to infuse science and sustainability in fun and productive ways!

IMG_4633

 

April 1st: Pollinator Garden Installation and Enrollment Event for All!

Eliot-Hine April 1st Event Flyer
Flyer for Eliot-Hine’s April 1st event!

Eliot-Hine Middle School has a very exciting April 1st event planned for current families, prospective families, and anyone who would like to join from the community! From a grant the Junk Art Club won earlier this year, a pollinator garden will be installed on Saturday, April 1st from 9 AM – 12 PM. There will also be a variety of art projects available for all ages, including painting hubcaps to decorate the fences. This is also an opportunity for current and prospective families to re-enroll/enroll their student on-site. Staff and current parents will also be present to share more about the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.

Upcoming Events: 

  • April 1st: Pollinator Garden Installation & Enrollment Event, 9 AM – 12 PM
  • April 12th: PTO Meeting at 6 PM

 

 

Coolidge and Middle Grades Feedback and Updates

We spent the month of February visiting Coolidge’s four feeder education campuses: Brightwood, LaSalle-Backus, Whittier, and Takoma, to meet with parents and staff about the planning process for Coolidge and the new middle school. At each of the eight meetings, we provided background on the project, planning process, and gathered input on a few key questions:

  • What are you excited about?
  • What are you concerned about?
  • How should DCPS support families through the transition? What do you want to make sure we’re thinking about?
  • What do you want to see DCPS do to support EC staff members in the middle grades if they are not continuing with their EC, and specifically if they’re interested in transitioning to the new middle school?

Presentation from parent meetings is below:

We got a lot of helpful feedback from parent and staff communities. Below is a summary of what we heard:

  • What are you excited about?
    • Middle school and elementary students each having their own space. More space in the feeder schools for enrichment and other activities.
    • Traditional middle school experience for 6-8th graders. More space for both elementary school students and middle school students.
    • With a larger middle school enrollment, more comprehensive offerings that come with a larger budget – sports, advanced course offerings, world languages, electives, extracurricular activities
    • New facilities
    • One middle school for the neighborhood instead of four small ones can improve alignment with the neighborhood high school.
    • Currently many of the middle grades teachers in the EC’s have to teach across multiple grades or content areas. If they transition to a more comprehensive middle school they are likely to be able to focus more on one grade level and content.
  • What are you concerned about?
    • Crowding in the area with an elementary, middle, and high school in close proximity. Safety, parking, crowd control.
    • Proximity of the middle school to Coolidge High school. What will potential interactions and shared spaces look like?
    • Transportation, especially for further away schools like LaSalle-Backus
    • Programming at MS – what will it look like? Advanced offerings? SPED?
    • Transition challenges of bringing together four different middle grades and their own cultures
    • Teacher support – what will DCPS do to help middle grades teachers who may be out of a job post-transition? How early can these supports be communicated?
    • Will there be limited space or enrollment?
    • Potential to lose positive elements of each individual school’s culture
    • Support for families, particularly Spanish speaking families (but also Amharic speaking) who may need extra attention navigating the transition
    • Support for the EC’s as they transition to elementary schools – how will their budget be impacted? Will they be able to have the same offerings?
  • What thoughts or ideas do you have to make the transition successful for students, families, and teachers?
    • Lots of opportunities for parents, students, and staff to collaborate and build relationships on the front end – can parents get together and begin forming a PTA before the school opens? Can they begin collaborating on school culture and climate?
    • Communicate early and often to staff about what the transition will look like, what support they will have, and when they will have it.
    • Think about how can students from the four schools begin to build culture before the school opens – barbecues, retreats, sporting events or other extracurricular collaborations.
    • Home visits to EC feeder students or enrolled students
    • Bring students in to visit the new school before it opens

We’ll be continuing our engagement of the Coolidge community and its four feeder communities over the next two and a half years. In the more immediate term, we should have a proposed staffing policy for EC middle grades teachers public this spring, and will be at the Ward 4 Education Alliance meeting on Thursday, March 9th at Whittier EC at 6:30pm to discuss Coolidge’s planning process and building modernization. Join us!

As always, feel free to get in touch at DCPS.Planning@dc.gov.

Eliot-Hine Staff Feature: Ms. Harrington, 8th Grade Physical Science

 

EH Sci. Staff_Harrington
Ms. Harrington, 8th grade Physical Science teacher
  • Where are you from and what experiences led you to where you are in education today? I am from this area and went to Virginia Tech. After college, I came back home and have been teaching at Eliot-Hine ever since. My mentor is my 9th grade biology teacher. She is remarkable, made science fun, and we still have relationship to this day! Relating lessons to the real world made her class so interesting. That is what I try to do in my classroom: connect and make every moment count
  • How long have you been teaching at EH? Six years. I started my teaching career here at Eliot-Hine.
  • How would you describe Eliot-Hine students? Inquisitive. They are always exploring, asking questions, seeking answers, and constantly learning. They love being here! They are appreciated and very loved in this safe space.
  • Share something about Eliot-Hine staff: No teacher or classroom here is alike. You will find teachers here come from such diverse backgrounds- those with a doctorate degree or some seeking teaching as a career change, etc. All our various attributes bring something different to the classroom.
  • EH Science Classroom
    Science learning profiles

    This is Eliot-Hine’s first full year as an IB MS. How does this IB framework shape your teaching? We really emphasize the IB learner profiles. These are attributes I would like them to have when they leave my class. A test does not strictly define capability. We focus a lot on the whole student and project-based learning. They’re so creative and excel when they’re asked to apply what they’ve learned. You’ll see a lot more discussion-based classes here. Also debates that challenge their mindset and expose them to various ways of thinking about something.

  • What are some new Science initiatives at Eliot-Hine this year? We have new lab spaces and equipment! There is a grow lab (an indoor gardening station) in the back of the 7th grade Life Science classroom. We also recently created a pollinator garden to help preserve the health of bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators.
  • What is something people do not know about Eliot-Hine? We are a Flamboyan Family Engagement Partnership School. Flamboyan Foundation works with four DCPS schools as Middle School Family Engagement Partners to implement high impact family engagement strategies that build strong relationships and engage families as partners in their student’s academic success. This allows us to do a lot home visits. We also have student-led conferences and goal setting is also very student-driven.
  • Describe Eliot-Hine in one word. Change. Middle school years are the years of transformation. We help with the precious transition into becoming  a middle school student and build up their character for their transition into high school. Our students become very resilient and acquire many life skills to help them adapt to change.

Stop by Eliot-Hine to check out their neat pollinator garden or meet passionate staff like Ms. Harrington! We will feature more staff members and their pollinator garden in the coming weeks.