Put forth by the Eliot-Hine School Improvement Team, we are currently seeking feedback from all our feeder school families to learn more about your preferences in a middle school option. Feedback from this survey will support our planning process for the upcoming $87.7 million Eliot-Hine modernization.
So far this is the breakdown of our 171 survey responses. To ensure we have feedback from all feeder schools and your voice is heard, take the very brief survey and circulate with your school’s network. We have extended the deadline to complete the survey to Friday, February 10, 2017.
Thank you for you input and help in building our neighborhood middle school and community!
LeShawn Weeks: Parent of current Eliot-Hine 8th grader. Photo of her daughter on right: leading a school tour for Eliot-Hine’s Open House.
Tell us why your student is a good fit for Eliot-Hine. My daughter is a good fit for Eliot-Hine because it’s a smaller environment where she can thrive and express her leadership abilities. Although Nafisa would thrive in any setting, I liked Eliot-Hine’s smaller setting compared to other DC schools because it feels more like a family.
What elementary school did she attend? She attended Langdon Elementary School until 3rd grade, then J.C. Nalle for 4th and 5th. So how did you end up at Eliot-Hine? I was trying to find the best school as far as teachers, programs, and a safe environment. Being a Washingtonian, I know the city and its areas and attending school in a safe haven was important for me so she wouldn’t have to worry too much while she was learning.
As a current Eliot-Hine parent, what have your interactions with staff been like? All of my interactions have been positive. Anytime they have had to reach out, it has been positive. Telephone, pop-up school visit, etc. no matter how I am in contact with them, whether it’s a security guard or Principal Vargas, they are very communicative.
What did Eliot-Hine have that other middle school options did not? My daughter is all about learning and Eliot-Hine beat out a lot of schools, especially now with the IB programme. The other schools didn’t have the academic environment to allow my daughter to gain all the information she needed to be successful. At Eliot-Hine she has had the chance to shine not just academically, but also practice her leadership skills. She is a student tour guide at Eliot-Hine’s Open house! This is the school for her.
How do you see the IB framework shaping your student? The IB MYP is a lot more open and not as constricting. The student is able to take what the teacher is giving and expand on it on their own. As an 8th grader, you have a community based project to research and present on. We’re looking forward to seeing what she will choose.
What extracurriculars is your student part of or what is their favorite class? Her favorite class is science. She has previously been involved with the book and knitting clubs. This year she has been heavily involved with the Eliot-Hine TV & Radio Network. As an 8th grader, she is one of the lead interviewers. They’ve gone to the White House and National Museum of African American History and Culture, interviewed Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, President Obama’s Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Journalist and Newscaster Leon Harris and the list goes on.
What do people not know about Eliot-Hine? People do not know how valuable the teachers are at Eliot-Hine. The teachers and staff genuinely care so much about the students and they foster such a family environment. They want to see them grow and succeed. We are grateful as this allows our students to be more confident and get the most that they can out of their middle school experience.
Heather Schoell: Parent of current Eliot-Hine 7th grader and Eastern HS 9th grader, an Eliot-Hine alum
How did you end up choosing Eliot-Hine for your family?When it was time for my older daughter to choose a middle school, we made a pro and con list. After we got into Latin, we turned them down because the logistics of the longer commute was not worth a life change for all four of us. It would have meant my husband would be commuting into work an hour earlier, my daughter would miss ballet class because she would arrive home too late, etc. More importantly, we chose our neighborhood school because we believe in investing in our community. We could have chosen the charter or private school route, but we were considering a longer term plan. We are totally happy with our choice! My daughters are receiving a well rounded education at Eliot-Hine, and we get to stay in our community.
Maury ES is one of Eliot-Hine’s feeder schools. What helps Maury students thrive at Eliot-Hine? The feeder continuity is so important. Kids get to continue their relationships. For PK3 to 5 grade, that’s 8 years of friendship and relationships! There’s no need for them to all scatter for middle school. Even though Maury is not officially an International Baccalaureate (IB) school, it feels that way with their learner profiles. Maury students are able to continue this learning and familiarize themselves with IB attributes when they come to Eliot-Hine, an IB school.
As a current Eliot-Hine parent, what have your interactions with staff been like? Eliot-Hine teachers are incredibly invested in their students, their successes academically, and navigating those awkward middle school years. I am particularly impressed with teachers who have called on weekends to keep me updated on how my daughter is progressing.
What did Eliot-Hine have that other MS options did not?Eliot-Hine has a campus of over 6 acres with plenty of outdoor space. Compared to charter schools, this was a big plus so my kids could have lots of physical activity. Additionally, being our neighborhood school, the proximity to my home was huge. They are able to walk to and from school without needing to spend time on a bus and get back after dark. They have time to decompress.
How do you see the IB framework shaping your student? Inference is challenging for students. The IB framework really fosters this, whether it’s through reading and discussing text or communicative writing. I see this play out with students and their growth through the years as they practice this in classrooms and their daily lives. I see this setting them up for success in high school and college.
What is an extracurricular you are or your students are involved with? I lead a lunch club called “Talk with your mouth full”. Born out of a book club, we seek reflection pieces and learn more difficult vocabulary. This is a time where kids can talk and express themselves weekly. Our content varies from sharing what we read over winter break, watching video series, or articles. Previously we read about a woman who survived the Holocaust as as child; Carrie Nation, a prohibitionist with a hatchet; and also Hetty Green, the “Witch of Wall Street”.
What do people not know about Eliot-Hine? Parents are surprised that Eliot-Hine has advanced students! We also have a very accomplished radio and TV broadcast led by Mr. Birks.
What would be one word you would use to describe Eliot-Hine? Ascending!
Thank you, Heather, for speaking to us. Our next post will feature a parent interview of a current Eliot-Hine 8th grader.
A reminder we currently have a survey out to learn more about our current Eliot-Hine and feeder families. Please fill out the below survey. It will take no more than 5 minutes!
Eliot-Hine is buzzing this semester with a variety of events from a MLK Day Service Project to 8th graders and their families meeting about their upcoming IB MYP community project, along with basketball games and ski trips! It is also so exciting to continue meet Eliot-Hine’s feeder families (Maury ES, Miner ES, Payne ES, and School-Within-School@Goding) at Buddy Days and the monthly Eliot-Hine Open Houses. Check out Eliot-Hine for yourself at any of the events below!
Upcoming Eliot-Hine events:
Tuesday, 1/24: Ski trip and school visit to Ron Brown HS
Wednesday, 1/25: Maury Buddy Day
Thursday, 1/26: 9:30 AM & 6 PM – Open House
Tuesday, 1/31: Miner ES Buddy Day
Wednesday, 2/1: Payne ES Buddy Day
Tuesday, 2/7: SWS@Goding Buddy Day
Wednesday, 2/8: 6 PM – PTO Meeting
Friday, 2/10: Ski trip and EHMS Picture Day
Wednesday, 2/15: 9:30 AM – Open House
Tuesday, 2/28: Black History Month Assembly
Remaining basketball games:
Tuesday, 1/24 vs. Hart MS: Away game
Monday, 1/30 vs. McKinley MS: Away game
Wednesday, 2/1 vs. Jefferson Academy: Away game
Below are photos from the Eliot-Hine vs. Johnson MS boys game on January 10, 2017.
Project Overview: The existing Eliot-Hine Middle School was built in 1931. The school is scheduled for comprehensive modernization with construction to begin in winter of 2018. Planning started last year in 2016 with the development of an educational specification and community engagement meetings. Additionally, a feasibility study is expected to roll out early 2017. The Department of General Services (DGS), DC Public Schools (DCPS), and the architect is working with the School Improvement Team (SIT) comprised of school staff, current and feeder parents, and members of the community to develop concepts for the school based on program, student, teacher and community needs. The building will meet or exceed sustainability guidelines for LEED Gold and be an asset to the neighborhood.
Lastly, our next SIT meeting will be late January/early February. We are looking for more feeder parent representation so any feeder parents interested in joining our SIT can fill out this SIT interest form. All resources from these SIT meetings are available on the Eliot-Hine modernization website here.
Next blog post: Q & A with parents of current 7th and 8th graders
Isamar Vargas is the new principal of Eliot-Hine this school year.A native of Puerto Rico, she is bilingual in English and Spanish. Prior to joining DCPS, she was the principal of Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, a school in Chicago that serves approximately 1,100 preK-8 students, including 400 English-Language Learners. In 2010, she began the New Leaders principal preparation program and in 2011 was granted the Principal Achievement Award in Chicago Public Schools for her efforts to close the achievement gap. Vargas has also worked as a bilingual elementary school teacher and taught social science to students in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico and her master’s degree in school leadership from Concordia University in Chicago.
Check out her interview with the Strategic School Planning Team below:
What experiences led you to where you are in education today? “My mother was a social worker in Puerto Rico and inspired me to help those in need. Serving communities and seeing an interest for students’ needs, as well as the urgency in helping children of color has brought me to where I am today.”
Tell us a little about what you’re most passionate about. “I’m passionate about the socio-emotional aspect of education. It is not just about the subject areas, but also how students manage their emotions to be a successful and responsible citizen in and outside of school. Empowering them to overcome whatever they come from is what I’m passionate about.”
Previously you were a principal in Chicago. What are you most excited about as the new principal of Eliot-Hine with DCPS? “This is a transformative time for Eliot-Hine! We are actively engaging with different communities, both our community of current students/families and feeders and more broadly the Capitol Hill community. We are both learning from each other and that’s exciting.”
This is Eliot-Hine’s first full year as an IB MS. How does this IB program shape your vision for Eliot-Hine and its future? “IB is a smart teaching. You cannot teach subjects in isolation. With the IB requirements, we reinforce teachers are collaborating and what they learn in one class is transferrable to another subject. Connections to the outside world, all qualities of this IB program help prepare our students for the 21st century.”
In 2018, construction for Eliot-Hine’s $87.7 million modernization will begin. How will the new facilities support your IB MYP and vision? “We want to make sure the building reflects what it is to be a global thinker. This will include spaces to co-teach and other areas to engage in comfortable conversations about social issues. This building will also represent the world to our students and where they will learn more about their outside community. We hope this new facility infuses the issues and excitement of our global society into our learning and daily lives.”
What will be different about Eliot-Hine in school year 17-18? “We have done a lot of work with climate and culture along with differentiation in the classroom. We will continue to shape the school climate and culture to embrace the diversity of our students, while maintaining the emphasis of socio-emotion development and rigor.”
Are there specific things you want to implement at Eliot-Hine in the coming years? “One of my goals is to continue to increase enrollment so I can offer a second foreign language. Currently we offer Spanish to all our students. As one of the only two DCPS middle schools with an IB program, we aim to increase the world languages offered.”
What is something most people do not know about Eliot-Hine? “They care a lot about their environment and love coming to Eliot-Hine. This explains our high attendance rate! Our students are so loving and invested in their personal growth. They are typical teenagers, but also in tune with their emotions and learn quickly about how to be a successful teenager. It is so empowering to see them grow and become better at what they do.”
How would you describe Eliot-Hine in one word?: Pioneer!