Eliot-Hine Middle School’s new principal, Eugenia Young, is hosting a Meet & Greet on Monday, July 31. The event will be held from 12:00-2:00 PM at Eliot Hine Middle School. Ice cream will be served! We will also be enrolling students for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. Come out and meet Principal Young and enjoy a yummy sundae!
- What experiences led you to where you are in education today? In college I was president of the Black Student Union and noticed their recruitment of inner city students to Towson University were lacking. This bothered me and I remember meeting with the president of my university about this. Later, the more I found out there was a stipulation of learning habits of inner city youth. I was headed to law school to be a civil rights lawyer, even had already taken the LSAT, but then decided to teach instead. I wanted prove it wasn’t the students, but the lack of opportunities they were provided. I knew these students were also capable.
- How long have you been teaching at Eliot-Hine or how long have you been a teacher? This is my 14th year, but first year at Eliot-Hine MS.
- Can you tell us about an activity your students have done in your class this year? Our 6th graders are partnered with the Ambassador of Malta as part of the DCPS Embassy Adoption Program group. Ambassador Clive Agius is such a humble person. The students get a fun opportunity to feature their talents. We had group project presentations for the Ambassador. We also hosted a welcome presentation which included banners featuring our students art skills, dance/cheer infusing Malta and US styles. One student created a Malta US trivia game! Our students organized the whole event!
- How would you describe Eliot-Hine students? They are such good kids. They have great potential. We must commit to continuously provide opportunities and tools for them to reach their maximum potential!
- This is Eliot-Hine’s first full year as an IB MS. How does this IB program shape your teaching? I always say that I would like my students to become world citizens, in addition to being a citizen of DC. This is perfectly aligned with the IB framework. Inquiry is a huge part of my class. I like to challenge students to think beyond Washington DC or to reflect on their hometown.
- What is your favorite event/activity/aspect of Eliot-Hine? I like when we have school-wide events and field trips. We watched the 8th graders do a masterful job in the Black History Month program, the Ambassador of Malta has visited twice for a school visit, and he hosted us at recently where students prepared figolli, a traditional Maltese Easter dessert. (See photos below)
- What is something most people do not know about Eliot-Hine? We have GREAT kids! Sometimes I mention where I teach and there is judgment. They are wrong, OUR STUDENTS ARE GREAT. We also have such a good community of teachers.
- Describe Eliot-Hine in one word Potential! Looking at the proximity of the school to the seat of our national government and being in DC, there is so much they can learn.
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.
- 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.
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.
Eliot-Hine is full of fun and innovative extracurriculars. Recently the Junk Art Club was selected as a winner of the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) Health and Wellness Award. The Junk Art Club won this $500 award for their efforts to create art out of materials that would normally be considered trash. The club members have created a map of the United States out of cereal boxes and are currently working on a project to recreate one of the panels from the Jacob Lawrence Migration Series out of bottle caps.
Below is an update from their recent adventure with the Anacostia Watershed Society:
Members of the Junk Art Club spent a day with the Anacostia Watershed Society collecting and sorting trash from the River Terrace Trash Trap. Trash traps are set up along the Anacostia River to prevent trash in storm water sewer outflows from entering the river. In addition to keeping trash out of the river, the students learned the trash traps provide valuable information to policy makers. Data gathered from the trash traps were important pieces of information that led to the five-cent fee on plastic bags, and the recent ban on Styrofoam containers in the District. The students learned that the five-cent fee on plastic bags led to a significant reduction in plastic bags found in the river. Today the trash traps along the river are collecting primarily plastic and glass beverage containers.
Looking forward to more things the Junk Art Club creates and positive impact they have on the environment!
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!
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!