Eliot-Hine Staff Feature: Mr. Richardson, 6th & 7th World Cultures & Geography

 

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Mr. Richardson on left with Ambassador of Malta, Clive Agius
  • 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.
Mr. Richardson EH Staff
6th graders with Ambassador Agius
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Students preparing figolli, a traditional Maltese Easter dessert

EH Malta field trip

Going the Distance: Eliot-Hine’s Athletic Offerings!

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Cross country team- 2016
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Boys track & field- April 2017
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About to start the intermediate level competition- March 2017

Did you know Eliot-Hine has track & field, ski club, and two gyms? That’s just the beginning! To learn more about Eliot-Hine’s athletics program and offerings, we spoke to their Athletics Director, Ms. Tanisha Kemp. You can also follow their updates on Twitter: @EHMSAthletics. Questions regarding Eliot-Hine’s Athletics can be directed to Ms. Kemp at tanisha.kemp@dc.gov or her cell, (443) 799-9432.

  • Previously I have shared updates from Eliot-Hine’s basketball teams and ski club. What are all the sports offered? We have basketball, track and field, cross country, football, bowling, softball, cheerleading, and a ski club.
  • What sport facilities do you all have on campus? We have a baseball field and two gyms. Watkins ES is currently using one of our gym while they are swinging in a part of our building and we are happy they were therefore able to have a basketball team this year. Our softball field is housed at Eastern HS and sometimes we also share Eastern’s track, which is a treat for middle schoolers!
  • What sport team always surprises people? Bowling! Our girls had a fantastic season and came in 4th place. The team comprised of mostly 6th graders and they were all first-timers.
  • How does athletics support the IB framework at Eliot-Hine? Sports are global and ideal forum for community and sharing. Think of soccer around the world and events like the Olympics that unite the community. Lessons my students learn in athletics can be applied to real-life situations: discipline, dedication, and collaboration. In order for you to be a scholar athlete, you have to be able to work with others and communicate. We practice this inside the classroom and on the field.
  • Anything new for next school year, SY17-18? Ms. Weaver will be coaching volleyball. DCIAA will also offer wrestling and lacrosse for middle school soon. We hope to have these as it is a great opportunity for our students learn a new sport.

Want to support or check out Eliot-Hine’s teams in action? Here is their spring schedule.

Eliot-Hine’s Spring STEM Fair

Eliot-Hine prioritizes STEM initiatives for their students, both in and out of the classrooms. Previously we shared posts about their award-winning Science Olympiad Team and Junk Art Club, indoor Grow Lab, community Pollinator Garden installation, Physical Science staff feature on Ms.Harrington, and more. This spring, Eliot-Hine hosted a STEM fair with exciting items like a meal worm race, a balance challenge, and a color swirl station. Students also had projects like Clara’s psychological test to evaluate if offered to eat/drink a more expensive item with both actually being the same, would participants choose the more expensive one as better tasting. Jason also experimented on whether diet or regular coke shoots off better!

Check out the photos below and you can view upcoming Eliot-Hine events on their school website.  

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Eliot-Hine’s MLK Day Service Project and Basketball Game Recap

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!

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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.

Ward 4 Middle Grades Update

In our last post on Coolidge and a possible Ward 4 North Middle School, we shared information about a middle grades option as a part of Coolidge High School’s upcoming building modernization. Over the past year we’ve gathered input from hundreds of stakeholders excited about the possible opening of middle grades alongside Coolidge. With nearly $160 million in Coolidge’s modernization budget, it’s an exciting time for an investment in Ward 4 schools.

Last night (12/19), DCPS Chancellor John Davis made the official announcement to the Coolidge Community Working Group that DCPS is opening these middle grades in School Year 2019-2020.

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Coolidge Working Group members weigh in on Chancellor Davis’ announcement of new middle grades as part of Coolidge’s modernization and possible application models at Coolidge (December 19, 2016 – Coolidge HS)

A new middle school is exciting to us at DCPS and for many of our parents, staff, and community members. We still have a lot of work to do. We’ll be gathering more input around grade configuration (6 to 12 model vs. individual middle and high school), possible application-based models for Coolidge, and the impact on the neighborhood education campuses at Brightwood, LaSalle-Backus, Whittier, and Takoma. We’ll be posting more about that process soon, so stay tuned and please reach out to us at DCPS.Planning@dc.gov with any questions or comments.

The announcement letter from DCPS Chief Operating Officer, Carla Watson is below in English, Spanish, French, and Amharic.

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Eliot-Hine HS Fair & Pathway to an IB Diploma

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Eliot-Hine is one of the two DCPS International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) schools. In the fall of 2015, the IB Organization authorized Eliot-Hine as an official IB MYP. Remaining committed to a vision of educational excellence, Eliot-Hine’s Middle Years Programme offers a curriculum for students in grades six through eight committed to promoting independent learning, critical thinking, and inquisitiveness. Their feeder high school, Eastern High School, is also an IB World School so students can continue their pathway to an IB Diploma.

Led and organized by Eliot-Hine, DCPS high schools gathered to showcase their programs at the December 1st high school fair. Prepared with questions to ask schools, students and families learned more about how to apply to schools via the My School DC lottery, extracurriculars, and all their high school options.

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There will also be an Eliot-Hine MS table at EdFest on Saturday, December 10th. Stop by to learn more about the school, hear from the principal and current students/parents, and grab an Eliot-Hine lanyard!

  • EdFEST: Saturday, December 10, 2016
  • 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • DC Armory (2001 East Capitol St SE)
  • Admission and parking are FREE
  • *Interpretation in sign language, Spanish, Amharic, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and French available throughout the day.
  • Transportation
    Metro Station: Stadium–Armory (Orange/Blue/Silver lines)
    Metro Bus: B2, D6, E32, 96, 97
    Free onsite parking: Lot #3
  • NEW: Get to and from EdFEST using Lyft! Enter the code “EDFEST” in the payment section before you request your ride. 

Photos from the HS Fair below:

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Students learning more about the My School DC lottery opening on December 12th, 2016
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8th graders learning about Dunbar High School’s 9th grade Leadership Academy
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Proactive Eliot-Hine students come prepared with questions to ask HS to learn which program may be best for them!
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Eastern HS Principal, Sah Brown, speaking to 8th graders on how the IB MYP prepares them for an IB Dimploma.
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Families learning Cardozo HS has a TransSTEM Academy, featuring engineering and research real-world experiences for students.

Collecting Input on Potential Ward 4 North Middle School

This post breaks down the details of the potential Ward 4 Middle School opening. One important note is that if the middle school is opened, it wouldn’t happen until School Year 2019-2020. Not this year, the next year, or the year after that. Current third graders at the feeder education campuses would be the first sixth graders if opened.

Background

In 2014, the Deputy Mayor for Education’s office recommended the opening of a new middle school in Ward 4 (New North) as part of its final boundary and feeder assignment recommendations.  This recommendation would open a new middle school in northern Ward 4, converting the four education campuses that currently feed into Coolidge to elementary schools (PK-5th grade instead of PK-8th grade). Those schools are Brightwood, Whittier, Lasalle-Backus, and Takoma Education Campuses.

Two driving factors behind this recommendation were parent/community input and the space constraints at the four education campuses. During the boundary and feeder recommendation community engagement process, parents and community members expressed desire for more stand-alone middle school options, giving both elementary and middle school students more of a traditional elementary and middle school experience. In addition, the education campuses feeding into Coolidge are facing the challenge of growing enrollment that is approaching the capacity in their buildings. Opening a middle school and moving the middle grades there would relieve some of that pressure.

Opportunity

One of the biggest challenges in opening this potential middle school has been securing the space and capital funding to build it. The upcoming modernization of Coolidge High School is an opportunity to have both the space and funding for a middle school, by including a middle school build in the scope of the work being done on Coolidge. There is both money in Coolidge’s modernization budget of roughly $160 million, and space on Coolidge’s south lawn (see below) for middle school construction. In the recently completed feasibility study for Coolidge’s modernization, two of the three options include the construction of a middle school.

coolidge-south-lawn   The Coolidge campus has sufficient space in its south lawn to construct a middle school.

middle-school-renderingArchitect rendering from feasibility study of possible middle school build south of Coolidge High School building.

Gathering Input

In addition to securing space and budget, another important piece in the decision on whether to open a middle school is parent, staff, and community input — do the parents at Brightwood, Whittier, Lasalle-Backus, and Takoma Education Campuses want a stand-alone middle school? Do the teachers and staff? Community members living in the Coolidge boundary? We on the School Planning Team have been working to answer those questions since last spring, with parent meetings, student focus groups, regular Coolidge Community Working Group meetings, and a survey we put out to parents and staff at Coolidge feeder schools.

As the DCPS Facilities Team collects feedback on the Coolidge feasibility study, the Planning Team will continue to analyze enrollment and academic data and meet with Coolidge Community Members, particularly parents from Coolidge’s four feeder education campuses: Lasalle-Backus, Brightwood, Takoma, and Whittier. DCPS will need to make a final decision on the potential middle school by late fall in order to stay on track with Coolidge’s construction timeline. We’ve met with parents at Brightwood and Whittier already, and have upcoming meetings at Lasalle-Backus (10/6) and Takoma (10/20). We are also meeting with school staff along with regular meetings with the Coolidge Community Working Group.

whittierWhittier parents discussing potential middle school and building modernization.lbec1lbec2                                     Lasalle-Backus families filling out the survey at Back to School night

If you’d like to weigh in, please click on the relevant survey link for your language. The results of our survey up to 9/21/16 are below.

Ward 4 North Middle School Survey – English and Spanish

Ward 4 North Middle School Survey – French

Ward 4 North Middle School Survey – Amharic

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