Dear Lafayette Families –
Happy February! It’s amazing that we are already into the second month of 2019. Among other things, February is the month that both DCPS and the HSA are tackling our budgets for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year. Please keep reading for important information about both the process for the budgets and an ask from the Tech Committee to support a technology refresh for our upper grades. Please be sure to join the HSA, members of the LSAT, and members of the Tech committee for more information on these important decisions this Thursday, 2/7 at 6:30 pm.
Over the past several months, the LSAT (Local School Advisory Team) has been focused on our school priorities, feedback from our families, and how best to look at allocating resources for the upcoming school year. We expect to have the DCPS budget any day now (it was supposed to be released last Monday…). Once the allocation is released, I will work with the LSAT to look at any additions, or adjustments that will need to be made to support our projected student enrollment of 940 students for the 2019-2020 school year. As we know more, we will share that information with our stakeholders. There are currently two LSAT meetings scheduled; 2/6 and 2/13, both at 7:30 a.m.
The LSAT and I have also been working closely with the HSA to find ways for the HSA budget to support the school and be complimentary to one another. We continue to focus the DCPS budget on hiring people to support, while the HSA budget can help support school by providing funds for supplies. I’ve also been working with the HSA Board to continue the supports we have had in place for students and teachers for the past several years – teacher supplies, extra curricular activities, software licenses, and community events and hospitality. We have created an incredibly collaborative and responsive set of budgets and I’m proud of everyone’s feedback, work and teamwork.
This Thursday, the Tech Committee will also be sharing an ask that has already been presented to the HSA Board – to utilize the HSA reserve funds to support new laptops for the 4th and 5th grade students. Currently, our laptops are three or more years old. Teachers estimate that approximately 1/3 of them work reliably. They are incredibly slow, batteries don’t hold charges, and some of them have shut down completely. As you know, students in grades 1st – 5th use computers daily. In our upper grades, most assignments are done on a laptop. The quality of our technology is now negatively impacting our classroom instruction and learning for students. Here are the details of the ask:
- Total of 165 laptops
15 computers per classroom
5 classes of 4th grade
5 classes of 5th grade
1 new class of 3rd grade next year
- 3 New Laptop carts (new sections at 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade next year)
- Quotes range from $160,000 to $190,000 depending on the quote from different vendors.
- Goal would be to order the computers this school year.
The HSA will share the information regarding the reserves (total, origins, etc) during our General meeting and the Tech Committee will share more details about the need for new computers. Please also know that there is currently a proposal between the Mayor’s office and DCPS to help support centrally funded technology beginning next school year in grade 3. This means that in combination with the ask this year, we would be able to refresh our entire school of technology in approximately 4 years (1 year funded by HSA, 3 years potentially funded by DCPS/City Council). Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions to me or any member of the Tech Committee (Steven King, Erin DeJonckhere, David Gregal, Jose Soriano, Kerry Cassidy, Alycia Hallock, and Cassidy Martinez).
A few seasonal reminders:
Students should arrive at school no later than 8:40 am. Instruction starts at 8:45. We have had an uptick in tardy students. I’ll blame the cold weather 🙂
There is no stopping along Broad Branch Road for either drop off or pick up. Please do not have your students meet you there or drop them off there.
Finally, some shout outs for members of our community who have been doing amazing things these last couple of months:
- Congrats again to Ms. Brown who won Teacher of the Year! I will be supporting her at Standing Ovation, DCPS’ Award Ceremony, on Thursday evening and thus will not be able to join the HSA General Meeting.
- Shout out to Sarah Remes and all the parents who came out for the Maryland Science Center Family Science Night. It was a great success!
- Thank you goes out to Katie Burke and Lafayette Gives Back event. What a great moment to teach our children how to contribute to our community and give to others!
- Thanks also goes out to our Black Lives Matter Committee and their work on this week and Black History Month. There are amazing discussions and celebrations happening all throughout the week!
Here’s to a great month of February! Please enjoy this unseasonably warm weather, and stay warm when it inevitably becomes winter again.