Welcome to Lafayette Elementary, home of the Bears! If you are looking ahead to a new school year, it can seem a little intimidating. The Lafayette Home and School Association would like to ease your way into our community. While there is a wealth of information about daily life in the school’s handbook, this guide is designed for new families as they navigate and plan for the months ahead. It’s filled with information, as well as some tips from individual parents—and some kids—who have stood in your shoes.
Have an amazing year!
About Lafayette Elementary School | Parent Organizations | Communications | Supporting Lafayette |
Calendar of Events | Frequently Asked Questions | Lafayette Lingo |
About Lafayette Elementary School
Lafayette Elementary School is the largest elementary school in Washington, D.C. It serves children from PK4 through 5th grade. It was established in 1928 in the northwest neighborhood of Chevy Chase, D.C., to meet the needs of families moving into new residential communities located along the Connecticut Avenue corridor. The current school building opened in 1931. In 2015-2016, the school underwent an extensive modernization to increase the overall area to 120,000 square feet to accommodate a capacity of more than 800 students.
Enrollment size has increased since then and accommodations have been made as recently as 2020.
Principal: Dr. Carrie Broquard (AKA Dr. B)
School Mascot: The Bears
School Colors: Blue & Gold
Lafayette Home and School Association
The Lafayette Home and School Association (HSA) is just like a traditional parent-teacher organization, but with a different name. The HSA is a parent-supported non-profit organization that exists to enrich the experience of Lafayette students and bring families, teachers and staff together. As the largest parent organization at Lafayette, it raises funds to support educational and enrichment programs for our students and creates events to bring the community together.
How can I get involved with the HSA? The HSA can always use your help. Board members are elected each spring. Outside of that, however, there are many roles, responsibilities and projects that require a variety of skills and varied time commitments. Please see the “Supporting Lafayette” and “Volunteering” sections in this document or to learn more or reach out to .
Local School Advisory Team
The Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) is a group of elected and appointed members that exists for every DCPS school. The team consists of parents, teachers, non-instructional school staff and a community member to advise the principal on school priorities and budgetary issues.
How can I get involved with the LSAT? The LSAT team is elected every spring. LSAT meetings are open to observers, with a few exceptions when the LSAT is looking at issues involving personnel.
For more information, visit https://www.lafayettehsa.org/about/local-school-advisory-team/
Sign Up: The overwhelming majority of school communications is through email – please be sure to join the school’s email list! Go to http://www.lafayettehsa.org/sign-up-for-news/ to make sure you are on the list. Contact if you run into any trouble.
Tuesday Bulletin (TB): This is a newsletter sent via email every Tuesday and the primary communication between the school and parents.
Website: Lafayettehsa.org is your go-to source for most everything about Lafayette.
A-Z Directory: The HSA produces a printed and online Family Directory each fall with contact information for all Lafayette families. This is how parents get info for birthday party invitations and arrange playdates! Sign up at https://lafayettehsa.membershiptoolkit.com/
Email: Contact your child’s teacher or any member of the staff through email. Addresses for teachers can be found at http:\www.lafayettehsa.org\resources\teacher-and-staff-directory\ and for HSA board members at http://www.lafayettehsa.org/hsa/board/.
Robo-Calls: Occasionally Dr. B or DCPS will make phone calls directly to homes informing parents about events or schedule changes at school.
Through the Lafayette HSA, parents help fund a slew of programming from the Peace Program to the recess coach to science night. We also help address some school costs so Dr. B can focus the bulk of her budget on teachers and student learning.
But we can’t do it without your help.
What am I expected to donate? The HSA asks families to donate directly to the Bear Fund at the beginning of each school year. The HSA spends almost $400 per student each year. To give you a sense of the costs of some of the programs we support:
- $2,500 — a professional development opportunities for teachers
- $1,000 — one quarter’s worth of art supplies for our incredible art program
- $500 — funds part of a technology license or supports special events such as the spelling bee
- $150 — helps a Lafayette student-in-need participate in activities and purchase school supplies
- $40 — pays for one student’s Peace instruction for one year
All amounts are welcome!
Support at any level makes a difference! Your generous giving goes to support all the programs that make Lafayette special and a sought-out school in D.C. We recognize not everyone can give at the same level and encourage you to consider a gift of any size that is appropriate to your family’s budget.
How does the HSA raise funds? We raise most of our funds through direct donations and fundraising events. Recognizing that we don’t want to wear out our families, the HSA tries to keep its financial asks to a minimum throughout the year. Over the course of the school year, you can expect to be asked to support the school:
- Through the fall fundraising drive
- Through two major events: the Fall Festival and the annual spring auction
- Through annual sales of personalized bricks and Grizzly Gear (Lafayette t-shirts etc.)
How do I donate today?: Go to https://www.lafayettehsa.org/bearfund/
Like many public schools, Lafayette relies heavily on its parent community to help bring out the best in our classrooms and community. As new parents, you may be overwhelmed by the number of requests for volunteers. We’ve listed the most common requests below – we suggest you take a look at the list and think about where you can contribute that will suit you and your family. You don’t need to do everything! But if everyone pitches in just a little, our kids and community will benefit. Contact or fill out this form (https://www.lafayettehsa.org/hsa/volunteer/) to learn more and raise your hand to help!
Room Parent: Every classroom typically has 2-3 room parents who serve to communicate with parents about special class events or projects, organize class playdates and class parties, set up the class potluck for parents and collect class funds for teacher gifts and special activities.
Parent Reader: In the younger grades, parents are asked to select a book from home and read to students. It’s a wonderful way to spend time in the classroom, and your child will beam with pride.
Party Volunteer: Class parties, which happen several times a year, generally require 3-5 parents to help organize and supervise. Parents are usually asked to supply food and drink as well.
Field Trip Chaperone: 3-5 parents asked to shepherd the class to the zoo, a theater or a museum.
Field Day: In June, dozens of parents are asked to help out with one of the most fun days of the year- field day!
Ad-hoc: Classes or grade levels will often need volunteers for individual events like the second-grade bike ride.
Art Room: Help our art teacher in the art room with special projects throughout the year.
Library: Help the librarian throughout the year.
Book Sales: Volunteer our book sales held throughout the year.
Drop-off line: Parents are asked to help children exit cars from 8:20-8:40AM each morning. Volunteer slots will go out via Signup Genius. Volunteer slots are typically assigned by grade monthly.
Community Volunteer Opportunities
Elected HSA or LSAT positions: Run for a position on the HSA (Home & School Association, the equivalent of a PTA) board or LSAT (Local School Advisory Team). Both are described in more detail above. These can be more time-consuming roles, but are critically important to the well-being of our school.
HSA volunteer: We have a myriad of ways to get involved in the HSA this year, ranging from jobs big to small! We are encouraging everyone to get involved in the HSA and provide your input! We are hoping to broaden the HSA volunteer base, so that more families have a stake in what we do and how we do it. Examples of volunteer roles could be assisting with the Bear Fund drive, organizing donations of winter coats or used books for needy schools through Lafayette Gives Back, selling pizza or Grizzly Gear at movie night or Arts Night, assisting with our electronic or video communications, weeding in the Bear’s Garden (our learning garden planted with vegetables), organizing the student lost and found, decorating vases for Teacher Appreciation Week, you name it!
Fall Festival: This fun family event brings the community together for an afternoon of games, activities, music, and an evening movie. All parents will be asked to help to make the fun happen. Picture making cotton candy(!), assisting with pumpkin-themed crafts, or running some fun games!
Auction: All hands on deck! This the HSA’s biggest fundraiser of the year. It is a FUN and BIG PARTY! The money raised goes to support many of the important priorities at the school. We can use help in all areas. In particular, we would love to have extra volunteers with an affinity for party planning, creative design or fundraising! Also, the HSA is always looking for hosts for auction parent and kid parties (It’s a party for the auction! Picture getting together with friends to host wine-tasting party, a Murder-Mystery night, a Barbeque and Bluegrass party, a Mother-Daughter Tea Party, or make-your-own slime kid party. Selling tickets to these parent-led parties has always been a big fundraiser at the Lafayette auction!)
Communications: Great writers and editors as well as those savvy social media pros are always needed to help with general and event-specific communications.
Ad-hoc: Help with one-off events like science night.
Calendar of Events
We are a large and active school, so naturally we have a large and busy schedule! There are many events for parents, families, students and teachers as well as countless irregular weeks for DCPS.
Below are some of the key events throughout the year. It may take some time to get to know them all. Pace yourself!
* Parent help required for event.
Throughout the School Year
HSA General Meetings: The HSA holds a General Meeting several times during the year. All parents are invited and encouraged to participate in these meetings. All parents or guardians of Lafayette students are voting members of the HSA and may vote on any issues being voted upon at the meeting.
HSA Board Meetings: Meetings of the HSA Board are held throughout the year. All are welcome to observe.
Classroom Parties*: (Examples: Halloween, winter, end-of-year, etc.): Each classroom and/or grade hosts a simple party in the classroom with games and treats. Typically, the teacher will discuss the plans with the Room Parents who will then relay information to the parents. Volunteers are usually requested to help out at the party or provide supplies/food for the party.
Parent-teacher conferences: DCPS sets aside three days a year as parent-teacher conference days. You will have a one- on-one conference with your child’s teacher for about 10-15 minutes. Note, your children do not have school on these days.
Spirit Weeks: Sponsored by the student council, spirit weeks generally include fun and funny attire for kids throughout the week.
Back-to-School Huddles: Optional meetings the week before school starts where families have the chance to review site logistics and our game plan for the first day of school. Kids are welcome!
Popsicle Socials: Welcome party for all PreK families and Kindergarten families, and new families held the weekend before school starts.
First day of school K-5th grade: K-5th begins school with full days. Info and logistics are made available close to the start of school. For parents, the HSA hosts a Welcome Back Coffee outside of the school after dropoff.*
First Week of School for PK4: PK4 classrooms have a special calendar during the first week of school to ease the transition from home or daycare.
Back to School Night: This is a big night – so big, in fact, that it’s been divided into several nights. Dr. B introduces all the teachers and the HSA will give a brief presentation. Then you’ll head off to your child’s classroom to meet your teacher and hear about what to expect for the upcoming year.
Class Playdates: The room parents will help to coordinate a class playdate early in the year so that you and your child can get to know the other families in your class.
Welcome Back Movie Night/Hispanic Heritage Movie Night*: This event will be an outdoor movie night sponsored by the HSA. Bring a blanket and purchase a snack and enjoy a movie with friends new and old.
5th Grade Overnight: The 5th graders travel and spend the night on a special excursion. The trip is chaperoned by Lafayette teachers and staff – no parents allowed!
Class Potlucks*: Most classrooms organize a potluck dinner early in the school year as a way for the parents to meet each other. It is usually held in the evening at one family’s house.
Dot Day: A celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration. It is inspired by the book, “The Dot,” the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark.” Children are encouraged to wear polka-dots to school.
Walk to School Day: In early October, the HSA sponsors a Walk to School Day event to coincide with the National Walk to School Day.
Picture Day: Photographers from Freed Photography will come to the school to photograph our children both individually and as a class. You will be given the opportunity to purchase these photos and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to the HSA.
Fall Festival*: On a Saturday in October, the HSA organizes and hosts the Fall Festival, a fantastic day of community and fundraising. . Parents are encouraged to help with planning, assisting with ticket and food sales, and staffing all the fun activities.
Halloween Parade: If school is in session on Halloween, the parade takes place on Halloween day after lunch. Children dress in costume and process through the school and park grounds and follow with a party back in their classroom.
Scholastic Book Fair*: Weeklong book fair hosted at the library. Each class will have the chance to visit the book fair during school hours. The book fair is also open for shopping after school on certain days. A great place to pick up holiday gifts!
Summer Camp Expo*: The HSA’s annual camp expo.
Cookies and Coding*: Special event focused on computer coding.
MLK Day of Service: The HSA sponsors a day of volunteer service projects to coincide with the MLK Day holiday, appropriate for families.
Science Night*: Special event focused on STEM.
Auction*: This is the HSA’s biggest fundraiser. There is a lot of planning involved, which begins when the previous year’s Auction wraps up and continues until the following spring. The Auction is a fundraiser and A PARTY! It’s a fun excuse for Lafayette parents (and teachers!) to get together, eat, drink, dance and raise money for the school. There is usually both a live and silent auction.
Teacher Appreciation Week (first week of May): A week of teacher love with an activity or treat every day. Parents are usually asked to do things like help their child make a card for their teacher one day, bring in a dessert another and supply a single blossom on a third to create a bouquet from the class. The HSA also provides treats some days.
Bike to School Day: In early May, the HSA sponsors a Bike to School Day event to coincide with the National Bike to School Day.
Arts Night(s): This special event is split between two evenings to accommodate the large number of parents and students. On your child’s evening, they will perform in the school’s cafeteria, and every child will have a piece of artwork displayed in the school. Band members perform, and refreshments are served.
Field Day(s)*: A day of three-legged-races, hula hoop contests, relays and popsicles for all. PK-K field day is separate from 1st-5th field day (with age-appropriate activities for each).
Pre-K End-of-Year Celebration: One morning in June, Pre-K students say goodbye to preschool with a special ceremony. After the ceremony, there is a small celebration. Note that this is NOT the last day of school for Pre-K students–they will continue until the last official DCPS day.
5th Grade Day Trip: 5th grade celebrates the end of their days with a trip to an amusement park or similar.
5th Grade Promotion Ceremony*: Two or three days prior to the last day of school, the 5th grade students celebrate their Lafayette accomplishments during a special promotion ceremony with cake and punch to follow.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I find out when the school day starts and ends, how to sign up for hot lunch, the carpool drop off line, and all those nuts and bolts? We can’t print it all here, but everything you need to know is available through the online Student Handbook at: http://www.lafayettehsa.org/student-life/handbook/
When will I learn what class my child has been assigned to? Dr. B sends out class assignments in early August via email, so make sure you are signed up on the distribution list.
How do I get on the email list? Please sign up here: https://www.lafayettehsa.org/sign-up-for-news/
What equipment does my child need for the first day? Students generally need a refillable water bottle, lunch box (if bringing lunch) and a backpack. This year, due to COVID mitigation measures, adults and children on school property will be required to wear masks, so please send your child to school with a mask on, and spares if possible. There will be more communication about supplies and spare clothing closer to opening day.
Where do I sign up for hot lunch? Students may buy lunch or milk from the cafeteria. Sign up for an account and pay at myschoolbucks.com.
When can I meet my child’s teacher? Back-to-school night is all about meeting your child’s teacher and finding out details about the year ahead.
My child speaks a language other than English at home. Where can they get help? Families should contact the Language Acquisition Division at (202) 671-0750 to make an assessment appointment. Students who qualify for additional support in English may receive instruction from one of Lafayette’s English Language Learner (ELL) teachers.
What is the first day procedure? Children in K-5th will line up in designated areas starting at 8:20 am. At 8:40 am students will head inside with their teachers – parents must stay outside. PK students join Lafayette in a graduated schedule over the course of the week. More logistical details will be made available in August and at the back-to-school huddles. For more info including drop-off and pick-up procedures, see the student handbook.
What is the Class Activity Fee? The school asks for one-time payment from each child in the classroom to pay for teacher-organized field trips to locations like the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the National Zoo. The fees also fund end-of-year parties and field day shirts in each class. Though the fee is paid through the HSA’s online system for ease of use, this is not a donation to the HSA and is not tax deductible. Please consider donating to the HSA as well as paying your field trip fee.
What aftercare and extra-curricular activities are available for my student?) Aftercare options are at https://www.lafayettehsa.org/student-life/before-and-after-school/. Enrichment activities are available in a variety of ways. Older students can take advantage of Lafayette’s many sports teams and clubs (see https://www.lafayettehsa.org/student-life/clubs-sports/). Flex Academies is our provider of after-school activities at Lafayette (see the before-and-after school website page above). They usually offer a wide variety of sports, arts and academic classes for all ages. In addition, CLS, the on-site aftercare providers, offers activities and classes for students enrolled in their program. Outside school, many students join a Lafayette soccer team with their classmates through DC Soccer Club (formerly Stoddert Soccer) or baseball and softball through Capitol City Little League. Some join a Lafayette Boy or Girl Scout troop for their class or enroll in music lessons or other activities around the city.
How can I get to meet other families? We encourage you to attend the Popsicle Social in August to meet new families and other new students. We also set up playdates with other new or existing students before the start of school. Sign up for those and other information for new families by filling out the form at https://www.lafayettehsa.org/about/new-families/. Room parents will be organizing outdoor class playdates at the beginning of the school year as well.
Soon your child will be coming home excitedly talking about SAMM tickets, Gigi and what’s going on in Rainbow Base. Here’s a handy Lafayette dictionary!
Arts Night A music and arts celebration with grade-wide performances and displays for each student at the school
Bear Facts The Bear Facts, Lafayette’s student newspaper, contains news, interviews, features, columns, art and photos
Bear Fund The HSA’s fundraising campaign
Class Activity Fee A one-time fee to cover field trips and the end of year party. Paying this fee is not a donation to the HSA.
CES Communication and Education Support– Lafayette’s self-contained classroom serving students who have been identified with autism spectrum disorder or other types of learning needs
CLS Capitol Language Services– Before-and-after care provider
“Color” Bases Referring to PK and K classes by a color base (Red Base, Gold Base, Rainbow Base, etc.) was developed to make it easier for our littlest learners to remember their classroom name
Cub Facts The hard-copy magazine designed for Kindergarten and Pre-K students and created by Lafayette 4th and 5th graders
Dot Day An artistic celebration of the power of creativity, courage and collaboration (and kids are encouraged to wear polka dots)
Dr. B Principal Dr. Carrie Broquard
ELA English-language arts
ELS Early Learning Support– Lafayette’s self-contained classroom serving students in grades K – 2 with a variety of disabilities
ELL English Language Learner
Flex Academies Outside provider of after-school enrichment
Flex time Flexible time during the school day where students can select their activities
Gigi The penguin mascot for the online program ST Math
HSA Lafayette’s Home and School Association (Lafayette’s parent-teacher organization)
HSA Board Board members elected by the HSA membership each spring
ILS Independent Learning Support- Lafayette’s self-contained classroom serving students in grades 3 – 5 with a variety of disabilities
Images Annual publication including an illustration and writing sample from every student
Informances Grade-wide learning projects and special presentations that are shared with parents or the school community
Lafayette Gives Back Our community-service program, which provides our students and families with hands-on volunteer opportunities
LSAT Local School Advisory Team. Parent body that gives non-binding advice to the principal on school priorities and budgetary issues
Mindfulness A core tenet of the Lafayette community
Mindful Moment Twice daily breaks for mindfulness held in every classroom
PARCC Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers – the DCPS assessment test for grades 3-5
Peace, or Peace of Mind Social/emotional learning program to teach Lafayette students to calm themselves, focus and pay attention, empathize with others and solve conflicts peacefully. This program is funded in part by the generosity of Lafayette parents through the Bear Fund annual giving fund.
Peace Club The recess program at Lafayette for students who need a smaller alternative to the playground. Peace Club requires all students who come to make a promise to treat everyone else with kindness and respect and to make sure conflicts are worked out peacefully and everyone is included.
SAMM Speak Mindfully, Act Mindfully, and Move Mindfully – Lafayette’s school-wide, positive behavior support structure
SAMM Tickets Kids win SAMM tickets for positive behavior choices
Six-Day Schedule Our schedule has six days to allow our students to access all of our many special subjects. See more at https://www.lafayettehsa.org/student-life/handbook/#SixDaySchedule
SLS Specialized Learning Support – self-contained classroom serving students in grades 3 – 5 with a variety of disabilities
Spirit Week Students dress with a theme each day
ST Math An online visual learning program for math