Dear Miner Families,
The first two weeks of school have had us running at full speed – working tirelessly to build a solid foundation for our children and the future of Miner Elementary. Of our three administrative leaders –myself, Assistant Principal Torrence, and Ms. Flores, our Manager of Strategy and Logistics – Ms. Flores and I are brand new to DCPS and to Miner Elementary.
Since July, we have been digging through budgets, testing data, student files, teacher evaluations, and maintenance issues and re-evaluating all of Miner’s programs, policies and procedures. We know that you are seeing a lot of changes happen very quickly and that families have questions about why the changes are being made with concerns about losing some of the programs and procedures important to your family. We apologize for not communicating more clearly about the status of some of these programs earlier and pledge to do better going forward. We have felt an urgent need to focus on core academics and teaching these first weeks, so we ask you to please be patient with us as we work out the details on volunteer and extracurricular programs.
Regarding the volunteer programs at Miner, such as classroom volunteers and foster grandparents, we want to assure you that we absolutely want parent and grandparent volunteers in the classroom. We put a ‘pause’ on those programs because we were working hard to make other changes in the school – to strengthen academic programs, teaching support, and make the school day schedule more effective.
Fun Friday, PBIS
We are currently reevaluating whether to continue Fun Friday and the PBIS (positive behavioral intervention strategies) store, in light of other programs and procedures we are bringing to the school, such as Move This World (learn more about MTW at back-to-school night!). If you would like to serve on a committee reviewing these and other such practices, please call the school office.
Security / Drop-off
Many parents have raised concerns about being unable to come into the school at certain times. We made changes to morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up procedures to address student safety concerns and also crowding and confusion for children at these times, especially in the main lobby. DCPS has also added requirements to teachers’ schedules which necessitated changes to morning drop-off in particular. During these first weeks, we know that the new policies aren’t familiar, but please “bear” with us as we work out the kinks and get into an established routine. Moving forward we will be looking continually at ways to make all of our procedures more streamlined – welcoming parental input and ideas – but always keeping our children’s safety first.
One of the challenges we are facing is effectively getting information out to you – our families – in an efficient and timely manner. We will be starting a weekly newsletter very soon. Some parents have raised concerns that, because of morning security procedures, you have less access to the school building during drop off, and we recognize how that interferes with
receiving information. We are working closely with teachers to find effective ways to communicate with families and exchange information. In the meantime, we encourage you to call or email teachers to schedule time to talk.
Other Program Changes
Based on many factors, from budget to staffing to funding, all of our activities, clubs and partnerships must be evaluated one at a time through our School Improvement Committees. These committees, of which parents are invited to provide input and ideas, are designed to determine how we can offer a robust, valuable set of enrichment activities that meet the needs of our students’ learning objectives.
Our other volunteer, athletic, science and programs as well as other clubs and groups at Miner are part of a large network of volunteers, teachers and staff time, partnerships, grants, and DCPS funding. Moving forward, we are focusing on providing these activities in a sustainable way. Our DCPS/PAL After Care, Bridge Before and After Care programs and Extended Day Remedial and Enrichment services have all begun. Boy Scouts, and Move This World are all on track to kick off in the next few weeks. We will roll out programs gradually as we put together a bigger plan for the future of Miner, again with your help and input.
We are working hard to shape Miner Elementary into becoming a model Community School in Ward 6 for our children. That takes change. That takes time. And that takes parental involvement.
I have been honored to work at different types of schools in several countries, and have successfully led school communities through this difficult and rewarding process of improvement. But it takes everyone to step up and get involved. We want everyone’s voice to be heard as we have this important conversation in our community.
Yovetza (Yovi) Flores
Manager of Strategy and Logistics