In a piece called, "Good things are happening at Langley Elementary. You can help." Washington Post columnist John Kelly praised the school's social emotional program, Conscious Discipline, which Principal Drumm and team rolled out during the last couple of years. After describing some of Langley's healthy school family rituals the author wrote: "It can sound like so much high-concept touchy-feeliness, but the approach seems to be working. Since 2015, suspensions at Langley have fallen by 50 percent."
Kelly invites readers to become a part of Langley's transformation by linking their Giant and Harris Teeter grocery cards to the school, which is an excellent way to contribute financially to Langley's PTSA.
Read the full article here.
Read about what Langley parents have had to say about Conscious Discipline here and here.
Members of the Langley Elementary community gather for the first meeting of the Pre-K Committee on Sept. 20, 2018. Joining Pre-K Committee is one way people can get involved and make a positive impact at the school.
Public schools such as Langley Elementary face many challenges. Donations of money and supplies are always welcome and go a long way to close gaps in school funding. If your family runs on a tight budget, or if you're the sort of person who likes to get your hands dirty, there are other ways to support the school - and many require only your time and energy. Learn more about how you can get involved at Langley. With a robust team of volunteers, we can accomplish anything!
The Parent Teacher Student Association is a chance for parents (or other caregivers), educators, students and citizens to be active members of the school community. The meetings have historically been held on Tuesdays, less than once monthly, and usually last for an hour. Elections for the officer positions of President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary are happening now and the chosen leadership will set the schedule for upcoming meetings. The PTSA's goals often center around fundraising efforts, community service, educational enrichment, community-building events and identifying opportunities for improvement. Members are invited to pay $10 in annual dues, though that is optional. Whether you'd like to just sit back and learn more about the school and its needs or you've got a list of awesome ideas ready to share, come to the next meeting. It's a perfect start to getting involved.
Contact: LangleyPTA101@gmail.com or stay tuned for the date and time of the next meeting
This committee is concerned with issues and planning related specifically to our two early childhood education grades, pre-K 3 and pre-K 4. It is headed by Langley's Family Engagement Coordinator, LaToya Smith, as well as two elected co-chairs and a secretary, who have been selected for the 2018/19 school year. The group meets on the third Thursday of every month, from 8:30-9:30 AM, and its second meeting is planned for Thursday, Oct. 18th. The group tackles goals such as improving preschool attendance, supporting childhood development, planning preschool-focused events and ensuring Kindergarten readiness. The Pre-K Committee hosts a popular family dinner and support group series called Pre-K Parent Cafe, which is an excellent way to get to know other families, share experiences and learn about your growing kids.
Contact: LaToya Smith; LaToya.Smith@dc.gov
The Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) is a group of elected and appointed members that exists for every District of Columbia Public School. The LSAT is a key lever to increasing transparency at DCPS and ensuring decisions affecting school communities are made collaboratively with the help of a diverse group of school stakeholders. The team, which has been elected for the 2018/19 school year, meets once monthly with teams from all other schools and reports back to Langley's principal and vice principal. Other community members are welcome to attend meetings as well.
Contact: Principal Drumm; Vanessa.Drumm@dc.gov or AP Jennings; Shaunte.Daniel@dc.gov
Classroom or Special Subjects Volunteer
Volunteers who want to be really effective on a grassroots level should consider working in the classrooms. Extra hands are needed during events like field trips and field day. Classrooms with struggling readers could use help working one-on-one with students. To learn more about classrooms with these types of needs, contact the front office and you'll be connected with the right teacher. Please note: volunteers in the classrooms are required to get clearance through DCPS first.
Contact: Main Office; (202) 724-4223
Principal Drumm greets sisters Sara and Leena on Thursday, before the start of the first day for preschoolers. Sara, at right, began kindergarten at Langley, while Leena, left, has joined her sister at the school for her first year of preschool.
Some students chose a bear hug greeting, while others picked a fist bump. Some marched into school alone, confident and capable. Others came flanked by nervous parents, who wrung their hands in the hallways long after the first bell. Some of our students faced their first day bravely, despite not knowing a soul. Others finally experienced the long-awaited day when they got to walk into school hand-in-hand with a younger sibling. Some cried, some laughed, some ran and were quickly reminded of the rules.
The start of the school year is a time packed with promise and potential. These moments matter and we memorialize them with photographs that we'll treasure forever. But the moments that matter most for our Tigers begin now; the breakthroughs, the revelations, the exceeded expectations. Conquered fears, field trip thrills, improved gross motor skills. Building friendships, strengthening community, letting our differences be our unity.
'The best professional development we have ever attended:' Diving Deep Into Social Emotional Learning at the Conscious Discipline Institute
The Langley representatives who attended professional development at the Conscious Discipline Institute in Orlando in June were, from left, Special Education Teacher Baxter O'Brien, Third Grade Teacher Stephanie Gunter, Principal Vanessa Drumm and Dean of Students Monique Robinson.
In June we had the amazing opportunity to attend the 7-day Conscious Discipline Institute in Orlando, Florida, and learn directly from program creator Dr. Becky Bailey. The Institute is small -only 150 people - and we enjoyed meeting other educators and administrators from around the country. The Institute usually sells out right away, but we were fortunate enough to receive special tickets through our trainer, Nicole Mercer, because of the strong programming we have had at Langley and because we received funding from the DCPS Design Lab. I was able to bring our CD Action team including Monique Robinson, Dean of Students, Baxter O’Brien, Special Education teacher and Stephanie Gunter, grade 3 teacher and myself, Principal Vanessa Drumm.
At the Institute we were able to experience the social emotional learning best practices firsthand and learn the latest in brain science research from Dr. Bailey and Master Instructor Jill Molli. It started with building a healthy family through unifying activities then learning the skills that support brain development: composure, assertiveness, encouragement, empathy, positive intent, choices, and consequences. This work starts with the adults, and we have to live this work to teach it and model it for children.
We worked at table group of 10 with an assigned instructor to discuss the strategies and participate in them just like our students. For example we all had table jobs, made and reflected on commitments daily, practiced wishing well, participated in songs and rituals that build connection, and had opportunities to discuss our ideas. In the afternoon, we met in “circle time” small groups to practice the skills we had learned so we can implement them at our schools. This was the most challenging but our favorite part of the day!
On Day 4 we were able to choose from a menu of different workshops. For example, Special Education & Mental Health, Feeling Buddies & Conflict Resolution for a specific grade level, or a 3-year Implementation Plan for School Leaders. We were in training every day from 8:30am-5:30pm and then met up for dinner and late-night planning, eager to implement our new learning at Langley. Every day I felt “principal pride” working alongside our staff who care so much about the social emotional development of our children and creating a safe and connected school for our children.
We all agreed it was the best professional development we have ever attended, and we are interested in becoming Conscious Discipline certified instructors ourselves. We learned how powerful being of service is for children and we are excited to “pay it forward” by being models of this work and coaching and helping others with this powerful program.
Wishing you well,
A group of Langley students were in for a treat on Monday afternoon: Ted McGinn, the school's longtime volunteer and garden educator gathered students in the garden for a yummy lesson. Mr. McGinn prepared okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake containing many nutritious ingredients - some harvested right from the garden in front of the school. The Japanese word okonomi means "how you like it," Mr. McGinn explained, and yaki means "grill." While the grilled snack wasn't to everyone's liking, some children couldn't get enough.
Over several years Mr. McGinn has developed Langley's garden into a beautiful and abounding outdoor classroom. Preschool students help place plants in the raised beds and planters and older students help care for them. A Three Sisters planting (corn, beans and squash) occupies one bed each year, as part of a Native American hands-on living history project, which also includes bead and pottery making with clay collected from the garden's clay pit and fired in the fire pit.
Stop by and say hello to Mr. McGinn next time you see him working in the garden - you are sure to learn something new! And don't forget to have him introduce you to the rescue turtle that is our garden's year-round resident.
By Dawn Madura
Preschool students performed songs for family, friends, teachers and staff in celebration of moving up to the final year of preschool or to Kindergarten during their Stepping Up event on Thursday, May 17, 2018, at Langley Elementary School in northeast Washington, D.C.