Langley children served as a living museum Thursday, dressing as, and teaching others about prominent African Americans. All week, students have been learning about and celebrating African American history and culture through hands-on experiences and special guests.
Black History Month Spirit Week at Langley was in full swing today with gallery walks through the cafeteria and interpreters on hand to teach students about African Americans who contributed to our country in important ways. Kids participated in crafts and had snacks to celebrate the occasion.
Langley Elementary continued its celebration of Black History Month Tuesday with visits from special guests and hands-on learning activities for children. Today's events honored the legacy and contributions of historically black colleges and universities as well as black fraternities and sororities. There were class room readings, panel discussions and recess time with the Bowie State football team (CIAA champions).
Langley students gathered on Monday to hear positive messages of empowerment, learn traditional protest songs and call-and-response chants, and to form an understanding of how and why people march. The rally culminated with the opportunity for children to march around the outside of the school for unity and social justice.
Langley Elementary's Baxter O'Brien was honored with the Rubenstein Award for Excellence in Teaching. Pictured above are Baxter O'Brien, from left, pre-K 4 teacher Anna Zinkgraf, Principal Vanessa Drumm and reading interventionist Christina Saavedra as they attend the Standing Ovation award ceremony.
This week, the whole Langley family was bursting with pride and excitement as our own Baxter O’Brien was recognized with one of DCPS’ highest honors! The Rubenstein Awards for Excellence in Teaching are presented to just a handful of teachers each year, at a ceremony for DCPS’ finest teachers, leaders, and school staff.
Mr. O’Brien teaches grades 3-5 Communication and Education Support, leading a classroom for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Langley family knows Mr. O’Brien by his dedicated attention to his students, his enthusiasm for family engagement, and by his leadership in implementing socio-emotional learning through Conscious Discipline. Check out his Instagram, or catch a glimpse of him teaching in this WJLA feature!
As Mr. O’Brien explains: “Socio-emotional learning is woven throughout the school day. It is a transition in the way we think about teaching and utilizing moments throughout the day as teachable moments. We teach our students how they can independently work through conflict, both internally and externally whenever it arises. This can be seen proactively through targeted instruction of skills for conflict resolution, breathing techniques, strategies to utilize when overwhelmed, as well as in the moment, providing students with the language to effectively work through daily challenges and hardships.”
Mr. O’Brien says “What I love best about my job is being able to work with students day-to-day - the ups and downs, the daily challenges and successes. Every day is a new day with different challenges that come with it. There is never a dull moment.”
We could not be more proud of Mr. O’Brien, his students, and all of our students, teachers and staff in Langley’s six self-contained program classrooms. We’re so lucky to have you!
Hello Tiger Families,
We are starting a Little Free Library (LFL) to be located next to the nurse's office on the first floor. The LFL will consist of a small book shelf and sign. Students and families will be invited to take and leave books as they please. No check out. No due dates. You don't even have to bring the book back that you borrowed. The goal is to get as many books circulating among students as possible. There are a couple ways you can support this effort.
1. Donate a bookshelf. We are looking for a donated bookshelf in good condition (needn't be fancy) that will fit in the space provided. I believe that anything around 3.5 feet tall and maybe about 3 feet wide would work. If you have a bookshelf to donate (or have a neighbor or friend who has one), let me know! It all begins with a shelf.
2. Volunteer to be a steward. Let's share responsibility in making sure the books remain orderly. This means stopping by periodically to organize the shelves and make sure they're free of trash. I plan to breeze by routinely when I pick up my son, but I would love some help. Anyone who passes by is invited to help clean up the library - no need to be a formal steward. But if one or two folks could volunteer to more intentionally help organize the shelf periodically, that would be fantastic. AP Jennings will also keep an eye out as it is near her office. Together we can keep it looking nice at all times.
3. Bring in your books. Do you have books your child has outgrown or is no longer interested in? Does your neighbor or friend have old books their child has outgrown? Once we have the shelf set up (I will email this list), we invite you to bring your books in to share. And, while you're there, pick up a new book to take home. The school will also be donating some of their old books to put on the shelf.
4. Help us spread the word. Once the book shelf is up, we want to make sure the word gets out. If any of the committees are sending home written materials to parents, I would love to include a blurb about the LFL. Also, if you are hosting an event and there is some way to advertise the LFL (a quick announcement or some fliers at a table), I would appreciate it. If you have opportunities I would appreciate you letting me know! The more we can get the word out, the more families will partake in the exchange.
Answers to questions you may have...
I joined about 30 other parents, caregivers and teachers Thursday for A Night of Consciousness, Part 2, a workshop to teach us about our school’s social emotional program and ways to adopt it at home. I’m so glad I went. I came away with a better understanding of the brain science that is the foundation for the philosophy, as well as a handful of ideas for better aligning my discipline routine at home with what is taught at school. I wish I could distill all the information for those who couldn’t attend the workshop (I tried!), but Nicole Mercer, our Conscious Discipline certified instructor, packed the two hours with so much – I could never do it justice in one blog post.
Instead, here’s a bit about the final lesson of the evening – Connection:
The Conscious Discipline program does not rely on the traditional threat-reward system for getting kids to cooperate. Instead, that buy-in is earned through a strong relationship. Nicole explained that connecting with our kids every day is one way we build that relationship – and it’s important to understand that routine is not connection. Spending time together as we go through the normal routine of the day is not enough. A real connection requires special moments that include eye contact, touch and an expression of your feelings for the child. For example, our principal greets each student daily with eye contact, touch (high-five, fist bump, or bear hug) and warm words as they enter the building – not because it’s cute, but to start their day with a positive first connection. If you’ve ever tried the threat, “if you don’t stop that behavior, you might need a visit to the principal’s office,” I'm sure you realized it didn’t work - none of our kids are afraid of their principal! She has built connections with them and has earned their cooperation, rather than scaring them into obedience. And that’s what we’re really after at home too.
Nicole said that at home, rituals for connecting can be anything – family songs, sayings, inside jokes or secret handshakes. She gave us this adapted version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which some families practiced during the workshop:
Children's laughter rang through the halls, parents rushed busily from one room to the next and a large group of teachers assembled at Langley.
Sounds like a typical day at school. But this was Saturday.
In honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy, Tiger families spent Jan. 19 painting walls, moving furniture, cleaning shelves and organizing books. The commotion of improvements underway in the library stood in contrast to an adjacent room, where 35 teachers and aides quietly listened and took notes during a training session.
Though the two groups were on site for different activities, both sought the same purpose: the enrichment of our beloved community. Thanks, teachers and families for all your hard work today.
Ms. Ashley, at left, and Ms. Shalinee spend time with young students after school.
Parents with packed schedules, Langley's got your back!
Langley offers multiple choices for before and after care, after school enrichment classes and camps. This school year, thanks to Langley's partnerships with Springboard and Flex Academies, the school will also offer care options during all parent teacher conferences and professional development days, as well during both the weeklong February and April breaks and the eight-week summer break. This is a huge plus for busy families and a factor to consider when deciding on which school to send your kids to.
Aftercare is provided by both DCPS and our private provider, Springboard - so unlike many other DC schools, the program can continue to grow with our school and no child is turned away or placed on a waitlist. In addition to before and after care during normal schooldays, Springboard is also providing extended care during camp days during school vacations. Kids have a variety of activities to choose from after school: Flex Academies offers fun and educational enrichment classes such as yoga, music, dance and team sports. Flex will also be running our brand new summer camp this year and plans to hire Langley's teachers to facilitate it. Familiar faces will make the transition from school to camp a breeze for our kids!
Read on to get to know two of our wonderful Springboard teachers, Ms. Ashley and Ms. Shalinee. Ms Shalinee is also a DCPS substitute teacher and sometimes teaches regular classes.
Why did you decide to become a care provider?