11-06-2023 - CHEC BULLETIN

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Photos taken by H.B. Diaz
A Day

B Day
SLC Morning Meeting

A Day
SLC/MTSS morning meetings
Department Meetings

B Day
Department Meetings

Veteran’s Day Holiday

Principal: Maria Tukeva

NOVEMBER 6, 2023:


Today, we are  mourning the loss of a former student, Niko Estep, who was killed this weekend in a tragic event.  This loss is truly devastating for his family, our school, our community and city.  Niko was an eighth grader at CHEC last year, and was loved by his classmates, teachers, and school community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the community.  As a community, we will have support and services ready for those in need of processing and grief counseling.


This week the focus is on the phrase from our mission, “All Columbia Heights Education Campus graduates will be prepared to succeed in college, careers and civic life as leaders in the quest for social justice and anti-racism.  Our scholars are self-motivated, intellectually curious critical thinkers who value multilingualism and diversity.”  


As part of our mission aligned commitment to social justice and anti-racism, during November we celebrate Native American History Month.  During our Faculty Meeting last week, Mr. Stewart and Ms. Villareal shared a powerful documentary that addressed just one of the many little known or discussed points of history regarding Native Americans.

As educators, we embrace our role as “uncoverers” of new insights, history and knowledge of the many cultures that make up our school and our country.  We have a responsibility to acknowledge that we are living on Native American lands, and that the rich culture and contributions of Native Americans is something we need to study, respect, celebrate and cherish.  Please take advantage of the many resources our Librarians shared, as well as the resources in our city, such as the Native American History Museum, in order to increase your own, as well as our students’ knowledge and understanding.


“There is so much to be proud of at CHEC! The evidence of the push to increase student belonging through design principles was evident from planning in the lessons to the way staff engaged with students! The deep planning in each class and the attention to ensuring that learning always includes: reading, writing, speaking and listening was exemplary!” Instructional Superintendent David Pinder

On Tuesday, October 31st, we welcomed Instructional Superintendent Pinder and two members of the Cluster Support Team for our first Instructional Walk of the year.  These walks are part of the support structures provided by central office and provide us with feedback on our progress in meeting our CSP Goals.  In this first walk the team was focused on Routines and Relationships, Rigor (Productive Struggle), Assessment, and Student Engagement.  The team visited five classrooms, and provided overall positive feedback, with some suggestions  for further development and growth.  Please see some of the comments below.  Thank you Team for all you do!

Areas of Strength – School Wide Patterns

School Culture
  • Teachers/Staff present in the halls to allow for smooth transitions; meeting students at the door—this will ensure fewer hall disruptions! Well done.
  • Teachers/Staff appropriately stationed in ingress and egress areas ensuring that students moved along to class and that safety was a top school priority
  • Clear focus on improving relationships with students as communications in the halls were positive and affirmative (some teachers were fist pumping students as they entered class; administrators in the halls demonstrated they knew students names and started with positive affirmations and positive pushes rather than confrontation or disciplinary in nature; it’s clear that CHEC’s focus on the Becoming model is paying off as student/staff relations are growing

School Instruction
  • Strong evidence of backwards planning to standards and unit grasps; evidence of aligned exit tickets; content rich lessons—it’s clear that content drives planning—this is the hallmark for moving learning!
  • Students having time for Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking was evident in all classes observed; this is significant for moving achievement and staff should be encouraged for the work in this area
  • Time is provided for students in all lessons to do the work of the content
  • Students were provided opportunities in each lesson to talk to a partner or in their groups; there was evidence of reciprocal teaching in one lesson
  • Teacher modeling was evident in a majority of the rooms observed
  • Teachers know their content!

Areas of Opportunity -School Wide Patterns

School Culture
  • More focus may be needed on full school community support of keeping the building clean – helping to pick up after one another

School Instruction
  • Questioning - students can  be pushed more to grapple with the content/essential questions such that student misconceptions would surface and content transfer would endure. Asking students how they arrived at an answer or requiring that they connect their thinking to previous schema/content while grappling with the essential questions of the lesson will ensure maximum understanding of the content.  A recommended strategy is for teachers to plan their questions around how students might answer in real time and to plan for their misconceptions and correct responses—if a student answers correctly then teachers need to be prepared for the student to use text/content to explain their logic.

How Might We Use Design Thinking to Transform our School through Student Voice and Choice?”

As we continue in our journey to increased student voice and choice, it is important to reflect upon why we began this journey.  In our original educational audit in March of 2021, we saw in the data that too many students were failing early on in their high school career (9th grade) and never recovering, eventually leaving school or just scraping by.  In speaking with students, we heard that failure often was a result of their lack of interest and engagement in certain courses, and the feeling that they were not able to take the courses they really want to take.  They also cited needing more responsiveness to their socio-emotional needs, and wanting to be involved in decision making about their lives and futures.  Because of these needs, our Redesign has focused squarely on the themes we heard.

School wide Youth Voice and Choice and Design Thinking
So far, we have had over 80 students attend at least one meeting – we are almost one quarter of the way to our goal of 25%, or 400 students attending at least one leadership meeting.  We are working to create a safe space where students feel their voices are heard.  This can be supported as well in the classroom by making the classroom a place where student talk is prioritized.   Students are developing more confidence in sharing their voices as we provide more ongoing purpose and opportunities for the sharing.

Community Development Pilot

All students at CHEC are required to do 100 hours of community service.  Often, students have difficulty deciding what to do for service, and where to do it.  Our Social Issues Class is focused on having students assessing their communities’ needs, and determining a topic they want to explore deeply in order to engage in service learning.  During the PBL training, Mr. Bellido designed this project such that the students in the class will hold a Community Service Fair to engage their classmates in service.

Flex Schedule Pilot

In the ALT team meeting last week,  the discussion of the Master Schedule continued.  A full survey of staff and students will take place next week.  We will also look at First Advisory grades to see the impact of the change in the schedule.

Advisory Pilot

The Advisory Redesign Team met on Friday, and reviewed feedback on our Advisory curriculum this year, as well as reflected on the Big Idea Template for the course to see what we have covered and what students have learned so far.  Some of the key takeaways are:

  • Students and teachers enjoy the Choice Days
  • We need to have advisory days where students can set goals, work on assignments, and get support – self directed learning with support
  • Some lessons need to be made more developmentally appropriate for middle school, especially in terms of vocabulary development
  • Advisory may work better later in the day

The full report of our work is here ..\CHEXQ 23-24\Advisory Redesign Results and Next Steps.docx  We will be surveying students, and SLC’s will provide time to reflect on the curriculum and implementation of the Advisory pilot.

Co-Designed PBL Pilot

During Friday’s PD time, all departments had time to reflect on the learnings from the PBL Works and to apply this to GRASPS in Advisory 2.  The teachers piloting the co-designed PBL are the only ones who are designing with planned student input.  All other teachers are working on enhancing our current project based learning with more authentic audiences and roles.  We will be offering a professional development in co-designing on November 15 – details forthcoming.  



As mentioned above, during last week’s Instructional Walk, we got a great deal of positive feedback about the “feel” of the building, and the focus on belonging.  Walk throughs and observations can provide significant data in the form of an “uncommon measure”, in other words specific anecdotal data.  This change in the culture is do the hard work of all staff and students, and our focus on making sure all students feel a sense of belonging.  This week, we will continue the focus on having a warm welcome to the building and to every class.   

It is also important to utilize the color-coded passes. If you need another one, please let the culture team know. You have received information from the Culture  team on these initiatives, as well as how our Culture team will support all staff in maintaining a positive culture.  The norms have been discussed in detail in Advisory over the first four weeks, and it is important to continue to use the language of the norms throughout the school year, in a co-regulatory fashion.

  • Shout out to the whole CHEC Team for a Tremendous Tenth Week of School!
  • Shout out to Mr. Stewart and Ms. Villareal for a fantastic Faculty Meeting!
  • Thank you to all for supporting our first Instructional Walk with IS Pinder and members of the Cluster Support Team!  Special Shout out to Ms. Chiu, Ms. Ferguson, Mr. Icso, Ms. Blankson, Ms. Belser, Mr. Aguilar, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Rahman, and Ms. Roman for welcoming the team!  
  • Shout out to Ms. Belton for her leadership in organizing vaccination clinics!
  • Shout out to Ms. Ferguson for Coordinating the Cheesy Sweater Competition!
  • Kudos to Dr. Brown and Mr. Whitney for organizing the Halloween Costume Contest!
  • Shout out to Mr. H. Diaz for taking 15 students to the White House celebration of Dia de los Muertos, and for taping an interview with Univision!
  • Shout out to Ms. Garcia, Mr. Onley, Ms. Pugh, Ms. Bryant and the CTE team for organizing our first CTE Career Fair for 8th Graders!
  • Shout out to Mr. Galvan and Mr. Odom for attending Recruitment events at middle schools last week! Shout out to all who attended our Advisory Redesign Sprint on Friday – Ms. DeVargas, Ms. Joseph, Mr. Loria, Ms. Gbondo, Mr. Layne, Mr. Williams, Ms. West, Ms. Thweatt, Ms. Massoni, Ms. Avila, Mr. Smith, Mr. Garcia, Ms. Barnes, Ms. Paz, Ms. Ameyaw, Ms. Penn, Ms. Pugh, Mr. Bellido, Ms. Weiss, Ms. Henderson and Mr. Mendez.
  • Shout out to the ALT team for welcoming students to the meeting on Tuesday!

I would like to recognize Ms. Gutierrez and Mr. Narvaez for the amazing work that their students have done to design their sessions. I was very happy to see students teaching their peers how to make traditional food from their country. So far, students have learned to cook rice with veggies, Colombian and Venezuelan arepas, pupusas, among other exciting things. The students are really enjoying their time together and even though they are from different ages, they have built a very cute tight nit community and camaraderie which is even evident when I see them interact during class transition.

Thank you, Ms. Gutierrez and Mr. Narvaez for not only teaching content, but also life skills that will be with your students for the rest of their lives, as the also build a sense of belonging in our school community. Congratulations, I appreciate you!

Gabriela Ramirez
Intermediate ESL-Math Teacher / Acceleration Academy Coordinator

Week 1 of Advisory 2

We are beginning week 1 of the Second Advisory! Grades are due by November 14, close of business.  Please continue to accept work this week in order to ensure students can achieve to their highest level.

The beginning of the new advisory and new unit should revolve around the launch of the new GRASPS/Project. In order to launch an project that gains student interest and engagement, the launch should center on the driving question, and provide students with the opportunity to reflect on the project and connect to their own interests and passions.

CHEC Testing Corner: November 6 – November 10

This week students in grades 6-8 will demonstrate the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired in their math classes. On Thursday, November 9 our Lincoln Knights will take their first Required Curricular Task (RCT), which will measure students’ understanding of their grade level Illustrated Math curriculum. Students will be testing in a dedicated testing environment, which will help prepare them for upcoming assessments like ANET, ACCESS, and DC CAPE. Good luck Lincoln Knights!

All SAT and PSAT scores will be released in the next week. Students in grades 9 through 11 will participate in an advisory lesson to understand their scores and set SMART goals for the next time they test – either in the spring for our Juniors, or in the fall for our Freshmen and Sophomores. Students who do not see scores should reach out to their grade level counselors or Ms. Bruemmer.  
Finally, ANET ELA is just around the corner! Students in grades 6 through 8 will take ANET on November 14th, while students in grades 9 through 10 will take ANET on November 16th. ANET is a curriculum-based assessment that measures students’ understanding and mastery of our English Language Arts curriculum. Our ELA teachers have been working hard to prepare their students for their first ANET assessment of the school year.  

The Whole Child

Let's take some time and remember to give thanks this holiday season.  To show trust building interactions, one will have to recognize the good and let students know there are consequences for the bad. Giving thanks is a great way to show respect and trust in a student because it lets students know you care.  So give thanks and show trust and support to students this holiday season.

Ms Planter

Buddy Teacher Program

A Buddy Teacher is a veteran CHEC teacher who will be paired with a new teacher (new to teaching or an experienced teacher new to CHEC) to provide support throughout the 2023-2024 school year. A Buddy Teacher is expected to introduce themselves and check-in with their buddy regularly. Buddy Teachers will provide their buddy guidance on navigating things ranging from how to print to IMPACT to classroom management tips and tricks. Buddy Teachers are not expected to be experts on all topics but, when needed, should point their buddies to the people in the building who are experts. Our goals through the Buddy Teacher Program are to a) provide new teachers with more supports, b) create a stronger sense of belonging for new teachers, c) cultivate an environment where all teachers feel they have the resources they need to succeed, and d) foster a culture of shared leadership within our CHEC community.

Instructional Calendar

The Instructional Calendar is a living document that houses all the major curricular requirements, assessments, and schoolwide events. The Instructional Calendar can be found on the CHEC Corner on Canvas, and you have also received an invitation to share the calendar.   If you have any requests for additions to the Instructional Calendar, please contact Ms. Massoni, Mr. Whitney, or Ms. Bruemmer.

Professional Development

INSIGHT SURVEY – It is time again to share feedback via the Insight Survey. The Insight survey is an opportunity to provide feedback on  school environment, professional development, leadership, observation, and evaluation. Time will be provided in one of the SLC meetings this week for teachers to complete this survey. Your voice and ideas matter! Please take the Insight Survey. If you did not get a link, please let your SLC administrator know. Thank you!

Please see the Instructional Coaches November PD Offerings and sign up!

This week a team of five CHEC faculty (Ms. Vialpando-Strickland, Ms. Perez, Ms. Charles, Mr. Narvaez, and Mr. Chavez)  will attend the LaCosecha Conference in New Mexico. This is a conference focused on dual language programming and instruction.

The ALT team is serving to guide our Redesign and our Comprehensive School Plan, and will be meeting every two weeks.  The fifth  ALT team Meeting was Tuesday, October 31st. Notes can be found here. We need to hear all voices on the ALT and we embrace student attendance and voices. The next ALT Team Meeting will be on Tuesday, November 13th at 3:30 pm in the middle school library. We will continue to look at first advisory data and make adjustments to our practices as needed, we will also begin the process of focusing on collecting data on “small wins” or indicators of what is working.

October is Growing Healthy Schools Month (GHSM)! GHSM celebrates how schools are creating healthy places for all students.   You can take the pledge here.  All it takes is 5 minutes! Please share with your staff and teachers at Columbia Heights Education Campus, the more pledges the better! Please contact the GHSM team at OSSE.Nutritionprogram@dc.gov with any questions.

Happy Homecoming Week Griffins!!!!

Message from Deans:

Happy November and countdown to Thanksgiving!   Are you ready for the holiday season ahead?!  Well if you are, remember that some of our students may not be.  If you haven’t noticed, Mondays and Thursdays/Fridays or days prior to/after long breaks from school are our most challenging days with student behavior. For some students, not coming to school due to weekends or holiday breaks could potentially be a trigger due to trauma or environmental factors outside of school.   And coming back to school from a possibly overwhelming environment can be a tough transition for some students. School is a safehaven for many students, which is why more than ever before, our actions and engagement matter.  

In our next phase and focus of “CHEC’s Belonging and Becoming”, we will be visiting classes more to observe the environment while offering support around classroom culture and engagement.   Please remember to create an environment that is warm, welcoming, equitable and student focused.

Checkout this short video about “Building a Belonging Classroom.


  • Shoutout to all teachers, school leaders and non-instructional team members who participated in PD last Friday to collaborate around Advisory from the data and feedback that was received.
  • Shoutout to the entire MH Team who are extremely responsive and proactive as it relates to student support.
  • Welcome to our newest Culture Team Members Ms. Gbondo, Student Resource Coordinator and Ms. Barnes, HS Behavior Tech!!!! In the short weeks that they have been here, they have made a tremendous impact in student support and school culture.  


Please ensure that you have a hall pass. If you do not, please inform a member of the culture team.  Students are required to have a laminated colored pass to use the restrooms and travel to authorized locations in general.

Best Practices  
  • Please make sure you give passes at all times
  • Always write students’ Time Out and Return Time
  • Only one student should be out of class at a time
  • Enforce the 10/10 Rule (No passes during the first 10 and last 10 minute of class.
  • Do not issue passes during lunch periods. Students should have taken care of their needs during lunch or transitions.


November Restorative DC Events and Calendar


Athletics are an integral part of the educational program and a means to accomplish the goals of education. Our athletic program exists for the welfare of students and the contributions it makes to their educational experience.  Athletic participation builds self-esteem and confidence and provides the necessary tools for success. The interaction between individuals on the fields of sport teaches students the value of teamwork, while developing the proper competitive spirit, combined with a sense of fairness.

MCIP Sports
Team Boys' Soccer Girls' Soccer DC Scores Boys' Soccer DC Scores Girls' Soccer Volleyball Football
LINCOLN 6 - 5 1 - 5 - 2 3 - 0 - 1 3 - 4 - 1 4 - 8 -
BELL 10 - 2 - 2 4 - 4 12 - 5 7 - 2
Day Games
TUESDAY HS BSOC vs. Capital City PCS at TBD @ TBD (DCSAA Playoffs con't)
MS BSOC vs. Browne at Spingarn @ 5:00
HS VB vs. DCI at CHEC @ 5:00 (DCSAA Playoffs)
HS VB DCSAA playoffs con't at TBD @ TBD
HS FB vs. Anacostia at Cardozo @ 6pm (DCIAA semifinals)
FRIDAY HS VB DCSAA championships
HS BSOC DCSAA semifinals at TBD @ TBD
Team Result
MS BSOC MS BSOC team defeated Kelly Miller 8 - 0 and Cardozo 8 - 3
MS VB Lost to Leckie 0 – 2. This loss ends our Lady Knights' season. Contrats on a great season
HS VB Lost to SWW in the DCIAA semifinals but have qualified for the DCSAA playoffs
HS BSOC Lost to Jackson-Reed in the DCIAA championship on penalty kicks. The HS BSOC have also qualified for the DCSAA playoffs
HS Football Will participate in the DCIAA semifinals this week
11/01/23 - Photo Op with High School Girls Soccer Team
10/31/23 - Lincoln vs Kelly Miller : Lincoln Wins 8 - 0 . Photos by Josue Ramirez Siguenza
10/30/23 - Bell vs Jackson-Reed in DCIAA Championship: Bell lost on penalty kicks. Photos by Lisbeth Olivar.
To participate in sports, including tryouts, students must complete participation paperwork and upload their physical via https://www.thedciaa.com/participation-forms.  Anyone with questions, should contact the CHEC athletic director, Coach A in room D236, or via email at desmond.alexander@k12.dc.gov. Spring sports practice have begun.

Desmond Alexander, CAA
Athletic Directo.  
Columbia Heights Educational Campus
Bell/Lincoln Multicultural Schools

(202) 939-7700 Ext: 5207 (office)
(202) 576-9147 (fax)

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