11-20-2023 - CHEC BULLETIN

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A Day

B day
SLC Morning Meeting

No School

Thanksgiving - No School

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Principal: Maria Tukeva

NOVEMBER 20, 2023:



This week the focus is on the phrase from our mission, “We trust one another to continuously improve our practices.”  

As we begin the holiday season, a time of reflection and gratitude, the idea of trust becomes even more important.  When we express and receive gratitude, we trust that all community members have the best intentions not only for each of us personally, but for our whole community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of the CHEC Team, staff, students, and families, for choosing our community as the place to do the life affirming work you do, and for showing kindness and compassion to one another.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community, and for all of the inspiring deeds and services each of you accomplish every day.  This past week, a group of 45 students and 15 staff, united in a trust building experience at Camp Horizons. The power of this is shown by the following quotes from students:

One thing I learned is that you should pay close attention and it felt good to build shelters.
-Sixth Grade Student

Because of my group I learned that if you have a good environment around you and surrounded by good people as well, any task can be accomplished. I learned that in high risk situations I somehow manage to stay calm in those situations.  Overall, my cabin assignment and activity group assignment were all cool experiences and I met people I’ve never met.  Today, I did caving.  Because of that I learned to have faith in others.  Moving forward we have to focus on the next generation of high school.
-Twelfth Grade Student

Today, I went horse riding and went on a Big Swing.  Because of that I was able to learn that everyone can have a chance.  Because of that, I now see that I  can work with anybody.  You have to have patience.  Moving forward, I hope that we can focus on more team work activities.
-Eighth Grade Student

Today I did caving and horseback riding, and Giant Swing.  Because of that, I was able to learn to be patient, calm, and how to be more understanding of other people’s opinion. Because of that, I now see a difference in me.  I have more/a lot of potential to change my ways.  Moving forward, I hope we focus more on being together and planning things at school.
-Tenth Grade Student

For the rest of this school year, may we trust that each day, there will be a moment or moments which inspire us to reflect and grow.

Have a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving holiday!

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 100 students attend at least one meeting – we are  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.

Wellness Pilots

Camp Horizons was truly amazing, and all chaperones and students were  superstars! We are going to try and build out a PD strand that uses Camp Horizons and experiential learning as an experience for all staff and students. This will basically a new prototype for PD based on building belonging through experiential learning for staff and students. We will have a follow up session on November 30 with students and staff to build out ideas.

  • Students excited to participate in decisions for the schools - attend admin meetings, faculty and      ALT meetings
  • Intentional Community Building
  • Students Feel a sense of ownership
  • More positive interactions after the trip
  • Adults seeing students in a more positive light
  • Message to students - you have leadership and we believe in you
  • Build relationship with them

Next steps on how to use it at school  
  • Mentorship peer to peer  
  • Keep track of Measurables for those who went: Pre and post attendance, Panorama Survey Attendance,SEL,Behavior, Attendance at Admin Meeting

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

We continue to hear feedback from students, through SGA, on the A day B day schedule.  Please participate this week in the schoolwide survey, and encourage students to participate, so that we can make changes in the second semester in response to student and staff needs. We will also look at First Advisory grades to see the impact of the change in the schedule.

Advisory Pilot

The Admin Team reviewed all feedback on Advisory given by staff and students so far, and have recommended the following next steps:

  • Student feedback is needed by grade level (having students come into SLC to provide feedback)
  • Increase in flex days/time for teachers to check in with students
  • Walkthroughs of Advisory to observe implementation and get feedback in real time from teachers/students  
  • Each day with a different theme is making advisory disjointed and difficult to get a rhythm around a topic – consider focusing on a theme for a week or two  
  • Use one SLC meeting per month to work on/practice Advisory Curriculum

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

Project Based Learning with authentic audiences and compelling driving questions is part of our focus on meaningful engaged learning for all students.  We now have 16 teachers implementing this enhanced approach to designing and implementing projects.  In reviewing feedback on this pilot, these are some schoolwide next steps:

  • As a school we will focus on enhancing our current Grasp across all classes by building in authentic audiences, stronger driving/essential questions,  and youth voice/choice.
  • Teachers will be given the opportunity to enhance an upcoming project from 2nd semester with one or both of the gold standard characteristics.
  • We will curate as a team a set of PBL resources, including sample projects, from the PBL Works site and our own teachers who are piloting and developing materials.
  • Assistant Principals, Directors and Coordinators will provide resources to Chairpersons and teachers from the PBL Works site, and incorporate these into coaching, informal, and formal observation feedback.



As we begin Advisory 2, it is important to reset norms, by reflecting with students on how well we are upholding them as a community.  We are starting to see more students out of class without passes, and this is a reflection on how well students are owning their learning and showing dependability.  When students are out of class without  a clear purpose, it is difficult to maintain a safe and productive environment.  Please take time this week to discuss the norms, and to emphasize the importance of being in 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 Terrific Twelfth Week of School!
  • Shout out to all who attended our amazing Camp Horizons experience for our students we want to bring closer to a sense of belonging – Ms. Weiss for coordination and leadership, Mr. Valdivia, Mr. Jones, Ms. Avila, Mr. Williams, Ms. Barnes, Ms. Gbondo, Mr. Valdivia, Mr. Sanford, Mr. Whitney, Mr. K. Garcia, Ms. Marques, Ms. Marshall, Mr. P. Ramirez, Ms. J. Alvarado, Mr. Arabian, Mr. Strickland!  All chaperones showed true love and collaboration with our scholars and our scholars were all fantastic leaders and participants!
  • Shout out to Mr. Odom and the Enrollment/Registration team for continuing to work on our audit!  
  • Shout out to Mr. Galvan and Mr. Odom  for attending  Recruitment  events!  
  • Shout out to Ms. Bruemmer, and Middle School and Grades 9/10 AP’s and Counselors for a great ANET ELA last week!
  • Shout out to Coach Layne and Coach Bellido for making it to MS Soccer Finals!
  • Shout out to Ms. Belton for coordinating our Vaccination Clinic, and for testifying in front of the School Board on behalf of our male teen fathers and their need for equitable absence policies – the School Board changed their policy based on her testimony!
  • Shout out to Ms. Scott and Ms. Massoni for the middle school Career Fair last week!
  • Shout out to Coach A and all Fall Sports coaches for a great Fall Season!
  • Kudos to Mr. Whitney and Ms. Burnett for organizing a skating trip!
  • Shout out  to all who attended the LSAT meeting to plan our appeal of our enrollment projection and recruitment plan – Mr. Odom, Mr. Smith, Dr. Emilius, Dr. Lainez, Mr. Hearn, Mr. Haddad, and multiple students and parents!
  • Shout out to Ms. Fox for creating a partnership with Tubman for her Drama Class and reading plays to the little ones!
  • Kudos to Ms. DeVargas for beginning our Cafeteria mural!
  • Shout out to the whole team for the exemplary report we got from the SEAD office on all of our CTE and College and Career Initiatives!
  • Shout out to Coach Duvall and AP Boone for hosting the RJ PD at CHEC and sharing our best practices!
Week 3 of Advisory 2

We are beginning week 3 of the Second Advisory! This week is a very short week, and leads into the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday is stressful for some of our students, so it is recommended to engage in some reflection activities that will help them feel connected before and during the break.

It is recommended not to introduce a lot of new material/information, as that would be hard to maintain over the break.  What is helpful is to have students set goals for the independent learning they want to do over the break. This could be deeper research on some of the projects they are interested in, planning to visit places in the city that could inform their research, or simply writing down their reflections.

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.  Another lever for engagement is making sure the audience students present their project to, is an authentic audience – for example, and expert in the field, invited representatives of local government, or corporate partners.  After the launch, the project serves as the focus of instruction.  Each day, students work to build understanding of the standards that the project addresses, through their work on the project.

Coaching Corner
The Coaching Team would like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoy the break from school. While we do not have any PD sessions planned for this week, we do have two fantastic PD opportunities upon our return from the break:

  • Mr. Zack on Discovering Racial Identity (11/28) - Come read an excerpt from "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria" by Beverly Daniel Tatum. This iconic book delves into the development of racial identity, especially during adolescence. Come discuss the research and findings of this renowned author through an anti-racist lens while also reflecting on your own connections to the text.

  • Ms. Ermis on LGBTQ+ for Beginners (11/29) - This training will provide participants with a basic understanding of LGBTQ+ identities, orientations, and expressions. It is the foundational knowledge you will need for the training at the December staff meeting and the January PD day. If you have ever wondered - Why pronouns? What does it mean to be pansexual? What is the difference between gender expression and identity?  - This training is for you!

More information on each PD session and the registration form can be found here.

A calendar of future PD sessions can be found here.

Want to facilitate a PD session? We would love to add you to our calendar! Email the Coaching Team and let us know: coachingteam@DCk12.onmicrosoft.com

CHEC Testing Corner: November 20 – November 24

Congratulations to everyone who supported the SAT and PSAT in October. Central Office has informed us that we had the highest participation rate increase from 2022 to 2023 in the District – from 84% to 97%! All students who participated in the PSAT should have access to their scores by now through their College Board accounts. Twelfth graders who took the SAT may still be having trouble accessing their scores. We are working with DCPS and the College Board to rectify this issue. Any 12th grader who urgently needs their scores should reach out to Ms. Bruemmer to access them.

Shout out to the 7th grade team for having the highest participation rate on ELA ANET and the Math RCT – 91% and 97% respectively! We are now creating makeup plans for any student who missed assessments this week. If you need assistance acquiring devices, reach out to Ms. Bruemmer and Mr. Tobias so that we can reach our 95% participation rate goal.

Thank you to all faculty that supported testing this week. As we work to continuously improve our assessment practices, please reach out with any suggestions or ideas you may have for upcoming testing.

The Whole Child

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃🍁 This is the time of year to be thankful. The Whole Child Antiracist initiative allows for everybody to give thanks or to be thankful.  This season take some time to give thanks.  Be cheerful, and consider the cultures of others while bringing Thanks.  Be thankful that we as Americans can celebrate each other's differences, and be thankful that we can show students how to be grateful by giving thanks.  So take a little time to share your holiday with other cultures and be thankful for Thanksgiving.

Ms Planter

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 Thank you for participating in the Insight Survey! We had a 76% completion rate!

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 28   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.

Local School Advisory Team (LSAT)

The LSAT met on November 14, and reviewed the enrollment projections of DCPS. After discussion of the impact of the drastic reduction in enrollment, the team agreed that we should petition for a higher enrollment level.  The petition was submitted, and it was to increase to 1567, our last year’s enrollment.  We will find out in two to three weeks if it was approved.  The team also began to brainstorm and sketch out our recruitment strategy.  We need all hands on deck to support! Please let Mr. Odom know if you can support some of our Recruitment activities.  The LSAT is composed of teachers, support staff, students, community members and parents, and is charged with developing the schools budget and monitoring the Comprehensive School Plan.    If you would like to attend the next LSAT meeting, it will be Wednesday, December 13 at 3:30 pm  in the Cafeteria.  



Katherine exemplifies pride and poise. Careful attention to detail in her work and a calming presence in her learning communities. Katherine is thoughtful, hardworking, and takes the iniative to complete her work! Very mature approach to her education.

Katherine is consistently excellent. She is always respectful and strives to be successful at everything she does. She is currently applying to become part of the Dual Enrollment college program.


"Sindy is such a sweet young lady who greets teachers each morning and afternoon with a smile and kind words. She actively participates in class and does a nice job on her work without needing praise or attention. We can always count on her to do the right thing whether we are watching or not"


"Yadira is a great student who works hard and she sets a quiet example for others to follow. We are so glad to have gotten to know Yadira this year and we can't wait to see what things the future holds for her."


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 haven for many students, which is why more than ever before, our actions and engagement matter.

Please continue to be proactive and use empathy when addressing some of the behaviors heading into the final weeks. Please see the article here, "Thanksgiving/Winter Break Blues" for strategies that will support our students.

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.

Reminder: ALL professional development and Community of Practice sessions will be held in person this school year.

November Restorative DC Events and Calendar

Wednesday, November 29

Wednesday, December 7


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 7 - 5 1 - 5 - 2 3 - 0 - 1 3 - 4 - 1 4 - 8 -
BELL 11 - 3 - 2 4 - 4 12 - 6 7 - 3
Day Games
Team Result
MS BSOC MS BSOC team defeated Browne
HS VB Lost to DCI in the DCSAA playoffs
HS BSOC Defeated Capital City but lost to Washington International in the DCSAA playoffs
HS Football Lost to Anacostia in the DCIAA playoffs
11/08/23 - MS Girls Soccer vs Cardozo. Photos by Josue Ramirez.
11/08/23 - HS Boys Soccer vs Washington International in DCSAA Playoffs. Photos by Lisbeth Olivar.
11/07/23 - HS Boys Soccer vs Capital City. Photos by Lisbeth Olivar.
To participate in sports, including tryouts, students must complete 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.

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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