Letter from the Principal

Letter from the PrincipalComments Off on Letter from the Principal

Dear Janney Families,

I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful weather on Saturday.  We look forward to warmer weather soon!

I am using tonight’s newsletter to discuss how our staffing model reflects our core values.  There are no other announcements or columns in my letter this week, and I hope you take the time to read this letter in its entirety.

Our core values promote achievement, inquiry, equity, collaboration, reflection, and experimentation.  These values guide the work that we do with children each and every day and guide the decisions that I make as Janney’s school leader. I work closely with the LSAT each year to ensure that our DCPS budget reflects our Janney values and that our current staffing model is working to serve all learners at Janney.  I have not spoken about the DCPS budget with the broader community yet this year because our FY 20 budget allows us to continue our current staffing model with no anticipated school-wide changes for next year.  I recently engaged with the parents of the first-grade cohort about our staffing model and supports for students, and I’d like to remind (or inform!) the broader community about the unique way that we staff our school through our co-teaching model.

Our co-teaching model allows us to provide a more flexible approach to meeting the needs of all students by adding one to two extra teachers at each grade level.  Co-teachers at Janney hold a Special Education teaching license and work closely with the classroom teachers at their assigned grade level.  In other schools, a special education teacher is assigned to multiple grade levels and works with a variety of students and teachers.  At Janney, a co-teacher works with one grade level and three to five teachers.  This model allows for more frequent and flexible small groups, for more collaborative planning time, and for a more responsive and innovative approach to teaching students. Many teachers identify the professional learning community and the co-teaching model as not only what initially attracted them to teach at Janney, but as key factors as to why they remain at Janney. This model allows us to promote achievement for our students, and engages our teachers in continual cycles of inquiry, collaborative planning, and reflection.  We also engage in equity-focused conversations as we work towards ensuring that students have what they need to be successful.

It is important to note that our co-teaching model is not something that is initially allocated in our DCPS budget each year.  We are allocated between four to five special education teachers annually, and we must use flexible funds to pay for four to five additional teachers.  The money that we are allocated for a second Assistant Principal and for additional front office staff is reallocated to pay for our co-teaching model, as is the money that we are allocated to spend on educational and custodial supplies.  We are incredibly fortunate to have a committed and dedicated parent community who is willing and able to ensure that we are able to maintain this staffing model by filling in the budgetary gaps.

Prior to making any changes to our staffing model, I look closely at the needs of our children.  If we have a larger cohort of students in any given year, as is the case this year with our current first grade students, my first question must be: What are the needs of the students and are we able to meet those needs within our current model?  After I look at the needs of the students, I then consider the school-wide impact of any changes to our model.  We are so fortunate to be well-resourced at Janney, but there are limitations to both our physical space and to our staffing allocation and budget. Larger class sizes are not ideal, but I must consider the needs of the students when making decisions, and not rely solely on class size numbers.  When we strive towards equity at Janney, we are working towards ensuring that every child gets what he or she needs to be successful, and this means that we must also allocate resources as needs demand.  These decisions are not easy, but they must be student-focused and values-based.

As a staff, we are continually examining our values and our model to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all students.  This year, our staff is engaging in conversations about equity and what equity could (and should) look like at Janney.  This is deep work that is on-going, and we look forward to future engagement with our parent community.

I have included links to further information below.  Please know that I appreciate your continued support and engagement and look forward to future conversations on how we can best serve the needs of all students.

Links for additional information:
*Here is a copy of the slide deck that was shared at the first-grade parent meeting.

*Parents have also reached out wondering if the larger first grade cohort represents a trend or whether it truly is a “bubble” year.  While other schools in Ward 3 have experienced fluctuations in their enrollment over the last few years, Janney has maintained relatively stable enrollment during my tenure.  A group of stakeholders recently worked with DCPS Central Office to address the issue of overcrowding in Ward 3 and the links below provide you access to that work.

-Read the Community Working Group on Overcrowding Report here.

-Read Parents’ and Community Members’ Response letter here:

Alysia Lutz, Principal

  • Janney Calendar

    February 2021

    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    • Beginning of Third Advisory
    • No School for Students, Teachers, Staff
    • DCPS Virtual School Day (No In-Person Learning)
    • Nando's Janney Night (40% goes back to Janney!)

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