Message from Principal Hedlund

Dr. Phyllis HedlundPrincipal Newsletters

Principal's Newsletter

Hi Shepherd Families! Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Presidents’ Day! I hope you enjoyed a restful long weekend. 

Black History Month

We are hosting two all-school meetings to celebrate Black History Month, and this year we are focused on Black History in the District. The all-school meetings will take place on 2/19 and 2/26 from 9:00-10:00 am. Look forward to an invitation to both events soon. We will be taping these events for those of you who cannot attend live.

In addition, we are running a school-wide Passport to Black History in the District. Families can go visit the sites on the attached, document their visit and send their pics to us here:

Scavenger Hunt Photos.  We will have a slideshow at all school meetings to celebrate participation. 

Dr. Brown shared the following resources:

In great honor and loving remembrance

Remembering Hank Aaron, one of the greatest MLB players everMLB is devastated by the passing of Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, one of the greatest players and people in the history of our game. He was 86. Don’t forget to subscribe! Follow us elsewhere too: Twitter: Instagram: Facebook: TikTok: https …
Hollywood legend Cicely Tyson recounts life, career in new memoir96-year-old stage and screen icon Cicely Tyson opens up to Gayle King about her impressive career and personal life, which she wrote about in her new memoir, “Just As I Am.” Watch “CBS This Morning” HERE: Download the CBS News app on iOS HERE: Download the CBS News app on Android HERE: https://bit …

How to Get Black History Right: A SeriesWhat does it mean to be an educator of Black history? Educators, students, and historians

Why We Need Black History Month—Especially This Year | Teaching ToleranceBlack History Month begins February 1! And while we know anti-racist educators teach Black history year-round, we hope these resources will help you consider how you’re framing the month this particular year. Learn more about the need for—and history behind—Black History Month and get support for teaching Black history in a way that moves beyond trauma and embraces liberation and

Pre-K thru 1st

Animated Black History Stories: Positive Black History for Kids American History [Music Videos]SUBSCRIBE TODAY! to view our latest animated black history videos. ************************************************************* Discover more positive Black history for kids through animated Black history stories and American history music videos at …
Kamala Harris Reads “Superheroes Are Everywhere” | Gotham ReadsGotham Reads presents Kamala Harris, Vice President Elect, reading her book “Superheroes Are Everywhere”. Before Kamala Harris became a district attorney and a United States senator, she was a little girl who loved superheroes. And when she looked around, she was amazed to find them everywhere! In her family, among her friends, even down …

2nd – 3rd

The ABCs of Black History Month | African-American HistoryTime to brush up on your Black History facts! This kid-friendly video uses colorful graphics, music and narration to showcase a Black history fact for each letter of the alphabet. Check us out on TpT for more #BlackHistoryMonth goodies and other content:
Top 10 Interesting Facts about Kamala Harris | Bio, Family, & more | Black History for Students#FresbergCartoon #BlackHistory #KamalaHarris Join us for another Black History Spotlight for Students as we share our Top 10 Interesting Facts about Kamala Harris. With a long list of achievements in the legal and political world Harris is a role model serving as the vice president of the United States. Each week we highlight American Black …

3rd – 5th

Kamala Harris has message for children during victory speechKamala Harris had a message for children during her victory speech: “Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they’ve never seen it before.” Subscribe to CTV News to watch more videos: Connect with CTV News: For the latest news visit: http …

TED Talks (3rd – 5th)

The Atlantic slave trade: What too few textbooks told youSlavery has occurred in many forms throughout the world, but the Atlantic slave trade — which forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas — stands out for both its global scale and its lasting legacy. Anthony Hazard discusses the historical, economic and personal impact of this massive historical injustice. [Directed by NEIGHBOR, narrated by Addison Anderson]
A musical that examines black identity in the 1901 World’s Fair | Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe KootinVisit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized Talk recommendations and more. In this lively talk and performance, artist and TED Fellow Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin offers a sneak peek of her forthcoming musical \”At Buffalo.\” Drawing on archival material from the 1901 Pan-American …
How one journalist risked her life to hold murderers accountable – Christina GreerIda B. Wells was an investigative journalist, civil rights leader, and anti-lynching advocate who fought for equality and justice. — In the late
The immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks – Robin BulleriView full lesson: Imagine something small enough to float on a particle of dust that holds the keys to understanding cancer, virology, and genetics. Luckily for us, such a thing exists in the form of trillions upon trillions of human, lab-grown cells called HeLa. But …
The hidden life of Rosa Parks – Riché D. RichardsonLearn about the life of civil rights activist Rosa Parks— her work with the NAACP, bus boycotts, and her lifelong fight against racial inequality. — Throughout her life, Rosa Parks repeatedly challenged racial violence and the prejudiced systems protecting its perpetrators. Her refusal to move to the back of a segregated bus ignited a …
Why should you read sci-fi superstar Octavia E. Butler? – Ayana Jamieson and Moya BaileyExplore the works of science fiction visionary Octavia E. Butler, whose novels, such as “Parable of the Sower,” influenced the growing popularity of Afrofuturism. — Much science fiction features white male heroes who blast aliens or become saviors of brown people. Octavia E. Butler knew she could tell a better story. She built stunning …
The real story of Rosa Parks — and why we need to confront myths about black history | David IkardVisit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more. Black history taught in US schools is often watered-down, riddled with inaccuracies and stripped of its context and rich, full-bodied historical figures. Equipped with the real story of Rosa Parks, professor David …
The chaotic brilliance of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat – Jordana Moore SaggeseLearn about the life of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, from his start as part of graffiti duo SAMO to his rise as an internationally renowned painter. — Like Beat writers who composed their work by shredding and reassembling scraps of writing, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat used similar techniques to remix his materials. Pulling in …

Shepherd Park

Shepherd Elementary parent Derek Musgrove’s site traces the history of Black Power in the District.

Shepherd alum Andre Jones is featured in this interview about his military service.

Called to Serve – A Soldier’s Story_Andre

Enjoy your weekend,


Passport to Black History in the District

This February, explore Black History in the District of Columbia. Although some of these locations may be closed due to the pandemic, you can do some research on what makes them of historical significance and put them on your bucket list (if you haven’t already visited) for when life goes back to normal.

Document your progress through the sites here: Scavenger Hunt Photos.


A. Phillip Randolph Monument

Union Station, neat the Starbucks at the boarding gates

Honors the labor leader and civil rights leader who served as the leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first black union to successfully negotiate a contract with a major employer, when the Pullman Company agreed to increase wages, shorten hours, and pay overtime to its black workforce.

Anthony Bowen/Underground Railroad Site

Described at Sixth and Water streets, SW

Anthony Bowen (ca.1805–1872), born enslaved in nearby Prince George’s County, Maryland, moved to Washington in 1826 and became legally free by 1830. He helped to found the St. Paul AME Church in 1856 and established a Sunday Evening School for children and adults. Both met in his home in the 900 block of E Street, SW (now part of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway). An active abolitionist, Bowen met freedom-seekers at the Sixth Street wharf and sheltered them at his home.

Banneker Park

Marked at L’Enfant Promenade, SW, south end

Benjamin Banneker (1731–1806), born in Baltimore County, Maryland, grew up on a tobacco farm and worked into adulthood as a planter. With disciplined self-study, Banneker became an exceptionally learned astronomer and mathematician. In 1791 he assisted Andrew Ellicott on the survey of the territory designated for Washington, DC. Banneker used sophisticated instruments to observe stars at night. His calculations were used to determine where to place the 40 boundary stones that would mark the 10 square miles of the new federal district. The marker sits atop a hill that offers dramatic views of the city.

Emancipation Memorial

East Capitol Street NE, Lincoln Park

Located in Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill, the Emancipation Memorial features President Abraham Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation in his right hand and holding his left hand over the head of a liberated slave kneeling at his feet. The bronze statue, designed by sculptor Thomas Ball, was built almost entirely with funds donated by former slaves and dedicated in 1876. The statue was unveiled on the 11th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, with Frederick Douglass delivering the keynote address to President Ulysses S. Grant and more than 25,000 people in attendance.

Frederick Douglas National Historic Site

1411 W Street SE

Preserves and interprets Cedar Hill, where Frederick Douglass lived from 1877 until his death in 1895. The historic house sits on top of a 50-foot hill and eight acres of the original estate and house is furnished with original objects that belonged to Frederick Douglass


Decatur House/Slave Quarters

748 Jackson Place, NW

This historic house museum, completed in 1818 for white naval hero Stephen Decatur and his wife Susan, contains one of Washington’s few remaining slave quarters. The two-story service wing, where enslaved people lived and worked, runs along the H Street side of the house and now serves as the exhibit gallery and gift shop. A permanent exhibit tells the story of Charlotte Dupuy, who grew up enslaved in Kentucky and married Aaron Dupuy, also enslaved. The Dupuys and their two children were owned by U.S. Representative Henry Clay, who moved the family to this house in Washington in 1827. Charlotte Dupuy unsuccessfully sued Clay for her freedom.

Freedom Plaza

National Mall and Memorial Parks, Pennsylvania Avenue at 14th Street

Originally Western Plaza, it was renamed in 1988 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who wrote his “I Have a Dream” speech at the nearby Willard Hotel. A time capsule with relics from King’s life, including one of his Bibles, is buried in the plaza and will be opened in 2088.

Frederick Douglass Museum and Hall of Fame for Caring Americans

320 A Street, NE

Frederick Douglass (ca. 1818–1895), the leading black statesman of his time, lived the last 25 years of his life in Washington. In 1870 he arrived from Rochester, New York, as corresponding editor of the New Era newspaper. Douglass and his wife Anna Murray Douglass lived in 316 A Street and later purchased 318. In 1877 they moved to Cedar Hill in Anacostia. Numbers 316, 318 and 320 became the Museum of African Art in 1964, the first U.S. museum of its kind. In 1987 the museum—now the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art—moved to the National Mall. Today the houses serve as the Frederick Douglass Museum and Hall of Fame for Caring Americans

Lincoln Memorial

National Mall

Site where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech” and Marion Anderson performed in concert after being denied access to the DAR Constitution Hall because of her race.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

West Potomac Park, 1964 Independence Avenue NW

Dedicated in 2011, the memorial honors Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and the struggle for freedom, equality and justice.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Smithsonian Institution Constitution Avenue, NW, between 14th and 15th streets

A place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience.


African American Civil War Memorial

1925 Vermont Ave, NW

Commemorates the military service of hundreds of thousands of Civil War era African American soldiers and sailors. Etched into stainless steel panels of the memorial are names identifying 209,145 United States Colored Troops (USCT) who responded to the Union’s call to arms.

Duke Ellington Residences

1805 and 1816 13th Street, NW

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, the internationally renowned composer and musician, spent his teenage years at 1805 13th Street (1910- 1914) and then at 1816 13th Street (1915- 1917). He later attributed his professional success to his parents, his music teachers, and the patrons of Frank Holliday’s poolroom at 624 T Street. Ellington formed “The Duke’s Serenaders” here before moving to New York in 1923. He became a hit in Harlem, and launched a recording career that brought him worldwide fame. Throughout his 50-year career, Ellington returned often to Washington to perform, frequently staying at the nearby Whitelaw Hotel.

Howard Theatre

620 T Street NW

A premiere showcase for more than 70 years from its opening in 1910, two decades before Harlem’s Apollo Theater. Native Washingtonians Duke Ellington and Mary Jefferson performed here, as did Ella Fitzgerald, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, and Motown’s great acts. In 1970 the theater closed after audiences dwindled in response to desegregation and the 1968 riots. The theater was declared a historic landmark in 1974, and re-opened in 1975 with go-go and rock ‘n’ roll. A few years later it closed again. In 2012 the dramatically restored Howard opened.

Lincoln Theater

1215 U Street NW

Located on Black Broadway, next to Ben’s Chili Bowl, the Lincoln Theater hosted artists such as Duke Ellington, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday and served the African American community during segregation. It remains an active theater.

The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
1318 Vermont Avenue NW

Mary McLeod Bethune used the power of education, political activism, and civil service to achieve racial and gender equality throughout the United States and the world. She was the first African American woman to serve as a college president, founded the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW), and the first African American woman to head a federal agency.

Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage/ 12th Street YMCA Site

1816 12th Street, NW The

This social service and community center for the Shaw neighborhood occupies a hallowed building—the former home of the 12th Street YMCA, the nation’s first black YMCA. The Y was founded in 1853 in the Southwest Washington home of Anthony Bowen, a minister and formerly enslaved conductor on the Underground Railroad. Originally built in 1912 and restored in 2000, the center now honors Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice. Marshall strategized here with other lawyers on the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation cases.

The Whitelaw Hotel

1839 13th Street, NW

Now a condominium building, the Whitelaw, built in 1919, was an apartment hotel that hosted black guests who were not allowed to stay at other DC hotels. Joe Louis, Benny Carter, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington all stayed at The Whitelaw.


Fort Stevens

13th and Quackenbos streets, NW

Fort Stevens was built in 1861 on land partially owned by Elizabeth Thomas, a free woman of color and a farmer. Soldiers tore down Thomas’s house to expand the fort. Thomas was consoled with a promise of compensation for her property by President Abraham Lincoln during a visit to Fort Stevens, but there is no record that she was ever paid. On July 11, 1864, Fort Stevens was the site of the city’s only Civil War battle when General Jubal A. Early’s Confederate troops advanced from Silver Spring down Seventh Street Turnpike (now Georgia Avenue) and attacked. President Lincoln was on the ramparts during the second day of fighting. Union forces were able to repel the enemy, but nearly 900 soldiers were killed or wounded on both sides. Thomas, born in 1821, continued to live at Fort Stevens until her death in 1917.

(Here I Stand) in the Spirit of Paul Robeson monument

Georgia Avenue & Kansas Avenue & Varnum Street NW

Celebrates Paul Robeson who never actually lived in the District. The college football star and internationally renowned singer/actor grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers and Columbia, and spent influential portions of his life in Harlem, London and Philadelphia. However, Robeson was as renowned for his outspoken opposition to the Spanish Civil War (and his vocal pro-Russian sentiments) as he was for his work in the theater. 

Howard Hall

607 Howard Place, NW, Howard University Campus

Howard Hall is the oldest remaining building at Howard University. It was built as the home of General Oliver Otis Howard (1830–1909), a white Civil War hero, Freedmen’s Bureau commissioner, and president of the university from 1869 until 1874. The university was named after Howard in recognition of his service as one of the founders. In 1909 the university purchased the house and used it for offices and classrooms. The house was beautifully restored in 1998 and serves as the university’s Alumni Center.

Howard University Gallery of Art

Lulu Vere Childers Hall, Howard University Campus

The Howard University Gallery of Art was established in 1928. Professor James Herring (1897–1969), founder of the Howard University Art Department, and James A. Porter (1905–1970), professor and artist, were its first directors. Originally set up in the lower floor of historic Rankin Chapel (1895), the gallery moved to Founders Library and then, in 1961, to its current home in Childers Hall, which honors Lulu Vere Childers, former dean of the School of Music. The African American art collection includes works by Henry O. Tanner, Edmonia Lewis, Archibald Motley, Romare Bearden, and many others.

Mount Zion United Methodist Church, Heritage House, Parsonage, and Cemetery

1334 29th Street, NW

Mount Zion United Methodist Church is the oldest black congregation in the city. It was formed in 1816 when congregants from the Montgomery Street Church (now Dumbarton United Methodist Church) decided not to accept racist treatment by their white fellow church-goers. The present church was completed in 1884. The cemetery comprises the Old Methodist Burying Ground, founded in 1809, and the Female Union Band Cemetery (1842).