(MS)² Family, Partners and Friends,

We continue our quest for excellence here at (MS)² as you will note from all of the fresh news we have to share in this March edition. We are still buzzing about our recent visit from the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, philanthropist, Tom Joyner, and President of Howard University, Dr. Sidney Ribeau. The School of Education received a grant from the Tom Joyner Foundation and our teachers are benefiting from his largesse. Secretary Duncan was very impressed with the school and said to a reporter: “I feel that (MS)² has done an excellent job at nurturing students and ensuring that they succeed.” We feel so honored that such distinguished educators visited the school!

Let’s take a look at some of (MS)²’s highlights since our last issue:

  • Because of their performance at the Regional MathCounts competition, Tariq Broadnax and Avery Coffey, both 7th graders, were invited to participate and represent us in the Citywide MathCounts Competition on Saturday, March 14th at Lafayette Elementary School. See the inside story for pictures and results.
  • Congratulations to the 85 students whose projects qualified for submission to (MS)²’s Science Fair. 10 students won in a variety of categories and represented us at the DC Mathematics, Science, and Technology Fair at McKinley Technology High School on Saturday, March 14th. The results were amazing!
  • Kudos to Avery Coffey, who won 2nd place, and Esme Halsey-Collins, who won 5th place, in the citywide Spelling Bee on March 17th @ the NBC studios.
  • Career Day was a resounding success. We had guests from mathematics, science and technology careers who really captured the students’ interest and piqued their curiosity. Our own Founder and Managing Director, Dr. Hassan Minor, who is a celebrated scientist himself and a graduate of MIT, was our special speaker for the day.
  • We are about to launch our partnership with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.
  • Our esteemed Teacher of the Year continues to teach and enjoy a busy but rewarding schedule. She most recently spoke at a meeting of the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) and at the Howard University School of Education.
  • The 8th graders are busy submitting applications to High Schools and are anxiously awaiting their acceptance letters. Many of our future graduates have already been accepted at the schools of their choice.

We have a terrific team here at (MS)² with a supportive extended family – who are poised and ready to do all that is necessary to ensure academic success for all of our students. We collaborate to confront challenges and modestly celebrate our successes. To our students – remember to preserve the integrity of your chosen school by working hard, honoring its policies, and continuing to develop your character.To our parents – let’s build an exemplary parent association and continue to give constructive feedback so we can grow into a model mathematics and science school for the nation.

Through teamwork we will excel,

(MS)² students participated in the Citywide MATHCOUNTS competition for the second year since the inception of the school. Our team members and alternates performed remarkably, resulting in two of the six students qualifying to compete for a place on the state team. The team members were Tariq Braodnax, Avery Coffey, Tariq Abdullah, Rico Jones, Jacqueline Miller and Kelly White. Tariq Braodnax and Avery Coffey joined approximately 40 other DC middle school students on March 14th to continue their quest to qualify for the state level team that will compete later this year at The 2009 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition.

The MATHCOUNTS coaches, Ms. Jackson and Ms. Stanley, worked with the students during the Extended Day Program and the students’ hard work paid off in many ways beyond that of being a “good mathematics student.” These students are developing into problem solvers which is a life-long skill regardless of their choice of profession. We are very proud of them and encourage them to keep up the good work!

The MATHCOUNTS Foundation is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1984 to promote math excellence among U.S. middle school student.



Congratulations to Avery Coffey, 7th grade, who for the 2nd year in a row won 1st place in the Non-DCPS Cluster Spelling Bee Competition held on February 19th. In addition, Esme Halsey-Collins, 6th grade, won 3rd place. Both of these outstanding students represented (MS)² in the 27th Annual Washington Informer Spelling Bee Competition held at the NBC studios on March 17th. Avery placed 2nd in this competition after completing the spelling bee's first ever 53 round spelling battle with his opponent. He did extremely well and we are all very proud of him. In her first year in the competition Esme placed fifth. Both of these outstanding students have proved that (MS)² is a formidable contender. The show will be broadcast on NBC, on Saturday, April 4th from 3-4 PM.




On February 24, 2009 (MS)² held its 1st Annual Math League Competition. The Math League is a national association that is dedicated to bringing challenging mathematics materials to students. The contest questions are designed to cover a range of mathematical knowledge at each grade level. Nationally, over one million students participate in the Math League contest each year. Ninety (MS)² students were selected to participate in the competition. The contest consists of a test of 40 problems to be completed in 30 minutes. The contests rules state that if a student is able to answer 15 problems correctly then these students should be commended. Recognition will be given to all participants. Eight students scored 20 or higher and their names will be submitted to the Math League website. These students are:

Tariq Abdullah Tariq Broadnax
Ke’Shawn Alexander Avery Coffey
Urael Asfaha Courtney Middleton
Olisaemeka Azikiwe Jide Omekam


Congratulations to Ke’Shawn Alexander, DeWayne Harris Jr., Lauryn Nesbitt, and Jordan Woody. On Wednesday, February 25, 2009, these young scholars were selected to serve on a youth panel discussion @ Howard University’s School of Social Work. The focus of this discussion was to explore positive intergenerational activities, as well as examine how young people and older adults work together to meet real needs that benefit the surrounding community.

The event was a Great Success! Our (MS)² students were articulate, thought-provoking, and inspirational. They received a standing ovation throughout the auditorium and the participants expressed that our young scholars were the highlight of their gerontology focused seminar.

We are proud of our (MS)² young scholars and appreciate their dedication to academic excellence! Keep up the exceptional work!



The next Parent Association meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 8th at 6:30PM. The last General Parent Meeting for SY ‘08-’09 will be held May 13 at 6:30PM and will include the general elections for SY ’09-’10. All positions will be open. For more information, please contact Alleceia Walker, PA President, at (202) 360-5557.




Pi, Greek letter (pi), is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi = 3.1415926535...
Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th.

Kudos to our Pi Day Winners:

Kiana Livingston, 6th grade
(Kiana remembered 124 digits)
Diontre Settles, 7th Grade
Isamar Vaquero
, 8th Grade


Of the 85 students who qualified for submissions in the Science Fair, the following students earned commendations from our esteemed judges. These students not only received accolades but also certificates and ribbons for their outstanding achievements.

6th Grade
1st Place- Kweku Sumbry *
2nd Place- Kierra Green*
Omar Ventura*
3rd Place- Frank Padgett*
4th Place- Laura Miller*

Honorable Mention
Mackada Howell*
Destiny Broadnax
Subria Standifer
Rico Jones
Kandice Pettaway
Louis Farrakhan
Bianca Penny
Kelly White

7th Grade
1st Place- Mustafa Parks*
2nd Place- Kalimah Muhammed
3rd Place- Abiana Patton-Tourre
Giles Wood III*
4th Place – Angela Freeman

Honorable Mention
Kahlah Gaymon
Ke’Shawn Alexander
Jared Alexander
Sekerhi Anderson

8th Grade
1st Place- Ngozi Burrell*
2nd Place- Lauryn Nesbitt
3rd Place- Cameron Walker
4th Place- Lauren Robinson*

Honorable Mention
Erin Strong-Williams*
Isis Daniel
Gerlina Love
Lauryn Mitchell

Aquil Sudah

*Students selected for DC Science Fair.

Our students really made us proud at the DC Mathematics, Science, and Technology Fair held at McKinley Tech High School on Saturday, March 14th. A total of 20 awards were presented to the 10 students who made the final cut. Congratulations to all of our budding scientists and to the Science team for their hard work and tireless efforts. The (MS)² family appreciates your dedication and we expect to see great inventions from you in the future. Please click here to see the full list of the Science Fair Awardees 2009 - JR Division.


6th Grade
Cell and Molecular Biology: What is cryonics?
Honorable Mention: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Junior Award for outstanding science fair project: Naval Research Award

Engineering: Hydroelectric Current
Special Awards: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
George Washington University Award
Walter Reed Award - Outstanding Science Project

Considered for Internship ($2000.00) – Given $20.00 cash

Chemistry: Fabric and Flames!
Honorable Mention in Category

Environmental Science: Alternative Energy: The answer to global warming
Honorable Mention in Category
Special Awards: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Walter Reed Award – Outstanding Science Project

Behavioral Science: Music effects on animal behavior
Considered for Internship ($2000.00) – Given $20.00

Plant Science: Does the color of light affect a plant’s growth?
Considered for Internship ($2000.00) – Given $20.00
Achievement in Optics from the Optical Society of America- application to a future internship.

7th Grade
, 3rd Place
Animal Science: The Temperature Effects on the Breeding of Guppies

Physics: Solar Generation
Walter Reed Award: Outstanding Science Project

8th Grade

Medicine and Health: Pain relievers: Which are the best?
Public Health Award - Meritorious Achievement award
from the Commissioned Offices Association

Biochemistry: Gatorade vs. Water – The head to head challenge


Solve the mathematics problem below.
The answer will be in next month’s newsletter.

Bill, Phil and Jenny are siblings. Bill is twice as old as Phil. Jenny is two years younger than Bill. Currently, their dad is twice as old as the sum of their ages. In nine years, Dad’s new age will be equal to the sum of his three kids’ new ages. What is Jenny’s current age?

*Last (MS)² Newsletter Answer: to Unlocking Your Genius-The greatest number of hard questions that he could have answered was eight.

Dr. Kethurah Williams is Chairperson of the Science Department, 6th grade teacher, and advisor for Toy Challenge. Her hobbies are playing the piano, reading, running track, and hiking. She relishes her role as Girl Scouts sponsor. Although she enjoys her hobbies, science is her real passion.
Mr. Michael Lesesne is an 8th grade science teacher. He feels that teaching with technology maximizes the learning experience. Mr. Lesesne’s hobbies are golf, rapping, reading, and writing. His role models are his grandmother, and Tiger Woods. Mr. Lesesne’s favorite things at (MS)² are the dissections, learning science through field trips, and his Young Warriors Circle (YWC). He is also currently taking a course at the School of Education, “Introduction to Assessment” taught by one of our Board members, Dr. Vinetta Jones.
Mrs. Michelle Taylor is our 7th grade science teacher here at (MS)². For her, teaching is an opportunity to share her love of science with her students. Ms. Taylor enjoys reading, traveling, and listening to music. In the future she would like to obtain her Masters of Art in teaching and attend Medical School. Mrs. Taylor’s greatest inspirations are her father and grandfather, who both are successful doctors. She looks up to them because of their caring spirits and genuine love for helping people. She absolutely loves working with her students and the faculty. Mrs. Taylor loves us here at (MS)², and Mrs. Taylor we love you back!
Mr. Hector Telford graduated from the University of Wales UK. He currently teaches 6tth, and 8th grade Advanced Science here at (MS)². He has a desire to teach and he loves working with children. His future goals are to become a grandfather and also to become an expert in the use of technology in education. His favorite thing to do in his spare time is taking pictures. His role model is Ben Carson. He is also highlighted at (MS)² because of his hard work and time spent teaching the Yearbook Club.

Earth Hour is World Wide Fund's global initiative where individuals, businesses and governments turn off their lights for one hour to show their support for action on climate change.

Earth Hour is a symbolic event designed to engage people from all walks of life in the climate change discussion to send a strong message to our political leaders that we want them to take meaningful action on climate change.

Participating in Earth Hour is easy. All you have to do is sign up at www.EarthHourUS.org, tell everyone you know about it and then turn off all of your non-essential lighting on Saturday, March 28th at 8:30pm to 9:30pm. Through signing up you are not committing to anything specific. Rather you are agreeing that strong action needs to be taken to find a solution to the climate crisis.



(MS)²/ASB Project

Thank you to the Alternative Spring Breakers (ASB) under the tutelage of Corey Briscoe, Chairman of the Howard University Student Association General Assembly. These students gave up their spring break to do service projects around the city and reached out to (MS)² . The students assisted the school in organizing the mounds of books in the library and assisting with the afternoon Scholars Hall.On average, there were seven (7) students at the school each day during the week. The students not only organized the books by category: fiction, non-fiction, science, mathematics, psychology, etc. but they utilized the online Dewey decimal system in acquiring the appropriate decimal designation; this process took hours to complete. Their time spent in (MS)2 actually motivated many of them to inquire about becoming an intern and/or a tutor. It was a pleasure speaking with many of the students and to hear of their dreams, and future aspirations. Again, many thanks for their time and efforts in organizing the materials donated to the school and assisting our students with their studies. What a great beginning for service to the community for these young, vibrant and brilliant minds.

on a lighter note...

“Summer Days”
by Xavier Wingfield, 6th Grade

The summer sun comes over the horizon, shining its yellow warmth on the world. The sun’s rays heats my face, I get out of bed, ready for a new day. I go outside and I look, I see nothing but Mother Nature’s beauty rain down on earth. I see flowers blooming to greet the bees. A cool mist from the ocean near by. It makes you feel like you are standing right there and letting the water cool you off. Cattails waving in the breeze, waving to me, it feels. Dragonflies hover over the crystal blue water. Butterflies flutter over me, it feels so lifting. The sand, do dry and think, makes a castle for me. A small wave washes the sane castle up, taking it new places it has never been before. Makes you dream and wonder if tomorrow will be this gorgeous, it’s getting late. After a whole day mom calls me in. She prepares hot tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Then when all is done, I brush my teeth, put on pajamas, tuck myself in, and turn off the lights, waiting an wanting for tomorrow to come.


The (MS)² Scholar's Support Program is off to a great start!  The students eagerly arrive to the Scholar's Hall classrooms to complete their homework assignments, receive tutorial help in an academic area or to study for a test. Each of the sixty students that attend the Scholar's Support Program during Extended Day have been assigned a mentor who monitor's homework completion and provides assistance in organizational skills on a daily basis.  According to Marcus Anderson, 7th grade, he is able to focus more, participate, ask questions and get help from teachers during the Scholar's Support Program.



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