Middle School Central

Letter from the Principals


Dear Middle School Families,

We are excited to partner with you and our middle schoolers for the 2019-2020 school year to help all of our students reach our mission: To nurture a diverse group of students to become lifelong, active participants in their own education, develop a sense of self and community, and become responsible and compassionate members of society. Our mission guides the work that we do with your children every single day.

We are thrilled to announce that we have an addition to our leadership team this year! Muronji Inman-McCraw is joining the middle school leadership team as a co-principal with Maggie Bello. Maggie and Muronji will share the principalship in 2019-2020 and in the following year, Maggie will pursue options outside of the principalship and Muronji will continue as the principal of the middle school. We are excited that we have this year to overlap with each other! Here is an introduction to our middle school leadership team:

Muronji Inman-McCraw, Co-Principal - I come from a family of passionate educators and artists in the Washington, DC, area. I carried on that tradition by earning a Masters’ Degree in Special Education and Human Development from George Washington University and a BA in Communications and Theatre with a minor in African American Studies from Temple University. I am a lifelong learner and am currently pursuing my doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

I served the DC special education community for 6 years while simultaneously pursuing acting and raising three children, with my husband Mitchell. My family moved to New York in 2011 where I continued my career at Harlem Children's Zone. During my 7 years at HCZ I served in several instructional leadership roles including, special education coordinator, humanities academic coach, and assistant principal of instruction. In my final year, I served as the director of curriculum and instruction for both HCZ’s Promise Academy High Schools. After moving back to DC in 2018 I became a part of Two Rivers Public Charter School family as the elementary school assistant principal. I am thrilled to join the middle school team as co-principal. I believe deeply in the Two Rivers mission and I’m humbled to be a part of this very important work. I look forward to getting to know each family well and partnering for a successful school year.

Maggie Bello, Co-Principal - I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to continue serving as the middle school co-principal. Last year, the middle school students, staff, and families welcomed me with open arms and I discovered after 23 years in education that I adore middle school life! This year marks my 13th year at Two Rivers, and it’s been an amazing journey. I have two daughters, both of whom are Two Rivers alum and are now attending high school. I am in my third semester at George Washington University working to pursue a doctorate in Educational Leadership. When I’m not at Two Rivers or GW, I love to hike, read, cook, and eat good food!

Lashaunda Robinson, our Middle School Assistant Principal, is in her third year at Two Rivers. During her first year, Ms. Shaunda taught 6th grade expeditions. Prior to joining the Two Rivers crew, Ms. Shaunda spent seven years teaching at KIPP NYC/DC and Cesar Chavez. Shaunda is a proud alum of one of the two original KIPP Schools, KIPP Academy in the Bronx. She graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she earned her BA in Global History. In 2016, she was selected by her alma mater's board to earn the John Jay College Outstanding Alumni Award. She has also spent time collaborating with educators globally on cross-curricular projects for students through IEARN, an international student and educators’ community in Brazil. She also was a member of New Leaders, a prestigious educational leadership program for aspiring principals. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her dog, Rye Hall, and traveling the globe with her significant other! Ms. Shaunda truly loves being at Two Rivers and believes deeply in expanded outcomes for all of our students.

NaKeisha Jones-Helton, our Dean of Students and Families, is in her 15th year at Two Rivers. She has worked across the network in both the elementary and middle school. She has a passion for adolescents and all that they have to bring to the table, including their families. She had the pleasure of starting her career with a non-profit that focuses on emotional intelligence and Two Rivers has afforded her the opportunity to continue that work with students, staff, and families. She has been in education for over 20 years and takes pride in what she has taught but most importantly what she has learned. She has two children in 4th and 8th grade. She is excited to bring all of the love and dedication that she brings to her own children to the community at Two Rivers, NaKeisha is focused on helping to build a better world, one child at a time!

One of the tenets of EL Education is, “We are crew, not passengers.” The belief is that all members of the school community exhibit a spirit of crew, in which students, staff, and families learn, grow, and succeed together. It takes all of us to build students who meet our mission and go on to high school, college, and beyond!

We know that as our students’ parents and families, you are their first teachers. Partnering with you to develop lifelong learners is a critical aspect. We are looking forward to the ways that we can partner with you to help build the spirit of crew.

Some of the ways that you can help all of our students reach our mission:

  1. Be transparent about your learning. Talk to you kids about how you learn from your mistakes and when life gets challenging, how you persevere. Model a growth mindset.
  1. Ask your kids about how they engaged in our scholarly habits on a daily basis. Having discussions with you help them internalize them and communicate to them that you think they are important too! Our new, improved Scholarly Habits are:
    • I know myself. (Self Awareness)
    • I am independent and resilient. (Self Management)
    • I show compassion and embrace diversity. (Social Awareness)
    • I can connect and collaborate. (Relationship Building)
    • I act with integrity. (Responsible Decision-Making)
  1. Make sure that you get your students to school on time (8:15AM). Every day begins with crew and when students miss even a portion of it, they feel less a part of the community and miss key skills. On-time attendance matters!
  1. Sleep. Studies have shown that kids of all ages need adequate sleep in order to learn and grow. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 8-10 hours a night for middle school students. Setting reasonable bedtimes and sticking to them help your middle schooler be happier and ready for learning!
  1. Attend school-wide events. Please come out to our Student-Led Conferences, Showcase of Student Learning, Math Festival, Literacy Festival, Spanish Night, and/or any of our Parent School Association (PSA) meetings. Even when our kids are older and more independent, they need you to be involved in school!
  1. Be aware of your child’s presence on social media. Middle school is the time when students use social media more often to talk to each other and we know that adolescence is often a time when kids engage in more risky behavior. Please be aware of what your kids are posting on social media.

Our staff is ready for another wonderful year and we are very excited to partner with you so that we can all learn from each other. As always our doors are open for conversations and feedback. You can reach us at 202-543-8477 or through our email addresses, listed below. We’re also usually at the front door at arrival and dismissal every day.

Here’s to an amazing school year full of becoming effective learners, becoming ethical people, and contributing to a better world. We are crew, not passengers.

Sincerely,

Maggie Bello

Middle School Co-Principal

mbello@tworiverspcs.org

Muronji Inman-McCraw

Middle School Co-Principal

minman@tworiverspcs.org

Lashaunda Robinson

Middle School Assistant Principal

lrobinson@tworiverspcs.org

NaKeisha Jones-Helton

Middle School Dean of Students and Families

njones@tworiverspcs.org