Principal’s Notes from Nottingham – August 30, 2017

When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm.  They were spectacular and got a lot of attention.  But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.  We are all neighbors.
  -Mr. Rogers

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am happy to report that our wonderfully enthusiastic and talented staff reported to work this past Thursday! We kicked off our 2017-18 academic year in the shoes of our Knights, beginning with the typical PE warm up of stretches, skipping, yoga moves, etc., before engaging in team building activities. All of that movement work let us get out of our collective summer malaise and begin to engage in the necessary professional development/heavy cognitive load of professional development of the year ahead.

Important Dates to Note

  • 8/31 – Open House – K:  8:45 – 9:45 a.m. / Grades 1-5:  9:00 – 9:45 a.m. – in classrooms
    Mr. Koutsouftikis and I look forward to seeing all Nottingham families at our annual Open House – Members of the Nottingham Community of Learners will have a chance to visit their new classroom and meet their teacher.
  • 8/31 – Principal’s Meet and Greet Chat:  4:30 – 5:15 in the library
    Consider attending my Principal’s Meet and Greet before our Knight to Remember event
  • 8/31 – A Knight to Remember – 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Members of the Nottingham Community of Learners are invited to a Back to School Celebration, “A Knight to Remember.” Reconnect with old friends and make new ones! Please plan to pack a picnic dinner for the whole family and bring your blanket, lawn chairs, and favorite lawn games for some good old-fashioned fun. This event will take place on Thursday, August 31st, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.  Note: This is not a drop-off event; parents should plan to stay to supervise and socialize.  (No alcoholic beverages, please.) Ice cream and popcorn vendors will be on hand selling treats. For those who prefer indoor entertainment, we hope you’ll join us beginning at 6:15 p.m. to join your child in watching the movie, Born in China. (79 minutes) Please see below for Common Sense Media’s reviews on this family friendly fun:
    Born in China:Video Review | Common Sense Media

School Year Patrol Belt Pick Up: Mr. Giusto, Nottingham’s Patrol Sponsor, asks that parents/guardians remind their 5th grade children to visit the Gymnasium on Thursday, August 31st, at 9:45 a.m. to pick up information and equipment necessary to carry out their duties beginning the first day of school. Those parents We are proud of the Nottingham Safety Patrols and appreciate their help in keeping all of our Knights safe as they travel to and from school!

Math Packets –   A word from Ms. Harrington, our Math Coach: Continue on an upward SLOPE with math this summer by ADDING these math packets to your summer plans. DIVIDE and conquer – do the math packets together and MULTIPLY your fantastic results.

Launching into Literacy Presentation

  • September 5   /   9:05 – 9:40 a.m. / Library

Please consider joining us Tuesday morning, September, 5th at 9:05 a.m. in the Nottingham Library. Reading Specialist Jennifer Brown will be presenting a workshop on the Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing Initiatives at Nottingham. Join her for a brief overview of the workshop model. Attendees will receive information and activities to support and enrich literacy at home.

A Warm Welcome to our Newest Staff Members:

Rachel Benowitz – Third Grade TeacherHello Nottingham Knights! My name is Rachel Benowitz and I am thrilled to be part of the Knight family. I grew up in the Lehigh Valley Area of Pennsylvania and recently graduated DeSales University this past May. I have teaching experience in a variety of school settings, particularly in and 1st and 4th grades.  Also for the past two summers, I was a writing teacher for a summer enrichment program back in Pennsylvania called Lehigh Valley Summerbridge. I am the second oldest of six siblings and I love to FaceTime them whenever I get the chance. I also love to read, play games, cook, travel, and use technology. With all of the help and shared resources from the third grade team, I am looking forward to a wonderful school year!

Elizabeth Brady, School Social WorkerMy name is Elizabeth Brady and I am so excited to be part of the Nottingham community as your Social Worker. I am a graduate of Georgetown University and Catholic University, and I have called Arlington home since 2002. After a career in the military, I obtained my Masters in Social Work with a concentration in clinical social work, during which time I interned at Williamsburg Middle School and fell in love with APS. My husband and I enjoy walking our good dog Betty.  In my free time, I love to cook for friends and family, garden, read, travel, and practice Bikram yoga.

Christine Zelenak – School PsychologistHello, I am Christine Zelenak, your new school psychologist. I am very excited to join the Nottingham team and look forward to working with and supporting the students and families in our school community.   I completed my Master’s Degree in School Psychology at the University at Buffalo, after earning my the University of California, Irvine.  This is my first in APS, following two years most recently, in Fairfax County and 11 years with the Montgomery County Public Schools prior to that. I am passionate about supporting the needs and growth of the whole child, as I believe that in order to be successful in school and in life, we all need to have strong social-emotional functioning, resilience, and a multitude of skills to help us navigate a sometimes very complicated world.   Outside of work, my young daughter and son keep me and my husband hopping!  Next fall, we will join you in the ranks of APS parents.  I look forward to getting to know many of you this year.  Please feel free to reach out with any questions or needs you may have.  I will be at Nottingham on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Cheers to a wonderful year! Information from APS Community Engagement Department.

Please see below a statement from the Arlington County School Board Regarding Racism (forwarded from Dulce Carrillo in the APS Engage Department)

Items of Interest for Your Family Calendars:

APS Dyslexia 2017 Conference

  • Saturday, October 28, 2017: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington, VA 22204

View English/Spanish Dyslexia Conference Save the Date Flyer

Arlington Public Schools’ first Dyslexia Conference will address building knowledge, interventions, accommodations and more! We are pleased to announce that Ameer Baraka, actor, educator, activist and author of The Life I Chose, and Miya Ali, an adult with dyslexia and daughter of Muhammad Ali, will join us as Keynote Presenters.Registration will open in late September and updates will be posted at the conference website:

Parent Tool Kit Article: Back-To-School: What You Can’t Buy

Six Things Parents Should Know About Sending Kids Back to Schoo


Harvesting Dreams for Our Children –  Opportunities for a Successful School Journey

NASA Langley’s Centennial Open House

Museum Day Live!


We look forward to seeing you and yours on Thursday! Thank you for being a partner in your child’s education.