Principal’s Notes from Nottingham – December 14, 2016

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.                       

G. K. Chesterton

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Judging by the holiday festivities taking place in our nation’s capital, we know December is here, and that winter vacation is impending.  Please join Mr. Koutsouftikis for tonight’s Choral and Instrumental Winter Concert.  Our young musicians and singers will be performing a wonderful selection of music celebrating the winter season. Come and enjoy this festive performance!

  • Performing:  Fifth Grade Band and Orchestra / Fourth and Fifth Grade Chorus
  • 7:00 p.m. / Multipurpose Room

We greeted the month of December with a restating of our Nottingham Oath and a review of our December Character Trait of Respect! Here at Nottingham, we define respect as: Treating others the way I want to be treated. Being considerate and honoring the feelings, opinions and property of others. I appreciate that many staff members have worked explicitly with their classes to focus on being a respectful classmate and Nottingham citizen.

We are off to a busy start to the month, with staff and students alike anticipating the first significant snowfall. Nottingham traditions like the second grade Nutcracker Toy Soldier activities have taken place, and our Girls on the Run group has finished up strongly for the season. We have been fortunate indeed to still be able to get our Knights out in the fresh air for recess.  Last week I enjoyed hosting my first quarter 3-5 Grades Knights’ Café celebrating Knights of good character.   Having these outstanding Knights join me for lunch is a highlight of the ending of each quarter and a visible reminder of why we “do the work.”

Girls on the Run (GOTR) Update

(A message from Janell Markowski)

2016walklogoThank you for a wonderful season! I wanted to share that GOTR Nottingham 2016 successfully raised $1,315 for the Food Allergy Research and Education program (FARE), currently placing them in 3rd place in Northern Virginia.  More importantly, however, these girls stood up for many members of their community, increased awareness, and demonstrated that little people can do big things!  Kudos to our GOTR group and their sponsors!

Team Page of GIRLS ON THE RUN NOTTINGHAM – FARE Walk for Food Allergy Awareness

From the Clinic

Mrs. Cuesta – Public Health Nurse/School Health shares the following:

I am sure you can ask any student how many days are left until Winter Break and we want to be sure that everyone is able to enjoy the holiday festivities.  Please remember to keep your child at home when he or she is sick.  A student who has a fever or is vomiting should remain at home until he or she is free of fever or has stopped vomiting without medication for 24 hours.

Schedules for Final Days Prior to Winter Break

This week and next staff will be working with students to finish academic units of study, culminating projects and finishing assessments before the winter holidays begin. Nottingham teachers are planning to continue full days of instruction for December 19 – 21. When possible, our Knights will go outside for recess. Please do your best to ensure your children are dressed for the weather and make sure their names are in their coats, jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves.  Thank you for taking the time to discuss your child’s recent report card information focusing on the social skills/comments part as much as the academic skills piece. Both aspects of the APS report card help us as educators have age level appropriate conversations with our learners regarding the acknowledgment of learning strengths and learning challenges. We trust it will provide you with the same opportunity should you see fit. Instructional staff has been having conversations with their classes and individual students regarding the setting of their learning goals for the 2nd quarter of the academic year.

Coding Update

Hour of code logoKudos and thanks to our Librarian, Nicole Gustafson and  our Resource Teacher for the Gifted, Ryan Van Valen for their efforts to plan several different opportunities for teachers to engender in our Knights a familiarity with the universal language of coding.   With our participation in the Hour of Code, our Knights joined a global movement that reached tens of millions of students in over 180 countries.  Nottingham is moving beyond the Hour of Code to an entire month of code, with coding activities throughout the whole month of December.  Knights have had the opportunity to code in the classroom, in library classes, and through small group sessions at indoor recess and before school.  Looking for additional resources to motivate your child? Please click on the following link:,

ImagiLab Update

Our new ImagiLab STEM/STEAM program is off to a great start this year!  Throughout the fall and continuing through the new year, Knights have enjoyed an opportunity to visit ImagiLab, both as a whole class and in small groups before school and at recess time.   Projects in ImagiLab vary from week to week, but they all have some elements in common:  unstructured time to collaborate, solve problems, create and learn in a hands-on way.  Recently, 2nd and 3rd grade classes created Pom Pom Chutes out of cardboard tubes.  December is coding month in ImagiLab, and students have had the opportunity to experiment with different coding tools, such as Dash, BeeBot, Robot Mouse, Ozobots, and various coding games using apps such as The Foos, Scratch Jr, and Kodable.  Second grade classes have also started the Project Lead the Way classes and are experimenting with states of matter.  They have designed coolers to keep an ice pop cold, using different types of materials as insulators.

Ms. Gustafson and Ms. Koehler are always looking for donations to keep ImagiLab running.  As we welcome in the new year, please be on the lookout for extra building materials at home that you can no longer use.  Please consider donating them to the Nottingham library to add to our supply.

Craft supplies, fasteners, and building supplies, such as Tinker Toys, Legos, foam or cardboard inserts from packages, are particularly useful.

Questions re: ImagiLab?
Contact Librarian Nicole Gustafson – or
Library Administrative Assistant Regina Koehler –

Google Apps

For several years now, Arlington Public Schools has used Google Apps for Education for instructional purposes.  Google Apps for Education includes Google Drive (which includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Drawing), Google Sites, and Google Classroom. Every student in Arlington has a Google Apps for Education account and Nottingham classrooms are using these tools to collaborate in all subject areas, specifically in the Language Arts domain of Writing. Teachers of Knights in grades 2 – 5 are using Google Drive applications in a variety of ways. Google Apps for Education is free to public schools and their students. It is deployed and managed by the Arlington Public Schools. I enjoy seeing the various ways our Knights and their teachers are using Google Apps for education blended learning experiences in the classroom environment.

Google Apps for Education


To learn more about Google Drive, please check out the following video links that provide tutorials:

Dates to Remember – Please mark your family calendars




 12/14  Tonight! Winter Concert:  Chorus and Instrumental  7:00 p.m. /MPR
  12/22 – 1/2  Winter Break/ Schools Closed
 01/6  Bingo Night  6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
 1/16  Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday / Schools Closed
 1/17 – 1/20  No Name Calling Week
 1/18  Book Discussion – Unselfie   7:00 – 8:00 p.m. / Library
 1/20  Inauguration Day / Schools Closed


Updated Contact Information

If you have had a change of work or cell phone contact information, please provide the changes to your child’s classroom teacher as well as Ms. Embrey in the main office by Friday, January 6, 2017.   Thank you for your efforts to ensure that all current information is updated in our APS/Nottingham student data base

Lost and Found

If you are in the building prior to the winter break, please take the time to look through our growing Lost and Foundcollection. As the weather has gotten progressively colder, our Lost and Found has grown!  Please have your child/children check for missing hats, gloves, jackets, water bottles, etc.  Any unclaimed items will be donated to a local charity.

Winter Break Dates

Please note that the Arlington Public Schools will stay closed for winter break through Monday, January 2. We look forward to seeing our Knights and their teachers bright and early (and on time), Tuesday, January 3, 2017.

At this time of year, as we enjoy the bounty of the season, I want to be sure and wish you and your family peace, joy and wellness in the year ahead. As always, thank you for entrusting us with the gift of caring for your children.

Best wishes for a safe, happy start to the New Year!

Mary Beth Pelosky, Principal