Principal’s Notes from Nottingham – January 25, 2017

Where wise actions are the fruit of life, wise discourse is the pollination.

Bryant H. McGill

Dear Parents/ Guardians:

I hope that you and your family enjoyed the opportunity for increased family time over the three day Inaugural weekend.  Historically, a presidential inauguration presents parents with ripe opportunities to speak with their children about current events. As a colleague of mine stated, “Inaugurations always have many educational aspects and serve as wonderful “teachable moments” with our children.”  Monday morning arrived damp and dreary, but the energy and enthusiasm of our Knights greeting one another and sharing stories of their experiences over the long weekend quickly brought the energy level of the adults in the building up to speed!

Principal Appreciation Week #ThankAPSPrincipals, #KnightsRock

As many of you have heard me say over the years, the joy and curiosity of our Knights, and the creativity of their teachers, is what sustains me and gives Mr. Koutsouftikis and me the necessary energy to make it through our long days here at Nottingham! Special thanks to our PTA Executive Team and to those of you who have sent an email of appreciation and recognition of the work, or had your children draw a photo/ craft a quick note.  It is indeed a labor of love. Thank you for the significant honor of placing your children’s learning and overall well-being in our care.

National Geographic Geography  Bee:

Details on the GeoBee are forthcoming very soon.

Congratulations are in Order to Nottingham’s Newest American Citizen

During yesterday’s Geo Bee, our Knights in grades 3, 4 and 5 were treated to a brief celebration of “Nottingham’s Newest Citizen,” lunchroom teacher and Extended Day teacher, Ms. Lourdes Arias. Monday afternoon, I had the honor and pleasure of joining Ms. Lourdes, (as our Knights call her,) at her Citizenship ceremony. Together with men and women from up to 30 countries, Ms. Lourdes, who originally hailed from Cuba, took the oath and received her paperwork. It was a very exciting event! Please join Mr. Koutsouftikis, Ms. Dailey, Ms. Williams and me in congratulating Ms. Lourdes on this significant milestone.

Food Bus Initiative Coming to Nottingham

Foodbus logoThanks to Nottingham PTA members, Mimi Shah and Rachel Riley for researching and getting Nottingham up and running to participate in this worthwhile cause. The Food Bus is an Arlington-based program with over 40 schools participating across the country.  This public charity designs, implements and maintains systems by which unused/unopened food leftover from elementary school lunches is saved from being thrown out as waste and then is distributed to local food pantries.

The Food Bus Initiative collects unused and unopened food left over from elementary school lunches and distributes it to local food pantries, in this instance, AFAC.  Wasted food from elementary school lunches costs the economy over 2 billion dollars a year.  Food Waste also contributes approximately 20% of the carbon footprint which in turn has a major impact on climate change

Nottingham staff and students will join fellow Arlington Public School students and colleagues already participating in the Food Bus program:  Arlington Science Focus, Ashlawn, Barrett, Discovery, Glebe, Taylor, and Tuckahoe.  Our Knights will be learning about this program from their classroom teachers, in which, (as age level appropriate,) they will discuss the purpose of the initiative, discuss the importance of a healthy lunch and how we will work collaboratively to recover unused food from our cafeteria.   Participants in the Food Bus program will work with our SCA to:

  • distribute it to the local food bank (AFAC)
  • strengthen community relationships
  • teach children how they can make a difference in our community
  •  help reduce our carbon footprint


Librarian Nicole Gustafson and Library Aide, Regina Kohler continue their strong work of providing STEM/ STEAM type activities in the Nottingham Library!  Please note that another round of BSH: before school hours (8-8:35 am) in ImagiLAB is now underway. “Maker Mornings” give our Knights a chance to participate in hands-on building activities. Parents/ Guardians: please remember these two simple rules: 1. Sign your child up only once. 2. Sign your child up for the appropriate grade level day (3-5 or k-2).  Please access the ImagiLAB SignUpGenius link:

Dr. McCormac: Nottingham School Counselor

Knights throughout Nottingham were taught the Second Step strategies to handle name-calling as part of their January counseling lessons. This valuable life skill is a part of our APS problem-solving unit –

Book Talk on Unselfie

In case you were unable to attend our Book Talk on Unselfie, here is a brief recap: Last week the Nottingham Counseling Advisory Committee and PTA held a lively discussion of UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. Empathy is the critical ability that puts us in other people’s shoes. Research finds that this immensely human trait can be cultivated. That means we can teach empathy to kids just like reading, math, and writing because it is made up of social-emotional skills that can be developed. But in today’s culture, cultivating kids’ empathy is difficult. Author Borba “methodically argues through the book that there are nine basic habits that help children ‘navigate the emotional minefields and ethical challenges’ they will face in life. The first four, she writes, are ones that must be developed in young children as the “fundamentals” of empathy: emotional literacy, which teaches children to understand the feelings and needs of themselves and other people; moral identity, which gives them values and integrity; perspective, so that children can put themselves in the place of others; and moral imagination, which allows children to use art like books and films as a source of inspiration.” As I stated at this month’s PTA meeting, it is well worth the read.

Student Support Services Open House

Thank you to Nottingham PTA members Stacy Rosenthal and Wendy Pizer for planning and coordinating Monday morning’s Student Support Services Open House.Stacy shared the following: Thank you to all the parents and staff who attended Nottingham’s First Student Support Services Open House! We were thrilled to see so many members of the Nottingham community come out early on a Monday morning to meet, talk and engage with staff and each other. We look forward to maintaining and growing the partnership between staff and families. Links to the information discussed are below and/or attached and will be posted to the PTA website. 

Link to Nottingham Web site / Special Education and Student Services

You will find the following documents located there (scroll down to:  Further Information)

  • Who’s Who @ Nottingham
  • Arlington Special Education Resources
  • Parent Resource Center Overview PowerPoint

For more information on the APS Special Education Programs, visit the following web pages:

Sock Hop Information – January 27, 2017 – Nottingham’s Annual Sock Hop is this Friday! 

Members of our PTA are hard at work planning for our annual Sock Hop!  tickets are now on sale.  This beloved tradition is a fun night for all Nottingham Knights to dress up in 50’s attire and dance the night away! Mr. Koutsouftikis and I hope you enjoy this annual event. We will be celebrating the Winter holiday season with a staff social but look forward to seeing our Knights decked out in 50’s attire at school on Friday!

Root Beer floats, pizza and other goodies will be available for purchase at the dance, too.  Tickets are $6 per student. Parent chaperones are free. Purchase your tickets on-line until Thursday midnight.  No at-the-door sales! Tickets are $6 per student.  Remember, the Sock Hop is for our Knights only, so please leave other siblings (younger and older)/friends at home. This is not a drop off event, but we do encourage groups of friends to come together with just one parent chaperone. Questions? Contact Meghan Thomas Pick up your wristband that acts as your ticket and purchase dance food tickets at the following times: -Thursday and Friday morning outside the front office from 8:30-8:50 or Thursday evening at Extended Day from 5:15-6:00 pm.

Dance times are as follows: 6:30- 8:00 – Dance for K-2nd graders   8:00-9:30 – Dance for 3-5th graders.Upcoming

Dates to Remember

  • 2/03 – Teacher work (Grade Prep)  / No School for our Knights
  • 2/08 – Early Release – 1:26 p.m.
  • 2/20 – Presidents Day / No  School

Thank you for being a partner in your child’s education.

Mary Beth Pelosky