Principal’s Notes from Nottingham – July 26, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Despite the very warm temperatures here in Arlington, I hope you are keeping cool and enjoying a slower pace wherever you may be. Kudos and thanks to PTA president Stacy Rosenthal and her executive team who are working hard on your behalf to get PTA related items off to a strong start come September!

Mr. Koutsouftikis and I have been enjoying the photos and summer update from our Knights in their various forms of communication: email, postcards, links from parents/guardians, etc. Personally I enjoy seeing our Knights demonstrating their school spirit and sporting their current and past Nottingham spirit wear at vacation spots both near and far!

My summer schedule is lighter than the school year, giving me a chance to reconnect my spring coursework with renowned educator, Dr. Fernando M. Reimers of the Harvard School of Education, and his recent publication: Empowering Global Citizens, A World Course. I can appreciate the theory behind the work, in particular asking the following questions: How do we help students understand the world? How do we prepare them for work and life in an era of globalization, volatility, and uncertainty?  How do we help students work effectively with others from diverse cultural backgrounds?

As Mr. Koutsouftikis and I prepare to greet our teacher colleagues in late August, questions we will ask ourselves will center around our Nottingham mission statement and our collective commitment to our Knights.  Nottingham Mission Statement: The Nottingham community is dedicated to the education and development of the whole child — intellectually, socially, emotionally, culturally and physically. Together, we share the responsibility of helping each child reach his or her potential as a contributing citizen in our rapidly changing global, and digital society.

We believe that all students:

  • Have the ability to become lifelong learners with proper guidance and encouragement from our school and with support and reinforcement from their parents.
  • Must be encouraged to express creativity through many venues including music, art, writing, movement, and athletics.
  • Are more self-fulfilled and make the world a better place when they are respectful, responsible, trustworthy, and kind.
  • Can benefit by being technologically literate in order to strengthen their communication skills and effectively respond to the increasing technological challenges in the world.

We believe that in order to fulfill our mission, the Nottingham staff must:

  • Provide a safe, supportive environment in which students feel free to explore, question, learn, and grow.
  • Provide curriculum which encompasses communication skills, problem solving, critical thinking, and fosters creativity.
  • Collaborate with our students’ families and the community in order to provide rich opportunities for cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth.
  • Encourage continuing learning opportunities and professional development for our staff.
  • Create an environment for our students, teachers and staff which embraces learning with attention to personal growth and responsibility, development, and collaboration.
  • Provide opportunities to bring students, families, and staff together to celebrate and learn from one another.
  • Assist each student in developing a positive self-concept and a desire to do his/her best by providing an atmosphere of warm acceptance.

We believe that in order for our teachers to support our mission, they must:

  • Believe that all children can learn when offered proper guidance and developmentally appropriate strategies.
  • Encourage each child to strive for academic excellence by becoming resourceful, creative, critical thinkers who are comfortable taking academic risks.
  • Contribute to and promote collaboration among their students and colleagues in order to meet effectively the diverse needs of our students and staff.
  • Engage in a cycle of assessment, reflection, and goal setting in order to support student achievement and to further their own intellectual development.
  • Possess strong skills for problem-solving on the students’ behalf, interact with families to enrich cultural exchange and to promote a mutual understanding of our students’ strengths and needs.

Here at Nottingham staff takes our part in the PTA seriously, staying committed to:

  • Collaborating with our families to help each child further develop the concepts and skills necessary to become a respectful, responsible, trustworthy, kind and contributing member of our school, community, and the world.
  • Integrating instruction with core academic areas mandated by state and federal entities.
  • Planning and providing opportunities for our families and staff to share cultural heritages and diverse backgrounds in meaningful ways.

Summer Library/STEAM Update:  Build a Better WorldNottingham Librarian, Mrs. Gustafson reports that our first summer library night was a resounding success, with over 75 Knights and their family members in attendance!  Knights had an opportunity to check out books for the summer and to have fun engaging in critical and creative thinking/STEAM building activities.   Upcoming dates for library check in/MakerSpace are: Wednesday, August 2 and Tuesday, August 22 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Capitalizing on the energy and creativity of our Knights on display from this past year’s ImagiLab sessions, Knights and their parents/guardians will be invited to participate in STEAM activities each night. The activities will complement our summer reading theme – Build a Better World

Please join Mr. Koutsouftikis and me in welcoming our newest staff members:

Mr. Ron Crouse – Instructional Technology Coordinator

I am very excited to begin my new endeavor with Arlington Public Schools as the Instructional Technology Coordinator at Nottingham Elementary School! I have over 20 years in public education serving in a variety of roles previously in both Loudoun and Fairfax counties. I have experience as an elementary school educator, middle school administrator, recruiting and talent acquisition specialist; and most recently, for the past ten years, I have served as a technology specialist with Fairfax County Public Schools serving both the elementary and secondary levels. My passion is elementary education and I am beyond honored to work so closely with the instructional staff at Nottingham to refine and promote effective use of instructional integration with varied technology across a multitude of disciplines. In my free time, I personally enjoy reading, hiking, running and sailing! I hold three unique and very different graduate degrees, so life-long learning is clearly something I personally embrace and will promote in my role with APS and the super-dedicated Nottingham staff!

Ms. Kathy Darvishian – Grade 3

Greetings, and I am very excited to be part of the Nottingham community!  I am originally from Montclair, New Jersey but have lived all over because my father was in the Navy.  I graduated from Old Dominion University in Norfolk and attended graduate school at San Diego State University.  I have taught for the Virginia Beach Public Schools, Department of Defense Schools in Germany, and Fairfax County Public Schools.  I have three daughters – all with very different interests.  My oldest daughter just graduated with a degree in criminal justice, my middle daughter is going to acting school, and my youngest daughter works at UPS and is training daily to become a professional MMA fighter.  I love to travel and learn about other cultures, and my dream is to take a world cruise one day.  I also love to dance and have been dancing at Chris Collins Dance Studio for many years.  You are never too old to dance!  Going to the gym is part of my daily routine, and I am also a Zumba fanatic.  I really look forward to the upcoming year and working with all of you!

Ms. Teresa Foeckler – Grade 3

Hi everyone! My name is Teresa Foeckler (pronounced “Fek-ler”) and I am so excited to be joining the Nottingham team as one of your third grade teachers! I earned my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas where I also student taught in a 2nd grade classroom and received my first teaching license. After college I moved to Los Angeles, got a California teaching license, and taught Kindergarten for three years while working on a Master’s degree in Reading Instruction/Child and Adolescent Literacy at Loyola Marymount University. After three years on the West Coast I decided to move back home to the East Coast to be near my family and I now live in Arlington, VA. For the past two years I have been teaching Fifth Grade English/Language Arts and Social Studies at Carlin Springs Elementary School and I am currently teaching Summer School Reading Intervention for grades 3-5. In my free time I like to read, cook, craft/organize, exercise, travel, and spend time with family and friends. I am really looking forward to starting at a new school and teaching a new grade level and I can’t wait to meet all of you!

Eric Krumich, Special Education, Resource

Hello New Friends, my name is Eric Krumich and I am going to be a Special Education Resource Teacher.  Originally, I hail from Pittsburgh, PA, but have had a number of addresses over the years.  After retiring from the United States Army, I taught K-8 general education and special education students in Hampton, VA, St. Mary’s County, MD, and Arlington, VA.  Additionally, I was an adjunct professor at Christopher Newport University and the College of William and Mary.  My most recent teaching assignment was at Randolph Elementary School, where I taught special education resource (grades K-5), and self-contained special education (grades K-2) over the past six years.  I have a wide variety of interests and hobbies.  These include various outdoor sports and work projects that I focus on when spending my free time at two undeveloped properties in the woods.  I also shamelessly spoil my two grandchildren!  I look forward to meeting all of you and collaborating throughout the year.

Samantha O’Connor: Art Teacher

Hello, my name is Sam O’Connor and I am thrilled to be a joining the Nottingham team! Born in Florida with much of my family in Maine, I wound up naturally right in the middle of the two growing up. Taking advantage of the nation’s capital, I received my BA in both Art and Visual Technology, and BA in English from George Mason University. Before graduation, I wrote, illustrated, and published my first book, Captain Marlowe and the Red Tide. From there, I went on to receive my Masters in Elementary Education at the University of Virginia. I currently live in Arlington where I enjoy painting, drawing, reading, and watching movies. I also love traveling, animals, and nature. I look forward to meeting you all! Have a great and creative summer.

Kindergarten Summer Play Dates Set

If you are neighbors with rising K learners and their parents/guardians, please encourage them to mark their family calendars to join new Nottingham Knights for these summer play dates:

  • Saturday, August 19 & 26 – 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. – Nottingham Front Playground

Committee Co-chairs:

Open House: Thursday, August 31

Hard to imagine that we are already thinking about our annual Open House, in which we welcome new and returning Knights! Please plan to come to Nottingham on Thursday, August 31st for a brief visit.Rising K Learners:  – 8:45-9:45 am, Knights in Grades 1-5:  9:00- 9:45 am

A Knight to Remember:  Thursday, August 31 –  5:30-8:30 PM

Please mark your family calendar to join Mr. Koutsouftikis and me for A Knight to Remember!     Our beloved PE staff of Ms. Pugh and Mr. Giusto will facilitate group games while families enjoy an old fashioned picnic – each family will bring their own food for their picnic.Consider bringing your blanket, lawn chairs, and favorite lawn games for some old-fashioned family fun.  Use this opportunity for you and your child/children to reconnect with friends and make new ones!   Additionally, leave room for a sweet treat, which can be purchased from Scoops to You, an ice cream truck. After the picnic, we will be featuring the movie Born in China:  We look forward to seeing you and your family to help kick off the year in fine fashion!

Local Summer Activities:

Searching for variety of activities, different idea of a play date for your child, or visiting nieces or nephews? Here are some good local resources:

KidFriendly DC | A go-to resource for recreation with kids in the DC … / All ages, DC, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor and  Fun Things to do with Kids in the Washington DC Area, … ‎Weekend · ‎The Great Indoors · ‎The Best Places in the DC … · ‎Everyday Play

On a personal note, I am looking forward to some beach and family time and will soon be heading up the Northeast corridor to spend time with family and friends. Over the course of this summer, as I continue my online work, I am reading The Innovator’s Mindset – The Principal of Change by George Couros.  This work encompasses:

  • The Innovator’s Mindset; Empower Learning; Unleash Talent and Lead a Culture of Creativity
  • Chapter 1:  What Innovation Is – why is it important in our schools today?
  • I look forward to continued dialogue with teacher leaders and conversation on how we need to embrace this notion to create better opportunities for learners.

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

Mary Beth Pelosky
@NTMPrincipal  @NTMKnightsAPS