Principal’s Notes from Nottingham – March 24, 2017

A poet dips words into springtime to season her poems with beauty.

– Terri Guillemets

Dear Parents/Guardians:

March Madness

Pax by Sara PennypackerA Night Divided by Jennifer NielsenI have enjoyed joining Nottingham 4th and 5th graders in their earnest endeavors to read and then vote on their favorite books for the 2017 March Book Madness contest.  Our bracket-style contest started with 16 books, and the playing field has been narrowed down each week.   This national contest is in its final stages this week, and we eagerly await the final round as to which book will be crowned our Nottingham champion of 2017 — Pax or A Night Divided.   The votes will be coming in all week and the winner will be announced next Wednesday!

Book Swap/Ice Cream Social   /   Thursday, March 30th starting at 6:30 pm

Knight Writer Icon - KnIght holding pen as a lance and laptop as a shieldWe look forward to seeing you at our Writers’ Knight, and want to take the opportunity to remind you of the PTA’s Book Swap and Ice Cream Social taking place that very same evening.  You are welcomed to drop off gently used books on the multi-purpose room stage before (8:30-9:00am) or after (3:30-4:00pm) school Tuesday (March 28th) through Thursday (March 30th).  Thursday evening right after Writers’ Night at 6:30 p.m., you’re invited to bring your children to select new books to take home and enjoy a free ice cream!

Volunteers are needed to sort books and help with the event.  Please consider signing up to help at:  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Angela Na at or Rachel Agnew at

All kinds of books are welcome, including children’s books, chapter books, and adult books.  Please do not drop off encyclopedias or outdated reference books, or books with inappropriate content. 

Nottingham Kindergarten Orientation Monday, April 17:  9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Nottingham staff would like to invite all rising kindergarten Parents/Guardians (and their rising kindergartners) to school on Monday, April 17th, from 9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.  Parents/Guardians will have the opportunity to see what a day in the life of a kindergarten student looks like at Nottingham.  Rising kindergarten students will have an opportunity to meet kindergarten teachers and participate in some fun kindergarten readiness activities.  Please RSVP so we know about how many future Knights will attend. If you have questions, please call Janet Embrey at 703-228-8326.

Clinic Thank You and Request:
Dispensing of Cough Drops at School – Precaution is Always the Best Policy

no cough dropsThe clinic staff would like to thank those of who are helping to keep illness at bay by following county protocols. Recently some concerns have been raised regarding cough drops. According to county policy, the clinic staff would need a doctor’s order and parent permission to dispense.

  • From a classroom perspective, cough drops could generate a choking hazard and therefore use at school is considered a safety issue.
  • From a school health position, cough drops are considered as “over the counter” medication; therefore the use of cough drops during the school day is not allowed.

Marymount STEAM: Free!  –  Saturday, March 25 – 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Should you be on the lookout for an additional family centered Science event, consider participating in the “Celebrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math Fair.”

Altamira Technologies Corporation (Altamira) is proud to be one of the key sponsors of the fourth annual K-12 STEM Symposium, which will take place 9am-3pm Saturday March 25 at the Nysmith School in Herndon, VA. The event represents the largest K-12 STEM Symposium in Northern Virginia and brings together students, parents, and teachers with industry experts to bridge the gap between classroom instruction and impactful careers.

Dream ExploreDream, Explore, Create Your Own Path Saturday, April 1, 2017 – 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. / Wakefield High School

Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy and APS welcome all APS students and families to explore students’ individual interests, plan for their future and connect with counselors and career professionals.

  • Registration is Required – Lunch will be provided

2017 APS Site-Based Surveys

You may have heard by now that Arlington Public Schools Personnel are preparing for the launch of the annual Site-Based Survey. The surveys for students begins at the end of March and parent/guardians will receive a survey invitation starting in mid-April. This document lays out the details of the surveys, why your participation matters, and how you can take the survey when it launches. If you have questions about either the parent or the student survey, please contact Regina Van Horne at 703-228-2481 or

About the Parent Survey:

  • The survey is open to all APS parents.
  • The survey asks parents to rate their child’s school, and provide feedback on climate, bullying, communication, safety, quality of instruction, responsiveness, collaboration, cultural competence, and more.
  • The survey will be open from Tuesday, April 18, through Friday, May 12.
  • The survey is offered in English and Spanish.
  • Parents will be mailed a survey packet, or they can take it online at
  • If parents have provided an email address, they will also receive an email invitation to the online survey.
  • Parents will receive a survey for each APS school in which they have a child or children enrolled, and will be asked to reflect on the experience of their oldest child at each school.

About the Student Survey: 

  • The survey is open to APS students in grades 5–11.
  • The survey asks about quality of instruction, homework, challenges, school climate, safety and health, bullying, cultural competence, responsiveness, and more.
  • The survey will be open from Monday, March 27, through Friday, April 7.
  • It is offered in English and Spanish.
  • Students will participate in school, during a designated time. Survey coordinators will manage the survey administration in school.
  • All fifth-grade students will take the survey, either online or on paper.
  • A sample of students in grades 6–11 will take the survey online.

General Survey Information:

  • Confidentiality is guaranteed.
  • Independent research and communications firm K12 Insight is administering the survey and compiling all results.
  • No one in APS will know who participates or be able to connect participants to their answers.
  • Reports will only include the overall findings, not individual responses.
  • If you have questions about confidentiality, please contact K12 Insight at

Goals of the Survey:

  • APS leaders will compare this year’s feedback to previous results to identify trends in perceptions of our strengths, gaps, and ongoing needs.
  • The superintendent will review each site’s data with the principal at the end of the school year to inform planning for next year.

NTM/ Discovery Friendship 5K/ (Tomorrow, March 25 -8:00 a.m. / Discovery Elementary)

I am looking forward to seeing many of you bright and early tomorrow morning, March 25, for the Nottingham / Discovery Friendship 5K. Online registration is closed, however you can register in person/pick up your packet at Discovery Elementary School today, March 24, 8-9 a.m. and 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.  You can also pick up your packet tomorrow morning before the race 6:30 – 8:00 a.m. at Discovery.  Check out the new course!  Proceeds benefit both the Nottingham Elementary and Discovery Elementary PTAs.

Williamsburg Families: A Word from the New Administration at Williamsburg – Acting Principal, Connie Skelton

Williamsburg Middle SchoolThanks to those of you who were able to attend the Principal’s Chats yesterday.  It was my pleasure to meet you and get to hear about your experiences at Williamsburg.  As I mentioned at the Chats, I am “info” gathering about moving to Block scheduling next year.  It should be understood that Wolf Time (ATSS: Arlington Tiered System of Support) is separate from Block Scheduling and will be implemented in the 2017-18 school year. If you would like to share your thoughts about Block Scheduling with me, please send an email to  Your email may be short and to the point or longer with more explanation.  I would like to hear from as many families as possible before Monday morning, March 27.  I’m delighted to be a part of the Williamsburg family and look forward to your input.

Mark Your Family Calendars

  • March 30 – Writers’ Night and Book Swap/Ice Cream Social immediately following
  • April 10 – 14 – Spring Break / No School
  • April 17 – Grade Preparation Day – No School for Knights
  • April 18 – Students Return After Spring Break
  • April 26 – Early Release Day – 1:26 p.m.

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

Mary Beth Pelosky