Principal’s Notes from Nottingham – May 3, 2017

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.                                                                                                            Theodore Roosevelt


Dear Parents/Guardians,

May Fest 2017It will be a busy Nottingham filled weekend! I look forward to seeing current and former Knights and their families for our May Fest this Sunday, May 7 – 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. This year’s theme of Knights Joust Want to Have Fun!  promises to be a good time.

Kudos and thanks to Math lead teacher Maryanne Costa and Math Coach Angela Torpy for their efforts with our fifth grade Math Dice team. (Last year’s team took home the county team championship. As I like to say, Mathletes rule!)  The annual APS tournament will be held this Saturday morning, May 6, at Discovery, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

I look forward to joining fellow fans of Nottingham’s Chorale group for next week’s school musical, Pirates on Wednesday, May 10 – 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.  Mr. Koutsouftikis will be on hand for tomorrow night, May 4, evening’s Instrumental Concert at 7:00 p.m.

Please be on the lookout in your child’s backpack for his/her report card as they are going home tomorrow afternoon. We are proud of our Knights and their collective academic efforts! Thank you in advance for discussing your child’s report card and assessing his/ her learning profile from a growth based mind set.

Bike & Walk to School Flyer On Two Wheels or Two Feet By Biking or Walking to School on Bike and Walk to School Day WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 2017Don’t forget about Bike and Walk to School Day – Wednesday, May 10, 2017! Below is a word from our P.E. Teacher/Health and Wellness Coordinator, Mr. Mike Giusto: Are you ready for Bike and Walk to School Day? It’s right around the corner, on May 10th.  We are again encouraging our Knights to walk and bike on May 10th, and have some fun swag as well as a Fitbit Blaze giveaway available for some lucky person.  We look forward to seeing our Knights wearing helmets!


Spinners/Fidgets

There has been much discussion amongst APS leadership about the increase in Spinners, especially by students who do not have an IEP or 504 plan that indicates specific sensory needs. When a student has a need for a tool to increase self-regulation the school will provide an appropriate tool based on a child’s needs.  Please see below to clarify why we are discouraging distracting toys from being brought to school for both our Knights and their parents/guardians.

Fidgets…Tool or Toy?  There is no shortage of fun activities for our Knights and their peers across the division – from the water bottle flip challenge to now the spinner fidgets your child may have already asked you for.  What was created as a tool to help individuals display energy that might otherwise distract them from the task at hand, the spinner fidgets have now become a craze wide spread beyond even the United States.  There are even YouTube videos dedicated to tricks and challenges.   What is the purpose behind the use of a fidget in school?  The goal is to provide support to individuals who either need more sensory support for regulation in order to focus or a calming tool for anxious energy.  This is what we would call a “tool” some students would use when needed, just the same as some students may need to use a calculator more than others.  When a fidget ceases to be used as a tool, it becomes a toy and will be taken away.  Teachers and staff have been asked to remind our Knights that the goal of a fidget for some students who need them is to increase their ability to focus on their schoolwork. 

If you choose to purchase and send in fidgets with your child, please consider if it will distract peers (they cannot make any noise) and if it really will serve the purpose of increased focus. If a toy requires two hands and eyes on it to solve, like a Rubik’s cube, it is more appropriate for home or independent time away from peers. 

All students must sign a contract to use a stress/focus fidget at Nottingham. The language is based on our Responsive Classroom approach.


Student/Family Handbook

As a reminder, as stated in the Parent/Family Handbook:

Nottingham Knights are not allowed to bring toys, electronic devices, trading cards and/or other valuables to school.  Staff is not responsible for safeguarding.  Cell phones may be carried for emergency purposes and are the sole responsibility of the Knight.  Cell phones must be turned off completely and kept in backpacks or lockers.  Cell phones may only be used after receiving permission from a staff member.  Knights who misuse their cell phones or disrupt the learning process risk their cell phone being confiscated.


13 Reasons Why

Caution for Families about Students Viewing “13 Reasons Why”

APS staff has heard and many families may be aware from recent media reports about concerns that have been raised about the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why.  Many youth, including APS students, are watching the Netflix series, which was adapted from a popular book of the same title by Jay Asher.  The book and series follow a group of students as they piece together a story left behind by a classmate who died by suicide. While the story touches on important topics, the content is very graphic in nature. Critics have raised concerns that the series romanticizes or glamorizes suicide but gives no healthy alternative to kids struggling with emotional problems.

Although we do not encourage viewing, we believe it is critical for our children and youth to process this information with a trusted adult if they have been exposed to this series.  For this reason, we encourage you to talk with your children about what they are watching, either at home or elsewhere in the company of their friends.

APS resources related to suicide prevention are available through the In Crisis/Need Help Now button under “Quicklinks” on the APS main webpage. Finally, as always, we want to remind families that all of our APS school counselors, school psychologists and social workers are available whenever you have questions or concerns.

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

Mary Beth Pelosky
Marybeth.pelosky@apsva.us