Principal’s Notes from Nottingham –  October 5, 2016

The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.                                             Henry Beston

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It has been a busy day here at Nottingham! Thank you for a strong showing and whole family efforts to encourage your child to participate in our International Bike and Walk to School Day. Mr. Koutsouftikis and I were thrilled to see so many Knights eager to prove to Ms. Pugh and Mr. Giusto that they had indeed biked or walked to school! We had just over 300 walkers and 55 bike riders.

Kudos and thanks to our SCA advisors Mrs. Moore and Mrs. Zipfel for their efforts to coordinate our ASPAN Walkathon. Grade level teams walked to support and address ending homelessness and food scarcity here in Arlington. I enjoyed walking with our fifth grade Knights, many of whom are patrol who shared where their patrol posts were and proudly spoke about their new responsibilities as a patrol. Other fifth grade Knights shared that they are eagerly awaiting their new German friends who will soon be arriving from Arlington’s sister city, Aachen.

Knight to Remember:

We look forward to seeing you and your family at tonight’s event:  A Knight to Remember. We will be gathering on  the back field of Nottingham, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.  Please plan to pack a picnic dinner for the whole family and bring your blanket, lawn chairs, and favorite lawn games for some good old-fashioned fun! Note: This is not a drop-off event; parents should plan to stay to supervise and socialize.  (No alcoholic beverages, please.)

Ice cream and popcorn vendors will be on hand selling treats. For those who prefer indoor entertainment, we hope you’ll join us beginning at 6:15 p.m. to join your child in watching the movie, Zootopia. Please see below for Common Sense Media’s reviews on this family friendly fun: Zootopia Movie: Video Review | Common Sense Media

Parent/ Teacher Conferences:

We look forward to seeing many of you in the building over the next few days for our Parent/ Teacher Conferences. In partnership with you, we join our instructional staff in focusing our efforts on nurturing our Knights in their academic journey of self-discovery. Family involvement and communication between school and home are important elements in creating a strong learning environment, as well as in supporting our Knights’ efforts in school. We consider parents/guardians a true asset to our learning community and we look forward to continuing our partnership to enhance the educational experience for each Knight.

Staff will be implementing our school wide theme of  “Be the 3!” encouraging our students in demonstrating safe, respectful and caring behaviors.  In keeping with our Responsive Classroom work, Knights will be encouraged to strive for on-time arrival to school, good attendance and the continued application of efforts that demonstrate grit, curiosity, optimism and conscientiousness.  Our instructional staff continues their strong lesson planning and data work with coaches in the Professional Learning Communities, also known as Collaborative Leadership Teams/ CLTs.

We are here to support you and your children and we look forward to working collaboratively with you to create an enjoyable, safe, and successful school year. Below is a list of which administrator is supervising which grade level:

  • Ms. Pelosky –  Grades K, 2, and 4
  • Mr. Koutsouftikis –  Grades 1, 3, and 5

Project Lead the Way:

As I have begun to mention in my grade level Principal Chats and at last night’s PTA meetings, Nottingham was one of three school communities in Arlington to receive a grant from Project Lead the Way (PLTW). PLTW sponsors are aware that, “Global and local challenges surround us.”  PLTW’s vision and mission is to address these challenges, and acknowledging that “We need people who know problem-solving strategies, think critically and creatively, communicate and collaborate with others, and persevere when something does not work the first time. Whether designing and producing prosthetics or deploying innovative water filtration devices in developing countries, PLTW students and the teachers who support them will be empowered to make a difference in their classrooms, in their communities, and around the world.” Project Lead The Way provides hands-on learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S.

At Nottingham, Librarian Nicole Gustafson and Science Lead Ofelia McKenzie will be facilitating student learning in an engaging, hands-on curriculum that teaches real world problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration through engineering, biomedical science, and computer science.  They are implementing the program with Nottingham Knights in Kindergarten through 5th grade this year.  Modules will be implemented over the course of the year, and the curriculum will also be included in our GEMS after school Science program.

Traveling Salad Bar

In celebration of National Farm to School month, APS Food Services selected Nottingham as the site to launch its “Traveling Salad Bar.” The Food Services Department received the salad through a grant from the Chef Anne Foundation in partnership with Whole Foods Market. Our Traveling Salad Bar will feature local fresh vegetables and fruit. Items served today were hydroponic spring mix lettuce, kale, cucumbers, baby summer squash, bell peppers and heirloom tomatoes. Knights can select items as part of a regular school lunch. The salad bar will available for the month of October.

Dismissal Policies  /  After School Playdates

Thank you for working with your child to encourage on time arrival at school. If you know that your child will need to be out of school, please send emails 24 hours in advance. If a teacher is absent, he/she will not receive the email to know about a change in schedule, pickup, etc.  Please copy Ms. Embrey on your emails at  If you must make a change during the school day, contact Ms. Embrey in the main office at 703-228- 8326.

If your child will be heading home on the bus with a classmate or fellow Knight, they must bring written permission from a parent/guardian.   Both children must have a note. Our APS Transportation Department requires that bus drivers have a written note from each parent if a child is going to ride a bus that he/she is not assigned to ride. These notes must be checked by the classroom teacher before the children ride the bus.

APS School Health Advisory Board Releases Food Allergy Guidelines

I wanted to bring the following information to your attention:

Arlington Public Schools (APS) aims to provide a safe, academically enriching, and socially accepting setting for all students. These guidelines specifically address the needs of students who live with life-threatening food allergies. All APS schools are encouraged to implement these evidence-based recommendations, which outline prevention and response protocols:

Managing Allergies and Anaphylaxis Among Students is a collaborative effort between APS, parent volunteers serving on the APS School Health Advisory Board (SHAB) and the Arlington County-School Health Bureau. Its purpose is to set uniform and consistent APS-wide guidelines, which establish a safe environment for students with food allergies and support parents regarding food allergy management. Nottingham staff continues to focus on ensuring that these new guidelines are followed and that all of our children are safe at school. For your reference, this website has some excellent information that should help parents and students find “children-friendly” non-nutty food.

APS Honors Chorus, Band & Orchestra Auditions for 5th Grade Knights

Parents/guardians are asked to encourage their 5th grade children to audition for Honors Chorus, Band, or Orchestra. These music performance groups are an excellent learning opportunity for our Nottingham Knights. Online audition sign up, music rehearsal tracks, rehearsal and performance information, and more can be found on the following link:

Kudos to Dr. McCormac

Congratulations to Dr. McCormac on  the acceptance of her article on Anxiety in Schools in the ASCA School Counselor magazine: Addressing Student Anxiety in the American School Counselor Association’s September newsletter.

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

Mary Beth Pelosky
@NTMPrincipal  @NTMKnightsAPS