News and Events » Mr. McLaughlin's Weekly Wrap Up

Mr. McLaughlin's Weekly Wrap Up

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰,
I asked my staff to fill in the blank of this sentence.... The last two days have been_______________ for me and my students.  The feedback I've gotten has been, "exciting, engaging, fun, memorable, lively, extraordinary, amazing...." and I hope you and your children have felt the same!  Feel free to share your "fill in the blank" when you see me.
For me, the last two days have been overwhelmingly, positive, and affirming for me and my students.  The positivity in the building is palpable and it affirms to me that we are going to have a great year!  
This Monday marks the 22nd anniversary of September 11, 2001 and so I am asking that all students wear red, white and blue.  We will be commemorating the anniversary during our morning announcements. 
Beginning Monday, 9/11/23, our early morning drop off program will take place in the auditorium starting at 7:05am and will be supervised by Mrs. Lam and Mrs. Ehrhardt.  If you are interested in signing your child up for early morning drop off, I have attached the google form below. 
I want to take a moment to officially welcome our new and returning staff to the Castlewood family.  
  • Kerry Mackenzie Grade 5 Teacher
  • Dayna Stechel, Grade 1 Teacher
  • Stella Chung, Technology Teacher
  • Jessica DeMartino, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Seth LeRea, Social Worker
  • Camille Satchwell, Social Worker 
  • Susan O'malley, School Aide
  • Janice Cabello, School Aide
  • Nusaiba Ally, Speech Pathologist
  • Melanie Aguinaga
Attached below is a very important google form that I need all parents to fill out.  This form will give Castlewood permission for a few opportunities that take place at school.  For example, it will allow us to take photographs and share on our social media platforms (such as our Instagram page and school website.  It will also allow us to announce your child's birthday during our daily announcements as well as give them certificates with their names on it (i.e. citizen of the month, perfect attendance etc.).  Please take the time to fill this out so that we can begin to engage in and memorialize these opportunities for you and your families.
Finally, as a reminder, Fridays are our official Castlewood spirit day, and we encourage all community members to show their Castlewood pride by adorning school attire.  In related news, we are working on getting our school store up and running so stay tuned for further information.

Enjoy your weekend!


Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,
Well, our first full week flew by at Castlewood because as the saying goes, "time flies when you're having fun".  This first week has been filled with fun activities, getting to know your children, getting them back in routines and gearing them up for the academic work ahead.  At this point every class is engaged in rigorous work with our HMH literacy program at the forefront!  
Parents if you have not done so already, please fill out the attached parent consent form.  In order for our students to be recognized for their achievements (i.e. Citizen of the Month), birthdays announced, pictures taken that can be placed on social media, etc. this form needs to be completed.    
On Tuesday September 26th Castlewood welcomes our first assembly of the 2023-2024 school year - The Ned Show

About the Show

NED’s Mindset Mission is an entertaining and impactful 45-minute performance. We use storytelling, puppetry, illusions and yoyo tricks to take your students on an exciting journey with our character NED. He follows clues, meets memorable characters and learns valuable lessons.


First, a yeti teaches NED to overcome Mt. Everest’s toughest obstacles and Never Give Up. With Captain Kindly, NED discovers inner treasures on a Caribbean island and how to Encourage Others. Finally, while repairing a sputtering spaceship, NED grows his brain while learning the message Do Your Best.

Parents will have the opportunity to purchase items for their children from the show that range from $4.00 to $12.00.  More information to come.
Enjoy your weekend!
Thomas McLaughlin
Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,
Our second full week of school is in the books and the fall weather is beginning to settle in (jeans and sweatshirts are my favorite).  Tomorrow we officially welcome the Fall season into 2023.  That means that tonight is the Autumn Equinox, or as Jake Adam York wrote, "The year's last firefly winking like a penny in the shoulders weeds".  Thank you to everyone for all the kind birthday wishes and happy birthday to all our September children (Virgos and Libras rock)!  
Please visit our new school store as it is filled with all kinds of great Castlewood gear!  The back-to-school sale ends September 30th so jump in on the savings now!
The "Ned Show" will be joining us for our first full assembly in the auditorium on Tuesday, September 26th at 1:15.  
LUNCHTIME CLUBS ARE ALMOST HERE!!!!  I want to send a shout out Ms. Cageao, Mr. Bogart, Mrs. Chung, Mr. Gomes and Mr. Zwang for coming up with a variety of engaging opportunities for your children to participate in during their lunch periods.  A full schedule of the clubs is forthcoming.
We opened Castlewood's doors earlier than ever in the morning to encourage all of you to get your children to school as early as possible.  Please do your best to get your children to school no later than 7:50am.  EVERY MINUTE COUNTS AND THEY ADD UP.  We will also begin selling snacks in the auditorium to students in the morning (more information to follow).
On Thursday, October 12th we will be hosting our first movie night at Castlewood!!!  Tickets will be $5.00 per person, and we will be selling snacks, water, juice and ices/ice cream.  All proceeds raised from the movie night will go towards future student celebrations.  
Lastly, I want to wish a happy Yom Kippur to everyone who celebrates and a remind everyone that school is closed... "Yom Tov".
Warm regards,
Thomas McLaughlin
Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,
"A guarantee of rain comes with the promise of sunshine 🌞author unknown.  Something that brought me a little sunshine today was the recognition that today marked exactly 365 days that I have been the Principal of Castlewood.  For me, it marks the anniversary of one of the greatest years of my career in the department of education and for that I wanted to say thank you to this amazing community that I've been lucky enough to inherit. ❤️
As a reminder our school store is open, BUT the back-to-school sale ends tomorrow!  A link to the school store is always available on our website and will remain open year-round!  As always, we encourage our families and staff to rock their Castlewood gear every Friday!
I want to send a shout out to Mrs. Polanco and Mrs. Schlecter for braving the awful weather conditions this morning!  I watched as they walked every child they possibly could out of their car and into the school building under an umbrella.  This unwavering commitment is what makes our school great and why visitors like Justin Stark from our district office said to me, "I've never seen such wonderful school spirit as I have today".  Keep up the good work everyone because all your efforts don't go unnoticed!  I also want to thank those parents that go out of their way to make sure they arrive before 8:00 as this makes our morning arrivals run so much smoother!
Google classroom invites have been sent to your children from their classroom teacher(s).  Please make sure you accept the invitation.
Please join us for our first Movie Night of the year on Thursday October 12th as we watch Hotel Transylvania at 6:00pm.  Doors will open at 5:45pm.  Snacks and beverages will be sold along with ices and ice cream.  We look forward to spending the evening with those that can make it.  
We are excited to announce that beginning in October Castlewood will now offer various clubs for students to join during their lunch period.  Please talk with your child and begin to see which club they are interested in.  In order to ensure that many children can have the opportunity to join a club they may only choose one.  Students who do not get a club will be placed on a wait list and Kindergarten students will be offered clubs in the 2nd half of the year.  Below you can find a schedule of the clubs that will be offered. 


First Grade 2nd and 3rd Grade 4th and 5th Grade
Art (Monday) Robotics (Tuesday) In-School Play (Tuesday and Thursday)
STEM (Thursday) Games (Wednesday) Games (Friday)
  Soccer (Wednesday)  Flag Football (Friday)
Also, beginning in October we will be selling snacks to students in the morning while they are in the auditorium.  The cost for the snacks will be $2.00 a bag.  Snacks will include chips, pretzels, mini-Oreos, welches fruit snacks and more!  There will be both peanut and gluten free options available . 

Stay dry and stay safe,

Thomas McLaughlin
Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰 ,
It has been a busy week here at Castlewood- not unlike many others- with lots of great conversations and classroom visits.  
On October 2nd we celebrated Custodian Appreciation day and I want to reiterate how appreciative we all are for their hard work.  A building cannot run without the hard work these men and women do across all the great schools of New York City and Castlewood is no exception.  Their tireless efforts to keep our building clean and safe do not go unnoticed by our community.  I want to thank the staff and students who went out of their way to make sure our guys felt appreciated!
We are working to get the clubs up and running.  We plan on sending out a Google form soon!   Further instruction will be forthcoming.  
Please remember to bring in any unused socks to contribute to our "Socktober" collection that is taking place in partnership with the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless.  Up until October 27th you can bring in any new or unused socks and drop them in the boxes in the main lobby.  Shout out to Mrs. Castillo, Mrs. Koegel and the Kindness Committee for setting this up!
We hope that you and your families will join us for our first movie night of the year on October 12th as we will be showing "Hotel Transylvania."  Please reach out to Mrs. Kruger if you need more information or need tickets!
Remember parents that every minute counts to ensuring your child receives the best education possible so please get them to them to school every day and on time.
Lastly as a reminder school will be closed this Monday in recognition celebration of Italian Heritage/Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Have a great weekend!


Thomas McLaughlin

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,


Hard to believe we have reached our 25th day of school! 



I want to send a special shout out to Mrs. Tricamo, Mrs. Petromanolakis, Mrs. Kruger, Ms. Verde and Ms. Gerlach for helping to make out first movie night a huge success!!  It was so nice to see our auditorium filled (over 200 movie goers) with children and extended family members from uncles and aunts to grandparents and cousins.  We even had some Castlewood alumni attend this event!  These kinds of events go a long way in building relationships between the school and families that will benefit your children.  I also want to thank our amazing custodial staff for helping to clean up the tons of popcorn left behind!


The PTA will be bringing back the Halloween Party (Hallway) on Saturday October 21st form 4:30-7:30 PM.  From what I understand this was quite the event that has not happened since 2019.  I certainly will be bringing my sons to participate in the festivities and hope to see you there with your families as well.  They will also be hosting fundraisers (see flyer on IG page soon) by selling "Philly's Pretzels" through 10/23/23 and picture day will take place on 10/24/23.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰,

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a big fan of efficiency and paying attention to details.  With that said, moving forward I will be sending my weekly wrap ups in this format because it is both more efficient and it allows me to pay attention to those important details!

This week we had a visit from our Deputy Superintendent, Mr. Anthony Inzerillo, from the district office, to visit classrooms, speak with teacher teams, student groups as well as parent groups.  This was all part of what's called a Principal Performance Observation (PPO) which is a two part evaluation of my leadership of the school.  I want to send out a special thank you to the parents who volunteered their time to join me in that meeting.  Your insight and feedback about the school is valuable for us to continue to work to get better each day!  I also want to thank the parents who took the time to fill out the surveys which  helped me evaluate my leadership.  

A strong PTA helps make a good school great and I truly appreciate all the hard work that our PTA does each and every day.  I want to thank the PTA for putting together tomorrow's Halloween celebration at the school which will take place from 4:30-7:30 PM.  Tickets are $15.00 per person and are available at the door.  I am looking forward to seeing many of you there! I will be joined by  my 3 sons who are very excited to be part of it.   The PTA has also begun to sell pretzels.  Order forms for the pretzels are due back on October 23rd.

Starting next week we will be selling snacks to students in the auditorium during morning arrivals.  Students will be asked to put them in their lunch bag or backpack to be enjoyed at lunch.  We will be finalizing our lunchtime clubs and logistics this week and you will be getting more information from the teachers who are supervising the clubs soon!

As a reminder to all parents, our SLT meetings are open to you and the public.  If you would like to attend SLT meetings, please feel free to let me know so that I can be sure to accommodate the correct space.  SLT minutes and agendas are available on our schools website, once they are approved.

On October 31st, we will be posting our newsletters for November on the school website.  Please be reminded that you can click on the underlined links for access to family letters pertaining to our curriculum.  

Lastly, please be sure to follow the guidelines for birthday celebrations.  

Have a great weekend!

Good afternoon Castlewood families 🏰,

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” –John F. Kennedy

To say that the staff and students of Castlewood lived those words today would be an understatement!  The love and support I felt in the auditorium this morning to celebrate “Principal Appreciation Day” was overwhelming for me and I hope that you all know how much I appreciate you.  Thank you to everyone for making this year's Principal appreciation day such a wonderful day for me.  It is a day that I will NEVER forget!!! 👁️‍🗨️❤️🏰.

I want to thank the PTA for organizing the Halloween dance, pumpkin patch and the upcoming wonder walk.  They were also in the building this week handing out books for students on their birthdays.  As a reminder parents are invited to attend the halloween/fall parties so please reach out to your teacher if you would like to attend.  I also want to thank the parents who attended my first “Coffee and Conversation” with the Principal this week.  A lot of great ideas were shared and questions answered.  I look forward to continuing this throughout the school year.  I want to thank the parents who volunteered their time and supplies to help us organize a Diwali celebration.  There will be more information to follow. All grade newsletters will be posted on the school website by Wednesday, November 1st.

Parents please see this important letter regarding the halloween/Fall walk.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.  If you need me I’ll be on the baseball field with my sons hopefully securing our first playoff win

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: "What are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

This week at Castlewood we were busy celebrating, honoring, conversing with parents about their child’s progress.  What a wonderful and taxing week it was as we had yet another amazing Halloween/Fall celebration!  Huge shout out to our PTA for all their efforts in decorating the school playground so that this celebration was festive and fun!  I was in awe of all of you between the costumes, the treats and the overall commitment to ensuring our students had a fun time was a sight to behold.  The staff and students of Castlewood shared with me just how much fun they had and what a positive experience it was- THANK YOU!

We had our first of what will be many assemblies to come, honoring our students who lived the precept of September and became the Citizen of the month.  We also honored those students who achieved perfect attendance for the month of September.  EVERY MINUTE COUNTS parents, so please be sure to send your child to school everyday and on time 👍.


Special shout out to our Pre-K teacher Mrs. Passero as she takes on one of the greatest physical and mental challenges a person can take on.  On Sunday, November 5th, Mrs. Passero will become part of an elite group of people that completed the NYC marathon.  Please join us as we cheer her on! 

Parents please read this important letter regarding the WIN periods that will begin Monday.  


I want to thank  Ms. Gopi Patel, Ms. Makadia Vismita, Ms. Jaini Shah, Ms. Shagun Khanna, Ms. Bhagyeshwari Patel for reaching out to us to help organize some activities for Diwali.  This will take place on November 9th and 10th.  Mrs. Kruger has sent specific information so If you have any questions, please reach out to her.   

On Tuesday, November 14th we will have our Town Hall Safety meeting.  Every school year we open one of our monthly safety meetings to parents to discuss the purpose of the school safety committee.  We will also be joined by the FDNY and they will provide a fire safety presentation to the parents.  Please fill out this form if you would like to attend. 

Have a great weekend

Good afternoon Castlewood 🏰,

“Duty, honor, country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.” - Douglas MacArthur

As the son and brother of a Marine veteran I truly appreciate the call for duty, honor and country.  Thank you to all the veterans who have sacrificed so much to live up to these three hallowed words which helped to build and sustain the foundation of this great country we are fortunate enough to call home.

I want to take a moment to congratulate our students who ran for student council positions.  You all did an amazing job preparing for and executing a great election run.  Congratulations to our winners: Secretary, Eva Philip, Treasurer Caroline Mathews, Vice President Malani Mangaroo and President Param Shah.  I look forward to working alongside these students to continue to make Castlewood the best school it can be!  

Shout out to Mrs. Passero for completing the NYC marathon last Sunday!  We are all so proud of you and we thank you for sharing a salty treat with us on Wednesday.  Shout out to some amazing parents for helping to create a wonderful and educational Diwali celebration.  We were joined by Ms. Gopi Patel, Ms. Vismita Makadia, Ms. Jaini Shah, Ms. Shagun Khanna, Ms. Bhagyeshwariben Patel, Ms. Kushangi Patel, Ms. Anubhuti Nagpal, Mr. Miguel Bautista as they read with the children, engaged in some artistic activities and decorated the school. Please visit our IG page @Castlewoodps186  to see all the wonderful things that went on this week!

As a reminder, next week, Tuesday November 14th will be our town hall safety meeting.  This meeting is open to the public and this year we'll be joined by a member of the FDNY who will conduct a presentation on fire safety.  This meeting is for members of the safety committee and any other adults from the Castlewood community who wish to attend.

As a reminder to all parents we are now selling snacks in the auditorium every morning for $2.00.  Proceeds of the snack sales go towards future student events and celebrations.  Next Tuesday please be sure to wear blue in recognition of “World Diabetes Day”.  Next week we celebrate “World Kindness Week” and every morning we will hear from our kindness committee as they read some inspiring  kindness quotes.  Lastly, on Tuesday night the PTA will host their monthly PTA meeting.  Parents can find the PTA zoom link and all other things PTA related on our school website.  

Have a great weekend