ABS Thursday Notes- January 16, 2020

Thursday Notes
Published for the Arts Based School Community
January 16, 2020

No School- Monday, Jan 20- MLK Day

How We Do It and Why
By Mary Siebert

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” - Voltaire

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days at school, when sixty Kindergarten students whirl, leap, howl and paw the air, together with over a dozen lithe, powerful UNCSA modern dance majors, preparing for their 11th annual collaboration. Ms. Hollis and I always tiptoe down the hallway and peek in as the little faces look up, up, up in wonder and behold those magnificent “big dancers” right in the studio with them. The big dancers begin by sitting on the floor and watching the class begin as usual, and it’s as much fun to watch the delight and awe on their faces as it is to watch the same emotions in miniature, when the little ones watch the big ones dance.

The UNCSA students eventually join into regular dance class. Ms. Adams introduces them, then turns on the music and begins a warm-up. “Find a place in the room where you know you will be noticed because there is lots of space around you! Keep your feet rooted to the floor and see how many ways you can move your arms. Freeze in a high statue when I hit the drum (bang!) Now move your arms again. And freeze in a low statue. (bang!)” The little dancers are used to this. When they see that the big dancers are doing it exactly as they do it, they’re filled with wonder. And of course, both big and little dancers are inspired by the improvisatory ideas of the other. Before long, they are spinning and flying and tumbling through the space together as though they are family, free of self-consciousness, just brothers and sisters in the dance.

Each year the tiny and great dancers partner to perform Serge Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” for classmates and parents, beginning with these joint dance classes taught by ABS dance teacher Jan Adams. Ms. Adams, a NC State Charter School Teacher of the Year, also taught pre-ballet classes at UNCSA for over twenty years.

The young students and their teachers use Prokofiev’s beloved musical tale in the classroom, and in music, art, and dance classes to study story structure and sequence, character and setting, vocabulary, instrument families, acting, movement, scientific studies of animals, and Russian culture. They compare the stereotypically evil wolves in children’s literature with real wolves, discovering that the shy creatures are family oriented and have been vilified through much of classic fiction. This is an introduction to the inaccuracies of stereotypes, and the importance of questioning the validity of what you read.

Each child prepares to dance the role of one character from the story. Ms. Adams works with the UNCSA dancers to consider how they might choreograph the story for little people, while teaching the little people how to take on the various characters. Eventually the story is prepared with big dancers leading the little dancers, providing the little ones with a visual safety net. When the duck appears on stage, seven little ducks waddle behind him. If stage fright confuses them, they can look up at their tall leader and follow him. That is why tomorrow’s introduction is so valuable: those big dancers become friends; touchstones that quiet any stage fright. There are also breathtaking performances by the grown-up dancers; moments when they break off into inspirational expressions of their own.

We will perform at the Freedman Theatre at Alex Ewing Performance Place on the UNCSA campus, on Wednesday, February 5 at 12:15pm. Parents will park at the UNCSA fitness center and will be shuttled the short distance to the theatre. (Handicap parking is available in front of the theater.)

All Northwest District Band
8th Grader Josie Scott qualified for All District Band and will play 3rd chair flute in the top “Symphonic Band” at the February 15 concert at App State. She also qualified for All State Band, and received the highest score in sight reading of any flutist in the competition.  Congratulations, Josie!

Safety First
Our ABS community looks for ways to provide our children and staff with stability, security, and a collective sense of well-being.

The relatively small footprint of our campus as well as our entire staff’s knowledge of children and their parents not only nurtures our tight-knit  community, but it also sustains a connectedness that enhances our children’s safety. Our community members know and support one another. Children’s safety is always our highest priority.   As a result, throughout the course of the year we have several different precautionary drills that include fire, tornado, and lock down drills.

  1. Fire drills are when we test our response time for evacuation of the building.  We conduct these drills monthly. Students are taken outside for this drill.
  2. For a tornado drill, students are inside away from exterior windows. They are seated with their heads down and hands over the back of their necks. We conduct this drill in March in coordination with the State’s Severe Weather Preparedness week in March.
  3. For lockdown drills, teachers and students stay in the classroom, turn off the lights and must be silent. We practice this drill twice a year.

Our procedures are based on the state’s crisis intervention kit, provided to all schools. As part of our school safety and crisis plan, we conduct annual lockdown training for staff which includes the children’s orderly following of directions, lockdown “shelter in place”, and common sense decision-making. Full details of our lockdown plans are not shared publicly as recommended by security experts.

Student Intent for 2019-20 School Year
As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2020-21), it is important to know how many spaces are available in each grade.  As a current student, your child has priority placement and no additional action is required.   If your child is not returning to ABS for the 2020-21 school year, please notify Stephanie LeFever at [email protected]

Siblings of students also receive priority, but must fill out an enrollment application. You must complete an application for the 2020-21 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery.  Deadline for receiving applications is Jan 31 @ 3pm. Applications are available on our school website www.artsbasedschool.com

Late Pick Up Policy
The regular school day ends at 2:30 for K-4th grade students and 2:45 for 5th-8th graders. Parents should have a ride at school for their child within ten minutes of the student’s dismissal time. 

Students who have not been picked up on time will go to the main office in the building appropriate for the oldest child in the family. School personnel will contact the student’s family to inform them that student has not been picked up.

When a parent arrives late, they will be asked to sign the student out. After three late pick-ups, parents will need to meet with the building administrator to make a plan for ensuring on-time pick ups in the future. 

At 3:45, any student still at school will be taken to the ABS After School Program until a parent arrives. Families will be charged a $20 fee when this happens. 

If no contact has been made with anyone about a late pick up by 3:45, the Winston-Salem Police Department will be contacted to help locate a parent or family member. 

On early release days and after special events (such as January Jam), students must have a ride available at the announced pick up time. 

January Parent Council Meeting
Please join us for Parent Council meeting on Friday, January 24 at 8:15 in the MLK Cafe.  All ABS parents, families, and caregivers are part of Parent Council and are welcome to attend!  Don’t forget that attendance at Parent Council meetings counts toward volunteer hours. If you have any items that need to be discussed at this PC meeting, please contact Becky Dickson ([email protected]) or Sam Pearce ([email protected]). Thanks!

8th Grade “Guess Who?” Baby photos Needed for Yearbook
Email to [email protected] or give to Donna Brown if you need a photo scanned in for you. This should be a photo of your 8th grade student as a baby or toddler that will be used in the "Guess Who?" page in the yearbook. Thank you!

Order Your Yearbook
Last year we sold out of yearbooks AND sold out of our reprint! Make sure you have your copy by ordering today! Orders can be placed by visiting the Strawbridge website at http://www.strawbridge.net/ and clicking the red “Order Pictures and Yearbooks” button at the top of the page. The price is $22 and our school code is YB106312.

ALSO - Don't forget to take and post pictures to your class Shutterfly sites for yearbook! The deadline for the yearbook to go to the printer is March 31 – so post photos soon!

K-Kids Sponsor Read to Feed
Have you ever owned part of a cow? How about a llama? Well, you could now! The K-Kids are once again sponsoring the very popular  school-wide fund raiser for Heifer International called “Read to Feed.” Heifer International is an organization which contributes livestock and training to families in need around the world and helps them build sustainable businesses. Your child can help by reading! See the letter in your child’s Thursday packet, and K-Kids Letter, for more information.

Mark your calendar! Saturday, Feb. 1st from 9:00am to 12:30pm will be our ABS Parent-Child Retreat!
This special program will be a fun-filled opportunity for parents and their children to enjoy some high quality one-on-one time (without younger siblings who are also vying for your attention). Children and parents will both get to know each other better than ever before. There will be plenty of laughter, several special touching moments, and hopefully at least one breakthrough in solving a problem that has been nagging for a while. We will play creative and cooperative games, while having conversations from the heart about what matters most in your relationship. Parents will also get a chance to meet other parents to share what works (and what to do when it doesn't work!).

You can register you and your child to attend at the front desk. Please include a $10 donation to help cover the expenses, but full scholarships are available if needed. Look for a blue flyer in today's packet going home.

Please enter through the cafeteria door of the MLK building at 8:45am on Sat. Feb 1 so we can start promptly at 9:00. (We have all new games and conversation starters this year.)

Here's a quick video with photos from last year: https://youtu.be/6cPpKAqirJ4

Activity Fee Due
Each family is asked to pay $15.00 per semester per child to help cover the costs of our extensive curriculum enhancement activities.  Fees are due at the start of each semester. Second semester activity fees are due now.  Please make checks payable to ABS and turn into Mrs. Garner in the front office.

MAP Testing in January
Third through eighth grade students will complete the second round of MAP testing in January.  After the testing is complete, parents will receive an updated score report showing the progress your student has made this year.

Middle School January Jam- Friday, January 24th 2:45-4:00pm
Kick back and relax, we’ll take care of the kids.  For $5 we will provide a fun afternoon with a live DJ,  music, and dancing for ABS middle school kids from 2:45 to 4:00pm.  Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase. ($1 for drinks, chips, and candy).  ABS 5th -8th graders only in the 7th St Building.    All parents must park and come inside to pick up students at or before 4:00.  Permission Slip and Money must be turned in by Thursday, January 23. Students will not be permitted to stay without a permission slip.  January Jam Permission Slip

We have the following volunteer opportunities and they can send an e-mail to me at [email protected] if they are interested in helping:

  • Concessions Sales (2:20 to 4)
  • Hall Monitor (2:20 to 4)
  • Clean-up (Immediately following event)

Inclement Weather
In the event of inclement weather, ABS will announce school closings on local TV channels, under “The Arts Based School”.  This information will also be posted on the ABS website (www.artsbasedschool.com).

Prospective Parents’ Tours
School tours for prospective parents are scheduled weekly on Thursdays at 9:30am.  Each tour is limited to 10 adults in an effort to limit the disruption to our students and teachers in the classrooms.  Parents interested in learning more about ABS and how to enroll their child, should contact the front office to sign up for a tour. 748-4116 ext 1023.  Applications will be accepted beginning January 1. The lottery will be held the second Tuesday of February.

Around Town…

INTERSTITIAL #2: A second dance between exhibitions
Saturday January 25, 2020 at 3pm

Chris and Taryn are excited to be partnering again with the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) for another round of INTERSTITIAL.  This time they are joined by Marta Djorovic of the SAETTA String Quartet, video artist Steve Morrison, and an ensemble of dancers that includes: Dawanna Benjamin (ABS teacher), Trish Casey, Faith Fidgeon, Caitlyn Swett, Kelly Swindell, Maurice Watson, and Bea Yon (ABS 2nd grader).


11th Annual MLK Day Read-In on Saturday, Jan. 25 from 10am - 1pm.
"This is the 11th annual MLK Read-In, which celebrates the legacy of MLK by promoting social justice education and literacy. Volunteers from WSSU, WFU, UNCSA, and Salem College all participate in this event either as activity station leaders or as reading buddies. Reading buddies are paired with local children, ages 4-11, and experience various activity booths together as a team. The highlight and namesake of the event is the reading station, where the reading buddies read to their child. Each participating child goes home with an age-appropriate civil-rights themed books in either English or Spanish.

Parents and guardians can drop off their children (ages 4-11) at the event, but we would prefer that you register your child beforehand using this youth registration form. (The form is also available in Spanish.) This is especially important if you are planning on bringing a group of children to participate, so that we can recruit an accurate number of volunteers.

Songs of Peace, Strength, and Comfort, a Martin Luther King Day celebration, featuring the powerful soprano Jarae Payton and pianist Myron D. Brown (WSSU professor) will be offered FREE at the historic St. Philips Moravian Church on Main Street in Old Salem on Sunday January 19, 3:00 p.m. (One hour long.) There is little parking near St. Philips. Guests are asked to park near Home Moravian Church at 529 Church Street S. where they will be shuttled to St. Philips. This concert is part of the Music@Home series, a program offering world class music to the community without charge. Donations appreciated.

Textile Open House at Sawtooth on Thursday, January 16 from 6:00-8:00 pm will be a FREE, experiential introduction to the textiles department at Sawtooth School for Visual Art at 251 N. Spruce Street. There will be a big indigo vat for dyeing and much more, with snacks provided by Krankies.