ABS Thursday Notes- June 18, 2020

How We Do it and Why
By Mary Siebert

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”- Mother Theresa

Frustration is defined by Merriam Webster as “a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs.” We are all suffering from frustration now, in more fresh presentations than we could have imagined, last Valentine’s Day.

For schools, these “unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs” enfold everyone involved: teachers, parents, employees, students, guest artists, the board. Even our mailman is left wondering what’s next. We are accustomed to fooling ourselves into believing that we can envision a predictable future. COVID is reminding us that we are human.

The majority of teachers are meticulous organizers who love nothing better than a deliciously planned lesson, successfully shared. At this time of year, even I enjoy purchasing crisp new planning tools, and laying out the upcoming school year with pen and colored highlighters. The holidays and breaks, conference days, performance dates, visiting artists, the date my daughter will be home from college…but my calendars sit silently; devoid of events. I’m still in the “wait and see” mode.

Our leaders at the state level, guided by health experts, are seeking a sliver of solid land in a sea of uncertainty. They provide ever-shifting guidelines and requirements, as new facts appear. What we know is that this is all they can do, all they can be expected to do. They are partnering with us, as best they can. We do not blame them for the uncertainty, though it’s tempting to blame someone. But an unapologetic, microscopic virus is at fault.

“We are ready to pivot” is the operational phrase for schools, as we make plans for three state-required, varied configurations, knowing that all of them will require tweaking. Once our new normal is established for the year, we recognize that it’s likely we will be expected to shift rapidly to another new normal. We alternate between frustration and grace, keeping our focus on our values.

We hope that the requirement to do something new will result in valuable discoveries that we’ll carry with us, even when times are more predictable. As we journey, education and communication are our best tools. We will share all that we know, the moment we know what to share. Some things will be temporarily different this year, that much is certain. We are grateful to the parents and teachers who have been providing us with much-needed feedback through our surveys. (See below!) We are grateful for your understanding as we benefit from your insights to structure a new and uncharted journey together.

Planning For School 2020-21
As all schools around the nation consider solutions for providing safe learning for students and staff, North Carolina has issued a guidance document to prepare for possible scenarios when learning resumes for the next school year. Schools are directed to prepare three plans: one for in-school instruction with minimal social distances, one for in-school instruction with moderate social distancing (50% of students in building at one time), and one for stay-at-home remote learning. We have been told that Governor Roy Cooper will announce which of the three plans we will follow based on health metrics on July 1st. Here is a link to the guidance document: LightingOur Way Forward: North Carolina’s Guidebook for Reopening Public Schools.

Many of the required and recommended practices will be challenging for schools, and may still not meet the expectations for some staff and students to feel safe. I’m hopeful we can provide options for parents/staff to choose from in-person instruction, remote learning, or some hybrid of the two. There are still many details to work through.

As we prepare for what education will look like during the upcoming school year, your input and feedback are critical. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey to help us as we make plans to best meet the needs of ABS students, staff, and families.

Jumpstart Summer Program
ABS has been allotted $31,092 from the State to provide a remedial reading and math program for students in K-4 grades who are “not on track” due to the Coronavirus Pandemic and school closure. Students that did not show proficiency in reading or math on state-required assessments will have the opportunity to participate in a summer jumpstart program at ABS. The funding will be used to pay teachers to provide reading and math instruction and will run through the month of July. Parents will be notified directly if his/her child is eligible for the program.

Open Position: 5th Grade Teacher at The Arts Based School
The Arts Based School, a popular, well-established public charter school in Winston-Salem, is seeking a licensed, full-time, inspirational 5th grade teacher. We are inviting applications for this new position now, to begin in the upcoming school year.

Our ideal candidate will be passionate, energetic, creative, and innovative; a team player who will plan together with arts and other disciplines to deliver and create arts-integrated curriculum. ABS is committed to developing staff that reflects the diversity of our community. Candidates of all racial, religious, and gender identities are strongly encouraged to apply. Interested teachers may reply to Principal Robin Hollis

Public charter schools are funded by federal and state tax dollars. ABS offers the State Employee health insurance and retirement to full-time teachers.

Scroll down for several articles about ABS:

Sad Farewell to a Departed Friend: Dudley Shearburn
We are saddened to hear of the exit from the Earth of a great soul, Dudley Shearburn. This wonderful article by Lynn Felder about Dudley will give you a hint of Dudley’s unforgettable nature. ABS not only taught several of her grandchildren, but Dudley was also the first teacher mentor at ABS during our first year of operations. She loved the concept of our school and delivered her advice and ideas with jubilant energy and the wisdom of vast experience. She contributed greatly to education in our community, at every level. We are grateful to have known her.

Around Town

  • Kre8ivU offers free on-line classes in music technology through the end of June, with affordable prices after that. 
  • UNCSA’s Acting Out! Summer camp is online, with sessions July 20-24, and July 27-31.
  • Find art activities to do at home! Visit SECCA online.
  • Kyle Webster is still doing 25-minute ’Draw Along’ episodes Wednesdays through Fridays at 5:30pm, EST at behance.net/live
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