ABS Thursday Notes- August 6, 2020

Published for the Arts Based School Community
August 6, 2020

First Day of School -Wednesday, August 19
ABS Will Begin School Year in Remote Learning for the first nine weeks.


How Do I Stay Up to Date with School ReOpening Plans?
We’re doing our best to keep ABS families, staff, and community updated with the latest information about our School ReOpening.  We will continue to provide information in multiple places, including direct email, Thursday Notes, and Virtual Parent Meetings. Join us next Wednesday, August 12 at 12noon for ReOpening Updates.  You will receive an invitation via email.  If you have specific topics or questions, please send them to us at this form so we can be sure to address them.

Here are the links to School ReOpening Information Meeting recordings.  Grab some popcorn and enjoy the shows!

Q: Why “Flexible Monday” instead of “Flex Fridays?”
A: During Remote Instruction Monday will be our “Flex Day”.  This will keep us aligned with the schedule when we are able to move into Plan B-Hybrid Learning Schedule.  Mondays are holidays four times during the school year, which would deprive the “A” group of four days of instruction, leaving them off-pace with their counterparts.

Q: How will you select students into Cohorts?
A: Teachers will create cohort lists to divide classes to 50%.  If you have special circumstances to be considered for cohort placement please complete this form.

Q: Will siblings attend on the same Cohort days?
A: Siblings will be placed in the same Cohort days.

Q: How do I request a device to borrow from the school during Remote Instruction?
A:  You will need to complete two forms to help us prepare for loaning out devices.

The Household Income form is part of the Required Student Form for Registration. You may have already completed this form.  It is due by Friday, August 7.

Also, please complete Electronic Take Home Agreement.


How We Do It and Why
“What you’re doing now, or have done in the past, need not determine what you can do next and in the future.”
- Sir Ken Robinson

People keep asking me: “Will there be grade-level performances this year?” and my answer is yes. But they will be different. 

If you’ve been at ABS for a little while, you know that we have built and tweaked large scale grade-level-wide productions over many years. Through trial and error, we have found our favorite systems of developing and personalizing productions with each new group of children. Unlike some programs who choose a different play or musical each year, we tend to use the same basic format and story each year, because we’ve created complex links to other subject matter at that grade level. The story is supported by multiple lessons in other, related subjects. We have also developed rich resources to produce beautiful presentations, which are always new for the students, and which they anticipate with delight as they rise through the grade levels.We have found this to be effective for learning across a spectrum of subjects.

None of nearly two decades of development (it’s actually our 19th year, coming up!) has included virtual learning, so our familiar guidelines are for flying a different airplane than the one we’re in now! Some things will be adaptable…specialists and grade-level teachers will consider that together. We will be focusing most on the student’s experience, (or the process,) and less on the audience experience (the product,) because, as Ms. Hollis has repeated, our first priorities are learning and safety. Safety dictates that we will have no live audiences this year.

So how will we do it? Same way we always have, guided by the same values. With experimentation, discussion, creativity, commitment, and a sense of humor, we’ll pool our resources to discuss new ideas. I am excited about the possibilities. Once the whole teaching staff is back and we’ve made some decisions, I will send out the menu of delicious new projects.

As Mrs. Hollis said in the informational meeting for parents, it’s hard to reinvent a new school, when we loved the one we’d already built. But just as your family is still your family, even though your routines have been forced to shift, ABS still has the same energetic and loving community here, ready to shift too. We welcome ideas and suggestions, because that is what will make our year successful. I’ve no doubt that we’ll try new things so wonderful that we keep doing them in the future. I’ve no doubt that our students will be excited to do their parts, and they will learn and grow. So will we.


Staffing Update
Welcome Amanda McGarry-Pike to ABS Fourth grade team. Ms. McGarry-Pike is originally from Scotland, but has been teaching 4th grade in Winston-Salem for many years, both at Speas Elementary School and Smith Farm Elementary School.  


New Parent Orientation
This program is designed specifically for new families in grades K-4th at ABS to support your transition into ABS and to answer parent questions. If you were unable to attend, here’s the link to the recorded session.


Middle School Orientation
For new parents (grade 5-8) and also for parents new to middle school. This program is designed to answer questions about how our middle school program works (grades 5-8) and what to expect. If you were unable to attend, here’s the link to the recorded session.


Special Visits
Educational research shows that the relationship between the student and his or her teacher is one of the most important factors in a student’s academic success. This critical relationship is enhanced by our small class size and our educators’ commitment to children. In support of the teacher/student relationship, our teachers will be offering a Special Visit before school begins. A Special Visit is simply an opportunity for your child to meet his or her teacher in a familiar setting, a chance to learn a bit about the class and what to expect in the coming school year. Due to Coronavirus Safety protocol, Special Visits will be set up to occur virtually, individual meetings at the school for “new to ABS” students, or on the phone. This year’s scheduled days for Special Visits are August 13 and 14, 2020. Your child’s teacher will be contacting you to schedule a 15-20 minute appointment in early August.


Who’s My Teacher?
Classroom teachers met with the grade level team before school was out to create the class rosters for next year. They use all that they know about your child’s academic, social, emotional, and behavioral qualities to determine which classroom is the best match. Class placement lists were sent this morning to your email address. Supply lists will be posted on our website soon.


ABS August Board Meeting
The ABS Board of Directors will convene the August Board meeting on August 11, 2020 at 5:45pm using a virtual meeting platform. Board meetings are open to the public. If you would like to view the meeting, please email Principal Hollis for the link.


Garden Volunteers Needed
If you have a little free time, please consider helping us out in the ABS gardens. Although we won't all meet on the same day, the weeds are there everyday just waiting to be picked. If you are able to spend some time in the ABS gardens, wearing masks and socially distancing yourself, it would be greatly appreciated. You can log your volunteer hours directly into Helpcounter or send me an email and I can add them in. Special thanks to J Weaver and Sherry Beasley for jumping in and “wrestling the weeds”!


ABS T-Shirts Under Development!
We are working on a new T-shirt design, which we plan to have available soon for purchase over our ABS website...watch for further announcements!

Published Print