ABS Thursday Notes- October 15, 2020

Published for the Arts Based School Community
October 15, 2020

How We Do It and Why
By Mary Siebert

“The Ancient Egyptians invented lots of things we still use today, such as paper, pens, locks, and keys and – believe it or not – toothpaste!"
National Geographic Kids

Sixth grade teacher Alysha Christian hatched a project that she calls Our Egypt Museum, which integrates poetry and art with social studies content. Students are adding finishing touches this week, using a virtual platform that allows them to post their own materials and to comment on one another's work. It’s exciting to see how Ms. Christian has successfully helped students make cognitive leaps between ancient Egypt and their own lives, using arts integration.

Some students express their interest and understanding best through questions and conversation in class. Some excel in expressing their focus through the art assignment. For others, the structure and content of the written assignment is most accessible and rewarding. Sharing with one another in all of these areas can help each student learn from others, and reveals them to one another as unique and successful.

The positive community these sixth graders share is readily apparent in their supportive words for one another, so we see that they are also practicing socio-emotional goals through this project. To top it off, Ms. Christian drew the students’ attention to a major discovery of nearly sixty sarcophagi in Saqqara, Egypt last weekend. Just in time to dazzle our young Egyptologists!

Here is how Ms. Christian described the project to me:

“We just finished learning about the ancient Egyptians. In doing so, we learned the importance of the Pyramids...how they stood (and still stand) as a symbol of the people who lived in ancient Egypt.

“We also looked at Charles Demuth's painting My Egypt, where he painted a simple grain elevator (which was vital to farmers in his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania during the Industrial Era) and painted it as though it was as important as the Egyptian tombs that were being discovered and explored in the Valley of the Kings around the same time as his rise of influence in the realm of artistic Precisionism.

“I encouraged the students to use at least one element of Precisionism to complete their piece, and then write a Pyramid Poem to give museum visitors clues to what Winston Wonder they researched. Can you guess some of the architectural wonders of Winston-Salem that are represented?”


Student Mask Distribution
The State Health Department has supplied all North Carolina public school students with five reusable, washable cloth masks required for in-person learning.  These masks will be distributed to families at the next materials exchange for your class.  Please help your child get used to wearing a mask when in public, covering both the mouth and nose to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.


Family Directory
This year’s family directory is now posted in the password-protected Family Portal area of our website. Please do not share ABS family information outside of our school community. If you need help accessing the Family Portal, or if you’d like to make any changes to your family’s listing, please contact Leah Lavin.


ReOpening School Plans
The ABS Board of Directors voted to remain in Plan C-Remote Learning until at least November 30, the end of our first trimester. 


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. If you have specific topics or questions, please send them to us at this form so we can be sure to address them.


Annual Giving!
Our Annual Giving campaign is officially underway, and we are truly grateful to everyone who has made a gift thus far! Thank you!

Total School Participation to Date: 7%
Total Gifts to Date: $13,165

This year has been challenging for all of us, and ABS continues to invest in our safety and infrastructure even as we face tremendous uncertainty. Your gift to this year’s Annual Giving campaign will have a deep and immediate impact. Please participate! Making a recurring monthly gift is an excellent way to maximize your gift to ABS, as is sharing the call to action with your extended family and friends.

We ask all parents for financial support just once each year. Please give as generously as you are able. An Annual Giving letter, envelopes, and FAQs are going home via Materials Exchange. Please click here if you prefer to make a secure gift online. Thank you!


PikMyKid Dismissal App 
In our ongoing efforts to enhance your children’s safety, we will begin using the PikMyKid Dismissal Application. This system will allow us to avoid congregating students at dismissal tents, leaving them inside the classrooms until you arrive in the pickup line. This also allows us to collect daily health screening questionnaires from each student before they arrive on campus.

We are very excited about this addition and know you will be too. Check your emails over the next week for additional information and we will be on our way to a safer, quicker, and more efficient dismissal process. To learn a little more on your own, please check out this link that will show you a few of the PikMyKid features. 


ABS T-Shirts!
We are very excited to introduce beautiful new ABS t-shirts designed by local artist (and ABS parent and board chair) Ellen Heck. The t-shirts will be printed by ABS parents Derry and Lisa George of Dikie The Geek Computer and Printing. T-shirts will be distributed via our Monday Materials Exchanges. Place your order here today!


Parent Council Meeting - Friday, October 16th at 12:00 PM
We invite all parents, caregivers, and learning coaches to join us tomorrow for our 2nd Parent Council Meeting.  The agenda can be found here. Please submit any additional questions or topics you would like to discuss via our parent council comment box. Please indicate “PC meeting” in your submission.


Classroom Representative Meeting -  Wednesday, October 21st at 12:00 PM
We will be hosting a Zoom session to discuss class representative jobs for this year. We will record this session for those who can't make it and try to hold an additional Q& A. We hope to brainstorm ideas for how class reps can support teachers and families and how we can best achieve this! Class reps will get an email invitation directly. If you would like more information or to join this zoom, please email Debbie Mason.


Volunteers Needed 
We are looking for a few additional volunteers to serve as classroom representatives for Rambach, Tate (5th), and some specialist teachers. This job will be new and different this year, but your primary responsibilities will be to 1) help facilitate connections between class and grade level families, and 2) support your teachers. If you would like to serve in this position, please contact Debbie Mason.


Parent Council Social - Thursday, October 22nd at 5:30 PM
All parents, caregivers, and learning coaches are invited to a Zoom social to get to know other members of our ABS community. This is a  good time for casual conversation and to discuss challenges you may be facing or ideas about how we can support each other. Feel free to “drop” in!  Invitations will be sent out the week of the meeting.