Published for the Arts Based School Community
November 19, 2020
Nov 23-27: No School Thanksgiving Break
How We Do It and Why
By Mary Siebert
“I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.” - Leonard Cohen
Nature in the Piedmont has officially joined us in the season of waiting. It is strange to think that we were also in our homes, waiting, when our ravishing spring of 2020 arrived. It was a long, cool, brilliant spring; a vivid contrast to our many worries and fears. The same leaves we marveled at as they flowered and grew from delicate buds to full-blown, pollen-caked, fluttering canopies are now crisp and brown and rustling underfoot. That big storm last week transformed our golden forests to a great big raking and blowing job.
At the peak of autumn color, I was chatting with my friend Bill as we waited (masked, distanced, outdoors,) for a mutual appointment. I confessed frustration with the constant noise that mars the fall beauty for me. Leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and chain saws are the soundtrack of autumn in the forested area where I live. It seems that they see me coming when I go out for a peaceful run, and rev up right as I approach.
Bill tilted his head, laughed, and replied that he has a positive association with those sounds. When he lived near Reynolda for a time, he’d run in the park there, on the forested path along Silas Creek. Across the creek were homes with plenty of lawns and corresponding leaf blowers. When he hears those noises now, he associates them with strength, freedom, health, and being outside.
I’ve been working on that realignment of thinking about noise since I spoke with Bill. I often practice mindfulness when I run, though I admit I’m not very good at it. Politics and dreams and work and pandemics grab my brain and shake it. There are two very boisterous German Shepherds, stationed half a mile apart, who shout violently at me when I pass. They are startling, but I realized one day that I could consider them sentries who are there to remind me to stop ruminating and be present. “Breathe. Run. Chill out.” they bark. Now, as Bill appreciates his leaf blowers, I consider these dogs to be on my team.
I’m still annoyed by the loud motors, but I recognize that people who love motorcycles and racecars probably share Bill’s positive association. And...I agree that it’s possible to change my inner conversation about things that trouble me. This interminable waiting, for example. That’s what we have, right now. Bare trees, and waiting. I want to be present for it, not stomp on it or wish it away. At least we are all waiting together, and we are finding new ways to teach, learn, and connect as we wait. It’s a time we will one day reflect on with wonder, each with a different perspective. I hope that when we all meet on the other side, we will have the opportunity to share those stories.
Friday Sing in December
Watch for the next Friday Sing to come your way on December 18, just before the winter break.
Easy Volunteer Task for Seamstresses and Stitchers!
We need your help to build about 40 simple tunics by November 30, so that we can send a costume home with each 3rd grade child for their production. Nothing cheers up a little actor like a costume! With the holidays coming, NOW would be a great time for you to whip off a few of these easy tunics, made with only two, T-shaped pieces! Stop by the front office lobby of the MLK building and pick up a packet that will include: a pattern, instructions, and fabric for as many tunics as you will make. Email Mary Siebert to place your order for a kit: firstname.lastname@example.org or just stop by and ask Hannah Brown at the front desk for as many as you want. Thanks!
ReOpening School Plans
Based on the rising number of COVID infections in our community, the Arts Based School Board of Directors voted unanimously to stay in Remote Learning-Plan C until January 25, 2021. The Board will consider the options again on January 12.
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. In case you missed it, the ReOpening School Updates meeting was recorded and is available via the link below.
Topic: ABS ReOpening School Updates
Date: Nov 18, 2020
MAP results sent home
Third through eighth grade students will receive Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) results via US Post this week. Overall results show that ABS students in each of those grades achieve higher scores than the national norms in all areas tested: reading, math, and science (5th grade). Due to remote learning at this time, the MAP testing was optional for students. Congratulations to our students and their teachers for a job well done. If you have any questions regarding MAP results, please contact your child’s teacher.