ABS Thursday Notes- December 3, 2020

Published for the Arts Based School Community

December 3, 2020

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” - Albert Einstein

In his book A Whole New Mind, author and idea wrangler Daniel Pink argues that we are shifting from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. He maintains that “right-brained thinking,” or creative thought, is critically important for future success, particularly in developed nations. Factory work, telemarketing, computer coding and software development are all being regularly outsourced to countries where salaries are low and regulations are minimal. 

I often share the insight of a friend who is a biochemist and professor at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He says that many of his students are brilliant, high flyers who know how to deliver the correct answers to finite questions. What they often lack is original, creative thinking. They need it.

Daniel Pink defines six high-concept aptitudes that future workers will need:

Design, not just function. Americans used to buy a plain old toilet brush and store it in a coffee can. Now, people want one that hides sleekly away, or matches their style and color, or they look for clever technology that reduces the need for cleaning. Daniel Pink points to Target as a company who predicted that offering affordable objects which combine function with edgy design was the next step in retail. This required open minded, foreward-looking management and skilled designers who can integrate beauty with function in even the smallest things.

Story, not just argument. In every business, in politics, in sales, it’s the story that captivates, even in a 1 minute TV advertisement. But how many expert business people know how to design and tell a story? Skilled, original, creative writers and storytellers are needed.

Symphony, not just focus. We need to see the big picture, cross boundaries, and bring separate, specialized ideas into a unique, resonating whole. Where can we learn to operate like a symphony does, with each voice honored and valued, contributing to the whole? The study of music is well documented as contributing to higher test scores, and musicians know how to function in symphony, sharing responsibility and delivering glorious results to the community.

Empathy, not just logic. This obvious need is swirling through our society like...well, like a virus. But where will our country’s academics-driven, politically divided children learn empathy? We need acting and poetry and the group encouragement of individual expression that the arts develop.

Play, not just seriousness. We all know that play is how children learn. But for adults, play is also critical to invention, to good health, to bountiful relationships, and to happiness. How do we find space for playfulness, when we are driven to get the right answers? The arts deliver the skills of improvisation through play.

Meaning, not just accumulation. We have so much material stuff available to us now, that many of us are free to seek for a sense of purpose. The arts provide abundant resources for this, from mystery to tradition, from comforting familiarity to challenging breakthroughs.

Pink says that anyone can master these Conceptual Age senses. But he adds that “those who master them first will have a huge advantage.” This kind of competitive thinking has contributed to the current trend toward chronic anxiety among high school and college age kids, but it seems to be part of our culture now. It’s worth bringing up because, if you are a parent who worries about competitive advantage, it will reassure you that the arts are a positive investment in your child’s competitive future, not to mention their joy and delight in today, and their connection with their community when they are adults. The arts can also help your children avoid that chronic anxiety, and some of the serious health issues that come with it.

The need for these aptitudes is one of the reasons that the national standards for American schools include the arts as core academic subjects. Creative scientists have rapidly developed new vaccines. Creative technological advances have made it possible for us to safely connect during our separation, rather than living in the total isolation that a lockdown would have caused only a few years ago. These creative thinkers are the keys to our future. 

To maintain a rich balance in the development of their minds and personalities, our children need it all: the numbers and the music, the reading and the creative writing, the facts and the stories, the strength and the dance. 

Read more about the connection between arts education and academic achievement.

Friday Sing in December

Watch for the next Friday Sing to come your way on December 18, just before the winter break.

3rd Grade Costume Pick-up!

Costumes for the 3rd graders’ upcoming Renaissance Spectacles will be delivered at the materials exchange this coming Monday, December 7th. Don’t miss it! (But if you do, call Ms. Hannah at the front desk of MLK for instructions: (336) 748-4116.)

Canned Food Drive

ABS students and families are sponsoring a food drive for Sunnyside MinistriesPlease bring non-perishable items in cans and boxes (no glass containers, please).  Items will be collected on Dec 7th at Materials Exchange.  Just leave your items in the empty milk crates on the sidewalks in front of the buildings.

ABS Spelling Bee and Science Fair

Usually during this time of year, students and families are preparing for the spelling bee and science fair.  Due to the COVID pandemic restrictions, we will not be able to conduct the spelling bee or science fair.  All regional competitions were cancelled as well.

T-Shirt Sales are Ongoing

ABS t-shirt sales are still open and ongoing! We will place our next bulk order on Wednesday, December 9. Place your order here today! If you have questions or need help, please email Leah Lavin: [email protected]

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. Form to submit questionsIn case you missed it, the ReOpening School Updates meeting was recorded and available via link below.

Topic: ABS ReOpening School Updates

Date: Nov 18, 2020 

Meeting Recording:

Slideshow from meeting

WS/FC Virtual School Showcase

At the Virtual School Showcase on Saturday Dec. 5, families can learn more about all of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County high school options.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., parents, students and other family members are invited to sit down at their computers or pull out their mobile phones and virtually visit any school they want.

For more information visit Virtual School Showcase

ABS Regular Board Meeting

The ABS Board of Directors Board will meet on Tuesday, December 8, 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 [email protected] for the link.