ABS Thursday Notes- January 21, 2021

Published for the Arts Based School Community
January 21, 2021

How We Do It and Why
Mary Siebert 

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” - Nelson Mandela 

Thanks to Trish Goldberg for the Mandela quote. We are surely living it! Kindergarten students have received their costumes, and filming of a newly imagined Peter and the Wolf has begun. Over the winter holidays, our guest artists, Julian Pecoraro and Jackson Calhoun, filmed their contributions. They reviewed the steps with dance teacher Jan Adams, (they had not performed those parts since they were Kindergartners at ABS, themselves) so they could serve as “big dancer” leaders for the little dancers. There are also breathtaking performances by these now grown-up dancers; moments when they break off into inspirational expressions of their own. In addition, Ms. Adams recruited five ABS 8th graders to help inspire the movement as the additional characters: Cat, Bird, Duck, Hunter, and Grandparent.

The Kinder students have become familiar with Prokofiev’s beloved musical tale in the classroom, and in music, art, and dance classes. With this little masterpiece as home base, they explore story structure and sequence, character and setting, Russian culture, vocabulary, instrument families, musical motif, acting, movement, and scientific studies of animals. 

On the first day of filming, students were punctual, dressed in their white shirts with red sash, topped with a cap with a red feather. They skipped happily around the room. They lifted their caps and bowed. They marched to the music and waved. They posed proudly with arms crossed or akimbo. Parents lent a hand in more ways than one… they helped with costumes, positioning and attendance, but also literally reached a hand into view, as directed by Ms. Adams, to appear as Grandfather grabbing hold of the rambunctious child.

The Birds were next, in their shiny blue costumes with a blue feather on their headband. They dipped and flapped and swooped and pecked. One little bird was camera shy and would not appear in front of the camera except at the very end. Sometimes we saw only the tip of her feather. This reluctance occurs occasionally in person too. In this case, a parent can send in an independently filmed video so we can be sure she is part of the flock.

The vivid backdrop designed for us by ABS parent and graphic artist Kyle Webster will appear in digital form. Art created by the Kindergartners themselves will be incorporated: drawings of musical instruments, characters from the story, and the splendid onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. It will be about two months before the video is released. (Yes, you can see it too!)

We are moved to watch our youngest students enthusiastically bringing this musical story to life, in spite of a worldwide pandemic. Here are some reactions from their teachers: 

The resiliency of art and arts integration in the classroom continues to showcase how creative our community can be in times of great adversity, and it is beautifully evident in these Zoom recording sessions for grade-level productions! - Jordan Brown, Videographer, Film Editor, ABS Drama Teacher 5th-8th

It has been so fun to see the students' faces light up and their personalities really shine when they get into costume! - Ashley Brady, Kindergarten Assistant for Ms. Rudd

The whole team has come together to create a beautiful, reimagined version of the time-honored kindergarten performance. Despite the challenges, the kinders are not missing out on performing in this ABS rite of passage. - Mary Rogers, Kindergarten Assistant for Mr. Greene

I am indebted to the parents, grandparents and caregivers who are doubling as the "Home Directors" to help make this experience so fun and exciting for our kindergarteners. - Jan Adams, Dance Teacher, Director

These kindergarten students are true trailblazers, doing what was once considered impossible. When you see them accomplish this ABS milestone, while remaining safely remote, your heart will be warmed and your soul will be touched. - Trish Goldberg, Kindergarten Teacher

I am full of gratitude for the energy, time, talent, and dedication this whole team is pouring into creating classic ABS magic. - Melissa Scott, Kindergarten Assistant for Ms. Trish

This rehearsal and filming process are different, but the magic and uncontainable joy of the ABS approach is very much the same. - Heidi McIver, Drama Teacher.

Student Intent for 2021-22 School Year
As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2021-22), it is important to know how many spaces are available in each grade. As a current student, your child has priority placement and no additional action is required. If your child is not returning to ABS for the 2021-22 school year, please notify Stephanie LeFever at [email protected]

Siblings of students also receive priority, but must fill out an enrollment application. You must complete an application for the 2021-22 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery. The deadline for receiving applications is Jan 31 at 3pm. Please click here to submit an enrollment application. 

Inclement Weather
We're at that time of year when some of us start hoping for wintry weather! As you know, this year we were required to have 185 days in our calendar instead of the usual 180. Because of this, we do not have inclement weather days built into our calendar. 

During remote learning, there will be no days called off for inclement weather. Teachers will continue to take attendance on a day with bad weather, and it will count as a school day. We know that everyone loves the occasional snow day, and there is a lot to learn and fun to be had by playing outside in the snow! We anticipate that teachers will take this into account when assigning work. 

Prospective Parents’ Information 
Due to the COVID pandemic we are unable to offer school tours for prospective parents this year. Parents interested in learning more about ABS and how to enroll their child will find information on our website. Applications are now being accepted. The lottery will be held on February 9th via Zoom at 4pm.

MAP Testing in February
Third through eighth grade students will complete the second round of MAP testing February 8-17, 2021. After the testing is complete, parents will receive an updated score report showing the progress your student has made this year.

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 March 19, 2021. The Board will consider the options again on March 9, 2021.

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 questions.

Board Member Nominations
The ABS Board nominating committee is now accepting applications to serve on the ABS Board of Directors. To learn more about Board member expectations and responsibilities, please read the performance expectations outlined here. Interested candidates should complete and submit signed application forms by January 31st. The skill sets we’re hoping to fulfill include expertise in accounting/finance, real estate, and facilities.