ABS Thursday Notes- August 12, 2021

Published for the Arts Based School Community

August 12, 2021

First Day of School: Wed, August 18th

Starting the New School Year

Hello to all our new and returning families! As we continue to enjoy our summer, we’re also doing the planning and preparation work to launch into a great school year. The ABS Board approved the ABS Health and Safety Plan. This plan is based on the COVID protocols required and/or recommended by the Strong Schools NC Public Toolkit

Here are a few things to know…

All students will participate in in-person learning on a regular, full-time schedule.

We are unable to provide remote learning for students enrolled at ABS. As a charter school, we are not permitted to conduct virtual learning.

Students and staff will maintain social distancing of 3 feet between K-8 students within school settings to the greatest extent possible without excluding students from full-time, in-person learning.

All students, staff, and visitors will wear masks while inside the school building.

Masks will not be required during outside activities.

Parent volunteers will be permitted to volunteer at the school, but are required to wear a mask inside regardless of vaccination status.

Students will be permitted to attend field trips and be transported by bus to field trips. Students will wear masks while riding the bus, and will be socially distanced.

Daily symptom screenings are no longer required at school. Parents are asked to keep students home who have a fever or symptoms of illness.

Surveillance COVID testing will be available to ABS from NCDHHS in September for no cost. Grant funding may also be available for nursing services, if testing is implemented. More information about COVID testing at school is coming soon.

How Do I Stay Up to Date with School Health and Safety Plans?

We’re doing our best to keep ABS families, staff, and community updated with the latest information about our health and safety plans as the requirements continue to be adjusted based on current COVID spread and the latest science. 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 via this form so we can be sure to address them. In case you missed the Virtual Parent Meeting this week, you can watch the recording or review the slideshow to learn more about the COVID safety and mitigation protocols. 


Calling all Class Reps, Specialist Reps, Teachers, and Staff! Please join us Monday, August 16th at 8:30am in the ABS Café for a meeting with Principal Robin Hollis, Assistant Principal Paige Raper, and the Parent Council Board. Breakfast, coffee, and juice will be provided. We look forward to seeing you all there! Outdoor childcare will be provided from 8:30-9:30am. 

Class Representatives Needed

We are currently recruiting class representatives for all classrooms at ABS for the upcoming school year. It’s a great way to get your volunteer hours for the year and to be more involved with our amazing school. If you’re interested, please contact Aaron Willey at [email protected] Thank you so much for your willingness to volunteer! 

Pizza Volunteers Needed: First Pizza Friday is August 20

Our students look forward to ordering pizza on Fridays. We need parent volunteers to assist with separating lunches into baskets and delivering the pizza to the classrooms in both of our buildings. If you can help with this volunteer need, please email Donna Brown: [email protected]

Time frame needed: 10:30am to 12:00pm

Locations: both the MLK building cafeteria and the 7th St building 

New Parent Orientation Slideshow

In case you missed the New Parent Orientation or the Middle School Orientation, here are the links to the slideshows. You will also have opportunities to learn more about our school and your class at Special Visits and Virtual Back to School Night.

Back to School Night 

ABS Back to School Night will be virtual this year. ABS Back to School is scheduled for Monday, August 16, and the times will vary by classroom. Your classroom teacher will send you a link to the virtual Back to School Night, and sessions will also be recorded if you are unable to attend.

Parking Lot Safety

Here are a few safety reminders and procedures to ensure the safety of our students and families in the school parking lot when school begins.

  • Please drive slowly and cautiously through the school parking lot at all times. 
  • Do not use cell phones while in our parking lot.
  • Watch for children and adults in the parking lot.
  • Please allow extra time the first week as parents and children become accustomed to the routine. 
  • Please be kind and courteous to parking lot helpers. 
  • Please be responsible for explaining the drop off/pick up procedures to your after school daycare vans or anyone else who may be picking up your children.

Remember to enter only on Chestnut St. (by the white church) during pick-up and drop-off.

Please review the traffic map for more information about drop off and pick up procedures.

PikMyKid App- All families have been added to the system!

In our ongoing efforts to enhance safety, we will continue using the PikMyKid dismissal app. This system will allow us to avoid congregating students at dismissal tents, leaving them inside the classrooms until you arrive in the pickup line. All new families will need to download the PikMyKid parent smartphone app on IOS or Android. Once you have downloaded the app, you will press the “Register” button and follow the prompts to sign up. When you have successfully registered, please log in, allow notifications, and check to make sure that you see your ABS student(s) listed. If you do not see your child’s name, it is likely because we do not have your mobile phone information. Please contact Stephanie LeFever at [email protected].

If you do not have a smartphone or are unable to download the PikMyKid app for any reason, please email Leah Lavin so that we can help find a solution: [email protected].

See more information about downloading the app attached to the Thursday Notes email.

Staffing Update

Our hearts are heavy to report that Ms Dawanna Benjamin, who has taught with us for 18 years, is leaving the school to take care of her family. We’re hopeful she may be able to continue working with our students as a resident artist in African Dancing. Mrs. Jean Kelley will be stepping in to fill the role of teaching assistant with Ms. Sherell’s first grade class. Mrs. Kelley has been one of our amazing subs for many years and often saves the day by jumping in to help, just as she did this time! 

Subs Needed

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to replace our great teachers, but our ABS subs do a mighty fine job when the need arises. Our school uses our own pool of subs and we’re always looking for patient, kind, and reliable people to add to our list. If you are interested in subbing at ABS, please reach out to Stephanie LeFever [email protected] to learn more about it.

Looking for more information about our school?

Check out our website! You can find a form to pay your student activity fee, and much more! As an ABS parent, you also have access to the Parent Portal section of our website, where you can access directories, handbooks, and detailed information about a host of topics. Last year’s password will expire soon, but you should have received the new login and password with your class lists. If you need help accessing the portal, please email Leah Lavin.