ABS Thursday Notes- October 7, 2021

Published for the Arts Based School Community

Oct 7, 2021

No School: Monday, Oct 11, Fall Break

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

"The Arts Based School is a treasure. Their visionary approach of using the arts as a vehicle for instruction is not only pedagogically effective—it is also transformative for the lucky students enrolled there. Children instinctively respond to the joy, beauty, expressiveness and sense of play that the arts can provide, and their lives are enriched forever. Our own daughter still joyfully remembers her classes there from almost twenty years ago, thanks to the imaginative and loving atmosphere crafted by the many brilliant and devoted teachers who are on the staff." 

- Peter Kairoff, Professor of Music, Wake Forest University

You might recognize Peter Kairoff’s name from a previous article, when I reminisced about his playing the piano during the first year of ABS’ operations, twenty years ago. It’s an illustration that what makes us most successful is collaboration. Peter generously shared his gifts and uncommon skills with us. As he attests, his family experienced an uncommon return. When parents give what they can, it benefits both families and the school. We’re all seeking connections and collaborations at many levels.

Performers who work in live theater are always conscious of synergy, where the combination of audience and performers creates a third presence, sort of an avatar, composed of the combined energy of every individual in the space. This living, changing, almost “magical” energy is important here at ABS. There’s a place for study and acquiring skill sets. Performing actors and dancers, like mathematicians, practice, repeat, and rehearse. But the synergy of connections among concepts, among teaching teams, and including families? This is where inspiration and creativity occur. Here are some examples of where we see integrated connections:

A+ Schools of NC: Learning From Others

Jan Adams, our dance teacher who was State Charter School Teacher of the Year several years ago, is an ultra-collaborator. She is always seeking fresh connections with fellow teachers. As an A+ Fellow, she is committed to helping other educators make learning connections too, through arts integration, and her experiences there invigorate her teaching and create sparks here. We are an A+ school because we benefit from the partnerships that connect educators who want to connect across curriculum. We’ve been members of the A+ network for eighteen of our twenty years.

Dancing our Algebra

When ABS was featured by the National Association of Educational Progress (“NAEP”) as an example of academic and cultural success through arts integration, the video NAEP created about our school revealed collaboration at multiple levels, with middle school students dancing scientific and algebraic concepts—a production that sprang from collaboration among the students with dance, math, and science teachers. 

Visiting Artists Who Shine a Light

Connections across previously disconnected areas are the gold we mine for. Those connections occur when our minds are open. Artist Jan Detter, who taught creative thinking at Wake Forest, and who serves as a visiting artist and historically, a source of inspiration for ABS, says: “Our job is to help kids be open. Following that: a sense of community, a sense of connection to other human beings, and...throw in some kindness.” To help minds open, we bring in a variety of musicians, poets, visual artists, dancers, and actors who can introduce a spectrum of cultures. This year we hope to bring in both Big Ron Hunter and the Reel Shady Band, both African dance teacher Dawanna Benjamin and choreographer Thao Nguyen, both documentary street photographer Owens Daniels and photographer/writer Diana Greene. All of them will spark fresh ideas.

Science and Creativity

Yesterday, as I toured Mr. Rambach’s science class, I received demonstrations from small teams of students. They were radiating excitement, confidence, and delight, and had conceived and built contraptions that could help reduce air pollution. I was especially delighted by the collaborative work, the collective intellect, as they applied what they had learned in science to their own creative inventions. They had done the hard practice of learning the facts and concepts. From there, they sprang to creative application of those ideas. 

Art, science, language, math...they all connect creatively across unexpected spaces. They are separated for study, just as a sunflower might be dissected for examination. But the magic of growth occurs when the plant is whole, and connected to earth, sky, and water. When our disconnected subjects, like the flower, are reunited through integration, connections are perceived with delight. Like DaVinci, whose artistic gifts helped him design the impulses of his scientific vision, separated parts are brought back together, and students see things in a new light. 

Scholastic Book Fair: Monday 10/18 - Friday 10/22

We are excited to once again host an in-person Book Fair! Students and teachers look forward to this event every year. This year will be better than ever with one combined Book Fair for all K-8 students in the gym.

In order to run a smooth Book Fair, we need lots of volunteers. The Book Fair is a fun and rewarding way to earn your volunteer hours while helping with a large fundraiser for the school!

We have time slots Monday 10/18- Friday 10/22, 8am- 3:30pm


Tech Tips for Parents 

As our students get older, many of them use cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices. Here are some helpful tips for parents to consider regarding technology, social media and children:

  1. Make sure you know what devices your child can access and what those devices can do. Many apps allow students to text, send messages, and send photos or videos without a cell phone or a cell phone plan. 
  2. Set the rules. Clearly establish when and where your child may use their device. Consider whether or not they should have the device in their bedroom, on at night, during study time, etc. 
  3. Know the ABS device policy: Cell phones and personal electronic devices are not to be used by students during the school day. Students must store unapproved electronic devices in a pocket or schoolbag for the entirety of the school day. Failure to do so will result in the device being held by a staff member until dismissal. Parents and students should recognize that loss of or damage to these devices is possible and the devices are the responsibility of the student. The Arts Based School is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen phones or devices. Failure to adhere to this policy will result in a disciplinary referral to the appropriate administrator.
  4. "Follow" your child online and monitor what they post, send, and receive. Check their accounts often and consider parental controls that help monitor children's devices. 
  5. Discuss internet safety with your child. Make sure they understand how quickly information, photos, and videos can be shared with many people outside of their immediate contacts and explain that once these messages are put out there, they can exist permanently on others' devices.
  6. Limit Social Media access. As we see in recent news, social media is designed to keep people engaged and online. Children can easily begin with a benign video or post and quickly be viewing inappropriate or even harmful content. One specific concern we’re seeing is the Tik Tok challenge encouraging students to engage in behaviors that range from inappropriate to illegal and harmful at school including assaulting teachers. We do not want our children to be caught up in this social media peer pressure which could result in suspension, expulsion, or legal action.

We need your help. Please talk with your students and remind them of your expectations for them. Please be aware of what your child is bringing to school and bringing home from school. If your child uses social media or messages/texts with friends, we strongly suggest parents monitor their devices regularly. Thank you for your help!


ABS Annual Giving!

This month, we are celebrating the collective power of Annual Giving at The Arts Based School! From now until October 31, all gifts and pledges to the school will benefit the learning, doing, and creating that happens here every day. Please give as generously as you are able, and share the call to action with grandparents and extended family as well! Please look for weekly emails throughout the month from your Class Representative with updates on participation for your class.

We are truly grateful to everyone who has made a gift to the Annual Giving campaign so far! Thank you!

Total School Participation to Date: 13%

Total Gifts to Date: $13,060

Together, we can celebrate and support everything that we love about our school. To make your gift, send a check or visit http://artsbasedschool.com/your-support/ Thank you! 

MAP Results Sent Home

Third through Eighth grade students will receive MAP results in their Thursday Packets today. Please take some time to review these results. Overall results show that ABS students in each of those grades achieve higher scores than the national norms in all areas tested: math, science, and reading. 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.

mClass Results Sent Home

Kindergarten through third-grade students will receive mClass results in their Thursday Packets today. Please take some time to review these results. This assessment is required for kindergarten through third-grade students to help teachers assess, track and support each student’s reading skills. Each student will be assessed every trimester. Teachers will use this data to focus their instruction around your child’s specific needs, in areas that may include:

  • Hearing and using sounds in spoken words (Phonemic Awareness)
  • Knowing sounds of letters and sounding out written words (Alphabetic Principle)
  • Reading words in stories easily, quickly, and correctly (Accuracy and Fluency) 
  • Understanding what they read (Reading Comprehension). 

After each assessment period you receive a letter outlining your child’s specific assessment results and progress as a reader. The letter includes learning activities you and your child can do together at home to reinforce skills learned at school. Parent support and reading at home are a vital part of your child’s education. The teacher’s efforts, combined with your support, will help your child read with mastery and confidence. If you have any questions about the assessment, the activities, or your child’s classroom work and progress, please talk to your child’s teacher.

Art at the Fair

Congrats to these young artists, whose work is exhibited at the Carolina Classic Fair:

Jessica Garcia-Reyes, Emelyn Graham, Molly Loebe, Anderson McGowan, Zephery Jackson, Xander Rutter, William Morris, Ella Yazdani, Olivia Neff, Lyda Ferrell, Jane Ross, Alyce Morris, Eleanor White, Coco Garcia, Bo Powell, Ella Nochajski, Shelby Whiteheart, Max O'Neill, Althea Dickson, and Iris Mann

Carolina Classic Fair Winners

The Arts Based School

K - 4

5 - 8

1st Place

Max O'Neill

Emelyn Graham

2nd Place

Lyda Ferrell

Jessica Garcia Reyes

3rd Place

Bo Powell

Xander Rutter

Prospective Parent Tours

School tours for prospective parents are scheduled weekly on Thursdays at 9:30am. Each tour is limited to 10 adults in an effort to limit the disruption to our students and teachers in the classrooms. Parents interested in learning more about ABS and how to enroll their child should contact the front office to sign up for a tour: 748-4116 ext 1023. Applications will be accepted beginning January 1. The lottery will be held on the second Tuesday of February.

Halloween is Coming

Please do not send students to school in costumes. We all enjoy the fun and excitement of Halloween but find that costumes and accessories make it very difficult to concentrate. Also, we do not want students to bring candy in their lunch bags for snacks. Although it can be delicious, high sugar snacks should not replace a healthy snack. Thanks for your help!

Around Town

Love African Dance with Ms. Dawanna? Want it to keep going forever? Here’s your chance to make it last longer! African Dance Classes with Dawanna Benjamin, at UNCSA Acting Out 

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