ABS Thursday Notes- October 28, 2021

Published for the Arts Based School Community

Oct 28, 2021

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert and Leah Lavin

“Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart.” -Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a writer, botanist, and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, who suggests that humans bear a responsibility to be grateful for the abundance of the natural world. By noticing these many gifts, our sense of gratitude moves us toward actions of repair and restoration. This cycle of reciprocity is mutual dependence—an exchange of giving. 

Just as a sense of reciprocity can create a self-sustaining cycle for humans and the natural world, gratitude and reciprocity can be an essential part of any community—especially those, like our school, that were built with love and conviction for the purpose of serving others.

Throughout the course of our 20-year history, the Arts Based School has been sustained through the gifts and giving of those around us, and we flourish when trust, collaboration, and generosity of spirit flow freely. 

In our second year of operations, we moved into the current MLK building, with 150 students in grades K-4. The building was a long, low brick tobacco warehouse with no internal walls other than the front office. It was in use as a factory where airplane seat covers were sewed. The school upfitted the building one third at a time, in three phases, over several years, thanks to the generosity and sweat equity of our community. Donated furniture was moved into the new building by board members and school administrators, along with their family members. Grants funded the piano lab and drum fleet that we still use today. 

In our fifth year of operations, we planted literal seeds and watched them grow. With parent volunteers and community and state arts council grants, our gardens sprang to life. Local artists and dedicated volunteers helped us craft pathways, shade structures, and mosaics. Over the years following, many additions were made to the gardens, including an “art garden” designed for sketching and relaxing outside of the 7th Street building art room—converted from a loading dock.

In our eleventh year, we straddled a transition to middle school by housing our 5th and (new) 6th grades at neighboring Goler Church’s community center. Students traveled back and forth between buildings, while construction buzzed along to convert our 7th Street building from a warehouse into a cool building for older students.

In our twelfth year, the 7th street building opened with 5th, 6th, and 7th grades occupying the space. The following year, the school expanded to include 8th grade, with the first ABS 8th graders graduating in 2015. Opening this new space was only possible through the generosity of our community—foundations, families, and individuals giving what they were able to give out of a shared belief in the importance and purpose of our school and its growth.

In our 16th year, we opened the new Ewing Blackbox Theater, a light-filled dance studio, and a climate-controlled costume storage room in the MLK building. These additions were all made possible by a gift from Alex Ewing, former chancellor of UNCSA and co-founder of the City Center Joffrey Ballet, in New York City. 

The names of the friends, benefactors, helpers, doers, visionaries, leaders, and creators who have ushered us through the past 20 years are too numerous to list here. Some are memorialized in plaques or in the names we’ve given to special spaces—but most are not. 

As our month-long push for Annual Giving draws to a close, we hope it is this spirit of giving and gratitude—our gratitude for all of you and for your children who fill our school with life and joy, and your gratitude for this school—that will occupy space in your mind. Yes, we ask for your financial support if you are able to share it. Yes, we count each family’s participation, and yes, we tally the dollars raised before we plant them back into the fertile soil of our school. But annual giving is not merely a series of transactions—it is an act of reciprocity, an exchange of gratitude. We receive all of our many gifts with open eyes and open hearts. Thank you. 

A Tribute to Claire O’Boyle

“May you see the reflection Of your life’s kindness and beauty 

In all the tears that fall for you.”

       - John O’Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

Our hearts were broken to hear of the death of Claire O’Boyle, who, for many years, served as production manager for our school, and is the mother of Kindergarten assistant teacher Calum O’Boyle. She was beloved by everyone here. She was unparalleled in her gracious, “front-of-house” hostessing of events, and was a no-nonsense, energetic stage manager behind the scenes. She loved to connect people, and was a consistent bearer of warmth and good will. Claire had a magical way of persuading volunteers to help out. She could quickly conjure up a crew of muscular volunteers to move sets, or a team of generous costumers to help backstage. With her lovely Irish accent and her ever-ready laugh, she was always a pleasure to be with. She was easily moved to tears, in the face of beauty. Claire was committed deeply to her faith, her family, and believed in the power of the arts to transform. We are thinking with love of her three children, Finn, Lana, and Calum; alumni of The Arts Based School. 



ABS Annual Giving!

This is the last call for Annual Giving at ABS! If you'd like to participate in this year's effort to support our school, now is the time to join in. ABS is truly grateful to everyone who has contributed thus far. Your support absolutely makes a difference for our school. Thank you!

Total School Participation to Date: 38%

Total Gifts to Date: $33,820

To make your gift, please send a check or visit the giving page of our website. We’ll report final fundraising numbers in next week’s Thursday Notes. Thank you! 

Picture Retakes

November 10  is picture make-up and retake day. Any student who was absent on picture day will automatically be photographed as these pictures are used for our annual yearbook. However, if you are interested in your child having his/her picture retaken, please send a note or email to your child’s homeroom teacher.  Students will only be sent for a retake if the parent sends in a request.

Drop-Off of Pick-Up Reminders

Please remember not to drop students off before 7:45 in the morning. Students may not wait or play in the courtyard or on the playground unless a parent is waiting with them. 

The 7th St building dismisses at 2:40. If you arrive at the 7th St. building before 2:40, you will be asked to find a parking spot and park your car or drive through the line again to get your student. Waiting in line before 2:40 blocks the parents who have already picked up from the MLK building and stops the line from moving. 

Scholastic Book Fair: Online Fair open until Sunday October 31st

Our in-person fair was a success! A big thank you to everyone who shopped with us in person! And a big thank you to all the volunteers who helped out during the fair.


If you didn’t make it to the Book Fair or didn’t find everything you were looking for, you can still shop at our school’s Online Book Fair. Our online fair is open through Sunday, Oct 31st.


All orders ship directly to your home, and shipping is free for book orders over $25. 


If your student's eWallet account still has funds on it, you can use those funds at our online fair or at The Scholastic Store Online at any time.


Visit our Book Fair Homepage to shop online: https://www.scholastic.com/bf/artsbasedschool

High School Information

Mrs. Raper sent an email to 8th grade families about high school enrollment and registration. WSFCS is holding a School Showcase on Saturday, November 6 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. inside the Education Building at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. The goal is to highlight all of the WSFCS school options for parents. The day will feature student performances, informational booths from schools, and a chance to talk with students and school representatives. WSFCS wants to help parents understand the choice process and clearly define the differences between zone, choice, and magnet options in the district. You can visit the Choice and Magnet Schools website for more information.

Conference Time is Coming

Soon your child’s teacher will be setting up conferences to discuss your child’s progress. Students attending the Arts Based School are assessed using a portfolio system in place of the traditional report card. The portfolio is designed to illustrate a student’s academic growth and successes as well as guide the teacher in planning appropriate instruction.  Teachers at ABS do not issue letter grades until sixth grade. Teachers use observation, interviews, analysis of student work and performance tasks to assess student understanding.  Examples of student work, as well as other objective standards of assessments, are incorporated into the student’s portfolio to give an enhanced portrait of the student’s progress. These portfolios will be discussed and presented to parents during the Student-Teacher-Parent conferences. Please be sure you schedule and attend your conference so that you can support your child’s learning.

Conference Days- November 19- Early Dismissal

  • K-4 Dismiss at 11:45
  • 5-8 Dismiss at 12 noon

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.

Lost and Found Help!

We are looking for a volunteer to help us find the right homes for our lost and found items! This task typically involves hanging up lots of forgotten coats and jackets on the playground fence and near the 7th street entrance, and delivering any leftover items to a local charity. If you’d like to help, please reach out to Leah Lavin

Help Making Short Films

ABS is hoping to generate a few short films to help with new parent orientation and virtual school tours. If you have experience and/or equipment and you’re interested in possibly being a part of this, please reach out to us. Thanks!

Around Town

Ardmore Art Walk: November 6

You and your families are invited to the Holiday Ardmore Art Walk, a fun outdoor art and craft show showcasing the work of over 80 Ardmore resident artists and their guests! Artists will display work on their own lawns 11am-4:30pm on Saturday, November 6. A great way to knock out holiday shopping while supporting local artists, many of whom are part of the ABS family! There will also be live music around the neighborhood and food trucks in the parking lot of Ardmore Baptist Church. 

Nutcracker Tea: Dec. 18 and 19

UNCSA’s Preparatory Dance Nutcracker Tea Party will be held December 18 and 19 at the Agnes de Mille Theatre on UNCSA’s campus. As a thank you to the Arts Based School for hosting our performances in past years, UNCSA is offering a $5.00 discount on tickets to staff, faculty and students.

The code is ABSTEA and it can be used for internet or telephone purchases. Visit uncsa.edu/nutcrackertea to learn more.

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