ABS Thursday Notes- January 6, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

January 6, 2022

Welcome back!

Happy new year, and welcome back to everyone! It is, as always, a great joy and privilege for us to spend our days with your children. And as we launch into a new year with many of the same challenges that are now familiar, we continue to approach each day with great care and vigilance. 

Although it seems the omicron variant is potentially less harmful, it is also reported to be very contagious, and we've seen case numbers increase in our state, in our county, and in our school. Please continue to honor all mitigation strategies, including proper masking and self-quarantining as needed. Please keep students home who are sick or have symptoms. Just a few additional reminders and updates:

  • All COVID-related questions and communication may be directed to our School Nurse, Stephanie Smith.

  • Although we were looking forward to starting up band for 6th graders this week, we will delay until the COVID landscape improves.

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 Parent Council Meetings. 

Here is our Health and Safety page, which has the COVID Dashboard

Student Intent for 2022-23 School Year

As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2022-23), 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 2022-23 school year, please notify Stephanie LeFever as soon as possible.

Parent Council Meeting – Thursday, January 13!

Please join us virtually for the Parent Council meeting of the school year on Thursday, January 13 at 5:30 pm. All ABS parents, families, and caregivers are part of the Parent Council and are welcome to attend! You should have received an evite with the link, if not contact Mrs. Hollis.

mClass Reading Testing This Month

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has implemented and required a kindergarten through third grade reading assessment called mCLASS: Reading 3D to help teachers assess, track, and support each student’s reading skills. Each student will be assessed every trimester using the online assessment program. mCLASS:Reading 3D will instantly analyze your child’s development in grade-appropriate foundational reading skills. 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 will receive a letter outlining your child’s specific assessment results and progress as a reader. The letter will also include 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.

Middle of the Year MAP Testing Begins Next Week

ABS uses Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) to assess each student’s academic growth. We will give students in grades 3-8 MAP tests to determine each child’s instructional level and to measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year in the areas of math and reading. Your child will take the tests on a computer. MAP tests are unique in that they adapt to be appropriate for your child’s level of learning. As a result, each student has the same opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing. And with MAP tests, we can administer shorter tests and use less class time while still receiving detailed, accurate information about your child’s growth.

School Calendar 2022-23

The ABS Board of Directors is considering the school calendar for 2022-23. If you would like to review the draft calendar and provide feedback, please respond to this form.

School Calendar Considerations:

  • 180 days of instruction
  • Major breaks coincide with WS/FC schools
  • Trimester system allows teacher workdays to coincide with parent/teacher conferences
  • Begin school year earlier than WS/FC school to secure enrollment and fill from waiting list
  • Snow Make up days are built into calendar throughout the school year 
  • Gather input from teachers, staff, and parents

Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather, ABS will announce school closings on local TV channels, under “The Arts Based School.'' This information will also be emailed to our parent list and posted on the ABS website (www.artsbasedschool.com).

Band Instrument Donations!

We continue to actively seek band instruments that can be donated to our middle school music program, especially trumpets, flutes, and clarinets. If you have an instrument to donate, please drop it off at either reception desk, and please spread the word to any friends or relatives who might have one to donate. We will accept instruments in need of repair or adjustment. We can provide tax donation forms, at your request. Thank you!

ABS Grounds and Gardens

Although we are now deep into winter, our grounds and gardens are still a place where life unfolds—birds visit seed pods; pollinators and insects rest beneath the leaves; and grasses, shrubs, and trees wait patiently for longer days. Our grounds and learning gardens have a history and a purpose, and we are working now on plans for the spring. Please regard these spaces with care, and reach out to us if you have any questions at all. We look forward to sharing more information on the learning gardens soon!

Volunteers Needed

  • We are still looking for a volunteer or two to help clean our costume room—particularly sweeping and mopping the room and the stairs from the theater to the room. 
  • Our elementary music students will be participating in an African Drumming program with Resident Artist Bill Scheidt next week, Jan 10-14! We will be holding our music lessons at Lloyd Presbyterian Church, and would love some volunteers to help us transport drums and move church pews.

If you’d like to help with any of these needs, please reach out to Leah Lavin for more information. Thank you!

Activity Fee Due

ABS is publicly funded and free to all students. We ask families to contribute a $40 activity fee each year to help cover the costs of our field trips, special arts activities, and more. You can pay your Activity Fee by check or online. If you have questions or need help, please let us know

Yearbook Request

The yearbook creators are looking for “Guess Who?” baby pictures for 8th grade students. Please send your photos with the student’s name to Nicole Taylor at nspirlin@zagmail.gonzaga.edu.


We are asking for submissions by Feb. 1, 2022.

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