ABS Thursday Notes- February 17, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

February 17, 2022

Snow Make-Up Day- Monday, Feb 21

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

Black History Month is not simply asking, “how can I remember and learn about black people?” It is all of us asking, “how can we love black people by seeing them, hearing them, and creating a world where black people feel loved, inspired, and protected?”

-Dantè Stewart

We live in times when truth is altered and history is reinvented. It’s reinvented via false narratives that attempt to obscure the truth, (such as Holocaust denial) and it’s reframed by uncovering facts, in an attempt to reclaim truth (such as The National Memorial for Peace and Justice.) 

Although National Black History Month was proclaimed by President Ford in the 1970s, the historian Carter G. Woodson, with his supporters, began the movement in the early 20th century. Their goal was to intentionally include Black history and literature in school academics by founding a week devoted to celebrations of African American history and achievement. These were topics that were typically omitted from public school curriculum. One week grew to a month, and now educators everywhere are embracing the call to incorporate Black history throughout the school year. ABS is committed to developing this practice, to teaching both the true stories of grim oppression, past and present—and also to sharing the bold innovations and joyful influence of black Americans—to being a part of “creating a world where black people feel loved, inspired, and protected.”

As the nation moves toward teaching Black history as American history, (as well as many other cultures with designated months of recognition, including Indigenous Peoples, Hispanic-Latino, Asian Pacific, and more) there is a growing need to spread the curricular resources that were once limited to a single month across the full spectrum of instruction.

The organization Facing History and Ourselves “combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.” They state:


Here at Facing History, we see Black History Month and other heritage months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities during only one particular month can contribute to the othering and diminishment of the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, we invite you to use these … resources to engage with important themes raised by Black History Month this February and throughout all of the months of the year."

It is our goal at ABS to steadily increase our awareness and instruction of a broad spectrum of history, looking for balance and increasing the equality of our representation of all Americans through the resources we use and the lessons we teach, year-round. We want all of our students to see people who look like themselves in examples of accomplishment and inspiration, in delightful fiction and powerful art, in visiting artists and video. Our awareness is maturing, and we acknowledge that there is still room for growth. 

During the month of February, we typically invite the Burke Singers from WSSU to perform for our students, as part of a celebration of Black History Month. (You can catch a moment of their most recent performance at ABS, in 2020, here.) This year, COVID restrictions prevented that tradition. But many of our teachers do choose February as a time to deliver stories of Black Americans who serve as inspiration, and choose books that focus on Black leaders or Black fictional characters. Our larger goal is to increase and balance these stories across the curriculum, across the year.

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.

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).

Staying on Schedule

With the many extra stressors we’ve all been under, our school has tried to provide some flexibility and grace for students and families adjusting to new schedules and new procedures. Please review these expectations and work with us to get all of our students back on schedule.

School begins at 8:15 a.m. Students should arrive at school between 7:45 and 8:10.  Students are counted tardy if they’re not in their classroom at 8:15 a.m. The student entrance is locked at 8:15 a.m. After 8:15 a.m., parents must park and escort their child(ren) to the front office entrance. 

Late Pick-Up Policy

The regular school day ends at 2:30 for K-4th grade students and 2:45 for 5th-8th graders. Parents should have a ride at school for their child within ten minutes of the student’s dismissal time. 

Students who have not been picked up on time will go to the main office in the building appropriate for the oldest child in the family. School personnel will contact the student’s family to inform them that the student has not been picked up.

When a parent arrives late, they will be asked to sign the student out. After three late pick-ups, parents will need to meet with the building administrator to make a plan for ensuring on-time pick-ups in the future.

At 3:45, any student still at school will be taken to the ABS After School Program until a parent arrives. Families will be charged a $20 fee when this happens. 

If no contact has been made with anyone about a late pick-up by 3:45, the Winston-Salem Police Department will be contacted to help locate a parent or family member.

Parking Lot Pointers

Thanks to each of you for being careful and patient as we work together to make drop-off and pick-up safe and efficient. Here are a few reminders:

  • Please have students ready to quickly exit the vehicle during morning drop-off once you are in the drop-off zone. If your student needs extra time, you may need to park and escort your child inside.
  • Please time your arrival to campus between 2:05 and 2:20 for first dismissal. First dismissal is for students in K-4 without siblings in the middle school. We begin loading and moving the cars at 2:25. 
  • The second dismissal is 2:45-2:55.  Please plan your arrival for second dismissal between 2:40-2:50. Please do not come through the line for middle school prior to 2:40.
  • Please do not pass cars that are unloading or loading. Stay in one lane until you exit 7th Street.
  • Although we love creativity, please do not “get creative” in the drop-off and pick-up lines. Thanks!

If you have any questions, please let me know. I’m happy to help. [email protected]


Last year we sold out of yearbooks! Make sure you have your copy by ordering today! Orders can be placed online by visiting the Strawbridge website and clicking the red “Order Pictures and Yearbooks” button at the top of the page. The price is $22 and our school code is YB106312.


Parent Council Meeting recording

Topic: ABS Parent Council mtg

Start Time: Feb 11, 2022 08:24 AM

Meeting Recording

Around Town

SECCA: Black@Intersection: Contemporary Voices in Art. Free. Adult supervision advised.

Reynolda House: Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite.

Children under 18 free. General admission $18.00.

Delta Arts Center: By Any Means Necessary: an Owens Daniels Exhibit. Free. Through February 28.

Delta Arts Center “Freedom Day” Free. 02-20-2022, 3:00-5:00, a panel discussion celebrating the culture of East Winston.

See a list of additional Black History Month events in Winston-Salem HERE.

Mary Boudreault (our “Mrs. B”) joins the North Carolina Brass Band in “Brass at the Movies: The Music of John Williams.” Admission is FREE for children ages 12 and under. Have your picture taken with real life movie characters. Also, a costume contest for children – dress up as a character from your favorite movie! Sunday, February 27th – 3:00pm – Reynolds Auditorium in Winston-Salem and Sunday, March 6th – 3:00pm – UNCG Auditorium in Greensboro $20/adult - $5/student

The musical Parade at Theatre Alliance will feature several ABS students, alumni, and parents. Mature themes: Parental discretion advised. Shows are February 18-27; Fridays and Saturdays at 8, and Sundays at 2.