ABS Thursday Notes- March 3, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

March 3, 2022

Friday, March 4- Early Dismissal-Conferences

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

Monday, March 7 No School-Conferences


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“The golden way is to be friends with the community and to regard the whole human family as one.” – Mahatma Gandhi


ABS is located in the center of an arts-rich city. We have developed partnerships with local organizations who contribute to our experience of the community as an extension of the classroom, and as we emerge from the pandemic, we are visiting with them again. Here are just a few examples:


Delta Fine Arts is a small museum less than two miles away, and has partnered with our school since the very first year of our existence. Delta is focused on (but not restricted to) the artwork of regional African American artists. Just last week, our 8th graders visited Delta to view the dramatic work of street photographer Owens Daniels, who will visit the students in their classes next week.


SECCA (The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art). With ever-changing exhibits of local and national artists, SECCA is uncommonly welcoming to students. On-site lessons, performances, attendance at exhibits, staff meetings off site, meetings with artists, and even exhibitions of our students’ work are all part of our relationship with this generous organization.


UNCSA (The University of North Carolina School of the Arts). We have partnered with each department at UNCSA and are inspired every year by their dynamic students and faculty, who generously lift us up with their energy and expertise. Dancers, musicians, film makers, visual artists, actors, and professors from all these departments have learned and created together with us. The possibilities are endless.


The Hispanic Arts Initiative. This organization brought us musicians, dancers, lecturers, and artists. They advised us in authentic dance and costume design, built costumes for us, found us a Mariachi band, suggested curricular materials, and participated in our fundraiser. Although they recently disbanded, their impact on us is a lasting one.


Reynolda House. Our students tour this local treasure annually. We often design our own tour, based on current studies at each grade level, and the Reynolda staff has supported our creative ideas, even crafting activities to support them. We walk their wooded trails, picnic on the lawn, stroll through the gardens, visit the grand home interior, attend special exhibits, and focus on permanent collection pieces that fit into specific studies.


The Winston-Salem Symphony. We attend youth concerts at the symphony whenever they correspond with our schedule, and in recent years we participated in their new Carnegie Hall “Link Up” connection. The conductors have visited, symphony players have performed and worked with our students, and the Bolton Wind Quintet, which originated at the Symphony with Conductor Emeritus Peter Perret, has visited our school every year since our inception, not including Covid restricted years.


Wake Forest University. Our students have both toured and been interviewed at Wake’s WFDD public radio station, whose David Ford has participated in our fundraiser, and is a current board member. ABS students have visited or been visited by the Museum of Anthropology every year, borrowing trunks of objects that support learning about far-flung cultures of the world. We have visited the Hanes Gallery, performed in Wait Chapel and Brendle Hall, worked with Wake film students, and visited the library. We’ve been repeatedly inspired by visiting musical and dance faculty and students from WFU.


Bookmarks. Our relationship with this fresh and popular literary arts organization includes visits from authors who read to us, draw for us, sign books for us, and share insights about writing. Their annual festival attracts abundant ABS families, and in 2018 our students visited the BB&T Ballpark to meet author Dav Pilkey (along with 2,000 other students.) Assistant Principal Paige Raper serves on the Bookmarks board of directors.


Winston Salem State University. The astonishing Burke Singers visit us almost every year, crafting their performances to fit the ages of the students in the audience, and sharing glorious music as well as important lessons about race and history. We have visited the treasured murals of John Biggers at the WSSU library, attended performances on campus, and visited Diggs Gallery (currently on hiatus as they seek a new director.) 


A/perture Cinema. This beloved independent theater downtown has hosted us many a time, to see our own 6th grade film premieres in an intimate cinema, or attend a special movie related to the studies of other grades.


Salem College. The lovely little gallery in the Salem College Fine Arts Center is often host to works that are just right for our students to visit. One memorable visit was to the works of Kevin Calhoun, an ABS dad and frequent donor to our Community Creates fundraiser. We paired that with a quick organ concert by Salem professor Timothy Olson in the adjoining Shirley Recital Hall. The Bach and the Calhoun had similarities that the students could compare and write about.


Piedmont Opera. Piedmont Opera sends singers from UNCSA’s Fletcher Opera Institute each year, to perform for our K-2 students. With 7th or 8th grade students we often attend “Student Night at the Opera” when the story is appropriate for these grades.


Little Theatre of Winston-Salem. This great community theater organization is now in its 87th year! We wait and watch with excitement each spring as announcements are made about the upcoming season. We hope each year to find just the right play for our kids to attend during student performances.


RiverRun Film Festival. Here’s another organization who changes student offerings each year. When the new invitation arrives, we check the content of the film against our curriculum and find just the right match for students to attend.


Old Salem. Visits to this treasured Moravian village, that marks our city’s beginnings is a favorite field trip for several grades. Old Salem just marked its 250th anniversary! We also make annual visits to Home Moravian Church, to learn about organ pipes and hear a great demonstration for our integrated science-of-sound and music studies. 


Mural Walks and Trade Street Galleries. From time to time, we lead a walking tour of downtown public murals. Now and then there is a gallery show in one of the small Trade Street galleries or DADA that is just right to add to the walking tour. Sometimes we host visiting artists from the elegant Piedmont Craftsmen gallery. And if you attend “Gallery Hop” on first Fridays in downtown Winston-Salem, you are sure to meet many friends from ABS.


Mixxer Community Makerspace is a relatively new neighbor and friend, right across the street. Alan Shelton, Mixxer’s founder, gifted us with the tailor-made plexiglass screens at both of our reception desks, and a few years ago our 6th graders participated in the dramatic “iron pour” at Mixxer, watching as iron changed from red hot liquid to heavy solid.


There are more! Our hope is to acquaint our students with the rich arts resources in their community, so that they feel “This is for me!” when they pass by or walk in. We are lucky to be where we are, right in the center of the action.

Masking and Other Updates

The ABS Board voted to go to a mask optional policy beginning March 7. For more information about the mask optional policy, please join us for the Virtual Parent Meeting, Friday, March 4 at 8:30 am. We will record the meeting and make it available in Thursday Notes if you are unable to attend.

With the change to a mask optional policy, we will be emphasizing with our students in class meetings and ask that you talk with your child at home about being kind and respectful to one another regardless of individual masking decisions.


Moving Forward...

As the COVID landscape continues to improve, we are hoping to move towards greater normalcy.


We plan to begin Friday Sings for K-4th grades in the courtyard this spring!


Audience capacity and mask requirements for student performances will be communicated as soon as we have confirmation from the relevant hosting venue. We will work to allow student audiences to attend dress rehearsals as well. 


Masks are no longer required on school buses. 


Our beginning band program for 6th grade continues to be on hold due to supply chain issues that have delayed arrival of our instruments.


We will still have masks available at school for staff, visitors, and students who prefer to wear them.

How Do I Stay Up to Date with School COVID policies?

We’re doing our best to keep ABS families, staff, and community updated with the latest information about our School COVID policies. We will continue to provide information in multiple places, including direct email, Thursday Notes, and Virtual Parent Meetings. Our next virtual information meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 4th at 8:30am. The link is included in the Thursday Note email. If you have specific topics or questions, please send them to us via this form so we can be sure to address them. Form to submit questions.


In an effort to provide expanded daily lunch options for our families, we're looking forward to launching a new online lunch ordering system (MyHotLunchbox) on a trial basis. Beginning in April, families will be able to order lunch for their student(s) Monday through Thursday, and Friday will continue to be our standard Pizza Friday. We know that you may have many questions about this pilot program! More information about specific vendors and ordering will be available soon and shared via Thursday Notes.

Parent Satisfaction Survey

Yes, that's you! We want to know what you think! Please follow the link ArtsBasedSchoolsurvey to a 10-question online survey about our school. Your responses are completely anonymous and help us determine what's working well and what needs more work! Please take a few minutes to complete and submit. Thank you!

ABS After School Clubs

Our current round of after school clubs will come to a close today, March 3. There are no clubs tomorrow due to early dismissal. We will begin a new round of clubs (with the same offerings) on Tuesday, March 8. Many clubs are already full, but a few 5th-8th grade clubs still have openings. You can find out more here


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. https://www.strawbridge.net

Garden Work Days!

Spring is definitely on the way, and we’d love to host anyone who’d like to roll their sleeves up a bit as we work steadily to repair and enrich our gardens and grounds. Anyone is welcome to join in! If you’re interested in helping, please reach out to us, and look for more details coming soon on this page of the parent portal.
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