ABS Thursday Notes- April 7, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

April 7, 2022

Spring Break- No School April 11-18

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.” – Stacy Horne, Time Magazine, 2013

A few springs ago, my teen daughter and I hulled the gallons of fragrant strawberries we’d picked together. She set herself up near the sink with Bluetooth headphones and a movie on her computer, to make the task fly by. I thought about the days of prepping fresh produce with my mom when we sang together in harmony. My daughter typically sings non-stop, (including plenty of harmony with me,) so I didn’t protest the high-tech diversion this time. I was just happy to have the help. But I did feel a pang of nostalgia. My mother no longer recognized me then, but she remembered all of those songs to her very last days.

When we consider progress in terms of technology, most of us think immediately of computers, smart phones, GPS, social media, and the quicksilver innovations of the Age of Information. But for young students, we push much further back. They study technology that transformed stone and clay into shaped tools in the ancient world. Spinning, weaving, agriculture, telescopes, weaponry, the printing press, medical research, all of this is innovation and technology that transformed us. There is also the life-changing technology of radio. Before radio, Americans shared folk songs by gathering on the front porch with instruments, voices, and a heart full of songs and stories. Every story changed as it passed from one storyteller to the next. Every singer sang a distinctly unique version of each song. Well before current research proved the physiological and psychological benefits of singing together, folks were reaping those benefits. The delights of shared singing faded from our culture when radio brought us recordings by master performers. We thrilled to those sounds and quickly began to view the popular versions as the “real” versions. There is a bittersweet side to much of this progress. Just as we lost flavor, nutrition, and the joy of harvest when we moved away from locally grown foods to industrially produced groceries, we lost variety and health benefits when we stopped singing together and allowed the radio to sing for us. 

In the spirit of the front porch, ABS students sing together. We sing in the classroom. We sing in the music room. We sing in theatrical productions. We memorize facts by singing, and at K-4 we gather together once every month, raising our 300+ voices in unique ABS arrangements of songs that will last a lifetime. One of the major goals of our Friday Sing tradition is to preserve and pass along American folk song heritage. We also occasionally choose songs in languages other than English, and delve into world cultures. Songs of celebration, sadness, unity, patriotism, fantasy, nonsense, longing, hope. Songs with which to dance, protest, play, work, sleep, fight, and make peace. We need them all. We hope your children sing them when you hull strawberries together.

The Sub Crunch

All over the U.S., schools are suffering from a shortage of substitute teachers. Many schools have to resort to combining two or three classrooms into one large room, supervised by a single teacher. So far, we have managed to avoid that… but we do experience regular pressure to make sure every class continues uninterrupted.

ABS is fortunate to have a small pool of loyal and positive subs, who know us well, and for whom we are extremely grateful! But when these few subs are unavailable, there are no longer temp services who can fill in. All of our non-classroom staff have been subbing at ABS this year, including the principal, assistant principal, curriculum coordinator, specialists (during their planning breaks,) and so on. That sets everyone back in their own jobs, which adds weight to an already demanding year.

How about you? Would you like to add your name to our sub list? It’s a great way to make a few extra dollars and support our school at the same time. If you’d like to sub, please email Stephanie LeFever for further details at:  [email protected]

Parent Satisfaction Survey

  • In March, we conducted an online parent satisfaction survey
  • 86 parents responded 
  • Results: See full results attached to email

Number of Responses

% Satisfied or 

Very Satisfied













Daily Lunch Options are Here

In an effort to provide expanded daily lunch options for our families, we're launching a new online lunch ordering system (MyHotLunchbox) on a trial basis. 

If you would like to order lunch you will need to set up an account with MyHotLunchbox. Menus and prices are available to view within the system. 









Jason's Deli

Moe's Southwest

Firehouse Subs

ABS Pizza Friday


Chicken strips, sandwiches, and salads

Salads, potatoes, pasta, sliders, and more

Quesadillas, burritos, and guacamole

Salads and subs


If you have questions about ordering, the folks at MyHotLunchbox can help you: (888) 894-8295 or [email protected].  

Want to be the Assistant Principal?

We’re bringing back an old tradition! Time to purchase your raffle tickets to give your child a chance to be Assistant Principal of the Day! Yes, your child (of any grade level) can serve as Principal Hollis' Assistant for an entire day! Assistant Principals have their own desk, name tag, and list of "Principal Duties" for the day! Simply stop by either front office and purchase your raffle tickets today ($1/ticket, $5 for 6 tickets). You may also purchase tickets online, and we will fill out the physical tickets for you in our front office. (This form will close at noon on the day of Friday Sing.) All proceeds from the raffle support our Hospitality fund and allow us to do special things for our staff throughout the year.



Brundibár Video

You can access a video of the 7th Grade's beautiful production of Brundibár by visiting the Family Portal at the ABS website. Please keep in mind that these videos are intended for families, students, and friends of The Arts Based School. They were produced for educational purposes only, and may not be downloaded or shared on social media. Thank you, and enjoy the show!

Lion King Performance

Disney’s Lion King Jr. will be performed by all ABS 8th graders on Thursday, April 28, at 7:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Worship Center theater, 200 N. Cherry Street. The show lasts about one-half hour. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to help us cover production costs.

Volunteers Needed!

We are looking for 4-6 volunteers to help with backstage make up and hair for The Lion King! Hair will be braided and make up is theatrical make up. You don’t need a ton of expertise to help with this… we will lead you through the process. 


  • Wednesday April 27, 7:45-10:00 am
  • Thursday April 28, 12:30-2:30 pm

We also need 4-6 volunteers to move sets and costumes into the theaters for both the 8th Grade production of Lion King and the 1st grade show. 


  • Friday April 22, 3:15-4:15 pm - meet at MLK building theater
  • Monday April 25, 8:15-9:15 am - meet at MLK building basement
  • Thursday, April 28, 8:30 pm (after show) meet backstage at 1st Pres Theater.

If you might be able to help with any of these, please sign up here or send us an email. Thank you! 

Around Town

Downtown Survey

The City/County Planning Board and the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership are starting the Initial Planning efforts for the 2023 Downtown Winston-Salem Plan Update, which seeks to set a Vision for the next 10 years and beyond. You can participate in the first public input survey, and be entered into a prize drawing to win a gift certificate to a downtown business.

Superhero Symphonic

The Winston-Salem Symphony presents Superhero Soundtrack on Sunday at 3:00, at Reynolds Auditorium, and The Sounds of Cinema at 7:30 on Saturday. Enjoy live performances of dramatic themes from your favorite superhero movies. Attendees on Sunday are invited to wear superhero costumes, and have photos taken with Wonder Woman and Spiderman.

Film Festival

The world-renowned RiverRun Film Festival is coming up right here in Winston-Salem and Greensboro! If you've never experienced it, this would be a great time to try it out. Fresh new movies and old favorites are played all over town, from April 21-April 30. Tickets sell out quickly.
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