ABS Thursday Notes- May 12, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

May 12, 2022

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time."    - Leonard Bernstein

At Tuesday’s board meeting, the ABS board unanimously approved a motion to move forward with creation of a second ABS campus. Yesterday, the WSFCS school board agreed to lease a wing in the original Diggs elementary school to us, to open two new kindergarten classes, and two new first grades, this coming fall. From there, we will build a K-8 school adding an additional grade level each year, just as we did twenty years ago. We will be able to offer spots from our waiting list to 80 new students right away.

You might question the wisdom of starting a new school during these uprooted times. The discouragement of Covid and its restrictions and requirements, teacher shortages, and other fears and demands have squeezed the spark out of many of us. But we believe that this is the time in our lives and our communities to create even more goodness in the world. There’s plenty of holding back and worrying out there. Let’s be an antidote! We’ve felt the downward press of gravity lately. Let’s defy it!

We’re celebrating our 20th year by birthing another magical school, right inside the same school building where a historically Black K-5 school educated generations of Winston-Salem citizens, including our city council representative, Annette Scippio. The new school is a quick walk to the UNCSA campus, and a slightly longer stroll to the WSSU campus, where both chancellors are cheering us on and hope to unite with us in bringing more arts to more children and families in our community. Read on, to learn more about this exciting project!


  • Each year the ABS lottery leaves roughly 400 students on the waiting list.
  • Before the COVID pandemic, the ABS board and administration began to work on opening a second school to address this demand. 
  • ABS received a $500,000 NCACCESS grant from the State to support increasing access to model charter schools. This grant funding is restricted to use for operations, not construction or facilities improvement.
  • As part of the NCACCESS grant, the ABS Board and the State School Board approved the use of a weighted lottery for ABS.

Current Thinking:

  • The projected opening of the second location is August 2022 with two sections each of kindergarten and first grade, for a total of four classrooms. The students for these classrooms will be pulled from the waiting lists at these grade levels.
  • The ABS-Second Campus will be governed by the same ABS Board of Directors and run by the same administration team with additional administrative team members.
  • Expansion will most likely occur one grade at a time: our first year serves grades K-1, the second year will add 2nd grade, and so on until the campus serves grades K-8.
  • The WSFC School Board voted Tues, May 10 to lease one wing of the original Diggs School building for use as our second campus. We will need to do some upfit to the space including adding flooring and painting, and re-configuring handicap-accessible stalls in the bathroom.


  • The second campus will follow the ABS traditions and philosophy providing arts integrated instruction to deliver the NC Standard Course of Study.


  • Charter schools do not receive building funds. ABS is given state and local money for operations based on enrollment.
  • ABS received a $500,000 NC ACCESS grant to use for the second campus operations. ACCESS grant budget includes funding for curriculum materials, furniture, and technology. This grant cannot be used for construction or salaries. 


Where is the original Diggs Elementary School Building?

The physical address is 950 Mock Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27127. We are very much aware of and honored by the historic and cultural significance of this location. We are delighted that our second location will be centrally located to many Black families, a burgeoning Latino community, and UNCSA, WSSU, and Salem College. 

How is the lottery weighted? 

Our lottery is weighted to give a 2:1 preference to students who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch, according to those federally established guidelines.

How will ABS support economically disadvantaged students?

Our entire approach to teaching and childhood development is designed to support all children, from varied backgrounds. Additionally, as part of the NC ACCESS grant, we will provide both school lunch and transportation for qualifying students. As details for these two programs become available, we will share them.

Why does ABS want to increase the percentage of economically disadvantaged students it serves?

Because we believe that we will be a better and stronger school by having these students. There is overwhelming evidence that fully integrated schools benefit all students, regardless of their race or socio-economic status. 

Will families who are picked in the lottery be able to choose which ABS location they would like to attend? 

No. For the 2022-23 school year, students admitted in the lottery will attend the current Arts Based School. Students in grades K and 1 from the waiting list will be offered spaces at the new campus. After the 2022-23 school year, families will designate their campus preference on the lottery application.

Will families who are currently enrolled in the existing ABS be given the option to transfer to the second campus?


Will the two ABS campuses join together for performances or other projects?

Maybe in a limited capacity. 

Will teachers from the current campus move to the second ABS campus?

Current ABS teachers will be given the option to join the second location as openings allow.

What will the second school be called?

It will likely still be called The Arts Based School with its location as the unique identifier.

Last day of Clubs-May 13

Staff Appreciation: Thank You!

We are all grateful for the many words, cards, flowers, beverages, and gifts with which we were showered last week! All of that sweetness really soaks in, and it’s fun to see how excited the students are, to share it. Thank you for your thoughtfulness! We feel the love!

End of Grade Testing

It’s that time of year again. The flowers are blooming, the days are longer, and the tests are coming! ABS students in grades 3-8 will be taking the North Carolina End-of-Grade (EOG) tests during the last ten days of school. 

The North Carolina EOG tests are designed to measure student performance on the goals, objectives, and grade-level competencies specified in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. The EOG tests in reading comprehension and mathematics are administered to students in grades 3-8 as part of the statewide assessment program. EOG tests in science are administered in grades 5 and 8. All tests are administered online.

Parents, please help your child do their best by following these guidelines:

  • Help your child get 9 hours sleep throughout the weekend and each night before the test.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast, including more proteins and fewer carbohydrates.
  • BE ON TIME to school. Rushing around creates anxiety. Latecomers must take a make-up test.
  • Exercise. No couch potatoes, video games, or on-line junkies the week before. Go outside and run and play. You will rest better, think better, and feel better.
  • Help them arrive at school with a positive attitude.

Testing Schedule

May 23 EOG Science 5th and 8th grades

May 24 EOG Reading 3rd & 4th grades

May 25 EOG Math 3rd & 4th grades

May 26 EOG Reading 5th -8th grades

May 27 EOG Math 5th -8th grades 


May 31 EOC Math I

June 1 EOG Reading Make Up Tests & RtA-3rd 

June 2 EOG Math Make Up Tests

June 3 EOG Science Make Up Tests


EOG results will be shared with parents at the third trimester conferences- June 9 and 10.

Builders Club Spirit Week for grades 5-8: May 16-20 Middle School ONLY!

Next week, please join the ABS Builders Club in supporting local organizations while showing some spirit! Please be sure all of your outfits are comfortable to wear all day and school appropriate: no weapons (light sabers, swords, blasters, etc.) ABS Builders Club will have collection bins located in the 7th street lobby. Thank you for your participation!

  • Musical Monday: Dress as your favorite musical character, and bring individually wrapped snacks to support Brenners Children's Hospital/Ronald McDonald House
  • Tie Dye Tuesday: Wear your tie dye and bring gently used books for Shepherd's Center
  • Wacky Wednesday: Wear your wackiest and tackiest today. Bring canned food for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina
  • Throwback Thursday: Dress in your favorite decade and bring gently used or new DVDs, games, puzzles, or coloring books for Family Services
  • Fandom Friday: Dress as a fan of your favorite hobby, sport, team, show, musician, or whatever you are the biggest fan of today! We'll show our love to Ukraine; Builders Club will have a craft station set up today to make items that will be donated for auction to benefit Ukranians of the Carolinas.

May 13 Garden Work Day with Forsyth Early College!

Tomorrow, May 13, members of the National Honors Society from Forsyth Early College are coming to ABS from 3pm-6pm to help us prepare the Terrace Gardens for sunflower planting. Please bring your shovels and gloves and join us!! The Terrace Gardens are currently planted in a blend of cover crops: vetch, crimson clover, and daikon radish are (mostly) suppressing weeds while affixing life-giving nitrogen into the soil. We’ll also be weeding the strawberry patch, and sprucing up as many spaces as we’re able to cover. Please let us know if you’re thinking about coming by signing up here! Rain date TBD. 

Volunteers Needed

We are looking for 3-4 volunteers to help us move our old Promethean boards from the 7th street building to the basement. This task will take approximately 2 hours, and can be scheduled somewhat flexibly next week depending on the availability of our volunteers. If you’re interested in helping, please send us an email with your windows of availability. Thank you!

Parent Council Meeting - Tomorrow, May 13, 2022 

Please join us for our monthly Parent Council meeting at 8:30 am on Zoom. We will discuss field day preparations and other exciting upcoming events. All are welcome! Link included in Thursday Notes email.

Final Friday Sing on Wednesday, June 1

Due to graduation, our final Friday Sing will be Wed. June 1st at 1:50 pm. K-4 students will gather in the courtyard. We will once again need a few volunteers to help us set up and break-down the equipment. If you can help, please sign up here!

8th Grade Graduation

We are excited that we will be able to celebrate this moment in person! 8th Grade graduation will take place in the ABS Ewing Blackbox Theater, in the MLK building, at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 3rd. FOUR audience members per student, regardless of age, are invited to attend the brief ceremony. Masking is currently required indoors, on the ABS campus, for all students, staff, and visitors. This event will not be live streamed, but we will make a simple video to share with friends and family.

Around Town

The Winston-Salem Girls Chorus is opening registrations now for new singers for the fall of 2022. There are various choirs for Kindergarten - 12th grades, with Director Anne Saxon. Learn more HERE.

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