ABS Thursday Notes- May 26, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

May 26, 2022


Tragedy in Texas

The tragic events in Uvalde, Texas have left us reeling, feeling both empathy and grief for these families. In the face of such tragedy, our ABS community provides our children with stability, security, and a collective sense of well being—gifts for which we are deeply grateful.

Our regular safety drills—including a lockdown drill in mid-February—reflect the robust security measures, practices and training ABS has in place. Our carefully developed safety and crisis plan includes systematic lockdown procedures which the Center for Safer Schools and local emergency management officials helped us design and implement, in addition to fire and weather-related emergencies. The relatively small footprint of our campus, as well as our staff’s knowledge of children and their parents, nurtures and sustains a connectedness that enhances our children’s safety. Children’s safety is always our highest priority.

In the face of this tragedy, some parents may find themselves wondering how (or even whether) to address these events with their children. We emphasize the importance of minimizing children’s (especially young children’s) exposure to media reports of the events. Unfortunately, most reporting tends to amplify fear, while as parents and educators we seek to allay those fears. Our teachers and counselor stand ready to address thoughts and questions children may express at school.

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

“Arts education isn’t something we add on after we’ve achieved other priorities, like raising test scores and getting kids into college. It’s actually critical for achieving those priorities in the first place.” - Michelle Obama

There is a lot about ABS that makes us different from other public schools. But that defining word, “public,” means that we share certain absolutes with traditional schools. For example, we teach the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. We can approach these goals creatively, and we do, when it’s effective. But we take exactly the same end of grade tests that other public schools take. 

We are interested in nationwide efforts to correct biases in testing. We are aware of changing practices at the college level, inspired by indications that standardized tests may not be the most accurate measure of learning or potential—but as a state-supported school, we do what is required of us, as well as we possibly can. Our staff follows all detailed testing requirements (led by fearless test coordinator Ceci McGuire.) 

What we can be creative about, where testing is concerned, is our attitude! And for that...we have a leg up. How do we prepare for this important assessment time, where the mood of our school is so different from our typical, upbeat, spirited energy? First, we learn the material as well as possible, just as a musician prepares by studying, practicing, and practicing again. Next, we learn the regulations of the test, just as a fine artist learns the requirements of a juried art show before sending in her work for consideration. We might practice breathing techniques to remain calm and focused, just as an actor or spoken word artist does in the wings, before a demanding entrance. We trust our training and fly, just as a dancer does when the music cues them to begin. 

Performances and tests are similar in many ways. They feel very different from rehearsals. Maybe your most inspired singing occurs at home in the shower, but you focus and bring your best to the stage. Maybe you make a mistake here and there on the test, but you focus and do your very best on each question and persevere to the end.

The adults around our students, both teachers and families, set the tone. We like to think of testing as an exciting time to try our skills. We tell our students “You can do this!” We make sure they are rested, fed, watered, and ready to go. We know this is just one test on one day. They are full of ideas and intellect and skills that will keep growing after test day, and their skills as artists will progress after performance day. It’s just a moment in a lifelong flow.

EOG testing continues…

Testing Schedule:

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



Summer Camp Openings

We have a few more spots open in our summer camps including our rising kindergarten camp June 20-24! Click on the links below for more information…


Summer Camp dates, teachers, and descriptions.


Frequently Asked Questions.


Register now! 



Volunteers Needed!

As we approach the end of the year, there are opportunities to help us get things in order for the coming year!


In the costume room, we have some take-home opportunities to help us mend, starch, and iron costumes—as well as sorting and sizing cowboy boots in the costume room. Check here for more details and to sign up!


You may have noticed some changes in our gardens, with beautiful new raised beds thanks to an ABS alum working on his Eagle Scout project. We could very much use help in our gardens from anyone who has time and interest—both now and through the summer. You can check tasks and sign up to help here, and we also encourage you to reach out to us with any specific questions or ideas. Thank you!


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!


Parents who wish to attend are welcome, but this is not a performance, just a traditional sing-along. 


If you attend, please read and follow these UPDATED guidelines:

  • Enter the courtyard through the 7th Street gate, and walk in through the garden.
  • Please do not join your student—allow them to sit with their classmates.
  • Stand on the perimeter of the space, being careful not to block student sightlines.
  • When Friday Sing is over, do not pull your child away from their class. Allow students to return with their teacher. They will retrieve their belongings at their classroom, and wait to be called through Pikmykid. Please do not “announce” through Pikmykid, but walk through the playground to the MLK entrance to wait for your student - or -  you may return to your car, announce through Pikmykid, and proceed through the pick up line as usual. 
  • Please join in the sing-along, if you like!

Field Day

Field Day will be held on Monday, June 6th this year. It’s a half-day and we need volunteers to help the classes run their games. Please contact your class rep if you can help. This is one of the last opportunities of the year to earn volunteer hours.

We will serve pizza on Field Day, June 6 and it is an early dismissal!

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 Alex Ewing Blackbox Theater in the MLK building, at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 3. FOUR audience members per student, regardless of age, are invited to attend the brief ceremony. This event will not be live streamed, but we will make a simple video to share with friends and family.

End of Year Checklist

  • Pick up medications from the front office.
  • Be sure all fees and lunch balances are paid. (Reach out to Ms. Garner to check your balance.)
  • Let us know if you will not be returning to ABS next year. If your child is transferring to another school, please let us know where to send your child’s records by emailing Stephanie LeFever: [email protected].
  • Monday, June 6th  is the last day of school, with early dismissal. K-4 dismisses at 11:45. 5-8 dismisses at 12pm.

Around Town

A group of ABS students will be singing and drumming with Mrs. B. at the ribbon cutting for the newly remodeled Winston Lake Park. Come on out and join us on Saturday, June 4, at 9:30. Here’s the event flier. 2790 New Walkertown Rd. 

Guilford Tech Community College is offering a week-long music tech camp called "Let's Make a Record!" June 13-17, applicable for 13-18 year olds. Check it out here.

UNCSA's Acting Out program is presenting Peter and the Starcatcher June 2-5. It features 6 current ABS students and one alumna. Directed by former ABS drama teacher, Mr. Zayas. Tickets are available here

The Little Theatre of Winston Salem offers summer camps for kids. Check them out here..

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.