ABS Thursday Notes- January 12, 2023

Published for the Arts Based School Community

January 12, 2023

No School: Monday, January 16, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

Each year since 1986, the third Monday in January is designated as a federal holiday in honor of civil rights activist Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. In observance of this important day, The Arts Based School classrooms and offices will be closed. MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to volunteer in their communities. To meaningfully celebrate this holiday within your family, please consider engaging in one or more of the following ways:

  • Volunteer—particularly for causes dedicated to social justice and voting rights. Locally, Spark is hosting a day of service, with opportunities to serve throughout the day Monday.
  • Read or listen to the full text of any of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches, sermons, and/or letters. Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute has extensive resources available.
  • Support black-owned businesses and creatives in and around Winston-Salem! 
  • Talk openly to your children about race on this day, and throughout the year. For help getting started, EmbraceRace is one of many organizations with helpful resources.

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

“…he demonstrated his Ph.D. on metal fatigue by using the forces between human bodies as an analog. He even used the dancers to depict data graphs."

  • John Bohannan, Science journalist and Director of “Dance Your Ph.D.”

A group of us were inspired years ago by a TED talk by scientist and writer John Bohannan, who proposed using dancers instead of Powerpoint presentations to explain physics, and engaged professional dancers to make his point. Supplied with this cool idea, a team of faculty designed a TED-inspired  performance for 6th graders, called Math & Science Dances. The students describe, through dance, ideas around scientific studies of matter: atoms, molecules, their properties, what can cause them to change. (It is particularly appropriate to describe energy via the movements of 6th graders, whose intensity and stamina are an excellent match for atomic power.) They also dance some terms from introductory algebra, characterizing them through music and movement. Visiting artist Thao Nguyen (a mystifyingly gifted singer/choreographer/actor/teacher,) conjures fresh, collective movement ideas, inspired by the individual gifts and collective energy of each year’s students. 

You might imagine that, if you told a 6th grader (or nearly sixty of them,) that they were expected to dance math and science, they would respond with something less than enthusiasm. But during their very first warm up with “Mr. Thao,” our students are hooked. They seem to revel in daily, intense sets of warm-ups; crunches, planks and push ups to the pump of pop music, and they flow from this into high energy rehearsals, fully engaged. Perhaps it’s the same principle as those old boys schools in England where they run everyone out on the rugby field in the mud until they are exhausted, and then sit down, hit the books, and focus on academics. Our kids magically love this show and they crush it, every year. This year’s group seems right on target.

Play, experimentation, and feedback are engines of rich learning in any field. We wanted our students to play with math, through movement and characterization. Vocabulary for new concepts is a challenge in early algebra, so we targeted algebra words for students to learn more deeply, developing humorous familiarity and an undaunted, playful attitude around these terms. Likewise, in science, we targeted vocabulary and molecular structures upon which to build choreography. 

Over the years, Thao has reimagined the project to incorporate any challenges that come our way. Two years ago, he coached entirely remote Zoom contributions from home, to make a video. Last year, after losing a full week of preparation to a storm, he presented a fully masked group of students with extra space between the molecules we portrayed. Next week, we will again dive into this energetic, experimental program, filled with delight and reveling in our restored freedom to move together.

6th Grade Math & Science Dances Performance January 19

The performance of this event begins at 6:00 next Thursday, February 19, and lasts a little under half an hour. 6th Graders will congregate at SECCA between 5:30-5:45, dressed in black dance clothing. Admittance is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. SECCA (the (Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art,) is located at 750 Marguerite Drive, in Winston-Salem. 

Safety First

Our ABS community looks for ways to provide our children and staff with stability, security, and a collective sense of well-being.


The relatively small footprints of our campuses as well as our entire staff’s knowledge of children and their parents not only nurtures our tight-knit community, but it also sustains a connectedness that enhances our children’s safety. Our community members know and support one another. Children’s safety is always our highest priority. As a result, throughout the course of the year we have several different precautionary drills that include fire, tornado, and lock down drills.


  1. Fire drills are when we test our response time for evacuation of the building. We conduct these drills monthly. Students are taken outside for this drill.
  2. For a tornado drill, students are inside away from exterior windows. They are seated with their heads down and hands over the back of their necks. We conduct this drill in March in coordination with the State’s Severe Weather Preparedness week in March.
  3. For lockdown drills, teachers and students stay in the classroom, turn off the lights and must be silent. We practice this drill twice a year.


Our procedures are based on the state’s crisis intervention kit, provided to all schools. As part of our school safety and crisis plan, we conduct annual lockdown training for staff which includes the children’s orderly following of directions, lockdown “shelter in place”, and common sense decision-making. Full details of our lockdown plans are not shared publicly as recommended by security experts.



Student Intent for 2023-24 School Year

As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2023-24), it is important to know how many spaces are available in each grade. As a current student, your child has priority placement and no additional action is required. If your child is not returning to ABS for the 2023-24 school year, please notify Principal Hollis [email protected].

Siblings of students also receive priority, but must fill out an enrollment application in Lotterease. You must complete an application for the 2023-24 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery. The deadline for receiving applications is Jan 31 @ 3pm. Applications are available on our school website: www.artsbasedschool.com/enroll

Skate Night for ABS

ABS Builders Club will be hosting a schoolwide skate night! All ABS students are invited to participate. A parent/guardian must stay at Skate Haven during skate night.


Where: Skate Haven, 120 Hood Dr #2440 

When: Tuesday, January 31st 6:30-8pm

Cost: $6.00 

K-Kids Elections

Congratulations to our newly elected K-Kids Officers!  

President: Lily Booth

Vice-President: Olivia Lewis

Treasurer: Ella Yazdani

Secretary: Lyda Ferrell 

MAP Testing in January continues

Third through eighth grade students will complete the second round of MAP testing in January. After the testing is complete, parents will receive an updated score report showing the progress your student has made this year.

Ballet at ABS South, Thursdays 5-6pm

It’s not too late to join UNCSA’s Thursday evening Preparatory Ballet class at ABS South. The class is taught by ABS South parent and UNCSA Preparatory Dance Program Faculty Lauren Alzamora, and is designed for dancers who are 5-8 years of age. There are only 3 spots remaining, and scholarship assistance is available. Please contact Anushka Paris-Carter with any questions about scholarships. You can register now at the link below!


Order Your Yearbook

Yearbooks are available for order now!  Our yearbook includes both campuses. Orders can be placed by visiting the Strawbridge website at http://www.strawbridge.net/ and clicking the red “Order Pictures and Yearbooks” button at the top of the page. The price is $25 and our school code is YB25672.

Roots First Garden Workday at ABS, January 16 9am-12pm

Please join Roots First for a morning of place-based service at ABS North on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 16) from 9am-12pm. We will be planting dozens of bulbs throughout the terrace gardens, planting trees for carbon sequestration and shade, and scattering wildflower seeds in our bird habitat garden. Bring along your tools and gloves; we hope to see you there!

Set-Moving Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are needed to move sets, props and costumes! These are high-energy, rewarding tasks that help us produce our beautiful performances. These magical shows do not just magically happen...we rely upon magic-making volunteers! You are invited to log DOUBLE VOLUNTEER HOURS for these set-moving tasks:

-Friday February 3, 3:00-4:00 p.m.

-Friday February 24, 3:00-4:00 p.m.

If you can help with either of these, please sign up HERE. We will meet in the Ewing Theater at ABS North.



2023 Summer Camps

Mark your calendar NOW and set a reminder for February 3! Registration for ABS summer camps will open to ABS families February 3. We can't wait to share all the details with you later this month! 



Assistant Principal for the Day

Does your child want a chance to be Assistant Principal for the day? We hold drawings every month at Friday Sing! You can purchase raffle tickets online or in the front office of your campus to give your child a chance to be Assistant Principal of the Day. Assistant Principals have their own desk, name tag, and list of very important duties for the day. All proceeds from the raffle support our teacher appreciation fund and allow us to do special things for our staff throughout the year. Thank you, and good luck!



Activity Fee Due

Each family is asked to pay $20.00 per semester per child to help cover the costs of our extensive curriculum enhancement activities. Fees are due at the start of each semester. Second semester activity fees are due now. Payments can be made online in the Parent Portal.



Prospective Parent Tours

School tours for prospective parents are scheduled weekly on Thursdays at 9:30am. Each tour is limited to 10 adults in an effort to limit the disruption to our students and teachers in the classrooms. Parents interested in learning more about ABS and how to enroll their child, should contact the front office to sign up for a tour. 748-4116 ext 1023. Applications will be accepted beginning January 1. The lottery will be held the second Tuesday of February. An Open House Tour of South Campus will be January 19, 5-6pm.


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 posted on the ABS website (www.artsbasedschool.com).

Around Town

Job Opening

Local nonprofit Arts For Life is currently seeking a Program Coordinator who will be responsible for preparing and facilitating high-quality and engaging art lessons with patients and family members in a hospital setting at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem.

The deadline to apply is February 12, 2023. For more information, visit artsforlifenc.org.

Free Concert - Martin Luther King Day Celebration

Music@Home Concert series will present a Martin Luther King Day concert of spirituals featuring internationally acclaimed tenor Samuel Cook and pianist Dr. Greg Thompson at 3 p.m. Jan. 15 at St. Philips Moravian Church in Old Salem.