ABS Thursday Notes- February 16, 2023

Published for the Arts Based School Community

February 16, 2023

No School- Monday, February 20, 2023

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein


Bullying is a nation-wide topic of conversation, from adult international politics to neighborhood skirmishes, and from Twitter to the playground. Humans sometimes try to control one another through force, rejection, or intimidation, and always have. At school, we work to correct and redirect such interactions, so our students can flourish socially.


Like most schools, we have witnessed an increase in inappropriate behaviors since our return to in-person learning.  The challenges of re-learning how to work together and get along, as well as the increased anxiety and stress we're seeing in children, have been slow to resolve. 


ABS is typically a remarkably cheerful place, and bullying incidents are still relatively rare. But because we are humans learning together, they do occasionally occur, and parents want to know how we deal with this. As required by the State, The Arts Based School does have a bullying policy.


Bullying is defined as an ongoing pattern of repeated abuse. An important distinction is the repetitive pattern, which distinguishes bullying from occasional or isolated incidents of anger, meanness, or hurt feelings.


We do not want anyone to be bullied or to worry about being bullied. As adults, we try to consistently model this. We don’t bully or “name call,” and that includes social media.


Bullying behaviors usually take place when teachers are not as close by, for example: lunch, recess, passing in the hallway, or the bathroom


When a situation occurs that requires intervention, we always intervene. We don’t always share the details of this intervention with parents, as there are issues of confidentiality to consider. As a result, parents sometimes perceive that we did not take action, but we always do.


An important goal of the response is to work with both parties; both the bully and the child who feels bullied. Research agrees that helping the victim feel empowered is as important as getting the bully to stop. We want both parties to move forward into a safe, healthy, positive learning environment.


When a bullying situation is reported or observed, we talk with the student who is bullying and with their parents. We describe what’s happening and that there is a pattern, that it needs to stop immediately and if it doesn’t, the student will be removed from their peers. This may mean working in the office, or in some cases being sent home. Sometimes a consequence is increased supervision: the bullying student might be required to use the office bathroom, or they may not be permitted to walk through the hallway at the same time as peers. (In younger grades, the teacher might hold their hand as they walk.) Sometimes the pattern continues or escalates, and then we will suspend a student. A student might be suspended for one day at first, with more days added if the behavior continues. Studies prove that suspension does not fix the problem. Like the other consequences mentioned above, the goal is both to prevent the bully from causing distress and disruption to others, and to help move the bullying student away from negative behavior.


We never tell students to ignore bullying or to fight back, (although some parents do make those suggestions.) Instead, we listen respectfully, we intervene, we ask the bullied student “What would help you? What would you like to see happen?” Sometimes the student has a great answer, which can help guide the intervention. It helps that student feel that they have power to do something that causes positive change. We tell the bullied student that we don’t want them to feel worried or frightened at school, and that we want to help fix the problem.


We offer access to our counselors, to help talk through the situation and to create strategies for both parties.


It is not uncommon for students to leave a problem unreported, but then to go home and tell a parent or friends. Sometimes parents finally reach out and mention that the behavior has occurred on many occasions…but it’s the first time we are hearing of it. It is very important that incidents of bullying be reported as early as possible. This is the only way we can quickly and reliably resolve the issue. 


6th-8th graders have access to the “Say Something” app, an anonymous reporting system developed by the Sandy Hook Promise organization. Counselors on the app will contact us immediately if there is an urgent need for action, and will call law enforcement as well, if the need arises. Our students are trained to use the app, and have indeed used it effectively to report concerns.


Experts remind us that changing bullying behavior takes time, and that “zero tolerance policies” do not work. In fact, sometimes zero tolerance leads to fewer reports, by the bullied student. 


We have had success with this. It does take time, but we have had success in making things better.

5th Grade Romeo & Juliet on the Border Performances Next Week

5th Graders will retell the story of Romeo & Juliet... a tragic tale that warns of the potential harm caused by intolerance and bullying… through their performances of an original musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s play set in the year 1900 on the border of Mexico and Texas. Performances will all take place at noon, and last about 45 minutes.

Wednesday, February 22 - Mrs. Frazier’s Class 12:00

Thursday, February 23 - Miss DeJarnette’s Class 12:00

Friday, February 24 - Mr. Tate’s Class 12:00



Lottery Results!

On Tuesday, we held our annual lottery for admission! Families who applied have now received notification of their placement. This year, we received nearly 500 applications for roughly 100 openings across our two campuses. We extend a warm welcome and congratulations to all of our new friends! 



Staffing Update

Ms. Hedgecock recently informed us that she has decided to leave classroom teaching after the trimester ends. Her last day at ABS will be March 3rd. After four and a half years in the classroom at ABS, she is ready for a change. We are sad to see her go and will miss her excellent teaching and all of the things she does for our students. 

We are already looking for someone who might be a perfect match for ABS. We hope to be able to fill the position quickly and provide a smooth transition for our 6th grade students. If you know anyone who may be interested, please contact Mrs. Raper ([email protected]).

mClass Reading Results Sent Home

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction requires a kindergarten through third grade reading assessment called mCLASS: Reading 3D to help teachers assess, track, and support each student’s reading skills. Each student is assessed every trimester using the online assessment program. mCLASS:Reading 3D will instantly analyze your child’s development in grade-appropriate foundational reading skills. Teachers will use this data to focus their instruction around your child’s specific needs, in areas that may include:

Hearing and using sounds in spoken words (Phonemic Awareness)

Knowing sounds of letters and sounding out written words (Alphabetic Principle)

Reading words in stories easily, quickly, and correctly (Accuracy and Fluency) 

Understanding what they read (Reading Comprehension) 

You will receive a letter today in Thursday folders outlining your child’s specific assessment results and progress as a reader. The letter also includes learning activities you and your child can do together at home to reinforce skills learned at school. Parent support and reading at home are a vital part of your child’s education. The teacher’s efforts, combined with your support, will help your child read with mastery and confidence. If you have any questions about the assessment, the activities, or your child’s classroom work and progress, please talk to your child’s teacher.

Conference Time is Coming

Soon your child’s teacher will be setting up conferences to discuss your child’s progress.  Students attending the Arts Based School are assessed using a portfolio system in place of the traditional report card.  The portfolio is designed to illustrate a student’s academic growth and successes as well as guide the teacher in planning appropriate instruction.  Teachers at ABS do not issue letter grades until 6th grade. Teachers use observation, interviews, analysis of student work and performance tasks to assess student understanding.  Examples of student work, as well as other objective standards of assessments are incorporated into the student’s portfolio to give an enhanced portrait of the student’s progress.  These portfolios will be discussed and presented to parents during the Student-Teacher-Parent conferences. Please be sure you schedule and attend your conference so that you can support your child’s learning. 

Conference Days

  • March 3- Early Dismissal
    • K-4 Dismiss at 11:45
    • 5-8 Dismiss at 12 noon
  • March 6 No School

2023 ABS Summer Camps!

Summer camps are beginning to fill up! All camp dates, details, and descriptions are available here. When you’re ready to register, please complete this form (one per child). 

School Calendar 2023-24

The ABS Board of Directors is considering the school calendar for 2022-23. If you would like to review the draft calendar and provide feedback, please respond to this form.

School Calendar Considerations

  • 180 days of instruction
  • Major breaks coincide with WS/FC schools
  • Trimester system allows teacher workdays to coincide with parent/teacher conferences
  • Begin school year earlier than WS/FC school to secure enrollment and fill from waiting list
  • Snow Make up days are built into calendar throughout the school year 
  • Gather input from teachers, staff, and parents

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!

Parent Council Meeting

Mark your calendars for the next Parent Council meeting! Please join us virtually for the February Parent Council meeting Friday, February 17 at noon via Zoom. A Zoom link is included in the Thursday Notes email. All ABS parents, families, and caregivers are part of the Parent Council and are welcome to attend! 

Also, please consider if you or someone you know would like to join the Parent Council board!

Forsyth Humane Society Donations

The Arts Based School K-Kids group is collecting donations for the Forsyth Humane Society. K-Kids will be collecting goods tomorrow, February 17th, and February 24th. There will also be a general collection box located in the MLK building cafe and the ABS South front office.

The Forsyth Humane Society is interested in receiving the following items: 

Cat Food (wet or dry)

Dog Food (wet or dry)

Kitten Food (wet or dry)

Puppy Food (wet or dry)

Kitten Formula

Cat Litter



Set-Moving Volunteer Opportunity

Volunteers are needed to move sets, props and costumes! You are invited to log double volunteer hours for set-moving tasks. Next opportunity:

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

If you can help with this, please sign up HERE. We will meet in the Ewing Theater at ABS North. Thank you!!



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!

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).