ABS Thursday Notes- January 25, 2024

Published for the Arts Based School Community

January 25, 2024

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.” — Vicki Baum


Next week, each of our five kindergarten classes will perform a re-telling of Peter and the Wolf at the ABS Ewing Black Box Theater, with an audience of wildly enthusiastic fans, namely: their families. There have been weeks of preparation, leading up to this important event.


Kindergarten students and their teachers use Prokofiev’s beloved musical tale to study story structure and sequence, character and setting, and scientific examination of animal movement. They compare the evil wolves in children’s literature with real wolves, discovering that the shy creatures are family oriented and have been unfairly vilified through much of classic fiction.


Meanwhile, students are exploring the individual characters in the story through music and dance, learning to identify each of them through the musical instrument and the individual melodic themes that are particular to them, as assigned by the composer. They work with their knowledge of animals, people, story, and music to portray the characters through dance. It’s something of a revelation: you can actually tell a story through dance!


After learning all of the movement for all of the characters, the students are each assigned to dance the role of one character from the story, which they then piece together for a public performance attended by their family. The teachers are available to step in at any point, to provide the little dancers with a visual safety net. When the duck appears on stage, there are actually three or more ducks waddling together. If stage fright confuses a little duckling, they can follow their fellow fowls, or look up at their teacher, who will step in as needed. The classroom teacher and assistant wait at the sides with groups of cats, hunters, birds, etc. to remind students when it is time to step onto the stage.


Our 8th graders recall their Peter and the Wolf experience from their kindergarten days with nostalgic delight. They remember themselves not as a group of cats but as THE Cat. For a kindergartener, the combination of working together to tell a story this way is still a very individualized experience, even with safety nets of fellow ducks and teachers in place.

Peter and the Wolf Next Week!

Kindergarten performances of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf take place next week at the ABS-North campus Ewing Black Box Theater (1380 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.) The show lasts under a half hour, so please arrive early, parking may take some extra time. ABS will make an archival video of each show available to ABS families (available for viewing on Vimeo only.) 

Heck’s Class: Monday, January 29, 12:00 

Barnes’ Class: Tuesday, January 30, 

Greene’s Class: Wednesday, January 31, 12:00

Warren’s Class: Thursday, February 1, 12:00 

Londoño’s Class: Friday, February 2, 12:00 

Student Intent for 2024-25 School Year

As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2024-25), 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 2024-25 school year, please notify Director Hollis

Siblings of students also receive priority, but must fill out an enrollment application. You must complete an application for the 2024-25 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery.  The deadline for receiving applications is Jan 31 at 3pm. Applications are available on our school website under enrollment.


Volunteer Opportunity

We need all hands on deck to help with a set change. We will move the Peter & the Wolf sets out of the theater, and move the Romeo & Juliet sets in, after dismissal on Friday,  February 4 at 3:00. Please join Mr. Brown and Mr. Reichmeier in the theater at the North campus. No kids assisting, for safety, but your children may wait on the risers while the magic happens.


No Percussion Ensemble on Friday, February 4

Mr. Reichmeier will be helping with the set move on Friday the 4th. Percussion ensemble will resume on Friday Feb. 9.


School Calendar 2024-25

The ABS Board of Directors is considering the school calendar for 2024-25.   Last week, the WSFC school board adopted a significantly different calendar with an earlier start date and spring break in March.  The School Leadership team is working to create additional calendar options for ABS in light of these changes.  We will share additional drafts soon for your feedback.   Stay tuned…

School Calendar Considerations

  • 185 days of instruction/or 1025 hours 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



2024 Summer Camps

Mark your calendar NOW and set a reminder for February 8! Registration for ABS summer camps will open to ABS families February 8. We can't wait to share all the details with you soon!

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).


Prospective Parent Tours

School tours for prospective parents are scheduled weekly on Tuesdays at 9:30am at South Campus and Thursdays at 9:30am at North Campus. Each tour is limited to 10 adults, 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 are accepted January 1 -31 . The lottery will be held the second Tuesday of February. Open House Tour of South Campus (962 Mock St) will be held January 25, 5-6pm.


Ways to get involved and learn more about ABS: