ABS Thursday Notes- February 8, 2024

Published for the Arts Based School Community

February 8, 2024


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

“Black History Month is not simply asking, ‘How can I remember and learn about Black people?’ It is all of us asking, ‘How can we love Black people by seeing them, hearing them, and creating a world where black people feel loved, inspired, and protected?’ - Dantè Stewart

Although National Black History Month was proclaimed by President Ford in the 1970s, the historian Carter G. Woodson, with his supporters, began the movement in the early 20th century. Their goal was to intentionally include Black history and literature in school academics by founding a week devoted to celebrations of African American history and achievement. These were topics that were typically omitted from public school curriculum. One week grew to a month, and now educators everywhere are embracing the call to incorporate Black history throughout the school year. ABS is committed to developing this practice, to teaching both the true stories of grim oppression, past and present—and also to sharing the bold innovations and joyful influence of Black Americans—to being a part of “creating a world where Black people feel loved, inspired, and protected.”

The nation is moving toward teaching Black history as American history, (as well as many other cultures with designated months of recognition, including Indigenous Peoples, Hispanic-Latino, Asian Pacific, and more.) There is a growing need to spread the curricular resources that were once limited to a single month across the full spectrum of instruction.

The organization Facing History and Ourselves “combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.” They state:


Here at Facing History, we see Black History Month and other heritage months as opportunities to deepen our knowledge of and attention to the histories and contemporary experiences of historically marginalized communities. However, the focus on celebrating these communities during only one particular month can contribute to the othering and diminishment of the very experiences we are hoping to elevate. With this in mind, we invite you to use these … resources to engage with important themes raised by Black History Month this February and throughout all of the months of the year."

It is our goal at ABS to steadily increase our awareness and instruction of a broad spectrum of history, looking for balance and increasing the equality of our representation of all Americans through the resources we use and the lessons we teach, year-round. We want all of our students to see people who look like themselves in examples of accomplishment and inspiration, in delightful fiction and powerful art, in visiting artists and video. Our awareness is maturing, and we acknowledge that there is always room for growth. 

During the month of February, we typically invite the Burke Singers from WSSU to perform for our students, as part of a celebration of Black History Month. We welcome them back this year for the first time since the pandemic. (You can catch a moment of their most recent performance at ABS, in 2019, here.) Many of our teachers choose February as a time to explore stories of Black Americans who serve as inspiration, and choose books that focus on Black leaders or Black fictional characters, but this is increasingly common across the school year, as well. We incorporate music into our Friday Sings, and projects in the art rooms that connect to Black History in February, but we look for cultural balance all year long. Our larger commitment is to increase and balance these stories across the curriculum, across the year.


MAP Results Going Home

ABS uses Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) to assess each student’s academic growth. We give students in grades 3-8 MAP tests to determine each child’s instructional level and to measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year in the areas of math and reading. Students take the tests on a computer. MAP tests are unique in that they adapt to be appropriate for your child’s level of learning. As a result, each student has the same opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing. And with MAP tests, we can administer shorter tests and use less class time while still receiving detailed, accurate information about your child’s growth. MAP results are coming home today with your student. 


mClass/DIBELS 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 analyzes your child’s development in grade-appropriate foundational reading skills. Teachers 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.


Peter and the Wolf Videos

Archival Videos of last week’s wonderful kindergarten performances of Peter & the Wolf are now available for viewing on Vimeo, through the Families Portal on the ABS Website. Password: Hunters


Volunteer Opportunity

Get double hours by helping strike the Romeo & Juliet set! Immediately after the noon performance by Mr. Tate’s class on Friday, February 23, we will move the set pieces back to the basement. Many hands make light work! Please plan to join us at about 12:45 in the theater. 


2024 ABS Summer Camps

Registration is now OPEN for Summer Camps! Please follow the link below to register. Click on the title of the camp that you would like to register for and fill out the Google Form. Invoices will be sent following registration to secure your spots! Check out the updated FAQ!
2024 ABS Summer Camp Registration

 Contact Ashley Tate at [email protected] with any questions. 

Mad Science Grades 3-5

We are welcoming Mad Science back for our 3rd-5th graders! Mad Science will meet each Wednesday at North Campus. We will start on February 14th and run through April 10th. Click here for more information! 


Crazy Running Grades K-4

Crazy Running is back for both campuses! Crazy Running North will be held on Thursdays, and Crazy Running South will be held on Tuesdays. This will run from February 26 for an 8 week season in preparation to train for Crazy Kz Kidz Race (Saturday, April 27th) this season, which is a fundraiser for the WS/FCS Healthful Living Department. Sign up information will be in Thursday packets and you can register at crazyrunning.com. 


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!


School Calendar 2024-25

The ABS Board of Directors is considering the school calendar for 2024-25.   The WSFC school board adopted a significantly different calendar with an earlier start date and spring break in March.  In response to these changes,  the School Leadership team has created additional calendar options for ABS.   Please review and consider these options and provide your feedback here.  Thanks!

Updated Version 1

Updated Version 2

Updated Version 3


News from Parent Council

PC Meeting Reminder: 

Please join us for the next Parent Council meeting of the school year on Friday, February 16 at 8:30am in the MLK Cafe at ABS North Campus.  All ABS parents, families, and caregivers are part of the Parent Council and are welcome to attend!   If you would like to submit a topic for the agenda, please send an email to Parent Council Katy Whiteheart or Stephanie Smith  by Wednesday 2/14. We look forward to seeing you there! You can also join virtually at Join Zoom Meeting


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).


Spring Break camp at ABS

Film Camp! Action!  

This 3-day camp is sure to make spring break creative and fun! Students  (Grades 5-8) will learn the basics of acting in front of the camera but also the work that goes into being behind the lens of the camera. Students will create a short film by the end of the camp, using a green screen, their own script and storyboard, props, and of course acting.  Register here.

Monday-Wednesday, 9-2pm, April 1st-3rd 2024


Around Town…

Ways to get involved and learn more about ABS: