Thursday Notes – August 6, 2015

First Day of School –Wednesday, August 19th


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.” (When asked about his theory of relativity.) – Albert Einstein


The music program at the 7th Street building is growing and changing. Highlights:


  • Coming soon: a new monthly “Lunchbox Concerts” series on the middle Wednesday of each month. We will welcome a broad variety of local musicians, who will perform in the courtyard or in the dance room (with the doors lifted.) As the year progresses, ABS students who pass an audition with Ms. Hayes and Ms. Cooper may be among the performers at these events.
  • Maestro Peter Perret will be a visiting artist this year, serving as conductor for 7thgrade’s “Brundibar” and Kindergarten’s “Peter and the Wolf.” Maestro may also be offering some conducting workshops for students. Ms. Hayes will take over daily band instruction.
  • 5thand 6th graders will all play in band, and will also have classes with Ms. Cooper, our new chorus and general music teacher.
  • At 7thand 8th grades, students may elect either band (with Ms. Hayes) or chorus (with Ms. Cooper.)
  • Band and chorus will not mix 7thand 8th grade students.
  • Both 8thgrade band and chorus will perform at Carowinds in the spring.
  • Band and chorus students will be eligible to audition for Honors Choir or All District Band.
  • Both band and chorus will study a mix of repertoire, from classical to pop and jazz such as:

o   Band: “The Hanging Tree” (from The Hunger Games,) improve on rock ‘n roll chord changes, a medley of themes from “The Planets” by Holst, big band jazz classics.

o   Chorus: “Disney Showstoppers,” “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” by Tchaikovsky, jazz and folk classics

  • We will be experimenting with trading faculty, so that our middle school teachers may sometimes switch with Mr. Wilbur, teaching the younger children while Mr. Wilbur works with middle school kids (perhaps in a unit focusing on the blues, for example.)
  • We will be performing spontaneously for one another, popping in to the K-4 building or inviting younger students down, to hear what the big kids are doing.
  • Mr. Bill and Mr. Forrest will return with African drumming residencies.


Band Info for 5th – 8th Grades

All 5th – 6th graders are required to participate in band. 7th and 8th graders will receive a letter asking them to elect either band or chorus. New 7th or 8th graders who do not already play a band instrument must choose choir. Band will begin during the first week of school. Please be sure your band student brings their instrument! Here are recommended instrument rental resources:

— The Band Company, Kernersville: Phone your order at 993-7436. They deliver instruments to the school and come to ABS to make repairs. Monthly payments contribute to purchase of the instrument.

— Jackson’s Music in Winston-Salem. Visit them at


Value of Volunteering

Of course, each of you knows that volunteering is an important commitment that each family makes to our school.  Each family is expected to volunteer one hour a week for each child they have at the school.  But the greatest reason we make parent involvement such a priority is for the success of our children.  Research shows that active parent involvement causes children to behave better, learn better, score better on tests and graduate at higher rates.

Volunteers are coordinated through the HelpCounter.  HelpCounter is a web-based program that allows us to track and report volunteer jobs.   Parents can access HelpCounter on the computer at school in the front office or from their home or work computer.  Parents will also receive HelpCounter notices through their email.


Save the date: Sunday, August 16, 9am-1pm Parent Workday!

We’ll need all hands on deck to help us put the finishing touches on the school and grounds for the opening of school.   For this workday, we are offering double credit.  You can get 2 hours for every hour you work!  Don’t miss this great opportunity!


Staffing Updates

I am excited to announce several staffing updates.  It may sound a bit like a jigsaw puzzle because it is.  Each special teacher has the perfect fit, somewhere in the puzzle.


Ashley Rudd and Martha Holland will be swapping roles in their kindergarten class this year.  Ms. Rudd is a certified teacher who served as a teaching assistant with Ms. Holland last year and will be the lead teacher this year.  Ms. Holland will shorten her days and serve as the part time teaching assistant to allow her to devote more time to her family’s needs.


Tim Sofis has been hired to teach middle school language arts and social studies.  Mr. Sofis is a certified middle school teacher with a Masters and 8 years of experience.  He is relocating to Winston-Salem from Pittsburgh, PA.


Olivia Sledge will be joining the ABS team as Mrs. Ravestein’s kindergarten assistant.  Ms. Sledge has been an ABS parent and resident artist for several years.  She most recently served as program coordinator and art teacher for Arts for Life.


Staff Openings at ABS

7th – 8th Grades Math Teacher 

The Arts Based School (“ABS”) in Winston-Salem is seeking a licensed, full-time, inspirational math teacher to instruct 7th and 8th grades at our freshly expanded school. Applications are invited now, to begin in the upcoming school year.


Our ideal candidate will be passionate, energetic, creative and innovative; a team player who will plan together with other staff to find curricular links between math and other disciplines. Interested teachers may reply to Principal Robin Hollis at or call The Arts Based School at (336) 748-4116.

The school offers competitive salaries, and State Employee health insurance and retirement to full-time teachers.


5th – 8th Grades Part-Time Spanish Teacher 

Our ideal candidate will be passionate, energetic, creative and innovative; a team player who will plan together with other disciplines to create new curriculum. We seek someone who would be excited to work with the music teacher to coach Spanish lyrics for traditional songs, and to integrate vocabulary and cultural studies with other disciplines. Interested teachers should contact Principal Robin Hollis at


Lunch monitor

We’re looking the perfect person to monitor our K-4 students while they’re eating lunch in the cafeteria.   This position requires patience, organization, humor, and reliability.  This will be a Monday through Friday position from 10:30am to 1:00pm.  Please email Robin Hollis at if you are interested.


Parent Council is looking for a few good volunteers:

We need class reps for Kindergarten, 2nd and 4th grades. Anyone intested in helping our specialists this year is also encouraged to volunteer. We need specialist reps for our new PE Coach Smith and our drama teacher, Ms. Heidi. Please contact Michelle Hopkins Lawrence


Staff, Class Rep & Specialist Rep Breakfast

Volunteered to be a Class or Specialist Rep?  Please join us on Monday, August 17th at 8 am in the ABS Café for a light breakfast and meeting with the ABS Staff.  We’ll review the role of Class and Specialist Reps, offer some helpful hints and give you a chance to spend some time with your teacher or specialist to plan for the coming year.  Child care will be available so feel free to bring the kids!


Back to School Night-Save the Date!

ABS Back to School Night is scheduled for Monday, August 17.  To ease parking, we have scheduled three sessions- K-2 grade will attend 5-6pm and 3-4th grade will attend 6-7pm. Grades 5-8 will attend Back to School night 7-8pm in the 7th St building.  The first part of each session will be a presentation about school wide information.   The second part of the session will be in your child’s classroom.


UNCSA Preparatory Dance Auditions

Auditions for rising 3rd-9th graders will be held at UNCSA on Saturday, August 8th for the Preparatory Dance Program.  See attached flyer for more details.