ABS Thursday Notes- April 20, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                 April 20, 2017




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 legislature’s HB13 proposal strictly limiting classroom sizes will not impact ABS, if it passes, but it could cause challenges within the Forsyth County school system. Schools are allocated funding based on per-pupil enrollment, and HB13 would require the hiring of more classroom teachers, without an increase in funds. One suggestion is that music instruction would be cut, to make this possible. The “Every Student Succeeds Act” a bi-partisan federal law that passed in 2015, specifically named music as a critical part of a well-rounded education. Although the expectation is that all public schools will teach music, states interpret this law differently. In his article Music Education in the Law, Texas attorney Robert Floyd writes:

     “Fine arts courses are a part of the enrichment curriculum, a component of the required curriculum. By definition, enrich means “to make richer, to add greater value or significance.” It does not mean extra, not necessary, elective, or optional. These courses are an integral part of the educational process and in many cases are the courses that give meaning and substance to a child’s education and to his or her life. By law, school districts, as a condition of accreditation, must [deliver] instruction in all subjects of the required curriculum—not just in foundation courses.”

ABS’ founders wrote our charter specifically to preserve and increase arts instruction, responding to evidence that student achievement scores, positive attitudes about school, reading and math skills, and self-confidence are enhanced through arts instruction and integration. Our music program will continue to include the following:


  • K – 8 students study African drumming with Mr. Bill from Tam Tam Mandingue drumming school.
  • K-4 students gather for “First Friday Sing” at 1:50 on the first Friday of each month.
  • K – 4 students have general music classes twice weekly with Mr. Wilbur, where they are introduced to musical notation, a variety of songs, and instruments including guitar, recorder, African drums, Orff instruments, and piano.
  • Kinder students learn Prokofiev’s musical story Peter and the Wolf, which introduces instrument families and music/dance as storytelling media, and perform it with live musicians.
  • 1stgraders receive a series of visits from a professional wind quintet of the Winston-Salem Symphony, who introduce literary skills through music.
  • 1st– 4th students learn and perform songs and dances from a variety of cultures and countries that are culturally aligned with performances.
  • 5thand 6th graders all play in band, and receive general music instruction with Ms. Hayes and Ms. Cooper.
  • 5thgrade performs to a multi-cultural array of music with “Dancing Classrooms,” and performs historical folk songs from the U.S. and Mexico in Romeo & Juliet on the Border.
  • At 7thand 8th grades, students may elect either band (with Ms. Hayes) or chorus (with Ms. Cooper.)
  • 6thgrade performs to the music of John Ray, who introduces his composition process (and its links to science,) and performs live with them. They also perform to classical and pop music, and record a custom-designed song about Eleanor of Aquitaine at a professional recording studio.
  • 7thgrade performs the opera Brundibar with a professional orchestra.
  • 7thand 8th grade band and chorus perform a winter concert at Brendle Hall on the Wake Forest University campus in December.
  • 8thgrade band and chorus perform at Carowinds in the spring.
  • Band and chorus students are eligible to audition for Honors Choir or All District Band.
  • 8thgrade performs the musical The Lion King.
  • When possible, visiting artists perform live for students, or students attend live performances, dependent on the community’s offerings.
  • Where appropriate and effective, classroom teachers incorporate singing and recorded music to help students engage with, understand and memorize cross-curricular material.


Band and Chorus Mini-Concerts – on ABS Campus


Monday, May 8

10:30 – 8th grade band

12:00 – 7th grade band

1:00 – 6th grade band

2:00 – 5th grade band


Tuesday, May 9

12:00 combined 7th-8th choir


Instrument Introductions for Rising 5th Graders

One of the many exciting changes awaiting rising 5th graders is that they participate in band. Students may choose from flute, trumpet, clarinet, or trombone for their first year of band. All 4th graders will have a chance to try out each of these instruments in May, when Jackson’s Music visits for Instrument Introductions. Students will bring home fliers from several local instrument rental companies, after the demonstrations. Students who qualify will be assisted with rental fees.


Teacher Appreciation Week at ABS!

May 1st – 5th is a special time for students and families at ABS to take a few extra minutes to give extra love and show appreciation for our amazing teachers. This year, the Hospitality Committee was asked to provide guidelines for each day of the week to simplify for families with students in multiple grades or classes.  Feel free to stick to these ideas or go out on a creative limb to show your appreciation all week!

*Remember- Teacher Favorites lists are available from Class Reps!

Monday, May 1st Flower Day

Pick a flower and give to your teacher to brighten this Monday!

*Class Reps, please consider providing a container of some kind (large jar, vase, etc) for your teacher to store these lovely surprises!

Tuesday, May 2nd Yummy Snack or Favorite Drink Day

Teachers love a good snack & all have a favorite beverage! Coffee? KIND bar? Tangerine? Sparkling Water? Check the Staff Favorites List to see what your teacher loves best!

Wednesday, May 3rd Note, Card, or Picture Day

Bring a homemade card, Thank You note, or original artwork for your teachers today!

Thursday, May 4th Sweet Treat Day

Everyone enjoys a sweet surprise! Chocolate? Cookies? Gluten Free Brownie? Bet your children know what their teachers love as a splurge!

Friday, May 5th Surprise Day

Whatever you think that your child and teacher would enjoy! Extra hugs or high-fives? A gift card to buy a summer reading book? Lots of reasons to smile at ABS!

Remember that Specialists, office staff & administrators like treats too!

Thank you for helping to make this a very special week for our amazing teachers & staff at ABS!


Community Creates – May 6th!

Join us for our 9th Annual Community Creates on Saturday, May 6th from 7-11pm!  It’s a fun-filled evening with dinner from The Porch, drinks, friends and some outstanding artwork! All proceeds from the event support our Artist-in-Residence program (think Mr. Bill, Mr. Bob, Diana Greene, Thao Nguyen and many others!). Checkout  http://www.communitycreates.com to learn what artists are participating, view photos from past events and purchase tickets.  Tickets may also be purchased in either front office (save on the ticket price by buying in advance – see attached flyer for details).


We would like to offer our great thanks to our Community Partner Sponsor Abby Umlauf at Keller Williams Realty!  Visit Abby at http://abbyumlauf.kwrealty.com.  Thank you for your generous support!



Author Visits ABS

Author/Illustrator Jonathan Miller will be visiting ABS’s 2nd and 3rd grades on April 25. His picture books chronicle the adventures of Sammy the Wonder Dachshund. Each illustration is uniquely crafted from cut paper and card-stock, averaging 25 hours per page to complete. He is offering the ABS community the opportunity to pre-order personalized, signed copies of his hardcover books! Please use the attached order ​​form and view his website: http://sammydogbooks.com/


Field Day Coordinator for 7th Street Building

The Parent Council is looking for a coordinator for Field Day for the 7th Street building.  Field Day will be held on the last day of school, Friday June 2.  The coordinator will work with class representatives to host games and activities for students to participate in.  Our past coordinator, Tommy Priest, has offered to pass along his contacts and spreadsheets from previous years.  If you are interested in coordinating this fun day for our 5th – 8th grade students, please contact Julee Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net).



No Parent Council Meeting in April – See you on May 12th


ABS Garden Work Day & Earth Day Celebration

Saturday, April 22, 9 am to 12:00 pm

The ABS Garden celebrates Earth Day on Saturday, April 22. Bring the whole family to do some spring planting and garden maintenance in honor of Earth Day! In addition to the usual playground time for kids who come along, we will have children’s Earth Day activities including seed planting, bouquet making and tasting of garden goodies.


Bring your sun hats and garden gloves. RSVP appreciated but not required: kristen@rootsfirst.com


Garden Volunteers Needed

Do you want to take care of ABS volunteer hours on your own time? The ABS garden is organizing for next year! Since we’re losing our long-term garden guru, Matt Mayers, we’ve got to regroup and find new garden caretakers. We’re looking for volunteers to steward one small part of the ABS garden. This job can happen in one hour a week or four hours a month. No experience is necessary! Please be in touch with Kristen Haaf if you want to learn more! kristen@rootsfirst.com


Classroom Placement                            

Your child’s current classroom teacher will meet with the grade level team to create the class rosters for the next year. They use all that they know about your child’s academic, social, emotional, and behavioral qualities to determine which classroom is the best match. Parent requests will be considered but must be received by the classroom teacher before May 1.


Jump Rope for Heart This Friday

The K-Kids’ sponsored event, Jump Rope for Heart, is coming up this Friday, April 21, in the Courtyard of the 7th Street Building for kindergarten through 5th grades.. It looks like the weather will be cooperating beautifully! All money for Jump Rope for Heart is due Friday, and can be turned in to your classroom teachers.  Checks should be made out to American Heart Association. The classes will meet during their specials times. Come join us, and LET’S GET JUMPING!


Be The Match Walk

Be The Match Walk will be held on Saturday, April 29th from 9am – 1 pm.  Mrs. Meeks, Ms. Christian and Ms. Cohen are assembling “class teams” and are looking for walkers.  This is sponsored by K-Kids and we hope that ABS has at least 25 participants this year.  This organization helps fight leukemia and other bone marrow diseases by matching donors to patients.  Folks aged 18 – 44 are encouraged to come out and be swabbed to check if they are a match.  You can literally save a life!!  For more information, go to BeTheMatch.org


Around Town

UNCSA Preparatory Dance Program Auditions will be held on Saturday, May 6th on the UNCSA campus for rising 3rd-rising 9th graders. See the attached flyer for more information or visit http://www.uncsa.edu/community/preparatory-dance/auditions-registration.aspx


Summer Camp

Registration is open for Camp Shakespeare! July 17-21, 2017 from 9am-4pm at UNCSA.  The cost is:  $230 base price, $275 with lunch, and $15 for a t-shirt. We are looking at the following plays: Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, and Twelfth Night. Mr. Bob & Ms. Heidi are there, along with some new teachers!

Here’s the registration link: https://goo.gl/AnE7jc

Please note that you will have to create a new account for summer 2017, which will generate a new 6-digit password.  See flyer for more info.