ABS Thursday Notes- August 15, 2019

Thursday Notes                       

Published for the Arts Based School Community                           August 15, 2019




First Day of School –Wed, August 21st


How We Do It and Why

by Mary Siebert


“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” – Henri Matisse


Visiting artists are experts at adaptation. They have done their work in every environment from the most glamorous to the most rustic. These gifted and accomplished people are not new to the “gig economy,” a term adapted from the arts to reflect changes in hiring practices that are now industrywide; the piecing together of many small jobs, instead of signing on for a long tenure.


When these veterans visit our school, they are uniformly blown away. There is an energy and spirit here, among students and staff, that they report is palpably different from the many other schools they have visited. They observe more joy, more energy, more openness, more color. The students participate more readily. They are more self-expressed. The reasons for this are multiple, including arts integration and positive discipline. But one of the biggest factors is our wonderful staff.


Staff development at the start of each year is, of course, the time to present and review state-required materials, and to clarify curricular and policy goals or changes. But we reserve the first day as a moment when we can reignite friendships and positive alliances and draw any new staff into the exciting dynamic present at ABS. Our staff, predictably, made the most of this year’s first day and got us off to a roaring start.


The first moments were filled with joyful cheering, hugging, high-fives, introductions, congratulations, and general coffee-cup-clinking merry making. Then we began with drama games, led by “Mr. Bob” Moyer, which got us laughing, taking chances, remembering the value of incorporating these ideas into our instruction. That culminated in a massive slow-motion football game, including spectacular slow-motion falls.


We investigated personality differences through a fun activity to recognize and value our diverse ways of thinking and being. We learned a traditional song together as part of an arts-integrated examination of world water shortages. That led to an all-staff drawing activity, led by our art teacher, Elizabeth Gledhill. We recognized that, just as with our students, we could perform the same task while working at varied levels, everyone challenged in their own way. Some of our teachers were able to transform the simple drawings into characters that flashed personality or breathtaking color, while others were content to focus on the meditative state of asking the hand to draw what the eye sees.


The coup-de-grace was an afternoon scavenger hunt for public art. Teams of four worked from a list of local murals, sculptures, publicly displayed paintings, and architecture. At each site, they took a selfie and sent them back to mission control. One favorite was the current exhibit at Sawtooth by photographer and multi-media artist Owens Daniels. The artist was present, and spent a few moments with each team he met, talking about his art and, in many cases, assisting with selfies. Some of our staff members reported this as the best staff development in over twenty years of teaching. Watch for some fun photos on social media soon!


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.


Current Volunteer Needs:

Traffic Volunteers needed for school days.  Please email Donna Brown dbrown@artsbasedschool if you can help tame the traffic in the mornings 7:45-8: 15 am


Furniture Moving As classroom teachers rearrange and reinvent their classrooms they often have pieces of furniture that they need moved to the basement or brought up from the basement.  Please check with your classroom teacher to offer your help.


Garden Workday- Saturday, August 17

Join Principal Hollis in the garden, Saturday morning, Saturday, August 17 from 8:30-11:30 to help get the gardens ready for the start of school.  Bring gloves, tools, wheelbarrows and plenty of water! Double hours for your volunteer time! 

Sign Up for Volunteer Techie Gigs Now!

We need a pre-committed parent volunteer techie team, who will help us load sets into the rental truck and unload into the theater. We need that team to help strike those same sets back onto the truck and unload at ABS after the show. All productions are within ten minutes from our door. For each task, we set aside about two hours but rarely need the whole time. If you can commit to joining this team, we’ll send reminders. If you can do some but not all of them, that’s OK, let us know. Please email Elizabeth Gledhill with your name, email and phone number at egledhill@artsbasedschool.com

Here are the dates:

Monday, Nov. 18, 8:00 a.m. load-in

Thursday, Nov. 21, 8:00 p.m. strike

Monday, Feb. 4, 8:00 a.m. load-in

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 1:00 p.m. strike

Monday, Feb. 24, 8:00 a.m. load-in

Thursday, Feb. 27, 8:00 p.m. strike

Monday, March 23 8:00 a.m. load-in

Thursday, March 26 8:00 p.m. strike


Thanks for your help in making our great productions possible!


Grand Openings

Our side door is the main entrance for children in both buildings. It is locked at 8:15 in the morning. If you arrive after 8:15, you must park your car in the lot (please do not park in the fire lane next to the school!) and walk your child to the front door. You will need to sign your child into the computer.

In order to keep our building secure, we ask that you please do not open our side doors for anyone after they are locked. If you are exiting through the side doors and someone is waiting there, ask them kindly to enter through the front. Thank you!


ABS Student Handbook

The updated Parent/Student Handbook is now available on our website

Parent/Student Handbook

If you would prefer a printed paper copy, you can pick one up at the front desk.


Class Representatives Needed

We are currently recruiting class representatives for all classrooms at ABS for the upcoming school year. It’s a great way to get your volunteer hours for the year and to be more involved with our amazing school. If you’re interested, please contact Jennifer Bender at jennifer.r.bender@gmail.com. Thank you so much for your willingness to volunteer!


Class Representative Training and Childcare Volunteers needed 

Please make plans for attending the Teacher and Staff Breakfast on August 19th 8:30-9:30. We will also have a short training session afterward. We are in need of a few volunteers to help with supervising children on the playground during the meeting. Email me at jennifer.r.bender@gmail.com if you’re interested in volunteering.   

Back to School Night-Save the Date!

ABS Back to School Night is scheduled for Monday, August 19.  To ease parking, we have scheduled three sessions-

Grades K,3,and 5 will attend 5-6pm.

Grades 1,2,and 6 will attend 6-7pm.

Grades 4,7, and 8 will attend  7-8pm.

All sessions will occur in your child’s classroom.