ABS Thursday Notes- August 16, 2018

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                             August 16, 2018




First Day of School –Wed, August 22nd


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“It is better to be safe than sorry.” – Proverb


Encouraging positive energy, hope and goal-setting are important tasks for educators and parents. Joyful leaps forward and unexpected emergencies are managed with cautious preparation balanced with confidence and attention to possibility. We venture together as a school, a community, a nation, a world; through complex and unsettling times. The staff at ABS contributes, as we all do, at our microcosmic level.

We train regularly for emergencies of all kinds. We train regularly to inspire learners toward rich engagement and self-confidence. We are shaken when we hear news of great tragedy, and we stop for an extra breath when we hear the injured communities say, “We didn’t think it could happen here.” We read the data to calm fear of disaster: you are more likely to be struck by lightning. You are more likely to be struck by a car.

Struck by a car. For our little school, this is the tragedy that we never thought could happen here. It did. In May of 2006, our beloved little first grader, Joshua Palomares-Beckles, was at home riding his bicycle, helmet on, in a safe area, when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. It still brings pain and tears, to write it. We were shattered. The weeks that followed required super-human strength from all of us, and we will never forget him and his beautiful family.

Every day, we watch with great anxiety as a few families choose to park on the other side of Martin Luther King Drive, then cross that unpredictable, busy state road to reach our doors. If a shoe breaks or a flip-flop slides off, if a child falls or refuses to run, if you trip, misjudge the speed of an oncoming car, or simply don’t see it, our greatest fear could easily become reality again.

The city recently announced that MLK Drive will soon be widened, to accommodate the great increase of traffic past our doors, when Business 40 closes. This means more cars and faster cars on this road. Very soon.

We know that parking can be frustrating at ABS. The school board, parent council, and staff have all discussed this frequently. We are constantly looking for creative ways to resolve it. We have attempted to purchase neighboring property. We have negotiated with neighbors. We have staggered events to allow for small groups to attend and depart. We know it’s further complicated by the railroad’s closure of 7th Street, by the neighboring construction workers parking in no-parking zones, and by the added time our commutes will require due to closure of Business 40. But there is nothing in that inconvenience and frustration that begins to approach the pain we experienced when we lost Joshua.

Please, dear families, contribute to the safety of our school and your children. Don’t walk or run across that road. As my mother always told me: “Cars can’t see you.” She didn’t mention that drivers might be late, texting, drunk, or talking on the phone. Want to keep our environment safe from tragedy? Of course, you do. Leave earlier, car pool, park a block away on our side of MLK, do whatever it takes to be on time and patient in the drop-off line, and keep yourselves safe. This is not a lecture, friends; it’s a love letter.


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 7:45-8:15am


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.


Mulch Moving and Weeding

Join Principal Hollis in the garden, Saturday morning, Saturday, August 18 from 9-12 to help get the gardens and playground ready for the start of school.  Bring gloves, tools, wheelbarrows and plenty of water!  Double hours for your volunteer time!


Grand Openings

Our side door is the main entrance for children in both building. 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  Handbook and Forms

Please take some time to read and review our handbook to help us all get off to a great school year!  If you would prefer a printed paper copy, stop by the front desk.


Required Forms

Every year, we send forms home with your child and ask that you fill them out and return them to your child’s homeroom teacher. These forms are vital to planning and making sure your child is safe. This year, we’ve created google forms so you can fill the forms out online! Please click on the links below and fill out a form for each of your children attending for the 2018-2019 school year.    Handbook and Forms


Back to School Night-Save the Date!

ABS Back to School Night is scheduled for Monday, August 20.  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.


Summer Reading at Bookmarks
Have your kids been reading from the Bookmarks Summer Reading Passport? It’s not too late to participate!  Be sure to read 3 books and complete 5 activities from the Bookmarks Summer Reading Passport.

Upon completion, the Summer Reading Program Passport may be turned in on Saturday, September 8 at the Bookmarks’ Festival for a book of the student’s choice. In addition, all participants will be entered into a contest where four winners will receive a $50 gift card to Bookmarks.

The school with the most participants will win $500 worth of books for their school library.  Help us win books for our school library by participating!   

Even if you cannot attend the Festival on September 8th, you can still participate.  We will collect entries at ABS for those who cannot attend the Festival (details coming soon).

For more information, visit: https://www.bookmarksnc.org/summer-reading-2018

Activity Fee

Each family is asked to pay $30.00 per year per child to help cover the costs of our extensive curriculum enhancement activities, including field trips and art trips.  Fees are payable at the start of the year and may be paid for the full year or in smaller increments, if needed.  Financial assistance is available to those families with demonstrated need per the approval of the principal.  Checks should be made out to The Arts Based School and turned into your classroom teacher or front office.

Beginning of Grade Test

The State Board of Education requires a standardized reading test  for all third graders in North Carolina.  Third grade students will take the Beginning of Grade (BOG) test in reading.  A student’s BOG score will be used as baseline data to measure growth as well as a screening tool to identify those students who will need remediation to pass the End of Grade test.  The NC Read to Achieve initiative which requires retention for students who do not pass the Reading EOG at third grade.  The test has 42 questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.  It will be administered on September 11.    Testing accommodations will be provided for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP).  Make-up tests will be required for any student that is absent from the regular administration of the test.

Afterschool Care at ABS

ABS Before and Afterschool Care Program was created out of a need for high quality care with a flexible, convenient schedule for working parents. We look forward to providing a safe and fun filled environment where we focus our efforts on the social, emotional and physical development of your child. We’ll do this by nurturing strong relationships and offering your child choices that reflect his/her individual needs, interests and abilities.  The onsite child care will be staffed by ABS teachers and staff with Stephanie Lefever as the Afterschool Program director.  Registration is open on the ABS website.

Before and Afterschool Hiring

Most of the Before and After School staff  are ABS teachers and staff.  However, we need a few extra who can begin at 2:30 to cover the time that teachers are not available.  If you have an interest in working for the ABS Before & After School Care Program, please click on the link below and fill out the application.  Contact Stephanie LeFever with any questions.

Before and Aftercare Hiring Application