ABS Thursday Notes- August 2, 2018

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                  August 2, 2018




First Day of School –Wed, August 22nd


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else. – Fred Rogers


Change is an infamously double-edged sword, delivering both excitement and discomfort.  Of all of life’s absolutes, change is perhaps the most certain, and yet many of us feel surprised when it comes. We tearfully pack away the teeny clothing of a growing infant and pull out the toddler’s togs, then suddenly deliver that same little one to college. Not unexpected, but we resist it. But there are constants that keep us rooted: our love, our commitment to growth, our wonder and appreciation of it all.


This year, ABS is experiencing change. We are introducing new programming, much of it developed in response to parent and student input. We are welcoming many inspirational new teachers, while bidding farewell to beloved staff. We are temporarily relocating classrooms while we complete beautiful new ones. And, with all the theater organizations in town, we are juggling a lack of available theater space as they become privatized or remodeled.


Unchanged is our philosophy of educating children, our commitment to the arts, our positive energy toward growth, and our interest in meeting each individual child where they are and moving them forward from there. These constants provide us with tools to help our young students manage change optimistically; including the change from Kindergarten to first grade, or from one building to the next, or from middle school to high school. It’s good to look at change as opportunity.


We’ve traversed many changes over our sixteen years: hiring an entire staff, moving from a temporary rental into our current home, and even relocating two grade levels for a year, as we built a middle school. Each time we traverse these new paths, we discover unexpected growth.


It is a regular practice at ABS to reassess after each performance and after each year, to determine what is valuable and worth keeping, and what we prefer to change. We always go into it looking at how we can do better, but we also hope for new discoveries.


We find that we have the best outcomes when we assume the best in people and doubt the bad. We appreciate the trust and support of our community, and we can already see that our changes are creating an exciting new world.



Mrs. Rudd (ABS kindergarten teacher) and her husband welcomed baby Julia Michele to the world.  She was born Wednesday, July 25th at 12:11am.  Both are doing well.  Mrs. Rudd will begin the school year on maternity leave and return mid-October.  Mrs. Barnes will be taking the lead in the classroom during this time.


Staffing Update

I’m excited to announce some new additions to the ABS staff.

Jordan Brown joins the ABS team to teach middle school drama.  He is a classically trained actor with a bachelor’s degree from UNCSA.  He recently returned to Winston-Salem from Chicago and taught in UNCSA “Acting Out” Summer Camp.


Rob Rambach will be teaching middle school science.  Mr. Rambach is a veteran teacher with 20 years experience and a Master’s degree in science.  Most recently he taught 8th grade science in Guilford County.  His science lab looks a lot like a maker’s space with kids getting their hands dirty, trying things out and experimenting with ideas.


Hope San Filippo will be joining ABS as our Spanish teacher.  Hope is a veteran teacher with 20 years of experience in teaching elementary, middle, and high school Spanish.  She is a Winston-Salem native.  She’s moving back from Pennsylvania where she’s been teaching at Mercersburg Academy, an elite boarding school.  She is familiar with ABS because her nephew Owen Clifford is a graduate.  Her sister, Cary Clifford, recommended our school.


We’re also excited to announce Anne Faulkner will be working as a full time EC assistant with our elementary school students, supporting the EC team.


New Development Team

You may remember the ABS Board approved a new position, Development Director last spring, to help us increase our revenue and stabilize our annual budget challenges.  The Development Director would be responsible for generating donations to the school from individuals, business/corporations, and grant-making entities.   This involves communication of the mission of the school to the local, regional, and national community through marketing, branding, advertising and media and public relations: developing and sustaining partnerships; implementation of fundraising events; and creation of solicitations and donor recognition strategies.  We have hired two part time people to fill this role.    Ellen Coble has worked in the corporate world for most of her career.  Most recently, she successfully led a $5 million campaign for Hospice.  She will be working closely with our Board of Directors, staff, and community to develop this new role and begin raising funding for the great programs we provide our students and community.  Leah Lavin, will also be working in development as an administrative assistant;  grant writing, and maintaining the donor database.  Leah is an ABS parent.    She has experience in private school development and grant writing.  We’re delighted to have both of these ladies on the team!


Garden Workday

Come meet Mrs. Hollis in the garden, Saturday morning, August 4, 9-11am to help get the gardens ready for the start of school.  Bring gloves, tools, and plenty of water!  Double hours for your volunteer time!


Who’s My Teacher?

Now that we’ve hired all our new teachers, we’re ready to put the final touches on class lists.  Classroom teachers met with the grade level team before school was out to create the class rosters for 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 received before May 1st are also considered along with other information.  To protect student privacy we have sent class assignments via email this year instead of posting on the website.  If you did not receive your class placement, please email Mrs. Hollis at rhollis@artsbasedschool.com


Volunteers Needed:

Call for volunteers to help deliver text books to teachers’ classrooms next Monday morning (August 6th) at 10:00am. It would be nice to have 4-5 people and would probably take an hour or two. Meet in the MLK building cafeteria.


Class Representatives Needed

We are currently recruiting class representatives for all classrooms at ABS for the 2018-2019 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!


New Parent Orientation

Save the Date- Wednesday, Aug 8 at 10am for the New K-4 Parent Orientation at ABS.  This program is designed specifically for new families in grades K-4th at ABS to support your transition into ABS and to answer your questions.  Please mark your calendars and join us!


Middle School Orientation

Save the Date-Wednesday, Aug 8 at 6pm for Middle School Orientation.  For new parents (grade 5-8) and also for parents new to middle school.  This program is designed to answer questions about how our middle school program works (grades 5-8) and what to expect.


Special Visits

Educational research shows that the relationship between the student and his or her teacher is one of the most important factors in a student’s academic success.  This critical relationship is enhanced by our small class size and our educators’ commitment to children.  In support of the teacher/student relationship, our teachers will be offering a Special Visit before school begins.  A Special Visit is simply an opportunity for your child to meet his or her teacher in a familiar setting, a chance to learn a bit about the class and what to expect in the coming school year.  The Special Visit can be set up to occur in your home, here at the school, or on the phone.  This year’s scheduled days for Special Visits are August 16 and 17, 2018.  Your child’s teacher will be contacting you to schedule a 15-20 minute appointment.


ABS Family/Student Directory

To be sure we have accurate contact information for the ABS family/student directory, each family received a confirmation email to verify the information that will be printed in the directory.  Families that do not want to be published in the ABS directory should email Principal Hollis at rhollis@artsbasedschool.com  before August 10.


Back to School Night-Save the Date!

ABS Back to School Night is scheduled for Monday, August 20, 5-8pm.  To ease parking, we will have staggered sessions. More details soon…


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.


Please Donate Your Stringed Instruments!

ABS will be introducing stringed instruments to our music program this year. We would love your donated instruments! We will particularly need ½ and ¾ sized violins, but welcome all full-sized violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. As non-profit organization, we can offer tax letters for the value of the instrument. Please drop your donation off at the MLK building, or email Mary Siebert at msiebert@artsbasedschool.com with questions. Thank you!