ABS Thursday Notes-August 24, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                       August 24, 2017




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing…both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.” – Stacy Horne, Time Magazine, 2013


Last spring, my teen daughter and I hulled the gallons of fragrant strawberries we’d picked together. She set herself up with headphones and a movie on her computer, to make the task fly by. I thought about the days of prepping fresh produce with my mom when we sang together in harmony. My immediate family sings non-stop, so I didn’t protest my daughter’s high-tech diversion this time; I was just happy to have the help. But I did feel a pang of nostalgia. Mom no longer knows who I am, but she remembers all of those songs.

When we consider progress in terms of technology, most of us think immediately of computers, smart phones, GPS, social media, and the quicksilver innovations of the Age of Information. But for young students, we push much further back. They study technology that transformed stone and clay into shaped tools in the ancient world. Spinning, weaving, agriculture, telescopes, weaponry, the printing press, medical research, all of this is innovation and technology that transformed us. There is also the life-changing technology of radio. Before radio, Americans shared folk songs by gathering on the front porch with instruments, voices, and a heart full of songs and stories. Every story changed as it passed from one storyteller to the next. Every singer sang a distinctly unique version of each song. Well before current research proved the physiological and psychological benefits of singing together, folks were reaping those benefits. The delights of shared singing faded from our culture when radio brought us recordings by master performers. We thrilled to those sounds and quickly began to view the popular versions as the “only” versions. There is a bittersweet side to much of this progress. Just as we lost flavor, nutrition, and the joy of harvest when we moved away from locally grown foods to industrially produced groceries, we lost variety and health benefits when we stopped singing together and allowed the radio to sing for us.

In the spirit of the front porch, ABS students sing together. We sing in the classroom. We sing in the music room. We sing in theatrical productions. We memorize facts by singing, and at K-4 we gather together once every month, raising our 300+ voices in unique ABS arrangements of songs that will last a lifetime. This tradition ofFirst-Friday Sing sometimes extends through 8th grade in the 7th Street courtyard. One of the major goals of Friday Sing is to preserve and pass along American folk song heritage. We also occasionally choose songs in languages other than English, and delve into world cultures. Songs of celebration, sadness, unity, patriotism, fantasy, nonsense, longing, hope. Songs with which to dance, protest, play, work, sleep, fight, and make peace. We need them all. We hope your children sing them when you hull strawberries together.


First Friday Sing

The first Friday Sing this year will be on September 1st, from 1:50 – 2:20, in the new Alex Ewing Blackbox Theater at the back of the MLK building. Kindergarten – 4th grade students.


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, stop by the front desk.


Congratulations to Coach Eric

Congratulations to Coach Eric Smith on the arrival of his baby boy, Cameron Lamont Smith!  He was born August 16, 2017 at 8 lbs.8 oz.


Parent Reps Needed!

We have a few more teachers still in need of a Classroom Representative.  Serving as a Class Rep (or Co-Rep with another parent) is a fantastic way to stay involved in your child’s classroom – it’s also a great way to get to know your teacher and the other parents!  We need for volunteers for Mrs. Boaz (8th), Mrs. Micka (Band),  and Ms. McIver (Drama).  If you are interested in one of these positions, please email Heather Levinson (heatherdlevinson@gmail.com).



Parent Council Meetings

All parents, grandparents, and caregivers are members of the Parent Council and are invited to attend our monthly meetings.  Attending meetings is a great way to learn more about what is happening at school and how you can get involved.  Plus, attendance at meetings counts toward volunteer hours!  Parent Council meetings for the 2017-2018 school year will be held monthly on Friday mornings from 8:15 – 9:15 in the MLK Cafe.  The meetings will be held on the Friday following the ABS Board meeting (which are held the second Tuesday of each month) so that Principal Hollis can update parents on board decisions.  Meeting dates are : September 12, October 13,  November 17, December 15, February 16, March 16, April 13, and May 11. There will not be a Friday morning meeting in January.  We look forward to seeing you at our first PC meeting of the year on Friday, September 15!


Summer Reading Wrap Up!

Summer Reading programs are wrapping up, but there is still time to get some free books!

  • Barnes and Noble- Did your child read at least eight books this summer? Bring in a summer reading journal by September 5th to receive a free book!


  • Bright Leaf Books- Stop by this downtown bookstore after school. Bring in a completed reading sheet (7 books) to receive $4 store credit per week (ends August 31st). Ages 3-12
  • Bookmarks- Has your child been reading from the Bookmarks list this summer? Be sure to finish up those written or visual responses and turn in your completed entries by August 30th and receive a free book at the Bookmarks Festival on September 9th.  BONUS: The school with the most participation will receive free books for their school library!  Help us win by participating!


  • The Forsyth County Central Library officially opens Thursday August 31st at 11am.


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.


Kindergarten Speech Screening

We will soon begin screening kindergarten students for any speech or language difficulties.  Ms. Jennifer Carter, our speech pathologist, will visit each kindergarten classroom to have a short conversation with each student.  If further testing is required, the parents will be notified.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mrs. Carter at jcarter@artsbasedschool.com.


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 12.    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.


Around Town…

Survey Opportunity…

A new business is looking for people to participate in a paid ($75) focus group that they are considering for Innovation Quarter.   Here’s the link if you are interested in helping them out….

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