ABS Thursday Notes- February 21, 2019

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                               February 21, 2019




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.” – William Shakespeare, from As You Like It


Romeo & Juliet on the Border is the culmination of many varied elements of study, for fifth grade. Students studied America’s Reconstruction via the western cattle drive era of the late 1800s. Cowboy poetry of the era, maps of cattle trails and biomes of the west, paintings and photos from the era, cattle trade economics, changing roles of women, influences of technology, and recognition of the mixed ethnic demographic of the original cowboys were all studied in preparation, and much of it was incorporated into the script adaptation.


Period folk songs and dances from America’s west and Northern Mexico were carefully researched with the help of the Hispanic Arts Initiative, who also helped design and build the vivid Mexican costumes. The students’ “Dancing Classrooms” study at the beginning of the year made it easier for Jan Adams to choreograph complex partner dances.


Shakespearean English was studied, its iambic pentameter, its clever names and insults and hidden rhymes. It was translated first into modern vernacular, and then into turn-of-the-century cowboy phraseology.  The original Shakespeare is preserved in heightened moments of emotion.


The timeless story elements, its clashing cultures, fear and intolerance of strangers, and the challenges of resolving differences and sustaining peace were recognized as immediate and current, even in a fifth-grade classroom.


ABS counselor Amanda Sullivan will teach reflective lesson after the show, in which students will consider how the ending of the story would have changed, if Romeo had called 9-1-1. What if he had used strategies for coping with depression or discouragement, such as seeking help from a grown-up or allowing time to pass before making a rash decision?


Heidi McIver, who directs the show, also choreographed stage combat, while teaching students that violence in theater is just the opposite of real violence: safety is the number one concern. You always let your opponent know when you’re coming. You position yourself to prevent an actual strike. The “victim” is always in control, only giving the appearance of a struggle. Students learn never to perform these moves out of class, especially not in front of younger children who might then try it themselves. In this way, we learn about the inner workings of the power of media.


Every student is in the show and, regardless of the size of the role, every student receives all of the above lessons and many more. The wonder of this kind of instruction is that once you begin to discover the relativity of art to life, a huge constellation of connection reveals itself, and the possibilities are endless. All the world’s a stage.


Romeo & Juliet on the Border will be performed next week: Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Worship Center theater, at 200 N. Cherry Street. Admission is free, and a free-will offering will be taken.


Volunteers Needed to load the Romeo & Juliet sets into the truck next Monday morning, February 25, at 8:00 a.m. If you are able to follow us to the theater (1 mile away) to unload the sets there, that’s ideal. Volunteers are also needed to strike the set and load it into the truck after the show, on Thursday, February 28 at 8:15, then meet at ABS to load the pieces into the basement. We are usually finished before 9:00 p.m. Double volunteer hours are allowed for these tasks!





Thank you to everyone who attended last week’s Parent Council meeting.  We had a full agenda discussing projects underway and upcoming events. The minutes from that meeting are attached to the Thursday Notes e-mail.  We  looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting on Friday, March 15!


What is Community Creates?


This year marks the 11th year of The Arts Based School’s Community Creates.  While many of you have attended in years past, there are lots of folks in the ABS Community that still aren’t quite sure what this event is all about.  Is it a party?  Is it a fundraiser?  Is everyone invited?  Yes, yes and YES!


Community Creates is a fabulous adult only party.  For one evening, our ABS Middle School building and courtyard are transformed into a chic, hip art gallery full of unique artwork created for this event.  Local artists you love, and new ones you don’t know yet, come together to provide pieces for our 100 for $100 drawing, silent auction and live auction.  Dinner is provided by our friends at The Porch & Alma Mexicana.  It’s an evening you don’t want to miss!


Community Creates is a vital fundraiser for ABS.  ABS deeply arts-based, experiential learning includes visits and residences from highly accomplished professionals in visual, performing and literary arts (think Mr. Bill, Mr. Bob, Diana Greene & Thao Nguyen just to name a few).  Funds raised from Community Creates help us pay for this artists-in-residence program.  The relationships between our students and these local artists inspire and instruct us, while helping create and solidify meaningful bonds within the community.


Everyone is invited to Community Creates!  Community Creates draws a mix of ABS parents, staff, Board members, artists and many people throughout the community that attend for the chance to walk away with some fantastic artwork, or at the very least, have a fabulous evening out!  Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door and will be available for purchase very soon – but go ahead and save the date – Saturday, May 4th from 7pm–11pm!


Interested in getting involved?  Great!  There are several ways to get involved in the action!

  • Become a sponsor– A variety of sponsorship levels are available.  Take a look at the attached document for more details.  It’s a great way to get exposure to a broad audience.
  • Submit artwork– Interested in sharing your artistic skills?  Contact Shannon Wright (thewrights@triad.rr.com) for more information on submitting a piece.
  • Volunteer– It takes a village!  Contact Robin Hollis (rhollis@artsbasedschool.com) if you’d like to volunteer.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks – we hope to see YOU on Saturday, May 4th at Community Creates!


MAP Results Sent Home today

Third through Eighth grade students will receive MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) results in Thursday Packets.  Please take some time to review these results.   Overall results show that ABS students in each of those grades achieve higher scores than the national norms in all areas tested: math, science, reading, and language arts.   Congratulations to our students and their teachers for a job well done.   If you have any questions regarding MAP results, please contact your child’s teacher.


ABS Summer Camps!

ABS is excited to offer Summer Camps this June and July! Join ABS staff on adventures that explore science, arts, movement, magic, and more! All summer camps will run from 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday. Campers should bring a lunch to camp each day. Camps will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Payment is due at the time of registration.   Camp registration is currently open to ABS students only.   See more information and registration at ABS Summer Camps


Help Wanted

Our fabulous lunch monitor, Miss Connie has resigned her position as cafe’ monitor to devote more time to family. We are looking the perfect person to monitor our students while they’re eating lunch in the cafeteria.   This position requires patience, organization, humor, and reliability.  Please contact Stephanie at slefever@artsbasedschool.com if you are interested in applying.


Read to Feed Money Due Friday


All Read to Feed Money is due this Friday, February 22. Any checks should be made out to Heifer International. Please see attached link for additional information and the donation form.



To order this year’s ABS yearbook go to https://www.strawbridge.net/ and click the “order pictures and yearbooks” red button in the top right hand corner. Our school code is 106312 and the cost is $20. You may also turn in payment by check to the front office.