ABS Thursday Notes- January 11, 2018

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                January 11, 2018




No School- MLK Holiday

Mon, January 15


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.” – Friedrich Nietzsche


If you have ever studied a language foreign to you, you’ve probably found that a fast-talking native speaker will move on to the second sentence while your brain is still scrambling to translate the first…and you miss the second one entirely. This can be especially stressful if you are engaged in an urgent conversation. Until you are fluent, speedy communication leaves you frustrated and shut out.


One of the challenges of transitioning from elementary to middle school math and science is that these subjects require a student to learn not only more complex concepts, but also related vocabulary. It’s a new language. Many a pre-algebra student who learns key words will find herself struggling to recall their meanings year later, still mentally translating while the teacher moves into new ideas. That student might conclude that she is “bad at math,” before she’s really had a chance to try it.


At ABS, we frequently use movement and music to help us understand concepts from other disciplines. Our students dance the perimeter and area of a 2-dimensional space, for example. We’ve never polished those activities into performance quality, so parents rarely get a glimpse of them. This year, for the first time, the 6th grade will perform math and science concepts as part of their “Living Textbooks” production, with the expected side benefit of making them more fluent in some new vocabulary.


This project is inspired by John Bohannan’s “Dance vs. Powerpoint” TED talk. SECCA further fueled the idea by offering multi-media possibilities in their performance space, where we can combine dance, music, and film in one setting. ABS’ 7th grade teachers helped develop lists of vocabulary that, if deeply imbedded in kids’ understanding, would smooth the transition into 7th grade work. I observed 6th grade teachers as they expertly introduced and assessed these words and ideas, hoping to fold their content, focus, and humor into script ideas. We explored the “personalities” of the bossy coefficient, the ever-changeable variable, the lonely constant, and the conceited exponent. We are dancing the function of the exponent, and the response of atoms and molecules to thermal energy.


Rehearsing these terms repeatedly, while embedding them into body memory and the musical mind, adding a sense of play to ideas that are sometimes dry, may transform a reluctant students’ feelings about memorization into delighted anticipation. Choreographer Thao Nyung is miraculously skilled at inspiring both effort and joy into dance. He can bring along even the most reluctant mover, and offer challenging opportunity to those who already love dance.


We’ll also be working with composer/musician John Ray, who was commissioned to create jazz-based electronic music tailor-made to one of our dances. The result is dazzling! This year’s 6th grade performance is next Thursday, January 18th, at SECCA, at 6:00. (SECCA: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, at 750 Marguerite Drive, Winston-Salem, 27106.)


ABS Spelling Bee

Congratulations to all our spelling bee participants and winners.

Joakim Rose (5th grade)- Champion Speller

Jeremy Rallings (7th grade) – 1st Runner Up

Joakim will be representing ABS at the next level of competition at the Winston Salem Journal.


All District Band

Congratulations to several of our students for their performances at All District Honors Band auditions this past weekend! Sarah Brown, 8th grade, placed 3rd chair in Concert Band, and Josie Scott, 6th grade, placed 2nd alternate flute for Concert Band. The Honors Band clinic will be held in Boone, NC the weekend of February 16.


K-Kids Sponsoring Read to Feed

The K-Kids are once again sponsoring the very popular  school-wide fund raiser for Heifer International called “Read to Feed,” from now until February 16. Heifer International is an organization which contributes livestock and training to families in need around the world and helps them build sustainable businesses. Each child who participates will ask family and friends to donate a certain amount for each book he or she reads (or, for young students, for each book read to them) from now until Feb. 26, and that amount will go toward buying cows, chicken, sheep, goats or llamas for a family. Please read the attached letter for more details, and READ, READ, READ!!!


Flu Season

As you know, flu can be easily spread from person to person.  We are asking for your help in reducing the spread of flu at ABS.  The symptoms for the seasonal flu and H1N1 are the same: fever of 100 degrees or more, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired.  Students with these symptoms will be sent home.

You can help us by taking these simple steps:

  • Teach children to wash their hands often.
  • Teach your children not to share food or drink.
  • Teach children to cough or sneeze into their elbows to avoid spreading germs.
  • Keep sick children home.

Get the flu vaccine for you and your children.


Ms. Boaz Retires

Ms. Gail Boaz recently informed us that she will not be able to continue teaching 7th/8th grade math this year.   She will need to retire effective February 1st.    We are disappointed to see her go but know that it is important for her as she embarks on the next phase of her life.


We have a few great leads on possible math teachers that might be a perfect match for ABS.  We hope to be able to fill the position quickly and provide a smooth transition for our students.  

Staff Opening

7th – 8th Grades Math Teacher 

The Arts Based School (“ABS”) in Winston-Salem is seeking a licensed, full-time, inspirational math teacher to instruct 7th and 8th grades. Applications are invited now, to begin Feb 1st.


Our ideal candidate will be passionate, energetic, creative and innovative; a team player who will plan together with other staff to find curricular links between math and other disciplines. Interested teachers may reply to Principal Robin Hollis at rhollis@artsbasedschool.com or call The Arts Based School at (336) 748-4116.

The school offers competitive salaries, and State Employee health insurance and retirement to full-time teachers.


Student Intent for 2018-19 School Year

As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2018-19), it is important to know how many spaces are available in each grade.  As a current student, your child has priority placement and no additional action is required.   If your child is not returning to ABS for the 2018-19 school year, please notify Stephanie LeFever at slefever@artsbasedschool.com


Siblings of students also receive priority, but must fill out an enrollment application. You must complete an application for the 2018-19 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery.  Deadline for receiving applications is Feb 2 @ 3pm


January Jam- Friday, January 12th 2:30-4:00pm

Kick back and relax, we’ll take care of the kids.  For $5 we will provide a fun afternoon with a live  DJ,  music,  and dancing for ABS kids from 2:30 to 4:00pm.  Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase. ($1 for drinks, chips, and candy.  $.50 for popcorn).  ABS 5th -8th graders only in the 7th St Building.    All parents must park and come inside to pick up students at or before 4:00.  Permission Slip and Money must be turned in by Thursday, January 11.   Students will not be permitted to stay without a permission slip.  Permission Slip


If you have any questions please contact, Ryan Leigh Runyon. (ryanleigh@gmail.com)

Volunteer opportunities available, view link below:



Parent Council News:

No Parent Council Meeting in January

There will not be a Parent Council meeting in January.  We hope to see you at our next meet on Friday, February 16.