ABS Thursday Notes- January 25, 2018

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                             January 25, 2018




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” – Voltaire


Sixty Kindergarten students whirl, leap, howl and paw the air, together with nearly a score of  lithe, tall UNCSA modern dance majors, preparing for their 9th annual collaboration. It’s a favorite moment for Ms. Hollis and I each year, to tiptoe down the hallway and peek in as the little faces look up, up, up in wonder and behold those magnificent “big dancers” right in the studio with them. One year, a Kindergartner stopped in her tracks as she entered the space to see those big dancers, then turned to me and gasped “Mrs. Siebert, there are HIGH SCHOOL KIDS in here!” The big dancers just join into regular dance class with the little dancers, as natural as you please. Ms. Adams introduces them, then turns on the music and begins a warm-up. “Find a place in the room where you know you will be noticed because there is lots of space around you! Keep your feet rooted to the floor and see how many ways you can move your arms. Freeze in a high statue when I hit the drum (bang!) Now move your arms again. And freeze in a low statue. (bang!)” The little dancers are used to this, but when they see that the big dancers are doing it exactly as they do it, they’re filled with wonder. And of course, both big and little dancers are inspired by the improvisatory ideas of the other. Before long, they are spinning and flying and tumbling through the space together as though they are family, free of self-consciousness, just brothers and sisters in the dance.


Each year the tiny and great dancers partner to perform “Peter and the Wolf” for classmates and parents, beginning with these joint dance classes taught by ABS dance teacher Jan Adams. Ms. Adams, a NC State Charter School Teacher of the Year, also teaches pre-ballet classes at UNCSA.


The young students and their teachers use Prokofiev’s beloved musical tale in the classroom, and in music, art, and dance classes to study story structure and sequence, character and setting, vocabulary, instrument families, acting, movement, and scientific studies of animals. They compare the stereotypically evil wolves in children’s literature with real wolves, discovering that the shy creatures are family oriented and have been vilified through much of classic fiction. This is an introduction to the inaccuracies of stereotypes, and the importance of questioning the validity of what you read.


Each child prepares to dance the role of one character from the story. Ms. Adams works with the UNCSA dancers to consider how they might choreograph the story for little people, while teaching the little people how to take on the various characters. Eventually the story is prepared with big dancers leading the little dancers, providing the little ones with a visual safety net. When the duck appears on stage, seven little ducks waddle behind him. If stage fright confuses them, they can look up at their tall leader and follow him. That is why tomorrow’s introduction is so valuable: those big dancers become friends; touchstones that quiet any stage fright. There are also breathtaking performances by the grown-up dancers; moments when they break off into inspirational expressions of their own.


This is our fourth year with a vivid new set, drawn by ABS parent and graphic artist Kyle Webster, designed by UNCSA Design & Production student Antonio Dibernardo, built by ABS parent Tom Elsner and painted by ABS art teacher Elizabeth Gledhill, with help from two UNCSA painters. To culminate this remarkable collaboration, we will perform at the Gerald Freedman Theatre in Alex Ewing Performance Place on the UNCSA campus.Save the date:  Thursday, February 1st at 12:00 p.m. Parents will park at the UNCSA visitors center and gym, and will be shuttled the short distance to the theatre.


Community Creates!

The Community Creates! Committee has begun working on this year’s fundraising auction for the school.  Community Creates! pairs local artists and community leaders to create artwork together that will be auctioned to fund arts programming for children at Arts Based School.  We use the term “collaborate” very loosely.  Whatever is comfortable for the artist; anything from the collaborating personality, taking a tour of the artist’s studio to help select a previously executed piece, to a one-on-one brainstorm and sketching session. The only goal is to enhance rather than impede the creative process for both the artist and the community leader.

Community Creates! Components:

  • Live Auction 15 pairs of local artists and community leaders have teamed up to collaborate on an original work of art. Each of these works, as well as three works by ABS students and alumni will be auctioned, live, at the event.
  • Silent Auction

Art experiences, smaller works and pieces by artists who are not able to work in collaboration with a leader will have a place in the event this year.

  • 100 for $100 One hundred 8”x10” canvases painted by assorted local artists in the community. Each work is directed only by the word “community” and will be signed only on the back and sold for $100 on a progressive schedule throughout the evening. Patrons will purchase pieces based on their connection to the work and not the perceived value of the artist. Have they purchased a work by an artist of international standing worth 10 times the price or a piece by a budding local artist?
  • Raffle Twenty items of $50+ value donated by local people and businesses. The week prior to the event all items will be displayed with descriptions in the ABS cafeteria. Tickets are 1 for $5 or 5 for $20 and ABS parents and others will have a chance to enter all week. Ticket purchasers choose the item(s) they would like a chance to win.
  • Food, Drink and Entertainment Heavy hors d’ oeuvres, beer and wine are included in the ticket price as well as live musical entertainment.

If you would like to help with this school fundraising event, please contact Claire O’Boyle at coboyle@artsbasedschool.com.  Save the date- Saturday, May 5 for the auction!


Snow Make Up Days

Although the inclement weather has caused us to cancel a few school days, at this point we are not required to schedule a make-up day.   The state law requires public schools to provide 1025 hours.  We will exceed this requirement even with the missed days.  If additional snow days are required, we will make them up on the make-up days noted on the school calendar (Feb 19, March 30, April 9, June 11,12,13).


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 enclosed​​ 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.


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




Order online at http://www.strawbridge.net/order-online/
– our online code is 106312. The cost is $20.


If you prefer to pay by check or cash, you can order with the forms that are on the front table of the entrance to the MLK building or at Donna’s desk in 7th street building.

Orders can be turned in to Donna in the 7th St. building or Angela in the MLK building. Deadline to order is March 1st.


And, as always, please keep uploading pictures to your class Shutterfly site for possible inclusion in our 2017-18 Yearbook! The yearbook particularly needs 2nd and 5th – 8th grade candids! Thank you!


Volunteer Hours

We are over halfway through our approximate 40 weeks of school!  Our volunteer policy requires one hour of volunteer time/child/week (40 hours for the school year).  Now is a great time to review your volunteer hours by logging onto HelpCounter.  Need assistance with your account?  Contact Stephanie LeFever in the front office (slefever@artsbasedschool.com).


Parent Council News:

Parent Council Meeting – Friday, February 16
Please join us for the December Parent Council on Friday, February 16 at 8:15 in the MLK Cafe.  All ABS parents, families, and caregivers are part of Parent Council and are welcome to attend!  Don’t forget that attendance at Parent Council meetings counts toward volunteer hours.  If you have requests for the agenda, please send them to Parent Council Co-Chairs, Joy Blaser (joy.blaser@gmail.com) and Julee Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net) by Friday, February 9.

Class Rep Meeting in February!
We will have a brief Annual Giving training meeting for all class reps following the Parent Council meeting on Friday, February 16.  We will discuss the logistics of the campaign and your role in helping to communicate with your classroom.  Don’t worry – it’s easy and won’t take much time!  Can’t attend or have questions?  Please contact Annual Giving Co-Chairs Jennifer Bender(jensray@gmail.com) and Brandi Cleveland (clevelbb@wfu.edu).  Thank you!