ABS Thursday Notes- January 3, 2019

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                           January 3, 2019



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 Bluetooth 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, (including plenty of harmony with my daughter,) so I didn’t protest the high-tech diversion this time. I was just happy to have the help. But I did feel a pang of nostalgia. My mother no longer recognized me then, but she remembered all of those songs to her very last days.

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 of First-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 This Week

Our First Friday Sing returns to the Alex Ewing Blackbox Theater at the back of the MLK building this Friday, from 1:50 – 2:20. Kindergarten – 4th grade students.


Assistant Pricipal Raffle Drawing Tomorrow!

Be the first Assistant Principal in the New Year!  Get your raffle tickets today from either front office, only $1 each ($5 for 6, $10 for 12).  This month’s Assistant Principal will be announced at Friday Sing tomorrow!


Annual Giving
This is our final week of the Annual Giving Campaign! We all got buried a bit under the snow and holidays, but there is still time to make your gift or pledge! We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has contributed to date; thank you sincerely! Together, we have raised $47,692 in gifts and pledges to support the learning that happens at our school every day. If you’ve been meaning to make your gift, but haven’t had a chance yet, this is the time. Please take a moment this week to send a check to school, or visit our website to make a secure one-time or monthly gift online: http://artsbasedschool.com/your-support/make-a-gift/. As always, we are striving for 100% participation this yearPlease help us get closer to our goal by making a gift in our final week. Thank you!

Total School Participation to Date: 31%

Total Gifts to Date: $47,692


Student Intent for 2019-20 School Year

As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2019-20), 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 2019-20 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 2019-20 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery.  Deadline for receiving applications is Feb 1 @ 3pm


ABS Spelling Bee

We will be holding our annual spelling bee for third through eighth grade students on Friday, January 4th at 8:30 in the ABS cafeteria. The top three winners from each classroom will participate in the school wide event.   Winners will proceed to the Regional Spelling Bee.


ABS Science Fair

ABS will hold its annual science fair on January 10 and 11.  Science Fair applications are due to your teacher by Friday, January 4.


January Parent Council Meeting

Please join us for Parent Council meeting on Friday, January 25 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 any items that need to be discussed at this PC meeting, please let Becky Dickson (rebeccapdickson@gmail.com) or Joy Blaser (joy.blaser@gmail.com) know by 1/18. Thanks!


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.


MAP Testing in January

Third through eighth grade students will complete the second round of MAP testing in January.  After the testing is complete, parents will receive an updated score report showing the progress your student has made this year.


No Clubs or Ensembles on January 15, 16, 17

During Lion King production week there will be no Art Club, Band, Chorus, or Strings on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The teaching staff will be at the theater. Please pick up your student at the regular 2:30-2:45 times on these days.


High School Options

Jan. 1-Jan. 22 families may complete online applications for the high school magnet school program of their choice at the WSFC magnet school website



Activity Fee Due

Each family is asked to pay $15.00 per semester per child to help cover the costs of our extensive curriculum enhancement activities.  Fees are due at the start of each semester.  Second semester activity fees are due now.  Please make checks payable to ABS and turn into Mrs. Garner in the front office.


Warm Welcome from the Jazz Dads

We were honored and delighted again this year to host the “Jazz Dads” before school on the last two days before winter break. Drummer and ABS dad Bill Poole created this ABS tradition of gathering a jazz combo to welcome our students with holiday music as they enter both buildings in the morning. Other ABS dads who joined in were Kyle Webster (sax), John Ray (bass) and Joe Pecoraro (guitar,) Luke Boudreault (trumpet), and Bill Stevens (piano). Thanks, Jazz Dads!