ABS Thursday Notes- January 5, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                            January 5, 2017




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 will whirl, leap, howl and paw the air next week, together with twelve lithe, tall UNCSA modern dance majors, preparing for their 8th 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. There are also breathtaking performances by the grown-up dancers; moments when they break off into inspirational expressions of their own.

This is our third 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 2nd at 12:00 p.m. Parents will park at the UNCSA athletic center lot and be shuttled up the hill to the theatre.


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,) along with pianist Jefferson Dalby. Thanks, Jazz Dads!


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.


High School Options

Jan. 1-Jan. 23 families may complete online applications for the magnet school program of their choice at the WSFC magnet school website http://wsfcs.k12.nc.us/Page/104910

Magnet Fair

January 7, 2016 — 10am -2pm

Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, Education Building


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 Ms. Wise in the front office.


Student Intent for 2017-2018 School Year

As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2017–2018), it is important to know how many spaces are available in each grade.  As a current student, your child has priority placement.  You should soon receive an email from Helpcounter requesting your intent for the 2017-2018 school year.  Please reply to the email as soon as possible.  Your intent must be received before February 1st so we know to hold a space for your child.


Siblings of students also receive priority, but must fill out an enrollment application. You must complete an application for the 2017-18 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery.  Deadline for receiving applications is Feb 3 @ 3pm


Winter Gear Drive

Brr….It is cold outside!  That is why from January 9th to 13th Builders Club is having a Winter Gear Drive!  Bring in new or gently used hats, gloves, scarves, jackets, or ear muffs to donate to the Salvation Army.  These will help homeless adults and children stay warm. We would really appreciate your support.


ABS Spelling Bee

We will be holding our annual spelling bee for third through eighth grade students on Friday, January 6th. The top three winners from each classroom will participate in the school wide event.   Winners will proceed to the Regional Spelling Bee.


Parent Council News:

January Jam – Jan. 20th 2:45-4:00pm January Jam is a dance party that the school holds as a fundraiser event.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to host a January Jam for the elementary school students this year.  Our theater space in the MLK building will not be completed in time.  The January Jam for grades 5-8 will go on as scheduled in the 7th Street building.  If you have any questions please contact, Ryan Leigh Runyon. (ryanleigh@gmail.com)

Volunteer opportunities available, view link below:


No Parent Council Meeting in January- 

Next meeting will be Feb. 17th 

Chess Club

Interested in playing Chess? We are starting a chess club in January 2017! Tuesdays after school from 2:45-3:30. All levels welcome.  Please contact Becky Dickson if you are interested.  rebeccapdickson@gmail.com


Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather, ABS will announce school closings on local TV channels, under “The Arts Based School”.  This information will also be posted on the ABS website (www.artsbasedschool.com).


Upcoming Events

Spelling Bee

Fri, January 6, 8:45am – 10:45am

ABS Board Retreat

Sat, January 14, 9am – 12pm

No School- MLK Holiday

Mon, January 16
Science Fair

Thu, January 19

Science Fair

Fri, January 20

January Jam 5th-8th grades only

Fri, January 20, 2:30pm – 4:00pm

ABS Garden Workday

Sat, January 21, 9am – 1pm

2nd- Home Moravian

Thu, January 26, 9:45am – 11:15am

Kinder Performance – Peter and the Wolf

Thu, February 2, 12pm – 1pm