ABS Thursday Notes- March 14, 2019

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                            March 14, 2019





How We Do It and Why

by Mary Siebert


“Misbehavior and punishment are not opposites that cancel each other – on the contrary they breed and reinforce each other.”  ― Haim G. Ginott


Anyone who volunteers during a school day can see that, even with our wonderful kids, managing a large group of children can be challenging. At ABS, we teach self-discipline as a basic skill. To help our students grow into productive citizens, we avoid rigid tools of punishment and reward. Our teachers are experts at Positive Discipline, which recognizes behavioral mistakes as opportunities for learning. The word “Positive” in this title does not mean that we wink at disruptive behavior. We strive to be clear, firm, and nurture growth. Rewards are intrinsic to accomplishment, and do not appear in the shape of little candies or toys. We recognize that self-management must be taught with the same individualized instruction that we apply to math or reading.


Corporal punishment is legal in North Carolina but is rapidly disappearing. (It has never been used at ABS.) In lieu of paddling, schools try a variety of other techniques. In many traditional classrooms, there is a “card” system, providing each student with four colored cards, or perhaps a little boat on a little ocean. The cards or boats are placed in a wall display, labeled with each child’s name. A child who makes a behavioral mistake is directed to walk reluctantly before uncomfortable classmates, to flip the card from green to yellow, regressing through the colors, if the objectionable behavior continues. (The boat might progressively sink.) The card or submerged vessel is a constant reminder of an earlier error, permanently discoloring the day.


Most students never flip a card, but can predict who will, day after day. Often no progress is made – the same student is still card-flipping at the end of the year, and the only thing everyone (including the card-flipper) has learned is: that student is “bad.” There are many reasons why a child misbehaves, including (but not limited to) immaturity, lack of food, lack of sleep, trouble at home, allergies, hormones, habit, illness or boredom. It is never because the child is “bad.” There’s no such animal. But if a child is taught that she is bad, she might very well attempt to grow into that expectation.


Regardless of the cause, each student must learn how to function productively and positively in a classroom setting, and must allow others to learn, unobstructed. Positive Discipline recommends that a regular class meeting is one tool for learning how to strengthen social skills. Guided by the adult, the group considers how to resolve a disagreement or solve a problem. Sometimes this solution takes care of the problem. Sometimes it works for only a few weeks, and then must be revisited. The acknowledgement that problems can be solved, and participation in the hard work of learning to communicate frustration and create a resolution builds emotional, intellectual, and moral “muscle.” Children who have no difficulty following social rules learn empathy for those who struggle. They learn how to define and defend their own boundaries. All students learn that the intrinsic rewards for self-discipline include friendship and self-esteem. Once again, you won’t see these skills in the end-of-grade tests, but they will be tested every day in real life. We are grateful to our teachers for extending our students’ learning well beyond the important academic subjects we do test. Our teachers really do it all, brilliantly.


Garden Workday: Saturday, March 16 from 9-12

It’s almost spring and it’s time to fix up the gardens! Join us this Saturday, March 16 for an ABS garden workday from 9-12. We will be focused on weeding and preparing garden beds for the teachers, as well as tearing down and fixing up broken structures. Bring garden gloves, water bottles, and garden tools if you have them.


*** There are some wooden garden beds that are in need of repair. We’d love some handy folks to join us with their tools to help get everything in working order. ***


New Garden Shutterfly Site

We have a new Shutterfly site where we’ll post ongoing gardening tasks that volunteers can do on their own time. There’s also a garden wishlist and a calendar of workdays. Go to

https://absgardencoop.shutterfly.com to sign up.



Parent Satisfaction Survey

Yes, that’s you – we want to know what you think!  Please follow the link ABS Parent Survey

to the online about our school.  Your responses are completely anonymous and help us determine what’s working well and what needs more work!  Please take a few minutes to complete and submit.  Thank you!


March Parent Council Meeting

Please join us for the Parent Council on Friday, March 15 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 future agenda items, please send them to Parent Council Co-Chairs, Joy Blaser (joy.blaser@gmail.com) and Becky Dickson (rebeccapdickson@gmail.com).  This month’s agenda is attached to the Thursday Notes email.


Nominations for Parent Council Board

We will be accepting nominations for the Parent Council Board positions at the March Parent Council Meeting.  Please consider running for one of these positions or encourage another parent to do so.  Getting involved on the Parent Council Board is a great way to get more involved at ABS.  Following are the positions that make up the Parent Council Board.

Board Positions

Co-Chairs (only one position is open for election; 2 years)

Class Representative Coordinator (1 year)

Secretary (1 year)        

Hospitality Coordinators (2 positions; 1 year)

Technical Support Coordinators (2 positions; 1 year)

Annual Giving Coordinators (one position open for election; 2 years)


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 and filling up quickly.   See more information and registration at ABS Summer Camps



Around town…

Reynolds High School Theater Arts and Band and Orchestra students perform in “Guys and Dolls” this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7 PM as well as Saturday at 2 PM at Reynolds Auditorium.  Tickets are $10.00 at the door for adults and $5.00 for students.