ABS Thursday Notes- March 16, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                      March 16, 2017




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’ 7thgrade 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 Danielle Tarmey and Yvonne Leab, as they expertly introduced and assessed these words and ideas, hoping to fold their content, focus, and humor into script ideas. We are now exploring 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 has been commissioned to create jazz-based electronic music tailor-made to one of our dances. The very process of developing these performances is helping us review these important ideas. We hope the result will be dazzling!






WOW!  What a difference a week makes!!  Thank you SO much to everyone that has donated to our Annual Giving Campaign so far – our growth this past week has been fantastic!


We have lots of room to grow though – we’re still hoping that all our ABS families will contribute.  ANY AMOUNT is valued and all participation counts equally so please help us reach our goal of 100% participation.  High family participation rates are vital every time we apply for a grant or ask for outside organizations and community members to support us.  We need to show we support our school internally first!


Send in your envelope today or click here to donate online:  https://mkt.com/the-arts-based-school/annual-campaign.  THANK YOU for your support!



Community Creates Sponsorship Opportunities

Are you looking for interesting ways to promote your business?  Sponsoring Community Creates is a great way to reach the families of our students, our board members, and the other members of our community who attend this amazing event.  There are sponsorship levels available for businesses of any size, starting as low as $250.  Please see the Community Creates Sponsor Levels document attached to the Thursday Notes e-mail for details.  Contact Julee Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net) if you would like to learn more.


ABS 2017-18 School Calendar

ABS’ board approved the 2017-18 school calendar at the March board meeting.  A copy of the calendar is attached to this email and available on the school website.


K-Kids and Builders Club Meet  at 7:30 in MLK Dance Studio

Because of projected cold temperatures on Friday morning, The K-Kids and the Builders Club will meet Matt Mayers Friday morning, March 17, at 7:30 in the dance studio of MLK. Mr. Mayers will be giving a mini-course on horticulture to the K-Kids and Builders Clubs Friday morning, as they prepare to plant, harvest and donate sweet potatoes to food insecure populations in Winston-Salem.


A Parent’s Perspective on Parent Surveys

Each year ABS families are asked to complete an online survey about our school.  In today’s world, most of us are bombarded with some type of survey multiple times a week.  I’m often guilty of just pressing “delete” when those things show up in my inbox, knowing it will take several minutes to complete (who has the spare time?) and that more often than not my heartfelt responses will be tabulated by some computer who could care less how I feel.  Now let me tell you why I believe the ABS Parent Survey is quite different.  First of all, I’m thrilled that our school asks for our opinions.  Having come from a much different school environment where parents weren’t welcomed in the building, much less asked for their thoughts, I truly value being asked my opinion.  Second, the survey takes very little time – this year the survey has only 11 questions, short and sweet.  Lastly, and most importantly, YOUR OPINION MATTERS!  The ABS administration takes these responses to heart, they discuss them and develop plans on how to improve – whether it’s a problem issue or something that’s going well – they are always striving to achieve more.  Parents should view the survey as an opportunity to share positives and negatives – both are equally important for administration and staff to be aware of.  While the survey doesn’t take place of personal conversations with your teachers and staff (those should always happen first – whether you’re deliriously happy or somewhat frustrated) but it does offer a wonderful snapshot of how things are working and that helps us all.  So, please take a moment to click on the link and share your experience and thank you for being part of the ABS family! ABS Parent Survey


Parent Council Meeting – March 17th- 

Our next meeting is Friday, March 17th, at 8:15am in the Cafe of the MLK Building. See attached meeting agenda.

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)