ABS Thursday Notes- March 23, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                        March 23, 2017




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“(Young people) must be able to solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. Participation in the arts is one of the best ways to develop these abilities.” – Clifford V. Smith, President of the General Electric Foundation.


Yesterday, we had a visit from the federal government. In a good way. Through our association with A+ Schools, we were selected, along with only three other schools in the nation, to participate in a series of interviews and video coverage for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or “The Nation’s Report Card,” which collects current data for the Department of Education.

The NAEP supplies information for anyone in the U.S. who is interested in K-12 education. Although this is typically done through more traditional assessments, a film crew was dispatched to visit and interview us this year. Curriculum Coordinator Liz Green arranged a schedule for the film crew based on their request to see middle school students engaged in dance and drama in particular, and the arts in general.

The film crew reported that they were “blown away” by our middle school. I sat in on two of the four classes they visited, and was pretty impressed, myself. The crew observed and filmed:

African Drumming with 8th graders and visiting artist Bill Scheidt of Tam Tam Mandingue Drumming. A session in “Mr. Bill’s” drumming circle is calming and uplifting, while delivering cultural expansion and drumming’s proven benefits to reading and language skills. Communal cooperation, physical and aural attention to rhythmic complexity and detail, and collective release of positive energy are grounding and beneficial. By 8th grade, our students are impressive and confident drummers.

Math and Science Dances with 6th grade and Ms. Adams. Students explored movement describing the individual properties of elements and molecular structure, including some dramatic lifts. They worked together in groups to create danced models of molecules. The film crew marveled that every student was engaged, actively problem-solving, and enjoying themselves, with no hint of reluctance. The crew was also surprised to learn that this was not a dance elective…it was an entire 6th grade class studying science through movement.

Electronic Music and the Science of Sound Waves with visiting artist John Ray. John is a master of the double bass and electric guitar, and he manipulates sound with computer technology. He demonstrated some of his composition processes with 6th grade, since it is his music that will provide the sound track for the very science dances 6th graders worked on earlier. The students reviewed properties of sound waves through his demonstrations. Mr. Ray recorded them playing their band instruments, and will incorporate some of that into his soundtrack.

Drama Games and Science With Mr. Z. With Mr. Zayas, 7th and 8th graders demonstrated physical improvisation designed to sharpen focus and make the students think quickly on their feet. They played one game where students embody organelles, such as a nucleus, ribosome, or mitochondria.

The crew interviewed individual students and teachers about how an arts-infused school has impacted their learning, their development as world citizens, their interest in school, and their problem-solving skills. One sixth grader reported that he had been struggling in school before he transferred to ABS in second grade, but that here he promptly learned to love school, which brought dramatic increased successes in learning.

This national attention to the value of the arts in schools is encouraging. Our nation’s children deserve exposure to beauty, cultural history, and individual artistic growth, with all its related benefits. The A+ Schools network is an excellent resource for schools who want to develop arts programs and skills in using the arts as tools for inspired teaching. We are grateful that the network offered us this opportunity to share a glimpse of our middle school, and that it will inspire others to develop their own unique ideas.





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

In this last week of our campaign – help us finish strong!  Remember these facts:

  1. Participation is our goal!  Any amount counts!
  2. We don’t ask our students to sell anything throughout the year and every penny raised goes directly to the school!


  1. We don’t run competitions between classes or grades to put pressure on parents – it’s a simple request to confidentially give what you can to help our school continue to offer a unique experience to our kids!


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!



Orion Sledge-Ricks, a 5th grader in Ms. Koza’s class and champion of the ABS school-wide spelling bee, competed in the W-S Journal spelling bee in February where he advanced to the final championship round and now advances to the Regional Spelling Bee! Orion is the first student from ABS to make it this far! The bee will be held live at Hanes Brands Theater at the Milton Rhodes Center this Sunday March 26, 2017 at 1pm. The bee will also be televised.


Congratulations to seventh grader Sania Williamson who was one of four finalists in the Carolina’s Got Talent competition. The finale show was held in Georgetown, SC earlier this month. Sania had a great experience and earned some scholarship money to be used in the future!


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.

Get Ready to Jump!

Jump Rope for Heart is coming up on Friday, April 21, right after we get back from spring break. This is an event for Kindergarten through 5th grades, and will be held in the Courtyard of the 7th Street building. Check your Thursday notes packet today for information on this popular fund-raiser, sponsored by the K-Kids, to raise money for the American Heart Association. Included are  instructions to do some easy and effective on-line fundraising. Let’s jump toward a healthier world!


Spirit Week in the 7th St. Building

Spirit week, sponsored by ABS Builder’s Club, is coming up, April 3 – April 7! Please participate by donating different things on each day.

Super Hero Monday – Dress up as a superhero. Bring in canned foods.

Twin Tuesday– Dress up identically with two or more people. Bring in things that come in pairs, ex. socks, gloves, etc.

Wacky Tacky Wednesday – Dress up wacky. Bring in new or gently used toys or board games.

Time Travel Thursday– Dress up in any decade or as any book or movie character. Bring in new or gently used books.

Fanatic Friday– Represent your favorite sports team by dressing up or wearing their gear. Bring in toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.).

Your participation is greatly appreciated. There will be a collection bin in the hallway at 7th St Building.


Parent Satisfaction Survey

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


Field Day Coordinator for 7th Street Building Needed

The Parent Council is looking for a coordinator for Field Day for the 7th Street building.  Field Day will be held on the last day of school, Friday June 2.  The coordinator will work with class representatives to host games and activities for students to participate in.  Our past coordinator, Tommy Priest, has offered to pass along his contacts and spreadsheets from previous years.  If you are interested in coordinating this fun day for our 5th – 8th grade students, please contact Julee Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net).


Summer Camps

ABS Summer Music Camp

July 10-14 and July 17-21  9am-2pm

See Mr. Wilbur’s flyer in today’s Thursday packet


Multicultural Art Camp at ABS

Ms. Tiffany Parris, ABS 2nd grade teacher

June 19-23 Rising K-2

July 17-21 Rising 3rd-5th grade

9:00 am-2:00 pm

Please email at tparris@arts basedschool.com for curriculum and prices.


See additional attachments for other summer camp offerings in the community.


Upcoming Events

African Drumming

Tue, March 28 – Thu, March 30

5th/6th grade Parent Meeting

Wed, March 29, 6pm – 7pm

2nd – Museum of Anthropology speaker visits ABS

Thu, March 30, 8:45am – 10:15am

8th- Carowinds

Fri, March 31, 8:20am – 7:30pm

7th, Creek Field Trip

Fri, March 31, 11am – 1pm

Spirit Week in 7th Street Bldg.

Mon, April 3-7

NCAEE conference – 7th Street Bldg

Tue, April 4, 4:00pm – 7:30pm
ABS Board Meeting

Tue, April 4, 5:45pm – 6:45pm

4th – Like a Family

Wed, April 5, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
4th, 5th, Twin City Stage

Fri, April 7, 9:30am – 12:30pm