ABS Thursday Notes- March 24, 2016

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                               March 24, 2016




Early Dismissal-March 25

Spring Break-March 28-April 4


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire


We hosted a visit from Winston Salem Monthly magazine this week.  Our big “Community Creates” fundraiser is coming up on May 7th, and the magazine will run an article about the school, with a sidebar promoting the event.

I sat with Principal Hollis and the journalist discussing the origins of the school, the changes over the years, and what makes a charter school different from a typical public school. We answered questions about our individual backgrounds, what drew us to this work and this school, and what inspired us to continue building it through those first difficult years. We talked about arts integration, why it helps kids learn, and how we accomplish it. We described some of the unexpected positive consequences that arise from arts integration, the importance of parent involvement, the dedication of our volunteer board, and the remarkable strength, creativity, and dedication of our teachers. We’ve answered these questions together many times over the last fourteen years in many settings. Each time, we are both surprised by how refreshing it is to step back and see how much ground the school has covered and what a great learning environment we have all built together. I won’t fill this article with the answers to those questions. If you would like them answered, watch for the magazine to come out on May.

What made this particular interview stand out was that the reporter asked to speak with a couple of students. That’s not unusual, but the interviews were. Although these answers might appear in the article too, they are the words we cherish from the whole episode.

Both students, Ruth Kelly and Ben LeFevre, are 8th graders. Ruth came to us in 5th grade and Ben has been with us since Kindergarten. When asked what makes ABS different from other schools, Ben and Ruth were so on-target with what ABS strives to accomplish that I was startled to tears. When I shared what they said with Principal Hollis and other colleagues, they had the same response.

I did not take notes or record the conversation as the reporter did, so I have no direct quotes, but here’s my synopsis:  Ruth said that having the arts integrated into instruction makes learning much more engaging. She explained that ABS doesn’t want our students to just read questions and answer them, right or wrong. She said we encourage problem-solving and value different ways of learning, and varied personalities. She is grateful that her three younger siblings were all able to attend ABS from Kindergarten onward.  She is happy to know they’ll be learning in our environment. She loves the importance of the arts in our school. She would like to be a solo violinist one day.

Ben agreed with Ruth about arts integration, and said that math is his favorite subject. He pointed to the project his class is currently building in math: a huge, colorful collage version of a pie chart, representing data collected daily from their own clothing tags, showing the countries where the clothing was made. He went on to say that he thinks we have a much closer community than typical schools have. He said that teachers at ABS are extremely supportive; they want to see the students succeed. They want to help each of them attain their goals. He doesn’t know yet what he wants to do in the future, but he likes technology and the medical field. Nothing more for me to say. They get it.


Weaving Connections, the 8th grade documentary film project with Diana Greene and Peter Wilbur, premieres tonight at SECCA. Red carpet entrances and gallery viewing begin at 5:30. The 35 minute film will screen at 6:00, followed by a reception for students and their teachers. All are welcome. SECCA is located at 750 Marguerite Drive, 27106. Admission is free.


The Lion King Ticket Policy

Disney’s The Lion King will be performed by 8th graders, with two performances on April 20th at 6:00 and 7:30, and two more on April 21st at 6:00 and 7:30 at the Hanes Brands Theater, 209 Spruce Street N. in Winston-Salem, 27101. Tickets are limited.

Procedure for ticketing:

-Each 8th grader’s family will be allowed to reserve ten total tickets.

-All tickets are free. A free-will offering will be accepted at each performance.

-Reserved tickets may be distributed across the four performances as desired.

-Reservations and ticket pick-up is from Donna Brown, at the 7th Street Building.

-8th families reserve with Mrs. Brown:  748-4116 x2000 or dbrown@artsbasedschool.com

-Tickets must be picked up at the 7th Street desk from April 11 – 15 between 8:00 – 3:45.

-All remaining tickets will be offered first-come-first-served at the theater door, until they are gone.


Sewing voluteers needed! If you have a sewing machine and can help us build very simple costumes for The Lion King, please contact ClaireO’Boyleat coboyle@artsbasedschool.com, or leave a message at 748-4116 x 1029. We will send you home with fabric, patterns, and instructions. Thank you!


Spirit Week in the 7th Street Building

This year spirit week April 11-15 is being done in conjunction with the middle school Builders Club to help support organizations around our city.


The days will be:

Monday: Twin Day – dress the same with a friend and bring something that comes in pairs to donate to Sunny Side Ministries.

Tuesday: Book Character Day – dress up as your favorite book character and bring in a children’s or young adult book to help support the Junior League Book Worm book drive.

Wednesday: Wacky Tacky Day – dress up as crazy as you want! Make sure to bring in a gently used toy, game, or puzzle to help support  SCAN: Stop Child Abuse Now

Thursday: Decades Day – remind us all of the good old days and dress up in the style of someone from the past. Bring in your gently used hand-me-downs to donate to Sunny Side Ministries

Friday: Soup-er Hero Day – dress up as your favorite super hero and bring in a can of soup to help those in need at Sunny Side Ministries.




Annual Giving Campaign

WOO-HOO!  This is incredible!  Your gifts have continued to come in during this past week and we can’t thank you enough.  Take a look at these amazing results:




Your generous support helps not only your children, but every child, every staff member, every family and, on a much grander scale, our entire community.  This is a wonderful school, a phenomenal community and a very special place that we are all fortunate to be a part of. This is ABS.  Thank you!

Click here to make a difference!



All Jump Rope for Heart Money Due

We came together, we jumped, and celebrated how great it is to have a healthy heart. Now it is time to help those who do not! Please send all Jump Rope For Heart money in. Checks should be made out to the American Heart Association. Thank you for your support!


Lost and Found

Items left in the lost and found are out on the playground fence to be claimed. All items remaining at 12noon on Friday, March 25 will be donated.


Yearbooks are Here

Wow!  Wait until you see the amazing ABS Yearbook!  Thanks to Sherri Carter and her team for putting together a beautiful and fun collection of memories from another great year together.  Families that ordered yearbooks will receive them today or tomorrow depending on grade level.  Additional copies will be available for purchase after Spring Break.