ABS Thursday Notes- March 7, 2019

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                             March 7, 2019





How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”

– Leonard Bernstein


I enjoy word puzzles, number puzzles, and mysteries. So why don’t I enjoy scheduling? It’s a puzzle, after all. It’s not my strongest skill. Unlike a jigsaw puzzle, there’s no final satisfying picture to admire. Instead, the emails roll in: “We are on a field trip that day! There’s no school that day! I’m scheduled to be in two places at the same time!” There’s always some detail I overlooked. I feel foolish and frustrated, then back to the computer I go. And if it snows? Do over.

Scheduling feels like a waste of creative energy, but it is an unavoidable bedrock of our commitment to the arts. Those beautiful performances and exhibits with sixty kids in them require time and practice. We use the scalpel of scheduling to preserve math, science, reading, writing. We juggle PE, Spanish, art, drama, dance, music. Our Spanish teacher helps at rehearsal. Our art teacher watches half of the kids while the other half rehearse. The classroom teachers create packets of work that can be done while waiting during rehearsal. Kids bring books and clipboards and lunches. Drama and music teachers expand their day to develop staging, conducting, notating music, rehearsing visiting musicians, attending performances. They make sub plans for the classes they miss while we are at the theater. Mr. Brown works on staging while caring for his baby, returns the U-Haul late at night after the show. Ms. Gledhill watches Ms. Farrell’s baby on Saturday, so Ms. Farrell can build costumes. Ms. Boudreault teaches herself African drumming in the evenings, to accompany second graders by day. You get the picture.

Why don’t we just have the same schedule every day, like other schools? Whoever wants to be in the show would stay after school to rehearse, while other kids go to soccer or swimming or karate or piano. We ask ourselves this question several times each year. We keep coming up with the same answers: Our shows (with the exception of Lion King, but that’s another story,) are broadly rooted in the curriculum. The performance is richly informed by learning in most every subject. The rehearsal deepens that learning. The performance develops valuable and rare skills: managing stage fright, moving and speaking with confidence while you are observed by the public, working as a team under pressure, and diving into master works, making them a part of you. We claim the arts as part of our self-expression, our culture…not as something we consume but as something we make.



6th Grade Math & Science Dances at SECCA Next Week.

All sixth graders will perform at SECCA (the Southeast Center for Contemporary Art) next Thursday, March 14, at 6:00 p.m. Students should arrive at the theater at 5:30, dressed in black clothing for movement. The performance lasts about half an hour, and is free (and amazing!)


Student Night at the Opera

Our unusual schedule changes this year have interfered with a planned outing to the opera during student night, next Wednesday. Although that outing has been canceled, all students are welcome to attend with an adult. The opera, The Elixir of Love, is a comedy. Read the story here, before you go. Student tickets are $5.00 each, chaperons are $15.00. (Crosby Scholars are free.) Call 336-725-7101 for more information.


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


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 13 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 the 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


ABS 2019-20 School Calendar

ABS’ board approved the 2019-20 school calendar at the February board meeting.  A copy of the calendar is attached to the email and available on the school website http://artsbasedschool.com/events-reminders/ .


ABS Parent-Child Retreat

You’re invited! to join Scott Ertl, ABS school counselor, for our March Parent-Child Retreat and Toy Exchange!


What:  A morning of fun games and conversations aimed at connecting you and your child! Also, feel free to bring a gently used toy (or two) to exchange if you’d like. (No video games)

When: Saturday, March 16th- 9am-12:30

Where: ABS theatre

Cost: $10 per family (pizza lunch included)

Scholarships are available!  Registration forms are at ABS front desks.


Check out this video from the February retreat: https://youtu.be/6cPpKAqirJ4


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 the agenda, please send them to Parent Council Co-Chairs, Joy Blaser (joy.blaser@gmail.com) and Becky Dickson (rebeccapdickson@gmail.com) by Monday, May 11.


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)



To order this year’s ABS yearbook go to https://www.strawbridge.net/ and click the “order pictures and yearbooks” red button in the top right hand corner. Our school code is 106312 and the cost is $20. You may also turn in payment by check to the front office.