ABS Thursday Notes- May 16, 2019

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                            May 16, 2019




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“I’m scared. Wait! It’s super cool! I got this!” – Reluctant ABS 8th grader during music tech class.


This week, all ABS students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades have been visited by teachers from KRE8ivU, a Lexington-based company that introduces young people to music production. The founder of KRE8ivU is Douglas Green, an optimistic, super-dynamic man with years of experience in music and music production, having worked alongside some of the greats in the American popular scene. KRE8ivU offers after-school and summer school courses, and Mr. Green reports dynamic leaps in interest and skills, when his students are introduced to software designed to mimic the professional recording studio. He is excited to offer classes during the regular school day, because he knows this program ignites interest among students of every skill set. In our classes, we are seeing the kind of enthusiasm he predicted, with students rapidly dipping into the process of music production at varied levels of expertise and skill.


Studies indicate that students nationwide overall have been losing interest in music classes, due to cultural changes, lack of access to instruction or instruments, and lack of parental resources or commitment.Music has been a required subject in the U.S. since the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act passed in 2015. But where music classes are available in public schools, they rarely include all students past elementary years. Instead, the arts typically become electives beginning at middle school.


At ABS, we have experimented with required band and/or chorus through the 8th grade, but the wide disparity of skills and interest prevented us from meeting the “creative” goals required by the state, such as composing, improvising, arranging and producing original pieces. This year’s required band at 5th grade, intro to violin at 4th grade, and after-school offerings have been enthusiastically received by parents and students, but we continue to consider how best to present music instruction in required upper-grade classes.


High school music teachers in the U.S. are reporting renewed energy and interest from students when elements of contemporary popular music are introduced, such as electronic composition and recording skills. The popular music industry requires advanced technology during creating, recording, and live performance, so it makes sense to incorporate these skills into music classes. We wanted to give it a try.


There are daunting challenges: expensive hardware and software, instructor’s familiarity with these materials, and unique procedures for including all students. Music teachers are not typically technology teachers too; they have spent many years mastering both the instruments they play and the skills required to teach them. It can be frustrating, even insulting to a musician when pre-composed “loops” and “beats” are easily layered via a drag-and-drop software program, and called “composition.” The essential knowledge of musical elements and skills in these programs are left to the programmer, much as knowledge of the basics of electricity are unnecessary for flipping a switch to turn on a light.


But if we can provide access to these contemporary processes and skills for our students, something new happens, which we are seeing first-hand this week during our visit from KRE8ivU.


ABS music teacher Angie Allen has boldly taken a quick dive into the use of the equipment and software used by KRE8ivU. After one introductory lesson from Mr. Green, she stepped in as the second instructor in the room. Ms. Allen quickly embraced these tools, constructing appealing procedures to engage and include every student. She remarks enthusiastically that some students who are otherwise typically disinterested and even distracting were captivated and were problem-solving with lightning speed. As varied layers of sound were laid into their composition, Ms. Allen noted the multiple music goals that students were implementing to make decisions. As one team played examples of their work, onlookers cheered them and responded with descriptions of the result which, given more time, could easily be spun into a related lesson in writing a critical review…another state-required goal.


We are interested in including music technology in our middle school program on a regular basis, and this visit from KRE8ivU gives us a great opportunity to consider how that could look. Acquiring the equipment is financially challenging, but we will be investigating resources to help us. One of the most important reviews of the experiment so far was Ms. Allen’s comment yesterday: “They LOVE this!”


Music “Informances” Next Week for 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grades

Parents are invited to informal demonstrations of music classes next week as follows:


Monday, May 20

8:20 Lard, piano informance, MLK music room

9:20 Koza, band informance, 7th Street drama room

Tuesday, May 21

8:20 Campbell, piano informance, MLK music room

9:20 Leni, band informance, 7th Street drama room

Wednesday, May 22

8:20 Quintal, piano informance, MLK music room

9:20 Frazier, band informance, 7th Street drama room

Thursday, May 23

9:10 Robertson, violin informance, MLK theater

10:00 Meeks, violin informance, MLK theater

Friday, May 24

9:10 DeJarnette, violin informance, MLK theater


6th Grade Historic Music Video Informances Next Thursday, May 23

Parents are invited to visit their 6th Graders next week for a student-led tour of research materials and art supporting their historic music videos and a showing of the films next Thursday at the following times. Times are staggered to allow space for parking and theater seating. Presentations will last about a half hour. Presentations will begin at your student’s classroom and end at the Ewing theater in the MLK building.


10:30 Hedgecock

12:20 Christian

1:20 Scott





6th Grade “Students Only” Music Video Premiere

6th Graders will view a premiere of their historic music videos at a/perture cinema next Wednesday, May 22 at noon. Students only, please! Seating is very limited, and parent viewing is scheduled for Thursday. The videos will be made available to all parents for free on the ABS Vimeo site beginning Friday, May 24.


MAP results sent home

Third through Eighth grade students will receive MAP results in their Thursday Packets today.  Please take some time to review these results.   Overall results show that ABS students in each of those grades achieve higher scores than the national norms in all areas tested: math, science, reading, and language arts.   Congratulations to our students and their teachers for a job well done.   If you have any questions regarding MAP results, please contact your child’s teacher.



End of Grade Testing begins Friday, May 24

Parents, please help your child do his or her best by following these guidelines:

  • Help your child get 9 hours sleep throughout the weekend and each night before the test.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast, including more proteins and fewer carbohydrates.
  • BE ON TIME to school. Rushing around creates anxiety.  Late-comers must take a make-up test.
  • No couch potatoes, video games, or on-line junkies the week before.   Go outside and run and play.  You will rest better, think better, and feel better.
  • Help them arrive at school with a positive attitude.

Just a reminder that cell phones and electronic devices are not permitted in any End-of-Grade or End-of-Course test session.  All cell phones or devices will be collected prior to each testing session.  Students may have a book or magazine, but they may not use any electronic devices.  Parents and students may choose to keep all electronic devices at home during testing to avoid any issues.


Testing Schedule

May 24 EOG Science 5th and 8th grades

May 27 No School-Memorial Day

May 28 EOG Reading 3rd & 4th grades

May 29 EOG Math 3rd & 4th grades

May 30 EOG Reading 5th -8th grades

May 31 EOG Math 5th -8th  grades

June 3 EOC Math 1

June 4  EOG Reading Make Up Tests

June 5 EOG Math Make Up Tests

June 6 EOG Science Make Up Tests


EOG reading and science results will be shared with parents at the third trimester conferences- June 10 and 11.  The State will delay the release of the EOG Math Scores as it sets the scales score for the new test.  Math scores are expected in Fall 2019.



K-Kids Elections
The K-Kids held an election for officers serving in the upcoming 2019-2020 year.  The results are:

President – Josie Blalock

Vice-President – Londyn McMillan

Secretary – Darian Pisapia

Treasurer – Aiden Ayers


Thanks to all the candidates for working so hard on their speeches.  We are so excited for all the work that the K-Kids are able to do in our school, community and beyond!



May Parent Council Meeting

Please join us for the final Parent Council this school year on Friday, May 17 at 8:15 in the MLK Cafe.  Parent Council Board elections will be held at this meeting.   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.   The agenda is attached to the Thursday Notes e-mail.


Final Box Tops Collection

The Box Tops committee will be be making a final collection at the end of this month.  Please turn in Box Tops to the front desks of either school building by May 31.


Field Day

Field Day will occur in both buildings on the last day of school, June 7. Please reach out to your childs’ Class Rep if you are able to volunteer your time for this fun event.  We need lots of parents to help make this final event of the year one to remember!


Library Book Due

Please return all library books to our school libraries by next Friday May 24th for end of year inventory.


Builder’s Club News

Moe’s Night, TONIGHT!

Thruway Shopping Center



Sit back, relax and share a delicious meal with friends and family and support ABS Builders Club!  20% of the total sales from the event will be donated to our club.


Builder’s Club Movie Day

Movie Day: Friday, May 17

The ABS Builders Club is having a movie day on Friday, May 17th from 2:30 and ends at 4:30. This event is for 5-8 grade students only. Admission is $5.00 and $1.00 for concessions. Permission slips and payment must be turned in by Thursday, May 16.  All money from admission will be donated to the ABS Builders Club and all money from concessions will go to the ABS Annual Giving Campaign. The movies to pick from are the following:


  • Ghostbusters- 7th  and 8th only (PG-13)
  • Monsters Inc(G)
  • Wrinkle in Time(PG)
  • The House with a Clock in the Walls(PG)


Please note: Pick up for this event will be at the dismissal tents 4:30. All MLK siblings must be picked up at regular dismissal time.


Garden Workdays!

Join us for a Garden Workday on Saturday, May 11 from 9-12. We will be focused on weeding and preparing garden beds. Bring garden gloves, water bottles, and garden tools if you have them! Future garden workdays:

Every Tuesday, 2:00-3:00

Saturday, June 1, 9-12


Classroom Placement

Our goal at ABS is to create classrooms that are balanced across all demographic categories. Grade level teams know their students well, spend a lot of time thinking about the best way to group students and teachers, and can be trusted to accomplish this goal. Occasionally, there may be a situation where a parent has input to give about his or her child’s placement. Administrators will consider these extenuating circumstances along with all of the other considerations already given to class placement. There is no guarantee that the input given will determine your child’s placement.


We have extended the deadline to June 1st.   If you do have extenuating circumstances that we may not be aware of, please complete this form to provide information even if you have already submitted a request.  Student Class Placement Form


Last Friday Sings

Final Friday Sing of the year will be Tuesday, June 4 at 10:00am, for all K-8 students (and parents) in the 7th Street Courtyard. If rain is predicted, we will have to cancel.


ABS  Summer Camps

Camp registration is currently open to ABS students only and filling up quickly.  Deadline for registration is May 31!  Sign up today!  See more information and registration at ABS Summer Camps


Extended Day Program

ABS will offer an extended day program from 2:00-5:30 PM for parents who need care beyond the summer camp hours of 9-2. The cost is an additional $15 per day. Space is limited! Those who are interested should contact slefever@artsbasedschool.com


Around Town…

UNCSA Preparatory Dance presents Spring Festival!  Performances this Saturday, May 18th at 7:00pm and Sunday, May 19th at 3pm in DeMille Theatre/UNCSA Campus.  Tickets are $20 by calling the Stevens Center Box Office or online https://uncsa.secure.force.com/ticket/#details_a0S2I00000ttj89UAA.