ABS Thursday Notes- November 12, 2015

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                        November 12, 2015




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


…to be able to dwell on an encounter of the human brain and spirit with the universe
all this enlarges the human horizon. — Norman Cousins, 1973.


At The Arts Based School we value and employ both the learning inherent in finishing a child-made product, and the process of joining an adult master who models, coaches, and scaffolds learning. We require students to participate in both, and we actively seek out opportunities for both. When student work is entirely self-motivated and self-accomplished, we acknowledge, celebrate and assess that. We also value giving students the opportunity to step into a great work of art or a great experience of art-making by partnering them with accomplished adults. With projects that are sent home, students do their own work; but typically teachers supply a rubric. This tool allows students to benefit from the teacher’s evaluation process from afar, aligning their work with the outcome the teacher prefers, so the work is independent, but targeted.

When we produce Romeo & Juliet on the Border, on the other hand, some of the lines were written by Shakespeare. Some of them were written by kids. Some are traditional lyrics of historic songs. There are many adult-structured pieces in place, from rental of the theater to building of costumes, along with choreography and techniques of directing which give kids an opportunity to experience what it’s like to enter into a masterful theatrical experience. They can all rise to the expectation because: 1. They are expected to. 2. They have had more training and experience than any typical student. 3. They are coached and inspired and supported by experts.

Mosaic and multi-media artist Jan Detter has been working with 6th graders (and also with students of Mike Wakeford and Janna Levin at UNCSA) to conceive and execute mosaic murals representing the properties of light; specifically waves and particles. The 6th graders contribute ideas, and Jan guides them based on her understanding of their ideas and the scientific principles involved, but also based on her personal expertise about what constitutes a successfully expressive work of art. She has years of experience in shepherding large numbers of young people through a creative process together, so she knows how to find consensus. She knows what kind of prep and finishing will be required to make the finished product withstand the outdoor setting where it will reside. She applies the finishing grout, to assure a long-lasting piece.

Being guided by a master gives students the opportunity to sense the shape of the process as they inhabit it, and provides a great sense of satisfaction when the piece is complete and they can say “I am a part of this.” It may be that the student still doesn’t recognized exactly what s/he did, just as my teenager is walked through complex chemistry problems, but can’t solve them independently yet. The operative word is “yet.” But now, the students know it is all possible for them, and have experienced the elevation of the flight.


Conference Time is Coming

Soon your child’s teacher will be setting up conferences to discuss your child’s progress.  Students attending the Arts Based School are assessed using a portfolio system in place of the traditional report card.  The portfolio is designed to illustrate a student’s academic growth and successes as well as guide the teacher in planning appropriate instruction.  Teachers at ABS do not issue letter grades.  Teachers use observation, interviews, analysis of student work and performance tasks to assess student understanding.  Examples of student work, as well as other objective standards of assessments are incorporated into the student’s portfolio to give an enhanced portrait of the student’s progress.  These portfolios will be discussed and presented to parents during the Student-Teacher-Parent conferences.  Please be sure you schedule and attend your conference so that you can support your child’s learning. 

Conference Days- November 20- Early Dismissal

                        K-4 Dismiss at 11:45

                        5-8 Dismiss at 12 noon


Mr. Sofis Resigns

It is with great disappointment that I report to you that Mr. Tim Sofis, our middle school Social Studies/Language Arts teacher has resigned effective November 20.  He has decided to move back to Pittsburgh at the end of this trimester.   We will begin searching today for that perfect teacher to finish the year with our students.  If you know of someone who is middle school certified in Language Arts/Social Studies and would love to teach at ABS, please have them send their resume to Mrs. Hollis at rhollis@artsbasedschool.com


K-Kids Sponsor Canned Food Drive

The K-Kids are sponsoring a school-wide canned food drive for Crisis Control between now and December 11. Please bring cans to your classrooms for a grade-level display in the hallways. Boxed foods and cans are acceptable, but no glass containers. Help feed the world!


ABS Science Fair

ABS will hold its annual science fair on January 14, 2016.  All students are invited to participate.  Information packets will be sent home via Thursday packets this week.  Science Fairs give students an opportunity to think and work independently, develop and refine individual science interests, and engage in critical thinking. Please help your child choose a science fair project topic that aligns with the science standards at his or her grade level. Science standards can be found for each grade level on the ABS website under “Our Students”. Science Fair applications are due to your teacher by Friday, January 8.


Lost and Found

Please check lost and found for items you may have forgotten.   All items not claimed by November 20 will be donated to Goodwill.

Garden Work Day

Saturday, Nov. 14: 9:00 to 1:00

The long-range forecast shows a beautiful, sunny fall day for this coming Saturday. Perfect time to help with planting, pruning, and fall cleanup. Anyone with a pickup truck and/or trailer is invited to help get loads of free city leaf mulch during the work day. Power drills and long extension cords also welcome. Questions and RSVP: Matt Mayers, mlmayers@gmail.com.


ABS 2015-16 Yearbooks

The cost is only $20, and the easiest way to order is online via this link https://vando.imagequix.com/g1000343826 If you prefer to send a check, you can place it in the Strawbridge envelope you received in your child’s Thursday packet recently. Return the check and form to Angela Wise for students in the MLK building, or Donna Brown for students in the 7th street building.

We have already gotten a lot of really great photographs for our Yearbook this year – Parent Reps and all ABS family members, keep posting pics on your Shutterfly sites, the more images we have to choose from, the better!  We especially need Brundibar, 7th grade, and 2nd grade pictures.   Deadline for ordering yearbooks is January 15th.


Dental Screening

When children have dental problems, their overall health and ability to learn can be seriously compromised.  As part of our regular school preventive dental health program, the NC Oral Health Section, Division of Public Health, and Lynn Kelly, RDH, Public Health Dental Hygienist for Forsyth County, will conduct dental screenings for children in grades K, 3rd, 5th on November 17.  She will use gloves, mask, flashlight, and will use a new tongue depressor for each child.  The screening serves as an educational, positive dental experience and also collects information to help improve the Children’s Dental Health programs.  Children who see a dentist regularly will also benefit from the screening for the educational opportunity.  A form letter will be sent home to show your child’s results.


If you do not want your child included in this dental screening, please send a note to your child’s teacher.  If you have any questions, please call Lynn Kelly, RDH, at the Forsyth County Health Department.  (336) 703-3375


Parent Council News:

Parent Council Meeting will be on Friday, November 13 in the Resource Room in the MLK Building from 8:15 until 9:15 in the morning. All parents and guardians of ABS children are invited to attend. The agenda is attached to Thursday Notes.


Parent’s Afternoon Off  Friday, Nov 20

Mark your calendar on Friday, November 20 for an afternoon of movie fun (Inside-Out and Aristocats)!  Kids dismiss early that day (11:45am and 12:00pm).  For $5 kids can stay until 2:30pm.  Snacks will be sold as well.  Permission forms are in today’s Thursday Folders. Signed forms and payment are due by Thursday, November 19th.  Forms and payment will not be accepted after November 19.  Have questions or interested in volunteering, please contact Lindsay Beane (LGBeane2@aol.com).