ABS Thursday Notes- November 7, 2019

Thursday Notes                       

Published for the Arts Based School Community                          Nov 7, 2019



Veteran’s Day-No School

Monday, November 11


How We Do It and Why

Mary Siebert 



“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” – Halford E. Luccock


Courtney Hedgecock, an ABS 6th grade teacher, is working on her master’s degree. For a text set based on the theme: “What does it really mean to be a friend?” she had already found plenty of text. She asked for suggestions of well-known friendships in the arts.


She was delighted when I suggested the famous buddies Haydn and Mozart, because she had a soft spot for Haydn’s music. Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) invented the string quartet. Mozart whipped off six string quartets in Haydn’s honor, tinkering masterfully with his pal’s invention. (My favorite of Mozart’s “Haydn Quartets” is the fourth one, nicknamed “The Hunt”. If this link doesn’t work for you, you can search for: Mozart quartet K. 458) Ms. Hedgecock and I agreed that the instruments themselves, in a string quartet, function as friends do. They are all different, and each plays its unique part. Together, they are something new, with life of its own.


The “magic” of our school culture was Principal Hollis’ topic at a recent staff meeting. It’s a quality often remarked upon by visiting schools and artists, and something we want to nourish and sustain. Ms. Hollis asked the teachers to share what builds and sustains this positive school culture. She began by reading a series of responses to a survey ABS teachers completed last year, sharing what they love about teaching here. There were answers about children and teaching of course, but there were also abundant comments about the pleasure of working with one another. Collaborating with and sharing experiences with a creative, skilled staff is rewarding. There is a lot of mutual admiration and support among our staff; a lot of humor, and a strong sense of awareness and trust that everyone is fully committed, doing the best they can. Rich and lasting friendships spring from these interactions.


One of the challenges teachers in traditional schools often face is isolation from their colleagues. They close the door and teach, disconnected from fellow educators. Instead of collaborating to improve instruction, their limited contact sometimes becomes detrimental, not nourishing, tending toward gossip and complaint. The infrastructure of the school must expect, support, and provide time for collaboration, if collaboration is to occur in a positive way. It takes extra effort to create that environment, but it’s worth it.


It’s been scientifically proven that doing something with other people intensifies your experience. Visiting a gallery, watching a play together, attending a concert or a ballgame changes the way we experience it, ourselves.  Research shows that the desire to share an experience is innate. ABS kicked off our year with our staff visiting public works of art together, and we provide plenty of opportunities for our students to share experiences too. Our staff often remark that after an entire grade level performs a show together, the classroom culture is markedly improved. From field trips to in-school operas, shared experience is a great catalyst for writing. Shared vocabulary and reflections can contribute fresh sparks to thinking.


The same is true for our staff. We find that our best ideas come about when we collaborate, so each grade level team plans together, and our staff meets at grade level with their specialists on a rotating basis. Like our students, we share vocabulary and reflections. It’s fun and inspirational, to hear how creatively teachers use resources and opportunities. We amaze each other. Like the string quartet, it takes each of us playing our best to create something beautiful. Together, we are a symphony, lifting children skyward.



No Music, Drama, or Art Clubs During the Week of November 18.

Please pick up your art, music, or drama club student at regular dismissal time (2:45-3:00) during the week of November 18. Club teachers will be off campus preparing for Lion King. (Other clubs will continue as scheduled.)


Lion King Performance

Don’t miss the 8th grade performance of Disney’s Lion King Jr. on Thursday, November 21 at 7:00 p.m., at First Presbyterian’s worship center, 200 S. Cherry Street.


Crisis Control Food Drive

K-Kids are sponsoring a canned food drive for Crisis Control Ministries, a non-profit organization which provides food for the needy in our community. Please bring non-perishable items in cans and boxes (no class containers, please). Items will be collected in a hallway location outside each grade level. This  drive will continue until Friday, Dec. 13.

Leadership Winston-Salem

You might be familiar with this landmark organization, which exists to connect and energize leaders in our community. As part of their intensive program, they take a walking tour of downtown. The main stops along this route are: Inmar, the Link Apartments, Innovation Quarter, and…The Arts Based School! Yesterday Ms. Raper escorted about 70 leaders through our school. We love introducing our city’s movers and shakers to our upcoming movers and shakers!




Congratulations to Miss Hannah in the MLK front office. She was married last weekend to Brian Bethune.  Don’t worry you can still call her Mrs. Hannah. We wish her many happy days ahead!


Annual Giving!

We are tremendously grateful to all of you for helping to make this year’s Annual Giving campaign a great success! We thank each of you for contributing to the Arts Based School in innumerable ways: with your time and energy, your skills and passions, your financial support, with connections you make on our behalf in the community and with your extended families, and with your children — who make our school the joyful place it is. Thank you!


Total School Participation: 49%

Total Gifts: $65,462


The Annual Giving campaign is a vital part of our school’s overall fiscal health and long-term sustainability. As a charter school, we do not receive the same state and federal funding as traditional public schools. We rely on the generosity of parents and families, board members, and our community to help us meet our operating expenses and to support the learning and creating that happens here every day. Thank you, again, for supporting this year’s campaign!


Last day to turn in Picture orders will be November 14th. 


Picture Retakes

November 22  is picture make-up and retake day. Any student who was absent on picture day will automatically be photographed as these pictures are used for our annual yearbook. However, if you are interested in your child having his/her picture retaken, please send a note or email to your child’s homeroom teacher.  Students will only be sent for a retake if the parent sends in a request.


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 22- Early Dismissal

                     K-4 Dismiss at 11:45

                       5-8 Dismiss at 12 noon


High School Information Night

ABS will host counselors, teachers, and administrators from several area high schools for an information session on December 3rd from 6-7pm. This will include a brief introduction from the high school reps and time to ask questions and gather information from a variety of schools. High School Information Night will take place in the 7th Street building and all 7th and 8th grade families are invited to attend.



Last year we sold out of yearbooks! Make sure you have your copy by ordering today! Orders can be placed by filling out the order form that was sent home in last week’s Thursday notes, or by visiting the Strawbridge website at http://www.strawbridge.net/ and clicking the red “Order Pictures and Yearbooks” button at the top of the page. The price is $22 and our school code is YB106312.


Prospective Parents’ Tours

School tours for prospective parents are scheduled weekly on Thursdays at 9:30am.  Each tour is limited to 10 adults in an effort to limit the disruption to our students and teachers in the classrooms.  Parents interested in learning more about ABS and how to enroll their child, should contact the front office to sign up for a tour. 748-4116 ext 1023.  Applications will be accepted beginning January 1. The lottery will be held the second Tuesday of February.


ABS Family Volunteer Questionnaire

The Parent Council Board has received requests to improve the system we utilize to fulfill our volunteer commitment.

As a board, we have all completed varying amounts of volunteer hours per year. Work schedules, travel schedules, extracurricular activities, family schedules, etc. all take precious hours of our days. We understand that volunteering one hour per child per school week can be difficult at times.

Please take a moment to provide anonymous feedback. Your family will not be identified unless you choose to do so.


Thank you in advance!

Click here to fill out the questionnaire – https://forms.gle/3ACS9paWifeJTQ2y8.


ABS Tech Support Committee

We have an immediate need for a team of tech support volunteers. Do you or a member of your family have experience troubleshooting issues with laptops, servers, printers, software, phones systems, smart classroom products, or other electronic products used throughout the school? If you or a member of your family are interested, please contact Courtney Cashin, Tech Co-Chair on the ABS Parent Council Board at courtney.cashin@gmail.com.


Calling All Web Gurus

As we look at the ABS website, we would love the help of our families who have experience as a website developer, designer, or content creator. If you or a member of your family are interested, please contact Courtney Cashin, Tech Co-Chair on the ABS Parent Council Board at courtney.cashin@gmail.com.


Nutcracker Tea Party!

Get your tickets now for UNCSA’s Preparatory Dance Nutcracker Tea Party!  Performances on December 7th & 8th at The Arts Based School – see the attached flyer for more information or click on the link below to purchase tickets online from the Stevens Center Box Office.  Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition!