ABS Thursday Notes- October 20, 2016

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                   October 20, 2016





How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.” – Moliére

In a 5th grade Dancing Classrooms lesson, I heard the instructor coaching couples through the tango for the first time. “Great scorpion shape with those arms!” she called out. “Demonstrate for us how you did that! Can you see these arms? No broken scorpion arms, only strong, powerful ones!” …this kind of language, humorously appealing to the varied interests of kids while encouraging excellence, is typical of this beautifully crafted curriculum. Couples rotated, trading partners seamlessly as the dance repeated. (Read that last sentence again…we are talking about ten and eleven-year-olds here!) As always, I was taken completely by surprise when I saw which of the students seemed to float on air, excelling in this particular art form. Sometimes a child who tends to be disruptive or disinterested in other subjects will unexpectedly display intense focus in ballroom dance, asking pertinent questions and executing complex combinations with graceful ease and apparent delight.

Dancing Classrooms is a program of twenty lessons taught at the 5th grade level at ABS, by visiting artist Ann Guill and her assistants. It’s well underway, now. ABS piloted the program with Ms. Guill seven years ago. The Dancing Classrooms mission: “To build social awareness, confidence and self-esteem in children through the practice of social dance. Through standards-based, in-school residencies, we use the vocabulary of ballroom dance to cultivate the positive feelings that are inherent in every child. The maturity necessary to dance together fosters respect, teamwork, confidence and a sense of joy and accomplishment, which we hope to bring to every child. Ballroom dance is the medium we use to nurture these qualities.” Students learn the fox trot, waltz, swing, tango, merengue, and other dances while also learning how to treat one another with respect and social grace. This is a perfect match for us, particularly because Ann and her assistants are teaching the child, not the subject. They are all expert ballroom dancers, but the priority is the social progress of the individual child. It’s challenging at first to 5th graders, because of the “cootie” factor, but that passes quickly by. They have been dancing with partners since Kindergarten, so it’s not an enormous leap, (pun intended,) and our students are accustomed to public performance. This makes them ideal exhibition dancers, and there is a performance for parents at the end of the program. In the meanwhile, they will be figure-drawing from live models in the art studio (their own peers will model, frozen in dance positions that every students knows by heart.) They will also write poetry and prose about the experience, and these drawings and writings will be exhibited at the final program. Students’ familiarity with ballroom dancing leads easily into their work in Romeo and Juliet on the Border, in which they perform Northern Mexican and cowboy partner dances from the late 1800s.


The 5th grade Dancing Classrooms Exhibition takes place on Thursday, November 3, at 12:00 noon, at the Goler Church Community Center: 620 Patterson Ave, Winston-Salem, NC 27101. The program is free of charge.


Attendance Reminder

Consistent school attendance is an essential component of each student’s academic growth and progress.  As a public school, we are required to record and report excused and unexcused tardies and absences daily.  Please notify the office when your child is expected to be absent.   When your child returns to school, he/she must bring a note explaining the reason for the absence, dated and signed by a parent or guardian.

TARDINESS-School begins at 8:15 a.m.   Students may arrive at school between 7:45 and 8:10.  Students will be counted tardy if they’re not in their classroom at 8:15am. The student entrance will be locked at 8:15 a.m. After 8:15 a.m., parents must park and escort their child(ren) to the Front office entrance and sign in. Ten tardies are considered one absence on state attendance records.

Please help your child have a successful school year by being at school on time each day!

MAP Results Sent Home

Third through Sixth grade students will receive MAP results in their Thursday Packets today.  Seventh and Eighth grade results will be sent home on Friday.    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.


Parent Council News:

Special Parent Council Meetings Scheduled for November

We will not have our regular Friday morning meeting in November, but will host two other meetings in its place.


Math Workshop on November 3, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

This math workshop for parents is designed to help parents understand the approach to teaching mathematics that can transform students’ math experiences, including classroom approaches, essentials strategies for students, and advice for parents for supporting their child math thinking.


Positive Discipline for Parents on Saturday, November 19, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Positive Discipline is for parents who are looking for long-term parenting skills that will encourage their children to think for themselves, become more responsible and have a greater respect for themselves and others.  The teachings on Positive Discipline are filled with non-punitive, respectful methods that will incorporate kindness and firmness into parenting, help parents get to the core of their child’s misbehavior, bring more joy into the home and give parents a sense of accomplishment.  There will be a $10 charge per family to attend the workshop and childcare will be provided.  See attached flyer to sign up, or pick up one in the front office.


January Jam – Jan. 20th 2:30-4:00pm

January Jam is a dance party that the school holds as a fundraiser event and we are looking for an awesome DJ. If anyone has a contact, please contact Ryan Leigh Runyon. (ryanleigh@gmail.com) Volunteer opportunity as well, starting early recruiting volunteers:)

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.


Halloween is Coming

Please do not send students to school in costumes.  We all enjoy the fun and excitement of Halloween but find that costumes and accessories make it very difficult to concentrate.  Also we do not want students to bring candy in their lunch bags for snacks.  Although it can be delicious, high sugar snacks should not replace a healthy snack.  Thanks for your help!


ABS Garden Planting Day-October 15

Saturday, October 15, from 9 to 1, we will continue to clear out weeds and plant beautiful grasses and wildflowers on the bank.

Bring gloves, weeding tools, trowels, and cordless drills if you have them. We use them with a big auger bit to make holes for planting little plugs into. Also bring your kids, your snacks and water, plus as many friends and relations as you can muster.

RSVP and questions to Matt Mayers: mlmayers@gmail.com


Around Town…

Centenary Church iseeks kids (grades 1-5) to walk two-by-two as animals, during the “Phantom of the Organ” performance. Requires 1 rehearsal on Wednesday evening, Oct. 26 from 7 – 7:30. Performances are:Oct. 27 & 28 at 7:30 pm. No audition required. Email or call Rob Frazier, Director of Music and the Arts, for more info:: rfrazier@centenary-ws.org or 704-975-5407.