ABS Thursday Notes- October 3, 2019

Thursday Notes                       

Published for the Arts Based School Community                          October 3, 2019



No School- Monday, Oct 7 Fall Break

How We Do It and Why

by Mary Siebert


“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury


When I was a little girl dreaming of living in a castle, my mother would say “Well, they didn’t have modern plumbing. And you had to wear all those skirts and corsets and things. And no toilet paper. Using the bathroom must have been a nightmare!” She had a unique way of making me appreciate my freedom.

There is a lot of conversation about our “age of anxiety.” I’m not denying that our culture and environment can be threatening. Media reminds us relentlessly. But when I join with sixth graders and their teachers to learn about the lives of people who were conquered by Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great, or about Joan of Arc being burned at the stake as a teen, I imagine the anxiety was pretty great back then, too. Being conquered usually meant goodbye to your home, children, safety, and most likely your life. Not a tranquil time.

Imani Perry, a Princeton professor and author of the book Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, spoke recently on NPR about the unique challenges of raising two Black sons in today’s America. She proclaimed laughingly that her children are “emotionally spoiled,” because she does not shortchange them of love and joy and wonder. She acknowledged the pressure to develop discipline, to arm them for resistance, to transcend obstacles. But she maintains: “I think we all have a responsibility with young people, … to teach — but also to lavish with love.” 

We are seeking the perfect balance of joy and readiness, of intellectual and social access paired with the life-affirming pleasure of being present to this moment. Learning through the arts, through hands-on experience, can awaken that balance. 

When Mixxer Makerspace announced their Month of Metal with dramatic images and ads for a live “iron pour” at sunset, with 2000 lbs. of white-hot molten iron making sparks fly, the connection to our 6th grade curriculum was immediate. In science: what happens when atoms are heated? What is change of phase? In social studies: how were ancient civilizations changed when they learned to make tools, ploughs, weapons of iron? If the soil in your land happened to be rich with iron, how did that impact your power?

Mixxer was offering “scratch plates,” tablets of compacted sand that could be sculpted to create personal molds for molten iron. Small groups of students in art class worked together to create designs in these tablets, using the shapes they were studying in geometry. They scratched their shared molds with a variety of tools, imagining the resulting ingot upside down and backward, dumping the discarded sand into the garden. Alan Shelton, owner of Mixxer, visited the students and described the process ahead. We took a tour through the intriguing Mixxer space where anyone can learn to make anything: welding, woodwork, industrial sewing, 3-D printers, it’s all available. (Check it out!)

The air was soft and warm, on the night of the iron pour. A large and happy contingency of ABS 6th graders and their families whooped lustily when Mr. Shelton thanked the school for our participation. A cheerful expert answered questions from adults and children over a speaker system as we watched the process, reminding us of the unique magnetic quality of iron, explaining that the red or orange sparks flying into the sky were signs of impurities, of the slag burning off. When the sparks became white we’d know the iron was burning clean and hot.

The moment of transfer from the blast furnace to the crucible pot was intensely bright, the plug bursting open and spurting molten iron into a crucible pot to the gasps of the crowd. The focused crew poured the liquid exactingly, despite the heavy full body armor protecting them from the harsh heat. 

I could imagine my mother: “Oh, who got THAT great job, before the fancy protective gear was invented? How many workers died or were poisoned while they were making weapons and tools and ploughs that changed the world?” In that age of anxiety, it was a feat to live to 45. It was easy to imagine why.

Standing safely behind the caution tape, the kids shrieked with delight at bursts of flame and marveled as the rectangular shapes they had carved cooled, luminous in dark. We were learning together, in awe. Maybe we live in the age of wonder, not the age of anxiety. We can make it so.


ABS Annual Giving!

This month, we are celebrating the collective power of Annual Giving at The Arts Based School! Please look for more information in your child’s Thursday folder today. From now until October 31, all gifts and pledges to the school will benefit the learning, doing, and creating that happens here every day. Please give as generously as you are able, and share the call to action with grandparents and extended family as well! We will update you on our overall progress each week in Thursday Notes. Together, we can celebrate and support everything that we love about our school. To make your gift, send a check or visit http://artsbasedschool.com/your-support/ Thank you! 



Art at the Fair

Congrats to these young artists, whose work will be exhibited at the fair:


Lyla Moreland, Gideon Burbach, Oona Robinson, Olivia Neff, Gabriel Driver, Vera Byers, Ellery McGowan, Lena Phillips, Reece Meredith, Fern Stottlemeyer, Daniel Ertl, Ella Nochajski, Ardrianna Grey, Gabrella Morris, Aidyn Morris, Ellie Scott, Willough Grace Walsh, Sophia Pisapia, Lilly Greene, Loie Jones, Sam Spach, Genevieve Davis, Arianna Williams, Maggie Runyon


Picture Day-October 16

Smile!  October 16 is Picture Day!  All students will be photographed to be included in the school’s yearbook.  Proofs will be sent home along with information if you would like to order.

Volunteer Background Checks

The new background check policy for visitors and chaperones is up and running! As we expected, there have been some questions and adjustments as we get used to a new system. Here are some questions we’ve been hearing along with answers that may help clarify the procedures: 

Q: I want to chaperone a field trip or have been asked to work on campus without a staff member present. How do I request a background check? 

A: You must see Mrs. Garner in the office at the MLK building. She has a form for you to fill out requesting a background check.


Q: I turned in my background check form to Mrs. Garner two days ago but it’s still not back. I had a background check done somewhere else and it came back the same day. Why does it take so long at ABS?  

A: The company we are using tells us to expect the check to take 2-7 days. Also, Mrs. Garner may be out of the office when you stop by or when the report comes back. Please plan ahead and allow a week from the time you submit your form to the time you need to be cleared for a background check. 

Q: Oops! I didn’t plan far enough ahead or I forgot to submit my form. Does that mean I can’t visit school or go on the field trip? 

A: No! Background checks are only required when you visit school, volunteer at school, or chaperone a trip and you will not be under a staff member’s supervision. Feel free to come have lunch with a student or volunteer in a classroom as you have in the past! There will be a staff member present and a background check isn’t needed. Some field trips will not require a check because parents will not be separated from the teachers and teaching assistants. If you are a chaperone and will be assigned a group to take around a venue, or escort students in small groups to lunch or the restroom, you will be required to have a clear background check.

Q: I’m confused. What are some examples of when I need a background check and when I don’t?

A: Times when you need a background check: Teaching a small group of band students to play their instruments in a room separate from the music teacher, chaperoning a field trip where you walk around a museum or market with students and no staff member, reading with a student in the hallway, cafe, or a room separate from the teacher and/or assistant. Examples of when you do not need a background check: volunteering in a classroom with the teacher and class, stuffing Thursday folders in a corner of the classroom while students work and the teacher teaches, having lunch with your child, attending your child’s grade level performance.

Q:  My child forgot their lunch/band instrument/class project. What do I do when I arrive at school? 

A:  Please ring the bell at the front door to your child’s building and let Ms. Hannah or Mrs. Brown know. They can get the item to your child.


Q: I really want to deliver it myself and tell my child something. Can’t I see them?

A:  Of course! Ms. Hannah or Mrs. Brown can call your child to the front for you or you can sign in, wear a visitor badge, and Ms. Hannah or Mrs. Brown will call the teacher to let them know you are on your way! Please stop back at the desk on your way out to return the badge and sign out.


ABS Scholastic Book Fair

Two more days to shop the MLK Book Fair- we are open today and tomorrow until 3:30.

We appreciate all the volunteers who have worked both fairs! We couldn’t have done it without you!

We have restocked some of the best sellers, and even added a few titles!  We have lots of copies of the recently released Guts- 7th Street ran out of copies, so if you missed getting it there, come shop at our fair.

If we’ve sold out of an item you wanted or if you can’t make it to the fair- you can shop our book selection at our ONLINE FAIR!  All online Book Fair sales will ship to your home.

http://www.scholastic.com/bf/artsbasedschoolk4 (scroll down to the orange “Shop Now” button.  Scholastic will give back 25% in rewards to our school when you shop by Oct 8.)

Be sure to check out the Classroom Wish List board and consider buying a book for your child’s classroom, picked by their teacher.  This is a great way to add more books to our classroom libraries and spread the love of reading to all students!  The specialist teachers have also selected books they would like for their classrooms!

Every purchase you make at the book fairs earns money towards new books for ALL CLASSROOM libraries and BOTH SCHOOL LIBRARIES! More than half of all dollars spent at the book fairs go directly to purchase books for the school!  Thank you for your purchases!



Fall Fest

 A quick thank you note from ABS’ Fall Fest Coordinators: 

We are all very grateful and appreciative of every volunteering parents and as well as supporting families at Fall Fest this year! We could not have done it all without your participation. 

We also would like to apologize for any inconvenience it had on you and your little ones that our food truck didn’t arrive as planned. The vendor had a medical issue and was not able to inform us in time. His health is improving though and we hope they can join us next year. 

Speaking of, we look forward to seeing you again next year for another successful Fall celebration! 


Thanks to all the volunteers who worked hard to make it such a fun day with a special shout out to Meagan Robinson for coordinating it all!  We raised over $1,050 and all had a great time doing it!



ABS Garden Workdays

Beautiful weather means relaxing days in the garden. Come out to help with some planting and garden clean up around the school. We’ll be there October 12th, 8:30-11:30

Rain date: Oct 26th, 8:30-11:30

. RSVP appreciated but not required to kristen@rootsfirst.com.


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 on the second Tuesday of February.


Tails Wagging Tutors

Beginning this week,  ABS welcomed two specialized therapy dogs trained to “listen” to children read.  The main objective of this program is to provide a relaxed and “dog-friendly” atmosphere, which allows students to practice the skill of reading.  Our reading specialist, Ceci McGuire or counselor, Amanda Sullivan work with the students and the dog trainer during these sessions.

The program is designed to provide a low pressure, high reward experience for learners allowing the child to build confidence in reading.  The child relaxes, pats the attentive dog, and focuses on the reading. Reading improves because the child is practicing the skill of reading, building self-esteem, and associating reading with something pleasant.


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!


Positive Discipline Workshop for Parents- October 26

-Ever wonder why your child listens so well in school but you have trouble getting him to even brush his teeth at home?

-Frustrated that you raise your voice more than you’d like to?

-Finding your previous discipline strategies no longer work with your new middle-schooler?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this workshop is for you!  Join us for an interactive workshop with Principal Robin Hollis as she takes us through the strategies behind the Positive Discipline practices used by ABS staff members.  The same effective principles found in the classroom can be beneficial in your home as well! Find out how you can apply positive discipline at home today and provide wonderful continuity for your child each day.  The workshop will be tailored to meet the age appropriate needs of those that register.

WHEN:  Saturday, October 26  from 9am-Noon

WHERE:  ABS Café, MLK Building

CHILDCARE:  Childcare will be provided on site (please let us know how many children will need care when you sign up)

COST:  $10/family

SIGN-UP:  Email Robin Hollis (rhollis@artsbasedschool.com) to sign up today.  You may send in payment with your child in a marked envelope (checks should be made out to ABS).  You may also stop by either front office to sign up as well. Space is limited so reserve your spot today!

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, travels 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.

Around town: 

Little Theatre’s Matilda Features ABS Students in Starring Roles

6th Grader Alora Engel plays the role of “Matilda”, in Matilda: the Musical with the The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem. The excellent supporting cast features ABS student Nick Kelley and ABS alumnus Alex Nunley. Performances are at the new Reynolds Place theater in the Rhoades Center, on October 3-6. Tickets are $25, seniors and students are $23.


Another free and unique event at WFU: “From the Ground Up,” a unique outdoor dance performance incorporating facilities and campus services personnel, with lawn mowers and trucks choreographed into the experience. October 3, 4, and 5 Hearn Plaza at 7:00, limited bleacher seating.