ABS Thursday Notes- Sept 6, 2018

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                         September 6, 2018




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, the instructor coaches couples through the tango for the first time. “Great scorpion shape with those arms!” she calls out. “Demonstrate for us how you did that! Can you see these arms? No broken scorpion arms, only strong, powerful ones!” As one partner twirls another into the center of the circle, then back out, the instructor calls out “On to the pizza! Out to the crust!” …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 underway, now. ABS piloted the program with Ms. Guill eight 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. The instructors, (assisted by the fearless Jordan Brown, our new drama teacher,) 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 student 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. Finalized dates for the 5th grade Dancing Classrooms Exhibition will be published next week.


North Carolina Vaccine-Specific Requirements

The North Carolina General Statutes (G.S. 130A-152(a)) require immunizations for every child present in this state. Every parent, guardian or person in loco parentis is responsible for ensuring that their child(ren) receive required immunizations. If you have specific questions regarding your child, please contact your child’s health care provider or your local health department.

Kindergarten, 7th grade students, and any students new to the school system who are not compliant with state immunization requirements will not be permitted to attend school on Friday, September 21.


Bookmarks Presents: Author Dav Pilkey

ABS students in grades 2, 3, and 4 will travel to the DASH stadium next Friday, September 7, to join hundreds of other local students for a visit from Dav Pilkey, the award-winning author best known for the Captain Underpants series. The visit is part of Bookmarks’ 2018 Festival of Books! Don’t miss the festival Sept 6-9, 2018 in downtown Winston-Salem! It’s a fantastic family-friendly festival.

Bookmarks Summer Reading

Bookmarks Summer Reading Passports should be turned in this Saturday, September 8th (10am-5pm) at the Bookmarks’ Festival.  If you cannot attend the Festival, turn in your completed passport to Hannah or Donna in the front office and we will turn it in for you.

Students who participate will receive a free book and be entered into a contest for four $50 gift card to Bookmarks.  In addition, the school with the most participants will win $500 worth of books for their school library. Help us win books for our school library by participating!   Click here for more information about the Festival:  https://www.bookmarksnc.org/2018-festival-books-authors

Beginning of Grade Test

The State Board of Education requires a standardized reading test  for all third graders in North Carolina.  Third grade students will take the Beginning of Grade (BOG) test in reading.  A student’s BOG score will be used as baseline data to measure growth as well as a screening tool to identify those students who will need remediation to pass the End of Grade test.  The NC Read to Achieve initiative which requires retention for students who do not pass the Reading EOG at third grade.  The test has 42 questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.  It will be administered on September 11.    Testing accommodations will be provided for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP).  Make-up tests will be required for any student that is absent from the regular administration of the test.


mClass Reading

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction requires a kindergarten through third grade reading assessment called mCLASS:Reading 3D to help teachers assess, track and support each student’s reading skills.  Each student will be assessed every trimester using the online assessment program.  mCLASS:Reading 3D will instantly analyze your child’s development in grade-appropriate foundational reading skills. Teachers will use this data to focus their instruction around your child’s specific needs, in areas that may include:

  • Hearing and using sounds in spoken words (Phonemic Awareness)
  • Knowing sounds of letters and sounding out written words (Alphabetic Principle)
  • Reading words in stories easily, quickly, and correctly (Accuracy and Fluency)
  • Understanding what they read (Reading Comprehension).


After each assessment period you will receive a letter outlining your child’s specific assessment results and progress as a reader. The letter will also include learning activities you and your child can do together at home to reinforce skills learned at school.  Parent support and reading at home are a vital part of your child’s education. The teacher’s efforts, combined with your support, will help your child read with mastery and confidence.  If you have any questions about the assessment, the activities, or your child’s classroom work and progress, please talk to your child’s teacher.


K-Kids Serves the World!

Does your child want to make a difference in our community and the world? Your child is invited to join the K-Kids program at the Arts Based School. K-Kids is a service organization and a member of the Kiwanis Family, which sponsors our club. K-Kids provides the opportunity to develop self-esteem, leadership skills, morals and standards, and respect for others. This program involves 3rd – 5th  grade students, their parents,  teachers, and Kiwanians in community service projects that impact our school, our city, and our global community. Meetings will take place on Friday mornings from 7:50 to 8:10 5 each week beginning September 7.  Meetings will be held in the music room in the MLK building. Attached is the letter and form for registration.


Too many hangers?

The ABS ProductionTeam would love your extra clothes hangers. Please drop off all hangers to Donna Brown in the 7th Street building. Thank you!



Builders Club permission slips are coming home today! 

Does your child want to make a difference in our community and the world? Your child is invited to join the Builders Club program at the Arts Based School. Builders Club is a service organization and a member of the Kiwanis Family, which sponsors our club. Builders Club provides the opportunity to develop self-esteem, leadership skills, morals and standards, and respect for others. This program involves 6th-8th grade students, their parents,  teachers, and Kiwanians in community service projects that impact our school, our city, and our global community. With your permission, your child will be inducted to the Builders Club at ABS as well as Builders Club of Winston-Salem. Meetings will take place on Friday mornings from 7:45 to 8:15 each week beginning September 14.  Meetings will be held in Mrs. Gledhill’s room in the 7th Street building.

The purpose of all meetings will be to organize projects both within the school and the wider community.  Builders Club will be led by Kiwanian Gary Elkin, with teachers Elizabeth Gledhill, and Lee Ann Farrell. Dues for the year are $3.00, and should be included in the registration. Please email any questions to egledhill@artsbasedschool.com, thank you!

Activity Fee

Each family is asked to pay $30.00 per year per child to help cover the costs of our extensive curriculum enhancement activities, including field trips and art trips.  Fees are payable at the start of the year and may be paid for the full year or in smaller increments, if needed.  Financial assistance is available to those families with demonstrated need per the approval of the principal.  Checks should be made out to The Arts Based School and turned into your classroom teacher or front office.


Around Town…


New Voices on the Downtown Stage

11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Spoken Word: Share your poems or prose pieces. 5 minute limit per person; events will be timed and strict on time limits! 
12:30–1:30 p.m. First Draft: Come share the first draft of whatever you’re working on.  5 minute limit per person; events will be timed and strict on time limits!
2:45–3:45 p.m. Kids Read: Those up to 14 years of age are invited to share their work. Hear everything from slam poetry to short fiction to fairytales from kids, teens, and adults. Annabel Martin will read from 2:45-2:55 p.m. and Gabe Deibler will read from 3:32 – 3:42 p.m. Please sign up for other five-minute time slots beginning at 10 a.m. at the Info Booth. Note our events are family friendly; please use appropriate language.