ABS Thursday Notes- September 1, 2016

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                          September 1, 2016




No School-Monday, Sept. 5


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Exemplify positive relationships through fair play and friendship.” – Kindergarten goal from Civics and Government Standards, North Carolina Standard Course of Study.


Major elections are great educational opportunities in schools. Teachers are required to deliver state standards addressing civics and government at every grade level. At Kinder, first and second grades, citizenship and leadership are explored. The structure of local government is taught at third grade, followed by state government at fourth grade, and federal government from fifth grade onward.

Three examples of state-required goals to be taught at eighth grade: Analyze access to democratic rights and freedoms among various groups in North Carolina and the United States (e.g. enslaved people, women, wage earners, landless farmers, American Indians, African Americans and other ethnic groups.)  Evaluate the effectiveness of various approaches used to effect change in North Carolina and the United States (e.g. picketing, boycotts, sit-ins, voting, marches, holding elected office and lobbying.) Analyze issues pursued through active citizen campaigns for change (e.g. voting rights and access to education, housing and employment).

Clearly, there is no dodging serious historical and current events at this level. Younger children might read news articles about the elections designed for children, and those who don’t discuss politics at home will likely hear about them from classmates. Our school works hard to teach children to communicate disagreements or frustrations in positive, respectful ways, to compromise, and to follow rules. Indeed, we are required to do so by the state. When those values are not reflected in the discourse of our country’s political leaders, we must chart a careful course.

ABS teachers met Monday to begin a two-session discussion about how to appropriately manage conversations, during this dramatically contentious election year. We began with materials from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, developed specifically to assist teachers who are all facing this dilemma. Harvard’s materials provide a formative case study and some activities designed to help educators gain perspective from every angle, and to consider how to proceed.

Next time we meet, we will compare and consider the state standards from K – 8. We’ll discuss teachers’ rights to function as opinionated individuals in society, and the shared expectation that we serve our students’ needs first, at school. We’ll reflect on the power of a teacher’s attitude, when teaching politics or anything else. We will set guidelines for political classroom discussion. At the very least, our students will be reviewing (at the appropriate grade levels,) our governmental structure, how elections work, why they are important, and the importance of public service. We will explore the pillars of democracy: freedom and liberty.

And meanwhile, we dance. Yesterday, at a Kindergarten dance class, I heard Ms. Adams ask the question: “Who has enough magic to stop and let a friend go by?” Twenty hands were raised. The music played, and twenty petite citizens allowed one another to pass safely by, as they danced their own, unique pathways. That’s the way to start learning democracy.


First Friday Sing in Courtyard Tomorrow

Weather permitting, our First Friday Sing will take place in the courtyard of the Seventh Street building tomorrow, from 1:50 – 2:20. Parents are welcome to join us. Please allow students to sit with their classmates, and stand behind the students so you don’t block sightlines. Students will progress to their usual dismissal locations after the sing-along, where parents may pick them up in person (after making sure the teacher sees you,) or in the car line.


Flu Season

As you know, flu can be easily spread from person to person.  We are asking for your help in reducing the spread of flu at ABS.  The symptoms for the seasonal flu and H1N1 are the same: fever of 100 degrees or more, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired.  Students with these symptoms will be sent home.

You can help us by taking these simple steps:

  • Teach children to wash their hands often.
  • Teach your children not to share food or drink.
  • Teach children to cough or sneeze into their elbows to avoid spreading germs.
  • Keep sick children home.
  • Children must be fever-free for 24 hrs before returning to school.
  • Get the flu vaccine for you and your children.


Kids and Builders Club

Does your child want to make a difference in our school, our community and our world?


Third graders through 5th graders are invited to join the K-Kids program while sixth graders through eighth graders are invited to join the Builders Club program.  Both are service organizations sponsored by Kiwanis International.  Meetings for K-Kids will take place in the dance studio in MLK and Builders Club meetings will take place in Ms. Tarmey’s classroom on Friday mornings from 7:45 to 8:15 each week beginning September 4.   See the letter attached to this week’s Thursday Notes.


mClass Reading

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has implemented and required 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.


Changes in CardLink

As some of you may have discovered, Target and Food Lion no longer offer Cardlink Donation services to schools.  Please do take a moment to link with Harris Teeter


Our code at Harris Teeter is 5054.


Parent Council News:

CLASS REPS needed for 8th Grade:

Serving as a Class Rep (or Co-Rep with another parent) is a fantastic way to stay involved in your child’s classroom. We still need two volunteers for the 8th grade.  If you are interested in these positions, please email Julee  Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net) or Lindsay Deibler(lindsaydeibler@gmail.com).

Book Fair

We’re looking for a co-coordinator to work with our seasoned Book Fair pro, Mackenzie Calhoun, in the 7th Street building. Contact Julee Nunley (jules@thenunleys.com)

Fall Festival

Parent Council is making a casting call to fill leading roles at this year’s Fall Festival! If you think you have the talent… to attend a meeting or two and be present on October 1… please let us know! Our Fall Festival Planning Committee this year will share the responsibility of hosting a wonderful event for our ABS families and community and is an easy way to earn your volunteer hours. Please contact Emily Ball (emilynball@gmail.com) or call (704) 996-5782 to volunteer. Mark your family’s calendars for Saturday, Oct. 1st, to come out and enjoy the festivities.


Around Town…

Heidi McIver (our own “Miss Heidi”) will be playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Shared Radiance Performing Arts Company. The audience follows the players through parks and trees, so bring your walking shoes! Performances Sept. 23 – October 2 in Pleasant Garden, High Point, and Kernersville. For more information: http://goo.gl/89aOEy and http://goo.gl/ZQHGjy


MeadowFest at Reynolda Gardens meadow, Sunday September 25′ 1:00-4:00. Habitat lessons, drone demos, hayride, treats and more. Raindate October 2.


Ms. Cooper, our chorus and music teacher in the 7th Street building, will play the role of Meg in Twin City Stage’s upcoming production of Little Women the musical. Performance dates are September 23, 24, 25, ,29, 30 October 1, 2. Here is a link for details. 🙂 http://www.twincitystage.org/show-little-women.html