ABS Thursday Notes- September 12, 2019

Thursday Notes                       

Published for the Arts Based School Community                           September 12, 2019



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 carefully crafted curriculum. Couples rotate, trading partners seamlessly as the dance repeats. (Read that last sentence again…we are talking about ten and eleven-year-olds here!) As always, I am taken completely by surprise when I see 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 nine 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 foxtrot, 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 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. 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. 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 Exhibitions take place in three sessions, in the ABS Ewing Theater, MLK Building:

      Ms. Frazier’s class: 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 5

      Ms. Koza’s class: 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 6

      Ms. Leni’s class: 12:00 p.m. Thursday, November 7


MOLTEN METAL POUR for 6th graders on Saturday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. – save the date!

Our 6th grade students are beginning a new project in which they will design casts for cast iron tablets, relating to science, social studies, and art. (More about that after we’ve done it!) All students and families are invited to a FREE event at Mixxer Maker Space, across the street from ABS, where you can witness the expert pouring of molten iron from a crucible into their casts (and those of others in the community.) Please plan to attend with your child if you can, at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 28. Here’s how Mixxer describes the event:

“Come out for a great light show when we tap the furnace to release a ton of glowing molten iron just after dark on Saturday, September 28. We’ll start everything up at 7 pm to get ready to release all that molten iron and the fantastic light show that comes with it.”


Don’t Be Late!

School begins at 8:15 am.  Students should arrive at school between 7:45 and 8:10.    Students are counted tardy if they’re not in their classroom at 8:15 am. The student entrance is 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.


Updated Tobacco-Free School Policy

The ABS Board approved the updated Tobacco-Free School policy at Tuesday night’s board meeting.  Since 2008, GS 115C-407 had required that every North Carolina school have a written 100% tobacco-free school policy that prohibits the use of any tobacco products on campus and at school-related events for students, staff and visitors.  The updated policy specifically includes the prohibition of e-cigarettes and vaping. To read the full policy, click here Tobacco-Free School policy


Parent Council Meeting: Friday, September 13th 8:15  PC Agenda linked here


Fall Festival- Save the Date: September 28th

Mark your calendars for family fun at the ABS Fall Fest on Saturday, September 28th from 12:00 to 3:00 held at the 7th Street building and courtyard! Meagan Robinson & Becky Dickson Fall Fest Coordinators, are working on planning a great event.   Look for emails from your class reps with lots of ways that you can help!   Questions or ideas:  Meagan meaganlark11@gmail.com or Becky rebeccapdickson@gmail.com


Parent Coffee hour:  Friday, September 13th 9:30-10:30 

Come join other caregivers for an informal time to connect, ask questions and just get to know other ABS families.  Dropping in encouraged! Moji (690 Trade St.) Learn more about Moji 


Last year we sold out of yearbooks! Make sure you have your copy by ordering online today! Online orders can be placed 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.

ABS Book Fairs

The Scholastic Book Fairs are coming!! This year, the 7th St Book Fair will be Sept. 24-28 and the MLK Book Fair will be Sept. 28-Oct. 4. Both Fairs will be open during Fall Fest on Saturday Sept. 28. We NEED YOUR HELP! Please sign up to volunteer!! This is a really fun opportunity to get volunteer hours during the school day and during Fall Fest. The 7th St. Book Fair link is https://www.scholastic.com/bf/artsbasedschool58 .You can read about the book fair, shop our online book fair, sign up for ecards for your kids so they don’t have to bring money to school and sign up to volunteer. The MLK links will be available next week. Thanks so much!!


Martin Luther King Jr  Dr. Crossing continues to be a problem

Recently, Council Member Scippio emailed the WSPD to report her concern about pedestrians crossing
MLK toward the school and the safety issue.  Officer Sheets and Captain Rick Newnum came to meet
with Principal Hollis to discuss potential solutions to reduce the unsafe crossing at MLK.  The school has
taken many opportunities to educate and inform ABS parents that it is unlawful and unsafe to cross MLK
unless at a designated crosswalk.   Please do not cross Martin Luther King Jr Dr unless you are at the 


Garden Workday- Saturday, September 14

Join Principal Hollis in the garden, Saturday morning, September 14 from 8:30-11: 30 am to beautiful our gardens and campus.    Bring gloves, tools, wheelbarrows and plenty of water!  Double hours for your volunteer time!  Raindate- Sept 21