ABS Thursday Notes- September 5, 2019

Thursday Notes                       

Published for the Arts Based School Community                           September 5, 2019



How We Do It and Why

by Mary Siebert


“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” – African American Spiritual and Protest Song


The first time we gathered all of our students in one room to sing together on a Friday afternoon seventeen years ago, there were 150 students in the school. They sat on the floor in the lunchroom of the MLK building. I stood on a salvaged furniture crate with my guitar, and the first song I led at the first Friday Sing was “This Little Light of Mine.” That song has everything: African American roots, rich protest, and powerful resistance history, joy, energy, and the power of positive thinking. When you sing it, you feel that anything is possible and that you, yourself, will accomplish it.

Today I sang that song with each of the Kindergarten classes, in preparation for their first Friday Sing this week. Tomorrow, we’ll have our own private Kindergarten rehearsal in the theater with all three classes. Ms. Boudreault (“Mrs. B”) and I will stand up on the platforms with microphones and lights. We’ll sing and joke with them until they feel happy and safe in that setting. One little girl was confused, thinking that they themselves were to perform. She quickly volunteered to work backstage! I explained her role in this event more carefully, and she relaxed. I imagine she will make many courageous strides between today and Peter and the Wolf. 

Our students regularly summon their self-confidence and try again. We take many runs at the goal, and the journey is a little different for every one of them. That path might require the help of a counselor or a reading specialist, a speech therapist, or a therapy dog. It might require extra assistance or the opportunity to try something more challenging than the norm. And some of them are truly happier backstage. 

The “guided reading” and “guided math” that our children are taught supports this philosophy. I stepped into Ms. Sherell’s first grade classroom yesterday during a guided math lesson and saw how she worked intensively with four or five students, while three other groups were working in focused, related activities and problem-solving in various parts of the room. Ms. Dawanna assisted those who needed individual attention, perhaps encouragement to stay with the math, perhaps for a shoelace or a Kleenex. There was undeniable flow. Everyone in the room was full of energy and focus. It was math, it was exciting, it was just first grade, and it was brilliant. There were little lights shining all over the room, each at their own pace.

I asked each Kindergarten class today what they thought the “little light” in the song might be. They had ideas: a flashlight. A firefly. Stars. The moon. A lantern. A birthday candle. And then, miraculously, one little boy said “…I think it’s your mind.” He pointed to his head. And he explained that if someone says “NOOOOO” to you, (gesturing with a hand pressing out and downward,) it can go out. No kidding, he said that. Those Kindergarteners will take your breath away.


Clubs and Ensembles

Clubs and ensembles will begin next Tuesday. If your student is enrolled in one of these, you’ll receive an email from the specialist in charge of the club tomorrow. A few slots are still available in some of the clubs, you can


Click HERE to enroll in Sports Club for 2, 3, 4, or 5th grades.


Click HERE to enroll in Clubs and Ensembles for 6, 7, and 8.



Welcome to our Student Teachers

We’re delighted to be hosting five student teachers this semester.  It’s an honor to be supporting and influencing the educators of tomorrow.  

Katie Allison (UNCG) -Dance with Mrs. Adams

Mary-Hallet Culbreth (Wake Forest University)- Fifth Grade with Mrs. Zayas

Adam Tate (WSSU)- Fourth Grade with Ms. Robertson

Emily Gaskin (Wake Forest University) Fifth Grade with Ms. Fragakis

Olivia VanSlooten (High Point University) Fourth Grade with Mrs. Meeks


Morning Traffic Helpers

Thanks to each of our great morning traffic helpers.  It’s a wonderful way for our students to start the day with a safe and friendly greeting at the curb.   We do have some days that we still need extra help. If you can help with morning traffic (7:45-8:15), please contact Stephanie Lefever slefever@artsbasedschool.com


Please Be Safe

We have a few very important reminders in the school parking lot that we ask you please remember and follow.  

-Do not cross Martin Luther King Dr. unless you are at the cross walk at the light at Patterson or Trade.   Do not drop off students on MLK or 7th St.

-No Cell Phone use in our parking lot unless you are parked.  This includes both texting and phone calls. We do not want you to be distracted when student safety is at stake.

-Do not pass cars that are unloading.  We ask that students are dropped off only at the sidewalks.  Please stay in the line, not passing cars that are loading or unloading.

-If you arrive after 8:15, the school doors are locked.  Please park your car and escort your child into the school building so you can sign him/her in.  


Builder’s Club News

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 into 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 13.  Meetings will be held in Mrs. Gledhill’s room in the 7th Street building. 



Parent Council Meeting – Friday, September 13!

Please join us for the first Parent Council meeting of the school year on Friday, September 13 at 8:15 in the MLK Cafe.  All ABS parents, families, and caregivers are part of Parent Council and are welcome to attend! If you would like to submit a topic for the agenda, please send an e-mail to Parent Council Co-Chairs, Becky Dickson (rebeccapdickson@gmail.com) and Sam Pearce (sampearce@triad.rr.com) by Friday, September 6.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Parent Coffee Talk
Following the PC meeting next Friday please join us at Moji, around the corner at Trade and 7th St, for an informal conversation with other parents. Members of the PC board will be there, so please come by to say hello.


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, Fall Fest Coordinator, is working on planning a great event.   We are looking for more volunteers to help out in the coordination so please email us if you are interested in getting involved! Meagan Robinson meaganlark11@gmail.com or Becky Dickson  rebeccapdickson@gmail.com


ABS Family Directory

Each family will be receiving one copy of the ABS Family Directory.  It will be coming home in the Thursday packet of your youngest child at ABS.  Please remember the directory is published for the private use of The Arts Based School families.  Under no circumstances is the directory information to be used for sales, solicitations, or any other commercial purpose.


Chess Club will start next Tuesday, Sept. 10 in the MLK Art Room! Click here to sign-up your child to attend: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HNjtWKTMi8d8oiSncv4e_JpGaw-y5qQzYXmGpMt9PIo/edit?usp=sharing

Be sure to send a note with your child that day so his/her teacher will know that you want them to attend. Also, please send in a snack for your child and/or sign-up to provide snacks as you are able. For any questions, feel free to email Scott Ertl (School counselor) at sertl@artsbasedschool.com and/or Matthew Greene (Kindergarten teacher) at mgreene@artsbasedschool.com


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