ABS Thursday Notes- March 1, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                                 March 1, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com     Conference Days- March 2- Early Dismissal,                         K-4 Dismiss at 11:45                        5-8 Dismiss at 12 noon                               March 5 No School   Dear Fellow ABS Families,   We’re sure you remember the feeling well. The date was circled on the calendar and you waited with anticipation until it was time…the Arts Based School lottery. The evening where we all gathered into the building surrounded by a little tension and whole lot of optimism. Parents, families, and hopeful future ABS students piled into, what we all know now as the Cafe, picked a lucky seat and held their breath, while looking around at the other families doing the cruel math in our heads: number of families – available spots= miracle! So, we waited and all chanted the same phrases in our mind over and over…please let them pull our number! Please let us get into ABS!   Then it was time. Number by number the newest students were announced and the Arts Based School filled for another year. The excitement of those students heading to ABS the following year, sadly was mixed with the disappointment of parents who wanted nothing more than their students to attend this school. There might have even been some tears…both of joy and sadness. Indeed, it was an emotional event and it now seems like kind of a blur since we’ve been at ABS for several years, but I do remember walking away from that experience with one strong feeling…luck. I clearly remember feeling so fortunate that my family was going to get the opportunity to join the Arts Based School community. The feeling that we were so lucky to learn at ABS!   It’s human nature to forget over time that euphoric feeling you got when your number was pulled at the lottery that night and you officially became an ABS family. It’s like anything new and exciting, it becomes part of your daily routine and you can even take it for granted, but we are asking you to remember. Remember how it felt to hear your number called and know you were going to give your student the opportunity to attend a school like none other in our city. A school based on a custom-made, arts-based curriculum crafted by passionate faculty and staff, where every student feels safe and receives a phenomenal education. It’s impossible to place a value on the kind of education ABS provides to our children and, at the same time, difficult to believe that it all happens on a very limited budget.  As ABS families and friends, we are invited to experience the...

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ABS Thursday Notes- February 22, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                              February 22, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com     Tragedy in Florida The tragic events in Florida last week have left many of us feeling a full range of emotion, from fear and anxiety to grief and empathy.  In the face of such tragedy, our ABS community looks for ways to provide our children and staff with stability, security, and a collective sense of well-being. Our procedures are based on the state’s crisis intervention kit, provided to all schools. As part of our school safety and crisis plan, we conduct annual lockdown training for staff which includes the children’s orderly following of directions, lockdown “shelter in place”, and common sense decision-making.   Full details of our lockdown plans are not shared publicly as recommended by security experts.  We conduct lockdown drills twice a year with students.   The relatively small footprint of our campus as well as our entire staff’s knowledge of children and their parents not only nurtures our tight-knit  community, but it also sustains a connectedness that enhances our children’s safety. Our community members know and support one another. Children’s safety is always our highest priority. In the face of this tragedy, some parents may find themselves wondering how (or even whether) to address these events with their children. The resources linked below offer insights and tips from nationally recognized professionals on how parents can handle thoughts and questions children raise about such events.   Whenever a tragedy occurs, it is natural to be curious and want to learn as much as possible through the news and other public communications.  But remember: your children are listening, too, and processing things much differently than adults do.  It is important to limit your child’s access to television news, as the news tends to be more graphic than they can handle.  When discussing the event with your child, it is important to keep your information short and factual, without a lot of personal reaction.  Start by asking them what they have heard so far.  Then give a short and concrete answer to their questions.  Make sure to focus on as many reassuring facts as possible, like help from the police and medical professionals, and how everyone pulled together to support each other.  Avoid making political comments and avoid talking graphically about what happened, like the weapons used, and specifics about how people were hurt.  End on a reassuring note, that these events do not happen often, and there are many more positive events in the world every day than bad things like this.  Our media tends to focus on the negative...

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ABS Thursday Notes- February 15, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                                   February 15, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com   No School- Monday, Feb 19 President’s Day   How We Do It and Why By Mary Siebert   “To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice.” – Elie Weisel   Brundibár is a children’s opera by Czech composer Hans Krása, based on a cheerful folk tale. It is widely regarded as the finest opera ever composed for children to sing (with an adult orchestra.) It premiered in 1941, at a Jewish orphanage in Prague. In 1942, Hans Krása was arrested by the Nazis and imprisoned at Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp, where an estimated 33,000 people died of overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. 88,000 people were sent from Terezín to Auschwitz and other death camps. The Nazis allowed the children of Terezín to perform Brundibár at least 55 times at Terezín, routinely shipping the young singers to death camps afterward, to be replaced by a new cast of children. When the International Red Cross visited Terezín in 1944, the Nazis theatrically staged the camp as a temporary showpiece to refute growing allied suspicions that Jewish citizens were being exterminated. Terezín was staged with a new Kindergarten, a park, flowers, rich food, and concerts. The prisoners were dressed in fine clothing. Just before the arrival of the Red Cross, the Nazis shipped 7,500 people to Auschwitz, to create more open space. The opera Brundibár was performed for the Red Cross visitors, to demonstrate how happy and productive the children of Terezín were. Red Cross representatives reported to the world that Nazi prison camps were safe, clean, and pleasant. Immediately after the Red Cross departed, the cast and the composer were sent to Auschwitz to be killed. This innocent little opera has carried the weight of its terrible historical context, ever after. The Arts Based School’s 7th Graders perform Brundibár annually, as part of a state-required study of World War II, the Holocaust, and genocide. One year, a surviving cast member, Ela Weissberger, visited us and shared memories of the friends she had loved and lost. She stood with our students to join in the “Victory Song,” and asked us always to remember her friends. Memoirs of children who lived at Terezín, the testimony of surviving cast members, historic video footage of a Brundibár performance at the prison camp, and the experience of singing the very notes those children sang, help us consider the Holocaust through the eyes of young victims whose memory we keep alive through this project. We sing in solidarity with those lost friends.   Brundibár will be performed by...

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ABS Thursday Notes- February 8, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                            February 8, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com     How We Do It and Why By Mary Siebert   Q: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  A: Practice, practice, practice.   Tomorrow, the third graders travel to Reynolds Auditorium to join about 1,500 other 3 – 5 grade students from around the city, for the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Mary Starling “Link Up” concert. Link-Up is a program for students nationwide (and in several countries across the sea,) from the Carnegie Hall organization. This is our first year with this project. It will be exciting to hear reports of the big concert day, from students!   To prepare for the concert, Mr. Wilbur has been teaching third graders the dynamic curriculum provided (free of charge) by the Carnegie organization. It focuses on the musical element of melody. When they travel to the concert, students are encouraged to bring along recorders (the flute-like musical instrument, not the electronic device,) and play and sing along with the Winston-Salem Symphony. Like me, you probably all want to be there with them. But seating is limited, and the auditorium will be packed with students and teachers.   They have learned Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” from his 9th Symphony, a melody from Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony, new works composed for this event, and two traditional folk songs. They prepare a song in Spanish – one they particularly love, called “Oye!”  If you are a third-grade parent, you’ve heard this one rising from the back seat! They have each been given a book with the notated music, the story of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” ballet (which they will listen to, not play,) and many exercises and lessons about playing music with an ensemble.   Mr. Wilbur has found the students extremely responsive to the challenge. He says that some of this music might seem inaccessible to a young student, when they see and hear a big orchestra with a conductor; it might seem unreachable. But this program brings them to the works from the inside, and they inhabit it.   He is enjoying watching students truly following in the music with full attention, recognizing durations and pitches and more complex rhythms than before. He sees them excited and self-motivated to take their books home and practice. He sees them helping one another during rehearsal. He’s proud of that.   Mr. Wilbur has also been observing great improvement in students’ management of breath control as they play their instruments. He sees that students are successfully recognizing a very difficult concept: no matter how exciting the swell of the music might be, you are...

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ABS Thursday Notes- February 1, 2018

Annual Giving Campaign Kickoff In the month of hearts and Valentine’s Day, we are launching our Annual Giving Campaign to show our love for our school.  Each family will soon be receiving information about the Campaign.    You will also be hearing from your Class Campaign Representative – each class has one, some have two!  Never fear, these folks are not there to hound you but simply to serve as a resource should you have any questions.    Thank you so much for your consideration and participation in the Annual Giving Campaign.  Our goal is 100% participation and we can’t do it without YOU!   New Faces at ABS Each year we are delighted to host student teachers and observers from area universities.   It’s such a privilege to work with the future of education and share the “ABS way”.   Peace Ajirotutu from Salem College is working with Mr. Wilbur in the music room. Savhana Hargritt from the career center also working with Mr. Wilbur. Abby Lockhart from Wake Forest University is working  with Ms.Cohen in second grade. Janine Bardell from Salem College is working with the kindergarten team. Eugenia Huang from Wake Forest University is interning with Principal Hollis. Holli Sowers from High Point University is working with Mrs. Sankey in second grade. Courtney Hedgecock from High Point University is doing her student teaching in Ms. Christian’s third grade classroom.   Welcome Welcome to our new middle school math teacher, Lisa Hendrix.   Yesterday was Ms. Boaz’s last day at ABS before she officially retires. We wish her the best of luck! I am excited to report that we have a wonderful math teacher joining us in her place. Lisa Hendrix will join the 7th and 8th grade team as our new math teacher. Ms. Hendrix is licensed in math 6-9, math 9-12, and AIG. She has experience teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and is coming to us from Clemmons Middle School.   Unfortunately, the timing doesn’t work for Ms. Hendrix to start with us today. She is planning to start with us on February 26th or earlier if her position is filled by that time. Mrs. Woosley has agreed to fill in until Ms. Hendrix joins us.   Congratulations! Ella Parks (7th grade) took her science fair project titled “Will the Water Temperature Help Me Win the Race?” to the Region V Charter Science Fair in Greensboro last week. Ella’s project placed first in the middle school biological sciences A category. She now has the opportunity to enter her project in the Region V Science Fair at Triad Math and Science Academy on February 17th. Great job, Ella!   Snow Make Up Days Although the inclement weather has caused us to cancel a few...

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ABS Thursday Notes- January 25, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                             January 25, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com     How We Do It and Why By Mary Siebert   “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” – Voltaire   Sixty Kindergarten students whirl, leap, howl and paw the air, together with nearly a score of  lithe, tall UNCSA modern dance majors, preparing for their 9th annual collaboration. It’s a favorite moment for Ms. Hollis and I each year, to tiptoe down the hallway and peek in as the little faces look up, up, up in wonder and behold those magnificent “big dancers” right in the studio with them. One year, a Kindergartner stopped in her tracks as she entered the space to see those big dancers, then turned to me and gasped “Mrs. Siebert, there are HIGH SCHOOL KIDS in here!” The big dancers just join into regular dance class with the little dancers, as natural as you please. Ms. Adams introduces them, then turns on the music and begins a warm-up. “Find a place in the room where you know you will be noticed because there is lots of space around you! Keep your feet rooted to the floor and see how many ways you can move your arms. Freeze in a high statue when I hit the drum (bang!) Now move your arms again. And freeze in a low statue. (bang!)” The little dancers are used to this, but when they see that the big dancers are doing it exactly as they do it, they’re filled with wonder. And of course, both big and little dancers are inspired by the improvisatory ideas of the other. Before long, they are spinning and flying and tumbling through the space together as though they are family, free of self-consciousness, just brothers and sisters in the dance.   Each year the tiny and great dancers partner to perform “Peter and the Wolf” for classmates and parents, beginning with these joint dance classes taught by ABS dance teacher Jan Adams. Ms. Adams, a NC State Charter School Teacher of the Year, also teaches pre-ballet classes at UNCSA.   The young students and their teachers use Prokofiev’s beloved musical tale in the classroom, and in music, art, and dance classes to study story structure and sequence, character and setting, vocabulary, instrument families, acting, movement, and scientific studies of animals. They compare the stereotypically evil wolves in children’s literature with real wolves, discovering that the shy creatures are family oriented and have been vilified through much of classic fiction. This is an introduction to the inaccuracies of...

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