Thursday Notes – January 15th, 2015


Mon, January 19


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 whirled and leapt and howled and pawed the air next to eleven lithe, tall UNCSA modern dance majors today, preparing for their 6th annual collaboration. Each year the tiny and great dancers partner to perform “Peter and the Wolf” for classmates and parents, beginning with joint dance classes taught by ABS dance teacher Jan Adams. Ms. Adams also teaches the pre-ballet classes at UNCSA and was North Carolina’s Charter School Teacher of the Year last year.

The young students and their teachers use Prokofiev’s beloved musical tale to study story structure and sequence, character and setting, and scientific examination of animal movement. They compare the evil wolves in children’s literature with real wolves, discovering that the shy creatures are very family oriented but have been vilified through much of classic fiction. This is their introduction to the word “stereotype.”

The students each dance the role of one character from the story. After introductory dance classes with the big dancers, Ms. Adams works with the UNCSA dancers to consider how they might choreograph the story for little people. Eventually the story is prepared with big dancers leading the little dancers through, providing the little ones with a visual safety net. When the duck appears on stage, seven little ducks waddle behind him. If stage fright confuses them, they can look up at their tall leader and follow them. There are also breathtaking performances by the grown-up dancers and moments when they break off into movements of their own.

This year we will unveil a gorgeous new set, drawn by ABS parent and graphic artist Kyle Webster, designed by UNCSA Design & Production student Antonio Dibernardo, built by ABS parent Tom Elsner and painted by ABS art teacher Elizabeth Gledhill, with help from two UNCSA painters. To celebrate this remarkable collaboration, we will perform this year at the Gerald Freeman Theater on the UNCSA campus. Save the date – it is Thursday, February 5th at 1:00 p.m.


Student Intent for 2015-2016 School Year

As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2015-2016), it is important to know how many spaces are available in each grade.  As a current student, your child has priority placement.  You should have received an email from Helpcounter requesting your intent for the 2015-2016 school year.  Please reply to the email as soon as possible.  Your intent must be received before February 1st so we know to hold a space for your child.


If you have not received the Helpcounter email requesting your intent, please email Stephanie May at


Siblings of students also receive priority, but must fill out an enrollment application. You must complete an application for the 2015-16 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery.  Deadline for receiving applications is Feb 6 @ 3pm


January Jam Tomorrow! – FRIDAY, JANUARY 16TH

January Jam is an after-school dance party open to all ABS students. There are two dances, one in the MLK Building and one in the 7th Street Building. The dance is from 2:30 to 4:30 and admission is $5. Snacks will be sold. Permission slips are due today by 3:40pm and will not be accepted on the day of the event. We ask for parent volunteers to chaperone or help with set up/clean up.  Children will be dismissed from inside the MLK and 7th Street buildings. You must come inside to pick up your child/children. There will NOT be an outside pick-up line.   Ryan Leigh Runyon is in charge of volunteers. We’re using VolunteerSpot to organize the volunteers .

(VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me (Ryan Leigh Runyon at and I can sign you up manually).

Please sign up to volunteer for ABS January Jam!  Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:
1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!


Band Volunteers Needed

Maestro Perret needs additional volunteers to assist with all 5th-8th grade band classes.  This is a great way to have a regular volunteer position to accomplish your volunteer requirements!  No instrument experience required.

Please sign up for ABS Band Class Volunteers!  Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:
1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!


Parent Council Meeting

We do not have a PC meeting scheduled in January.  The next meeting will be held on Friday, February 13th at 8:15am in the Teacher Resource Room (MLK Building).  Please submit any requests for next month’s agenda to Shannon Wright ( or Michelle Lawrence ( before Thursday, February 5th.


MAP Testing in January

Third through eighth grade students will complete the second round of MAP testing in January.  After the testing is complete, parents will receive an updated score report showing the progress your student has made this year.


Let Your Child’s Reading Feed the World

The K-Kids are once again sponsoring the very popular school-wide fund raiser for Heifer International called “Read to Feed.” Heifer International is an organization which contributes livestock and training to families in need around the world and helps them build sustainable businesses. Each student who participates will ask family and friends to donate a certain amount for each book he or she reads (or, for young students, for each book read to them) from now until Feb. 27, and that amount will go toward buying cows, chicken, sheep, goats or llamas for a family.   Please see the letter in today’s Thursday packets.


Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather, ABS will announce school closings on local TV channels, under “The Arts Based School”.  This information will also be posted on the ABS website (


Snow Days Cancellations

Although the inclement weather has caused us to cancel a school day, at this point we are not required to schedule a make-up day.   The state law requires public schools to provide 180 days or 1025 hours.  We will exceed this requirement even though we missed a day.


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.

Get the flu vaccine for you and your children.