Thursday Notes – May 28th, 2015

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“I’ve never run into a person who yearns for their middle school days.” – Jeff Kinney (Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, creator of Poptropica.)

The graduation ceremony at ABS on June 3rd will be familiar in many ways: the simple task of handing students a diploma, congratulating them, and wishing them the best is uncomplicated. But this is our very first graduating 8th grade class, and 8th graders have strong opinions. As Chip Wood, in his book Yardsticks writes about typical kids this age: “At fourteen, adolescents are looking constantly for opportunities to decide by themselves what they will do on their own.”

So, armed with a basic structure of the ceremony (including the requirements from an administrative point of view) I met with the 8th graders to ask them what they would like to do. It was immediately apparent that they did not want to do what I suggested. They were accepting of the basics: the welcomes and speeches by adults, the handing out of diplomas. But when it comes to performing as part of the ceremony, they want nothing to do with the sentimental stuff that might bring parents to tears. No Sunrise, Sunset (“It’s too sad!”) No Swimming to the Other Side (“We’ve been doing that for years, we want to do something new!”) I invited their ideas.

They made suggestions, some of them more appropriate or popular than others, but all of them revolved around one theme: friendship & farewell. These students are all ready to move on, but they are aware of their close community, and they want to sing together about it, via deeply nostalgic songs. I, myself, share the experience of Jeff Kinney’s quote above; I miss nobody from my middle school days, with the exception of my horse. But these kids seem to feel that their relationships are unusual, and they want to acknowledge that by making music together.

I hope that, as they move into this highly peer-influenced time in their lives, our students have learned to celebrate themselves as distinctly unique individuals. I hope they will accept others with that fascination for the beauty of difference and originality which is particular to artists. And I hope they will be bold enough to take the lead in their peer groups, modeling positive acceptance. As they sing their songs of friendship and farewell, we grown-ups will be privately humming the sentimental songs:

Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?

I don’t remember growing older…when … did… they?”


Annual Giving Campaign – Week Six!

It’s hard to believe, but we are one week away from summer break!  This also means we have ONE MORE WEEK to reach our goal of 100% participation in our Annual Giving Campaign!  Here’s where we stand:


OVERALL SCHOOL PARTICIPATION  38% (vs. 35% last week)

TOTAL DOLLARS DONATED $21,345 (vs. $20,695 last week)


We have a challenge in front of us now… 100% participation! Can we do it???  Not without YOU!

Any size donation is welcome and greatly appreciated – it all adds up and means much more than most folks can imagine.  The power of a high participation rate carries on much further than the size of the donation alone.  Businesses, foundations, folks reviewing grant applications – they need to see that we support our own school first before they are anxious to support us as well.  They need to know we believe in this place and back it up with whatever means we have available.

This week, if you haven’t had a chance to make a donation, please consider it. Whether you donate the balance on your child’s lunch account or clean out the cup holder of change in your car – it all makes a difference.  It all matters.

To donate online:


Yearbooks are here!

Yearbooks are in! You may purchase one for $20.00 with Ms. Wise in the MLK building or with Ms. Brown in the 7th St. building. We only have a limited number for sale, so it will be first come, first served. If you have any questions feel free to call Ms. Brown at extension 2000 or email


Volunteer for Field Day!

Next Thursday is our annual end of school Field Day!  Games and activities have been arranged for both buildings and we need your help to make it all happen!  Please contact your Class Rep or our Field Day Coordinators, April Greenwood ( and Tommy Priest (mind if you can help.  Pizza lunch will be available for order on field day.


Class & Specialist Reps For Next Year

Recruitment for our 2015-16 Class and Specialist Reps takes place over the summer.  We try to have all classroom representation set prior to our Class Rep Breakfast and training session with the staff in mid August.  Serving as a Class or Specialist Rep is a fantastic way to stay involved with the school and accumulate your needed volunteer hours.  These positions do not have to be overly time consuming, but are very important to help support our teachers.  You may also Co-Rep with another parent if you’d like to share the position.  Interested in volunteering?  Please contact Michelle Lawrence (  Thank you!


Bring Band Instruments Next Week

Please send all 5th – 8th grade students to school with their band instruments next week, Monday -Wednesday! We will be checking serial numbers to make sure each instrument is accounted for and finds its way to the appropriate location for the summer.


End of Year Checklist

  • Pick up medications from the front office
  • Be sure all fees and lunch balances are paid
  • Let us know if you will not be returning to ABS next year.  If your child is transferring to another school, please let us know where to send your child’s records by emailing Stephanie May –
  • Thursday, June 4this the last day of school.  Early dismissal

Work Day

Saturday, June 6

9:00 to 1:00

Join us for a work day at ABS on Saturday, June 6. There will be opportunities to take cut flowers home, and of course, Please RSVP to Matt Mayers ( or 723-7189)



Enrollment Forms for 2015-16

Enrollment information and forms (for current students) that are usually sent home in preparation for the 2015-2016 school year will be emailed to parents this year. You should have received the email on Friday, May 22.  Please fill out the emergency contact index cards and the medical history sheet and email them to by June 1.  If you do not receive an email, please email Stephanie May at and she will send you the forms.  We’re encouraging forms to be filled out electronically this year but for those who do not have easy access to the internet, paper forms will be available in the front office of both buildings.


Final Friday Sing

On Friday, May 29, we will all gather in the 7th Street courtyard for an ALL-SCHOOL Friday Sing from 2:00-2:25. If the weather prevents an outdoor gathering, Friday Sing will be for only K – 4th graders, in the back space, from 2:00-2:25.


Around Town…

A Bailar! Let’s Dance!

ABS arts partner, The Hispanic Arts Initiative, launches a new concert series with a performance by the Tropic Orchestra of Ricardo Diquez Saturday, June 13 at 6:00 at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem, with performances by the Hispanic Arts Initiative dancers. Purchase tickets at