Monthly Archives: September 2011
Posted on Sep 29, 2011
September 29, 2011 Under the watchful eye of Gillispie’s Grades 2,3,6 math specialist Susan Adams, Grade 3 students Tristan L. and Isabel R. discuss the solution to an equation as the Math Beach Ball is tossed around. Such kinesthetic, games-based learning improves math fluency and provides a welcome alternative to paperwork. Family game times that include dice and cards can offer the same benefits of improved number sense. Connor A. and Arden L. plant fall crop seeds in one of Gillispie’s schoolyard gardening areas; the areas have been open for gardening during some elementary recess times. Thanks to parent Erin M. for providing the enthusiasm and know-how to get this year’s planting underway.
Posted on Sep 29, 2011
September 29, 2011 We’re looking forward to welcoming 300+ of you tomorrow evening from 5-7 p.m. for delicious Tex-Mex food and dancing to a live band. Because Girard avenue will be closed, pick up your name tag when you enter through the Fay Avenue gate. New families attending their first Western Roundup will receive name tags indicating that they are new to Gillispie. Returning families, extend your hand and friendship to them with a big, “Howdy, Pardner!” Give yourself plenty of time to arrive because the event coincides with the set-up for the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival. Organizers will close Girard Avenue in the late afternoon tomorrow. To help alleviate any inconvenience, Festival personnel have graciously offered valet parking at Gillispie’s Fay Ave. entrance for parents attending the Family Western Night.
Posted on Sep 22, 2011
September 22, 2011
Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can; Roll it up, roll it up; And throw it in a pan! Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man.One of the ideas Room 1 teacher Julie Brackbill brought back from her professional development visit to the town of Reggio Emelia is the tradition of how children’s birthdays are celebrated at school, their home away from home. As she shared with the early childhood faculty, it is common practice in Reggio schools to honor a child’s birthday by having his or her peers bake a cake. Gillispie teachers were intrigued by this practice and appreciated its communal emphasis; thus, this year, we will put this practice into effect. Though the flavor may vary–carrot, vanilla, or maybe sour cream–the children will honor their classmates on that special day by making the cake in our student kitchen. Of course, the birthday child’s parents might be asked to bring in fruit or juice to round out the menu. Additionally, in some classrooms parents are encouraged to bring in newborn photos or memorabilia from their children’s births (booties are always a favorite), while other classrooms have the birthday child go home prior to the event and complete questions in a “Birthday Book” about memories and favorites (“My favorite thing to do with my family is ______”). This method of celebration provides benefits for both the birthday child and the other classmates. The child has an eager audience who is very interested in hearing about when he or she was little (because they are so old and big now!) and the young bakers/chefs enjoy the responsibility of letting their peer know that the birthday child is special and loved. Alison Fleming Head of School
Posted on Sep 22, 2011
September 22, 2011Ryan L. and Weston O. enjoy taking turns with the mixer while making a cake for one of their classmates in the teaching kitchen . Gillispie’s early childhood program has been inspired by this Reggio Emelia tradition and is making it its own.
Posted on Sep 15, 2011
September 15, 2011The following is this evening’s Back to School Night address from the President of the Board of Trustees, Annette Bradbury. Hello everyone and welcome to Back to School Night. My name is Annette Bradbury and I am the President of the Board of Trustees. I’m the parent of a fifth grader and a Gillispie graduate who’s now in high school. As this is my sixth and final year on the Board, I’m delighted to announce that Gaylene Xanthopoulos will be taking over as Board President next year. Gaylene brings a wealth of experience and wisdom and I’m excited to see her leadership skills at work guiding the Board of Trustees over the following two years. Gaylene, thank you for taking on the entirely volunteer, sometimes time-consuming, but ultimately very rewarding role of Board President. I’d like to introduce four new members of the Board: Peter Arrowsmith, Kelly Kjos, Kristi Pfister, and Mike Ryan. These new trustees have generously agreed to share their energy and use their expertise in law, finance, accounting, and marketing for the benefit of the school. I’d also like to acknowledge the current Board members for their contributions and commitment to the school: Rochelle Bold, Don Carlson, Jack Chitayit, Mary Talbot Fee, Chris Freundt, Briana Lichter, Dave Marino, Jennifer McIlvaine, Tina Nagle, Jeanie Scott, Alex Sun, Haeyoung Tang, and Gaylene Xanthopoulos. The Board is composed of 18 volunteers, both parents and community members, who hold this school, its mission, and its future in trust. The Board has responsibility for the financial and legal security of the school, and for planning strategically for the future. Their job is not to manage the school today, but to create the school from which your children’s children will benefit tomorrow. Returning to the Board’s first major responsibility, I am happy to report that Gillispie is in excellent financial health. We finished the year with an operating surplus and a clean bill of health from our third-party auditors. Keeping tuition affordable is a major priority of the Board and we have been able to continue to keep this year’s tuition increase at a historical low of three percent due to careful budgeting and long-term financial planning. The Board’s other major responsibility is to plan strategically for the future. Last year the Board and administration focused on revising the strategic plan to determine what we intend to accomplish over the next three years and how we will direct the organization and its resources toward accomplishing those goals. As part of this process and with input from faculty and parents, we developed a vision of Gillispie in the year 2020:
We love Gillispie! It’s a school where children can’t wait to arrive, never want to leave, and are eager to share their day’s adventures with families and friends. The synergy of forward thinking teachers, administrators, families and mentors provides the nurturing support that allows children to take risks, be creative, and think independently. Encouraged by exemplary and passionate teachers to express their knowledge and opinions, children become lifelong learners and critical thinkers. We use time, financial resources and physical space to create an environment that develops confident, competent children of character.This vision and the School’s mission statement guided the development of the new strategic plan that will take us through 2014. For example, to support the communications goal of creating top-of-the mind awareness of The Gillispie School, one strategy will be to develop and maintain an alumni relations program. And to support the financial goal of operating from a position of fiscal responsibility and strength, one strategy is to evaluate and develop additional sources of revenue to supplement tuition and donations. The new plan can be viewed on the Gillispie website here. I hope you enjoy this evening’s opportunity to visit with your children’s teachers and learn about the outstanding academics and specialty programs that Gillispie has to offer. Annette Bradbury President, Board of Trustees
Posted on Sep 15, 2011
September 15, 2011Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Auld gets leads a review of capital letters as part of the Handwriting Without Tears program. Mrs. Auld and her puppet friend Freddy Fish has Chloe L’s complete interest–hook, line, and sinker. Ms. Maté Schissler, Gillispie’s reading specialist who supports literacy skills and a love of reading for students Grades K-4, asked some of her students this week, “What does fluent reading sound like?” Here are some of their insightful answers: It sounds like talking except you are reading–Cate Not too fast and not too slow–Julian It sounds like you’re very smart and you love to read–Emma It sounds like you already know how to read–Gaby It sounds like you are really into the book and you don’t want to stop and you are happy—Jackson
Posted on Sep 09, 2011
September 9, 2011“Encouraged by exemplary and passionate teachers to express their knowledge and opinions, children become lifelong learners and critical thinkers.” –From the The Gillispie School Vision 2020 Statement Across the country, teachers and administrations have recently concluded the annual tradition of “prep week”–a time when teaching professionals collaborate to set the goals, tone, and philosophy for the year ahead. At Gillispie, this year’s prep week emphasized the Vision 2020 statement approved by the School’s Board of Trustees in late spring of 2011. This statement is based on insights provided by trustees, parents, faculty, and administration. While keeping in mind the excerpt above, these are just a few of the many purposeful sessions that took place last week: –Grade 4 teacher Kim Haas updated Grades prekindergarten through 2 teachers on Everyday Math developments. –With teachers trained at individual grade levels K-6 on the Learning Headquarters writing program, Director of Curriculum Margie Edwards led a session to share implementation strategies and develop a common language for teaching writing across the grades. –Assistant Head of School Steve Bunyak continued preparing Grades 3-6 teachers for September and October ERB CTP-Online testing. –Reading Specialist Maté Schissler trained Grades K-2 teachers in assessing student reading levels using the well-researched Fountas and Pinnell system. –Early childhood faculty continued work on emergent curriculum approaches and spent time with consultant Becky Candra on how classroom environments can be inspired by the Reggio Emelia philosophy. –Prekindergarten teacher Kimberly Abrams led a session on how children can see art all around them and discussions were held on extending learning outside of the classroom. –All elementary school and specialty teachers gathered to discuss their summer reading book, Nurture Shock, and early childhood faculty reviewed Working in the Reggio Way and excerpts from The Hundred Languages of Children. Through these experiences, teachers and administrators collaborated and learned together with a shared vision–for the year ahead and 2020–of providing their students with a nurturing, forward-thinking education of excellence. Alison Fleming Head of School
Posted on Sep 09, 2011