7380 Girard Ave

La Jolla, California


Posted on Feb 12, 2015

Annual Blood Drive


Our annual Blood Drive and Bake Sale was an amazing success! Thank you to the Grade 3 students, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Hurley, and everyone who volunteered or donated to help support the San Diego Blood Bank.

As a result of our efforts, a $2,306.00 donation was made to the San Diego Blood Banks along with 35 pints of blood with the potential of saving 105 lives!

We look forward to having you all participate in next year’s event!

Posted on Feb 12, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


Since the beginning of the school year the children have been drawing through observation. They have been practicing looking at things very closely and drawing what they see. Using charcoal and chalk pastels, the children explored color with their fingertips, as well as their eyes, feeling its slick smoothness or its grainy dryness. During this encounter, the children investigated the relationship between the pastel’s color and texture, exploring the ways in which pastels can be layered, blended, and wiped away, to reveal what is below the surface. The children carefully selected a palette of colors that reflected their subjects’ unique colors and shadings. The story of their creation is the story of focused attention and sweet surprises.

Something magical happens when the children slow down and really look closely. It is if they are seeing something familiar with new eyes. They notice the animals eyes, nose, and mouth. They notice the animal’s fur and how it moves or stands straight up. They notice the animal’s teeth and wonder what they eat. Their illustrations demonstrate the ways in which they come to know the subject’s identity. Here is an example of their inquisitive thoughts.

“This bear is fuzzy like a sea sponge.”

“I noticed some green and orange on his teeth through the magnifying glass, I wonder what he has eaten to make his teeth that color. It’s kind of cool to look through these. It looks very close to you!”

“My shark has dark eyes and a pointy nose and lots of different kinds of blues in his body.”

“I cannot get the shape of this shark right. I think it is a sideways oval.”

“The bear’s body has three circles in it. A beginning, middle and end. His hair is smooth on the sides but stands straight up on his head. Look!”

“I notice the grass is so bright in this picture. It is wet and a greenish yellow—like summertime.”

Posted on Feb 12, 2015

Visit by Georgia Heard

We are very proud and excited to announce that Georgia Heard will be joining the Gillispie team for two very busy, productive days. Georgia is a nationally and internationally known leader in the field of teaching writing.
Georgia will be on our campus all day on February 11 and 12. Day 1 will be an on-site training for our elementary teachers, using various classrooms as a lab, to demonstrate how children can find their writing voices. Her focus at this time will be the genre of poetry.
Day 2 will be an all-day workshop for all of our teachers. During this time we will be discussing reading and writing poetry as she lays the groundwork for developing writing fluency in all genres and helping increase students’ reading comprehension.
We are all looking forward to embracing this opportunity and feeling very thankful for the Gillispie Endowment for Excellence in Teaching that has allowed us to have these two days of extraordinary training.
Thank you,

Karen Basil

Reading Specialis
Posted on Dec 11, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


Gillispie’s Grade 4 students headed into Von’s this week with one goal in mind—to get more bang for their buck and make a small difference for someone in San Diego.

As part of the classes’ community service project this year, students were asked to raise $9 each ($200 total) to purchase groceries to donate to the San Diego Food Bank. Some students did chores around their home, while others recycled cans and bottles to make their money. The class cut coupons, comparison-shopped, and looked at the unit price of each item, keeping in mind their budget.

With a plan of action and money in hand, they headed to Vons to purchase as much food as they could to donate.

Grade 4 students promote and manage Gilispie’s annual November Food Drive, and participants school-wide have filled donation bins around campus for The Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank.

Thank you to the fourth graders and to everyone who participated this year!
Posted on Dec 11, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


Over the past few weeks the children have been investigating the idea of transformation. Questions such as, “Who am I?” “What can I become?” “What does it mean to transform?” have been pondered by this small group. Significantly, the representation of cheetahs, wolves, and owls have been the focus.

After representing these ideas with different media, the children were inspired and excited to take their blueprints to the next level.

Palettes of facepaint were brought to the atelier and the children became master makeup artists as they transformed their friends into the animals they desired to become.

Prekindergarteners’ ideas included:

“I want to be an owl with feathers and a heart face.”

“I would be a cheetah, I could run to school.”

“I would like to be an owl and fly around and see things at night like dark trees and streets with cars on them driving.”

“I want to be a cheetah then I can run fast and see all the animals in the wild.”

What began weeks ago as a simple play exploration of applying imaginary makeup with paintbrushes has evolved into more meaningful investigation of concepts, ideas, and expressions. Imaginary play allows children to expand their cognitive functionality and to powerfully exercise their creativity.
Posted on Dec 11, 2014

Gillispie “Gem of the Week”


Gillispie Grade 3 students became cartographers this week!

After field trips to The Map & Atlas Museum of La Jolla and the Hornblower, the children were asked to design and create a map of their very own island.

The island map included symbols to show the island’s natural features, a key using the symbols, a clever name and title, and a scale. It also had to include 5 natural features, 5 man-made features, and of course, proper grammar.
Posted on Dec 11, 2014

Thanksgiving Gratitude

As head of school at Gillispie, I am grateful for our teachers, who work with the children to bring out their best selves as citizens and students. I won’t mention the teachers by name, but instead note the variety of experiences they provide that encourage bravery, empathy, and a sense of community.

Encouraging bravery: Speaking in front of an audience requires courage. With great aplomb, third graders performed Harvest Feast of 1621 as a readers’ theater for their parents and at student assemblies. Our fifth graders are diligently rehearsing to get the comedic timing down for tomorrow’s debut of Snew White. Yesterday, after weeks of research, second graders collaborated with partners to share with parents what they had learned about their chosen European countries.

Encouraging empathy: Recently, fourth graders led the way to filling six brimming bins of non-perishables and visited the Food Bank for a hands-on opportunity to be community contributors. This week preschoolers made tie-dye shirts for Rady’s Children Hospital to lift the patients’ spirits, while kindergarteners collected food items for Children with a Vision, an orphanage in Tijuana.

Encouraging community: Today, prekindergarten families enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with a menu and decorations designed by the children. Popular items: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mac & cheese pie, pizza, broccoli, and gluten-free chocolate cake! These happenings took place within the last two weeks and show Gillispie at its best. I am thankful for our teachers who are conduits for the learning and understanding that develop in our children.

Alison Fleming Head of School

P.S. The first graders provided instructions on making a turkey. No need to Google a recipe with great advice like this: “I bake the turkey on Thanksgiving Day. First I put the stuffing in and put the salad in. Then I dress the turkey with chocolate chips. I make it nice and squishy. Lastly, I put the turkey in the oven. It will cook for a while like 15 minutes.” (edited for spelling)
Posted on Nov 06, 2014

Finding the Common Ground

IMG_5476What causes people to be homeless? How many people in San Diego are homeless? How do homeless people feel? These are some of the things that Gillispie fifth graders wondered about prior to a recent service learning field trip.

This month, both Grade 5 classes served lunch to the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul Village in downtown San Diego. The Village provides housing, meals, and a variety of services to members of our local homeless population.

Students learned about food safety and hygiene before preparing to serve lunch. Dressed in aprons, gloves and hair nets, the students cheerfully served lunch to over 300 individuals. The fifth graders served food and drink, helped people carry their lunches to the dining room, and bussed tables. By the end of the lunch service, the students were exhausted and hungry!

Back on campus, students discussed how their view of homeless people had changed. “Homeless people aren’t that different from us,” one student decided. Fifth graders were surprised to see homeless people in formal clothing, families with children, and homeless people using cell phones.

Students also expressed appreciation for their own good fortune: “I feel so grateful that I have a home and a wonderful family.” Many agreed that they would like to return: “It makes you feel good inside.” Giving back to our community gave us a rewarding and meaningful experience that we won’t soon forget.

Heidi Long Grade 5 Teacher
Posted on Nov 06, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

Gillispie’s Grade 2 students got to practice being bees this week in the Science Bungalow!

Mr. Edwards introduced this Earth Sciences unit by asking the children what words came to mind when they thought of flowers. This progressed into a discussion on pollination and how bees pollinate flowers to facilitate plant growth and reproduction.

To experience the process first-hand, the students created their own pollination devices using toothpicks and pipe cleaners. They ran from flower to flower gently touching their “pollinators” to the plants’ stigma, which serves as a landing zone and entrance for fertilization.

Some of the plants being pollinated were student-cultivated cucumber and wax bean plants that have recently begun to flower. The assignment was to pollinate 100 flowers, some students surpassed that goal to more than 500!

Gillispie science classes delve into Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science, and Investigation and Experimentation.

Posted on Nov 06, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

Grade 6 presented their Día de Los Muertos altars at this week’s upper elementary assembly.

As part of their Mexican cultural studies, the students worked in groups during their Spanish time with Señora Ruiz. They selected an individual who has died and created an altar to celebrate the person’s life.

On top of the altar, offerings, or “ofrenda,” are laid out consisting of items a loved one enjoyed while he or she was alive.

Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, and Walt Disney were among those represented by the students. The main altar set up in the conference room by parent volunteers was dedicated to none other than Ada and Samuel Gillispie!