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La Jolla, California

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Posted on Dec 16, 2015

2015 Santa Lucia Day

Santa Lucia-555Grade 1 students held their annual Santa Lucia Day procession last week on Friday, December 11. Initiated by Gillispie teacher Ms. Engelhardt more than 20 years ago, the Santa Lucia Day celebration has become a school tradition.

During the procession, the students visit classrooms around the campus to greet students and faculty and deliver sweets.

Leading the procession were the two oldest girls from each first grade class, wearing crowns of evergreen and candles. According to Scandinavian tradition, these girls represent Santa Lucia (or Saint Lucy) herself.
Posted on Dec 16, 2015

Let There Be Peace On Earth

In separate conversations with colleagues and parents regarding recent events abroad and close to home, individuals have found it difficult to process the suffering of others and their own feelings of vulnerability. With the prospect of traveling with young children to the Midwest for the holidays, one parent noted, “The tension that comes along with a long plane ride and dividing time between our two families seems trivial with so much hurt by others.” So true.

A friend sent me a link to a YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sKdDyyanGk) that captures three 2-year-olds debating the outside weather conditions as either “raining” or “sprinkling.” At one point, one of the girls jabs her finger into the little boy’s chest for emphasis, and, sensing that he is losing the argument, with hand over heart, he despondently responds, “You poked my heart!” One of the children realizes the debate has gone too far and comforts the boy. As the author Anne Lamott writes, “It’s better to be kind than to be right.”

The following lyrics, as performed last Saturday by 30 of our elementary children at the UTC’s Westfield Plaza, resonated with the audience. They sang Kevin Ross’ “This Is My Wish,” and the words, coming from young voices, brought us up short:

This is my wish That peace will find its way to every boy and girl Fill the air with joyful noise Ring the bells and raise your voice Let there be peace on earth Let there be peace on earth

I reflect upon the toddler’s sincere declaration “You poked my heart!” and his classmate who eventually stepped in. In dealing with hurts or slights, whether imagined or real, and whether delivered purposefully or unintentionally, it is our ability to respond with kindness, equanimity, and understanding (though maybe not total agreement) that helps us make sense of the world and speaks to our humanity. As our tempers or frustrations may flare, “Let there be peace on earth,” in our hearts and homes.

Alison Fleming

Head of School
Posted on Oct 12, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

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Grade 3 students have been working on coding during their technology time with Mrs. Moore.

Using applications on their iPads, they played interactive coding games to practice their programming skills. After a few fun practice sessions, they took turns using an app called Tickle to remotely control a flying Parrot Drone with code that they had written. If the drone didn’t respond the way they intended, they had to go back to their code to find and correct the line error.

This exercise was a great way for them to connect programming to the physical world.
Posted on Oct 12, 2015

Enjoy this Upcoming Parent Education Event!

Here at Gillispie, we are excited to announce our involvement in the Village Talks Consortium, a non-profit organization of local schools and centers that have come together to share new research for the betterment of our teaching, parenting, and, ultimately our children. This group’s activity is focused on bringing to San Diego a series of speakers consisting of foremost experts, researchers, and authors in the field of education and child psychology.

As a member of this consortium, we will share event hosting duties with other member schools and help to get the word out about these valuable community learning experiences. Please read on for details of this fall’s event and be sure to check the Village Talks website for information on all of the upcoming events for the 2015-16 school year.

Jon Bluestein

Assistant Head of School & Dean of Students

Village Talks Consortium will be hosting a presentation by Dr. Wendy Mogel on Tuesday, October 20 at the Unity Center of San Diego.

Dr. Wendy Mogel is a clinical psychologist, parenting expert, international keynote speaker, and New York Times best-selling author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. Her mission is the protection and promotion of self-reliance, resilience, accountability, and exuberance in children. The Unity Center of San Diego is located at 8999 Activity Rd, San Diego, CA 92126. A social period will begin at 6:30 p.m. and Dr. Mogel’s presentation will start at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are $30 each or 2 for $50. All proceeds will benefit the San Diego Rescue Mission, which serves to educate children from homeless families. Tickets will only be available in advance online, and more information is available at www.villagetalks.com.
Posted on Oct 12, 2015

Gillispie School Admissions Season for Preschool-Grade 6 Begins

La Jolla Patch: The Gillispie School in La Jolla has opened it’s admissions season for the 2016-17 school year! Families interested in joining Gillispie’s preschool-Grade 6 program can now submit their application(s) for priority enrollment consideration for the 2016-2017 school year. Applications are due on or before February 1, 2016…read more.
Posted on Sep 22, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

IMG_1220During the Cypress Room’s play dough time this week, students practiced their sharing skills and good manners through conversation with one another.

“Maris, can I have more play dough please?” Ava asked. 

“Sure, here you go,” Maris responded. 

“Thank you, Maris,” Ava replied.

Later… 

“Ian? Can I have more play dough please?” Ava asked.

“Here…you can have all of it,” Ian answered. 

“Thank you, Ian. I’m making a beautiful dress,” Ava said.

Through play, the children are exposed to a variety of educational opportunities that encourage social skill development, self-expression, communication, logical thinking, and problem-solving.  
Posted on Sep 10, 2015

New Teachers at Gillispie!

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As we introduce a new year, I introduce new teachers at The Gillispie School. When you see them, please offer them a warm welcome to our family.

Fabiola Amaral has joined Kimberly Abrams in Prekindergarten Willow Room. In addition to holding her Teacher’s Permit and Early Childhood Credential, Fabi has two Bachelors Degrees, one from California State, San Marcos in Human Development and the other in Languages from Ibero Americana de Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has worked for over 15 years in both private and public school settings, and has been a one-to-one advocate.

Libby Grogan is teaming with Laurie Buttaro in Kindergarten, Room 19. For 15 years, she has taught both Prekindergarten and Kindergarten, more recently at St. John’s Episcopal School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California and at Avalon Elementary School in Pittsburgh.  She has her California Credential and earned her Bachelors Degree from Westminster College. Her daughter Mckynzie is a new Prekindergartner at Gillispie.

Teaching in the Magnolia Room with our youngest students as well as assisting in indoor and outdoor learning for our Early Childhood program is Natalie Hair. With three years of teaching experience, Natalie has worked with preschoolers and second graders. In addition to holding dual certification in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education, she received her Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education from College of Charleston in South Carolina.

Jamie Knudsen joins Gillispie as a Grade 1 teacher. She received both her Masters Degree in Early Childhood and Bachelors Degree in Human Development, Family Studies, and Early Childhood from the University of Utah. With over ten years of teaching Kindergarten and first grade students, Jamie most recently taught at Jefferson Academy, an International Baccalaureate elementary school in San Diego.

Associate Teacher Ashley Ratelle partners Spring Swaney in Grade 2. Ashley received her Masters Degree in Teaching and Multiple Subject Credential from University of San Diego and a Bachelors Degree in Art History from San Diego State University. Her field study and work experience have included teaching at High Tech Elementary North County in San Marcos and at La Jolla Country Day School.

Gillispie is very fortunate to have added such a dedicated, talented, and experienced group of teachers!

Alison Fleming

Head of School

Posted on Sep 10, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

photo.085611The mother of Grade 1 student Ella F. shared with us this story about a German tradition they upheld on Ella’s first day of school last week:

“Today we wanted to share with you a German tradition. On the first day of first grade, children in Germany receive a “Schultuete” from their parents. It is a big cone-shaped container filled with treats: back-to-school gear, candy, books (and in our case a Cinderella dress). Ella enjoyed her Schultuete a lot, and we thought you might enjoy seeing this tradition displayed in front of your school!” – Susanne F.
Posted on Sep 01, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

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Grade 6 students started off their year with a fun physical challenge in P.E. class with Coach Whelan and Coach Kibblewhite.
This exercise, called the “Human Ladder,” is a teambuilding exercise using PVC pipes, strength, and trust!
The participants must climb over a pipe ladder being held up by his or her peers. This first-week exercise in P.E. was a great lesson is teamwork!
Posted on Sep 01, 2015

Gillispie Cares

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When students come back to school, it is always such a joy to see how they have grown and developed over the summer. We are very excited to show all of you how Gillispie has developed over the summer as well! With wonderful new teachers, reconfigured spaces, and fresh learning materials, the campus is ready for another fantastic year of laughter and learning.
One change we would like to highlight is our updated Gillispie Values. The Values, which are such an integral part of our school culture, have received a bit of a facelift with the addition of a fifth value: compassion. With Gillispie’s long-standing tradition of community service and generosity, the addition of this value to our core belief system was natural. 
Above is an example of the new posters that are around the campus and in every classroom. As you can see our values create the acronym ICARE. It is important for us to work together with the students to create a community in which we all care about ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Please join us in using the language you see here to help your children learn and embody what it means to be an honest, empathetic, positive, respectful, and hard-working person.
Alison Fleming and Jon Bluestein Head of School and Assistant Head of School
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