7380 Girard Ave

La Jolla, California

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Posted on Dec 11, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

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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

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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”

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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.

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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!

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Posted on Oct 16, 2014

Gillispie Boosts Science, Sustainability, and Art Programs With Campus Expansion

La Jolla Patch: The Gillispie School in La Jolla began its school year by unveiling three new learning spaces completed over the summer during its Fay Street campus expansion project. The space additions include a newly renovated science bungalow, a sustainable garden, and an early childhood art atelier, all completed in August 2014…read more. 
Posted on Oct 16, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


Based on student interest, preschool Room 1 children have been exploring different kinds of trucks. The truck that’s received the most attention is the red fire engine. After receiving a donated refrigerator box, the students decided to use it to create their own bright red fire truck. They headed outside with large painter’s brushes in hand and got to work on their project!

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Posted on Oct 08, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

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Grade 4 enjoyed their last day of P.E. swim this week!

With fall upon us, our elementary students will take a hiatus from weekly swimming to focus on other sports, like soccer, basketball and lacrosse.

Once the winter months pass and spring arrives along with its warm, sunny days, the students will be back in the pool practicing their backstrokes and dives. ​
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