7380 Girard Ave

La Jolla, California


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.


“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

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

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
Posted on Jun 18, 2015

Gillispie School Grade 6 Vow of Silence

La Jolla Patch: During the final weeks of school, Gillispie Grade 6 students took a Vow of Silence for 24 hours as a community service project. The students gave up their voices to draw attention to important causes and relief efforts, including earthquake assistance in Nepal and victims of Ebola in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, more than 23,000 people…read more.
Posted on Jun 18, 2015

Art Day at The Gillispie School!

La Jolla Patch: Gillispie held its annual end-of-the year Art Day and Ice Cream Social on Friday, May 29! Students and their families enjoyed a wide variety of art displayed across the campus. Gilliispie Art Teacher Ms. Susan Walters did a fantastic job selecting an art piece from each child to showcase. Photography, watercolors, ceramics, acrylic, puppets, and several other media were used…read more.
Posted on Jun 18, 2015

Gillispie Celebrates 12th Annual International Day

La Jolla Patch: The Gillispie School celebrated its 12th annual International Day Friday, April 17 2015. Students grabbed their “passports” and traveled to Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Cuba, Hawaii, Iran, India, and Thailand. Parent volunteers and teachers transformed classrooms into virtual countries where children experienced smells, sights, and sounds of the different cultures represented…read more.
Posted on Jun 18, 2015

Thinking Eyes: La Jolla’s Gillispie School teacher speaks out for art education

La Jolla Light: “Now is the best time to be an artist,” opines longtime Gillespie School art teacher Susan Walters. “When you think about it, everything today is based on the image. Everything is on screens and we are bombarded with visual imagery. As artists, there is a lot of opportunity and technological advances that help get our images out.” That’s why her 20-year teaching philosophy is oriented to developing a “thinking eye” in students to help them better analyze and produce the images around them…read more.  
Posted on Jun 18, 2015

Gillispie School class in La Jolla donates $2,326 to San Diego Blood Bank

La Jolla Light: Despite being nearly a decade away from eligibility to donate blood, Gillispie School students wanted to help the San Diego Blood Bank. On Feb. 10, third-graders hosted a blood drive to generate blood donations and a bake sale to raise funds. They donated the $2,326 proceeds during a ceremony March 25, in which each student read a thank you note for all the blood bank does. Jackie Vella, Foundation Director for San Diego Blood Bank, accepted the check…read more.
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