7380 Girard Ave

La Jolla, California


Posted on Apr 11, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


Last Friday we celebrated our 11th annual International Day on campus! The event began with a flag ceremony and parade, followed by a full-day celebration highlighting cultures from across the globe. Classrooms and spaces around campus were set up to represent different countries, with food, crafts, presentations, entertainment, and décor all reflecting the country and its culture.

The International Day program was originally developed to enhance our Social Studies curriculum, and has since become one of the most anticipated school days of the year.

A special “thank you” to this year’s teacher event coordinator Kim Abrams, and to all of our wonderful faculty, staff (especially Jessica Yeagle), and parent volunteers who helped make the day a success!



Posted on Apr 11, 2014

Gillispie Students “Travel” the Globe During their Elementary Social Studies

Every year, Gillispie fulfills its mission to “foster individual commitment to the larger world” in important ways. For example, parents and selected teachers shared their expertise, enthusiasm, and knowledge about a variety of countries on a colorful and substantive International Day, held last Friday. Day to day, classroom learning is enhanced with a study of one of the seven continents at each elementary grade level. The summaries below highlight for each grade level just some of the project-based learning opportunities and multi-disciplinary work pursued by students.


Kindergarten: Australia–Comparison of the Great Barrier Reef with our own San Diego coastline; study of aboriginal people; Captain Cook sailing adventure; Australia Day celebration. In art class, Mrs. Auld and Ms. Quinton’s students make marsupial puppets, while Mrs. Buttaro’s students make a mural of an Australian eucalyptus tree and Australian animals.

Grade 1: Antarctica–Study of survival in harsh climates; important expeditions and explorers; scientific simulation on gridded map; animal research reports. With Ms. Walters in the art studio, students make penguin collages and ceramic penguin sculptures.

Grades 2: Europe–Research report on the geography and culture of selected countries; backpack journey through the continent to discover the landforms, bodies of water, and regions. Students work in pairs to conduct research on countries and then present their work orally to gathered parents and peers.

Grade 3: Asia–Research and production of a laptop-generated travel brochure that highlights an Asian country; Chinese New Year celebration. In art class, students make koinoibori windsocks, Japanese tea bowls, ceramic Chinese dragons, and jewel-embellished watercolor elephants.

Grades 4: South America–By the Great Horn Spoon literature study with stops at South American points; world tour in math including a special stop in Brazil to learn elements of the geography and culture. In art, students make pen/watercolor drawings of South American animals. Señora Radchik teams up with Mr. Whelan to review South American countries and then to play a tournament of country-vs.-country inspired fútbol.

Grade 5: North America–Topographical study of land features and waterways in Canada and the United States; geographical study of the eastern seaboard. In art class, students make storyteller figures based on those of North American tribes and glass etchings of North American birds. In Spanish class, Señora Radchik emphasizes the history and culture of Mexico and Central America.

Grade 6: Africa: Re-creation of African rainstorm; partnering with Feed the Children to help in getting water to Kenya’s residents in need with a Day of Silence. Students make ceramic masks inspired by African masks in art class. In Spanish, students learn the location of Spanish-speaking countries worldwide, including Equatorian Guinea in Africa.

Margie Edwards
Director of Curriculum

Posted on Apr 08, 2014

International Day at the Gillispie School

La Jolla Blue Book: Today was International Day at The Gillispie School! La Jolla Blue Book stopped by to check out their 11th annual cultural event, which began at 8:45am with a Parade & Flag ceremony and continues until 3pm. Kids from all grades participated (K-6), and several classrooms represented a different country from around the world – they were completely decorated to highlight the customs, traditions, and culture of the people who live there…read more.

Posted on Apr 03, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


In anticipation of International Day, Gillispie students were treated to a musical demonstration by Carol Pelkner from Classics 4 Kids during assembly last week.

Carol played a variety of instruments from around the world.  She began with the standard machine-made xylophone, whistles and drums, and moved onto instruments made from gourds, drums covered in snake-skin, maracas constructed from seeds and nuts, and a musical bracelet made from goat toenails!

Students were invited to play instruments in front of their peers–they did a fantastic job as they tried something new!



Posted on Apr 03, 2014

Early Bird Summer Registration Ends April 11


The last day for the early bird summer registration is Friday, April 11, at 4 p.m. Don’t miss out on 10% off all of your students’ summer classes! Registration opens to the public Monday, April 7, so if you want to secure your spot, register by tomorrow, Friday, April 4.

I will be in the conference room tomorrow from 8-8:30 a.m. and 3-3:30 p.m. if you have questions or would like to register with me in person. Registration will also be available at the front desk throughout the day. 

As we open up our summer session for the first two weeks, consider these options:

If you’re feeling sporty, try…

Soccer Super Stars
9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Grades K-3, $225

Better Basketball with Mr. Assaf
9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Grades 3-6, $225

Sports Camp with Mr. Whelan
9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Grades 3-6, $225

If you’re feeling creative…

Poly-Palooza with Ms. Ludington (working with polymer clay)
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Grade 3-6, $225

Theatre Games, Skills, and Improv with Ms. Fillers
12:30 – 3:30 p.m., Grades 1-6, $225

Broken-Pot Fairy Garden with Ms. Ludington
12:30 – 3:30 p.m., Grades 2-6, $225

Sing, Laugh, and Eat Quesadillas with Señora Radchik
9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Grades 1-3, $400

Perhaps your child is leaning toward engineering or science…

Jr. Robotics with Play-Well Instructors
9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Grades 2-3, $250

Sr. Robotics with Play-Well Instructors
12:30 – 3:30 p.m., Grades 4-6, $250

If you want to strategize…

Kindergarten Teaching Dollars and “Sense” with Ms. Abdi
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Grade K, $225

Grade 1 Teaching Dollars and “Sense” with Ms. Abdi
9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Grade 1, $225

Mr. Joe’s Chess Class: Where Chess Rocks!
9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Grades K-6, $225

And for our younger Gillispie students…

Early Childhood Mad Science
As part of each exciting week of EC camp, every Wednesday Mad Science instructors will conduct an exciting, hands-on science program for EC children to spark their curiosity and build their enthusiasm for science. Program topics will include: magnetic attraction, world of worms, energy and motion, and much more!

(Note: EC camp (for ages 3-4) is open only to children who are potty trained and currently enrolled in Gillispie’s 2013-2014 early childhood program or those prekindergartners enrolled for the 2014-2015 school year.)

Click here for our summer brochure.

Click here for our summer registration forms.

We look forward to spending the summer with you!

Chelsea Watkins
Summer Session Director

Posted on Mar 28, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


The Grade 2 classes held their 2nd Annual Tour and Taste of Europe on March 26 in the gym. Partner groups presented information on the 9 different European countries the students have been studying in-depth over the past few months to an audience of parents, peers, faculty, and staff members.

After their wonderful presentations, the students and attendees were treated to a culinary sampling of foods and beverages from the countries they learned about. Turkish Baklava, German Chamomile tea, and Arendal cake from Norway were among the tasty treats provided.

This fun, cultural event was a great precursor to next week’s 11th Annual International Day!




Posted on Mar 28, 2014

Summer Registration Begins Mon., March 31!


Summer registration for currently enrolled families will begin at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 31, in the lobby. A week later registration will open for non-gillispie friends and other community students. For registrations received on or before Friday, April 11, 2014, a 10% discount will apply. 

Until then, you can begin planning your child’s summer now with the attached summer brochure!

Along with our summer favorites in science, art, drama, and sports, some of this year’s new offerings include:

Mixed Media Madness with Artist Jane Wheeler
Grades 3-6, $225

Mixed media artist Jane Wheeler (famous for her mosaic
benches in Bird Rock) will explore a variety of mixed
media with students in this dynamic class. Learn how to
work with acrylic, colored pencil, chalk pastels, clay,
watercolor, and collage. Create your own masterpieces in
your own style using these new techniques. Students will
come home with several beautiful art pieces to beautify
their surroundings.

Better Basketball with Mr. Assaf
Grades 3-6, $225
Join a past varsity basketball coach of La Jolla H.S.
(and current Bishop’s M.S. coach) to build your skills in
shooting, offensive footwork, passing, dribbling, and
offensive movements. Small-side games of 1-on-1, 2-2,
and 3-3 will help reinforce the basics, and competitive
shooting games and dribble tag will bounce up the fun!

Red Hot Robots with Mad Science
Grades 3-6, $250
Join Mad Science in a red-hot robotic exploration!
Discover the inner workings of robots by experimenting
with circuits, gears, sensors and power supplies. Learn
about robot programming and the different tasks robots
perform in our world. Experiment with sound sensing, line
tracking and solar powered robots. Become a robot
engineer as you build your very own robot throughout the
week! Take home projects include a Hyper Peppy Robot,
Bugbot, Robot Hand and more!

Early Childhood Mad Science 
As part of each exciting week of EC camp, every Wednesday Mad Science instructors will conduc an exciting, hands-on science program for EC children to spark their curiosity and build their enthusiasm for science. Program topics will include: magnetic attraction, world of worms, energy and motion, and much more!

(Note: EC camp (for ages 3-4) is open only to children who are potty trained and currently enrolled in Gillispie’s 2013-2014 early childhood program or those prekindergartners enrolled for the 2014-2015 school year)

We look forward to spending the summer with you!

Chelsea Watkins
Summer Session Director

Posted on Mar 14, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


On Monday, March 10, blues musician David Held and his son Graham Held gave a presentation on the blues to Grade 4 students in the music room. The students have been exploring jazz and blues music with Mrs. Jacobs over the past few weeks, and the presentation was the culmination of the unit.

The Helds are a Gillispie alumni family; both Graham and his brother Ben attended Gillispie from preschool through Grade 6. When Graham is not volunteering at his former elementary school, he is an active senior at Bishop’s, and Ben is now at Yale. 

David is not the only Held parent who volunteers at the School. His wife Lisa (a former Gillispie School board member) helps out with the kindergarten and grade 1 students during library each week. 

We are so thankful to have such a wonderful alumni family in our network!


Posted on Mar 14, 2014

Jon Bluestein to Serve as Assistant Head of School

I am excited to announce that I have appointed Jon Bluestein as assistant head of school. To review our search process, Steve Bunyak and I reviewed more than 50 resumes; conducted telephone interviews with a selected group; checked references; and invited the top four candidates for campus interviews with committees of faculty, staff, students, and administration. Though each of the four candidates offered their own unique set of skills and insights, Jon was ultimately selected.

Jon has spent the last five years at The Randolph School in Huntsville, Alabama, where he has served as the Middle School Director of Teaching and Learning, Dean of Grades 5 and 6, and Middle School Social Studies Chair. Prior to his work at Randolph, Jon served for three years as the Academic Director and Head of Primary School (responsible for Grades 1-5) at the International School in Bangkok, Thailand, where he worked with faculty to develop curriculum and corresponding professional development opportunities for teachers. Jon’s educational background includes a bachelor of arts in psychology from Brandeis University and two masters—one in individualized study, religion, and culture from New York University and the other in education, teaching, and learning from Nova Southeastern University.

In his personal statement, Jon noted, “Educators play a huge role in the formation and guidance of young members of society. I am proud to have been given this responsibility over the past several years and look forward to continuing to discover and implement innovative and exciting ways to help students learn. As a school leader, I am committed to the goal of preparing students to be, not only useful, but extraordinary members of society.”

To successfully transition into Gillispie, Jon will join Steve Bunyak in late June, and will assume full responsibilities on July 1.

Alison Fleming
Head of School

Posted on Mar 13, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


A new addition to P.E. this year is the lacrosse unit for Grades 2 – 6. Students are learning about the origin, history, equipment, positions, and rules for lacrosse, the summer national sport of Canada.

In the photo above, Grade 6 students along with Coach Whelan, Ms. K, and Coach Rey Brito (Gillispie Parent) practice drills involving passing, catching, scooping, cradling, and shooting a tennis ball on Pirtle Field. Our student athletes are really excited and happy to be adding this new, popular sport to our physical education program!

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