7380 Girard Ave

La Jolla, California


Posted on Apr 20, 2015

Scholastic Book Fair at Gillispie

clifford-book-fairPlease join us in celebrating the wonderful world of books!

On Sunday, May 3, The Gillispie School will host its own Scholastic Book Fair in the School’s Music Room (access from the Girard parking lot) at 7380 Girard Avenue (across from the Open Aire Market.)

The book fair will be open to the public from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., and we invite you stop by and check out our titles!

From picture books to novels, from reading aloud to curling up in the corner with a good book, students enjoy travels to the unknown through the power of words.

A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go towards the growth of our classroom libraries.

For more information, contact 858-459-3773.
Posted on Apr 13, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week – Flamenco Dancing


Gillispie students were treated to a special event today during International Day Assembly – Flamenco dancers and musicians!

Flamenco is a form of Spanish folk music and dance from the region of Andalusia in southern Spain. The children learned the words cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), and jaleo, which refers to the vocalizations and rhythmic sound of hand clapping and finger snapping that encourages the performers.

The students learned to use the word “Olé!” so show support of the musicians and dancers. The trio demonstrated solo dancing, paired dancing, and selected two students to demonstrate the basics.

“Olé!” and enthusiastic hand clapping was heard throughout the two programs!

This assembly kicks-off International Day which will be held on the Gillispie campus next Friday, April 17. This fun-filled, all-day event exposes the prekindergarten – Grade 6 students to a wide variety of cultures and customs from different countries across the world. That day, children may opt to wear their school uniforms or dress in international apparel.

Posted on Apr 13, 2015

Surfing into Summer at Gillispie!

It’s hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. Fortunately, Gillispie is hosting another fantastic line-up of summer classes that are sure to keep your kids engaged and active. Whether your child likes to perform on stage, challenge opponents in chess, get a workout with a game of basketball, or create artistic masterpieces out of clay, there is something exciting and fun to do during the summer at Gillispie.

Sessions taught by our beloved Gillispie staff members include:

Kinder Adventure with Mrs. Laurie Buttaro

Summer Fun with Mrs. Erica Hurley

Theater, Improv, and Playwriting with Ms. Bryn Fillers

“Think Eye” Art and Sculpture with Ms. Susan Walters

Greek Mythology with Mrs. Heidi Long

Sports Camp with Coach Ed Whelan

If you are looking for something fresh and exciting, check out some of the new class offerings we have available this summer (check the summer brochure for more specific class details.)

Better Basketball with Coach Kamal Assaf

Creative Builders I, II, and III by Club Xcite

Publish My Book! with author Lisa Monaco Gonzalez

Jr. Detectives by Club Xcite

Intro. to Latin with Amy Skillicorn

Woodworking with Suzie Pirtle and Michael Sim

and many more!!!

Our one and two-week classes will run from June 15-August 7. Elementary classes are open to both Gillispie and non-Gillispie students, so be sure to invite all of your friends and family to join us this summer as well!

This Friday, April 10, is the last day for all registrants to receive the special 10% early bird discount, and space is limited in many of our class offerings.

We look forward to a fun-filled summer with you and your family.

Linda Davis

Summer Session Director
Posted on Apr 06, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week – Grade 4 News Team


Grade 4 students held their “News Team” reports!

Throughout the year on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, three students are chosen to research current events related to local news, sports, weather, and International news. In a news-style format, the reporters present their summarized articles to their peers and parents. This week the children presented news on a newly discovered species in China, the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, and the possibility of a new twenty dollar bill with a woman on it. After the discussion, the reporters answered questions and took comments from their peers.

In addition to the News Team, the children in Grade 4 have opportunities to present social studies projects to their classmates. They also share facts at both elementary assemblies about hunger and poverty in the San Diego area. This relates to their service learning project at the food bank and their school-wide food drive in the fall.
Posted on Apr 06, 2015

An Inquiry into the Plight of the Sea Lion in San Diego


In recent weeks, the children in Prekindergarten Room 6 have been discussing the injured and sick sea lions they have seen on the beaches of La Jolla. The children wondered why this was happening. They had heard on the news that it was connected to the lack of fish available for the sea lions to eat. As part of our discussion, the children asked many questions:

“Are sea lions washing up on the beach hungry? If so, then why?”

“Is the ocean polluted? If the ocean is polluted can scientists clean it with filters like they do with our drinking water?”

“Are there no more fish for the sea lions to eat?”

During Morning Exploration, the children created drawings in their journals of sea lions, illustrating their theories on ways we may be able to help. They also used clay to tell stories about what they had seen. Sketch descriptions:

Elle: My seal is sad because he doesn’t have any food. He is on the beach and only had one fish.

Simon: Here I am under water with a ziplock bag catching fish. I want the seal to smell the fish I caught in my bag and he follow me. I will feed him when I get to shore.

Laird: I want to go on my surf board and take the seals with me. When I get to the beach, I will feed them a bucket of fish that I bought from the store.

Mia: I cannot swim too well. I haven’t had lessons in a long time. Also, I do not know how to fish. But I can go to the store with my mom and buy some fish. Good tasty fish. Then I will drop the fish in the water on a boat to the hungry seals. I will also leave some on the beach in case they are too tired to swim far away.

Kaia: Here I am in the water and I am trying to get the daddy seal to the baby seal with a bag of fish.

The teachers invited researchers Michael Tift of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a Sea World team member who works directly with the rescued sea lions, to visit the classroom. Mr. Tift explained that the temperature of the ocean is rising. Because of this, the fish and squid that the sea lions eat dive really deep to get to cooler water. The sea lions cannot always dive that deep, so they have to spend more time looking for food. The class learned that most of the stranded sea lions are very young pups. Because the mothers are having a difficult time finding food, some of them are not able to return to feed their pups. The researchers addressed the children’s questions about the sea lion situation, and discussed other marine mammals and their research on ocean life in La Jolla. The researchers also dressed a student as a sea lion in order to explain anatomy, adaptions, and basic natural history.

The children asked if pollution is affecting the ocean and shared ideas about what might be done, such as fitering water that drains into the ocean or using chemicals to treat ocean water. Mr. Tift thought there were some very good ideas. He explained that the ocean will take care of itself if it is left alone, but because people pollute it, the ocean gets sick. If the ocean gets sick, the animals will often get sick as well.

Lynn Babiarz Prekindergarten Teacher
Posted on Mar 27, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week – Together for Charity

Together for charity

Together for Charity – Fundación Unica is a bi-national non-profit organization that benefits the lives of children in an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico.

Co-founded by Gillispie mom Emaluisa, together she and our teachers have organized a number of collaborative service-learning projects between Gillispie and the organization.

These projects include the Kindergarten class pen pal program with the children at the orphanage, a veggie drive, which collected fresh vegetables to send to the orphanage, and a Spanish-language book drive.

Most recently, the Kindergarten class sent each child at the orphanage an oral hygiene kit donated by Gillispie mom Dr. Tracy Hagan, and the Grade 1 students collected and donated new sheets and blankets to the orphanage.

Over Spring Break, Emalusia and Gillispie moms Autumn and Susanne traveled to the orphanage in Mexico along with their children to deliver the packages and spend time with their new friends.

To learn more about how you can help, visit www.togetherforcharity.com.
Posted on Mar 27, 2015

The Challenges of Design

The Challenges of Design

I received this letter from Brindan Byrne, furniture designer, and Michael Sim, master wood craftsman, highlighting their recent experience on campus.

Dear Alison,

The Gillispie School Design Challenge preliminary feedback session that Michael Sim and I participated in on March 11, was a positive and stimulating experience for these “old hands” in the custom furniture world. It is heartwarming to see how excited the students get when they make a connection with three-dimensional design.

From the far-reaching Gecko chair with sun hood to the very do-able, practical stackable benches, being able to see elementary students explore design and develop ideas is inspiring. With extensive material research and handcrafted model work, the pride in the students’ efforts was palpable, making Michael and me proud.

Learning to understand basic building principles, material limitations, and design concepts is great training for the future consumers, designers, scientists and artists these children will become. The task of improving an existing design is a challenge all designers face, so being given this chance in elementary school is amazing.

What a wonderful learning opportunity Chip Edwards has created with this Design Challenge. We look forward to seeing what the next month holds as the young designers adjust and re-design to get ready for the April 22 Design Fair.

All Best,

Brindan Byrne

P.S. My students at the Design Institute of San Diego (seniors in college) all wished they had gone to Gillispie when I told them about my day on the panel!

Alison Fleming Head of School The Challenges of Design
Posted on Mar 23, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of Week – PK Angel Lopez


Last week, Gillispie Prekindergarten students were treated to a special PE tennis class led by Angel Lopez and Coach Dave of the Angel Lopez Tennis Academy in San Diego. The children were each given a tennis racket and were led through age-appropriate drills that helped develop their hand-eye coordination, racket handling, and focus. As students became more comfortable, they were also able to work on basic forehand and backhand strokes by volleying back and forth with their friends and hitting balls against the sport court wall.
Posted on Mar 23, 2015

Hike…Gee, Haw, Whoa!


At both school assemblies last week, each second-grader presented his or her research about the Iditarod, a sled dog race held in Alaska. The cumulative presentation was first inspired by second graders and their love of puppies and dogs. This passion blossomed into ideas that sparked interest in the many facets of the race and led to a variety of hands-on projects.

Students began learning about the Iditarod by investigating and mapping specific areas of interest, such as dog care, the origins of the race, checkpoints, and influential mushers and dogs. During the research phase, the students’ writing was supported by accessing different genres of books, exploring technology resources, and learning from teachers throughout the school.

Student learning is visible in the Gillispie School elementary building with green yarn stretching across the walls that represents the Iditarod’s 979 miles. Besides the math involved in reproducing the run with its checkpoints to scale, students spent their art time painting large cutouts of dogs and a sled. There is also a place where second graders have posted additional questions and information they have gathered since the assemblies.

The resulting project outcomes, all created by the students, and shared at the assemblies via an interactive e-book made on iPads, included written reports, videos, stop motion movies with clay figures, slideshows, posters, and oral presentations.

With the excitement of discovery, some students gave up recess time and came in before school to research, and after their assembly presentations, asked, “When can we do it again?”

This week many of the classes are watching the race broadcasted live on http://iditarod.com and tracking the mushers’ progress as they cross Alaska by dogsled.
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!

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