7380 Girard Ave

La Jolla, California


Posted on Mar 27, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week

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!

Posted on Feb 12, 2015

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


Since the beginning of the school year the children have been drawing through observation. They have been practicing looking at things very closely and drawing what they see. Using charcoal and chalk pastels, the children explored color with their fingertips, as well as their eyes, feeling its slick smoothness or its grainy dryness. During this encounter, the children investigated the relationship between the pastel’s color and texture, exploring the ways in which pastels can be layered, blended, and wiped away, to reveal what is below the surface. The children carefully selected a palette of colors that reflected their subjects’ unique colors and shadings. The story of their creation is the story of focused attention and sweet surprises.

Something magical happens when the children slow down and really look closely. It is if they are seeing something familiar with new eyes. They notice the animals eyes, nose, and mouth. They notice the animal’s fur and how it moves or stands straight up. They notice the animal’s teeth and wonder what they eat. Their illustrations demonstrate the ways in which they come to know the subject’s identity. Here is an example of their inquisitive thoughts.

“This bear is fuzzy like a sea sponge.”

“I noticed some green and orange on his teeth through the magnifying glass, I wonder what he has eaten to make his teeth that color. It’s kind of cool to look through these. It looks very close to you!”

“My shark has dark eyes and a pointy nose and lots of different kinds of blues in his body.”

“I cannot get the shape of this shark right. I think it is a sideways oval.”

“The bear’s body has three circles in it. A beginning, middle and end. His hair is smooth on the sides but stands straight up on his head. Look!”

“I notice the grass is so bright in this picture. It is wet and a greenish yellow—like summertime.”

Posted on Feb 12, 2015

Visit by Georgia Heard

We are very proud and excited to announce that Georgia Heard will be joining the Gillispie team for two very busy, productive days. Georgia is a nationally and internationally known leader in the field of teaching writing.
Georgia will be on our campus all day on February 11 and 12. Day 1 will be an on-site training for our elementary teachers, using various classrooms as a lab, to demonstrate how children can find their writing voices. Her focus at this time will be the genre of poetry.
Day 2 will be an all-day workshop for all of our teachers. During this time we will be discussing reading and writing poetry as she lays the groundwork for developing writing fluency in all genres and helping increase students’ reading comprehension.
We are all looking forward to embracing this opportunity and feeling very thankful for the Gillispie Endowment for Excellence in Teaching that has allowed us to have these two days of extraordinary training.
Thank you,

Karen Basil

Reading Specialis
Posted on Dec 11, 2014

Gillispie “Gem” of the Week


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


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”


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.