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The Compass

School Office will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday from Monday, November 23 - Friday, November 27.


From the Head of School

Thanksgiving is on our doorsteps and this is naturally a time to reflect upon all the wonderful things that we have in our lives. Today our on-line students organized special class lunches to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and make sure that everyone is connected and appreciated. I would like to express my gratitude for the wonderful community that is our school and to the creative, courageous and compassionate teachers, staff, parents and students that share and work towards our common goals. I also give thanks to our partnership with First Presbyterian Church and all the wonderful members of that community that have worked hard to support GPS through these first few months of this school year. I am so thankful for the common goal that we share, and while our community has felt the impact of the COVID pandemic in many ways, we remain optimistic and steadfast in our mission.

Please remember that there will be no school all of next week for the Thanksgiving Break and the school office will be closed.


At our assembly today we gave out Learner Profile Awards. The learner profile is made up of ten attributes, or characteristics, that all IB schools promote on a daily basis. In all of our classes this month we have been focusing on the attribute of being ’Reflective’. It is our goal to allow students to develop their ability to reflect on and give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. This will empower them to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development. Today we recognized some students who in the past month have exemplified the characteristic of being reflective.


For more information on the IB Learner Profile “Reflective”, I encourage you to watch this short video:


Today also marks the end of our first trimester. Over the break our teachers will be busy with grading and writing up comments for the report cards. Please note that report cards for the 1st trimester will go out on Friday, November 4th.

Pre-Holiday Assembly on December 18th

The last day of school before the Winter break will be Friday, December 18th and there will be an all-school virtual assembly starting at 8:30 a.m.. All classes will give a videoed presentation on the theme of Winter Holiday Celebrations. In addition to the class presentations being prepared by our faculty, we invite individual performances from our student community. Submissions can take the form of a song, a dance, an instrumental performance or the recitation of a poem. The performance should be within the theme of Winter Celebrations and we invite performances that celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity. The selection committee should receive submissions by December 14th. Look for more information after the break or contact pmetzger@gpsschool.org with any questions you may have.


Birthdays at GPS

The following students have recently celebrated birthdays:


Kayden M., 8th grade, turned 14 on October 31st

Molin F., Preschool, turned 4 on November 2nd

Sidd D., Kindergarten, turned 6 on November 8th


GPS Clothing Available

GPS branded polo shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and hats are now available through our school spirit wear website:


https://myactivewear.weebly.com/

Starting in January 2021, we will ask that all students coming to the school for on-campus instruction are dressed in GPS branded clothing. Please refer to the school’s student dress policy, which is included in the Family Handbook on Renweb under the Resources tab.

Items purchased on the website can be sent to your home with a shipping fee or picked up at the school at no cost. The later is an option available once you get to check out.


GPS Annual Fund Campaign

Here We Go is the theme of our annual giving fund for this year. Although the Annual Giving Fund is important for the school’s professional development budget, we have decided this year to keep the campaign short. We kicked off the campaign last week and will run it through to the end of this December. Your support is important for us to be able to provide our students with a great IB education by investing in our teachers. So please join us on our journey and make your tax-deductible donation or pledge by the end of December. For those of you new to fund raising, here are a some answers to common questions (FAQ’s):


Why do I need to support the Annual Giving Fund Campaign?

Similar to most independent schools, while tuition establishes the foundation for excellence, some desirable school programs and activities benefit from the additional resources provided by the Annual Giving Fund. A contribution to the Annual Giving Fund benefits each and every student at GPS because these funds will always be used to raise the bar in student learning and engagement.


What is my contribution used for?

Contributions to the Annual Giving Fund ensure the continued health, success, and growth of our school. This year your gifts allow GPS to go above and beyond in investing in our teachers’ professional development.

How much should I give?

Only you can determine the amount that is significant for your family. We encourage you to consider the impact your gift will make, to realize the value of your donation in providing an exceptional school experience for our students.


Why is 100% participation so important?

When everyone participates in a common goal it creates a sense of unity and community. It is important that everyone shares GPS’s educational vision, and your participation is a very clear way to show this. High participation is a vote of confidence and a sign that our community supports all the students and teachers of GPS. This percentage also has an impact on gifts from outside sources; foundations consider parent participation rates before agreeing to donate funds to a school.


Is my contribution tax-deductible?

Yes. GPS is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Unlike tuition payments, your contributions to the Annual Giving Fund are 100% tax-deductible as allowed by law.


What is a Company Matching Gift Program?

Many companies provide a matching gift, usually up to a maximum amount, for every dollar their employee donates. Please investigate whether your employer offers a matching gift program OR contact the Development Committee. We are eager to increase our annual support by participating in as many matching gift opportunities as possible.


What is pledging?

Pledging allows you to make a gift that you pay over time during the school year. You can use this form to make your pledge to GPS.


Can I make an electronic donation?

Yes. We use Smart Tuition to collect online donations for the Annual Fund. You can choose to make a one-time donation or recurring donation. You do not need to have a Smart Tuition account to use this method of payment so feel free to share the link with friends and family that are interested in supporting GPS.


Student Council News

Video Game Club


Middle School Students: Come join the video game club on Thursdays from 3-4 P.M. starting December 3rd. sponsored by GPS Student Council. Download the sign up sheet for more information.

Pajama Day


Come to school in your pajamas on our next Fun Day, Friday, December 11th. More details will be sent out in December.


MEND Project


Caring is one of our IB Learner Profiles and we would like to embark on a school-wide activity that supports the idea of caring for others who are in need. For many years the Student Council has adopted an organization to support during the holiday season. This year we have decided to join the First Presbyterian Church in supporting MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity), an organization based in the San Fernando Valley who helps impoverished families with food, clothing, and other household items. Our students have volunteered there in the past and we feel that they are an organization worthy of support. When this opportunity was presented to the Student Council, they were all in favor of supporting this organization and it was decided that we would sponsor 6 families. MEND has supplied us with the name and needs of each family, and the families will be assigned to a class or group of classes. You will have already received details about the family that your child’s class is sponsoring as well as how the donations will be organized. All donations will be due by Friday, December 4th. Thank you for your support.


Faculty Spotlight

Meet Jed Serrano

This week we would like to showcase our Middle School Language Arts and Humanities Teacher, Jed Serrano. Since arriving at CHA/GPS three years ago, Jed has not only raised the academic bar in his two subjects, but his students truly love attending his classes. Jed tells us a little about himself.


Born in Lipa, Philippines, I moved to Chicago at ten years old. At the time, I knew very little English; but soon I developed a passion for the language as I started learning it -- a passion that persists to this very day, with no end in sight. I would end up majoring in English as an undergraduate and later obtain a graduate degree in the Arts of Teaching English Language and Literature. Along the way, I discovered that philosophy and pure maths -- and the intersection at which they meet -- are infinite sources of inspiration, especially when I reflect on how to best practice the art of teaching. Simultaneously, I have written articles on various subjects, worked as a writing consultant, and have been an independent editor since I was an undergrad.


I entered the field of education in 2004. I was a teacher aide for Helping Autisic Voices Emerge (or H.A.V.E. Dreams), an independent school. In 2006, I served in a similar role for the Chicago Public Schools. Weary of winters, my wife Laura June and I moved to San Francisco in 2009. There, I worked for the San Francisco Unified School District as a special education teacher aide, district substitute, and a teacher of middle school math, science, language arts, and social studies, as well as high school English. In 2016, I joined the English department at Bishop O’Dowd High School, a Catholic independent school in Oakland.

It was not until 2018, when I joined the CHA (now GPS) faculty, that I found an education program that I could wholeheartedly embrace -- something I could not bring myself to do for the many programs I’ve encountered since 2004. I speak of course of the International Baccalaureate, which our uber-international headmaster Mr. Metzger has esteemed as “the Gold Standard of Education.” Indeed, having been immersed into the program, both in theory and practice, I came to realize that Mr. Metzger’s gold-standard statement wasn’t just an airy advertising phrase. In fact, the IB program fosters holistic growth for both students and teachers based on a sophisticated unit planning process that incorporates skill development, conceptual understanding, interdisciplinary connections, global contextualization, and social-emotional learning. And that’s just the unit planning!


Notwithstanding, something even more amazing happened to me in 2018, months before I applied to or heard of CHA. In April, Laura and I were blessed with a beautiful baby whom we beautifully named Penelope Susanna. We as parents naturally wanted the best kind of education for her -- which later became the deciding factor that led me to accept Mr. Metzger’s job offer.


Penelope started preschool this year at GPS, on her way to the IB program. She is part of a learning community led by educators that are competent, caring, and dedicated; educators that are good people; educators that to me are colleagues, many of whom I’ve come to know, love, trust, and appreciate more than I’ve been able to express to them. As such, Laura and I could not be more thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, GPS community!

Celebrating GPS

Wishing you a Safe and Happy

Thanksgiving!



From the Head of School


Making school FUN is not only a sound pedagogical practice to enhance learning, but an avenue for students to exercise their creative juices. Today our Student Council promoted “Dress Up As A Teacher Day” and our students had a lot of fun with their interpretation of some of our faculty members. You can check out some of the fun below.

Middle School Electives Program: Best Song Ever Competition


While there is a lack of things to talk about these days, how about engaging in a discussion on what is “The Best Song Ever?”. This new Middle School elective, created by Middle School Social Studies and Language Arts Teacher, Jed Serrano, gives our students a unique way to analyze, evaluate and discuss a topic that they all are passionate about, their favorite songs. Mr. Serrano describes the course as the clash of the students’ varying musical tastes. Each week, students present their favorite song for a certain genre, which the class evaluates and argues about after mindfully listening to them.  The songs are rated on specific criteria:

A. Instrumental Music

B. Word Music

C. Affect

D. Universality and Timelessness

An additional fifth criterion based on the students’ personal reception is also considered. 


Besides mindful listening, students practice analytical reasoning as well as written and oral communication skills. The learner profile attribute of open-mindedness is emphasized, as the students are lead to exercise fair judgment and, perhaps, joy of discovery. 


There are other joys too. Thus far, there's been plenty of dancing, laughter, surprise, and the sheer pleasure of discovering fresh music. Check out some of the top rated songs thus far: 

  • “Dreams” (1977) by Fleetwood Mac

  • “I Am” (2018) by Jorja Smith 

  • “Yuve Yuve Yu” (2019) by The Hu

As this last one by a Mongolian folk metal band called Hu might be a complete surprise for some of you, you can discover their music on YouTube.


So what do you think is the best song ever? Something to talk about!


GPS Clothing Available

GPS branded polo shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and hats are now available through our school spirit wear website:

https://myactivewear.weebly.com/

Starting in January 2021, we will ask that all students coming to the school for on-campus instruction are dressed in GPS branded clothing. Please refer to the school’s student dress policy, which is included in the Family Handbook on Renweb under the Resources tab. 


Items purchased on the website can be sent to your home with a shipping fee or picked up at the school at no cost.  The later is an option available once you get to check out.

Annual Fund 2020-2021


Here We Go...


Annual Fund letters were mailed to you today. Please look for it in your mailbox. Our goal this year is to raise $25,000 toward our Professional Development fund and Consider making your donation before the end of the year to claim the deduction on your 2020 taxes. Reach out to family that would like to support your child's school during this time. Find out if your employer offers a matching donation program. Your contribution, in any way you can, will make a difference. You can find additional information and make your online donation on our website.


Please join us on this journey.

Student Council News

MEND Project


Caring is one of our IB Learner Profiles and we would like to embark on a school-wide activity that supports the idea of caring for others who are in need. For many years the Student Council has adopted an organization to support during the holiday season. This year we have decided to join the First Presbyterian Church in supporting MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity), an organization based in the San Fernando Valley who helps impoverished families with food, clothing, and other household items. Our students have volunteered there in the past and we feel that they are an organization worthy of support. When this opportunity was presented to the Student Council, they were all in favor of supporting this organization and it was decided that we would sponsor 6 families. MEND has supplied us with the name and needs of each family, and the families will be assigned to a class or group of classes. You will have already received details about the family that your child’s class is sponsoring as well as how the donations will be organized. All donations will be due by Friday, December 4th. Thank you for your support.

Celebrating GPS


Diwali

by Nital Sannidhi, parent of Nandini ('24) and Shiv ('23)


Diwali is the “festival of lights,” also known as Dipawali. It is India’s biggest holiday. The festival gets its name from the row of clay lamps (called diyas) which are lit during Diwali. It celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and the blessings of victory, freedom, and enlightenment. This year, Diwali will be celebrated on November 14th. 


Wishing you a Happy Diwali! 


Faculty Spotlight


Meet Carol Shibel

This week we would like to showcase our Middle School Principal and Science Teacher, Carol Shibel. We asked Carol to write a few lines about herself for the COMPASS, and she did what she does every day in class, she went above and beyond. Here is what she wrote about herself:

Who am I? I am a wife, a daughter, a mother to 3 and a grandmother to 6. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, being the 3rd generation through my elementary and high schools, grew up in the same house that my father grew up in, and have only lived in 3 different houses my entire life. Clearly, change is not my favorite activity. That might help to explain the fact that I have worked at CHA/GPS my entire teaching career. I was there the first day that CHA opened as NSPC (Neighborhood School Planning Corp.) in Sept. 1978, and helped pack the last boxes for the move to our present campus and a new beginning as GPS this past summer. I knew from the time I was little that I wanted to be a teacher, but it took a while to determine what subject. I started UCLA as a foreign language major but a year in discovered there was a major called Kinesiology, and my fate was decided. I love sports and the outdoors and have always been fascinated with how the human body works. Finding a major that incorporated it all was wonderful. I graduated in 5 years with a Multi Subject credential and a single subject PE credential. I student taught in 1st and 6th grades and was hired as a middle school science teacher by NSPC right out of college. I have taught science ever since along with some PE classes, Pre-Algebra and Algebra, Tech in the early years of the Comodore and Apple computers, and coached soccer, volleyball, and basketball. As long as it was about interacting with and challenging kids, I loved it. When I think about how teaching has changed over time, it is amazing. When I first started, we typed worksheets on typewriters and used ditto machines to run off copies. We used encyclopedias and books to do research. There was no looking it up on the internet – there was no internet. I took one of the school Comodore computers home on the weekend to learn programming to try and stay ahead of my students. Facebook, Instagram, Facetime, Google, and Zoom were nonexistent. Cell Phones were a mystery. I still remember where I saw my first one – a parent on the sidelines of a school flag football game made a call on one and I was fascinated. At that time only top executives had them.  We’ve come a long way since those early days, and I’ve loved the journey. 


In my personal life, I like to travel and one of my bucket list items is to visit all 7 continents. I got one step closer 3 years ago when I met my daughter and son-in-law in South America on their journey around the world and we spent Christmas in Antarctica together. When home, I love hiking, camping, gardening, and crafts. My dogs are my constant companions, always making sure they know where “mom” is.  I also enjoy spending time with family and friends. It is so much fun watching the grand kids grow and develop into wonderful little people as they question and explore their world. 

Announcements



Welcome Baby


We would like to welcome a new member to the GPS family. Miss Jennifer, teacher in the preschool class, delivered a beautiful baby girl on Tuesday, November 10. Congratulations to the Ramirez family on their new addition.


Online GPS Scholastic Book Fair ends this Sunday November 15, 2020


Dear GPS Parents and Families:

The Scholastic Book Fair is running through November 15.

  • Granada Preparatory School's own online store, with a large selection of titles, at the right price points

  • A Virtual Fair so you and your family can experience the magic of the school shopping experience. Browse titles by grade, meet popular authors, and discover the comfort and joy of our Fair

  • Every dollar you spend will benefit our school directly (25% back in rewards!)

Fair Dates: Monday, November 2 – Sunday, November 15, 2020

Online Store: https://www.scholastic.com/bf/gpsschool

We can’t wait to “see” you at the Fair



From the Head of School

The big event of this week was the return of our Kindergarten and First Grade class for on-campus instruction. This follows the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health decision to permit in-person instruction for students who would be better served with in-person instruction as long as this did not exceed 25% of the student body. At GPS we felt that the greatest need was for our youngest students to be on campus under the direct guidance of a teacher. To make this happen, GPS has put in place all of the protocols set out in our document, GPS COVID 19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS, which you can find on our website.  This included morning temperature checks, masks, social distancing, separate lunch areas, and the class, or pod, not intersecting with other pods on campus. We have also offered a hybrid program, where students not attending on-campus instruction continue with distance learning. That our program is working so well is a testament to the ability, dedication and teamwork of our faculty and staff. A big round of applause to the entire K/1 teaching staff of Ms. Ignacio, Ms. Boulanger, Ms. Mauro, Ms. Veigel, Mr. Silva, Mr. Mendoza, Coach B and our Lower School Principal, Ms. Collins.


Here is what our students said about their return to on-campus instruction:


Siddhartha: I like being with my friends.

Zoe: I want to become a learned grown up so I can teach my kids.

Idan: I like being in-person with my teacher.



Professional Development

Today’s GPS was closed for a Professional Development Day focused on a number of topics. Our Middle School faculty spent the morning working on our Middle Years Program of the International Baccalaureate. We recently found out that our authorization was successfully transferred from Chatsworth Hills Academy to GPS. You can now find our school listed in the IB directory.


Our Lower School teachers attended a virtual workshop on effectively using our Language Arts and Literacy Program, My View. We adopted this brand new, very comprehensive, and IB friendly, program last year and we will be doing a series of workshops on this program during the course of this academic year.

Some of our staff also participated in the first of three workshops on school accreditation put on by our accrediting agency, WASC. This was the first step in a yearlong process that will result in a school self-study and a team visit to our campus in 2021. In addition, all staff took some time to take the on-line CPR/First Aid training program.

GPS Annual Fund


Here We Go...


Next week we launch the Annual Giving Campaign with the goal to raise $25,000 towards Professional Development. The money raised from this drive will continue to provide our faculty with training and workshops necessary to deliver our outstanding International Baccalaureate program. It also provides networking opportunities with other IB schools around the world to share ideas and collaborate for a truly global perspective. Ultimately our Annual Fund benefits the students at GPS as they continue to receive the high quality education that our teachers and the IB Program provides.


We also suggest that you look into your company's matching program as you consider your participation this year. Information on ways to make your pledge or donation will be sent to you next week. We hope you will consider participating in any way you can.

Student Council News


Celebrating GPS

Veteran's Day

Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11 to honor the brave men and women who have served, or are serving our country. Armistice Day was established to honor veterans at the end of World War I. After World War II and the Korean War Congress changed the name to Veterans Day to include all those that have served in American Wars. We are forever indebted to the service men and women who work to ensure the liberties that we enjoy.

As we approach this holiday next week, we wanted to honor members of the GPS community that have Veterans in their families:


Goudy Family (6th Grade)

  • Mark Goudy, Grandfather - Navy, Korean War

  • Antonio Rodriguez, Grandfather - UN Merchant Marines, Korean Way

  • James Goudy, Great Uncle - Navy, Vietnam War

  • James Lux, Uncle - Navy (retired) , Desert Storm

Ignacio Family (JK & 2nd Grade)

  • Staff Sergeant Luis Villaseñor - USMC

  • Sergeant Roland Fernandez - USMC

Weinstein Family (Administration)

  • Dave Barker - Marines, Vietnam War

We thank you for your service!

Art Corner


Art by Nandini S. (5th grade)

4th and 5th graders are learning about motion in their unit of inquiry. We connected that concept in Art where we explored Optical Art which gives the viewer the impression of movement and space.

Staff Spotlight


Meet Cathy Weinstein


This week we would like to showcase another member of the outstanding GPS admin staff, Cathy Weinstein. Cathy has been an administrative assistant at CHA/GPS since 2005. She can be found in the office at GPS or answering the phones daily. Over the years, she has seen many changes at the school: four Heads of School, each with their own unique contributions to the school and its culture; the move to a more technology-rich curriculum and office; the adoption of the International Baccalaureate program; and of course most recently, the move to a new campus and merger with FPPS. Throughout all of these evolutions, there has been one constant, her love of interacting with children and their parents, helping the students to get the best education possible. “My guiding light in life is to make the world a better place each day. For me, that means helping young people on their path to a rich, meaningful life in any way I can. I am most proud of the way the school instills a great self-confidence in all our students.”

When she’s not at work, Cathy is an avid outdoors-person. Camping, bicycling, sailing, kayaking, hiking, and a new bird-watching hobby keep her exploring and learning every chance she gets. (Her most recent new bird sighting is an American Bittern—very exciting!) When travel becomes more of an easily-achieved reality and the work schedule permits, Cathy has a goal of a bicycle trip down the Pacific coast, starting at her son’s home in Vancouver, WA and ending back at home in Simi Valley. Cathy is very proud of her family, which includes her husband, three terrific grown children, and a wonderful daughter-in-law. We are fortunate to have Cathy on our team.

Online GPS Scholastic Book Fair through November 15, 2020


Dear GPS Parents and Families:


The Scholastic Book Fair is running through November 15. Check off those gifts for the young readers on your holiday list.

  • Granada Preparatory School's own online store, with a large selection of titles, at the right price points

  • A Virtual Fair so you and your family can experience the magic of the school shopping experience. Browse titles by grade, meet popular authors, and discover the comfort and joy of our Fair

  • Every dollar you spend will benefit our school directly (25% back in rewards!)

Fair Dates: Monday, November 2 – Sunday, November 15, 2020

Online Store: https://www.scholastic.com/bf/gpsschool

We can’t wait to “see” you at the Fair

Granada Preparatory School
818.368.7254
10400 Zelzah Avenue, Northridge, CA 91326
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