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The Compass


From the Head of School


This week Public Health Department Director, Barbara Ferrer, said that Elementary school campuses in Los Angeles County could be eligible to reopen in two to three weeks if countywide coronavirus infection rates continue to drop. This has been picked up by local news sources and you may have seen this in the LA Times or on TV. This is, of course, good news and we hope that this trend continues and the authorization to re-open all elementary grades by the county is granted. In the meantime, GPS has a plan in place, has already received its waiver and thus would be able to move quickly on a re-opening process. To this end, we have completed and filed the newly required California State COVID-19 Safety Plan (CPS) and posted this on our website. We are also encouraged by the push, both at the state as well as national level, to accelerate COVID vaccinations for teachers. Although I am immensely proud of the quality of our distance learning program, I eagerly await the return to normal, or at least somewhat normal, school life in the near future.

Today, at our end of month assembly, we presented Learner Profile Awards to a number of students across all the grade levels. 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 ’Balanced’. It is our goal to guide students to understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives, such as the intellectual, physical, and emotional. Our program and activities are designed to help students to achieve well-being for themselves and others and to recognize their interdependence with other people and with the world in which they live. At today’s assembly we recognized some students who in the past month have exemplified the characteristic of being balanced.

For more information on what being balanced means as an IB Learner Profile, I encourage you to watch this short video:


The following link will take you to a website where you can explore illustrated balanced books for children to see characters struggling with a balanced life but also learning how to bring this balance in their life. 32 of the Best Books for Balanced Children


GPS Memory Book for 2020-21 – Cover Competition


This year we will not be producing the traditional yearbook. Instead we will be commemorating this unusual school year with a memory book, which we will produce as a collaborative effort. Each student will be asked to collaborate (some with parental help) with photos, poems, artwork or written statements/reflections. More details on what, when and where will be sent out in the weeks ahead.


To start with we are looking for a cover design. Themes for design could be anything related to the COVID pandemic, distance learning, safer at home, social distancing and masks, etc.. Students are asked to create their own original artwork to be used as the cover of the publication. I suggest using 8.5 X 11 paper size, however, a larger size will work as we will be working from a jpeg.


Students of any grade level can submit their designs as a jpeg attachment to gmitas@gpsschool.org by February 28th.

Get Your GPS Logo Apparel


Show your school spirit and improve your wardrobe with our official GPS logo apparel. To order yours go to this website.

GPS Cares

Sweet Treats


In February we will be sharing how members of the GPS Community are making a difference, both big and small. If you are looking for a way to participate we found something sweet you can do right here in Granada Hills.

Just around the corner from GPS you will find a delightful candy shop called AusSam Candy. They have partnered with Maiden Community to collect handmade Valentine Cards and socks to deliver to Senior Centers all over the Valley. Cards and socks can be dropped off at AusSam Candy (17812 Chatsworth St.) until February 5th. And while you are there you can support their small business by purchasing the sweetest Valentine treats for your special someone or yourself!


What can you do to make the world a better place?

  • Create a free neighborhood library

  • Write positive chalkboard messages on your sidewalk

  • Put up a sign with an inspiring message on your window

  • Send needed items to a shelter

  • Put out snacks for delivery people

  • Write letters to those in need or to thank front line workers

  • Donate toys, books or clothing

  • Send cards or letters to family that you cannot be with

  • Bake cookies for a neighbor

We are looking for stories from anyone in our community that shows us taking action, big or small. A photo and a brief description can be emailed to gmitas@gpsschool.org.

Student Council News

Faculty Spotlight


Meet Gina Boulanger

This week we would like to showcase Gina Boulanger, who joined us this fall to support our Language Arts and Math programs in grades K-3. Gina Boulanger (aka Ms. Gina & Mrs. B) grew up in Bakersfield, CA, but moved to Northridge to attend CSUN for music education and never left the Valley. She has been in the education field for nearly her entire adult, and even teen years.

Prior to GPS, Gina taught at a local preschool where she later became the director and administrator. Her credentials include certificates in Early Childhood Education & Administration from UCLA. She has also owned a small virtual assistant business and worked with clients in several industries.

Gina is married to Coach B and they have two daughters: Faith, age 17 (CHA '17) and Rubimae aged 11. Her hobbies include watching and coaching softball and volleyball, watching Faith play basketball (soon to be a CSUSB 'Yote), playing guitar and ukulele, and various crafts such as crochet, baking, and making natural lotions and lip balms. She says that she “looks forward to being in the classroom with my students soon and I can't wait to see everyone in person!”

We at GPS are fortunate to have Gina Boulanger on our team!


From the Head of School

Thus far, January has been full of activity and events. This past week we had the Martin Luther King holiday, a Pet Day organized by our Student Council, the first in a series of unit presentations, and not to mention the inauguration of our new President and Vice President of the United States. More unit presentations are planned in the week ahead and you will be able to watch these through a link in next week’s COMPASS. We also began working on our Middle School musical that is part of our electives program. This year we are doing ‘The Lion King’ and are planning to give a video, or hopefully live performance, towards the end of the school year. More details on this will surely follow in the weeks ahead.


Our next GPS all-school virtual assembly is scheduled for next Friday at 8:30 on Google Meet with the code ‘Assembly’. We will be giving out Learner Profile awards for Balanced, which has been our focused theme for the month of January.


GPS Memory Book for 2020-21 – Cover Competition


This year we will not be producing the traditional yearbook. Instead we will be commemorating this unusual school year with a memory book, which we will produce as a collaborative effort. Each student will be asked to collaborate (some with parental help) with photos, poems, artwork or written statements/reflections. More details on what, when and where will be sent out in the weeks ahead.


To start with we are looking for a cover design. Themes for design could be anything related to the COVID pandemic, distance learning, safer at home, social distancing and masks, etc.. Students are asked to create their own original artwork to be used as the cover of the publication. I suggest using 8.5 X 11 paper size, however, a larger size will work as we will be working from a jpeg.


Students of any grade level can submit their designs as a jpeg attachment to gmitas@gpsschool.org by February 28th.


GPS Cares

Thinking about connecting GPS to the community, and showcasing our caring community, we are adding a new feature on the Compass called GPS Cares. The goal is to share how our students, staff and families contribute to truly making our community, and our world, a better place. We will feature stories in the weekly newsletter in February but hope to continue once a month. Here are the types of stories we are looking for:

What can you do to make the world a better place?

  • Create a free neighborhood library

  • Write positive chalkboard messages on your sidewalk

  • Put up a sign with an inspiring message on your window

  • Send needed items to a shelter

  • Put out snacks for delivery people

  • Write letters to those in need or to thank front line workers

  • Donate toys or clothing

  • Send cards or letters to family that you cannot be with

  • Bake cookies for a neighbor

We are looking for stories from anyone in our community that shows us taking action, big or small. A photo and a brief description can be emailed to gmitas@gpsschool.org.

Art Corner

Artwork by: Jill D., Brandon F., Aidan S.P.

4th grade did an inquiry into the struggle to share finite resources with other people and living things. We used the trees and other natural resources around us to create a work of art inspired by artist, naturalist, and conservationist Andy Goldsworthy.

Staff Spotlight

Meet Ms. Claudia

This week we would like to showcase our newest member of the Preschool faculty, Claudia Mejia-Fuentes. Claudia joined us right after the winter break when we split the Yellow Room into two groups and added on the Blue Room. She is no stranger to the GPS campus, having worked in the FPPS preschool from 2015 to 2017. Claudia is also closely connected to the school through her sister-in-law, Jennifer Ramirez, who is one of our preschool teachers.


Claudia is very qualified to work with our youngest students. She has a BA in Psychology from CSUN and has previously used her knowledge of developmental and behavioral psychology in working with children at the YMCA and with Behavior Frontiers. She is also a mother and has twin girls who are just over a year old. We are very fortunate to have Claudia on the GPS team.



From the Head of School

In two weeks we will arrive at the half way mark in our school year. Normally we would mark this occasion with our annual Presentation Day, during which all of our classes would host the end-of-3rd-unit student presentations for our families and friends. Student presentations are a very important part of the learning experience at GPS, and indeed within the philosophy of the IB Program. The ability for students to present their knowledge incorporates a great many of the skills and learner profile attributes that we feel are critical in a child’s growth and development. These include such things as being a risk-taker and communicator, help our students build confidence in themselves and acquire ownership over their learning. It is also a fact that when you present, or teach others, you deepen your understanding and achieve the highest rate of retention.


This year things are a bit different and our class presentations will be on-line. We will record the presentations and provide our community with links to each presentation. Look for this in the January 29 edition of the COMPASS.


This week we started the self-study process for our 5-year Primary Years Program (PYP) evaluation, which is required of all IB schools doing this program. The self-study team is made up of faculty, leadership, administrative staff and parents. We started with an evaluation of our mission and philosophy and how it is aligned with that of the IB. We also discussed to what degree our community, as a whole, agrees with and supports the program. To get more data on this please look for a brief questionnaire, which will be sent to you in the coming week. I also encourage you to learn more about the IB through the various information videos that outline the many aspects of the program. These can be found here: IB VIDEOS


While the latest news about COVID infections in LA County has not been good, we are very excited about the vaccination rollout program. Teachers and school staff have been moved forward in the queue and we should begin receiving our vaccinations at the end of this month. This is part of a concerted effort to get all of our students in LA County back on campus as soon as possible. I hope to be able to give a time-line for this in the next few weeks.


Let's Grow Our Community


Although this current year is not yet half way over, we are already planning for the 2021-22 school year and our admissions office has seen an increase in inquiries. With the learning deficit growing rapidly for many students, especially those in local public schools, parents are looking to programs like GPS, which has been able to keep up with curriculum and academic progress through a combination of small classes and a robust distance learning program. As personal recommendations are amazingly valuable, please let your friends, colleagues and neighbors know about GPS. Help us grow our community with new members that share your passion and understanding of the benefits of an IB education. Refer inquiries to our Admissions Office or to the inquiry page on our website.


GPS Cares

Thinking about connecting GPS to the community, and showcasing our caring community, we are adding a new feature on the Compass called GPS Cares. The goal is to share how our students, staff and families contribute to truly making our community, and our world, a better place. We will feature stories in the weekly newsletter in February but hope to continue once a month. Here are the types of stories we are looking for:

What can you do to make the world a better place?

  • Create a free neighborhood library

  • Write positive chalkboard messages on your sidewalk

  • Put up a sign with an inspiring message on your window

  • Send needed items to a shelter

  • Put out snacks for delivery people

  • Write letters to those in need or to thank front line workers

  • Donate toys or clothing

  • Send cards or letters to family that you cannot be with

  • Bake cookies for a neighbor

We are looking for stories from anyone in our community that shows us taking action, big or small. A photo and a brief description can be emailed to gmitas@gpsschool.org.


Student Council News




Art Corner

K and 1st grade are learning about technology in their unit. In Art Class, we talked about Andy Warhol's "Campbell Soup." Soup cans were mass produced with the help of technology. Warhol depicted them in his artwork because he liked using familiar objects from consumer culture. K and 1st grade drew and came up with their own flavor of soup!



Celebrating GPS


Long Live the King

By: Jed Serrano, Middle School Humanities Teacher

Even though he was an apostle of non-violence in expanding democratic freedoms to people of color, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received violent death threats for the rest of his life soon after he spoke out against segregation, police brutality, and voting rights. He was assassinated in April 1968. King was only 39 years old.

Today marks his birthday, which our nation annually celebrates on the third Monday of January, so that long may live the King. And what better way is there to celebrate Dr. King in this historical moment than to reflect on his message of nonviolence as the most powerful and persuasive protest towards a more just society.

Here are some of his words.


“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’”


“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence.”


“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love... Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.”


“Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends.”


“. . . the advocacy of violence as a tool of advancement, organized as in warfare, deliberately and consciously. To this tendency many Negroes are being tempted today. There are incalculable perils in this approach. It is not the danger or sacrifice of physical being which is primary, though it cannot be contemplated without a sense of deep concern for human life.”


“[T]here is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.”


“... my work is simply an attempt to say to America that you have a marvelous idea and that you should live up to it, and so when the students sit down at lunch counters and I have decided to join, I felt that we were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream . . . the dream of all mankind for peace and Brotherhood . . . we are moving in the right direction and with a feeling that this problem can be solved in the United States if enough people give themselves to it if they devote their lives to breaking down all of the barriers that separate men from men on the basis of race or color.”


Staff Spotlight

Meet Ms. Juliana

This week we would like to showcase our dynamic Preschool On-line teacher, Juliana Price. Juliana has had a long relationship with First Presbyterian Church of Granada Hills (FPCGH) and the school, starting with putting her son in the preschool and then becoming a faculty member. Over the years she had been a part of the rebranding of FP Weekday School (FPWDS) to FP Preparatory School (FPPS) to Chatsworth Hills Academy (CHA) and lastly to Granada Preparatory School (GPS).

Originally from Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1966 her family moved to Granada Hills, California where her grandparents lived. All her family live on the same block, including her grandparents, mother, brother and his family of five, and her family of three. According to Juliana, living near each other makes “pod” living easy in these crazy times.


Ms. Juliana says that her want to study child development came from her compassion and love for children everywhere. After she graduated from Granada Hills High School, she went to study at CSUN and College of the Canyons. Juliana went on to work at a childcare center, a private nanny position and at a stock brokerage house until it closed its doors. Quoting Alexander Graham Bell’s famous line “When one door closes, another opens” Juliana’s door that opened was her marriage followed by the birth of her son Michael, who is currently in our Grade 3 class.


Juliana says, “when I am not teaching, creating curriculum, or thinking of ways to make class fun and memorable, I help take care of my grandparent’s and uncle’s medical conditions, play with “the kids” (my son and his 3 cousins) or take them on outings, quilt, garden, bike ride, and walk around in nature. I also serve at FPCGH in different capacities, volunteer with my son’s Boy Scout Pack, and generally keep way too busy.”