The Compass

From the Head of School

Today was a fun and exciting day at GPS. Our Student Council sponsored ‘Pajama Day’ was a great success and allowed both teachers and students to literally roll out of bed and come to class without needing to make major wardrobe decisions. Even with most of the students off campus in distance-learning, our Student Council is active and coming up with fun activities for our community. Another sponsored activity that took off last week was Video Game Club, which meets on Thursday afternoons. Thanks to our Technology Teacher, Mr. Mendoza, for being the staff advisor for this club.

We are now in our second week of the new trimester and classes have started working on their new units of inquiry. This term, “units of inquiry” is central to the structure of the IB program and we design our curriculum around four to six units during the academic year. Why we call it a unit of inquiry is because the process of inquiry-based learning is key to the learning approach that we use as an IB school. A good overview of this is found in an article titled, “What the Heck Is Inquiry-Based Learning?” by Heather Wolpert-Gawron in Edutopia (see link below). She writes, “Inquiry-based learning is more than asking a student what he or she wants to know. It’s about triggering curiosity. And activating a student’s curiosity is, I would argue, a far more important and complex goal than mere information delivery.”

The Inquiry process can be broken down into four basic steps, which are:

1. Students develop questions that they are hungry to answer.

2. Research the topic using time in class.

3. Have students present what they’ve learned.

4. Ask students to reflect on what worked about the process and what didn’t.

A great example can be found in our K/1 class that is doing a new unit titled, ‘Technology Today and Long Ago’. Guided by their teacher, Ms. Ignacio, the students discussed technology and came up with a series of questions they would like to know about. This will help our teacher design her lessons so that the student’s will have input into the learning process and thus keep them engaged. As part of the unit, the students will research a famous inventor and at the end of the unit will present an invention in the guise of the inventor.

For more on inquiry based learning please read this article.


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 on Google Meet with the Code, “Assembly”. We will be giving out Learner Profile Awards, Honor Roll Certificates and will be watching our Holiday Performance Video. Don’t miss this assembly.

Annual Fund

Thank you to all who have made donations thus far. December is the time to think about wrapping up your finances for the year 2020 and taking advantage of tax credits when you file your returns. The GPS Annual Giving campaign, Here We Go, is all about supporting the education of our students. A great education requires great commitment and we encourage you to support our mission by making your tax-deductible donation to or pledge to GPS by the end of December. Here is a link to our donation portal and remember that your donation of any amount will be appreciated.

Wishing all who celebrate a

joyous and healthy Hanukkah.

From the Head of School

I hope that all GPS families had a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving break last week. The three weeks between Thanksgiving and the Winter beak are usually a busy time with lots of events taking place. This year, as with many other things, we are scaling things down due to the COVID pandemic. Although we are not going to have our traditional Winter Concert, we will have an on-line holiday assembly on December 18th. More specific details will be given below. GPS families will also receive their First Trimester report cards today. Please look for an email from GPS generated by Renweb, which contains the report. If you do not see this by the end of Friday you might try looking in your spam folder.

For the past few weeks we have all been working together to support our sponsorship of 6 local families through the MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity) program. I would like to thank all of the parents that have so generously contributed to this program as well as all of the GPS faculty and staff for their work in collecting, organizing and wrapping the presents. We will be delivering our gifts to the First Presbyterian Church committee that is coordinating the program this coming Wednesday. Any last minute donations must be submitted early next week.


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. As part of the assembly, each class will participate in a video presentation on the theme of Winter Holiday Celebrations. Our music teacher, Mr. Silva, will be working with each class on their song/performance and we will be giving you more specifics on how we will be recording this. In addition to the class presentations, 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. Contact Mr. Metzger, pmetzger@gpsschool.org, with any questions you may have.

GPS Annual Fund

We are now a few weeks into our Annual Fund drive and we thank all that have donated for your generosity. As you know, we have decided that contributions to the Annual Giving Fund will be used to augment our professional development budget for our faculty and staff. As we move towards the end of the year, I know that many of you will be thinking about making your tax-deductible donations to take advantage of tax credits in 2020. At this time of the year you will most certainly be asked to support many worthy non-profit organizations. Most likely, however, none will have as much impact on your child’s future as that of their education at GPS. Thus, our slogan Here We Gois very much about all of us helping to pave the path for the success of our students. So please consider making your tax-deductible donation or pledge to GPS by the end of December. Here is a link to our donation portal if you would like to make an online donation and a link to the pledge form. Remember that your donation of any amount will be appreciated.

Art Corner

Second and Third Grade just finished their unit "Sparking Change". They learned about the artist Piet Mondrian and how he sparked change by creating abstract art. He only worked with geometric shapes and primary colors. Even though many critics didn't like his work, he stuck to his beliefs and is now considered one of the most influential artists in the world.

Student Council News

Video Game Club

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

Faculty Spotlight

Meet Dolly Perillo

This week we have the pleasure of introducing our Administrative Assistant, Dolly Perillo. With years of knowledge about the campus, and a caring and friendly demeanor, we are so lucky to have her on the GPS administrative team.

I first started working here some thirty years ago when my two youngest children started preschool at First Presbyterian Weekday School. At first I volunteered by cleaning the paint corner and working hot lunch. Then on to

Kindergarten aid for the next ten years it was a position I truly loved. When my children graduated I moved on to Administrative Assistant where I am currently. I like working in the office. It gives me the opportunity to know all the students, parents and staff. Three years ago the school rebranded and became First Presbyterian Preparatory School. This year we merged with Chatsworth Hills Academy and are now Granada Hills Preparatory School. So as you see I have seen many changes over the years.

I have four grown children and ten grandchildren. The love of my life is spending time with grandchildren which I do as much as possible. They are such a blessing. At Christmas time each year I try to plan a special outing for the young ones. This year it will be holidays in your car at the Ventura fairgrounds.

Wishing all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.

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:


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


Granada Preparatory School
10400 Zelzah Avenue, Northridge, CA 91326
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