The Compass

Calendar Events

Next Week

  • Monday, 9/7 - Labor Day, No School

  • Friday, 9/11 - Friday Virtual Assembly at 8:30 am

From the Head of School

First Week of Lessons at GPS

Our academic program took off with a full week of scheduled on-line classes for our students in Grades K-8. Because of the months of practice with distance-learning that we had at the end of last year, getting back in gear was not that hard. While we have encountered a few technical glitches, these have been addressed and overall our first week of the school year was a great success. We thank all of our hard working faculty and staff and supportive parents for the launch of yet another outstanding school year. Although we currently cannot hold classes on campus we will keep you updated as to the information we have regarding the safe re-opening of schools. We are participating in weekly telebriefings with LA County health officals for information on K-12 schools. As of Monday, August 31 the county of Los Angeles will be monitored using a four-tiered, color-coded system that tracks the number of new cases each day and the percentage of positive cases of those tested. Although LA County is under the required positivity rate of 8%, we are at 5.1%, we have not met the requirement for new cases per 100,000. We are currently at 13 cases but need to be 7 or fewer. Once we have met those benchmarks, LA County will need to be on the red tier for 2 weeks to be able to open schools, we are currently at purple. For this reason, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has not made their waiver applications available to any schools in LA County. As soon as they do we will be submitting our application. In the meantime, GPS is getting ready for a safe return to school. Our faculty and staff are being trained in COVID-19 prevention, safety protocols, and containment strategies. We will continue to inform our families and update you on any health and safety protocols that will be used while student are on campus. As a reminder, our current plans can be found on the GPS website. School Assemblies Whole school assemblies take place on Friday mornings. For the time being, the assemblies will be held online starting at 8:45 am and our first scheduled assembly will be on Friday, September 11th. We will send out a link next week so that anyone interested can watch the assembly from a distance.

Back to School Night

All parents are urged to attend Back-To-School-Night, which this year will be done via Zoom. We have divided this event into two evenings; one for Lower School and one for Middle School. The dates and times are the following: Middle School Back to School Night - Wednesday, September 16 at 7:00 pm Lower School Back to School Night - Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 pm Preschool parents are welcome to join the Lower School event on September 17 at 7:00 pm to listen to the Specialist teachers talk about their program.

Labor Day

We will be closed on Monday for the holiday. Have a great and safe long weekend!!

Staff Spotlight

Preschool with Ms. Donna

Each week we have been introducing a member of our talented and dedicated teaching faculty. This week we are pleased to introduce Donna Furukawa, who teaches our Preschool class. We are fortunate to have such a qualified member of our team. Donna received her Early Childhood Credential in Florida before moving to California in 2002. She began teaching preschool 28 years ago and taught for five years at First Presbyterian Preschool. Donna loves watching children as they discover new things and strives to make school a fun, exciting place to be. When she is not teaching, Donna enjoys volunteering with the children at church, where her husband is a pastor. She also loves spending time with her three adult children and eight grandchildren (plus one on the way!). We are happy that Donna has joined the GPS team. 



Don't forget to send us a photo of your student to be added to our community board. Preschool can bring a photo in to their teacher. K-8 students can drop off their photo in the office or email it to gmitas@gpsschool.org.


GPS is committed to doing our part to reduce landfill waste and is collecting crayons/markers that would otherwise be discarded, for recycling. Drop off crayons/markers, used or unused to the main office any time during the school year. Last year we collected over 15 lbs!! Check out the Crazy Crayon website or contact Ms. Fonvergne for more information.


Schools all across LA County have been opening the academic year with Virtual Assemblies. At GPS we had assemblies for both Lower and Middle school students and families this past Wednesday. While getting a head count of participants is not that easy, it would seem that most of the students and parents logged in and listened to the GPS faculty and staff talk a bit about themselves and their goals for the school year. The big theme was that of a new adventure and of course we highlighted a number of the IB attributes that we would have to practice as we start with a distance-learning program. Mentioned were being open-minded, being a risk taker and being a good communicator. We also thanked Pastor Jim Sillarud and the First Presbyterian Church community for their collaboration in this joint adventure that we are embarking on. The FPP project of repaving the parking lot and the school hard court play area to coincide with the start of the school year is greatly appreciated, and will be much enjoyed and used by our students when we begin attending school on campus.  During the assembly we also gave a shout out to all of the members of the Chatsworth Hills Academy and First Presbyterian Preparatory School transition Board for their hard work in making this dream come true.

I know most of our students and parents were looking forward to being in a classroom again. While our Early Years Program is able to start on campus, for Kinder through Middle School we will begin the year with distance learning as we mentioned. The good news is that in the last few days we have been hearing that the COVID infection rate in LA County is declining and has gone under the threshold level of 200 cases per 100,000. The LA County Health Department has taken a cautious approach and has decided to wait and see if these numbers are sustained in the days ahead. Hopefully this will be the case and they will start the waiver application for K-6 programs. We also hope that LA County will soon be taken off the state watch list, which will allow all grade levels to return to the classrooms. In the meantime, our faculty is well prepared for distance learning and gave much information during student/family orientation. As we make our plans for the next few months, you will receive a survey to give us important data and concerns that you may have with a re-opening of on-campus instruction. Look for details in next week’s COMPASS.

This year we had a unique orientation program with individual teacher-student/family meetings. Getting to meet your teacher in person and seeing what your classroom looks like, is a great way to put the new year into perspective and create the excitement that always accompanies a new school year and a new adventure. I am overjoyed to report that every student showed up for orientation.


Thank you to everyone that brought in a photo for our GPS Community board. It's not too late to be added. Preschool students can bring their photo to class and give it to their teacher. Lower and Middle School families can drop off their 4x6 photo in the office or email it to gmitas@gpsschool.org.


Paving on the main school parking lot will begin next week and should be completed by the end of the week. In the mean time, please continue to use the back parking area and gate. To ensure the security of the campus, this gate will only be open until 8:45. After this time, please come to the front gate by the school office where we will check you in.


You have probably seen information about these camps that help families who cannot support their children with distance learning due to work commitments. First Presbyterian Church has opened a camp in Lee Hall and they already have a number of students attending from various schools. For more information on this I refer you to maryegendler@gmail.com.


Christopher grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley and has always been surrounded by Technology. From childhood video games to navigating college using all the tools Google has to offer, tech has always been a part of his life. He learned much of what he knows leading technology summer camps in Los Angeles in the past years, and his goal is to pass that knowledge on to his students today. He loves helping people with their technology, literature and the San Jose Sharks. He is a graduate at CSU Northridge and has a Bachelor's degree in English.

The summer might be over but many memories linger on. Over the past few days, we have been hearing about some adventures that our students and their families had this summer so we decided to add a section to the COMPASS next week to showcase some fun photos. Please send in a photo with a few sentences to our Admissions Director at gmitas@gpsschool.org and watch for next week’s edition of the COMPASS. Here is what a few of our teachers and staff did this summer.


Mr. Metzger went hiking in Oregon where the wide-open and empty trails guaranteed a social distance of 6 feet. Often it was more like 6 miles. 

Mr. Mendoza took a course in scuba diving where he clearly kept his social distance from any sharks in the area. 

Mrs. Mitas headed to Lake Tahoe for some paddleboarding, kayaking, and tubing. But the best part of her trip was morning yoga on the deck among the pine trees.

Mrs. Shibel (Middle School Science) Early in the summer I flew back east to help a long time friend move from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. Although most of the time was spent packing and unpacking boxes, I was able to escape for one day to spend time on the beach. It lasted only about an hour as a thunder storm came in and required everyone to clear the beach. I made the most of the day by taking the car and going exploring along the Rhode Island coast where I happened upon this light house. Later in the summer, our family welcomed our 6th grandchild, Anthony. Needless to say there was a lot of good cuddle time.

Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday, August 26 - Zoom Assemblies

  • 8:00 a.m. - Middle School Families

  • 9:30 a.m. - Lower School Families

  • Wednesday, August 26 - First day of school for Preschool - JK students

  • Thursday, August 27 and Friday, August 28 - Orientation meetings with teachers, all grades

  • Monday, August 31 - First day of instruction K-8

From the Head of School

GPS Faculty Getting Ready for a Great School Year

While GPS students and families have been enjoying the last few days of summer vacation, our teachers and staff have been getting ready for the start of the 2020-21 school year. After a very busy week of staff and faculty meetings, orienting new teachers, planning our first week, discussing our curriculum goals, and figuring out schedules, we are now ready and eager to welcome all of our families back to school next week for our orientation days. An email with a Sign up Genius was sent out last week. Please plan to arrive a few minutes prior to the meeting time for the check in and health screening protocol. If you did not receive an email to sign up for the orientation program please email us at office@gpsschool.org. The schedule of orientation days is as follows:

  • Tuesday, Early Years Classes (Parking in the small parking lot behind the church. The entrance is the lane to the left of the church building)

  • Wednesday afternoon, Grades 2 and 3 (Parking is in the main parking lot. The lot is currently under construction; however, you can park on the unpaved lot close to the school entrance.)

  • Thursday, Grades K-8 (Parking is in the main parking lot. The lot is currently under construction, however; you can park on the unpaved lot close to the school entrance.)

  • Friday, Grades K-8 (Parking is in the main parking lot. The lot is currently under construction, however; you can park on the unpaved lot close to the school entrance.)

Orientation is for both the student and parents. Prior to the orientation, we will be sending out all new student email addresses for K-8. If you have any difficulty with setting up the email accounts, your teacher will lead you through the process during orientation. Please bring the student’s laptop or tablet to orientation so we can check that the log in is successful. 

Orientation Days Check In Protocol 

We are asking all persons coming on the GPS campus to wear a mask and complete our health check in procedure. This involves a temperature check and affirming that you do not have the following symptoms:

  1. Have been exposed to someone with COVID 19

  2. Consistent cough

  3. Shortness of breath

  4. Loss of smell or taste

  5. Muscle pain and body aches

  6. Fever or chills

  7. Headache

  8. Sore throat

  9. Nausea or vomiting

  10. Diarrhea

If you or your child does have any of these symptoms, please cancel your appointment and contact the school office at 818-368-7254. The check in desk will be by the school’s main entrance. 

GPS Planning for the New School Year

Our new year officially starts on Wednesday, August 26. Students in the Early Years Section (Preschool, Pre-Kinder and Junior Kindergarten) will start with on-campus instruction. Students in K-8 will start the year with our distance-learning program, as directed by the County of Los Angeles. For K-8 students and families, we will start on Wednesday, August 26 with virtual welcome assemblies. These will be at 8:00 am for Middle School and 9:30 am for Lower School. Zoom log in details will be sent out early next week. This will be followed by our individual orientation for which sign up details have been sent out earlier this week.

It is still our plan to move to on-campus instruction once it is deemed safe to do so. In today’s Los Angeles County Department of Health tele-briefing to schools, we were happy to learn that the infection rate in the county has been dropping and is currently in the two hundred range. Health officers told us that once the rate drops below 200 infections per 100,000 population, the county will initiate its waiver application program. It was indicated that once a waiver application is submitted, it would take about two weeks to be processed. We will keep you updated as the situation changes. 

Preschool at GPS

We are happy to introduce Mary Gendler to the GPS Community. Our First Presbyterian Preschool families are familiar with Ms. Mary as a teacher in the PreK program. She has been promoted to Director of Preschool at Granada Preparatory School.

Ms. Mary has been a preschool teacher for 20 years and enjoys working with this young creative age. She has also been a science teacher for elementary school children. Science is her passion and she enjoys the hands on approach in helping kids explore and learn. She has a bachelor’s degree from Washburn University and an Early Childhood Education Credential with UCLA. 

Granada Preparatory School
10400 Zelzah Avenue, Northridge, CA 91326
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