Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Early Years Program at GPS?
GPS offers a preschool for students from 2 to 4 years old. The preschool program is inspired by the International Baccalaureate program which starts in Junior Kindergarten.
What is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School?
"The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world." Through units of inquiry that focus on global themes, GPS provides an environment for learning that emphasizes curiosity, creativity and collaboration.
What are the teacher qualifications?
The Early Years Program (Preschool) is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and teachers are fully qualified by the state of California, Community Care Licensing Division.
The Lower School and Middle School are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and GPS is an authorized IB school for the PYP and MYP. Teachers in grades JK - 8 have an undergraduate degree with some of our faculty members having a Master’s Degree or professional certifications beyond a Bachelor’s Degree. In addition, teachers have completed professional development coursework through the International Baccalaureate Organization.
What are the school hours?
GPS is open from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. The school day will vary based on the program.
Early Years Program - Preschool students will have options for a half day from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. or a full day from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 2, 3, or 5 days a week.
Pre-Kindergarten is a 3 day program from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Junior Kindergarten is a 5 day program from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Kindergarten - 5th grade - 8:15 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
6th - 8th grade - 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Extended Day Care (EDC) is available for all students starting at 7:00 a.m. free of charge and after school until 6:00 p.m. at an additional charge.
What specialist programs are offered?
We have specialists in the following areas; Spanish, Music, Art, Technology and Physical Education. Students in the Early Years Program (Preschool - Junior Kindergarten) meet with the PE and music teachers throughout the week. Students in the Primary Years Program (Kindergarten - 5th grade) meet with all of the specialists throughout the week. Students in the Middle Years Program (6-8 grade) have Spanish and PE as part of their core classes. In addition, they have one trimester of art, one trimester of music and one trimester of design technology.
How is STEAM (STEM) incorporated into the program at GPS?
The IB program is structured through Units of Inquiry that are interdisciplinary in their approach to learning, similar to STEAM, and bring together various subjects such as language arts, science, math and technology. These units are designed to teach students to think conceptually and apply their learning in a real life context. In these units the students are challenged to look at information from a personal and global perspective. Our specialist teachers in art, technology, music and Spanish work in collaboration with the classroom teacher to provide lessons that support the unit of inquiry in each grade level class or subject. The hands-on projects completed throughout the units give students the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned and acquire lifelong skills such as research, communication, and critical thinking.
What is the role of religion in the school?
The academic program GPS is on a religious campus. Bible Study classes will be available for students who would like to attend. In addition, a chapel service will be held once a month. The values of First Presbyterian align with the IB values that believe students should be kind, empathetic and caring individuals who work to create a better world. GPS welcomes and celebrates families of all faiths and cultures to our program.
Is there a uniform?
GPS has a dress code intended to eliminate distractions from clothing or appearance. Dress code guidelines are solid color shirt and solid color shorts, pants or skirts. Middle School students must wear collared shirts. A GPS jacket or sweatshirt will be mandatory for all students and can be purchased online.
What are the class sizes?
Enrollment varies by class. The maximum number of students in grades JK-8 is 18. Our average class size is 12. Currently we have one class per grade. Our preschool classes are limited based on age and typically have one teacher and one aid.
Does GPS offer financial assistance?
Yes. Financial assistance is available to qualified Kindergarten through Grade 8 families based on demonstrated need. GPS uses the services of FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition) to evaluate the financial ability of each family to afford the costs of private education.
What is the security on campus?
The facility is secured by a perimeter gate. Families with students enrolled at GPS will receive a key fob that will allow them to enter the campus during drop off and pick up times. Parents and guests who would like to visit during the school day will need to check into the office before being permitted on the school grounds. In addition, there are cameras set up around the campus that will be monitored by the school’s administration.
Is there a lunch program?
Morning snack is provided for students in our Early Years Program.
Snack items and beverages are available for purchase by students in Kindergarten - Grade 8.
Organic and nutritious lunches are available for purchase at all grade levels from TotPot, a school lunch service.
Snacks and lunches may also be brought from home.
GPS is a “peanut aware” school. Items available for purchase and provided during our treat sales and special events will not contain nuts.
How can parents get involved?
GPS encourages and supports parent involvement. Sign up to be a room parent in your student's class, volunteer in the library, participate in the various schoolwide events and activities, or be a mystery reader in our early years classrooms. Our PTSO (Parent, Teacher, Student Organization) is an integral part of the school and we rely on parent volunteers to continue to support and enhance our program.