At our assembly this morning we gave recognition to those students that exemplified the Learner Profile attribute of caring. As you know, we take these attributes very seriously and they are an important part of this holistic
education that we call the IB. I know that our teachers had a difficult task of selecting students for this award as so many, indeed I would say all, of our students are very caring.
The Winter Break has started and the GPS faculty, students and parents will now have time to rest, relax and renew their energies for the upcoming year. I would like to congratulate the teachers and staff of GPS on their hard work in this difficult time and providing our students with a very productive, positive and successful first four months of school. We have had a rich academic program and even a few fun activities that have involved our community. Most importantly, we have worked hard to provide an outstanding world-class IB educational program for our students and as such our PYP and MYP programs have been fully recognized under our new name by the IB Office.
I would like to thank all of you for your help and collaboration in our common goal of educating your children. The positive interaction between family and school is necessary to help us reach our objectives and give our students a rich and nourishing learning experience. Being a supportive and close-knit community has helped us move forward in our educational goals despite the complications imposed by the COVID pandemic. I sincerely thank the members of the GPS School Board for their work in assisting the staff and school in the many ways they do.
As the year 2020 comes to a close, I would like to especially commend the outstanding GPS staff. We are fortunate to have such a competent, caring and dedicated team of staff and faculty at our school. Probably frustrated, but certainly not daunted by the limitations of distance learning, every day I see our teachers strive to create a dynamic IB learning environment. I discovered a great example of this today in our MS science class. Ms. Shibel is having students dissect eyeballs on zoom and having others go into their gardens and bury trash to measure decomposition. I was impressed by her determination to not water down the academic program and equally fascinated by the symbolism of the later activity with what many of us feel about this past year.
Thank you for your continued support and have a Happy Holiday and a great start to the New Year. We are looking forward to great things in 21!!
In January we will be starting our re-enrollment process. For students in JK-8, GPS uses a continuous enrollment contract and as such families do not have to complete new forms and documents every year. Parents that wish to terminate their children’s enrollment at GPS for the following year are given an opt-out period up to February 15th to send in a written communication to the Business Office.
Preschool students are enrolled using an annual contract. We will be sending out new contracts for the 2021-22 school year at the end of January.
At our recent school board meeting we approved tuition rates for the next school year. Our intention is to make GPS affordable to the greatest number of families possible, while at the same time providing an educational program that is truly world-class. Apart from some minor adjustments, tuition rates for 2021-22 will essentially be the same as this year. Look for a special email with all the dates, numbers and details when we return to school on January 4th. Financial aid applications for 2021-22 will be available starting January 4th and run through January 25th.
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. This will be our last request for your support, 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.
Meet Mrs. Paulette Collins
This week we would like to showcase our Lower School Principal/PYP Coordinator and Junior Kindergarten Teacher, Paulette Collins. Those who know her are well aware of her love of hats. Here at GPS we let her wear many. Reflecting on her path at GPS and her work as a teacher, she writes:
My philosophy on education was developed from a very young age. I have always dreamed of being a teacher who would lead children to grow and develop into their best possible selves. However, my career as an educator did not begin until after I had my own children. I received my Bachelors degree in Business Management with a minor in Accounting from Boston College. Upon graduation, I worked in the financial industry in both Boston and Philadelphia. After a short time in Philadelphia my husband and I decided to move to California in 1998. A week after landing in California my first child was born.
I have two wonderful children. My first, graduating from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in the spring of 2021. My second child is concluding her junior year at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. My husband and I feel very blessed and proud to be their parents. My husband has always been my rock to lean on ever since our early days as freshmen at Boston College. Our lives have gone through numerous ups and downs but it is our faith, family, friends and love for each other that has always brought us comfort. We enjoy sports, music, and playing board games together.
Aside from my immediate family, I have a second family I call Chatsworth Hills Academy (CHA), now Granada Preparatory School (GPS). As a stay at home mom and young entrepreneur, I began my studies in Early Childhood Education and started a home daycare. This business brought much joy to my then toddler children and myself. Not only did my children have play dates, five days a week, I was able to do what I love which is to care for young children. As a new mom in a new state, I was fortunate enough to meet some wonderful parents through my home daycare business and the Moms Club of Granada Hills and Northridge. It was through these interactions that I learned of an outstanding school called CHA. Five years after our arrival in California, my husband and I had to begin the process of finding an elementary school for our oldest child. Before beginning our search for the perfect school for our children, I reflected on my own philosophy on education. I have always believed that children learn best when they feel safe, loved, respected, happy, empowered, engaged, and are included in all aspects of their learning. I believe every child is unique and special so it is important that they be treated according to their individual needs in a sensitive manner.
Given both our philosophies on education, we agreed that our children’s five basic but crucial need to be respected, feel valued, feel accepted, feel included, and feel safe were non negotiable. With that in mind, we visited this school called CHA. Upon arriving and walking around the campus, my heart was telling me that was the place. Once we entered the classrooms, we saw how happy the students were and the way the teachers interacted with their students. I knew for sure that was the place for us. CHA did not disappoint! It not only became the place where my children received an excellent elementary and middle school education but a place we called our second home. As a former parent, I could not be more grateful for the teachers who lead my children from kindergarten to 8th grade. As an educator, I see and understand the impact teachers can have on children and it is with great appreciation that I say thank you to Mrs. Carol Shibel, Ms. Pam Green, and Mr. Thomas Boulanger (Coach B) for being one of those teachers my children said “is the best teacher ever.” Thank you for not only being a positive role model for my own children but for the many children you have cared for over the years at CHA. It has been my honor and pleasure to work alongside you at a school that embodies everything I believe about education and want for young children. It is a joy to come to work everyday.
The CHA I first encountered has seen many changes and now it has a new name, new location and new educational program. However, the one thing that I can honestly say has not changed is the sense of community. GPS is a safe learning community where everyone is respected, valued, accepted, and included in all aspects of learning. In doing so, we know children are able to develop confidence allowing them to become better learners. It is my passion to lead young children to grow and develop into their best possible selves. I remain committed to always lead and teach with love, respect for others and humility.
Wishing my GPS family a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Holiday Season.