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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Council News
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!
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.”
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.”