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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Come to school in your pajamas on our next Fun Day, Friday, December 11th. More details will be sent out in December.
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.
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!
Wishing you a Safe and Happy