From the Head of School
On Thursday GPS participated in the Great Shakeout. This is a national day for earthquake preparedness with organizations, businesses and schools across the country participating in a simulation of an earthquake. This drill, as well as all of the emergency drills we do throughout the year, gives us an opportunity to put into practice our evacuation plan, schoolwide communication, and emergency procedures we have established to keep everyone on our campus safe. We were only able to practice with our preschoolers but our drill went smoothly. Please take this time to make sure your family has a plan and is prepared in case of an emergency. You can find information about the Great ShakeOut on their website as well as resources to help you prepare at home.
Creativity at GPS
This week I participated in a video meeting with our 8th Grade class to discuss their Design project, which they are doing with Mr. Mendoza. The object of the project is to plan the Fall Festival using the design cycle. This is a unit project that 8th graders have been doing every fall since we started with the International Baccalaureate Program some years ago. This year, however, was different as the project had to work around the restrictions imposed by COVID 19. In fact it required our students to do some creative problem solving. In other words we were asking our students to follow our school mission and “THINK CREATIVELY”.
At GPS we believe in the importance of giving our students the opportunity to exercise their natural creativity in all aspects of our program. One of the world’s experts on creativity in education, Sir Ken Robinson, states:
“Creativity is possible in all areas of human life, in science, the arts, mathematics, technology, cuisine, teaching, politics, business, you name it. And like many human capacities, our creative powers can be cultivated and refined. Being creative is not just about having off-the-wall ideas and letting your imagination run free. It may involve all of that, but it also involves refining, testing, and focusing what you’re doing. It’s about original thinking on the part of the individual, and it’s also about judging critically whether the work in process is taking the right shape and is worthwhile, at least for the person producing it”
Much of Ken Robinson’s ideas about education are well incorporated into the educational philosophy of both the IB and GPS. For example, he also underscores the importance of reflection, another of the important components of the IB and, in fact, one of our learner profiles. To hear more Ken Robinson’s ideas on creativity I encourage you to watch his interview on CBS.
Parent Teacher Conferences
For the past two days we have had parent-teacher conferences, both on-campus and on-line. These meetings followed the mid-term progress reports that were sent out earlier in the week and gave both teachers and parents a point of reference in discussing student progress up to this point. It is important that clear goals are set early in the year and that the communication with our families supports student growth. In this year, even more so than in the past, the collaboration with our parents in essential as we move forward with our distance learning program.
We were delighted by the fact that the surveys received represented 86.4% of our student population. Apart from the responses to the specific questions, we were happy to get a lot of additional feedback in the comments sections. This is invaluable information for us and will help us in our own evaluation of program delivery. Here is a brief summary of the survey:
The first question was about work assigned. Homework is very subjective and finding the right measure is hard at the best of times when the students are in the classroom, and much more challenging with on-line teaching. However, of the responses 87.6% thought the amount was good/excellent, 8.9% felt it was satisfactory and a small percentage felt it was unsatisfactory. Some concerns were more about timelines being too short.
The amount of feedback given by teachers to students was also well received with 80.7% indicating good/excellent, 12.3% being satisfied and 7% seeing a need for improvement.
With distance learning, we know how much is being asked of our parents to support the learning process. Based on the survey we see that 47.7% feel the amount of support is appropriate, 33.3% say it is manageable, 10.5% say it is substantial but still manageable and 8.8% say it is a lot and hard to manage. Hopefully some productive discussions were had during the conferences.
The school’s communication and organization in implementing the distance learning program was seen as good to excellent by 82.4 % of the responses, satisfactory by 10.5% and in need of improvement by 4.8%. Some commented favorably on the Managebac program but others were not so thrilled.
For the question about how your child is responding to the distance-learning program, 66.7% indicated excellent to good adjustment, 15.8% were satisfied and 19.3% were having some to significant difficulty. Concerns ranged from technology related issues to that of keeping students focused.
The distance-learning program had naturally caused an impact on family routines and work commitments. How families have been able to adapt depends very much on a broad series of factors that are very subjective. With all that, 29.8% indicated that they were able to adapt easily, 49.1% had to make some adjustments, 12.3% needed to make significant adjustments, 8.8% had difficulty or significant difficulty in adapting to the distance learning program.
GPS has developed a Pandemic Response Plan and COVID Safety Protocols for a return to campus when this is possible. 77.2% are in general or total agreement with the plan, 19.3% feel it is satisfactory and 3.5% do not agree with the plan.
On the question about sending students for on-campus instruction, 56.1% will definitely or probably send their children, 40.4% are still uncertain and 3.5% will not send their child at this point in time.
Our Administrative team will review all of your feedback to see where we can address some of the issues that have been brought up. If you would like to have a follow-up conversation with the Head of School about your concerns, please send an email to email@example.com.
The second and third graders started a new unit: "Sparking Change". To kick off the unit in art, they learned about the Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. He sparked change when he decided to do something different; paint portraits made entirely out of food! The students created their own works of art by drawing, collaging pictures and gluing real food onto their portraits. So surreal!
Meet Tom Boulanger (Coach B)
This week we would like to showcase another of the outstanding GPS faculty, Thomas Boulanger. Tom is a New England transplant who moved to Southern California permanently in 1993. A Beach Boys fan as a boy, he moved to California because of the beaches and warm weather. Known by all students as Coach B, he began working for GPS/CHA in 2007. Not only has Coach B been a teacher here at CHA/GPS but also a parent of a CHA graduate. His daughter, Faith, graduated in 2017 after attending CHA since preschool.
Before becoming a teacher, Coach B was Youth Program Director at the North Valley YMCA, developing youth fitness programs for children ages 3-15, as well as developing PE programs for several local LAUSD elementary schools. While working at the YMCA Coach B completed his psychology undergraduate studies at Cal State University Northridge. Coach B is a huge supporter of Matador athletics, although, that may change when his daughter, Faith, begins playing college basketball next year.
Coach B’s philosophy is that fitness and athletics should be for every student not just for the gifted athlete but also for the student with limited physical abilities. All students should develop a life-long love for fitness and a healthy lifestyle. When not teaching at GPS Coach B enjoys playing competitive sports, cooking, and most importantly spending time with his family.
Coach B is currently running the after school basketball clinic for students Grades 3-8. Although there are no competitive school sports at the moment, our students are having fun and are getting ready for the season when it opens up.
Online GPS Scholastic Book Fair: Nov. 2 - 15, 2020
Dear GPS Parents and Families:
The Scholastic Book Fair is back! While the Fair will be exclusively held online this year, we still plan on making it a fun and joyous experience for our kids. Features include:
Granada Preparatory School's own online store, with a large selection of titles, at the right price points
A Virtual Fair so you and your family can experience the magic of the school shopping experience. Browse titles by grade, meet popular authors, and discover the comfort and joy of our Fair
Every dollar you spend will benefit our school directly (25% back in rewards!)
Save these dates and view our school’s Fair site:
Fair Dates: Monday, November 2 – Sunday, November 15, 2020
Online Store: https://www.scholastic.com/bf/gpsschool
We can’t wait to “see” you at the Fair beginning Nov. 2!
From October 13 to 28 the GPS 8th Grade students will be holding a fundraiser called Boo-Grams to raise funds for the Halloween Drive-through that they are creating as part of their design class as well as for their Legacy Gift. For $1 each, students, parents and teachers can send a ghostly treat with a pre-printed message to a student, friend, or teacher at GPS. Boo grams will be delivered on Friday, October 30 at the Drive-Thru event.
We will not be able to have a Halloween Carnival this year but that doesn't mean we can't still have a fun, and safe, community event.
As part of their Design Class, the 8th grade students have created a Halloween Drive-Thru experience for all GPS families on Friday, October 30th. The Halloween Drive-Thru will be safe with fun activities to do along the way, while you stay in your car.
*Halloween Trivia *Halloween Scenes *Haunted Tunnel
*Students are encouraged to wear a costume *a photo station.
All students and their families are welcome.
You're sure to have carloads of fun!
October 30 is a Noon dismissal day for grades K-8 (regular day for Early Childhood students)
Drive Thru schedule:
12:15 - Preschool half-day and Preschool On-line (right after 12:00 pick-up)
1:00 - Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades
1:30 - 3 rd, 4th, and 5th grades
2:00 - 6 th, 7th, and 8th grades
2:30 - Preschool full day, Pre-K, and Jr.-K (right after 2:30 pick-up)
Download the Boo Gram order form and information about the Drive-thru here.
Co-ed basketball practices with Coach B has ongoing registration. Here are the details:
After School Basketball Training Program
Grades 2-5-- Tuesdays and Thursdays from October 6 through November 19, 2020
Grades 6-8-- Mondays and Wednesdays from October 5 through November 18, 2020 (except Veterans Day, Nov. 11)
Time: All practices will be on campus from 3:45 – 5:00 pm
Dress code: Wear appropriate athletic clothing--shorts, t-shirt, and laced sports footwear.
Details: Due to current COVID restrictions, there will be no games played and all students will be required to wear masks. A quick COVID-19 screening and temperature check will be completed before students may enter the campus.
Program Cost: $125 to be billed to your Smart Tuition account
Registration Forms: Please use one of these links to sign up
Boys and Girls in grades 2-5: https://forms.gle/RDM3uEdPfL5xfGGx8
Boys and Girls in grades 6-8: https://forms.gle/6cxexsP8zbrCkF2NA