GEMS Family Newsletter

December 2020

Upcoming Events

  • Mon. Dec. 14 - Fri. Dec. 18 - GEMS Spirit Week!
  • Wed. Dec. 16 - Donations Due for the GEMS Holiday Gift Drive
  • Thurs. Dec. 17 - 6:00-7:00pm - K-4 Celebration of Learning
  • Mon. Dec. 21 - Fri. Jan. 1 - No School Winter Break
  • Mon. Jan. 4 - No School PD Day
  • Wed. Jan. 6 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Information Session
  • Fri. Jan. 15 - Last Day of the Semester
  • Mon. Jan. 18 - No School Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Tues. Jan. 19 - First Day of Semester 2
  • Wed. Jan. 20 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Information Session

Haga clic en "Translate" (Traducir) a la derecha para ver esto en español.

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Meal Pick Up During Virtual Learning Until the End of the School Year

We have received exciting news that all students qualify for free breakfast and lunch from GEMS from now until the end of the school year. No paperwork is needed, but we do need to know if you are interested in picking up meals so that we can schedule weekly times for you to come to the building to pick up the food. You can let us know you are interested by calling the school (614-253-4000) or emailing us at This is only for students enrolled at GEMS. Food portions will not be provided for siblings.

Front Office Update

With the rising COVID cases in Ohio, specifically Franklin County, we feel it is in the best interest for all to have the front office closed to the public at this time and re-evaluate in January. Front office associates, as well as Deans will be working remotely from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each day and available via the email address You may also reach out via gchat or phone, 614-253-4000 during office hours. If you have a need to come into the school please reach out via one of these options to make an appointment. Meal pick up for students will still happen as it has all school year. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out.

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Free Internet Hot Spots Available Now for All Students Eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch!

Through a partnership with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and PCs For People we are offering free Internet Hot Spots to all families eligible for free or reduced lunch. If you are eligible, please call the front office to make an appointment to pick up a hot spot. Front office hours are 8:30am-4:30pm. Click here to complete a Free and Reduced lunch application. Please contact the front desk (614-253-4000) with any questions.

When you shop at Kroger, and/or Amazon you can help GEMS raise money for expeditions!


Go to: or call 1-800-837-4483 to enroll in the program. If you enrolled last year you must re-enroll each year to help GEMS. Add GEMS to your card. You can search for GEMS by name or use our school code: FD086. Shop! Every time you shop and use your Kroger Rewards Card GEMS gets rebates. Kroger totals those rebates and sends GEMS a check.


When you make a purchase on Amazon Smile they will now donate 0.5% of your total purchase to GEMS. Go to to get started!

GEMS Needs Your Support!

You will receive a letter this week about the GEMS Annual Fund. The Annual Fund provides essential resources for our school. We hope to have parents, community members, and local businesses support this important effort. Click here to make your donation. Or mail in your reply envelope. Thanks in advance for your participation!

Click here to show your support!

Updated COVID Policies

We wanted to take a moment to remind you of our COVID policies upon entering our premises, as well as update you on a new policy. Any visitor or staff member entering the building will be required to have their temperature taken and logged.

All of our buildings have contactless thermometers that will be sanitized between each use. If you have any questions or concerns in regards to any of our COVID policies please feel free call the front office at 614-253-4000.

The Graham Family of Schools COVID Policies:

  • Any visitor or staff member entering the building will be required to have their temperature taken and logged.
  • Masks on. If you are entering the building you must wear a mask.
  • If you have been sick, have a fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or recent loss of smell please do not enter the building.
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance between one another.
  • Wash your hands for the safety of everyone. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Use a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Grade Level Updates


Are working on Holidays Around the World in Expeditions. They are discovering what celebrations and traditions other cultures have and how they might be the same or different from what they celebrate at home.

This month in Reading we are learning the sounds and names of the letters Kk, Yy, Xx, Uu, Qq, Bb, Oo, Ww, Jj, Ee, and Zz. This will finish the alphabet. Make sure to practice letter names and letter sounds with your students at home! Especially over Winter Break!

In Math we are finishing Unit 3 (Flat Shapes All Around Us), and will be starting Unit 4 (Addition and Subtraction) the week before winter break.

First Graders

Are working on the Sun, Moon, and Stars unit in Expeditions. They are excited to share the Sun, Moon, and Stars song at Celebration of Learning on December 17th. In Math, 1st graders finished unit 2 and are beginning unit 3, adding and subtracting within 20. Keep practicing those math facts!

Second Graders

Are finishing their expedition on schools and have been working very hard creating an audio book comparing and contrasting school during the pandemic to school before the pandemic. Students have been busy writing, editing, and recording their books. In the next few weeks, students will continue to use their comparing and contrasting skills to describe how different gingerbread books are the same and different.

In math, students are exploring the standard units of measurement and have been practicing measuring in centimeters, inches, and feet. Students will begin using these skills to compare measurement between objects.

Third Graders

Have discovered learning challenges faced by people all over the world face, such as access to education and books. This month students will be diving in to reading challenges they themselves face. We will begin by writing an essay then move on to creating our own comic. In math we are continuing our dive into multiplication by exploring arrays and area. We will finish our book Wish and find out what will happen to our beloved Charlie!

Fourth Graders

Are excited to share their poems from our first Expedition of Poetry at our Celebration of Learning on the 17th. We are just starting our Expeditions unit on Animal Defenses and have already shown a strong desire to find out more about how different animals survive in the wild. Students are also finishing their fractions unit with addition, subtraction, and multiplication of fractions.

Fifth Graders

Are diving into the first steps in creating our collaborative magazine on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are excited to get to publish this magazine and learn all of the different components of writing, information, and text features that go into creating a quality magazine of our own.

Sixth Graders

Are reading multiple sources to determine if Columbus should ban the use of plastic bags. After reading these sources students will be writing an opinion ed piece that will be submitted to a variety of newspapers

Seventh Graders

Are putting together what we have been learning about opportunity in colonial America and modern day America to create our final product podcast! We will be discussing in small groups as well as interviewing guests from the community to share our research and our essential questions. We can’t wait for you to hear our creations!

Eighth Graders

Are working to put what we have learned from ALL classes into a cookbook and school garden plan! We are excited to share with you the hard work and recipes our students have curated at the Celebration of Learning in January. Students will be cooking their recipe over break so we encourage you to engage in their learning by asking them questions about why they chose the recipe they are making and how a school garden will not only benefit them but the school community as a whole!

K-8th Counseling

Click on the link below to contact a GEMS School Counselor, to set up an appointment, and for community and social-emotional resources:

K-4th Art

Kindergarten and First Grade artists are learning how to put lines and shapes together to draw anything! We are also discussing artwork, experimenting with watercolors, and practicing symmetry. Our habit focus is responsibility. We are learning to take care of our art supplies in the way we use them and in how we clean up after ourselves.

K-4th Music

This month in music class second grade is focusing on composing our own class songs all about winter! We are using our knowledge of solfege, rhythms, and note values to create together! We are also learning our school song and discovering what skills we use at GEMS both in person and virtually to show our GEMS spirit!

PE & Health

All grades (3rd, 4th, 6th, and 8th) are now participating in a dance unit. Students will be learning about different types of dances, performing dances in class, and learning a dance routine. Dance is a great cardio activity that is also lots of fun! Ask your student to show you some dance moves!


Per House Bill 21 community schools are now required to perform a monthly review of student files and randomly select families for residency verification. Please be sure to contact the school immediately in case of an address change. Proof of residency must be submitted within two weeks of an address change. If evidence is not provided, requests for additional documentation or a home visit may occur.

GEMS School-wide Title 1

GEMS is a School-wide Title 1 program, enabling us to receive Federal Funds to ensure that our students receive the support they need to reach and exceed grade level goals particularly in reading and math. We welcome parent involvement in planning, review and improvement of Title 1 programs including the family engagement policy and the schoolwide program plan. Please contact Debbie Addison at with any questions.

GEMS After School Program

Meet the GEMS After School Program staff, Christopher M. Farris (photo below), Program Manager of the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center grant funding the after school program at GEMS. Jasmine Blanton is the Site Coordinator & has coordinated the following take home meals & Enrichment activity:

  • Children's Hunger Alliance provides shelf stable meals we distribute once weekly
  • COSI Science Kits: Space focused engineering kits for students to have hands on engagement during the virtual after school program

Click here to learn more and enroll in the elementary virtual after school program.

Click here to learn more and enroll in the middle school virtual after school program.

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