GEMS Family Newsletter

November 2021

Upcoming Events

  • Wed. Nov. 17 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Information Session
  • Wed. Nov. 17 - Student-Led Conferences
  • Mon. Nov. 22 - Tues. Nov. 23 - No School - Student-Led Conferences
  • Wed. Nov. 24 - Fri. Nov. 25 - No School - Thanksgiving Break
  • Wed. Dec. 1 - Picture Retakes
  • Wed. Dec. 8 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Information Session
  • Wed. Dec. 15 - Celebration of Learning - K-8th Grade
  • Mon. Dec. 20 - Mon. Jan. 3 - No School - Winter Break
  • Tues. Jan. 4 - No School - PD Day
  • Wed. Jan. 5 - Classes Resume

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

Important School Information

GEMS Academic Calendar 21-22 - Updated

Breakfast/Lunch Menu


GEMS Front Office is open 8:00am-5:00pm

If your student is absent please e-mail the Front Office at

Check out the TGFS employment opportunities!

Click here to check out TGS employment opportunities.

Click here to check out TCS@ODU employment opportunities.

Click here to check out GEMS employment opportunities.

Have you completed your Free/Reduced Lunch Application

It is essential for every family to complete the Free/Reduced Lunch application every year. This information directly effects school funding and resources.

Click here to print the application. After you print and complete the application it can be mailed or scanned, OR dropped off at the front desk. Our office hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm.

Attention GEMS Families

Lost & Found -- Fall weather usually means cold mornings and warmer afternoons. As a result, we have MANY students who have lost track of their outer wear. The Lost & Found will be available for families during our Student Lead Conferences (Nov. 22-23) -- a perfect opportunity to find all those missing items!

Reporting Absences: If your student is absent, or has been absent, please send a written excuse to

Dismissal: In order to facilitate a smooth transition to the end of our school day, we ask families to please make your final dismissal plans NO LATER than 3:00pm. If you call or come to school after 3:00pm, please understand that it might not be possible to quickly locate your student for last minute dismissal plans. If you are picking up your student(s) prior to our 3:45pm dismissal, please be advised that you must come into the building and sign them out. We are not able to send student(s) outside of the school prior to the 3:45pm dismissal time. Thank you for your support in keeping our students safe!

Student Led Conferences

Student led conferences start today and are a critical part of the learning process at GEMS. Please contact your student’s teacher or the front office ( if you have not yet scheduled a conference.

Student led conferences are held on the following dates and can be done in person or virtually.

  • Wednesday, November 17th - 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
  • Monday, November 22nd - 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
  • Tuesday, November 23rd - 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

What is a Student Led Conference? Read more below!

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GEMS Family Crew Form - Due Nov. 18

We are excited to have Family Crew again this school year at GEMS! In order to offer what our families want most, we need your input. Please fill out the Family Crew form by November 18, 2021. We appreciate your feedback.

GEMS Winter Coat Distribution

This year the Marcus Project is partnering with GEMS to provide winter coats for students attending GEMS as well as siblings who are not GEMS students.

If there is a need for a coat for parent/caregivers, please indicate on the form. Please note the Marcus Project will try its best to fulfill needs for adult coats, but GEMS students and their non-GEMS siblings will be the first priority.

Please click here to complete the form by November 24th. Unfortunately, late submissions will not be accepted. Details regarding pickup will be sent at a later date.

Thanksgiving Food Baskets - Donations Needed by Fri. Nov. 19

Every year, GEMS offers Thanksgiving food baskets to ensure every family in our community can celebrate the bounty of the holiday.

We’ll prepare the baskets at 9:00am on Tuesday, November 23rd and they will be available for pick-up from 10:00am – 6:00pm on the same day. We are looking for donations of the following items.

Click here complete the donation form.

Please bring all donated items to the Front Office by Fri. Nov. 19. Thank you for your support!

Have you completed the Tech Needs Survey?

Please take a moment to fill out our brief Tech Needs Survey. This will help us better ensure that all students have access to curriculum both at home and at school. Thank you so much!

Click here to complete the survey!

Grade Level Updates


Students are learning about different kinds of families, communities and community helpers, and comparing them to those in the past. They will discover how inventors like Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin helped make community living easier with their inventions. They will also learn about two well-known American presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and why they were so important to our country.

First Graders

Are working hard as mathematicians to understand, solve and compare various types of addition and subtraction story problems. In Expedition, students have been working as researchers using books, images, and videos to learn about the patterns of the sun, moon, and stars. Students are using this research to write their own descriptive poem, “What the Sun Sees”. We can’t wait to share what we have learned with families during Student Led Conferences!

Second Graders

Are working hard to prepare for Student Led Conferences! We have been completing our script and are almost ready to start practicing presenting! In math, students are using place value to help them solve addition and subtraction problems with and without regrouping. In expedition, students are beginning their final product, a book comparing and contrasting our school to our pen pal school in Turkey. Students will be writing interview questions to ask the students in Turkey to help them collect data to inform their writing. In skills block, students are continuing to practice their individual skills in differentiated small groups and are working hard to become better readers and writers!

Third Graders

Are working on our comics on pixton. We are so proud of how hard they have been working. You will get a chance to see their final product during the celebration of learning next month. We are beginning our new journey into FROGS! Be prepared for some great facts! In math this month we are working on creating and reading graphs, along with introducing multiplication.

Our students' have been showing wonderful perseverance as they have struggled with positive social interactions so far this year. Covid has certainly impacted progress, and left a gap in social emotional skills for most students across the country. Everyday during Crew we are learning ways to promote positive interactions, respectful reactions, and strategies to handle high emotions. WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS to close the gap.

Fourth Graders

In Expeditions and ELA we are finishing our album and are continuing to work on understanding the main idea, theme, descriptions of characters and setting, poetry, as well as reading and writing skills! In terms of the expedition we are currently working on details to get students into a studio in Dublin, but if it is not available due to COVID restrictions then we will be recording the album right at GEMS with Mr. H’s own recording equipment.

In math we are learning about writing numbers in new forms such as expanded and written forms. We are also working heavily on strengthening our foundational multiplication and division skills in order to solve higher level thinking problems.

Try and make sure to have your student reading or journaling every night for about 10-20 minutes!

Have your fourth graders continue to use Epic (Code GLZ5417) and ST Math/Flashcard practice to keep those reading and math skills up!

Fifth Graders

In Math, are continuing to learn more about fractions. We reviewed that fractions are the same as division. We are going to be multiplying whole numbers with fractions and fractions with fractions. Please continue to keep practicing with your 5th graders on their multiplication and division facts.

In science, we are learning how to ask scientific questions to see if we can come up with hypotheses about Mars. We are also learning ideas and strategies of how to survive on colonized Mars.

Sixth Graders

In math we are finishing ratios and we are going to be putting together a class cookbook of some awesome recipes. In science we are going to be investigating both renewable and non-renewable resources and how we impact our environment/community.

In Humanities students are going to begin planning and researching their TedTalks related to our expedition of plastic and waste pollution. Students will identify a problem then answer the question: what is the problem, who/what does the problem harm, and what can we do to address the problem?

Seventh Graders

Had a great time touring Central State University and talking to students about life at a HBCU. We also took in the art and history at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. Students will be using what they learned as inspiration for their upcoming podcasts! In science, students are learning about water scarcity and how it impacts communities around the world.

Eight Graders

In math class, students finished their study on algebraic equations and started to explore transformations on the coordinate plane. Students will be starting a polygon project next week that connects to their identity.

K-4 Music

We are working on the music connections to each grade’s Expedition Projects! In 4th grade we are rehearsing the songs that each class wrote with Mr. H to prepare for their recording session. In 3rd grade we started researching for our Musician Study Project, where students learn about a musician who had to overcome an obstacle. In 2nd Grade we are learning about the musical culture and traditional music from their penpal countries, Turkey and Honduras. In 1st grade we are learning songs all about the moon and stars and working on our composing skills. In kindergarten, we are working on our musical opposites, hearing and comparing musical sounds! We are all also preparing for Student Led Conferences and look forward to sharing what we have been learning with you!

7-8 Art

“WOW!” You might say, as we have already passed the mid-point of first semester! 7th and 8th graders will be building on the knowledge and skills we worked on during the first quarter, and using them to create Wonderful Original Work! “WOW!”

K-4 Art

This month we are focusing on projects for our expeditions! Kindergarten is working on their building skills as we learn how to put things together. First grade is exploring color as we get ready to begin making shadow boxes, starting off with our gradient backgrounds. Second grade is looking at artwork from around the world, starting with mandalas. In 3rd we are diving into the world of color theory as we investigate the color wheel. In 4th, we are excited to begin some digital projects as we work with our groups to create stop motion animation. We will be working collectively with our class to create a video to go along with our expedition song using stop motion!

5-6 PE

For the next 2 weeks, 5-6th grade will be exploring different cultures and how they represent themselves within physical activity. Then we will finish the month by creating our own full body strength training exercises.


November is here, which means it’s time to focus on gratitude and kindness! This month hosts a variety of holidays dedicated to recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of others, and pausing the chaos of the holiday season to gather and reflect with loved ones.

Taking a step back to acknowledge what you’re thankful for can really make a difference, not only to yourself but also to others. Even the smallest acts of kindness can help spread that gratitude, which has been shown to help improve happiness, decrease stress, and improve our health and wellbeing!

Check out these easy strategies for reflecting on thankfulness and practicing small acts of kindness, fit for the whole family:Gratitude and Kindness For Kids

National Gratitude Month - November

Veteran’s Day - Nov. 11

World Kindness Day - Nov. 13

Thanksgiving - Nov. 25

National Native American Heritage Day - Nov. 26

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. 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.

Amazon Smile

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!

Do you know anyone that might be interested in attending GEMS? Please share this information!

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EL Education

Our partnership with EL Education empowers our teachers to unleash the potential of their students. EL Education is built on ten design principles that reflect the educational values and beliefs of Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound and co-founder of EL Education. These principles also reflect the design's connection to other related thinking about teaching, learning, and the culture of schools. The 10 design principles are: The Primacy of Self-Discovery, The Having of Wonderful Ideas, The Responsibility for Learning, Empathy and Caring, Success and Failure, Collaboration and Competition, Diversity and Inclusion, The Natural World, Solitude and Reflection, Service and Compassion.

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. Please contact Debbie Addison at with any questions.


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.

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"This institution is an equal opportunity provider."