GEMS Family Newsletter

April 2021

Upcoming Events

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

Have you reviewed the 4th quarter information?

Welcome back hybrid students!

GEMS Family Crew

Please join us for the April Family Crew (Thurs. April 22 - 6:00-6:45pm) during which we will all learn a bit more about Crew, with a focus on Trauma Responsive Educational Practices (TREP).

Help celebrate In-Demand Jobs Week 2021

In-Demand Jobs Week is an annual statewide celebration of the jobs, industries and skills that are in demand in Ohio. Click here to Join the celebration May 3-7.

Have you registered your current student for the 2021-2022 school year?

  • Will your student be returning to GEMS next year?

  • Do we have a current email address for you and are you receiving GEMS emails such as announcements, newsletters, etc.?

  • Do we have your current mailing address and have you been receiving information in the mail?

  • Have you created an online account with OneView to complete the Annual Registration forms for your student? To create an account go to

  • You will receive an e-mail soon with your student's invite code. Once you receive the invite code, you’ll be asked to verify information that we already have for your student, and also complete the new information required in order to register them for the 2021-22 school year.

As we continue to plan for the 2021-22 school year, we need to hear from you no later than Friday, May 7, 2021. If you have any questions, please contact LeMoyne Jackson at or 614-253-4000.

Free Internet Hot Spots Available 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.

Please Take this Survey!

As part of our OCER grant that is funding the Family Crew initiative, we are required to administer the YouthTruth survey to students, staff and families between now and May 14. These are anonymous surveys being administered through the Ohio Collaborative for Educating Remotely and Transforming Schools initiative – a partnership to support schools in improving remote learning practices and outcomes - to learn from our students, families, and educators about their experiences and to help assess the impact of the grant. Please take 20 minutes to fill out our survey!

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!


We are so proud of the Play Us Forward students, and a few of them helped to produce a small spring concert, featuring works by our very own Karen Koger. Here is the link, and we hope you enjoy:

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

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Grade Level Updates

GEMS Instructional Leadership TEAM

A group of about 10 GEMS staff members who support students in a variety of roles across the building meet every month to lead school improvement initiatives. This Fall we conducted an Equity Audit of the school to identify areas for growth that might have the greatest impact on student learning and belongingness. From there, we split into three action teams. Below is a summary from each group on what we are doing and learning.

Family Engagement

In the family engagement group we have been focusing on how we can provide families with more opportunities to meaningfully engage with the school community. We hosted focus groups to receive feedback on how we’re doing with engaging families and plan to use the feedback to make improvements moving forward.

Recruiting and Retaining Teachers of Color

In this action group, we have been researching best practices for recruiting and supporting teachers of color. At GEMS, our future goal is to have our staff population become more representative of our student population. Through our work, we submitted a grant to create a partnership with the Ohio State University FEEP program for students of color at OSU to receive fee waivers and additional support for GEMS to pursue their teaching licenses. Upon completion of their time at Ohio State University, these students would then take a position on staff at GEMS. We have also worked to create an affinity group for our staff of color within The Graham Family of Schools to hear more about how they can be better supported in their roles.

Systems for Academic Support and Extension

In this action group we did a feasibility study of opening a pre-school at GEMS to support the early learning and development of students. After learning that we are not able to open a pre-school, we switched gears and began evaluating the current systems we have in place to support learners who are struggling academically or who need more challenge. We are in the process of researching successful models used in elementary and middle schools elsewhere and in our April meeting we plan to use a tool to evaluate our support systems for literacy intervention. We will identify key takeaways and apply what we learn to improve our support systems for next school year.


Are continuing to study plants and will create collages of different plant life cycles for their Final Product. You can see their Final Products at our Celebration of Learning! The Celebration of Learning will be on Facebook Live at 6:00pm on Thursday, May 13. More details will be coming soon!

Please also keep a lookout for information to schedule a Student-Led Conference virtually or in-person (depending on your comfort level) to hear all that your student has learned this year from your child, not me! Student-Led Conferences allow our students to voice what they’ve learned instead of just hearing from their teacher. We can’t wait to see you!

In Reading, students are starting long vowel sounds in words like hike, bake, Pete, cube, and rope. In Math, we have begun a unit that reviews every skill taught this year, which is great preparation for our District MAP testing on May 11 and 12th. Please make sure your child gets enough rest the night before each of these days!

First Graders

Are continuing to study birds while researching to answer the question, “How do birds use their body parts to survive?” Students will be conducting research to write their informative paragraphs and creating mystery bird riddles to share with their families at Student Led Conferences.

In math, students have continued working with different strategies to use when adding and subtracting within 100. Next, we will explore measurement and review skills taught throughout the year!

Second Graders

Have been hard at work mastering three digit addition and subtraction problems! Students are now using this skill to solve story problems. In the next weeks students will begin their next math unit on time and money! In expedition, students are continuing their study of plants. These next few weeks students will begin to study the process of pollination and will continue thinking like a scientist as they observe and record a seed going through the process of germination. In skills block students have started their small groups that will focus on skills they need to become better readers and writers!

Third Graders

Are continuing their research projects by starting their informational essay. Each student has chosen a specific frog to become an expert on. In math we have opened the division bag and have dived head first!

Fourth Graders

Are finishing their Animal Defense reports and putting all the information into a Google Slides presentation. They will be presenting their animal to the class as their culminating activity. In math, they are starting to learn long division. Once their animal reports are completed, we will begin working on our Passages presentations.

Fifth Graders

Are continuing their expedition in researching invasive species and the rainforest. Recently, students had an interview with an expert and were able to ask questions all about invasive species in Ohio. Later this month, students will begin work on their final product. This product will be a “Lost and Found” style poster listing details about one invasive species in Ohio.

Sixth Graders

In Humanities students will begin writing their narrative modernized myths to teach a lesson to incoming middle school students. Additionally, students will be creating a piece of artwork that matches their myth to enhance the reader's experience.

Seventh Graders

Have been investigating cases of environmental justice in order to discuss how to make a better world. We have started brainstorming our final products that will include a community outreach and education and call to action! Stay tuned for more details!

Eighth Graders

In Humanities, students are learning about the "missing pages" of world history by exploring Black and African history. We are preparing to write children's books that will help young kids learn from those missing pages, so we are also examining published books to explore how we can tell effective, compelling stories. In Science and Math, students are creating a business plan for a themed park built on abandoned coal mining land. They are investigating how to make their park sustainable and give back to communities. They will also design and build a paper roller coaster!

3rd-4th Art

Classes are diving into the art of Aminah Robinson, a Columbus artist known for her work about growing up in Poindexter Village, a neighborhood that used to be on Columbus’s east side and one of the first public housing projects in the United States. Students are painting landscapes of their own neighborhoods, learning mixed media art techniques, and sewing figurative sculptures, all based on ideas from Aminah Robinson’s work. There is currently an exhibition of her work at the Columbus Museum of Art.

7th-8th Art

Art supplies are available for pickup at the front office from Monday-Thursday during office hours.

K-4th Music

During April we are using all of our musical skills to start working on our Celebration of learning music. In Kindergarten and First grade we are learning all about the opposites we hear in music and how to show them with our instruments. We are also learning about the difference between beat and rhythm. In Second grade we are starting our unit on bucket drumming and learning to read and write music on the five line music staff. We cannot wait for you to hear all of our hard work!

5th-6th PE & Health

For the first two weeks after spring break students are learning jump rope tricks and creating their own routine. Students have been excited about what they are able to perform. Following jump rope, students will learn juggling.

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.

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.

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. These principles also reflect the design's connection to other related thinking about teaching, learning, and the culture of schools. Watch this space for information each month about design principles.

Professional Qualifications

The parent or guardian of each student enrolled at GEMS may request information on the professional qualifications of each classroom teacher who provides instruction to their student and the school will provide this information on each applicable teacher in a timely manner.


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.

"This institution is an equal opportunity provider."