GEMS Family Newsletter

January 2021

Upcoming Events

  • Thurs. Jan. 28 at 6:00pm - GEMS Family Crew
  • Tues. Feb. 2 at 5:00pm - TGFS Virtual College Access Night
  • Wed. Feb. 3 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Information Session
  • Thurs. Feb. 4 - Fri. Feb. 5 - No School PD Days
  • Mon. Feb. 15 - No School Presidents' Day
  • Wed. Feb. 17 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Information Session
  • Thurs. Feb. 25 at 6:00pm - GEMS Family Crew

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MAP Testing For Grades 3-8 Starts the End of January

NWEA MAP Growth testing for reading and math will take place virtually for grades 3-8 at the end of January during one of your students’ regularly scheduled classes (click link below for schedules). The MAP Growth Test helps determine what a student knows, how much they grow over the course of the year, and is used by teachers and students to reflect and set goals for learning. Students will take the MAP Growth test in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Your students’ performance on this test will not affect their grade, however, it is very important that they try their best, without help, so that teachers get a clear picture of their strengths and areas for growth.

Click here to read more about MAP testing.

GEMS Family Crew

GEMS is excited to announce a new initiative - Family Crew. Family Crew will strengthen our community and allow us the opportunity to more closely connect with our families- and for you to connect with each other! Please read more about Family Crew below. We personally invite you to participate and would love to see you at our first meeting on January 28, 6:00-6:45. JOIN US!

Have you completed the GEMS survey?

As we consider the opportunity to return to in-person school this spring, we value the feedback of our families as part of the decision making process as we consider a return to school. Please complete this survey:

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. 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.

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.

TGFS College Access Night

It is never too early to start learning about the process!

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!

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

Grade Level Updates


Have begun studying weather. They are exploring what weather is and how they can be ready for any type of weather. In math they are working on adding and subtracting using story problems, pictures, and math manipulatives. Students are starting to learn how to sound out 3 letter words! They finished the alphabet before Winter Break, adding the digraph sounds ch, th, and sh after returning from Winter Break. Now they are putting together sounds to make words.

First Graders

Are continuing our sun, moon and stars unit. We have started learning about prepositions/adjectives and have participated in science talks about the patterns in the sky. In math, first graders have been exploring strategies to use when adding and subtracting within 20. Keep practicing those math facts at home! For quarter 3, first graders will start PE class with Mr. Owens.

Second Graders

Have started a new expedition studying fossils and learning about what paleontologists do. Students have been practicing being scientists by asking questions and will soon dive into nonfiction texts to discover answers! In math, students are practicing comparing and contrasting numbers using a number line and will then begin to add and subtract numbers using a number line.

Third Graders

Are beginning a new exploration into the world of frogs, Pourquoi Tales. Ask your student how to pronounce the french word Pourquoi! We will dive into narrative writing by writing our own pourquoi tale. In small groups we will be focusing on comprehension of grade level text as well as fine tuning phonics. In math students are becoming proficient in multiplication and finding the area of shapes not just rectangles. In read aloud, Mrs. Orians has started The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Fourth Graders

Are learning about Animal Defenses. We are working to refer back to our text when we answer questions and improving our reading fluency. Research projects are being started and should be ready by the end of March. In math, we are exploring place value. Coming next will be 2 digit multiplication and division.

Fifth Graders

Are wrapping up their Human Rights expedition, and moving on to a short expedition on Ancient Civilizations. This expedition will allow students to learn about the past and how it has shaped our future. Civilizations that we will study include the Inca, Aztec and Maya tribes.

Sixth Graders

Will begin learning about our next expedition which is Minding Your Mind. This expedition will have students look at stigma surrounding mental health and what ways we can support people with mental illnesses.

Seventh Graders

Have worked hard to write, record and edit our podcasts to explore the question, “Is America a land of opportunity for all”. We interviewed community members and conducted research that helped guide our work.

In Humanities, as we wrap up this expedition, we will begin to study dystopian and utopian societies in novels. In math, we are working on percentages - including how to find new totals with discount, sales tax and tips. Ask your student to help calculate the total next time you find an item on sale!

Eighth Graders

Have wrapped up our Vote with Your Fork expedition investigating where our food comes from and the environmental and social implications of those sources.

In our second semester, students will study Who Sings America? Telling the Stories of American Slavery. Students will begin by examining their own culture, learning how to have cross-cultural discussions with an awareness of their own cultural lens. We will study the often forgotten history of Indigenous enslavement and resistance, then move into African enslavement and resistance, Emancipation, and Reconstruction. Along the way, we will consider the perspectives, holes, and opportunities for truth-telling in stories of who is called "American." At the end of the expedition, each student will create their own children's book that tells a story about a person or event they research related to our topic of study.

5-8th Counseling

Every 5-8 student has access to a Schoology page called “Connect”, which has compiled all Middle School Counseling resources in one place. This page includes links to our GEMS School Counseling Site (where students and families can explore mental health and community resources), a Google Form to set up an appointment with Ms. Frazier, and various opportunities for social connection with peers. This is not a graded or required course, but rather a simplified landing point for middle school students. Look out for regular updates to this page!

K-4th Art

Kinder and 1st finished their quarter practicing using primary colors to mix secondary colors. 2nd grade will have art starting mid-January. We’ll be integrating with the expedition, investigating fossils. Students will learn some introductory printmaking and continue to improve their drawing and painting skills by learning to mix tertiary colors and create shading.

K-4th Music

This month we finished 2nd grade music with creating our own Winter Composition. Then in Quarter 3 3rd and 4th grade will be starting music! I am so excited to get started with those grades! We will be learning all about the different families of instruments, listening to music from around the world by creating our own digital music creations!

PE & Health

The 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 8th grade classes finished the second quarter by learning and performing a dance. The dance unit was fun and enjoyed by all. Mr. Owens will miss teaching these classes but is excited to begin Physical Education with the Kindergarten, 1st, 5th, and 7th grade

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.


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."