GEMS Family Newsletter

March 2022

Upcoming Events

  • Thurs. March 17 - No School - PD Day
  • Fri. March 18 - No School - Front Office Closed
  • Tues. March 22 - Free Produce Drive Thru at TCS@ODU - 4:00-6:00pm (1270 Brentnell Ave. 43219)
  • Wed. March 23 - Thurs. April 28 - Ohio State Tests
  • Wed. March 23 - In Person Enrollment Session at 6:00pm
  • Wed. April 6 - In Person Enrollment Session at 6:00pm
  • Fri. April 15 - Fri. April 22 - No School - Spring Break

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Important School Information

Breakfast Menu - March

Lunch Menu - March

GEMS Academic Calendar 21-22 - Updated

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

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

Check out TGFS employment opportunities for the 22-23 school year!

Click here for the GEMS employment opportunities.

Click here for TGS employment opportunities.

Click here for TCS@ODU employment opportunities.

Attention GEMS Families

Attendance: Please remember that if your student is absent, you must send a hand-written note or email with the reason for the absence for it to be excused. All undocumented absences are unexcused. This rule also applies when students are tardy in the morning or picked up early. A note explaining the reason for the missed time must be provided in order for it to be excused.

Lost and Found: Our Lost and Found area is once again overflowing with coats, hoodies, water bottles, and backpacks. Remind your students that they can come to the office to search for their lost items.

Ohio State Testing Starts March 23

Every year students across the State take the Ohio State Tests (OST) in English Language Arts and Math in grades 3 through 8 and Science in grades 5 and 8. State achievement tests tell us how well our students are growing in the knowledge and skills outlined in Ohio's Learning Standards. The OST is one data point that is used to determine your student’s readiness for the next grade level, along with their expedition work, unit assessments and projects, small group work, NWEA MAP reading and math assessments, and STAR reading and math assessments. We ask that students try their best on the assessments and show how they have grown in their learning. There will be things on the tests that they do not know yet, and that is okay. What matters most is that they put forth their best effort.

Click here for the Spring Ohio State Testing Calendar.

Online Annual Registration Available

The 2022-23 Annual Registration forms are now available online. Please complete your student's registration today!

Already have an account? Use the same login you used for the 2021-22 school year. If you did not create an account last year, you will need to create an account first using the invite code. Your invite code was e-mailed to you this week. Please contact Wesley Owens, Registrar & Community Outreach Liaison at or 614-253-4000 with questions or to request your invite code.

OneView Login Page:
  • As you set up your account you will be asked to create your own PIN. You will enter your Invite Code in Option 1.
  • Once you enter the site, your student's information should be pre-populated into the forms. Double check that the pre-populated information is correct, fix any wrong information, complete new information, and then submit. Check each Section.
  • NOTE: Choose Yes or No at the end of each section BEFORE trying to update the information.
  • NOTE: Use the Save and Return button, frequently.
  • Once you have completed all seven parts, select Save and Return THEN Save and Submit to District.

Mask Policy Update

As many of you know, the CDC and Columbus Public Health recommended lifting the mask requirement on March 7.

On Monday, March 7, GEMS removed the mask requirements at school. Wearing masks is now optional for all students, staff, and visitors unless otherwise noted due to circumstances related to health and safety.

We also want to emphasize the following safety guidelines at GEMS:

  • We urge all students, staff, and their families to get vaccinated.
  • We ask that families continue to monitor for COVID symptoms, keep students home if they are not feeling well, and test for COVID as needed.
  • Masking is a personal choice and we support all who choose to continue to wear one. We will continue to provide masks for individuals who need one.
  • Everyone must respect each other’s choice to wear a mask or not.
  • If COVID cases increase, we may reinstate the mask requirement.

We look forward to the warmer weather and school experiences outside. We must all be aware of the need to follow closely our rules for safe conduct in our schools. As COVID hopefully retreats and the outdoors beckons we must be ever vigilant about our behavior and interactions.

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-

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!

Free Produce Drive Thru at The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University - 1270 Brentell Ave. Columbus 43219

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More Free Covid-19 Tests

Click here to complete the online form to request MORE free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government.

Covid-19 Vaccine Locations:

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Grade Level Updates

February Habit Heroes

Our February Habit Heroes are middle school students who earned only positive Hero points for the month of February:

5th Grade

  • Jessica Ballard
  • Kendra Bova
  • Aaliyah Fields
  • Emma Lally
  • Karwonna Davis
  • Adrien Yuille
  • Faust Scott
  • Syriq Augustine

6th Grade

  • Annelise Adams
  • Alexi Ichrist-King
  • Gustavo Hernandez-Ledesma
  • Ella Snyder
  • LaCrae Willis
  • Dontee Jackson
  • Abigail Sandoval
  • Esmerelda Morales
  • Luca Crockett
  • Alonna Long
  • Sal Doonan
  • Kaleb Flores
  • Dante Moss
  • A'lisea Glover
  • Eugene Crum
  • Josh Best
  • Asher Braaksma

7th Grade

  • De'Onjai Sowell
  • Curtis Watkins
  • Max Rager
  • Aaliyah Daniels-Robinson
  • Hayden Knighton
  • Malia Walker
  • Aicha Dioubate
  • Saijahn Augustine
  • Karmen Jones

8th Grade

  • Colton Hoffman
  • Sharif Harris
  • Zoee Harris
  • Michael Ko
  • Dougie Houseley
  • Gabby Potter
  • Derrick Hurley
  • D'Andre Godfrey
  • Keira Bova
  • Niran Johns-Carroll
  • William White
  • Carl Golden
  • Moxxie Buttler
  • Annabel Morales
  • Tori Clifford
  • Sean Jackson
  • Owen Burchett
  • Arden Gibson
  • Seb Kulwicki
  • Makayla Wilks


On Friday March 25, 2022 we will be going on fieldwork to Franklin Park and Urban Air and on April 29, 2022 we will be going to the Columbus Zoo. This fieldwork will support our current unit around the guiding question, “What patterns can we observe in living things?” Throughout the unit, your student will read, think, listen, talk, write, and ask questions about the patterns of living things. Plan to join us at the end of our deep study to celebrate all of your student’s learning!

Here are a few activities that you can do at home with your student to support his or her learning:

  • Ask your student to talk with you about these questions: How do we know that something is living? What do all living things need to move and grow? What does a researcher do?
  • Read books and sing songs about patterns of living things from home or at the library.
  • Identify different living and nonliving things around your home, ask your student to tell you what makes them living or nonliving, and help your student identify the patterns between them.
  • Encourage your student to read the weekly Student Decodable Reader or a letter book to you every night.
  • Practice reading and spelling regularly spelled, one-syllable words with the middle vowel sound /a/ (e.g., “pat,” “chat,” “tap”) .

First Graders

Have started a new math unit focused on numbers to 99. During this unit, students develop an understanding of place value for numbers up to 99. In expedition, students are continuing to work as researchers as we study the physical characteristics of birds. Students enjoyed learning about how birds use their beaks and feathers while meeting 4 animal ambassadors from Ohio Wildlife. Next, students will use their research to write an expert bird riddle.

Second Graders

Have wrapped up their expedition on fossils with a trip to COSI to see real life fossils! We will soon begin to explore plants and pollinators for the last couple months of school. During math, students are practicing solving three-digit addition and subtraction using different strategies. For crew, students have been discussing how talents make us all unique and will begin to think about how everyone is different!

Third Graders

Went on a Journey to Neverland and Kensington Gardens! Now students will be writing a book review for future third graders. Mixed reviews have us recommending the book, recommending with cautions, or not at all. In Crew we have been focusing on thoughtfulness and teamwork. In math it is all about division. Within this new concept our third graders have certainly impressed us all with their skills! Thanks to ST math students rocked this unit!

Fourth Graders

Are working on animal defense mechanisms. We have focused on possum defenses and habitats. Each student will be choosing their own animal and writing their own stories about their animals. In math students are working on long division. Reviewing basic multiplication skills at home will help with this. Please be on the lookout for fieldwork coming up!

Fifth Graders

In math, we are reviewing long division to connect it to improper fractions and mixed numbers. In science, we are learning about how energy flows through ecosystems. We are putting much of our attention into our new vocabulary words along with food webs.

Sixth Graders

In math we continue evaluating expressions for the missing variables, as well as reading a word problem and creating an equation to match. In science we will begin our unit on natural disasters and focus on what we can do to prepare ourselves in case of emergency.

In Humanities, students will continue learning about Percy Jackson and how this story connects to the hero’s journey. Additionally, students will be working on using prefixes and context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words!

Seventh Graders

In humanities class we finished reading The Giver and are now working on learning targets about identifying theme and using context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

We will be kicking off our spring expedition at Alum Creek Lake, looking at wetlands and their role in the ecosystem. Students will get to get in the water and look for living organisms and collect real data the park rangers will use to monitor the health of the wetlands!

Eight Graders

Have kicked off our expedition on Food Justice. Students participated in a Hunger Banquet during which they were randomly placed in different groups representing the varying social economic classes in the world. Depending on their grouping, they were given a general meal based on data for what that income group can afford daily. Soon students saw a huge discrepancy between those in the higher income group, and the lower income groups in the world. Students discussed the differences in income and food opportunities in the world and U.S. They discovered that there are clear discrepancies in how the world’s food system works, and to whom healthy food is available. They learned that while there is plenty of healthy food being produced not everyone is being fed, or has it readily available. Student’s learned how many man made systems play into providing healthy affordable food for everyone. We looked at how food is made, food desserts, laws, educational programs, and average income of Americans. We surveyed our community for the ratio of grocery stores to fast food restaurants and made correlations on how that plays into buying healthy food vs. paying bills. Many students were shocked by the costs of food and other bills. They also learned about communities and people who more frequently deal with food injustice in our country. This semester we will continue to explore the topic of food justice in our country, state, community and school through learning about how food works in our body (specifically our brain), the breakdown of food in our bodies, and how it correlates with the amount of energy we use daily. We will also look at the cost and measurements of food through grocery lists, recipes and data related to food desserts. We will research laws, map food desserts, learn how food is grown in our school garden, participate in field work, and so much more. Our hope is by the end of the semester students will answer the question, “What can we do to solve the issue of food inequality in our community” and create protocols to help solve the issue.

In math, students researched the cost of a recipe of their choice along with the cost of a meal from a fast food restaurant of their choice. Students compared the price of their recipe to the fast food restaurant by creating a graph and analyzing what happened.

In humanities, students are reading Micahael Pollan’s “The Omnivore's Dilemma”, and learning about how the four food systems work in our country. Students are also learning about the 13 colonies and how the New England, Middle and Southern colonies had different views on their way of life which led to conflict. We also began our “current topics'' unit, and completed our “MISSING FROM HISTORY” unit. In the coming weeks students will learn how to write informative/explanatory essays on pieces in colonial American history.

K-4 Music

This month in music we are finishing our ukulele units in 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade. Each class is choosing a song to play and sing together for their final performance. Be on the lookout for the recording of that work! In 1st grade this month we are working on hearing solfege patterns and recognizing them. We are also starting work on our expedition connection song all about the Red Robin. In Kindergarten we are working on the difference between steady beat and rhythm, creating and showing our own compositions with our voices and instruments. We are also working on an expedition connection song all about the weather.

5-6 Art

This month in art, we will review and learn more about the elements and principles of art and design and use what we learn to create Wonderful Original Work in the GEMS Art Studio!

7-8 PE

For the next two weeks we will be practicing components of fitness related to health. The students will work on different exercises each day and will reflect on how they can improve those exercises before the final components of health assessment in April.


8th grade families: now is the time to make decisions about high school! If you have questions or need help choosing a high school or figuring out applications, please reach out to Sydney Frazier (5-8 school counselor) at

All families: Check out this Mental Fitness Challenge from the Nationwide Children’s On Our Sleeves Program, supporting children’s mental health. Keeping our brains in shape is just as important as physical fitness – try out some of these easy tips with your family!

Calling all GEMS 8th Grade Families!

NOW is the time!

  • If you are considering enrolling your 8th-grade student at The Graham School (TGS) or The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University (TCS@ODU) please complete an online application ASAP.

  • Your family MUST complete an application to be considered for enrollment.

  • Completing an online application does NOT:

    • commit your student to attend OR

    • complete their enrollment for either high school.

  • GEMS students are not guaranteed placement at either TGS or TCS@ODU.

  • Use the following links to complete an online application:

  • If you’d like a paper application for either school please contact Wesley Owens at 614-253-4000 to have the 2022-23 application mailed out to you.

  • Virtual Enrollment Information Sessions are offered Wednesdays at 6:00pm at The Graham School and The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University.

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

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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 donate 0.5% of your total purchase to GEMS. Go to to get started!

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 required to perform a monthly review of student files and randomly select families for residency verification. Please 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."