GEMS Family Newsletter

August 2021

Upcoming Events

  • Wed. Aug. 25 - Back to School Night - 6:00-7:30pm
  • Thurs. Aug. 26 - Front Office Closed
  • Mon. Aug. 30 - New Student Orientation (K-8)
  • Tues. Aug. 31 - First Day of School for All Students - 9:00am-3:45pm
  • Mon. Sept. 6 - No School - Labor Day
  • Fri. Oct. 1 - No School - PD Day

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

Important Back to School Information

Click here to review important back to school information!

GEMS Academic Calendar 21-22


Starting Monday, August 23 the GEMS Front Office will be open 8:00am-5:00pm

Don't Miss GEMS Back to School Night!

Join us for our Title I meeting.

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Have you registered your Current or New student for the 2021-2022 school year? Your student's spot is not guaranteed until all annual registration forms are received by the school

For RETURNING Students there are 2 ways to register your student:

1. Online Annual Registration Forms

Please Create an account for your student using the invite code that was e-mailed to you. 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 some new information, and then submit. Check each Section.

  • NOTE: If any information has changed, check the box at the end of that section BEFORE trying to update the information.
  • NOTE: Please completely fill out Part(s) Two, Five (especially Health History), and Seven.
  • NOTE: You may also need to clear the cache.
  • If you run into any problems, be sure to let us know with as much detail as possible.
  • If it is impossible for you to see any of your student's information or access the website, let us know that too.
  • Visit this ESchool - How to.pdf There are step by step screenshots.

To create an online account with OneView to complete the Annual Registration forms for your student online go to You should have received an e-mail with your student's invite code. If you have any questions, please contact Wesley Owens at or 614-253-4000.

2. Paper Annual Registration Forms
Paper forms;

Please fill out the annual registration forms and mail, scan, fax, or bring to Back to School Night.

NEW Students will need to complete Paper Registration Forms:

Please fill out the annual registration forms TODAY and mail, scan, fax, or drop them off at the front desk. If you have any questions, please contact the front desk at or call 614-253-4000.

ALL Students:

In addition to the Registration Forms, we are mandated by the Ohio Department of Education to obtain a new proof of residency every school year. This may be a copy of a utility bill (dated on or after July 1, 2021). If you do not have a copy of a utility bill, please contact the school at or call 614-253-4000 for other options. Proof of residency must be submitted on or before the first day of school.

We are asking our families to help with expenses by making an annual school contribution of $35.00. You may pay with credit card, cash, check or money order in person or by mail. You may also pay with a credit card online via the GEMS Store.

Transportation Next Steps:

  • New families complete the online application NOW at
  • An email address is required for registration.
  • Returning families, please check your CCS Transportation portal to make sure your information is up to date.
  • You should receive an email with a link to complete your online application.
  • Then you should receive an email confirmation that your application has been submitted.
  • CCS Transportation will send your student’s route information separately
  • We do NOT have access to the student's un-routed information.

For any further questions contact: Columbus City Schools Transportation at 614-365-5074 or visit 1560 Moler Rd, Columbus, OH 43207

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Have you completed the Free and Reduced Application?

All GEMS students will be offered free breakfast and lunch for the 2021-2022 school year, regardless of the status of a family's free and reduced application. We request that all families fill out this form which helps determine school funding. In order to potentially qualify for PEBT, fee waivers, and other benefits families will still need to complete a free and reduced application. A family will need to qualify as free or reduced in order to qualify for these programs. A letter will be mailed out to families and will indicate their free, reduced or full pay status. Please complete the application and return it to the front office as soon as possible by mail or in person. The GEMS front office is open Mon.-Fri. 9:00am-3:00pm. Please contact Kristen Bucci at with any questions.

Click here to print and complete the free and reduced application.

GEMS After-school Program K-4 & 5-8

GEMS After-school Program is a FREE K-4 & 5-8 after school program! The program hours are 3:30-6:30pm Monday through Friday beginning Sept. 13th - May 27th

GEMS After-school Program is a collaboration between Graham Elementary & Middle School & Communities In Schools of Central Ohio. The purpose of this collaboration is to surround students with a community of support, empower them to succeed in school and achieve in life.

GEMS After-school Program is funded through a Nita M. Lowery 21st Century Community Learning Center grant through the Ohio Department of Education.

Program Highlights:

  • A Safe environment with caring adults
  • Homework Assistance
  • Literacy daily & Expeditionary Learning
  • Mentoring & OSU Volunteer Reading Buddies
  • Enrichment & Physical Activities
  • Meals provided daily through Children’s Hunger Alliance USDA food program

Our goal is to provide daily academic assistance and youth development, therefore, consistent attendance is crucial to individual achievements.

Enrollment Link:

GAP will adhere to State, Local & school guidelines concerning Covid to maintain the safety of students & staff. Therefore, enrollment will be limited & a waitlist will be generated.

GAP Admin:

Christopher M. Farris- Program Manager ,

Jasmine Blanton – Elementary Coordinator ,

Mitch Rausch – Middle Coordinator ,

*Not all homework will be finished in GEMS After-school Program. GEMS After-school Program ends at 6:30pm!

Please Complete the Parent Volunteer Interest Survey!

Welcome to GEMS 2021-22 school year! Support from parents and guardians is important to student success in school. Click here to complete the survey!

Attention Kindergarten and First Grade Parents/Guardians

In accordance with Ohio Law, all students entering kindergarten or first grade for the first time will receive hearing & vision screening. Graham Elementary and Middle School will conduct screenings for each student in August, September & October.

Why is it important to have your child’s hearing screened?

• Hearing is important for speech, language development, reading and learning

•A hearing screening can detect if your child needs further hearing testing.

•Even if your child has passed a hearing screening previously, their hearing can change.

•Hearing problems can be related to medical problems.

•Hearing loss is invisible and children may appear to be not paying attention. Hearing screening will consist of the following test: Audiometry - Screening of hearing acuity.

Why is it important to have your child's vision screened?

To identify if your child has vision problems or might be at risk for vision problems.

Vision screening will consist of any of the following tests:

1. Observation.

2. Monocular Distance Visual Acuity.

3. Stereopsis test.

4. Color Deficit test (males only).

A vision screening provides only a snapshot of how your child performs on the day the test was ad-ministered and is not a substitute for a complete eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

If you do not wish to have your child screened, please send a signed written statement to the effect that you do not wish to have your child screened. You will only receive results if it is determined that your child needs a more in-depth exam by a specialist. Please direct any questions to the school’s front office at 614-253-4000 or

New Crew Members

We are excited to introduce new crew members to our administrative team. Together, our goal is to put in place plans and supports that develop a community of learners who:

  • Are curious, critical, and original thinkers

  • Feel a strong sense of belonging in the GEMS community.

  • Act on a personal responsibility to positively impact the community.

Dean of Students

Our work is focused on developing positive, inclusive, and growth oriented classroom and school culture. This includes leading our work with respect to school climate and culture, restorative practices, discipline, and social and emotional learning.

  • K-4 ~ Angelic Dean

  • 5-8 ~ Jisuka Cohen

Dean of Instruction

Our work is focused on supporting teachers to design and implement engaging, challenging, and authentic learning experiences that result in meaningful growth for all students. This includes leading our work with respect to curriculum design, research-based teaching practices, assessment for learning, and response to intervention systems.

  • K-4 ~ Rosa Dixon

  • 5-8 ~ Jordan Templeton

Executive Dean ~ James Kutnow

I work collaboratively with the other administrators and staff to set a progressive and ambitious vision for student learning that is rooted in equity and aligns with EL Education Core Practices and student-centered teaching methods. This includes developing the capacity of the administrative team, cultivating an inclusive and positive staff and student culture, forming and maintaining community partnerships, and overseeing GEMS operations and facilities.

Grade Level Updates


Welcome to GEMS! We are so happy you are a student here. As your Teacher, one of my jobs is to make sure we stay safe, learn a lot, and have fun together. I know you have already begun to learn about your classroom and one another, but there is still so much more for us to learn together! For the next few weeks, I want you to be play experts and learn how to make playing together fun. I want you to discover the toys in your classroom and how to take care of them. I also want you to learn about each other so you can teach me about your new friends and how they prefer to play. Kindergarteners, you have a lot of work to do! I hope you will write me letters to tell me about all that you learn!

Your new Teacher, Mr. King

First Graders

Hello & welcome to 1st grade! I hope you all had a great summer and are excited to get this school year started. We will spend the beginning of the year reviewing concepts taught in kindergarten before we transition into our first expedition, where we will learn about the habits of character while exploring a variety of different tools and how they help us! Be on the look out for a back to school newsletter with first grade information!

Taylor Bush

Second Graders

Welcome to 2nd grade! We are so excited to meet everyone soon! In the first couple of weeks, students will be exploring what school is and why it is important. Students will also be working to solve 2 digit addition and subtraction problems using different strategies. Be on the lookout for the Remind code for your student’s class to stay up to date on what is happening in class!

Victoria Ringwald & Hannah Stewart

Third Graders

Hello Third Grade! Starting day 1 we will be building our community and creating a classroom culture. With a GROWTH MINDSET, EFFORT, and RIGHT STRATEGIES, we are confident that we will have a productive and successful year for all of us! Heads up, the students will be giving parents homework!!

Loren Collins, Rachel Rutkowski & Hunter Stewart

Fourth Graders

Hello and welcome 4th graders! We are so excited to have you as students this year. We will begin the year creating a positive classroom culture that will help guide our classrooms and learning throughout the rest of the year. The beginning of the year will also be focused on review of previous content! Take a moment before school starts again and think about all the things you learned from the previous year! This will help shake off any brain dust :)

Let’s start this year with a positive mindset and again, we cannot wait to meet all of you.

Mr. Hasseltine and Mr. Stewart

Fifth Graders

Welcome to 5th grade at GEMS! We are so excited to start off the year strong with our new students. This semester, students are going to be learning all about Human Rights and the planets in our solar system! Please be on the lookout for our Remind 5th grade code and sign up. We will send this out in multiple formats for your convenience!

Allison Maynard & Angela Meabon

Sixth Graders

Welcome to our 6th graders and Families! We are looking forward to the start of a new year in person! As we begin the school year we will be looking at the impact we have on our environment/community.

Join our 6th grade Remind to get important grade level and class communication by texting @6thgems1 to the number 81010

Katelynn Brewster & John Eckenrode

Seventh Graders

Welcome 7th Graders and Families! We are excited to start the new year with you in person! This first semester we will be focusing on how cultures collide in America and Columbus. We look forward to continuing the tradition of interviewing community members with diverse experiences and perspectives to create podcasts surrounding the question “Is America a land of opportunity for all?”.

Join our 7th Grade Remind to get important class communication by texting @7gems-22 to the number 81010

Kristin Adams, Sarah Pfirman & Kyleigh McCune

Eight Graders

Welcome 8th Graders and Families! We cannot wait for you to grow and enjoy your last year of middle school. We will be focusing this first semester on the concept of identity which will look at our personal, family, community and GEMS identity. Throughout this process we will explore what makes us who we are and what shapes our identity over time.

Join our 8th Grade Remind to get important class communication by texting @8gems-22 to the number 81010

Raesheena Kennedy, Kyleigh McCune & Stephanie Waldeck

K-4 Music

Welcome to another year of music at GEMS! I am so excited to start creating and performing music with your students this year! We are going to start off our year reviewing skills that we learned this past school year and dive into creating our own music using our voices and instruments in the classroom! If you ever need to get in touch with me you can contact me through email, the front office or through your students classroom remind, I will be a teacher on there as well! Lets have a musical year!

Katherine Folger

K-4 Art

Welcome back to GEMS and the art room Gryphons! I am very excited to kick off this year as the elementary Art Teacher. We will be starting this year with some fun activities to help get those creative juices flowing. We will focus a lot this year on getting back to the basics to help create some high quality beautiful work that will highlight the artistic talents of our crew! If you ever need to reach out please contact me through my email or your student's classroom remind. Here’s to another year.

Noelle Klein

5-6 PE

Welcome back students! We’re so excited & thankful to be working with new or returning GEMS students. Our objective is for you and your family to develop an appreciation towards lifetime physical activity, but also to acquire important knowledge about sports, team work, and fitness/movement. In the first semester 5th and 6th graders will have physical education. In the second semester 7th and 8th graders will have physical education.

Just a couple of reminders for 5th and 6th graders:

  • Please bring athletic shoes & clothes

  • Water bottle/canister

  • and...Deodorant! Be ready to move, we will get sweaty

Ashley Austrie-Brown


Hello Gryphons!

Whether you’re new or returning to GEMS this year, we are so excited to see all of your faces and have a great year together. As school counselors, we’re here to support your academic and social-emotional growth, as well as readiness for high school and beyond! We do this by working closely with teachers, families, community members, and of course, our students!

You will see us in classrooms, small groups, conferences, or even individually in one of our offices. You might even find Mr. Beery on the basketball court or Ms. Frazier practicing yoga around the school...we can’t wait for you to join us!

Kevin Beery (K-4) and Sydney Frazier (5-8)

Required Vaccines for Students

Vaccines protect children from serious and preventable diseases – and all K-12 students must be up-to-date on all required vaccines entering the new school year. Students with an incomplete immunization record 14 days after the start of the school year will not be able to attend classes. The exact date will vary based on the first day of classes for each school or district. Click here for a list of required vaccines.

Please contact your healthcare provider to make sure that your child is up to date on their vaccinations. If for any reason you cannot get into your doctor on time, Columbus Public Health has an Immunization Clinic at 240 Parsons Ave. where students can receive their vaccines, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Vaccines are offered at Columbus Public Health’s immunization clinic on a walk-in basis. No appointment is necessary.

Columbus Public Health Immunization Clinic Hours:

  • Mon: 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
  • Tue: 10 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
  • Wed: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Thu/Fri: 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.

The week of September 15, Columbus Public Health’s Immunization Clinic will offer extended hours:

  • Sat, 9/11: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Mon, 9/13: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Tues, 9/14: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Wed, 9/15: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Thu, 9/16: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Fri, 9/17: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sat, 9/18: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Columbus Public Health may stop seeing new patients before closing hours due to high demand.

Despite these extended hours, we expect wait times of up to five hours during this week. Please visit the Immunization Clinic as soon as possible in order to avoid these long waits. In addition to childhood vaccines, Columbus Public Health also offers free COVID-19 vaccines for anyone 12 years of age and older.

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

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.

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.


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.

"This institution is an equal opportunity provider."