GEMS Family Newsletter

September 2022

Upcoming Events

  • Thurs. Sept. 22 - GEMS Family Game Night - 6:00-7:30pm
  • Wed. Sept. 28 - Picture Day
  • Thurs. Sept. 29 - Fri. Sept. 30 - No School - PD Days
  • Wed. Oct. 5 - Curriculum Night - 5:30-7:00pm
  • Tues. Oct. 18-Fri. Oct. 21 - 3rd Grade OST ELA Test
  • Wed. Oct. 26 - End of Quarter 1
  • Thurs. Oct. 27-Fri. Oct. 28 - No School - PD Days

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Important School Information

We know afternoon dismissal is a challenge for many families because of the bus situation, but for the safety of your student(s), if you arrive prior to our 3:15pm dismissal time for pick up, you MUST come in the building to the Front Office in order to sign out your student(s). The quickest and safest way to pick up your student(s) is to wait in the dismissal lines (they are long, we acknowledge that) for your student(s) to be dismissed to your car. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the challenging logistics of dismissing 353 students to all of you!

GEMS Family Game Night - This Thurs. Sept. 22 - 6:00-7:30pm!

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Don't Miss Curriculum Night - Wed. Oct. 5 - 5:30-7:00pm!

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We're Hiring! 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.

Picture Day - Wednesday, September 28!

Picture Day is coming to GEMS! Information and order forms were distributed the week of Sept. 12 in preparation for our Picture Day on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Picture Make-up Day is Friday, November 4th. Please contact the Front Office at with any questions.

School Fee, Proof of Residency and Food Service Info!

We ask 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 School Store.

In addition to the Registration Packet, 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 or bank statement (dated on or after July 1, 2022). Please mail, drop off or e-mail your proof of residency to

The USDA will not be extending the pandemic related food service program waivers for the 2022-23 school year. This program has allowed The Graham Family of Schools and other school districts to provide free lunches and breakfasts to all students since the spring of 2020. All families should fill out a Free & Reduced School Meals Application to see if they qualify for free or reduced meal pricing. Please complete the application and return it to the front office as soon as possible. The GEMS front office is open Mon.-Fri. 9:00am-3:00pm. Click here to print complete the application.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact, Wesley Owens, Registrar & Community Outreach Liaison at or 614-253-4000.

Transportation Update - 9.16.22

We continue to work with our school’s sponsor, Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESCCO), who continues to advocate on our school’s behalf on a variety of fronts to address our need for consistent student transportation. We have also been actively interacting with our school’s attorney to develop a plan to ensure student transportation.

I have a meeting scheduled with leaders in the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Field Services and Transportation regarding the complaints that you have been filing regarding the lack of busing. We also have a meeting scheduled with leaders from Columbus City Schools’ Department of Transportation next Wednesday. We hope to have a better understanding of their plan to provide transportation after this meeting.

Feel free to continue to fill out the complaint form via Google Form. We know ODE is receiving these complaints and we must continue to keep them informed about what is happening each day with our school’s transportation.

We are also looking at ways to help provide alternative transportation options for students. Please let us know if you would benefit from receiving alternative transportation until we have a workable solution from CCS by filling out this Google Form. I realize that this form was not working on Wednesday but has been fixed and should now be able to receive your information. This is for internal use only.

Thank you,

James Kutnow

Assistant Superintendent

The Graham Family of Schools

Back to School Night - Wed. Aug. 31!

GEMS Teachers and Staff Members

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GEMS is on Facebook and Instagram! Please like and follow!

GEMS has a new playground! Federal funds enabled us to purchase and install a K-2 playground.

Grade Level Updates


Have been learning all about each other and their names! We are beginning to explore letters and numbers 1-5. In Expedition, we have begun Making Playing Together Fun Module where students will continue to learn about each other and be thoughtful community members.

First Graders

Finished Norms and Expectations week. As a class we created “Super-Duper” rules that we all plan to follow. In math we are going to start adding and subtracting within 10 and we will show our work with math manipulatives. For our first Expedition we will be learning about the many different tools we use in our daily lives. As we move through this unit we will be thinking of a whole new tool we could use to help us with our work.

Second Graders

Have been working hard in Crew on identifying what responsibility is and how we can show it at school! In math, we are exploring different strategies we can use to solve addition and subtraction problems. We started our first expedition, exploring what school is and why it is important.

Third Graders

Have been learning what a change agent is and how we can be one. Students are learning to practice Champs and the Magic Five. We started our Expedition: Overcoming Learning Challenges. In math we are learning about triple digit addition and subtraction with regrouping.

Fourth Graders

Are focusing on classroom norms, expectations, and procedures in humanities. ALL Block has been all about how to move through stations with a light introduction to our featured region: the Caribbean. Students have been doing a great job with reading!

In Math we are reviewing basic facts and checking our own work. The students will start finding the area of a rectangle soon and working with factors and multiples. We are focused on safety and moving through our building and our classroom with thoughtful behavior and wise choices. Our Crew time together each day has allowed us to connect with each other and engage in some fun and inspiring lessons. We look forward to mindfulness, yoga, social skills, and social time/snacks together each week.

Fifth Graders

Have learned about the policy and procedures in and out of the room. In math, we are reviewing: adding and subtracting with decimals and multiplying multi-digit numbers. Next week we will begin reviewing and working on perimeter and area. We will start working on volume soon. In science, we began by learning about living vs. nonliving characteristics. Next week we are learning about producers and consumers and the characteristics between the two.

Sixth Graders

Are beginning to investigate and analyze ratios in Math. At the end of our unit we will be making a ratio book of recipes. We are looking for any written recipes your family may enjoy at home! In science we have begun talking about what makes a person a scientist and how science has an impact on our lives every day. We are making a book of scientists in our class that we plan to share with families soon!

In Humanities, we are reading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. We are focusing on point of view and how an author develops the narrator’s point of view. In addition, we will be working on unknown vocabulary and ways we can define vocabulary words

Seventh Graders

Are beginning to think about water quality and the impacts of the politicization of water, both globally and locally. While reading A Long Walk to Water in Humanities, students will consider the implications of water inequalities in third-world countries as well as the impact the environment has on water quality at home, here in Columbus. Next week, we will travel to Alum Creek Lake for fieldwork. Students will engage in hands-on water-quality testing and outdoor exploration to better understand the process of purifying water and the implications of not having a source of clean drinking water.

Eight Graders

On Tuesday September 13, kicked off this quarter's expedition on Food Justice. Students participated in a Hunger Banquet where they were randomly placed in different groups representing the varying social economic classes in the world. Depending on their grouping for the day, 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.

Throughout the semester students will continue to learn about different injustices in world food availability, and social injustices in the community. They will also continue to become Change Agents to combat those injustices. The 8th grade class will collaborate with organizations such as: Local Matters, The NSI Food Pantry, and The Grow Initiative, to make positive changes within our community.

Students have begun to fundraise for tickets live production of Hamilton, and on Friday October 16th they will participate in their first field work of the year at the Ohio Historical Center. We look forward to working with all of you this quarter, and cannot wait to see what inspiring ideas your children come up with to affect change in this world!

Art - K-4

In art we are learning our art norms and routines this month! As we learn how to use our materials properly we are beginning to delve into many exciting things! Kinder, 1st and 2nd are investigating the element of line this week. 3rd and 4th are working on name designs, with 3rd creating their name in graffiti style as we learn how to draw in block or bubble letters. 4th meanwhile is practicing how to write their name in cursive to create a cursive monster design that utilizes the element of symmetry!

Music - K-4

This month, as the students adjust to the new routines and expectations of music class, they are going to be given plenty of opportunities to explore some of the fun musical activities and instruments that I hope to offer them this school year!

All of K-4 will be focusing on the music elements of tempo, rhythm, and melody this month. Kindergarten and 1st grade are working hard to gain an understanding of music class routines and expectations through songs, movement, and the use of egg shakers and rhythm sticks. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade are all working to review musical concepts and to learn more about the difference between beat and rhythm. We will continue to explore our singing voices through daily vocal warm ups. Songs that the 2nd - 4th graders learn will help them to practice keeping a steady beat, experience differing tempos, review basic rhythms, and offer exposure to various classroom percussion instruments. If you want to give them a “pop quiz” on just how much they’ve learned in music, ask them, “What is the difference between beat and rhythm?”

Art - 5-6

To start off the year, students learned about the Japanese culture and style of art, “Kawaii”. Students practiced sketching Kawaii and then designed their own Kawaii characters. We discussed the element of art, Line, and how artists use different types of lines in their work. For our next project, 5th and 6th graders will choose 3 of their “core values” and create an expressive painting that displays their values, and represents mood and rhythm.

P.E. - 7-8

In P.E. the students have been getting acquainted with the habits of learning, the norms and structure of my class. We have also spent some time getting to know each other while focusing on games that help with team building. Next week, we will start the component of health related fitness exercises; which include running the mile, push ups, situps, and shoulder stretches.

Free Flu & COVID Vaccine 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 Kroger 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. Follow this link to the Parent Pact.


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."