GEMS Family Newsletter

October 2022

Upcoming Events

  • Fri. Oct. 21 - Movie Night - 6:00-8:00pm at GEMS
  • Wed. Oct. 26 - End of Quarter 1
  • Thurs. Oct. 27-Fri. Oct. 28 - No School - PD Days
  • Fri. Nov. 4 - Make-up Picture Day
  • Wed. Nov. 9 - TGFS College Access Night - 5:30-7:30pm at The Graham School (3950 Indianola Ave. 43214)
  • Tues. Nov. 15 - The Graham School Virtual Enrollment Information Session at 6:00pm
  • Wed. Nov. 16 - The Charles School at ODU Virtual Enrollment Information Session at 6:00pm
  • Mon. Nov. 21 - Tues. Nov. 22 - No School - PD Days
  • Wed. Nov. 23 - Fri. Nov. 25 - No School - Thanksgiving Break

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Important School Information


We know afternoon dismissal is challenging for many families because of the bus situation. For the safety of your student(s), if you arrive prior to our 3:15pm dismissal time for pick up, you MUST come into the building at the Front Office 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. We have several staff members working the car pick up lines and they do a GREAT job getting the word to the staff in the building that you are here to pick up your student(s).


If you need to change plans for dismissal (someone else picking up or ride-sharing with another family), please make us aware of those changes by 2:30pm to allow the office staff ample time to get the message to students, teachers, and dismissal staff. Any messages we receive later than 2:30pm are not guaranteed to be delivered in time for dismissal and may result in your student not getting the ride home that you were expecting!

GEMS Movie Night - This Friday, October 21 - 6:00-8:00pm!

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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.

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. 7:45am-4:30pm. 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.

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

Save the Date for The Graham Family of Schools College Access Night!

All 6th, 7th and 8th grade families are encouraged and welcome to attend!

Wednesday, November 9 - 5:30-7:30pm at

The Graham School, 3950 Indianola Ave. Columbus, 43214.

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Attention GEMS 7th and 8th Grade Families!

Join us online Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 for a Virtual Enrollment Information Sessions to talk about high school!
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Grade Level Updates


Are continuing our expedition into toys. We have discussed toys we prefer, and labeled/identified toys by attributes like shape, color, and size. We used our knowledge of shapes and toys old and new to make a new set of blocks for our classroom. Each student used a template with six squares to design a block using their favorite colors and patterns. We are also working with counting to see if we have enough, more than, or less than in our math lessons, and have started working on letter sounds and formation for Cc and Nn.

First Graders

Are continuing our expedition into tools and how we use them. We have begun talking about our Magnificent Tool we plan to come up with to help us in the classroom. In math we are continuing addition and subtraction. We have also begun working with data that is collected from surveys. We plan to continue this work over the next week and then we will be moving into story problems and how we solve them.

Second Graders

Are becoming experts on our GEMS Habits of Learning and have been practicing what those habits look like and sound like in and out of school. In math, students are continuing to learn about different types of graphs and are beginning to solve compare problems using graphs. In expedition, students are finishing unit 1 focusing on using details from the text to answer questions and will be moving into unit 2 which focuses on comparing and contrasting schools around the world!

Third Graders

Have been assigned a country to research and learn how rural communities access books. They will finish this unit by writing an informational paragraph about their country. In Math students are completing their unit on three digit addition and subtraction with regrouping and starting the unit on rounding. In crew we have focused on mindfulness.

Fourth Graders

Are working on figurative language group projects! Students are divided in groups and use resources to research three figurative language terms per group. Soon we will be creating posters and teaching each other about a total of NINE figurative language terms. In Expedition, we are using the figurative language we are learning about in ALL Block to write a class poem as we prepare for individual poems. This month we will visit CAPA at the Lincoln Theater for a workshop on writing poetry with a professional poet! We are also a third of the way through with our anchor text, “Locomotion.”

This month’s featured region is Mexico, Central and South America. Our library is full of books about the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans as we celebrated Indigenous People’s Day as well as the continuation of Latinx Heritage Month. Additionally, we have books from our local library about each country in our featured region. In Math we continue to build on our knowledge of area (LxW) so we can master multiplication. We are going to revisit skills that help us find the sum and difference of expressions while working towards estimation and division. Equivalent fractions and comparing sets of fractions is up next. Daily practice of all operations is helpful. We continue to find ways to help students learn how to be in community with one another and show kindness. Through our Habits of Learning focus students have been working towards more responsibility. We encourage students to be responsible for their self, and their spaces around them.

Fifth Graders

In math, are continuing to learn how to find volume. Our first step is to count the cubes. Then we are going to use two different algorithms to find the volume of rectangular prisms. In science, we are continuing to use our knowledge of types of consumers to build a food web, and learning about different biomes.

Sixth Graders

Are reading Percy Jackson with a focus on themes and applying it to other stories and myths. Students will finish the book this month and will be watching the movie adaptation. Students will be creating a painted essay comparing and contrasting the book to the movie.

In math we are working on recognizing rates. At the end of the month we will participate in our classroom shopping activity. In science we are working on engineering and our final project will be to create a prototype of an app.

Seventh Graders

Continue to read A Long Walk to Water and will begin to learn foundational research skills to study the Lost Boys of Sudan.

In science we are exploring how water cycles through the environment and how water quality can impact other parts of the environment. We will be going on our second trip to Alum Creek Lake on October 24th to continue to monitor water quality and learn about our drinking water.

In math, we finished our unit on integers! We are now moving onto proportional relationships, where we will be analyzing graphs, tables, and equations.

Eight Graders

Have been working hard in preparation for the end of quarter 1! In Science, they have collaborated weekly with Local Matters as they continue to dive into the Food Justice expedition. In Math, students have been working hard studying scientific notations, and how they correlate with their everyday life. In Physical Education, students have been learning all about volleyball and the rules of how to play. Lastly in Humanities, they have continued reading Summer of the Mariposas, and studying the founding of America into the American Revolution. Students are also looking at the figurative language in the music from the award winning musical Hamilton in preparation for their class visit to a live performance.

Earlier in the month, our 8th graders participated in the first GEMS Poetic Mornings where staff shared poetry in an open mic event in preparation for the 4th and 8th grade poetry units. Students are also excited about some very fun upcoming experiences! On Tuesday October 18, the GEMS 8th graders will be attending a live production of Hamilton at the Ohio Theater. They also collaborated with their peers in Humanities class to come up with some great fundraising ideas. One of their ideas was a school dance. The students have been planning and promoting their cause and on Wednesday October 26 they will have their first student planned event (The Spooky Dance) for 6-8th graders. We look forward to working with all of you to end this quarter strong, and cannot wait to see what inspiring ideas your children come up with to affect change in this world!

Art - K-4

This month we've been working on thoughtfulness in the art room as we learn to have calm bodies and voices. In creating a calm peaceful space we can explore a range of art materials and feel more comfortable experimenting more! Kindergarteners and First graders are creating works with lines and shapes, they also are getting extra practice with scissors and glue. 2nd grade is working on patterns as we create mandalas and will continue studying radial designs as we move into loom weavings. 3rd grade is learning how to draw people, starting with portraits. 4th graders are continuing to work on identity portraits as we investigate various artists and choose what images and words we think best describe ourselves.

Music - K-4

Students have been continuing to focus on using our Habits of Learning in music class, with a specific focus on thoughtfulness and quality. Students are exploring the question of, “What is music?” through the use of movement, classroom instruments, body percussion, active listening, and singing.

Kindergarten and 1st grade have been working on playing and moving to a steady beat. They are also beginning to listen for, and display, the differences in sounds that we hear in music. We are listening closely for loud/soft, high/low, fast/slow, and long/short sounds. 2nd grade is beginning to dig into note and rhythm patterns as they explore more classroom instruments and build onto their knowledge of beat, rhythm, and melody. 3rd graders will be continuing their work with understanding the elements of beat/tempo, rhythm, and melody as they also learn more about form and dynamics. We are also going to begin studying classical composers in our “Composer of the Week Wall” next week. 4th grade is continuing to grow their knowledge of the 8 elements of music and applying their understanding through defining, experiencing, and creating. They are also going to be studying musical works that have been inspired by poetry to accompany their Poetry Expedition.

In the spirit of Halloween and Fall our music lessons will be featuring music that is fun, age appropriate, but may be a little spooky. If you would like to check out some of the songs that we use in music class K-4, please feel free to check out the K-4 Music Playlist linked below.

Do you know someone interested in attending GEMS?

GEMS is accepting applications for K-8th grades for the 2023-2024 school year. Please share this newsletter with anyone who is interested in learning more about GEMS. Please e-mail Wesley Owens at with questions. Start a student application at

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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."