GEMS Family Newsletter

February 2023

Upcoming Events

  • Wed. March 1 - Town Hall Meeting - 6:00-7:00pm - Click here to join
  • Fri. March 3 - Stuffed Animal Day
  • Wed. March 8 - Enrollment Information Session - 6:00pm
  • Fri. March 10 - Mismatch Day
  • Thurs. March 16 - Future Me Day
  • Thurs. March 16 - End of Quarter 3
  • Fri. March 17 - No School - PD Day
  • Wed. March 22 - Enrollment Information Session - 6:00pm
  • Mon. March 27 - Tues. March 28 : OST ELA Assessment - Grades 3 and 6
  • Wed. March 29 - Thurs. March 30 : OST ELA Assessment - Grades 4 and 7
  • Mon. April 3 - Tues. April 4: ELA OST Assessment - Grades 5 and 8
  • Wed. April 5 - Thurs. April 6: OST Math Assessment - Grade 3
  • Wed. April 5 - Enrollment Information Session - 6:00pm
  • Fri. April 7 - Fri. April 14: Spring Break
  • Tues. April 18 - Wed. April 19: OST Math Assessment - Grade 4
  • Wed. April 19 - Enrollment Information Session - 6:00pm
  • Thurs. April 20 - Fri. April 21: OST Math Assessment - Grades 5 and 8
  • Mon. April 24 - Tues. April 25: OST Math Assessment - Grades 6 and 7
  • Wed. April 26 - Thurs. April 27: OST Science Assessment - Grade 5 and 8

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Important School Information

GEMS office hours are 7:45am to 4:30pm, however the office is closed each day from 3:00-3:35pm to help with a smooth dismissal process. If you arrive after 3:00pm to pick up students, please proceed to the appropriate pick up line instead of the front office. Thank you for your support.

If your student will be absent or tardy, please send an email with the information to If they are absent/tardy because of an appointment, please provide an excuse from the office/clinic. Any absences NOT documented are considered unexcused and marked in our attendance records accordingly.

Our front office associates do not have access to real-time information about buses. GEMS can help with general information about route assignments, but for questions about the location of the bus, or how late it is running, particularly in regards to morning routes, please call CCS at 614-365-5074.

Online Annual Registration Will Be Available Soon!

The 2023-24 online annual registration forms will be available soon. Please watch your e-mail for more information.

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Free and Reduced Application and Town Hall Meeting

We are planning a GEMS town hall meeting in the gym on Wednesday, March 1 from 6:00pm - 7:00pm. This meeting can also be viewed via zoom:

GEMS Families:

Over the past few weeks, we have asked for some of our families to complete their 2022-2023 free and reduced application. Although this is not a required form for attending GEMS, it is a form that is used to waive or reduce the cost of the breakfasts and lunches served at GEMS.

Throughout the year, we have sent reminders to families in the mail but last week we learned from a few mistakes that caused harm and confusion to some of our students and families as we asked students to help take responsibility for communicating unpaid balances and incomplete forms. We also turned away students from receiving breakfast and/or lunch because of balances that were above $10 which has been our policy. We apologize for this and are working to improve our process for this so that we can maintain and build trust with our families.

Please be aware of the following regarding the Free & Reduced Lunch application process:

  • During COVID, from 2020-2022, all students qualified for free breakfast and lunch and we did not have to worry about all of these details. Unfortunately, we have had to return to this process which was in place pre-COVID.
  • A recent internal audit revealed that we have almost $3,000 in unpaid balances.
  • This is a federal program with guidelines we are required to follow including the questions on the application form, all of which is kept confidential and serves as a means for approving qualification.
  • GEMS is not refusing food to students and will provide alternative options if a breakfast or lunch is unable to be obtained by a student.
  • There is a process for ensuring that families complete an application for free or reduced ($.40) lunch. Once completed, any balances are erased. These notifications are part of our enrollment/application process and numerous reminders.
  • If students’ families do not qualify for F/R meals, they may incur a balance. This balance, for the sake of the school budget, needs to stay below $10. This is a requirement by the state to follow the NSLP guidelines that each school has a charging policy that does not allow for families to incur large balances.

We want to meet with any one interested in attending, to learn more about this process, and some of our next steps in place. We want to hear from families and engage with you more about our policies and processes.

GEMS Administration

GEMS Yard Sign

GEMS is enrolling students for next year! Would you be able to display a yard sign to tell the community about our wonderful school? Stop by the front office and pick up a GEMS yard sign today!

GEMS Spirit Schedule!

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

Attention GEMS 7th and 8th Grade Families!

Join us online for Enrollment Information Sessions to talk about high school: The Graham School (TGS) March 7, The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University (TCS@ODU) March 8. The Graham Family of Schools comprises GEMS, The Graham School, and The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University. However, an application must be summited before a GEMS student may be enrolled in either high school.

  • TGS - Tuesday, March 7 at 6:30pm - RSVP is required for in person sessions. Please contact Pam Boseker, Enrollment Coordinator at 614-262-1111 or with questions or to RSVP.
  • TCS@ODU - Wednesday, March 8 at 6:00pm - Click here to join
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OELPA Assessments for English Learners

OELPA assessments for students who are English Learners will begin in late February. Letters with more information were sent to the families of English Learners in late January. Please contact Chris Spackman at with any questions.

Grade Level Updates


Have a new classroom member. Students voted, researched, and collected information about what kind of class pet we should get. The children agreed that a guinea pig would be a good fit for our space. We are excited to incorporate a guinea pig into our class, especially as we begin our next expedition module. What do trees and guinea pigs have in common? They are both alive! Kindergarteners are beginning to notice and wonder: What are characteristics that make something living or nonliving? We’ll let you know next month after we do some research!

First Graders

Have been working really hard on becoming expert researchers on birds. We have been learning about their different characteristics. Like different types of beaks and their uses and how feathers can help different birds fly, float, and stay warm. We will continue our research on birds for the rest of the month. In math we have been continuing our work on adding and subtracting within 20. We are working on adding 3 different numbers together and seeing what we get. We will continue addition and subtraction within 20 for the rest of the month.

Second Graders

Have completed our dinosaurs lesson! We are working on turning our classroom into a museum by creating fossils from different dinosaurs we have learned about in our Expedition! In math, we are exploring number lines and how we count on a number line. In Skills Block we are building on our knowledge of blends and how we blend sounds and letters together to create even bigger words!

Third Graders

Goodbye frogs, Hello Pan! We are starting our new expedition on Literary Classics. We will fly into the world of Peter Pan and all of it’s interesting characters. We will also talk about historical context and why it is important to recognize that there are some outdated ideas and biases within the text. In math we have explored division through a variety of fun projects. We have paid out allowances to our pretend children, and divided up cookies to our neighbors. We are now moving on to fractions.

Fourth Graders

In Expedition, are diving into the American Revolution. So far we have covered who the Loyalists and Patriots are and what they believed in. We also took a critical look into the experiences of Black and Indigenous people during colonial America. We will be spending the remainder of the quarter exploring Black heroes during this time period with the end goal of creating a Broadside opinion piece on the American Revolution. In ALL Block, students are focusing on their mastery decoding skills including, but not limited to, diagraphs, beginning and ending blends and up to consonant LE words. Everyone, regardless of decoding level, is getting exposed to identifying and correctly using nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and linking verbs.

In Math we are moving into decimals, time and money. We still need practice pages to improve our accuracy in addition and subtraction. Practice pages sound a bit better than homework, right? Although it is not our intention to assign homework, if a student would benefit from practice at home, there may be some nights this is encouraged. Please help ensure your student is rested and ready to continue growing in these areas.

Fifth Graders

Will be multiplying and dividing fractions. We will also be starting our next unit on place value and decimals. This is a very exciting time to use our math knowledge learned throughout the year to the test!

In Science, we are going to be studying about the solar system, focusing on the characteristics of each plant.

Sixth Graders

In math we will be working on solving one step equations. Students will be investigating the steps it takes to solve these equations and where in the real world they may need to create or analyze an equation. In science we begin our study of rocks and minerals that we can find in Ohio.

Seventh Graders

In Humanities, students continue their study of Patient Zero and use evidence to answer the question: “Are epidemiologists similar to crime to detectives?”

In math, we just finished our unit on writing equations for angle relationships. We are about to start our unit on finding the area of composite shapes, and drawing scale figures.

In science we have been learning about elements on the periodic table and will shift to exploring how elements work and interact in the environment. We will start with exploring the carbon cycle and will use this to talk about pollution in the ecosystem.

Eight Graders

In math, students have been investigating transformations on the coordinate plane and where they exist in the world around them. Next, students will be exploring slope and making connections to graphs and data.

In science, we are working on using punnett squares to demonstrate how traits are passed from parent to offspring. We are currently working on a dragon family tree project where students are tracking genes through several generations.

This month in Humanities students have been learning about World War II and The Holocaust. They also began their Missing from History Projects, and have focused on Figurative Language for an upcoming poetry unit.

Art - K-4

We have been studying some amazing artists for Black History Month. Students have learned all about the incredible artist, Alma Thomas, the first Black woman to have her own solo exhibit. Students were able to study her beautiful abstract paintings and were inspired as they created their own paper mosaics in her art style. K-2 has also learned about Jean Michele Basquiat who became a famous graffiti artist in the 80’s. Together, we read Maya Angelou’s book “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All”, which he had the honor of illustrating. 3rd and 4th are currently learning about Freedom quilts as well and investigating what different quilt codes look like. Together we will touch on the history of the Underground RailRoad as they each get to recreate their own quilt code.

Music - K-4

In music we have been celebrating Black History Month and Valentine’s Day in a combination of fun and engaging ways. Kindergarten and 1st Grade students have been learning about the amazing musician Ella Fitzgerald while singing one of her most famous songs, “A Tisket A Tasket.” 2nd grade has continued their exploration of xylophones and how to read music while listening to music by famous African American musicians. 3rd grade is on a journey to explore the many ways music is used for story telling. We started by learning about Opera and its role in music history. We learned about the first Opera to feature an all Black cast, “Porgy and Bess”. To celebrate Valentine’s Day they were introduced to the love songs of jazz great, Nat King Cole. Soon we will move into our study of Musical Theatre and learn some music from Peter Pan. In 4th grade we are celebrating the many ways Africans have influenced our modern Western music. We have also continued to play instruments from each of the 4 families of instruments. We have been focusing on percussion with African drums and will move into the string family with ukuleles and guitars soon!

Art - 7-8

This quarter, we have finished painting personal logo projects, decorated our Art folders, and created a Black History Month creativity quilt with portraiture and poems! The seventh graders are working on medium exploration and in the coming weeks will be working on landscape art, mandalas, and a clay project! In eighth grade we are focusing on an identity self portrait project with collage elements and will continue focusing on themes of identity and self love in our work in the coming weeks!

P.E. - 5-6

Students have started their second unit, volleyball. They’re learning different critical elements to help them learn proper volleyball technique. This week they will learn how to set, load, bump, and travel. Next week, they will learn harder skills like serving, spiking and then finally putting their skills into practice by playing a game. I also plan to have a volleyball expert come in to meet our students and teach them additional skills/drills.

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.

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When you shop at Kroger 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.

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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.

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."