GCA Weekly Update


Hello Spartan Community,

I had the opportunity to proudly wear my GCA Spartans “Stronger Together” shirt today. It is our athletic team shirt, but I thought it applies to the current situation. When I coached basketball, I used to be able to tell after a specific practice when we would start winning all of our games. This practice fell at different times during the season, depending on the team’s stubbornness. It was a matter of convincing the group what our common goal was. For me, it always started on the defensive end. Players would come to me with different ideas of how to play defense. It was often each player who thought they needed to defend their assigned player or area. If someone else scored, it was not the individual’s fault. My job was to get them to realize that we all get scored on if we let the ball go in the hoop. When we started with the mentality that we defended together, we became much stronger. Together we would beat teams that were more talented than us because we defended together. Once the players understood that on the defensive end, they applied it to rebounding and executing our offense.

We currently have to defend against a team of viruses that try to get into bodies. When we allow it to spread, we all “get scored on” or have a chance to lose. There is a plethora of information out there about defending the little bug. The medical community’s standard advice is to wear the mask, stay 6 ft apart, and don’t go out when you are sick. If we do this together, we can beat this thing. Having the vaccine is like having an excellent three-point shooter or a seven-footer; it just makes winning that much easier. The Spartan Community is Stronger Together!

Next weeks schedule for in-person is -

  • Monday, Jan. 18th - M - Z

  • Tuesday, Jan. 12th - A - L

  • Wednesday, Jan. 13th - M - Z

  • Thursday, Jan. 14th - A - L

  • Friday, Jan. 15th. - M - Z

Please continue to monitor your child’s health before sending them to school.

Character Strong

Empathy is a topic that is central to SEL. In this week’s lesson, we continue to focus on Empathy, Kindness, and Compassion. Last week was about differences, and this week is about common ground. When we break empathy into three parts: Sharing, Thinking, and Caring. We have discussed sharing someone else’s feelings and learning about differences. Now we are going beyond just thinking and feeling or understanding what someone else is going through and moving to what motivates us to kindness or compassionate action. We will add or close the gap on an attribute on our “to be” list. Our dare next week is called “What Does it Cost me?” Students will complete 4 acts of caring before we meet again next week. They will try to perform one from each category (Family, Team, Work, School). Then students will reflect on what it cost in terms of Time, Effort, and Discomfort. Anyone can do this; I dare you.

PSAT/NMSQT EXAM on Tuesday, January 26

All alphabet will test on the same day. The PSAT/NMSQT 10/11 grades will take place on the GCA campus Tuesday, January 26, beginning at 7:30 am. All A-K and M-Z students will test on the same day. Please have your student on campus by 7:15 am for check-in.

Juniors will check-in at the wrestling room.

Sophomores will check-in at Room 303.

Students with testing accommodations (previously approved accommodations with the College Board) will check-in at the College Center.

  • The standard exam with breaks will be approximately 3 hours for standard test takers.

  • We will be keeping all online students to complete the profile information for an additional 30 minutes.

  • Students with accommodations expect to be on campus for 5 hours with the additional profile section added in.

The profile section (normally called Pre-Administration) is made up of questions that ask about mailing address, email address for scores to be sent to, and questions that National Merit requires, as in when will you graduate, etc.

Students can bring water and snacks for the scheduled breaks and a calculator. Check here for acceptable calculators.

Leave all smartwatches at home. We will provide sanitized #2pencils.

We STILL need Judges for the GCA Science Fair.

The 2021 GCA Science and Engineering Fair will be on February 12th, and it will be virtual this year. We will need between 20 and 30 judges to make this event happen. You will be able to do the judging on your computer at home. The only requirements are a college degree and an interest in helping these amazing GCA students. If you want to be a judge, contact Mr. Gillman at erik.gillman@gilbertschools.net.

Applications for New Students next year.

Applications for the 2021-22 School year is now open. We encourage siblings of current students to get their applications in now.

New Student Informational Meeting - Virtual

It is here. Pass this link onto prospective families.

All Registered AP Exam Students IMPORTANT!!

If you initially registered for AP Exams with Global online and have since come to GCA FLEX/In Person, please click here to let us know so that we can transfer your exams to GCA. If this is not done, your exam will remain with Global, and that is where you will have to test.

AP Exam Payment Reminder

  • Payment is due by Jan. 25, 2021
  • AP Exam Fees will be $95 per exam. Any late payments will incur an additional $40.00.
  • Exams can be paid online through InTouch, as well as through the Cybrary (cash, check).
  • Fee reductions are available for those who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch Program. See your counselor for more information and/or Apply here: http://gilbertschools.schoollunchapp.com/.

  • Registration and payment for a 2nd semester AP Government course will be set for a April 26, 2021 deadline.

GPS Virtual College Fair

Dear Spartan Families:

GPS will be hosting a Virtual College Fair on Thursday, January 28th. Two sessions are available for you to drop-in and interact with the colleges and universities of your choice. The times are 10am-1pm and 5pm-7pm.

This is an excellent opportunity to either finalize or start your college search by chatting live (via text or video call) with Admissions Counselors and getting all your questions answered instantly.

Click on the attachment for more information and to register.


Happy Researching and using this resource with your High School Student.

Mrs. Lisa Raunig, GCA School Counselor

Parent volunteers are NEEDED to help with Teacher Appreciation lunches.

Please contact Michelle Sorensen ASAP if you’d like to be added to her list of volunteers. You can contact her via email or text.” Mnsorensen000204@gmail.com or 480-789-2195.

GCA Good Things

Like the days starting to get light earlier and get dark later, the darkness of 2020 seems to be lifting. Brighter days are coming.

GCA PTO Information

GCA PTO is ready for YOU!!! The GCA PTO General Meeting will be held on the third Tuesday, every month, at 6 pm in room 303. We need your support to make our kids' GCA experience a positive and successful one. If you haven't already, please become a GCA PTO member by clicking HERE. As a GCA PTO member, you will be able to vote on how and what the PTO does and how funds are allocated. Get involved! Our GCA kids need you!

We can't wait to see you there and go over all the wonderful things we have planned for this school year!

***Following Gilbert Public Schools COVID-19 guidelines, all that goes on school property must cover their nose and mouth with a mask. You will not be able to attend the GCA PTO meeting if you are not wearing a mask.

Counseling Updates:

  1. Resources: Need help, try this link for the main site to several local organizations.

      Community Information and Referral Services

      1. Senior Parents: Scholarships
        • The Arizona Community Foundation allows high school seniors throughout Arizona to apply for more than 100 scholarship awards online with ONE general application! You do not want to miss this opportunity to earn free college money. Most deadlines are March 1-May 1, 2021, and scholarships are available for two-year and four-year colleges and universities as well as technical and vocational schools. Start your application here.! Also, check out the Thrive master scholarship list and start applying!
        • Arizona ACE is accepting applications for their mentor program. If you're interested in a career in Architecture, Construction, or Engineering, sign up for the 2021 virtual ACE Mentorship program. Learn from industry leaders, connect with other students, and have the opportunity to earn scholarships! Click here for more information about the program and to apply.
        • The Presidents’ Honors Scholarship through Maricopa Community College is now accepting applications for the Class of 2021. If you’re graduating high school with an unweighted GPA of at least 3.25, you are eligible for this scholarship, which will pay for full-time tuition for up to 15 credit hours per semester for up to four consecutive semesters. This scholarship is available for all of the colleges of Maricopa Community Colleges. To apply for admissions, click here. To apply for the Honors Scholarship, click here.

        3. Junior Service Class College Preparation starting in a couple of weeks.
        • Each year the counseling staff guides students through weekly lessons through their Service Learning classes in preparation for applying to colleges next year. We will be recording these and posting them into google classroom, so all students (online and in-person) do not miss any information. These steps are essential for starting and completing the tasks they will begin over the summer between Junior and Senior Year.

          4. THRIVE is a College & Career Success Guide providing helpful timelines and resources to encourage students (and their families) to get the most out of their high school experiences, along with helping our students plan for their brightest futures. This resource guides all High School students to excel during their high school experience and beyond by assisting students in exploring college and career options with proven pathways to success.

          Mental Health Counselor

          Parenting during the Covid 19 Pandemic has created a unique set of parenting challenges. Next Wednesday, 1/27, at 6:00 PM, parenting experts will be discussing all of the various ways that the pandemic, social unrest, and online learning have impacted families. The discussion will include tips for parents on maintaining structure, caring for our children’s well-being, ways to promote resiliency, and other ways to help migrate through this challenging time. If you are interested in registering for this informative event, you can access the flyer and registration link HERE.

          If you are concerned about your child’s mental health or need family support, please feel free to contact me at nicoleta.alfaro@gilbertschools.net.

          Be strong for each other,

          Mr. Hood