GEMS Family Newsletter

January 2022

Upcoming Events

  • Wed. Jan. 26 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Session - click here to join
  • Thurs. Feb. 3 - TGFS Virtual College Access Night - 5:00-7:00pm - click here to join
  • Fri. Feb. 4 & Mon. Feb. 7 - No School - PD Days
  • Wed. Feb. 9 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Session - click here to join
  • Mon. Feb. 21 - No School - President's Day
  • Wed. Feb. 23 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Session - click here to join

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

Important School Information

Breakfast/Lunch Menu - Jan.

GEMS Academic Calendar 21-22 - Updated - No School on March 17 - PD Day


GEMS Front Office is open 8:00am-5:00pm

If your student is absent please e-mail the Front Office at

Check out the TGFS employment opportunities!

Click here to check out TGS employment opportunities.

Click here to check out TCS@ODU employment opportunities.

Attention GEMS Families

Reporting Absences: If your student is absent, or has been absent, please send a written excuse to

The lost and found is once again piling up with jackets, coats, and other cold-weather items. Please label your student’s belongings, it makes it easier to find the owner of lost items.

Have you completed your Free/Reduced Lunch Application

It is essential for every family to complete the Free/Reduced Lunch application every year. This information directly effects school funding and resources.

Click here to print the application. After you print and complete the application it can be mailed or scanned, OR dropped off at the front desk. Our office hours are Monday-Friday from 8:00am-

Have you completed the Tech Needs Survey?

Please take a moment to fill out our brief Tech Needs Survey. This will help us better ensure that all students have access to curriculum both at home and at school. Thank you so much!

Click here to complete the survey!

Free Covid-19 Tests

Click here to complete the online form to request free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government.

Covid-19 Vaccine Locations:

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OELPA Testing in February and March

English Learner students at GEMS will take state English language proficiency testing in February. English Learners (we prefer "Emergent Multilingual / Emergent Bilingual students") take the required state OELPA test every spring. Families of students who will test should have received letters through the mail already. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Chris Spackman, the ESOL Coordinator, at

Calling all GEMS 8th Grade Families!

NOW is the time!

  • If you are considering enrolling your 8th-grade student at The Graham School (TGS) or The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University (TCS@ODU) please complete an online application before March 5, 2022.

  • Your family MUST complete an application to be considered for enrollment.

  • Completing an online application does NOT:

    • commit your student to attend OR

    • complete their enrollment for either high school.

  • GEMS students are not guaranteed placement at either TGS or TCS@ODU.

  • Use the following links to complete an online application:

  • If you’d like a paper application for either school please contact GEMS at 614-253-4000 to have the 2022-23 application mailed out to you.

Grade Level Updates


Students will complete their study of the Animal Kingdom by learning about invertebrates, animals without backbones. They learned about arthropods, which include insects and spiders. They discovered that honeybees work together in colonies, each with its own job, and they compared an insect’s body with that of a human. Students also learned about butterflies and their life cycles. This unit included a review week that provided suggested activities as additional review of skills as well as enrichment activities to expand skills.

First Graders

In math have finished their unit on addition and subtraction story problems and are now working on using different strategies to add and subtract within 20. In expedition, we are continuing our study of the sun, moon & stars. We are researching astronauts and the tools they use to study space! We will soon move on to our next expedition unit which focuses on birds and how their physical characteristics help them survive.

Second Graders

In math are starting to examine number lines and are practicing number line skip counting. We will soon begin to use our number lines to help us with addition and subtraction problems! We have also started our new expedition topic this month! Students will become experts on fossils and will learn what a paleontologist is and what they do.

Third Graders

This month frogs are what it’s all about! We will be conducting research and writing an informational paragraph about our chosen frogs. In crew we are making our complement presents. In math we are continuing to practice how to find the area of a shape using square tiles.

Fourth Graders

In English are starting our second expedition which will be covering animal defense mechanisms. Students will be learning how to properly conduct internet research, use domain specific vocabulary, and to write to inform an audience. During this time we will also be continuing to record songs for the album which will be released in the Spring.

In math we have started the new year reviewing the math skills we have been practicing all school year (which includes multiplication, division, factors and multiples and forms of numbers). After our review, we look forward to diving deeper into division by using the strategies of long division! This will lead perfectly into the next topic of word problems!

Fifth Graders

In math are continuing to multiply fractions with whole numbers. Next we will learn how to multiply fractions by other fractions along with simplifying the answers. Please continue working with your child on their multiplication and division facts at home.

In science, we are wrapping up our Mars Colonization projects along with learning about light. Some of our vocabulary words are “reflection”, “refraction”, “transmission” and “absorption.”

Sixth Graders

In math are investigating fractions by diving into examples in our own lives. In science we begin our life science unit on cells and why they are important. In humanities we are learning about different types of maps and how to analyze a map for information about an area. After our map unit we will focus on analyzing primary and secondary sources to determine historical accuracy of a topic.

Seventh Graders

Prepared to interview experts for their podcast. They practiced introducing themselves, using scripted questions, and then used the skills they refined to interview an expert from the community. Through the end of January and early February students will work on finishing their podcast scripts, and then recording them in a recording studio. We are excited to celebrate their learning soon!

Eight Graders

In science, have been focusing on how the environment can impact genetics and our different traits. We have “played” several games that focus on the process of natural selection and for the rest of January we will be working on creating our own games!

In math, students started investigating the Pythagorean theorem and how it can be applied to different situations. Students will be demonstrating their knowledge by writing a short story, song or poem about the Pythagorean theorem.

In Humanities everyone is excited about their final expedition project. Over the semester we have been discussing Identity and “Taking A Stand” for social justice issues. Throughout; readings, expert advice, statistical evidence, and activities on stereotyping, we have learned about who we are and how identities are perceived in America. For the final project students are working on a spoken word piece with the opening phrase, “I Am Not Another Statistic”.

K-4 Music

In 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade they are learning about the ukulele. We are starting with plucking and strumming notes and chords and will progress to playing while we are singing a song! In 1st grade we are learning about Bordun rhythms and how to place high and low sounds on the music staff. In kindergarten we are working on hearing musical opposites like Fast vs. Slow, Loud vs. Quiet, and High vs. Low.

K-4 Art

4th graders are practicing our technical skills to increase our drawing abilities as we get ready to do Zentangles. Both 1st and 3rd graders are working on their observational drawing skills to create scientific drawings. 2nd graders will start loom weaving after we finish paper weavings. Kindergarten will continue to explore lots of different mediums and techniques as we work toward using clay!

7-8 Art

Are ending the semester with artist research projects, finishing GEMS self portraits and, creating 3-D sculptures with air dry clay!

5-6 PE

Students are learning how food fuels our bodies and gives us the energy we need to think better, stay active and be productive throughout the day while also improving our mood and mental health.

In addition, students are recording what they eat everyday in their healthy living journals to reach a goal that helps them to eat better and stay active.

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 donate 0.5% of your total purchase to GEMS. Go to to get started!

Do you know anyone who 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.

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.


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."