GEMS Family Newsletter

October 2021

Upcoming Events

  • Mon. Oct. 18 - Wed. Oct. 27 - GEMS Spirit Week
  • Thurs. Oct. 28 - Fri. Oct. 29 - No School - PD Days
  • Thurs. Nov. 11 - Picture Day
  • Wed. Nov. 17 at 6:00pm - Virtual Enrollment Information Session
  • Mon. Nov. 22 - Tues. Nov. 23 - Student-Led Conferences
  • Wed. Nov. 24 - Fri. Nov. 25 - No School - Thanksgiving Break

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Important School Information

GEMS Academic Calendar 21-22

Breakfast/Lunch Menu


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

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

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 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-5:00pm.

Attention GEMS Families

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

Dismissal: In order to facilitate a smooth transition to the end of our school day, we ask families to please make your final dismissal plans NO LATER than 3:00pm. If you call or come to school after 3:00pm, please understand that it might not be possible to quickly locate your student for last minute dismissal plans. If you are picking up your student(s) prior to our 3:45pm dismissal, please be advised that you must come into the building and sign them out. We are not able to send student(s) outside of the school prior to the 3:45pm dismissal time. Thank you for your support in keeping our students safe!

Have you turned in your proof of residence? All families must submit a new proof of residence every school year!

In addition to the Registration Forms, we are mandated by the Ohio Department of Education to obtain a new proof of residence every school year. This may be a copy of a utility bill (dated on or after July 1, 2021). If you do not have a copy of a utility bill, please contact the school by calling 614-253-4000 or emailing us at: for other options. Please submit your Proof of residence TODAY.

Have you made your annual school fee contribution?

We are asking our families to help with expenses by making an annual school contribution of $35.00. Make arrangements to 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 at this link: GEMS Online Store

GEMS Spirit Week

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Picture Day - Thurs. Nov. 11

Mark your calendars for picture day - Thurs. Nov. 11. To order pictures before picture day go to and the GEMS picture day ID is EVTRBF9SW.

Dear GEMS Project

GEMS students studied the Dear World project that started in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina and created their own message that they wanted to share with the GEMS community.

TikTok Information

As many of you are aware, TikTok, a popular social media platform on which millions of people, many of them teenagers, post short videos and acquire likes and followers, has unfortunately been the home of a few recent concerning challenges circulating around the world. During the month of September, the challenge was to vandalize and steal school bathroom property. Many schools across the nation experienced a number of disheartening situations because of this challenge. GEMS was not exempt as we had to replace damaged property and clean up a number of messes. Some students at GEMS also received consequences as they were found responsible for their involvement.

The most recent challenge made aware in the news is October’s challenge to “smack a staff member,” which involves students sneaking up to a teacher or staff member and slapping them while recording the incident for social media. This type of behavior is a serious concern which may result in possible suspensions, expulsions, or worse as this type of behavior could be considered assault and is often considered a misdemeanor.

We ask that you please talk with your student about these concerning challenges. Even if they do not have social media, their friends might and it is likely a topic of conversation. We will also be reinforcing the community expectations at GEMS and our desire to ensure that GEMS is a safe place where these types of behaviors have no place.

Transportation Update

As many of us are already aware there is a national shortage of bus drivers causing major bussing issues in K-12 schools across the country, and unfortunately this includes our community and our schools. As we have experienced, we are regularly receiving calls from Columbus City Schools’ (CCS) Transportation Department near the end of the school day to alert us that one or more of our bus routes will be unable to pick up our students because there is no driver available.

We continue to be in regular communication with CCS’ Transportation Department although there is no immediate solution. These route changes/cancelations are happening with alarming regularity.

This is entirely out of our control.

We understand how concerning it can be when it comes to the safe and timely transportation of your student. We always encourage families to call into the school anytime they have questions or concerns. We know it can be frustrating when we cannot provide information as soon as you call in, or perhaps must relay information that is not desirable. The schools are doing all they can to work with CCS and advocate for our families.

Our procedure on each occasion has been to alert our families as soon as we receive information about a route change or cancelation from CCS. We are doing our best to communicate with families and help find solutions to getting students home from school in a timely manner.

If your student is waiting to be picked up in the morning, and their bus does not come, please call 614-365-5074. If the route is not covered, CCS will attempt to get your student to school.

This ongoing situation is very challenging for you and your family as well as for our staff. Our staff is staying late each evening to help coordinate alternative transportation arrangements. We will continue to partner with you to ensure that your student gets home in a timely and safe manner. On a positive note, we have been informed that CCS is close to starting a new group of drivers and have more potential drivers in training as well.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Breakfast Information

Hello Families,

We would like to notify each household that breakfast is available Monday through Friday on days that school is in session at 9:00 a.m. and is held inside of the classroom. Breakfast is offered to each student at no cost to the families for the 21-22 school year. If you have any questions please contact Vontel Nowlin at 614-253-4000.


Cathy Baney

Child Nutrition Director

Grade Level Updates


A child’s first teacher is his or her parents or guardians. When a child enters your classroom, you become part of the instructional team. In order for young children to flourish it is imperative to establish and cultivate a solid partnership between home and school. Children will learn about caring for the environment through conservation. They will discover the Three Rs of conservation: reduce, reuse, and recycle. They will also meet environmentalists, both real and fictional, who did their part to make the world a better place. This week we will: • discuss landforms and our environment. • learn about Ee /e/, Kk/ k, Nn /n/and Vv /v/. • write about conservation.

We will be going to Pigeon Roost Farm on October 27, 2021 and will be there all day long!

First Graders

Have finished their first math unit and are ready to dive into our second unit, Addition and Subtraction Story Problems. In Expedition, students have worked as close readers to describe how the characters in our stories use Habits of Character. As close readers, we have also been working on using text evidence to identify and describe how characters are feeling. In Crew, first graders have been working on using thoughtful words and being “bucket fillers” at school and at home. Keep up the great work, first grade!

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 those graphs. In expedition, students are wrapping up 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 working on the habit target of Thoughtfulness and Teamwork. During Crew we have discussed what makes a great friend and how we can come back to friendship even after a disagreement. In Expedition students have teamed up to form expert groups on countries Zimbabwe, Finland, and Thailand. They are researching how remote villages get access to books. How these villages have overcome the challenges is quite amazing! Ask your student about their country! In math third graders have been working on addition up to 1,000 with carrying over and subtraction within 1,000 with borrowing. They will be introduced to rounding this week.

Fourth Graders

In Math are finishing strategies to tackle division and multiplication problems! Next comes factors and multiples and after fractions! They will utilize these strategies they are understanding for multiplication and division to solve these new topics!

In English they are almost finished with the book, Love that Dog which is a story about a boy learning to love poetry. During this time we have been hitting the main idea, theme, elements of poetry and more in order for us to reach the ability level needed to do our expedition for this poetry unit. The expedition is that each class will be creating their own song in which we will put out on Spotify and Apple Music for the world to hear. Mr. H will produce the music and have the students pick which style they prefer and then it will be up to them to write the lyrics, identify the theme and topic and more. We will record at school and then when ready release them to the world in a “GEMS EP”.

Have your fourth graders continue to use Epic (Code GLZ5417) and ST Math/Flashcard practice to keep those reading and math skills up!

Try and have your student reading or journaling every night for about 10-20 minutes!

Fifth Graders

Are finishing our volume unit. The students will be able to find the volume of rectangular prisms two different ways. In Science, students completed their solar system unit by knowing the characteristics of different planets. We will continue working on learning different types of stars.

Sixth Graders

Are finishing our unit on area by making a 3D model of a tiny home. In Science we are going to finish studying minerals and move on to our study of rocks and the impact humans have on our environment. In Humanities students are working on our informational text Trash Vortex to analyze the impact plastic has on the world’s waterways. Additionally students will begin learning about characteristics of a civilization and how that applies to early river civilizations.

Seventh Graders

Are finishing reading the novel All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Students have worked on comparing and contrasting the different characters’ points of view. We have also been working on citing evidence from the text to support our analysis.

Eight Graders

Are reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and analyzing characters’ points of view. We are also comparing and contrasting different text structures and analyzing differences between novels, plays, and movies. As a class we have been documenting similarities and differences between each outlet and accurately citing work. In Social Studies we have researched and analyzed the contributions Christopher Columbus made toward the colonization of the Americas and main goals of European colonization in North America. Lastly, we have learned about people throughout history and literature who have taken a stand to prepare us for our final Identity projects.

K-4 Music

This Month in music we have been exploring using instruments, using our singing voices, and moving to music! In kindergarten we are using scarves and egg shakers to hear and make sounds that are the same and different. In 1st grade we are working on musical dynamics and how to show those when making music. In 2nd grade we are learning about a new rhythmic element, the 16th note! And in 3rd and 4th grade we are working on feeling syncopation in music and labeling music we hear on the music staff!

ProMusica Play Us Forward Strings Classes

GEMS string students are reading notes on the D and A strings, pulling quality sound from their instruments, and learning new music. Success has been a good word for the students in strings. With success comes confidence. So proud of our ProMusica Play Us Forward Strings Classes.

K-4 Art

We have been doing a lot of exciting things this month in art! In 4th grade we have been working on our drawing skills. We studied forms and how to make our 2D shapes look 3D! In 3rd grade we have dived into the wonderful world of abstract art. In the 2nd grade, we will be practicing how to draw faces as we move towards doing our self portraits. In 1st and Kindergarten we are having fun experimenting with materials and looking at different artists!

5-6 PE

We’re finishing the last week of Flag Football with a skills assessment on Thursday, October 21 and a quiz assessment on Friday, October 22. Then we will finish off the month with a week of Jump Rope.


October is National Bullying Prevention Month and Safe Schools Month!

Check out these Parent Resources for warning signs, conversation starters, and other tips and strategies for supporting bullying and violence prevention.

Safe and Supportive Schools - Parent/Guardian Resources

Internet Safety + Cyberbullying - Parent/Guardian Guide

National Bullying Prevention Center - What Parents/Guardians Need To Know

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

Do you know anyone that 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 including the family engagement policy and the schoolwide program plan. Please contact Debbie Addison at with any questions.


Per House Bill 21 community schools are now required to perform a monthly review of student files and randomly select families for residency verification. Please be sure to 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."