GEMS Family Newsletter

February 2021

Upcoming Events

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Attention GEMS Families

If you were unable to attend the GEMS Q&A session on Feb. 9, you can view the recording here:

GEMS will re-open the building for in-person learning in a phased roll out beginning with students in grades K-2 on March 15, grades 3-4 on March 29, and grades 5-8 on April 12. GEMS will continue a virtual learning model for families that have chosen the virtual learning option for the remainder of the year. If you have not yet shared your preference for hybrid or virtual learning for your student(s) please reach out to us at or (614) 253-4001.

School Calendar Updates

  • March 4 & 5 - Regular virtual school days. These dates were previously professional learning days for staff, however, they are now regular virtual school days.
  • March 10, 11, & 12 - No school for students for staff professional learning and classroom preparation for hybrid, in-person learning.

Have you watched the GEMS reopening video?

GEMS Reopening Video

First Community Meeting of 2021!

GEMS middle school students had their first Community Meeting of the year on Friday, February 12th. Students in grades 5-8 gathered via Zoom to play games, listen to announcements, hear who had the highest Hero points in the school, and listened to Mr. Alen's presentation on being a champion. It was a great turnout (with over 100 participants) and so much fun!

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GEMS Family Crew

Please join us for the February Family Crew (Thurs. Feb. 25 - 6:00-6:45pm) during which we will all learn more about Crew, with a focus on Social and Emotional Learning.

At the end of January we launched Family Crew, an opportunity for families to learn and connect with our essential core practice of Crew. Mindfulness was the focus of this Crew session. We enjoyed an hour together of interaction between administrators, teachers, parents, and students. Visit the school website for more information and resources.

Meal Pick Up During Virtual Learning Until the End of the School Year

We have received exciting news that all students qualify for free breakfast and lunch from GEMS from now until the end of the school year. No paperwork is needed, but we do need to know if you are interested in picking up meals so that we can schedule weekly times for you to come to the building to pick up the food. Let us know you are interested by calling the school (614-253-4000) or emailing us at This is only for students enrolled at GEMS. Food portions will not be provided for siblings.

Free Internet Hot Spots Available for All Students Eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch!

Through a partnership with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and PCs For People we are offering free Internet Hot Spots to all families eligible for free or reduced lunch. If you are eligible, please call the front office to make an appointment to pick up a hot spot. Front office hours are 8:30am-4:30pm. Click here to complete a Free and Reduced lunch application. Please contact the front desk (614-253-4000) with any questions.

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. If you enrolled last year you must re-enroll each year to help GEMS. 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.


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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Grade Level Updates


Are well on their way to reading words! They are focusing on tapping out three letter words (CVC) using their fingers and voices. You can help your student practice by “tapping out” simple words like map, hen, lip, pop, and mud! In math, students continue to work on addition and subtraction through number sentences and story problems. For Expedition, students will be starting to wrap up their Weather Unit with a menu to choose from for their Final Product. Look for more information soon!

First Graders

Finished their Sun, Moon, and Stars Unit with writing their own narrative poems about what the sun sees. Students are getting ready to begin their next expedition unit, Caring for Birds. In math, we are finished with our focus on adding and subtracting within 20 and are now learning all about place value & numbers up to 99. Make sure you keep practicing your counting at home!

Second Graders

Will be finishing their unit on fossils and will begin using their knowledge of paleontologists and fossils to write a narrative pretending to be a paleontologist discovering a new fossil. In math, students are beginning to explore place value up to the 1,000 and will soon begin adding and subtracting numbers up to 1,000.

Third Graders

Are writing their pourquoi narratives and are exploring informational texts about frogs. Students will be perfecting their addition and subtraction within a 1000. We will be starting a new read aloud Peter Pan.

Fourth Graders

Are working to understand more about Animal Defenses. They have started researching their animals to learn more about them in order to write an essay. Students are also learning to work in small groups, virtually. In math, we are reviewing multiplication foundations before we start learning to multiply much bigger numbers.

Fifth Graders

Are continuing to explore the Inca Empire in Humanities class. In Math/Science, students are learning about the impact that different species and their ecosystems have on the world. In the next month, Humanities and Math/Science will complete their discussion about invasive species and finish out the year with an expedition based on this topic.

Sixth Graders

Will begin their expedition work on mythology focusing on Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Students will use that text to analyze the values of modern society and compare it to the values of Ancient Greece!

Seventh Graders

Are finishing our study of percentages with a project about Presidents. We are moving into algebra next! In Science, students have been discussing how environmental issues don't just impact the environment, but also impact human health. In particular, marginalized communities are more impacted by environmental health issues such as the Flint water crisis and Uranium mining in the Navajo nation. In 7th grade humanities we have been studying Greece and Rome, and are looking forward to starting The Giver soon!

Eighth Graders

Have begun our study of Indigenous American cultures and the historical harms done to Indigenous peoples as colonization led to founding the United States. Students are reading poetry, nonfiction, and children's books to examine how an author's perspective and bias form the different ways we tell American history. In science students made an argument for or against GMOs. Next we will be learning about erosion and deposition through the lens of coal mining as a cost of progress in America. In math, students finished their work on the Pythagorean Theorem by creating a song, short story or poem to demonstrate their understanding. Students will begin to investigate the idea of slope by looking at different examples of steepness in the world around them.

5-8th Counseling

Keep checking out our website for updated mental health and community resources, activities to do at home, and our Google Form to set up an appointment with Mr. Beery or Ms. Frazier.

For a quick and easy winter mindfulness exercise that the whole family can practice, try this hot cocoa activity to focus your breathing. Taking a few moments to focus on your breathing can help with stress, improve your energy and attention, and so much more!

  • Practice your mindful breathing by holding an imaginary cup of hot cocoa in front of you.
  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, as if smelling the yummy hot chocolate. Then, slowly breathe out your mouth as if blowing on the hot drink to cool it off! Repeat as many times as you want.
  • For an extra activity, try drawing cups of hot cocoa as a family! Try labeling your floating marshmallows as something (or someone) that brings you joy, like building a snowman or warm hugs from a loved one.

K-4th Art

2nd graders are learning about color, texture, and value as they explore the connections between how artists and paleontologists think. They are also building their technical skills by using oil pastels to blend colors and soft pencils to shade their drawings.

K-4th Music

During this month 3rd and 4th grade are learning more about each instrument family and discovering how each instrument makes sound! Each week they are completing a listening journal that helps to dive deeper into the instrument family discussed in class. We are also working on our composition skills and discovering new digital ways to make music!

PE & Health

This month all grades in PE (K, 1st, 5th, 7th) are learning dances in class. Dance is a great fitness activity, social activity, and mental activity using the brain in connecting steps and sequences together. In addition to dancing in class, 5th and 7th grade students are learning a dance for a final performance. What dance(s) can your family do together? Put on some music and have some fun!

The Graham Family of Schools COVID Policies:

  • Any visitor or staff member entering the building will be required to have their temperature taken and logged.
  • Masks on. If you are entering the building you must wear a mask.
  • If you have been sick, have a fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or recent loss of smell please do not enter the building.
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance between one another.
  • Wash your hands for the safety of everyone. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Use a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

All of our buildings have contactless thermometers that will be sanitized between each use. If you have any questions or concerns in regards to any of our COVID policies please feel free call the front office at 614-253-4000.

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. These principles also reflect the design's connection to other related thinking about teaching, learning, and the culture of schools. Watch this space for information each month about design principles.


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.

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.

"This institution is an equal opportunity provider."