Gurney School November News

Posted on 01. Dec, 2011 by in Gurney News, Minutes

Gurney PTO Rep: Joan Newell,
• Recent Events/Updates
o Yearbook: Third grade cover contest will begin Wednesday Nov. 9th. Submissions for the cover art are due on November 16th. Theme “Gurney Tigers move with Pride”
o Winter Coat Drive: The coats and outerwear were delivered to Mary Bethune School in Cleveland on Nov. 3rd. Every Student K-5 that came through the gym doors left with a coat. We were also able to leave quite a few coats for the 6-8 graders and preschoolers. We had over 300 coats and other warm weather items.
o Book Fair is being held in the Gurney library the week of Nov. 14-18th we are staffed and ready to go. Set up Nov. 9th. Take down is Nov. 18th.
o Clinic : We are going to utilize are parent volunteers in the clinic to help out Liz and Diane while Nurse Pam is not in the building
o Tiger Trek: Due to the success in fund raising no changes will occur on the money end of Tiger Trek. The reform will take place on the event itself.
• Grants
o There are 2 grants submitted waiting review.

• Thank You
o To the hospitality committee for preparing and serving the conference dinners.
o To the PTO volunteers that assisted in the vision and hearing screenings late last month.
o To Holly O’Connor and Connie Mazelsky and all of the volunteers who helped them on the winter coat drive.

Gurney School May and End of Year News

Posted on 26. May, 2011 by in Gurney, Gurney News, Minutes

Gurney Elementary School

Administrative –Vicky Pelsozy

  • On behalf of the entire staff at Gurney, thank you all so much for the thoughtful attention you gave us for Staff Appreciation.  The luncheon was AMAZING!
  • Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped to make Kindergarten Screening run so smoothly!
  • Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped to make the Gurney Art Walk spectacular!
  • Finally, thank you in advance to everyone who will be helping us with Tiger Trek, field day and yearbooks coming up very soon!
  • Kindergarten:  Although we will probably have a handful of additional kindergarteners register over the summer, our numbers are strong enough now to determine sections for next year.  We will have five sections of full day kindergarten next year, each at approximately 20 students.  We will have one section of half day kindergarten and it will be in the morning with approximately 15 students.  This means that Miss Shanaberger (1/2 day kindergarten teacher this year) will be teaching a full day kindergarten class next year and we will be hiring a half day kindergarten teacher soon.
  • Staff Changes:  Mr. Rose, current first grade teacher, will be moving up to teach second grade next year.  We will have a new speech and language therapist at Gurney; she is being recommended for hire by the Board on Monday night and so, assuming all goes well, will be introduced in our June newsletter.  We are also adding another intervention specialist at Gurney – Mrs. Martina Kehoe will be moving in from the Intermediate School.
  • Transition to CFIS:  Our 3rd graders are heading over to CFIS this month to tour the building, meet Mr. Murphy, and learn about 4th grade.  Don’t forget the parent night at the Intermediate School which is designed to give parents of current third graders an overview of CFIS and 4th grade.
  • Early Release Day:  We were fortunate to be able to have an early release day in May that allowed us to meet in small groups with a teacher representative in each group from grades K-4.  With a discussion guide, we focused on our new language arts program, Literacy by Design, and learning how each component was taking shape in each grade level.  We learned from each other new strategies that were working in different grade levels, how to make smoother transitions for our students from one grade level to the next, how much stronger our comprehension and vocabulary instruction is now that we’ve got very specific, common instructional approaches, and in what areas we are all feeling the need to supplement or receive additional training for next year.  This kind of cross-grade-level dialogue is invaluable for enhancing our program and targeting our professional development activities.
  • Field Day:  On the last day of school, third graders will participate in an Olympic-style field day at the high school stadium.  Kindergarten-second graders will participate in field day rotations on the Gurney campus.  All grade levels will gather back at the building for grade level pizza lunches provided by PTO!  After some closing activities in each classroom, we will line the back playground with the parents of third graders and at 12:45 we will clap-out the third graders!  Dismissal is at 1pm for all K-3 students that day.
  • Parent Communication:  Report cards will be mailed home to you the week of June 13th.  We will continue to post information on our website through the summer that may be of help to parents such as school supply lists and calendars.  Class assignment letters for next year will be mailed home the second week of August and will contain information regarding your child’s teacher as well as our walk-through dates and times.

PTO –Gigi Kuper-Lewis

  • Hospitality: Teachers were honored at a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon on Friday, May 6th.    Thank you to Tina Nepouni and Joan Newell for coordinating this luncheon.  In addition, teachers, staff members and district bus drivers were given potted flowers.
  • Box Tops: The spring Box Top Blitz concluded last month.  We are still awaiting the results of the amount collected.
  • Kindergarten Screening: Kindergarten screening was held on Thursday May 5th and Friday May 6th.  Thank you to Chrissy Barr and Vicki Orazen for all of their work both coordinating volunteers to assist with the screening process as well as volunteering at all of the shifts of screening.
  • Tiger Trek: Tiger Trek will be held on Thursday, May 26th.  T-shirt sales were very good.  There were a lot of donations for additional t-shirts to be purchased – allowing at least all third graders to receive a t-shirt.  Orange chagrin Frisbees were ordered to be given as a prize to the class that raises the most money in sponsorship.  Thank you to Debbie Darden and Libby Young who are coordinating this event.
  • Student Book Production Center: There will no longer be a Student Book Production Center next year.   Many teachers are now using alternate forms of publishing students’ work- such as blogs or podcasts.  PTO has offered to assist teachers that still would like to produce a book – by using comb-back binding.  The sewing machines and leftover materials were given to Joann Mynchenberg to be used to supplement her art curriculum.  Thank you to Maggie Kwasny and Lori Newbauer for their years of service to the SBPC.

March Gurney School Report

Posted on 11. Apr, 2011 by in Gurney, Gurney News, Minutes

Gurney Elementary School

Administrative –Nancy Lodge

  • Thank you in advance for the wonderful dinners you always provide for us during conference nights!  Our conferences are next week   on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
  • Thank you to all of the parent volunteers who helped so much with One School One Book!  And thank you for the financial support to make it all happen!  If you’d like to see an 8-minute movie that captures our memories from all of the activities, go to or go to the Chagrin Falls Website to Tiger TV…or the Gurney webpage!  You’ll get to see all kinds of photos and video from the month-long program and hear some of the music that was discussed in the novel.
  • Kindergarten:  We have received the official word from Columbus and we are for sure going to be offering full day kindergarten, tuition-based, for next year.  Tuition will remain $2500 as in past years and a $200 deposit will be due to our Treasurer’s Office by May 5th (which is kindergarten screening).  We will post this information on our website and announce it at Kindergarten Kick-Off on April 7th.
  • Early Release Day:  Our March early release day was spent in grade level teams working continuing to work through our new language arts program, Literacy By Design.  Each grade level is now implementing all components of the program.  We are really happy with the building-wide vocabulary and reading comprehension strategies.  The program is very flexible so we have been able to keep some of our current, effective instructional practices and add to them.  This program as our base has definitely made our language arts instruction more uniform across the building.
  • Summer Programs:  Our last newsletter contained information about two summer programs we offer at Gurney.  First, our summer reading and math camp, Tiger Up!, is for students entering 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade next year.  It provides a jump-start to the school year in reading, math and school routines.  It is scheduled for the last 2 weeks before school starts in August.  Second was our science camp, Camp Invention.  This is a week-long, hands-on camp in June that our students have traditionally enjoyed.  The information will be repeated in upcoming newsletters as well as be made available during conferences.
  • Bouncy Balls:  Please read the article I have posted on the Gurney webpage about our new bouncy balls in many Gurney classrooms.  This was a wonderful donation from Mr. Edmond Leopold and we are both enjoying them and seeing the benefits.  The article gives an overview of the research behind their use and there is a video on TigerTV of one of our classes using them.
  • Staff vs. Students Volleyball:  We will wrap up for spring break with our traditional Staff vs. the 3rd Grade Students volleyball game on Friday, March 25th!  Students take on the 3rd Grade Staff and Dr. Jones in groups using a very large beach ball.  It’s not as easy as you’d think!

PTO – Meredith Goodwin

  • One School/One book: This month has been the One School/One Book program at Gurney.  The children read “The Cricket in Time Square.”  Each child received a copy of the book (books were donated by PTO).  Children read an assigned chapter every night at home with their parents.  Special activities included: working with high school students to create an issue of a gurney school newspaper, an assembly by an opera singer, the opportunity for some 3rd graders to skype with Chinese students, fortune cookies and other special foods in the cafeteria (foods related to the book) and many other activities.   This book study has been the ultimate partnership between parents and teachers.  Rachel Jones suggested we add a One School One Book committee for PTO volunteers next year.
  • Conference Dinners: Planning is under way for conference dinners.  Conference dinners will be held next week, March 22nd and 24th.
  • Zero Waste Challenge: Gurney will be participating in the “Zero Waste Challenge” for lunches again this year.  Kathryn Garvey coordinates these efforts.  More information will be forthcoming.
  • Box Tops: A spring Box Top Blitz will be held the week of April 11th

February Gurney Report

Posted on 24. Feb, 2011 by in Gurney, Gurney News, Minutes

The February administrative report from Gurney School was submitted to the PTO by Rachel Jones.

  • One School One Book:  Thank you to PTO for funding this extraordinary project for our school!  We were able to keep the whole thing a secret until the kick-off assembly yesterday afternoon!  We certainly had the students’ curiosity flowing with odd sounds on the announcements, a odd structure being built in the cafeteria, and then all the teachers wearing NYC t-shirts.  At our assembly, we introduced the setting and several characters in a skit format – even Mr. Thompson appeared as Tucker Mouse and Mr. Hunt appeared as Harry Cat!  Please visit our website,, to view our chapter blogs, calendar of event, photos that students send in, podcasts of each chapter, and some awesome links that tie directly to the plot!  Each day students are answering trivia questions based on the chapter they read the night before.  We have special foods in the cafeteria, special activities in art, library, music and phys ed, special grade level activities related to the plot, and more!  This is a much welcomed, exciting project to help us all forget about the winter blues! …special thank you to Mrs. Nachtwey and Mrs. Kanzinger for sitting on our planning committee for this!
  • Bouncy Balls:  Mr. Edmund Leopold donated hundreds of bouncy balls or yoga balls that we can use in place of student chairs!  Many classrooms have replaced ALL their student chairs with these balls and some classrooms have started with only a few.  These are wonderful for students to get their wiggles out safely, keep them focused on instruction, increase their core strength, and much more.  We will have an article in our March newsletter about the benefits of these!  Earlier in the year, there was a video of them in Mrs. Halagan’s class on Tiger TV.  We are in the process of writing class thank you cards to Mr. Leopold and then we will invite him in to see the bouncy balls in action!
  • Valentine’s Parties: Thank you to all the parent volunteers that helped with our Valentine parties!
  • Third Grade Testing: This week are conducting testing with 3rd graders.  These tests are nationally normed and used to identify students as gifted cognitively, in reading, and/or in math.  We should have results in 4-6 weeks.
  • Conference Invitations: Teachers will be sending notices home regarding spring parent-teacher conference during the week before spring break.  Parents have option on this invitation to either schedule a face-to-face conference, request a phone conference with the report card sent home, or request an email narrative summary with the report card sent home.  In some instances however, the teacher may notify parents that they believe a face-to-face conference is more appropriate at this time.
  • iPod Touch Apps on Website:  On the Gurney website you can find a link to a list of all the current, educational apps we use with our iPod Touch lab.  We know that many of you have iPod Touches or iPhones at home so, you may see some of our apps that you would like to download for your child to use at home.  Also, if you know of educational apps that we may benefit from using with our students at Gurney, please email your child’s teacher so that we can add it to our library.
  • Summer Reading and Math Camp:  In the upcoming newsletter we will have information about summer reading and math camp, Tiger Up!  This camp will take place the first two weeks in August to provide a jump start into the school year!  We will also post this information on our website very soon.
  • Thank you again for all the volunteer help with the Holiday Show – costumes, putting together scenery, programs, and everything else you do behind the scenes!  And, thank you to our parent volunteers who were so flexible in rescheduling our holiday parties.
  • Spirit Week and Gurney Night:  We had a wildly successful spirit week at Gurney last week!  This year we had students add on to their spirit outfit throughout the week – silly slippers, add strange socks, add your favorite team jersey, and top it all off with a crazy hat.  Then, we had orange and black day on Friday to get ready for Gurney Night at the Basketball Game!  Our high school cheerleaders, basketball players, and even our basketball coach came over to participate in our pep assembly.  Every class made a spirit banner that was hung in the high school gym — thank you to the parent volunteers who took the time to help us with those banners!  And, Gurney Night was good luck because our Tigers pulled out a win in that final 2 minutes of the game!
  • PAWS:  Our next session of PAWS will be starting at the end of the month.  Again, PAWS periods are 30 minutes long and occur twice a week in each grade level.  During PAWS every student in the grade level is assigned to a course that works on either remediating, reinforcing, or stretching a skill. Examples of PAWS sessions from last semester have ranged from reading and math stretch to reading strategy reinforcement, fine motor skills, friendship skills, sight word practice, and more.  These two periods a week have allowed teachers to target a wider variety of skills and interests of students in each grade level.   Students thoroughly enjoy the switching of classrooms and teachers – like the “big kids” do – and learning with new friends.  PAWS sessions run for 8 weeks.  In between sessions, grade level meetings take place to analyze data and determine the best topics for the next session and place students in those groups.
  • One School One Book:  Gurney’s first venture into the One School One Book project is rapidly approaching in February!  This project entails all students, K-3, reading the same novel for the month and engaging in related activities to enhance the comprehension and enjoyment of the novel.  Reading a chapter a night will take place at home with parents receiving a detailed calendar and supports for guiding the reading and questioning with their child.  Chapters will also be offered via podcasts for students to listen to on the computer if a parent isn’t available that evening.  We are extremely excited for the activities we have planned for our students at school related to the novel – they will be tied into all aspects, art, music, library, gym, and even the cafeteria!  We look forward to a very united feeling as the whole school enjoys a wonderful, classic story – can’t tell you what it is, that’s a secret!  Thank you so much to PTO for funding the cost of joining this national project and purchasing the books for our students!
  • 3rd Grade Testing for Gifted Identification: Each year we test all of our 3rd graders to identify any students who may qualify as gifted cognitively, in the area of reading, and/or in the area of math.  This information is then used to plan their class schedule as they head into the 4th grade at the Intermediate School.  We are administering these tests over three days, Feb. 15th ,16th , and 17th.
  • Next PAWS session: begins Jan 24 for enrichment/extra work

The Gurney PTO report was submitted by Meredith Goodwin.

  • Recent Events/Updates
    • One School, One Book Program
      • The program was kicked-off to a great start with a school-wide assembly on Tues, Feb 15th.  All students were given copies of the book “Cricket in Time Square” which were donated by the PTO.
    • Valentine’s Day Parties were held on Monday, February 14th.
    • Yearbook:
      • Photographer from Ohio School Pictures came to take Candid pictures for the yearbook.  The yearbook committee is hard at work compiling the book for a March Deadline.
      • Yearbook sales have been completed – with over 85% of students ordering a yearbook.
  • Grants
    • Several grants were submitted on behalf of Gurney to the PTO Financial Planning and Research Committee.

November Gurney Report

Posted on 07. Dec, 2010 by in Gurney, Gurney News, Minutes, Newsletter

May we present ... the staff winners of the 2010 Halloween costume contest!

The administrative report was presented by  Mrs. Kehrier.

  • Thank you to all the PTO volunteers who made delicious dinners for us on conference nights!  We appreciate the food on those nights and all of it was really tasty!
  • Field Trips:  Mrs. Kehrier will fill you in on the 2nd grade field trip taken recently.  Mr. Q has set his schedule for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade roller skating trips!  Volunteers are welcome, especially for lacing up those skates!
  • Mix It Up Day:  We recognized national Mix It Up Day during our lunch periods at Gurney.  Mr. Tschappat facilitated this with our Third Grade Service Learning Club students.  Using symbols, students were assigned new lunch tables and sat with new friends. They had great conversation topics to get to know each other.
  • Gurney Service Learning Club:  Our 3rd Grade Service Learning Club is collecting items to send to the USO.  They have reminder signs around the building and boxes outside of the office to collect items.  Items such as toothpaste, chapstick, etc. are appreciated.
  • Veterans Day:  Each class recognized Veterans Day last week.  Our preschool students had a special visit from some of our local veterans who are also relatives of some of our staff members.  They had wonderful questions to ask them!  Our preschoolers also treated our kindergarten and 3rd grade students to a Veterans Day Parade and song   in the cafeteria!
  • Literacy By Design:  We are continuing our training in our new language arts program on next week’s early release day.  Trainers from the company will be working with our staff on the online components available to us as well as the written expression component.
  • Compass Learning:  If you have a kindergartener or a second grader you should be aware of our use of Compass Learning for homework!  This is a great new online tool our district has purchased to use in grades K-10.  It is a very attractive and engaging program for our children but it also specifically targets state grade level standards and skills.  Teachers are also using some of the lessons and activities during the day to enhance lessons/units.  Our first graders and third graders will soon be accessing it at home for homework as well.
  • Holiday Show:  The much anticipated Holiday Show is in the works!  We are already rehearsing and working on our costumes.  We will do two shows on December 16th, 9:30 and 1:30.  Save the date and join us —- but you must bring in a canned good for admission!  We donate all canned goods to Geauga County Meals on Wheels.

The PTO report was presented by Meredith Goodwin.

  • Yearbook : Third grade cover contest will begin next week.  Submissions for the cover art are due on December 4th.
  • Giddings: The coats and outerwear were delivered to Giddings last Friday.  Overall, donations were down, however the “Gurney classroom contest” was highly successful.  The total results were 800 usable donated items and $300 in “loose change”.  The on-line donation site was also very successful, generating an additional $1300.  This money was used to purchase additional items, both used and new to be donated.   This year’s chairs recommend that there be a representative(s) from the Intermediate School and The Middle School on next year’s committees, and perhaps this could be included on the volunteer forms for both schools as well.  Giddings Elementary includes students through 8th grade and we are usually lacking larger-sized items.  Increased participation from students at the Middle and Intermediate schools may lead to increased donations particularly of larger-sized items which would greatly benefit the students at Giddings.
  • Grants – No new grants were submitted this month.
  • Thank You – To the hospitality committee for preparing and serving the conference dinners; to the Library volunteers for helping to put on another successful book fair last week; to the PTO volunteers that assisted in the vision and hearing screenings earlier this month,; to Amy Taussig, Carol Dolan and the rest of the Giddings Coat Collection Committee for another successful coat drive.

October Gurney News

Posted on 27. Oct, 2010 by in Gurney, Gurney News, Minutes, Newsletter

This is the last week to donate your old coats to the Giddings Coat Drive. Read more in the PTO report.

The Gurney Report was presented by Rachel Gebler, Kindergarten Teacher and Lead Instructor.

  • Field Trips: Kindergarten and First Grade classes have all taken their first field trip of the year and Mrs. Gebler filled us in on those trips and how they tie to school curriculum.
  • Literacy by Design:  This is our new language arts program for grades K-4 and we spent our early release time working through plans for the upcoming months.  Every grade level has begun the vocabulary instruction portion in full force.  All grade levels are currently working to implement the whole class and small group reading lessons.  Later this semester, we will be working to employ the writing portion of this program as well.  We are all learning the online component the program offers as well as  the new assessments available.
  • Compass Learning:  This new online program provides practice and assessments in all areas of reading and math for our students.  Every grade level at Gurney is introducing the site to their students, showing them all the components, and assigning homework activities online.  Kindergarten in particular recently sent home a parent information letter with each student’s  password to begin completing Compass Learning activities at home.
  • Thank You:  On behalf of the entire Gurney staff, I’d like to thank the PTO for funding our One Book, One School program this year.  It was quite an expense to purchase the novel for every student in the building and we appreciate your investment.  However, it’s not over yet…One School, One Book is the ultimate parent-teacher activity.  The novel is to be read at home w/parents or family members.  There are discussion guides for at home and follow up activities for school.  It will be exciting for us all to be engaged in the same novel at home and at Gurney, K-3.  We can’t tell you the novel we are doing…it’s a big secret!
  • Parent Teacher ConferencesWe have conferences on Oct. 26 and 28.  All parents  should already have a schedule appointment.  If anyone is still in need of a conference time, they should contact the teacher ASAP.  Report cards will be reviewed with parents at this conference time.
  • Halloween:  Our Gurney Halloween parade will begin at approximately 2:15 on Friday, Oct. 29th.  Halloween parties will follow the parade in individual classrooms.
  • Tiger Tutors:  We are in need of volunteers – moms, dads, grandparents, community members, etc.  Please click here to see what Tiger Tutoring looks like…it’s narrated beautifully by a kindergartener!

The Gurney PTO Report was presented by Meredith Goodwin.

  • Hospitality : The hospitality committee is preparing for conference dinners.  They are having taco night on the 26th and soup and salad on the 28th.
  • Welcoming: Committee members are contacting new families to the district.
  • Student book production center: They are working with a smaller group of volunteers than normal.  However, they have trained their volunteers and are on their way to producing nearly 2000 books this year.
  • Giddings: The coat drive is well underway.  The drive will end on Oct 29th, they will sort supplies on Nov 1st and deliver them to Giddings on Nov 5th.  The committee has noted that donations are down this year.  To combat that, they have arranged a final push for donations by having a classroom competition.  The class who brings in the most number of items will be having a pizza party donated by the Giddings co-chairs.  The committee has also begun an on-line site for donations through “Crowdrise”, and has used personal emails to solicit online monetary donations.  Funds collected will be used to purchase additional outerwear for Giddings.
  • Art appreciation: More than 90 volunteers this year are teaching 108 lessons.  They have completed volunteer training.  New this year, they have added preschool curriculum.  Also, between this year and last year, they have worked with Mrs. Mynchenberg to revise 6 of the 16 different lessons to include more diversity in the artists being presented.
  • Room parents: We are in the final stages of collecting and depositing the room parent fees.  A majority of the class rosters and emergency call lists have been completed and returned.
  • Box Tops: Halle Bargar and Sharon Broz kicked off the first Box Top “Blitz” earlier in the month, with a presentation to the children at Gurney lunches.  They got them excited about the opportunity to collect for a chance to win sleds for their classroom and also keep them motivated to collect all year.  The first blitz was completed and volunteers are in the process of counting and sorting the box tops. Last year they collected a total of $815 for the year.  They had a yearlong goal of $1000 for this year.  The fall blitz has raised $1262 already with 2 classes left to count.
  • Library: Volunteers are helping to prepare for the book fair coming up in November.
  • PTO Gurney Building Fund Grants:

1.     455.04 for books from the Junior Great Books Foundation for 1st gr PAWS program (S.Malley)

2.     $495.40 for books from the Junior Great Books Foundation for 2nd grade  PAWS program (S Butler)

3.     $493.29 for books from the Junior Great Books Foundation for 3rd grade PAWS program (S Halagan)

4.     $65.50 for pinatas for 3rd grade spanish classes (H Stapulionis)

5.     $429.18 for 2nd grade literacy workstation materials ( E Jones)

6.     Thank You –  Giddings co-chairs, Amy Taussig and Carol Dolan for their hard work in pulling together the Giddings Coat Drive; Halle Bargar and Sharon Broz for their work with the Box Top Collections and the success of the fall campaign; all of the numerous Gurney volunteers for keeping things running so smoothly.