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7380 Girard Avenue
San Diego, CA 92037

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(858) 459-3773
(858) 459-3834
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Map of Gillispie School, The address.
Develops honesty: Disagree
June 28, 2015
This school has a strong social curriculum in place. However, the teachers and administrator do not demonstrate a true place of fairness, cultural diversity and discriminate against families who are not big donors. The fundraising at this school remains their biggest priority. They continue to work hard to expand. The evidence being their constant desire to buy the properties adjacent to the school. They own apartment buildings and manage them near the school. They have a full time fundraising person who is constantly carousing the campus and seen lunching with parents. There is a full time business manager who is new and quickly developing a poor reputation as "fair". Yet, there is no curriculum director in place or person you can speak to regarding the constant and growing concern of the rather deflated curriculum that is not up to par with LJ Country Day or Parker. This school needs to take the time to develop and re-evaluate its priorities. They are no where near capacity in terms of student body and they ask parents to actively try to persuade their friends to attend open houses and write reviews online. Strange, strange culture. Be careful. It is not what it seems. Positive note - school has a huge budget, they work hard it appears to develop their teachers but with such weak direction and administration, no extra education will help until the deep issues are resolved.

- submitted by a parent

June 28, 2015
Leaving Gillispie is a hard decision for our family. The reason we have chose to leave Gillispie is the culture of their fundraising practices. We are uncomfortable with the tactics used to collect money over the course of the school year. Example - they have an annual giving fund. I understand many private schools do this same campaign. During this campaign where Gillispie strives to get 100% participation (even from their teachers and support staff) they encourage other Gillispie parents to hound you by email, phone calls and face to face encounters. They are relentless. They claim their tuition is not enough to cover the cost to educate your child. Then I recommend they raise their tuition so that this gorilla marketing style can be put to rest. The issue is the conflict of teaching your social curriculum while pushing a big fundraising agenda. If you are encouraging parents through your school marketing to attend events, get drunk, act belligerent and then loosen their pockets to give more money - this school has mastered this style. This year they added a wine drinking event to their repertoire ON CAMPUS. Another conflict for our family was the lack of presence or oversight on their fairly stagnant curriculum BUT the over abundant presence of their fundraising person. The fundraising person can be seen carousing with moms at lunch, interacting with our children - is she a credentialed teacher? Doubtfully so. My last point is the "Disneyland Factor". Gillispie is a lovely school, full of Art, lots of speakers from the outside and that is all very special. However, to my family, we value hard work, we value resilience, we value not always getting the easy A. Gillispie is Disneyland for kids. Is that real world experience? At the end of the day, I can say, I felt my child was safe at Gillispie, I felt his teachers cared, I felt there were opportunities for learning (not excellent ones) but they did exist. But, these two issues, the strange fundraising and drinking culture combined with the Disneyland Factor has led us back to public school. We might miss the Disneyland factor at times but our child will discover the real world.

- submitted by a parent
Develops grit: Disagree
June 28, 2015
A bit like Disneyland. All fun, not enough character building through old fashioned hard work.

- submitted by a parent

June 06, 2015
My child has been at this school since he was 2 years old, and is now in the upper elementary school. The question of academic rigor is interesting, as I think there will always be families who want more. We have been completely satisfied with what the school has to offer, and can only see the results in what our child has learned in comparison to other schools from his ERB results. He has scored very well, which assures us he is definitely receiving the instruction he needs. We have never had to seek, or wanted to seek any outside help or additional instruction. For us it is about more than just academics, it is the music, PE, art, science, Spanish, and more, and the way the school encourages children to ask questions and become independent thinkers. We love what this school has to offer and can only highly recommend Gillispie.

- submitted by a community member

April 22, 2015
Our daughter attended Gillispie School and absolutely bloomed academically, emotionally, and socially after being lost in the crowd at two other local elementary schools. She had no trouble gaining admission to The Bishop's School, attended college on an academic scholarship and today has her MBA. She still talks about how Gillispie gave her the confidence to pursue her passions and to love learning.

- submitted by a parent

April 21, 2015
I have been in the education field for 30 years. I have taught in four states and each grade level from K to 12. I have a Bachelors, Masters and Specialist degree from three different Universities. I also served as Principal and Assistant Principal for 15 years. I now teach at the college level and interact with over twenty schools within the area. I do understand the educational process and the global view by which a strong curriculum may be developed. At the Gillispie School I have observed Administrators, Teachers and Staff interact with the students on the campus. Each student is called by name, each treated with Respect and Dignity, each taken seriously. Parents have a "Voice" and are listened to sincerely by the teachers and administrators. If you are a parent who would like your child to attend an independent school with smaller class sizes, a concentration on safety and a strong academic curriculum, you will be well served to consider this quaint setting. Gillispie School is a fine Independant school which nurtures family interaction. Of course volunteering and/or fundraising are availabe to those who would like to participate. " Kids are Happy at Gillispie"

- submitted by a community member

April 20, 2015
The Gillispie School is a wonderful place for preschool and elementary school students, and we have found it to be the perfect fit for our family. We love the reggio-inspired curriculum in the early childhood program, and how the transition from this style of learning builds confident, curious, and able students ready to enter the kindergarten-grade 6 program. As current elementary parents, we have been most recently impressed with the integration of Singapore Math into the curriculum, and the school's expansion of the science and sustainability program through their new science building and garden. We have found Gillispie to be as academically rigorous as it is warm and nurturing, and are happy with our choice.

- submitted by a parent

April 11, 2015
I think I can speak for several parents whose children are about to leave Gillispie this year as 5th and 6th graders. So, many wonderful things about Gillispie. Sweet school with a fantastic art program. The problem is and has been for many years the poor curriculum. It is hard to understand why a school of this prestige struggles to prepare its students for the schools that await them. But, it does struggle. The Gillispie kids as a whole are not prepared and they are not all getting into the secondary schools families desire. Seems like Gillispie cares more about raising money and focusing on their social scene than it does preparing the students for the real world. If I had known what I know now I would not have chosen Gillispie for my child. We are gravely disappointed with the academics. Look around before making this decision. It is a very expensive mistake.

- submitted by a parent

April 01, 2015
Gillispie is a very warm school with a great community of parents. The school is very well run, organized and efficient. The issue for our family began when we started to consider other schools this year and found our children were behind academically in comparison to the local public and private schools we visited. There are always rumblings of unsatisfied parents with the schools academic vigor but I wasn't sure if it was true or not. I like this school a lot but I am disappointed in this recent development for our family. We have spent a lot of money trusting we were paying for the best. Now I am not so sure.

- submitted by a parent

June 28, 2014
Although there are many strengths to the school community the academics are largely disappointing. Our daughter attended for two years and learned less than she would have gained in our local public school. During the summer between 1st and 2nd grade I ended up teaching her reading skills that should have been taught the previous year but were largely missed.

- submitted by a parent

November 13, 2013
We have been sending out son to Gillispie for the past year and a half in the school's Early Childhood program. I could not be happier. The teachers have surpassed my expectations greatly, and I am astonished by the intellectual caliber of the individuals who teach my 4 year old. The teachers are sharp, fully engaged, and caring. I trust my child with them completely. Gillispie also offers a great community. Even the teachers who have never had my son know him by name, as do the administrative staff. We feel like we are part of a larger family, and that is something I would have never expected from a school.

- submitted by a parent

November 11, 2013
It's more than another school; it's an environment, culture and extended family we feel blessed to be part of. Gillispie completely squashed my preconceived notions of private/independent schools.

- submitted by a parent

October 30, 2013
This school is excellent. My son attended here many years ago and is now in High School. Although I feel there is a little bit less focus on academic curriculum than other schools, they absolutely encourage the kids to do great things and get them interested in technology from a young age. There's a great culture of independence and independent learning at this school. All the teachers and faculty are excellent, and many have been there for over 15 years. They've just added a new sports field as well for additional exercise. A few tips: If you want your kids to excel in a particular sport, get them involved early-on after school. The PE program provides decent exercise, but kids may be unprepared for Middle School PE or High School level Sports. Also, buy your kid a Mac very early. The culture is very Apple-centered and your child will be incredible with technology if they are able to self-develop their skills. After attending Gillispie through 5th grade, most kids move on to Bishops with all their friends. Although you can send them somewhere else, I suggest you send them there if you can afford it. Fitting in at a public school for can be difficult.

- submitted by a parent

January 30, 2013
Both of my children go to Gillispie, and I can attest that it is a truly vibrant and dynamic place to learn. Our boys are thriving. The teachers are top notch and are willing to go the distance to ensure that each child reaches his/her potential. The head of school is outstanding, and her door is always open. The BEST news regarding The Gillispie School, is that it is expanding its campus! In just a couple of short months, there will be a new grass field for the kids to play on. The major expansion is going to be amazing!

- submitted by a parent

January 10, 2012
My child has been a student at Gillispie for three years. She is reading, writing, singing, dancing, socializing and loving it all - everything that we had hoped for. We love the play based learning - as it has created a fun way to learn new things. The Art is fabulous. Most of all, she is one happy little kid and she loves school. She is currently in Kindergarden, and will likely stay at Gillispie for the first grade as well. The school really is too small, first graders competing for play space with 6th grade kids. Thus, the four Stars. The kids have to play on the walk way - so as a Parent at Pick Up time, you're likely to be tripped or hit with a ball, and the kids don't seem to "care"... and there's really no other place to play. that's my one complaint.

- submitted by a parent

November 08, 2011
The Gillispie School is a welcoming,kind, and gentle school. I have one child that graduated from the 6th grade after attending the school for 10 years, and another child still attending the school. Our Gillispie graduate is currently thriving in middle school, and entered extremely well prepared by her teachers at Gillispie. The school does a wonderful job instlling compassion and understanding of others, and the older kids are great in their interactions with the preschoolers. We love Gillispie.

- submitted by a parent

October 27, 2011
We have been at the school for six years and what is most amazing about the school is the partnership between the parents and the teachers in educating our children. The teachers are never too busy to respond immediately to an e-mail, take a phone call or meet in person. They are dedicated to making our children's educational experience the best it can be while at the same time helping them to grown socially and emotionally and become good citizens and good community members. It is truly the ideal elementary school experience.

- submitted by a parent

September 19, 2011
My daughter has just begun her 10th year at The Gillispie School. She started out a few days a week in the preschool program and is now in 5th grade. She is receiving an excellent, well rounded education. The school offers a top notch technology, art, music and science program. A few years ago the school received an amazing $4.5 million gift to establish The Gillispie Endowment for Excellence in Teaching. This endowment is used to recruit, retain and further educate the teaching staff. The teachers have had the opportunity to attend a variety of top education conferences throughout the world and pass that knowledge onto the students. Thanks to the endowment and strong administrative leadership Gillispie has a excellent, motivated and appreciated teaching staff.

- submitted by a parent

September 17, 2011
This school is really something special. We are now beginning our 6th year at the school, with both my children beginning in the preschool program. The sense of community between teachers, children and parents is truly amazing. The way the older children recognize and greet younger children and help them along the way, instills such a sense of confidence in the child from the beginning of their school years. The academics are impressive, and the specialty teachers and small group work available to the kids provides us with a really unique environment. We love it!

- submitted by a parent

August 01, 2011
Our family felt welcome from the first day we arrived at Gillispie. Within days, it seemed that all the teachers and staff at the school knew their names. This makes the kids feel special and they have thrived as a result of being in such a nuturing environment. Gillispie does a great job of academically challenging the kids, but not in ways that undermines their joy of learning or frustrates them. I'm so glad that we found this school!

- submitted by a parent

July 20, 2011
Our two kids have gone here since preschool, when they were both 2 years old. We are now on our 7th year. It's the perfect education for our kids--bullet proof academics, mixed with PE and other athletic games/challenges, all forms or art (music, traditional drawing/painting, sculpture, theatre), public speaking in class from the time they can talk, technology--there is nothing missing! Each early class has two full time credentialed teachers, and then about 5-6 specialty teachers rotate in each week for hard core science, reading support, PE, art, music, etc...About 7-8 teachers impact our kids each week, and it's not just a "generalist" trying to be master at everything. There is also strong cultural diversity of the kids and families, which we like. The families are friendly and grounded, and there is a true "Gillispie Community" that isn't just some sales job.

- submitted by a parent

June 28, 2011
The Gillisipie School nurtures young people who love learning. The teachers are supportive and kind. They develop academic and citizenship skills. The head of school has an open door policy. And the families are a community. The small class size and excellent teachers enable students to be individuals; and known for who they are as individuals. I am confident each of my three children will grow into the best each can be at this school.

- submitted by a parent

April 05, 2011
Gillispie is a great school for PS - 6th grade! They have an Early Childhood area for kids in PS-PK and an upper campus for the elementary school (K-6). In both, there is a very low student to teacher ratio that allows the teachers to really focus on making learning fun. As a result, the kids are excited to go school and are passionate about learning. Gillispie has a large endowment dedicated to excellence in teaching. This means they have the money to ensure that their teachers are at the top of their game (which, if you know anything about education, the #1 correlation to your kids getting a good education is the effectiveness of their teacher). That said, it's the academic excellence that attracts you, but it's the warm, loving, nuturing community that keeps you there - for students and parents alike. The older kids work with (and look out for) the younger ones doing things like "book buddy" programs. There is a lot of opportunity for parent involvement that creates a very cohesive parent community. There are a lot of good schools in La Jolla, but Gillispie is amazing!

- submitted by a parent

April 05, 2011
Great school! The teachers are great, the class size is small and the kids learn to be true "out of the box" thinkers.

- submitted by a parent

December 11, 2010
As an alumna, I cannot remember too many fond memories that Gillispie fostered. Many of the teachers, while outwardly caring towards parents, were controlling to students, especially in the upper grades. The lack of space only exacerbated the problem, for there were 6th graders competing for space with toddlers. While I attended, Gillispie still hadn't made its transformation into the 'new Gillispie', complete with a mascot and fundraising 24/7. Now, they have asked me for money every year after my graduation, even in 7th grade. I was very disappointed to go to Gillispie; the money was not worth the sub-par education and upbringing I received there. I only was able to excel academically due to attending a Montessori school before, and to get ahead.

- submitted by a community member

August 17, 2010
We absolutely love the the academic environment at Gillispie. The teachers challenge the students to become independent thinkers and truly take the time to get to know each student's strengths and weakness. They strive to teach strong socialization skills in the early preschool years while preparing them for the upper school. There is always two teachers per classroom and they keep class size low. They have a well rounded curriculum which includes science, Art, Music, Sustainability, Technology and Spanish. A graduate of Gillispie is VERY prepared to face the academic challenges in the Top Middle and High Private schools in the County as well as the top Public schools.

- submitted by a parent

March 15, 2010
Gillispie is a loving caring enviornment, I will give it that. Its toddler program is fantastic but that's it. Despite what the website leads you to believe, it is total play based learning. They do not bother to teach the children (pre-K and lower) their lower case letters, how letters sound how to write or higher #'s. And for the amount of money you pay to go here you think your children will be getting a quality education. Instead you end up with tons of quality art and kids that are way behind their peers from others schools. The school also puts a huge emphasis on fundraising and collecting money from parents for all sorts of functions. We get hit up for something every six weeks! If you are looking for a quality education with a Principal that cares more about just the bottom line, this is not the school for

- submitted by a parent

December 03, 2008
Gillispie is a great school, especially for younger children. It does become a bit small by the time your kids are in 3rd grade because there is little outdoor play area and not a lot of variety in the types of children there. That being said, it is a loving, warm and academically strong place to enroll your kids.

- submitted by a parent

March 05, 2008
The school has an exceptional staff full of approachable and dedicated members. The children learn to respect themselves and others, and the positive environment is just wonderful. My children love going to school in the morning and don't want to leave in the afternoon! Although the Kindergarten program is comprehensive, it does not allow kids to progress at their own pace; it's more of a leveling environment. It would be nice if the Spanish curriculum was a little more robust and if the school offered a sports program.

- submitted by a parent

December 06, 2006
The Gillispie School has everything we're looking for in a school-- great teachers, involved parents, nice facilities and smart kids. There's not much we'd change, except maybe a bigger playground. The school teaches kids without pressure, yet they are prepared for the finest middle schools in the area.

- submitted by a parent

November 26, 2006
This is our 3rd year at Gillispie and our children continue to amaze us with what they've learned there. The love going to school each day. The teachers are exceptional and thew administration, especially Dr. Yarbrough, are accessible and caring. The curriculum is challenging, but not stressful for the children. It is a tight-knit community that welcomes members new and old. Our only complaint is a lack of outdoor playspace. The school has a lovely sport court, gym and climber, but could certainly benefit from a playing field, as well. Still, there is no better place to send your children to school in La Jolla and we are grateful to be a part of it,

- submitted by a parent

November 16, 2006
The Gillispie School is a gem in the heart of La Jolla. The teachers are outstanding, and owing to the school's small size, know all the children who attend. The academics are well-rounded and quite thorough. A lot is expected of the children, but in a way that is appropriate and inspiring. I have two elementary-aged sons who attend Gillispie and they couldn't be happier or more motivated. The school also makes a terrific effort to provide parents with educational opportunities and chances to hear renowned speakers throughout the year. If you are looking for a balance of traditional and innovative educational curriculum, Gillispie is the place to be.

- submitted by a parent

October 25, 2005
My son just started pre-school at Gillispie and I could not be happier. The teachers provide a nurturing, loving environment. The quality of the academic programs is exceptional. Dr. Yarbrough, the head of school, is perfection!

- submitted by a parent

September 07, 2005
Great preschool! My daughter is in her third year (pre-kindergarten, started at 20 months in toddler class). Caring nuturing play based teaching. We are thrilled to be part of school.

- submitted by a parent

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About this school

The school offers an intimate environment where the quality of instruction and the interaction between students and teachers are of primary importance. The teachers encourage students to excel academically,creatively, physically,and socially. The school provides the effective leadership of its administrators and the devoted teaching and guidance of its faculty and staff.

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Last modified: June 28, 2015

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Gillispie School, The
7380 Girard Avenue, San Diego, CA  92037
(858) 459-3773
Last modified Gillispie School, The is a Private school that serves grades K-6
Gillispie School, The Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 40 reviews. Top