Our family has had a wonderful experience at The Gillispie School and we feel so grateful to have been part of this community. Our children have been in the early childhood program and in the elementary school for the past three years and have thrived. Educators and administrators are caring, responsive and bring out the best in their students. It is a unique independent preschool and elementary environment that doesn't exist anywhere else in the area and enables kids to be kids in a tremendously enriched and safe campus which features dedicated science, art and music areas as well as a beautiful new sports field. Academics are excellent, and their focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) encourages curiosity, creativity and critical skills for the future. My children love going to school at Gillispie and feel confident and happy there each day, as a parent I couldn't ask for anything more!
My child is getting a top-notch education at Gillispie, made all the more special by the creative, warm and welcoming environment of the school. In looking at other area schools, private and public, we felt that the environment is what pushes Gillispie to the top. My husband and I have easily been able to meet and get to know all the people who work at the school - everyone, from teachers to administrators, is involved in creating the unique Gillispie atmosphere. Another huge bonus for us was being able to get to know the other parents at the school through a number of events they hold throughout the year. We are new to town and this enabled us to get quickly acclimated, which helped our child settle in as well. If you are looking for a truly special place where your whole family will be welcomed, where your child will get individualized attention from top-notch teachers, look no further than Gillispie. We are just delighted! The only thing I would push for the school is to work on being a bit more high-tech in its integration with the parents - it would be nice to do more things online (see grades, signing up for enrichments, etc). Overall, we are over the moon to be in the Gillispie family!
The school is a haven for those who feel supeior to others in our society. The real problem does not lie with the teachers...it lies with he people who run the school and feel they are supeior to anyone and everyone. We would hope that parents would be mindful of their opinions in front of their children when it regards others social stature or means. This not considered with a select few in this school. It is one thing to raise funds for the goodness of helping teachers and kids but to use it as a way to harass the parents and make people feel shameful because maybe they cannot give a certain amount expected is unclassy and undignified. The community of La Jolla has many wonderful people and families...it only takes a few to ruin that repuation.
Gillispie allows kids to be themselves. The safety of the environment allows kids to try things and take risks. If children aren't afraid of failing, they will stick with things longer and work through any challenges. I have seen this in my own child and feel like the school is very supportive in all that the children undertake.
All kids struggle with this issue and are going to make mistakes and bad choices sometimes. Gillispie recognizes this and tries to turn those instances into learning opportunities. I appreciate that about this school because the expectations are high, but realistic. They have conversations with the kids about how to make good decisions and how to build community through shared values.
My child entered this school last year as a new student. Within days, he was comfortable and happy in his new school. The teachers, administrators, and other children were so welcoming and warm to him that it took him no time at all to feel right at home. He loves going to school every day and has had tons of opportunities in and out of classrooms in a wide range of activities. Gillispie strikes the right balance between challenging academics and a nurturing environment for an elementary school. Very glad we made this choice.
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.