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Barracuda Bulletin: Week of September 8


Welcome Back!


Dear Gifft Hill Families and Friends,

Over the past 45 years, our school has grown from a preschool class made up of a handful of students, to a thriving institution providing toddlers through twelfth graders with a rigorous, experiential education. This achievement was possible thanks to the talent of dedicated educators, the energy of enthusiastic students, and the heart of engaged parents. As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Gifft Hill School, I feel proud of how far we have come while staying true to our roots as a community school. Together, we have built a nurturing and inclusive environment where each student is encouraged to explore their potential, embrace new challenges, and become compassionate, global citizens.

As we embark on this new chapter together, let us continue to cherish the values that have shaped our school's legacy: a commitment to academic rigor, a dedication to fostering creativity and critical thinking, and a passion for creating a community that upholds kindness, respect, and empathy. Let us make this 45th year a testament to the strength of our school spirit and the enduring values that have carried us through nearly five decades of education.

I have no doubt that this school year will be filled with exciting opportunities, transformative learning experiences, and memorable moments. Together, we will continue to write the story of our school's success, and I am thrilled to be part of this journey with each and every one of you.


Ms. Liz


Upcoming Events



At the Lower Campus, after-school clubs will be offered to students in preschool through fifth grade every day but Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. After care will be available until 5 p.m. Classes are $15 each. Students should return their club sign-up form ASAP to secure their spot. The Lower Campus after-school schedule is as follows:


Preschool/pre-K: music and movement with Ms. Sammy

Kindergarten through second grade: math games and puzzles with Ms. Melisa

Third through fifth grade: academic support and brain games with Ms. Christina


Preschool/pre-K: Stories and plays with Ms. Lenny

Kindergarten through second grade: mixed sports with Ms. Kissa

Third through fifth grade: academic support and brain games with Ms. Laura

Thursday: Preschool through kindergarten: yoga and movement with Ms. G. First through fifth grade: diamond painting with Ms. Jessica Third through fifth grade: baking with Ms. Robin Fridays will be afterschool care for preschool through fifth grade students with Ms. Kelley. Students will play, get read to, and have some art activities.

At the Upper Campus, after-school clubs will be offered to students in all grades on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Clubs will end at 4:25 p.m. for a 4:30 parent pickup. Classes are free and are offered on a drop-in basis with no sign-up required. The Upper Campus after-school schedule is as follows:


Academic support with Ms. Liz H. or Mr. Bill

Art with Ms. Grafton

Junior CEO with Chef La'Shanda


Academic support with Ms. Mikayla or Ms. Emma

EARTH harvest with Mr. D.

Theater with Ms. Liz H.


Academic support with Ms. V. or Dr. Brittany

Woodworking with Ms. Amelie

Environmental health with Mr. Bill

Homeschool students are also invited to join our after-school clubs for a fee of $20 per class, so please spread the word to your homeschooling friends!



School picture day will take place on Thursday, September 21 for Lower Campus students and on Friday, September 22 for Upper Campus students. Some photo order forms went home this week and the remainder will be sent home next week. Please note:

- Students may wear a school-appropriate outfit of their choosing for their individual photo. They must wear the GHS uniform for their class photo and for the remainder of the school day.

- Students who choose a background for their individual photo should not wear blue or green and should ensure their hairstyle is smooth. Blue or green clothing interferes with the photographer's editing process when adding a background, and hair that is not combed or smooth makes the editing process more time-consuming. These criteria only apply to students who do not choose the default background.

School picture order forms must be returned before your child's picture day. A makeup day will be announced at a later date for those who are absent on school picture day.



Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will be happy to know that air conditioners have arrived and installation in classrooms will begin today.


GHS Highlights



Parents and guardians, we need your help to keep traffic from building up during drop off and pickup, particularly at the Lower Campus! Please carefully review and follow these procedures:

Lower Campus drop off is from 8 to 8:15 a.m. Please pull into the car line and do not allow your child to exit the vehicle until a staff member comes to help your child out of the car. Please do not get out of your car, as this slows down the process and causes traffic to back up.

Lower Campus pickup starts at 3:05 p.m. with students in kindergarten through fifth grade being dismissed first. Students in the toddler program, preschool, and pre-K should be picked up starting at 3:15 p.m. and older siblings may be picked up at the same time. GHS staff members will help buckle in younger children and again, we ask you to stay in the car during this process. Anyone who needs to turn around after pickup should please do so at the Upper Campus as a safety precaution and to keep traffic from backing up.

Thank you for your cooperation!



Physical forms and immunization record or certified exemption letter are past due! If you have not submitted these documents for your child, please do so as soon as possible. Students who do not have physicals after September 29 will not be able to attend class.



Transportation changes for Lower Campus students must be communicated to Bianca at the LC office by calling 340-776-6595 before 2:30 p.m. If there is an emergency-related change, please text Ms. Rachael at 352-223-6412. Please do not notify your child's teacher, as they only use their phones for emergencies in support of our new cell phone-free policy. Thank you for your cooperation!



What a joy it's been to see students engaging and interacting with one another and with our faculty and staff during their down times! As a reminder, here is our policy and how the Yondr pouches are used:

Upon arrival, students power their phone off, place it inside their pouch and secure it in front of school staff. The pouch is stored in each students' backpack, locker, or other safe place for the duration of the school day.

At dismissal, students tap their pouch on one of the Yondr bases to unlock it, remove their phone from the pouch, and put the pouch in their backpack.

Students must bring their pouch to school with them each day.

All students will un-pouch their phone/device at the end of the day so students can communicate to parents any changes in their after-school plans.



Show off your Barracuda pride with our new rash guards, moisture-wicking sport shirts, and ball caps! We have children's and adult sizes in a variety of colors. We also have car magnets, stickers, large and small water bottles, insulated tumblers, hoodies, and canvas totes. Stop by the Upper Campus to check out our selection and purchase your GHS-branded items today!


Sports Central



Students who would like to play fall sports should have turned their registration form in to Athletic Director Ms. Francis today. Fall sports dues of $100 are due October 15 and can be paid at the business office. Homeschool students are also invited to join our sports teams for a $200 fee, so please spread the word to your homeschooling friends!

The fall sports season will run from September through November and athletes should meet for practice on Trayser Field. Here are details on practice days and times for each fall sport.

Volleyball (boys and girls): Sixth through 12th graders are welcome. Practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The first practice was Tuesday, September 5. Sign-up deadline is September 13.

Flag football (boys and girls): Sixth through 12th graders are welcome. Practices are Mondays and Fridays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m. The first practice was Wednesday, September 6. Sign-up deadline is September 13.

Running club (boys and girls): Third through 12th graders are welcome. Practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. The first practice was Thursday, September 7. Lower Campus students will be transported to the Upper Campus for running practice. No dues are needed for students who want to join running club; however, those who would like to compete in cross country must pay the $100 fee. Running club is open year-round.



See below for important dates to remember over the next two months. View the full school year calendar by clicking here.


Community Corner: News You Can Use



The Castaways Soccer Club's St. John coed team training begins Saturday. While registration ended Monday, there are still spots available for the U5, U12, U14, and U16 teams. Click here to sign up.



DPNR announced this week that the Sprauve Library will open on Wednesday.

The opening hours will be Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library will be closed on Mondays. A weekly storytime program for children will be held Saturdays at 11 a.m. All children must be accompanied by an adult, older sibling, or family member at least 16 years of age.

All persons with active library cards may use the services. Applications for library cards will be available at the front desk and all patrons are encouraged to apply for a card.

The public is advised that parking in the area is limited due to ongoing construction. For more information, contact Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums Territorial Director Amy Parker De Sorbo at, or Library Associate Pam Richards at


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