Meet Our General School Assistants

General School Assistants (GSAs) - The Heart and Soul of Cherry Crest

DID YOU KNOW…?

Every year, in addition to the teachers, administrative staff, and specialists that support our students, Cherry Crest employs General School Assistants (GSAs) that fill a wide variety of roles throughout the day and across the campus. Not only are our crossing guards, recess facilitators, and lunchroom supervisors GSAs, but GSAs put hours in the classroom at every grade level to support teachers, provide one-on-one instruction opportunities and lower teacher-to-student ratios to offer our students the most effective and impactful learning environments.

BUT WHAT ABOUT 2020?

You may be surprised to learn that this year is no different! Since September, GSAs have been joining in on Teams lessons, running many of the small-group learning sessions, and helping our teachers with a variety of classroom content management, grading and other administrative tasks to help our online classes run smoothly. 

GSAs are a crucial element in making Cherry Crest not only an exceptional learning environment, but an exceptional community as well. And guess what?!? GSAs are possible only through the generosity of the PTSA, which funds a substantial portion of the annual GSA budget. Funding GSAs is the number one use of PTSA donations – our commitment to directly enhance our students’ safety and learning at Cherry Crest.

BUT DONT TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT!

We want to share with you stories from our classrooms and our GSAs themselves to get the word out about how important these staff members are to our school and community!

GSA Spotlight: Kelley

“Hi Kelley,I am SO thankful you made the Unit 4 math test A into a Forms! I normally use ThinkCentral, but now ThinkCentral is blocked from Adobe and kids can’t use it without Adobe running it. I panicked since I didn’t have another option, but was relieved to find the Forms as a plan B, so thank you! I will plan on having my students use the Forms for all future tests given that Adobe doesn’t work.”

Kristin Morel

GSA Spotlight: Mrs. Durga

Each week we highlight feedback from our teachers and families about the support they receive from our General School Assistants (GSAs). This week, 3rd grade teacher Ms. Therriault tells us about the impact Mrs. Durga has had in her classroom:

Mrs. Durga is amazing! She has been a wonderful help to me and my students. Currently she is monitoring my afternoon class on Monday to support students, the chat, and attendance. On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons she meets with one of my small groups while I meet with the other group. She conducts lesson connected practice or games that I have designed to give students supported practice time. Finally, on Fridays, she runs recess groups for students to have a non-academic opportunity to connect with each other. I cannot say enough about how much Mrs. Durga helps me and the students. Thank you to PTSA for helping to fund all of our GSA support.

Ms. Therriault, Grade 3 Teacher

GSA Spotlight: Mr. Joe

Mr. Joe has been meeting with my daughter every day to support her in reading fluency. She looks forward to their meetings. It has been very successful.

Sheli Hadari, 2nd Grade Parent

Did you know that our biggest investment as a PTSA is funding more General School Assistants to help our teachers and students? Funding comes from parents and community members, through direct donations, corporate matching, and opportunities like Amazon Smile and “Give with Bing”. Read more about GSAs on the PTSA website!

GSA Spotlight: Social-Emotional Needs

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Our GSAs are essential in helping our students with their social-emotional needs. They help new students become familiar with our school community and help them make new friends by providing much needed small group virtual recesses.

Ms. June Lee, 3rd Grade​

Meet GSA Ms.Gayle

“Ms.Gayle knows American Sign Language and has a background in dance and theater. This week, she electrified the assembly by sharing a chant about identity that students in multiple grade (and now the whole school knows) learned to celebrate their work around personal identity. She also partnered with our Multilingual Learners facilitator to learn the chant as it supported classroom learning”.

Ms. Stevens

Meet GSA Ms. Kelly

Ms. Kelley is a GSA who spends a portion of her week in Ms. Maya Stevens’ 4th Grade classroom. Read what Ms. Sevens has to say about Ms. Kelly:

Ms. Kelley has a computer science background and as such consistently helps students and teachers troubleshoot with tech. As an example, she will make small groups or individual calls to students to work through technical hiccups or persistent barriers. She is consistently calling a group of students and has formed a tech team of sorts (students who learned a tech tip and now share that tip with others!) that shares the knowledge and increases out shared capacity on Teams. Yay for Ms.Kelley.

Ms. Maya Stevens