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!

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

All in a day’s work for GSA Sarah L.!

Each week we highlight one of the General School Assistants (GSAs) who have been working hard both in front of cameras and behind the scenes to support our teachers and students during distance learning. Here are some words from GSA Sarah L. on how she connects with the kids: 

“Hi, I am Sarah L. a GSA at Cherry Crest. Popping into the class meeting a few minutes prior to the official start time gives me time to connect with students the same way I would connect with them as we would be lining up outside before the 8:00 bell if we were at school.  We talk about what we had (or are having!) for breakfast, we say good morning in our home language, we share morning stories such as, “I didn’t sleep well last night because I was worried about something……..”  During these few minutes I can set a positive tone for the day and make some nice personal connections before the structured learning time begins! The other morning we all laughed together when they shared something that was hilarious over the weekend. I am building community every day! Sarah L.”

Meet GSA Ms.Johnson

“Ms. Johnson provides invaluable support to our class. During our whole group instruction, she often helps students catch up after having a technology issue. She provides individual students the help they need, while allowing the class keep our pace. She helps me monitor student engagement and understanding during the meeting; and several times she’s had to rescue me when I’ve been kicked off calls. In the afternoons, she meets with students for extra practice and support with our assignments. I don’t know what I would do without her!”

Mrs.Wells

GSA Testimonial

This week we hear from 3rd Grade teacher Ms. Therriault about the value of GSAs in her classroom this year:

On Wednesdays especially, our GSA is able to meet with students individually in order to finish up assignments, help with technology issues, and give general support. This week, she even scribed for a student on a Nearpod assignment that was mal-functioning for the student, leaving her completely stressed out and discouraged. Having the GSA spend time with her 1:1 was invaluable for this student’s self-confidence!

Ms. Therriault

Meet GSA Mr.T

Mr.T is one of Cherry Crest’s GSAs and provides daily classroom support. He is known to make all the students feel involved and connected in the classrooms, especially now when everything’s virtual.

This is what one of the parents has to say about him:

“Mr. T has been a lovely friend to our family. He always made our son and his friends feel a part of the school as new kindergarteners last year, and this year during group recess time by setting up a live MS Teams interactive drawing times including creating a super-cool race-car and space fight comic strip with Colias!”

Sandra Durst