Parent Information + FAQs
Welcome to GUS!
Calling in About an Absent Child
Please call the school receptionist at 978-927-1064 before 8:30 a.m. if your child will not be in school due to illness or another reason. The receptionist will inform the nurse and your child’s teachers. Teachers also appreciate an email.
School Cancellations and Notifications
If school is closed due to inclement weather or for any other reason, or if there is an urgent message from GUS, parents will receive notification via an automated phone call. Notifications will also be posted on the gus.org home page, social media and Boston news closure sites.
Parent Portal (FAM + SFO)
FAM is the online database that contains contact information for GUS families. During the summer, new families receive an email with a login and password to access FAM and School Forms Online (SFO) via gus.org. Parents are asked to use FAM and SFO to complete required information and forms for school. Families can access and update their information at any time throughout the year at the Parents page on gus.org.
All School Calendar
To access the All School Calendar, which includes athletic events, field trips, vacation dates, and more, select Calendar on the home page or under Quick Links after logging in at the Parents page. From gus.org, parents can also access the grade specific event calendars and get homework assignments and supplemental resources for grades five through eight.
The GUS Bulletin is our weekly newsletter, emailed to the GUS community every Friday at noon. It includes announcements, a calendar for the upcoming week, and links to articles on our website about school life here at GUS. We try to keep it interesting, concise, and interactive.
DROP OFF, PICK UP, EXTENDED CARE
When does the school day begin?
All students should be in their classrooms, prepared to begin their day at 8:15 AM.
Where do I drop off my child?
Lower school: Join the line of cars using the Hart Street entrance. Staff members will open your right side door, greet your child, and assist your child in exiting with his or her belongings. If you would like to go into school, please park in the back lot in front of Braemar, or along the right side of the driveway in front of the bus sign. Please do not park in the visitor parking spaces or along the woods; these spots are reserved for faculty. The GUS school bus drops children in the front lot at the head of the circle. DO NOT PASS THE BUS while it is unloading. Also, please do not cross between cars or allow your child to cross between cars.
Upper school: Join the line of cars entering the back parking lot. Staff members will welcome your child into the upper school building. The line begins at the double doors. Cars proceed left toward Braemar and exit out the back driveway. To respect our neighbors driving to and from the North Shore Nursery School, please drive slowly and come to a complete stop before turning left out of our parking lot.
Can I drop my child off early?
Yes. Children can attend before care (for a fee) with Mr. Emerson in the gym any time after 7:30 AM and before 8:00 AM.
What time does school end?
School ends for Kindergarten through 5th grade at 3:00 PM and for 6th through 8th graders at 4:00 PM, Monday through Thursday, and at 3:00 PM on Friday, unless otherwise noted on the school calendar (gus.org).
Where do I pick up my child?
Lower school: Join the line of cars using the Hart Street entrance. Pull up to the “Dismissal line begins here” sign or directly behind the car in front of you. Do not leave spaces between cars. Children exit school with their teachers and wait with their classmates to be ushered into cars by teachers. Children are not allowed to walk to a car alone. Move your car forward slowly or exit the line once your child is safely buckled in. If you want to go into school, park only in the back parking lot. Please do not park in visitor parking spaces to pick your child up. Also, please do not cross between cars or allow your child to cross between cars.
Upper school: Join the line of cars entering the back parking lot. Teachers dismiss children to their cars on the sidewalk in front of the upper school.
Can my child stay for after care?
Yes. Glen Urquhart offers an after care program five days a week, from 3:00 PM until 5:30 PM. To sign up for after care, fill out the extended care program enrollment form or contact the director of after care.
After school enrichment programs: Each semester GUS offers after school programs, “GUS+,” for different age groups. These may include LEGO robotics, sewing, chess, fencing, art workshops, and SSAT prep classes. Watch for emails and forms with course descriptions and instructions for signing up. Contact the director of after care for more information.
Upper school classes have an A week and B week. Assemblies are scheduled on Wednesdays or Fridays and can be either an upper school or lower school assembly, a combined assembly, or an activity organized for partners.
Lower school operates on a regular Monday through Friday schedule.
Students may bring a packed lunch from home or choose from the following options below.
Nut Free Policy
Peanut butter, nuts, or other foods containing obvious nut products are not allowed in School. Examples of foods with obvious nut products, in addition to nuts themselves, include granola bars, trail mix, peanut butter crackers, peanut butter cups, muffins containing nuts, and any other candy or baked goods with nuts.
Wednesday is Pizza Day
Children who want to order pizza from Harry’s Pizza of Beverly Farms can bring in $1.50 per slice. Classroom teachers collect the money. The pizza arrives at noon.
GUS offers an optional daily lunch program through Red Apple Lunch, a healthy school meal program whose mission is to lead the healthy food movement for all ages by making fresh, nutritious, and exciting foods available in the places we live and learn. Parents can learn more about ordering lunch for their children at www.redapplelunch.com.
Upper school students participate in sports at different times. The 6th grade sports period is from 1:40–2:40 PM. The 7th and 8th grade sports period is from 3:00–4:00 PM (except Fridays). In fall, 6th graders play soccer and 7th and 8th graders choose between soccer and cross-country. In winter, 6th graders play basketball and 7th and 8th graders choose between basketball and personal fitness. In spring, 6th graders play lacrosse and 7th and 8th graders choose between lacrosse, track and field, and intramurals. Upper school students can choose from a multitude of clubs, both academic and social, during a club period each week.
All children need to keep a pair of sneakers at school for gym class. They do not have to be new sneakers, but they do need a clean tread. This allows us to preserve the gym floor and maintain a welcome surface for morning meetings and sports competitions.
EBSCO RESEARCH DATABASES
You can access extensive research databases online through EBSCO. Click on the Parents page at gus.org, log in, and in the left sidebar under Quick Links, you will see a link to the EBSCO database.
GUS SCHOOL STORE
The GUS school store has an inventory of school logo items, such as shirts, sweatshirts, and hats. Items are sold at select school events and at monthly Parents’ Association (PA) meetings.
SPECIAL EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS
Parents' Association Events for Students and Families
A few times a year, the Parents' Association (PA) hosts a family event for GUS students and families. These events are a great way to get to know other members of the GUS community and are fun for all!
In the fall, class parents organize potluck dinners, hosted by GUS families. These events offer a nice opportunity for returning parents, new parents, classroom teachers, and the head of school to meet and celebrate the start of the school year.
Twice a year, on the half-days of the lower school parent/teacher conferences, the PA hosts a party at the Beverly Roller Palace, or a local ice rink. The PA hosts other informational and fundraising events throughout the year such as family Bingo Night and monthly PA meetings with guest faculty and outside speakers. All parent are welcome and encouraged to attend the PA meetings each month as they are one of the best ways to learn more about what is happening at GUS.
New Parent Dinner
On an evening in the early fall, new parents come together to learn more about GUS and meet other parents and faculty.
Lower School and Upper School Back to School Nights
These evenings are scheduled in the early fall for parents to explore their child’s classroom, meet specialist teachers, and hear from classroom teachers about plans for the academic year.
Holiday and Spring Book Fairs
The library hosts fundraisers in the Nance Assembly Room twice a year, which are open to the GUS community. Permission slips are sent home for parents to indicate either a dollar amount or the number of books a child can purchase.
Each spring, the head of school and the board of trustees invite all parents to attend a “state of the school” dinner.
Once a year lower school children have the opportunity to perform at an after-school sharing event. Families are welcome to attend.
Annual Spring Fundraiser
Each year, the PA and the advancement office plan an event for adults, including dinner, dancing, and usually an auction to benefit teacher-directed projects and financial aid.
Speaker and Screening Series
During the year, GUS hosts well-known speakers, such as sports figures, experts in education, authors, alumni, or leaders in various industries, to speak with our community. From time to time special screenings of documentary films, with topics relevant to the GUS mission, are shown. These events are open to the entire GUS community as well as the public.
Open Mic Night
The 8th grade raises money for their service week by hosting an open mic event, open to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade performers. This is a memorable night of poetry, piano and guitar playing, dancing, and singing.
Wild Boar Classic Golf Tournament
In the fall, the PA hosts a golf tournament at a local country club. Funds raised support teacher-directed projects and financial aid.
GUS TRADITIONS / EVENTS
On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the GUS community comes together to celebrate bread as a symbol of world unity and ethnic diversity. Families in odd-numbered grades (1, 3, 5, and 7) are asked to bake nut-free breads from their heritage or family tradition to share.
Winter Solstice Assembly
On the last day of school before winter break, the children perform songs and dances and play music from different regions in celebration of winter and the significance of light in all cultures. Friends and family are encouraged to attend.
Grand Friends’ Day
On this half-day in the fall, grandparents and special friends are invited to visit their child host’s classroom, meet faculty and friends, learn about what goes on in school, and enjoy an assembly of music and songs performed by the students.
On May 1st or as close to that date as the school calendar allows, students, faculty, and staff come together to celebrate spring, beginning with a breakfast of strawberries and baked goods. Student partners write poems together, decorate May flower baskets, and deliver the poems and baskets to doorsteps in the surrounding neighborhood. Families in even-numbered grades (K, 2, 4, 6, and 8) are asked to bake nut-free tea breads, muffins, and favorite breakfast goodies. The celebration culminates in the 8th grade’s performance of the Maypole Dance. Families are encouraged to attend both the procession and Maypole Dance.
Conceived of and organized by Bruce Emerson, the Boar Cup is a series of competitions between the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades held on the Monday through Thursday before spring break. Activities include sports competitions, a teacher look-alike contest, lip sync performances, a mural contest, and an academic trivia game show. Families are welcome to attend.
Evening with the Graduates
Evening with the Graduates occurs the night before graduation. Each eighth grader delivers an original speech about something they have come to believe in deeply. At the end of the evening, the Urquhart tartan and the leadership it symbolizes are passed from the outgoing graduates to the incoming eighth grade in a traditional candlelit ceremony.
All School Meeting
Every Friday morning at 8:15 AM students, teachers, staff, and the head of school gather in Braemar to review the week’s happenings, look forward to coming events, and celebrate birthdays. Parents are always welcome.
Beginning in fourth grade, each class has at least one extended field trip that involves being away from School (and home) for one to three nights. These overnight trips are described in more detail below.
Fourth Grade Trip to Mystic Seaport
Fourth graders participate in a three-day, two-night, hands-on experience at Mystic Seaport. Students investigate and try to resolve issues that might have challenged early sailors and seashore communities. In addition, they climb the rigging, row small boats, and sleep on a square-rigger. The past is brought to life as students create their own scrimshaw and sing sea chanteys.
Fifth Grade Trip to Chewonki
In conjunction with their theme “The Land,” fifth graders spend four days and three nights at Camp Chewonki in Maine. Working in teams, they are encouraged to learn camping skills, develop respect for the environment, solve group challenges, and explore various ecological topics.
Upper School Retreat
On the Thursday and Friday of the second week of school, the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, along with their teachers, spend two days together at Camp Winaukee in New Hampshire, working on individual and upper school goals. The object of this trip is to build a community within the whole upper school and set goals for the year.
Sixth Grade Nature Study Trip
In the spring, the sixth graders go to the Heifer International Global Village in Rutland, MA, and are immersed in the study of cultures around the world.
Seventh Grade Wilderness Trip
In the spring, the seventh graders, along with some of their teachers, spend a few days hiking together in the White Mountains of New Hampshire on a trip led by staff members of the Appalachian Mountain Club. This trip proves to be an effective way to strengthen class bonds, foster interdependence among students and faculty, and nurture respect for individual differences.
Eighth Grade Trip to New York City
In September the eighth graders go on a three-day trip to New York City. The focus of the trip is immigration and is a natural extension of their eighth grade study of United States history. Students look at immigration from a variety of viewpoints, informed by tours of the United Nations and Ellis Island. In addition, students attend a Broadway play and visit one or two museums. The cost for this trip is not included in tuition.
Eighth Grade Work Week
As the culmination of our community service program, our eighth graders participate in an extended community service activity either internationally, nationally, or locally. Eighth grade students participate in a week long, service-oriented trip, usually in early April. In the past, a portion of the class has traveled to the Dominican Republic, where they work at an orphanage; other students have traveled to Navajo Nation, where they worked on community projects on the reservation. A local option is also available for students who are unable or unwilling to travel.
STUDENT ART EXHIBITIONS
K–8 student art is displayed throughout the lower school hallways all year round. Every other year, we host the Glen UrquhART Show, celebrating a year’s worth of K–7th grade art. Every January, the 8th grade has an evening of artwork and dance performances, featuring their White Shirt Projects.
Younger and older students are paired—for example, 4th graders pair with 7th graders—and throughout the year they come together to do simple activities, such as on May Day. These partnerships enhance our community, letting the younger students feel part of the older students’ lives and giving the older students opportunities to nurture and mentor.
QUICK FACTS: Grade by Grade
- Theme: The World Around Us
- Community service: Teddy Bear Day (Nevis School)
- Field trips: Post office, apple orchard, Peabody Essex Museum
- Projects and performances: Animal research, sewing, weaving, house construction
- Theme: Who Am I?
- Community service: Book drive for Lynn Bootstraps literacy program
- Field trips: Museum of Science, duck tour of Boston, The Butterfly Place, Audubon Center
- Projects and performances: Life cycle of the meal worm, the monarch butterfly, hatching chicks, life-size body and systems modeling
- Theme: Where do I live?
- Community service: Monthly food collection for Beverly Bootstraps
- Field trips: Harvard Museum, Wenham Museum, Pioneer Village or Plimouth Plantation
- Projects and performances: Poetry tea, family heritage presentation
- Theme: Where am I going?
- Community service: Pen pal partnership with ESL students
- Field trips: Smolak Farm, North End, State House, Hammond Castle
- Projects and performances: Adobe houses, medieval morning, skyscrapers
- Theme: The Sea
- Community service: Beach clean up
- Field trips: Seacost Center, beaches and salt marshes in the area, Mystic Seaport, CT (3 days)
- Projects and performances: Wax museum, songs of the sea, lighthouse project
- Theme: The Land
- Community service: Nature trail maintenance
- Field trips: Harvard Museum, Museum of Science, hiking, Camp Chewonki (4 days), geology trips around the North Shore, partnerships with local CSA farms
- Projects and performances: Research paper, songs of the world, earthquake project
- Theme: The People
- Community service: The Food Project
- Field trips: Overnight community-building trip (2 days), Heifer International Global Village (3 days)
- Projects and performances: Musical performance in spring
- Theme: Who Am I?
- Community service: GUS greenhouse and Long Hill Farm in Beverly with The Food Project
- Field trips: Overnight community-building trip (2 days), Mt. Washington trip (3 days)
- Projects and performances: Broadway one-acts, children’s theater
- Theme: Society: Where Do I Live? and The Individual in Society: Where Am I Going?
- Community service: Local, national, international service week in places such as the Dominican Republic, Navajo Nation in Arizona, and Boston
- Field trips: Overnight community-building trip (2 days), NY City trip (4 days)
- Projects and performances: 8th grade musical, white shirt project, dance performance and art show