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Welcoming Prospective Students and Parents
Rachelle Garbarine

 

Prospective students at a GPS session in January,

It is fun, exciting, and engaging.
It is a preview of the Gibbons experience for prospective students and their parents.
It is the Gibbons Positioning System (GPS) program.

The program, which has evolved over the last few years, matches how we welcome visitors with our energetic and creative school community. Gibbons sophomores host our student visitors by accompanying them to classes and providing them with a peek of a day at Gibbons. The program also offers visiting students an opportunity to engage in the spirit of our school and to connect with Gibbons educators.

For Gibbons students, the program is a learning experience. Director of Student Engagement Tonya Holmes explained that changes made this year to the program, for instance, enabled sophomores to develop their leadership and organizational skills. “They also have learned how to become gracious hosts, improve time management skills and how to handle new responsibilities,” she noted.

“…Our prospective students feel genuinely welcomed into their future life at Gibbons,” Holmes added. “They make connections, meet educators and witness their teaching styles, experience joy and insight on possibilities of what being a part of the Gibbons community means,” said Director of Student Engagement Tonya Holmes.

Tonya Holmes with student at GPS session.

Describing what takes place for prospective students during a typical GPS session Holmes said: Gibbons sophomore hosts and parents await our visitors in the Main Lobby at 7:30 a.m. What follows is an introduction to the day that includes our lead educators and senior leaders informing participants about the mission of the school through an activity or project around campus. Visiting students then accompany sophomore hosts to their second through seventh period classes. Lunch is held in the auxiliary gym with music, food, games, and engagement.The session ends with educators and senior leaders orchestrating another activity that informs participants about the Gibbons Mission.

Meanwhile, Gibbons parents greet visiting parents and spend time with them, providing parents with their own Gibbons experience. In that time, Gibbons parents share their stories and passions about the school, answer questions, offer insights, and give visiting parents a school tour, said Gibbons parent Lauri Andrews, who helped set up the parent component of the GPS program.

Gibbons hosts 15 GPS sessions per school year with 25 prospective students each visit.  Response to the program has been tremendous. Parents and students alike say they feel comfortable and relaxed from the minute they arrive; and informed and enlightened about our mission by the time they leave.

“…Our prospective students feel genuinely welcomed into their future life at Gibbons,” Holmes added. “They make connections, meet educators and witness their teaching styles, experience joy and insight on possibilities of what being a part of the Gibbons community means.”

As for parents, Andrews said the program enables them, “to see the school, personally connect with Gibbons and fellow parents, ask questions they may not otherwise ask, and gain a sense of what their student was experiencing from a parent perspective.

“Love it,” is how visiting parent Dan Henke described GPS. He, his wife, and children, participated in a recent GPS session. The family will be relocating to the area from Cincinnati Ohio.

“The program,” he said, “is providing us with a connection to the Gibbons experience, which in turn, will enable us to guide our children through the decision-making process.”

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