Let the Fun and Learning Begin!

Winterim 2020 is officially underway.
This weekend’s unexpected snowfall created the perfect segue from our typical school week to Winterim 2020. At the start of the second semester of school, we designate a week for our students to step outside the classroom and explore cultures and communities different than ours. From visiting a working alpaca farm and riding horses on a ranch to learning more about the Civil Rights Movement, our girls will fill their week with hands-on experiences that are sure to inspire them.

Some of our Upper School students got a jump-start to their Winterim and arrived at destinations far and wide a few days ago. Accompanied by teachers, coaches, and adult chaperones, our girls get to discover new passions, learn a new skill, explore faraway places, or hone an existing talent. And as they make lifelong memories—and become a better hiker, artist, conservationist, friend, and traveler—we can’t help but wonder if what they learn from their experiences might spark a field of study or future career.

Middle School students spend the week by grades to further their studies in various subjects and grow even closer as a class. See below for details and be sure to follow our social media accounts for daily updates on Winterim adventures as we share lots of photos as we receive them. 


SIXTH-GRADERS experience an in-town adventure to engage their heart, body, and mind with our local community and strengthen the bonds of sisterhood with your classmates! Their experiences will expand upon their sixth-grade lessons this year and lay the groundwork for spring studies, with a focus on building empathy and learning from the lived experiences of others both in our local community and around the world. 

They will explore tessellations and tiles with geometric shapes while learning how both connect to their studies in math and Global Cultures and travel to a local pottery place to make their own tile tessellations using a common geometric pattern to tie them together. Later they will gather as a class to hone the balance and coordination skills they have been practicing in SHAPE while bowling and playing laser tag with our classmates. To deepen our school’s existing partnership with local service groups, the girls will serve at the YMCA Food and Fun Program, The Chambliss Center, and the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. Then they will view the film Ruby Bridges and follow up with individual writing and small-group reflections. This film will build upon the discussions of race and segregation that began in English during their reading of the novel Crossing Jordan

Mid-week they will spend a day at Rising Fawn Gardens, taking care of their bodies and minds and rejuvenating their spirits in the yoga studio. While at the farm, they will take a guided hike exploring the farm’s flora and fauna and begin their new Life Science unit by learning more about the local environment. 

Finally, they will venture to the UTC Aquatic Center to practice swimming skills and participate in some competitive aquatic activities and visit the Creative Discovery Museum and its new exhibit, Kenya’s Kids. While at the museum, they will work with the artist in residence on cultural expression and use the concepts of windows and mirrors to compare the similarities and differences between their lives and those of children in the East African country of Kenya. These experiences will lay the groundwork for the girls’ continued discussions of global cultures and will be reflected in our visible thinking practices and activities this spring.

SEVENTH-GRADERS will explore a fantastic city full of music, history, culture, and fun! While in Nashville, students will visit state landmarks and investigate ideas studied in Ancient Civilizations, apply writing concepts from English, see the real-life application of the topics and concepts explored in music and arts classes, and see how innovation has been formative in the lives of those in the past, present, and future. 

They will begin in Chattanooga with on-campus activities to prepare for an interdisciplinary group project: The Redford Center Stories, which will incorporate creative thinking and technology use with real-life environmental issues. They will engage in several interactive and interdisciplinary mini sessions, including an introduction to Apple Clips, to jumpstart our creative process.

On Tuesday they head to Nashville. First stop: the replica of the Greek Parthenon for a tour to complement mythology studies in English. Then it’s on to the Country Music Hall of Fame to experience songwriting firsthand and work with some of Nashville’s accomplished songwriters to compose original lyrics to a selection of melodies as an introduction to the spring poetry and writing unit in English class. Following dinner, they will visit the Grand Ole Opry to see how the real country music stars perform! 

Midweek, the exciting adventures in the Music City continue as students tour the State Capitol Building (modeled after ancient Greek architecture!) and the Tennessee State Museum to learn more about the history of Tennessee and the artifacts that represent the social, political, economic, and cultural history of our state. Following this visit, it’s on to the Tennessee State Capitol building to meet and see their politicians in action. What a great way for them to learn more about democracy and the application of the debate and dissent process they have been exploring and practicing in Ancient Civilizations this year! After a delicious lunch, followed by line dancing at the Wildhorse Saloon, they will visit the Frist Museum—best known for showcasing art from local, state, and regional artists along with relating art to everyday life and culture—and participate in interactive and inquiry-based activities. Finally, it’s pizza and bowling before retiring for the evening.

Finally, as they head home to Chattanooga, they will stop by the Nashville Adventure Science Museum to view Habitat Earth in its state-of-the-art planetarium. Exploring the world around them and building connections to their science curriculum will culminate the week of adventure!

EIGHTH-GRADERS will take on the cities of the South with a four-day tour that begins right here in the Scenic City, exploring the diverse history of Chattanooga and the role the city played in the Civil Rights Movement with a tour of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and the African American Museum. Then it’s off to Atlanta for a day of connections to history and current events, starting with a guided visit to the High Museum of Art. While there, they will see one of the most extensive anthologies of 19th- and 20th-century American art and view and discuss the rich history of art pieces created by African American artists during the Civil Rights Movement. Next, they will broaden their understanding of current events with a behind-the-scenes tour of CNN, and then visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights to learn more about the protests, violence, and actions that finally led to a turning point in the nation’s support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They will then spend an elegant evening on Broadway—or as close as they can get in Atlanta—visiting the famous Fox Theater to see the award-winning musical, Hello Dolly!

Midweek they will enjoy Zoo Atlanta and learn about animal conservation and the current research projects taking place at the zoo. Then it’s off to Birmingham, Alabama, to continue learning more about the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement with a visit to the 16th Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park to see firsthand the important locations where active and peaceful citizens played a role in bringing justice to our nation. These visits and experiences will lay the groundwork for both the reading of To Kill a Mockingbird in English and an inquiry-based project in CIA focused on civil rights and the crucial role of citizens in action in our country. 

Finally an overnight stay at the McWane Science Center and Museum in Birmingham, Alabama, lets the girls apply their understanding of forces and motion while tinkering with huge simple machines or explore digital technology in the Art and Tech gallery. They will get to participate in once-in-a-lifetime science activities late into the evening and, while sleeping in the museum, finally be able to answer the question: Do the dinosaurs really come to life at night? 


ACT & SAT Test Prep
Kimberly Carraway, owner of the Carraway Center for Teaching and Learning, will lead students through a program designed to develop each student's ability to exceed their testing potential. The workshop will cover general and specific test-taking strategies that will increase familiarity with both the content and type of questions included in the tests. Ms. Carraway has been offering workshops and private tutoring over the past 11 years.

Getting through life can seem complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing: How do you open a bank account? What do you need to know about getting an apartment? What about dressing for an interview or internship? How do you eat when you’re a poor college student? It gets a little scary to think about the real world, but this #adulting Winterim will give girls a head start.

The Art of Well Being: Personal Care and Safety
Do you know what to do if you feel threatened in a dark parking lot? (What about on a date?) Do you know how to prepare something healthy to eat? What about those warning lights in your car? For this Winterim girls will learn some basic self defense, car maintenance, finance, healthful cooking skills, stress-coping skills, and more. This Winterim will give girls a practical headstart when they are outside GPS.

Beauty & History of the Appalachian Mountains
What a rich natural and historical treasure we have right here in our own backyard—the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee! This Winterim course features the history and scenic beauty of this amazing region, just a short driving distance from Chattanooga. Hiking trips and short historical museum excursions will be their main mode of experiential learning. The slower pace of hiking allows the girls to really observe and ponder what is around them, whether it be huge boulders and waterfalls or Native American artifacts and coal-mining ruins. Previous excursions have included parts of the Fiery Gizzard Trail, Buggy Top Trail near Sewanee, the Sewanee Perimeter Trail, the Cumberland Homestead Museum near Crossville, trails within the Prentiss-Cooper Wildlife Management Area, the Savage Gulf section of the South Cumberland Recreation Area, and Foster Falls near Jasper. Using photography and/or videography, girls may work in groups to put together a presentation on the Cumberland Plateau, choosing an angle to focus on such as coal-mining history, geology, scenic beauty, etc.

Lifeguard Certification with CPR | CPR and First Aid
The American Red Cross will teach girls everything they need to become a certified lifeguard, with detailed training to include both testing of hands-on skills as well as comprehension written tests. The certification, which includes First Aid, CPR and AED training, is valid for two years upon completion and is accepted nationwide. Additionally, We R CPR will offer courses to teach students CPR for victims of all ages, use the automated external defibrillator (AED) and relief of choking. Instruction is given on recognition of life-threatening emergencies and basic CPR techniques. Upon successful completion of skills demonstration, students will receive their Heartsaver CPR/AED course completion card (valid for two years). The American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid course will teach students the general principles of adult first aid, medical emergencies, injury emergencies, and environmental emergencies. Upon successful completion of the skills demonstration, students will receive their Heartsaver First Aid course completion card (valid for two years).

Find Your Inner Hamilton | An Idea Generator
Lin Manuel Miranda was sitting by a swimming pool on vacation while reading a copy of Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton when he came up with the idea of the Tony-winning musical hit Hamilton. He had time to follow his inspiration, generate an idea while away from the world's distractions, and then experiment with that idea while using the resources of his friends and colleagues. This Winterim could be a student’s chance to unlock that project she has been dreaming about in an open-ended workshop with guidance from a mentor and facilitator who will make sure she stays focused on her dreams and help her find all of the tools at her disposal at GPS.

Four-Day Film Camp
Scorsese! Coppola! Hitchcock! Spielberg! Bigelow! And GPS girls! Girls will live out the dream of becoming a movie director, producer, writer, and/or star! In the Four-Day Film Camp, they will work with a small group to write, produce, shoot, edit, and premiere a film (actually two or more) in just four days! Now in its fifth year, the Four-Day Film Camp is an exciting and intense opportunity that costs nothing but develops teamwork and tests the limits of creativity. Day one: they write. Day two: they shoot. Day three: they edit. All films will be premiered in the Frierson Theatre on the fourth day! It's an action-packed week of fun!

Haman’s Driving School
For students preparing to get their driver’s permit (and for parents who want a discount on their insurance and a safer driver behind the wheel), Haman’s Driving School brings the 30-hour classroom experience to campus during Winterim. Students will be equipped with all the information needed to pass their permit test at the DMV.

Mentor Me
Students receive a unique, hand-selected opportunity to partner with a mentor in the field of their choosing. This is a true weeklong mentorship opportunity with a business here in Chattanooga. Once partnered with her mentor, each student will see the benefit for not only the college acceptance process, but also for her future career.

Yarn and Ewe: An Introduction to Fiber Arts
Yarn and Ewe explores the multidimensional world of the fiber arts. They'll look at what fiber is and where it comes from (sheep! alpaca! cotton and hemp! angora rabbit!) and spend their days learning about the utility, craft, and art of fiberwork over a millennia. They’ll meet local farmers and artisans, visit local galleries, and go off campus to explore different fiber arts in hands-on workshops. They'll learn how fiber art can tell stories in 2020 just as it did in 1020 as well as knit a hat and weave new friendships.


The Renaissance in Florence and Rome
Students will walk in the footsteps of masters of the Renaissance, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael after arriving in Rome and then traveling to the quaint city of Assisi, nestled between Mount Subasio and olive groves on a hill overlooking Umbria. From Assisi, they'll travel to Florence, the birthplace of the Italian language, opera and the Renaissance and spend two days in Florence with expertly guided tours of the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio and the Acadamia. Then it's back to Rome to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Vatican City, where they’ll visit St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel within Vatican City. Of course there will be plenty of pasta and pizza along the way.

Do the Charleston
The seaport city of Charleston is brimming with history and home to a treasure trove of culture and ecological wonders. On this four-day journey, girls will explore some places of historic significance and immerse themselves  in the natural wonders the city has to offer. They will take in the sights and sounds of Charleston City Market and sample the local cuisine, tour the Heyward-Washington House and explore the H.L. Hunley Submarine. Then they will climb aboard a World War 2 aircraft carrier and a Destroyer at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum for a hands-on history lesson. An ecotour of the barrier island Wednesday morning will kick off their dive into Charleston’s rich biodiversity. Rounding off the journey will be face-to-face encounters of South Carolina’s native animals, plants, and sea life at the South Carolina Aquarium before departing for home.

Alaska | The Last Frontier
Eight days in Alaska promises to be an adventure at every turn! Girls will begin their trip in Fairbanks to visit the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the Morris Thompson Cultural Center. They will view the Aurora Borealis in two separate locations and visit the University of Alaska's Museum of the North. Then they’ll visit Denali National Park and meet with a local ranger before  snowshoeing around the park. They will then board the Alaska Railroad in Talkeetna and travel to Anchorage, a 112-mile/3-hour journey with glaciers, wildlife, and mountains. They will tour Anchorage, the busiest sea-plane base in the world and visit a musher to learn more about the athletes who compete in Alaska's official state sport: dog mushing! More stops include Gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park, the Alaska Sea Life Center, and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through public education.

Dude Ranch
Time at an authentic dude ranch? A visit to a fine resort? Girls can experience both on this Wild West Winterim bonanza. Girls will have more on-horse time than any other Winterim offering as they intrepidly ride off into the unspoiled desert past Instagram-worthy rugged mountains and cactus (cacti even!), pen cattle, and generally cowpoke around Arizona’s famous White Stallion Ranch, an all-inclusive dude ranch that mixes Old West adventure with modern creature comforts. In addition to honing equestrian skills and getting closer to nature, students will be treated to traditional cowboy entertainment, exposed to unparalleled views of the stars during an astronomy lesson, learn about sustainable tourism and development in a setting so beautiful they may recognize it from Hollywood films, and so much more.

Winterim on the West Coast: San Francisco & Silicon Valley
During this Winterim girls will visit Stanford University, Googleplex, the Apple Park Visitor Center, and other techie sites in Silicon Valley. While in San Francisco, they will tour Golden Gate Park and take a Bay cruise, see the sea lions at Pier 39, eat at Fisherman's Wharf, zig zag their way down Lombard Street, and tour the Aquarium of the Bay. Then they will cross the Golden Gate Bridge to visit Muir Woods National Monument (famous for its Sequoia coastal redwoods) and ferry over to Alcatraz, to make their great escape. Before returning home, they will make a trip to the Museum of Modern Art and shop at the world-famous Westfield San Francisco Centre.

Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge
On this unique adventure in the northwoods of Ely, Minnesota, at Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, students will learn how to dog sled, snow shoe, and cross country ski while they stay in cozy cabins, care for the sled dogs, and maybe even see the Aurora Borealis! Ely is famous for its pristine Boundary Water Canoe Wilderness Area in the summer and turns into a winter wonderland in the colder months where winter activities are abundant. The Wintergreen Staff is keen to share hands-on engagement with winter ecology, wildlife signs and tracks, plus campfire northwoods stories, night sky snowshoe treks, wolf howling, and wilderness protection discussions.

Walt Disney World
What has become a senior tradition, members of the 12th-grade class only are invited to the House of Mouse! Members of the Class of 2020 will spend Winterim walkin' right down the middle of Main Street, USA! They will experience three days of magic in the Walt Disney World theme park in Orlando, Florida. Each girl receives a 3-day park-hopper pass to enjoy the four theme parks on the property (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios). They will stay in style at the Port Orleans Resort, and with a charter bus ride there and back, there will be plenty of time for Disney sing-a-longs. What a fun way to bond with your sisters!

Exploring the Iberian Peninsula: Spain & Portugal
Girls will spend 10 days of Spanish-immersion, sightseeing, and exploring the Iberian Peninsula, comparing and contrasting the culture, history, and language of the region. They will behold the magnificent artwork in Madrid’s Prado and then venture into the Spanish capital for a taste of Madrid’s bohemian spirit. They will also visit the Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Prado museum, and Royal Palace over four days in the capital of Spain before reliving medieval times in Ávila and delving into centuries of academia in Salamanca during a guided tour of Salamanca University and cathedrals. Finally, they will experience the easy-going nature of Portugal with visits to Coimbra, Porto (including a river cruise), and the coastal capital Lisbon.

Terpsichord Takes New York
Dancers will spend their time in NYC experiencing real life New York City living. They will stay in a neighborhood hotel, ride the subway, and eat at local restaurants. They will experience dance classes with local dancers and see a Broadway show, a New York City Ballet performance, and a modern dance show. While not a sightseeing trip of the traditional kind, they will see plenty of sights at ALL times in the Big Apple! The dancers are sure to come home exhausted but fulfilled and inspired!

Yosemite Science
The girls will travel to Yosemite National Park for an unforgettable outdoor education experience! With the help of trained naturalists, they’ll spend their days learning about the environmental and cultural history (and future) of the High Sierras as they hike, snow-shoe, or cross-country ski through the dramatic landscapes of this iconic winter wonderland. After exploring ancient groves of giant sequoias and gliding through snowy meadows beneath the mountains, they will sleep away their frosty fatigue in rustic heated tents. This hands-on, inquiry-based environmental science program is taught by the Nature Bridge-Yosemite Institute.

DNA, Diseases, and More
How does one’s genetic make up affect medicines you may take? What are researchers looking into to improve treatments for animals? Can we control mosquitoes without harmful pesticides so that diseases such as malaria and African River blindness can be eliminated? Now that we can edit DNA, should we? The girls will explore the world of DNA and diseases when visiting the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, and the University of Georgia veterinary school and research labs. Other activities might include a trip to the Bodies exhibit in Atlanta, a talk from a genetic counselor, bioethical discussions, and hands-on activities related to their genome.

*Sign-ups for Upper School Winterim opportunities were made available to the senior class first, then the junior class, etc., as most trips had limited capacities. The Disney trip was made available as an option only to seniors.