Archive for July, 2018

#WhatsUpAtGRACE July 24, 2018

The start of school is just around the corner and we are looking forward to students filling our classrooms and halls again. It has been a busy summer for our facilities staff and we know you will enjoy the updates to our campus buildings. The Back-to-School Edition of #WhatsUpAtGRACE is full of links to letters, forms, and other important dates and times. Please take a moment to read it so that you will be prepared for the first day of school.

GRACE invites all students and parents to our annual “Meet and Greet” on August 8th from 3:00-5:00pm to meet your teachers and reconnect with your classmates. Both campuses will be open and teachers will be in their classrooms!

Summer Update and Welcome Back Letters

To Fill Out (or Watch) Before August 9th

As returning families know, the beginning of the year is full of things to read and forms to fill out. We appreciate you taking the time to review the following information and fill out the appropriate forms and bring into school on the first day.

Please take some time before school starts to acquaint yourself with our policies and procedures as outlined in the 2018-2019 Parent Student Handbook. This document should have the answers to all your “where to go for…” and “what to do in the event of…” questions.

 

Auditions for Women and War

This year’s fall play is Women and War written by Jack Hilton Cunningham and will be performed at GRACE on October 13, 2018.

Play Synopsis

Through correspondence and monologues, in the style of reader’s theater, Women and War is a collection of fictional stories based on historical fact, told by generations of Americans impacted by conflict from The Great War to the War in Afghanistan. From housewife to worker, young bride to nurse, mother to widow, and now, young woman to soldier, these are tales of sacrifice, love, determination and hope told by those who bravely persevere on the home front and on the battlefield. (taken from Samuel French Inc.) 

Auditions

Auditions will be held on August 13, 2018 from 3:30-5:30 in the Upper Campus Chapel. Students in grades 6-12 wishing to audition will need to prepare a short dramatic monologue. All auditioning students will be asked to stay the full length of the audition to participate in cold readings. Depending on the number of students interested, the show may be divided into two companies.  

Cast Requirements & Expectations

All students who are cast in the play are required to attend all tech rehearsals, performances and strike beginning on October 8-15th, 2018.At the time of the audition students must have a copy of their availability and must have no conflicts for October 8th-15th. 

 

 

Summer Athletics Update

We are excited to begin another GRACE EAGLES Athletic season for the 2018-2019 school year! We are excited about the continued growth in our athletic programs with over 70% of our students in middle and high school participating in GRACE Athletics! We are looking forward to making more strides this coming year by using the athletics platform to equip students for life.

There are some exciting things happening as well as some changes this coming year. As members of the NCISAA, our private school state association, we will be moving up to the 3A classification as the NCISAA has extended to 4 classifications (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A). Classifications are based off of HS enrollment. With this new classification change we have re-formed our high school conference, currently the EPIC (Eastern Plains Independent Conference). Our conference will still have our original members such as Cary Christian and St. David’s but we will be adding Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston. We are looking forward to a re-formed 3A conference but also playing some new 3A competition across the state.

We are also planning to launch a middle school girl’s lacrosse team this Spring. We have seen much interest in this area and also a program that we could host on campus. As part of this launch, combined with the past 5 years of declining interest in softball, we have made the decision to not offer softball this spring. We are hopeful that Girls Lacrosse will be able to be a more sustainable offer alongside our other female sports in the spring given the challenges of low participation and off-campus facilities. If you are interested in MS Girls Lacrosse there will be more information regarding workouts, meeting the head coach, and program plan in the months ahead.

Please use our athletics website GRACEAthletics.net for team schedules, dismissal times, results, as well as other important information such as physical forms and concussion information. Please be sure to SIGN UP as a FAN to receive alerts such as game/practice cancellations, score updates, or other game changes via text or email.

We are excited to partner with a new athletic training service, Select Physical Therapy. GRACE Athletics will now have an athletic trainer fully devoted to our school to care for the health, safety, and well-being of our student athletes. We are excited to have Bailey Jeutter join our GRACE Athletics team to lead us in this area to support our student athletes, parents, and coaches. You will definitely see her present at practices and games so be sure to give her a special GRACE family welcome.

We are grateful for our GRACE coaching staff as it continues with its faithful veterans along with the following new faces (some are old faces moving into new roles):

  • William Brewer – In addition to continuing as the Varsity Baseball Head Coach, William will also take on the role of Assistant Athletic Director and Transportation Manager
  • Kara Chase – JV Volleyball
  • Kiley Shepard – Middle School B (Orange) Volleyball
  • Lauren Raymer – Varsity Volleyball
  • Carlin Johnson – Varsity Girls Basketball (last year Carlin assisted with this team and will move into the Head Coaching role this year)
  • Nathan Dewey – MS Boys Basketball
  • Maggie Stancliff – MS Girls Lacrosse
  • Roman Pibl – Varsity Swimming (last year Roman assisted with this team and will move into the Head Coaching role for this year)
  • Hunter Dotson – Game Day Manager (Intern)

There are a few more positions we are hiring for in the Fall including MS & Varsity Girls Tennis as well as MS Cheerleading for the Winter. If you know of any candidates, please email their contact information or ask them to contact me at dterris@gracechristian.net.

I pray that this year we are able to display servant leadership and provide an atmosphere where our student athletes, coaches, parents, and volunteers reflect humility, sportsmanship, and integrity through the avenue of interscholastic competition for the glory of God!

Please make sure to come out and support your GRACE Eagles and show off some of your #EaglePride at our home events! GO EAGLES!

 

 

 

From the Head of School

Life on the GRACE campus during summer months is anything but quiet. On any given day, students enrolled in summer camp load buses for an excursion; the operations staff cleans, paints, polishes, restores, and renovates our three campus buildings; administrators work in their offices on projects that have been waiting for their attention; athletes practice and push themselves, investing in sweat equity that will pay dividends down the road; and teachers pop in randomly to say hello and pick up supplies for their own summer projects. Summer marks the conclusion of one school year and provides the prologue to the next. At GRACE, we have a lot to be thankful for from the 2017-18 year, and a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year. 

The 2017-18 school year provided a number of highlights for the GRACE community, including record enrollment and record participation in the Annual Fund. Students across both campuses participated in weekly chapel services, Bible studies, service projects, and retreats. This week, a team of 24 students and staff members are participating in a mission trip to Costa Rica. Over eighty percent of our middle & high school students participated in GRACE athletics or performing arts. The class of 2018 was offered more money in the form of academic scholarships than any preceding class and earned acceptances from a wide variety of colleges and universities stretching from London to Alaska, including outstanding Christian schools, several of the top colleges in the nation, and an Ivy League school. Overall, it was a fantastic year for GRACE as God continued to bless our community in ways beyond our expectations. 

As we celebrate the achievements of the year that concluded, we know that there are always opportunities for improvement. During the spring of 2018, GRACE conducted our annual parent survey, which provided a great deal of feedback for our leadership team to consider. Slightly more than fifty-eight percent of our families responded to the online survey. The results were positive, affirming, and encouraging as respondents praised the strong community atmosphere, Christian environment, overall student experience, and growing academic program. However, as to be expected, there was also critical feedback. As attested to by the surveys, our greatest strength institutionally comes from the strong, caring relationships created between our staff members and families. In areas where those relationships fell short, parents expressed their dissatisfaction. While positive responses tended to address generalities, critical ones often centered on specific interactions with individuals, which administrators in turn addressed with appropriate staff members. Our commitment is that each student will know that he or she is known, valued, and loved, an expectation expressed to our staff members throughout the year. 

As the 2018-19 school year gets underway, we will continue to build upon our goal of equipping students for life. There will be a greater emphasis on teacher observations and feedback, as well as a staff professional development program that empowers principals to develop targeted, individualized training opportunities for teachers. For instance, instead of sending the entire teaching staff to one conference, the principals and academic dean will work with individual teachers to develop plans specific to their content area, age group, or area where there is an opportunity for growth. GRACE is adding a part-time guidance counselor to better support the emotional and social needs of our students, as well as provide support for parents and staff members. On the lower campus, programmatic and staffing changes are in place to create a greater emphasis on science instruction in grades 3 through 5.  On the upper campus, new technology courses provide more opportunities for students to study technology and STEM-related programs, including a new STEM-focused elective for seventh-grade students.There will also be two additional fine arts course options for high school students. On both campuses, we continue to assess school safety procedures, implementing enhancements and modifications as needed, some of which will be apparent when school begins in August. 

As we enter into the 2018-19 school year, we want to share with you a few areas where we will be focusing our efforts:

Enrollment 

  • Over the past three years, our enrollment has remained relatively constant at just under 800 students. We would like to see enrollment in our earliest grade levels grow, bucking a national trend among private schools.
  • 90% of our students from 2017-18 re-enrolled for the 2018-19 school year. We would like this percent that measures our retention grow to 93% 

Facilities

  • We will continue to utilize Annual Fund donations to support improvements on both campuses.
  • When lower campus students return to school in August, they will notice new flooring throughout the lower campus, including a resurfacing of the gymnasium floor. 
  • The lower campus main entrance has been redesigned to provide greater visibility into the parking lot from the front desk, as well as a designated waiting area for school visitors. 
  • The third-grade classrooms are undergoing a complete makeover to utilize the space more effectively while also make them more student-centered. 
  • On the upper campus, the Maclellan Grant funds are being used to modify the media center and the computer lab, providing the first steps of a more modern makerspace for our students. 
  • Also, during the 2018-19 school year, GRACE will contract with a third-party to conduct a capital campaign feasibility study with the eventual goal of building an additional building on the upper campus that would include additional classrooms, two state-of-the-art science labs, and a gymnasium. 

Technology at GRACE (TAG)

  • Our leadership team continues to research the best tool for our students in relation to laptop options in seventh through twelfth grades and our goal is to make sure that we are doing the best possible job of equipping our students for success. 

With all of these issues, we ask that you join us in praying for the best options for our community, focusing on the way in which these areas can influence our ability to carry out our mission. Our teachers are intentionally equipping your children, our students, by developing skills that will not only help them be good students, but be prepared for life beyond the classroom at every age. For the 2018-19 school year, we will encourage our community to focus on what it means to live a life worthy of God’s great call on our lives as explained in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Please join us in praying that our students will embrace this scripture as we focus on God’s word being essential to be well-equipped in every aspect of their daily lives. It is this tool, more than anything else we can do, that will help them develop their gifts and talents so that they may truly impact their world for Christ. 

Blessings,

Eric Bradley, Head of School