Head of School Blog

On Safety, Security, and Community

Earlier this week, at a time when we should have been focused on the solemn commemoration of Ash Wednesday or the pageantry of the Winter Olympics or the fun of Valentine’s Day, we instead, were once again joined together in outrage and horror by news of another school shooting. This time, the tragedy took place in Parkland, Florida. In the almost twenty years since the Columbine High School massacre, there have been too many headlines announcing another tragic school shooting. According to an article in this week’s Washington Post, “at least 170 primary and secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus.” Some media outlets use a much higher number; others a smaller one. Regardless of the exact number, all would agree that news of another school shooting has become much, much too common. My greatest concern is that we, as a culture, have become numb to tragedy. Amidst the immediate debates and discussions about gun control, governmental response, or mental illness, let us not lose sight of the tragic loss of seventeen lives, and the shattered families grieving in south Florida. 

In the aftermath of these tragedies, it has become common practice for schools like ours to do two things. The first is to issue calls of prayer and support for those impacted by the tragedy. This is entirely appropriate since, as followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to mourn with those who mourn, as Paul so eloquently shared in Romans 12. So, we will pray for those directly impacted by this most recent tragedy and for our nation as a whole. We believe in the power of prayer and we ask that in this time of mourning, God would provide a comfort, support, and peace that can only come from Him. 

The second thing schools often do is to provide school families with information concerning safety measures in place to prevent such a tragedy or to address how the school would respond if such an event were to take place on site. This is entirely appropriate and something that I will share with our GRACE community, but not in this communication. Please be assured that we review our policies and procedures frequently in an effort to provide a safe environment for our staff and students. We have a School Safety Committee that exists for this purpose alone. However, instead of focusing here on current plans and procedures, what I would like to consider is the important aspect of preventing another tragedy. Our mission statement opens by stating, “GRACE Christian School is a loving community.” With all of our drills, security cameras, professional development sessions committed to security, and other appropriate means of providing a safe environment, our greatest source of protection is our loving community. In many cases, school violence is the result of a disconnected, disheartened, and desperate individual lashing out at those around him. Being part of a loving community means that we actively seek to make sure each child is known, valued and loved. This is our sincere desire for each child, every day. This means investing in the lives of the students who walk our hallways in more ways than simply teaching lessons. It means that we support families in times of crisis. It also means that we develop trusting relationships with parents. Sometimes honest dialogue means that we have to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations, but this is what we are called to do as part of a loving community. 

Recognizing the value of having candid, honest dialogue, as is age appropriate, I encourage you to speak to your children about the importance of sharing concerns they may have about a peer or a situation and bringing it to your attention. Specifically, if a young person is sharing thoughts of self-harm or harm to others, either in person or via social media, it is imperative that students understand the importance of sharing that information with an adult and the school administration. Likewise, if you, as an adult, find yourself in a situation where you fear that a threat of violence could affect your child or any child at our school, you must contact the proper authorities and/or the school administration. It is impossible to overstate the value of this type of proactive intervention. 

The Association of Christian Schools International, one of our accrediting bodies, provided us with the following resources to share with our families: Children and Crisis: COPE Leads to Hope and Teachers and Kids and Crisis.  My hope is that these resources may provide you with some guidance for important conversations with your children. As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve your family and work with your children. It is a tremendous blessing and responsibility that we do not take for granted. 




Christmas Season, Christmas Songs

Written by Head of School Eric Bradley

My first education job was as a history teacher. To this day, I love finding odd or little known stories in history, one of my favorite things about teaching the subject. A few weeks ago, I came across an article about Do You Hear What I Hear and its connection to the Cuban Missile Crisis. This led me to read about several other Christmas songs and their background.

  • Do You Hear What I Hear — Noel Regney was born in France and educated at the best music schools in Europe.  When the Nazis took over France during WW2, he was forced to serve in the German army. Regney began working for the French Underground while serving as a Nazi soldier, an incredibly stressful and dangerous situation. In one instance, he knowingly led a group of German soldiers into an ambush, getting shot himself in the process, allegedly in order to provide more cover for his role as a spy. Imagine the emotional toll of being in this type of situation. Shortly after the ambush incident, he deserted from the German army and spent much of the rest of the war in hiding. After the war, he worked in France briefly before moving to New York City where he served as a songwriter for TV shows and commercials. In October 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he was asked to write a Christmas song. Imagine being in this position — come up with a Christmas jingle while everyone in the country is consumed with the the threat of nuclear war. In this environment, working with his wife, they created Do You Hear What I Hear, which they intended to be a prayer for peace in the middle of the Cold War. “A star dancing in the night with a tale as big as a kite” might have been meant to represent something much more menacing. Here is the last stanza:

Said the king to the people everywhere

Listen to what I say

Pray for peace people everywhere

Listen to what I say

The child, the child

Sleeping in the night

He will bring us goodness and light

He will bring us goodness and light

  • O Holy Night — This song was written in 1847 by a French poet, Placide Cappeau, when asked by the local parish priest to compose a Christmas poem. After writing the poem, the author decided it would be better as a song, and asked a Jewish composer friend to set the poem to music. The song became quite popular and spread throughout French churches. However, years later, when Cappeau renounced the church and declared himself a socialist, the song was officially banned by the French Catholic church. The ban had little effect as the song was already very popular among churches throughout Europe. Shortly after, American abolitionists fighting against slavery helped spread the song throughout the United States. Think of the third stanza being sung in the United States on the brink of the Civil War, “Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother; and in His name all oppression shall cease.”
  • Joy to the World — This song was written in the early 1700s by Isaac Watts, but was not intended to be a Christmas hymn, but rather, a song about the second coming of Christ. The lyrics were based on Watts’ interpretation of Psalm 98:4-9 which opens, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.” While it is interesting to think through the lyrics with the idea of the song being about the second coming, the central idea of the song does work for the incarnation as well — “Joy to the World, the Lord has come! Let Earth receive her king!”

All of these songs are fascinating on their own, but like many things in life, they take on more meaning when you look into them more deeply. In these three songs, we are reminded that God works in ways we do not fully comprehend.

  • In Do You Hear What I Hear, a man who experienced the horror of war first-hand, penned a beautiful prayer for peace, hoping for a better future for all of our children.
  • In O Holy Night, a socialist poet and a Jewish musician, two men who had no connection or commitment to the Christian faith, combined their talents to create a powerful song that celebrates “The Thrill of Hope” that comes in the form of the Christ child.
  • In Joy to the World, a hymn intended to honor the triumph of the second coming of Christ has become one of the most recognized of all Christmas songs. Now, knowing the background of its origin, when I hear the song in the future, I will think not only on the joy of the incarnation, but also of the incredible promise of our King’s return.

As we prepare for the Christmas season and all of the busyness that may entail, I encourage you to stop and think about the incredible way that God may be moving in your life and the lives around you, and never lose sight of the incredible, awe-inspiring, life-changing message of Hope that came to us in the form of the Christ child. A hope that continues on still today.

Merry Christmas, Eric Bradley

“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!

O night divine! O night when Christ was born.

O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Placide Cappeau, 1847



Annual Fund Thank You

Dear GRACE Families,

Thank you for the tremendous show of support for our 2017-2018 Annual Fund Campaign. While the Annual Fund has been in existence for some time, this was our first attempt to create support through this type of campaign — one that featured no mailing of donation cards or solicitation via a student activity such as running laps. This year, our approach was simply to ask you to support the Annual Fund because of your commitment to the mission and vision of our school. Each day of the 10-day campaign, we highlighted an aspect of the GRACE community that benefits from your support of the Annual Fund and helps make our school special, including the Christian foundation, wonderful educational environment, and incredible staff. So in addition to providing financial support of our Annual Fund goals, we hope that our 10-day campaign was also a reminder of God’s blessings on our community.

I am delighted to report that our 10-day campaign surpassed our fundraising goal. As a replacement mechanism to Boosterthon, we knew that we wanted to equal or surpass the level of fundraising that event generated. Just over 50% of our GRACE families participated and made an average donation of $103. As of today, the 2017-2018 campaign has generated over $27,000 for us to use during this school year. In addition to raising money now, many of you indicated your intentions to donate at year-end or to donate at the 2018 Celebrate GRACE event. For those of you who would still like to participate in the campaign donations can be made via this link on the GRACE website. Thank you for your generosity.

As a result of this month’s giving, we can move ahead on the following projects:

  • Renovation of the lower campus library;
  • Renovation of the upper campus lobby;
  • Replacing the lower campus flooring in the hallways; and
  • Enhancing the upper campus computer lab.

Going forward, our goal is to increase the percentage of our families participating in this event as strong community involvement in fundraising signals to outside organizations that we have a community that is supportive of our leadership, our mission, and our future.  This, in turn, allows us to apply for funding in the form of grants and other educational helps.

Thank you for your generous support of GRACE. So much of what we accomplish is a result of the support of our community as you partner with us in equipping your students for life.

Deployments and Homecomings

With more than twenty-one years of working in education, and twenty-one homecoming weeks under my belt, I consider myself something of a homecoming week expert. Homecoming weeks always consist of crazy, creative outfits, students stressed out about parade floats and dance dates (not always in that order), and teachers trying to maintain order and keep the academic progress moving forward amidst the chaos. Homecoming weeks are fun and exhausting, as they offer a welcome break from the routine while simultaneously reminding us of the benefits of the routine.

Today, I experienced my second favorite homecoming memory, as our lower campus neighbor, Hope Community Church, hosted a special service to honor and pray over members of the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade and the 2-130th Aviation Operations Battalion who are deploying to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve. As the soldiers and their families arrived, they were greeted by over 400 flag-waving, cheering GRACE students and staff members decked out in as much red, white, and blue as possible. In a week filled with debates over the meaning of patriotism and symbolic speech, it was incredibly powerful to see the staff and students demonstrate their support of our servicemen and servicewomen. The soldiers shared hugs and high-fives, took selfies, and thanked our students for their support. Soldiers and staff members alike shed tears as we thanked them for serving our nation. The soldiers concluded their time with the students by marching in formation between the rows of GRACE students before entering the church for the formal service.

There is a certain irony in that these servicemen and servicewomen came onto our campus in preparation for their deployment as we celebrate our school’s homecoming week. As they prepare to leave their homes and families, we are eagerly anticipating the return of GRACE alumni for our parade, football game and other weekend activities. Please join me in praying for not only these, but all of our servicemen and servicewomen throughout the world (including class of 2010 GRACE alumni Kenny Yacynych, currently serving in Afghanistan, pictured) who place themselves in harm’s way so that we may enjoy the freedoms for which so many have fought and died before them. Please pray that God would watch over and protect them so that in the not too distant future, they can enjoy a blessed homecoming of their own with their loved ones.

In case you were wondering, my all-time favorite homecoming week memory is easy to pick and will never be topped. In 2009, the date of the homecoming dance fell on the same day as my wife’s due date with our youngest child. Amy, always a trooper, chaperoned the dance with me, staying at the venue until the last student left. About eight hours later, she gave birth to Audrey. I had not thought about it until now, but maybe that is why Audrey always wants to go all out when it comes to dressing up for homecoming.

Blessings, Eric Bradley

Giving at GRACE, Part 3

This year at GRACE we would like to make better use of the corporations that have a philanthropic focus and maximize how purchases made by our GRACE community can have a bigger impact on our annual fund.Both affinity (give back) programs and corporate gift matching programs allow GRACE to benefit from purchases and donations you are already making. This year, we would like to emphasize the value of your participation in these programs and increase the funds raised from under $3,000 last year to $20,000 this year.

Affinity Organizations

Affinity programs rebate a percentage of your purchase to the charity of your choice. In addition to amazon.com, almost all the local grocery stores participate in some sort of give back program. If you have not already done so this year, take a moment to use the instructions listed below to link your account to GRACE. Note: Most grocery store programs require families to relink your account each school year. You can also download No Effort Fundraising if you would prefer a hard copy of the information below.

Amazon – smile.amazon.com

  • AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.
  • Select GREATER RALEIGH AREA CHRISTIAN EDUCATION, INC. to designate GRACE as your charitable organization.

Harris Teeter – Together in Education

  • Harris Teeter’s Together In Education program gives schools a chance to earn funds when you link your VIC card and shop Harris Teeter brands. There are NO LIMITS to how much a school can earn.
  • Link your VIC card to GRACE by selecting 2768 GRACE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL RALEIGH on the Harris Teeter Together in Education Webpage.
  • Note: You MUST re-link every year!

Kroger – Community Rewards Program

  • Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Kroger Community Rewards. Kroger Community Rewards makes fund-raising easy..all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Plus Card!
  • Link your Kroger card to GRACE by selecting 82226 Grace Christian School on the Kroger Community Rewards Webpage.
  • Note: You MUST re-link every year!

Lowes Foods

  • With Cart to Class, Lowes Foods designated schools will be rewarded based on the amount of Lowes Foods Private Label items you purchase.
  • Select GRACE from the eligible school list on the Lowe’s Back 2 Schools website.

Publix Partners

  • Through Publix Partners, all purchases made at Publix will help earn money for our school. For every $37,500 spent cumulatively by GRACE families, Publix will award GRACE $250.
  • Pick up a Publix Partner bar code card at either campus reception desk and scan it at check out.

Box Tops for Education

  • Each box top is worth 10¢ for our school! Look for the pink Box Tops on hundreds of products, clip, and submit to either campus office.
  • No registration or linking is required, although you can earn bonus box tops by joining on the Box Tops website. Search for 27606 (swipe left to see the full list of schools) and select GRACE.

Corporate Gift Matching

Many corporations match donations made by employees to a wide range of nonprofits, to support employee charitable giving, and to extend corporate philanthropy.

Matching donations, or matching gifts, are free money that nonprofits often miss out on because of limited information on donors’ employers, complex corporate giving programs, and because the corporate matching process is usually unknown for employees.

In light of this, GRACE now subscribes to a service named Double the Donation to make it easier for GRACE families to find out if their companies provide corporate gift matching.  Go to https://doublethedonation.com/gracechristianschool to locate your company and links to instructions and forms to multiply the donation you already plan to make to GRACE. Below is a partial list of the top employers in the Raleigh-Durham area that have gift matching programs:

  • AT&T
  • Biogen
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
  • Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T)
  • Cisco
  • Citrix Systems
  • Credit Suisse
  • Duke Energy
  • Eli Lilly & Company
  • Fidelity Investments
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • IBM
  • Lenovo
  • Merck & Company
  • MetLife
  • QuintilesIMS
  • Red Hat, Inc.
  • SAS Institute
  • Time Warner and Subsidiaries (Synapse, Time, Turner, Warner Bros)
  • United Airlines
  • Verizon
  • Wells Fargo & Company
  • Xerox Corporation

The Tech-Wise Family

In a recent Barna study, 78% of responded that they “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” to the statement “Raising kids today is more complicated than it was when [we] were kids.” When asked why they felt that way, 65% of the respondents said that it was due to technology and social media. Technology permeates every aspect of our lives, and the lives of our children, in ways unprecedented in human history.  

With that in mind, GRACE is offering a parent book study of The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch, the executive editor of Christianity Today and author of several books. Click here to watch a book trailer. Crouch writes in the introduction, “This book is about much more than just social media, or even screens. It’s about how to live as full, flourishing human beings.”

Crouch discusses the implications of technology, and the importance for families to consider technology in relation to questions like, How do we want to be as a family? How does our use of technology help move us closer or further away from that goal? This book is insightful, and will provide for excellent discussion and consideration for how we manage technology in our daily lives and homes.

We plan to meet for book talks from 8:30 AM until 10:00 AM on the following dates:

  • Thursday, October 5
  • Monday, October 16
  • Monday, October 30

The three meetings will be led by Eric Bradley and Julia Taylor and will take place at Hope Community Church. We will establish a room for the sessions once we find out how many individuals register for the study. So that we can adequately plan space, please sign up to attend.

The book is available at every major online vendor, Barnes and Noble, or Christian bookstore.


Giving at GRACE, Part 2

In this second part of the series on Giving at GRACE, we will unpack where our Annual Fund dollars have come from in the past and how we would like to change the composition going forward.

Between 2010 and 2016, a variety of annual fund “events” have been held including several golf tournaments, a couple of black-tie dinners and, more recently, the Boosterthon fun and color runs. All of these events share a “give to get” structure that requires a significant portion of the funds raised to underwrite the event giveaways. As a result, participation in these events supported both GRACE and the organization that we partnered with in providing the event.

The pie chart below displays the sources of Annual Fund giving for 2016-2017. The three blue wedges represent contributions made by the GRACE community either as “direct donations” to the annual fund or through participation in one of the aforementioned fundraising events. Overall, 84% of giving has come from these mechanisms and only 16% from other sources.

As we begin the 2017-2018 school year, our goal is to increase contributions from other sources to 30% and reduce the portion of the Annual Fund that comes from direct donations made by GRACE families. We accomplish this by moving away from “give-to-get” events like Boosterthon and its predecessors so that we can maximize the dollars donated by the GRACE community. Additionally, we would like to increase our participation in Affinity Programs and Corporate Gift Matching programs. Next week, we will highlight these two programs and how you can increase your contributions to GRACE without doing anything differently than you have been doing in the past.

The above chart reveals that the Business Partner program has doubled in size from last year. We are so thankful for the support of these business owners and would like to use the space that remains to thank the businesses who have made a significant impact on the GRACE Annual Fund. We encourage the GRACE family to support these businesses when you have needs that they can meet and refer them to your network of friends when possible.

Golden Eagle Partners ($5,000 Annual Contribution)

Silver Eagle Partners ($3,000 Annual Contribution)

Bronze Eagle Partners ($1,000 Annual Contribution)

Thank you for taking the time to review this information. We hope that this is helpful as we begin the new school year. As always, thank you for selecting GRACE Christian School and partnering with us in the education of your child.

Giving to GRACE, Part 1

We are aware that throughout the school year, many financial requests are made of you.  We would like you to better understand these requests so that you can make informed decisions throughout the year.

The GRACE Annual Fund

The Annual Fund is the most important area of fundraising for GRACE and provides the resources to make improvements to our campus facilities, instructional technology, and professional development opportunities that otherwise would have to be delayed or eliminated. We will request Annual Fund donations three times:

  • Annual Fund Campaign, October 2017
  • End of Year Giving, December 2017
  • Celebrate GRACE Fundraising Event, March 2018

This Fundraising Annual Fund Infographic shows where our annual fund dollars came from during 2016-2017 and how we would like to shift that going forward. Giving to GRACE, Part 2 will give additional explanation and details to each section of the pie charts. Also included in the infographic is the distribution of how annual fund dollars have been spent over the past three years, both by type of investment and by campus.  

Thank you for taking the time to review this information. We hope that this is helpful as we begin the new school year and we ask that you begin now to prayerfully consider how you can support the GRACE Annual Fund.

Thoughts on Charlottesville

Like me, you were no doubt shocked and sickened by the events in Charlottesville this past weekend. We know that we live in a world filled with sin and hate, but in the last few days this fact has been placed vividly in front of us. For the majority of the individuals who read this note, we live a lifestyle that insulates us from the worst aspects of this evil reality. However, times like these shock us to attention and provide an important reminder that we can not sit idle while, as 1 Peter 5:8 states, “your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Earlier today, I read a post from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, the Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia. While many have shared condemnation over the events in Charlottesville, Archbishop Chaput’s words resonate. After sharing that “Racism is a poison of the soul” and calling for prayers for those injured in the violence from the weekend, Chaput shares:

But we need more than pious public statements. If our anger today is just another mental virus displaced tomorrow by the next distraction or outrage we find in the media, nothing will change. Charlottesville matters. It’s a snapshot of our public unraveling into real hatreds brutally exposed; a collapse of restraint and mutual respect now taking place across the country. We need to keep the images of Charlottesville alive in our memories. If we want a different kind of country in the future, we need to start today with a conversation in our own hearts, and an insistence on the same in others. That may sound simple. But the history of our nation and its tortured attitudes toward race proves exactly the opposite.

As a school community dedicated to Christ and with a mission to train up young people “to impact their world for Christ”, we have a profound opportunity and responsibility to change this narrative moving forward on behalf of our children, and their children. As a community, we must be willing to look introspectively at our practices to make sure that we celebrate the unity found in and through Christ, to have the “conversation in our own hearts” referenced by Chaput. Are we modeling a better way for our children? We, the adults in the community, must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations. We must also stand up for those who are suffering and oppressed. If we want our culture at large to change, we need to make sure that we are equipping our children with the ability to empathize, understand, and reflect the love of Christ to everyone.

In closing, I want to share a passage from Eric Metaxas’s book 7 Men and the Secret of their Greatness. I highly recommend this book, a collection of biographies of seven Christian men who impacted the world for Christ. In a paragraph about German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Metaxas writes:

Bonhoeffer was perhaps the first of his countrymen to see that Christians were obliged to speak out for those who could not, to “be a voice for the voiceless.” In the case of Nazi Germany, that meant the Jews. At one point Bonhoeffer made the incendiary statement that “only he who stands up for the Jews may sing Gregorian chants.” What he meant was that if we were not heroically and courageously doing what God wanted us to do, God was not interested in our public displays of worship. To sing to God when we were not doing what God called us to do was to be a hypocrite. Many were offended at Bonhoeffer’s outspokenness on these issues. But he insisted that Jesus was the “man for others,” and to follow Jesus meant to stand up for the dignity of those who were different than us.

Blessings to you and yours,

Eric Bradley

GRACE Christian School is a loving community that spiritually and academically equips, challenges, and inspires students to impact their world for Christ.



Building Community

Dear GRACE Community,

As we begin the 2017-2018 school year, our 35th year of Christian education, GRACE continues to value our loving and caring community. It is, without a doubt, our greatest asset in nurturing the next generation, a point that was brought up frequently in parent coffees, family interviews, and the end-of-year parent survey.  Within the context of our loving community, GRACE’s mission is to not only equip your children spiritually and academically, but also with skills that will enable them to be successful in life, at every age, in and out of the classroom. To this end, you will be seeing the phrase “Equipping Students for Life” throughout our communications this year. We continue to partner with you to prepare your children for college, but also for overcoming challenges, facing failure, working collaboratively, and a host of other skills that will enable them to thrive in our ever-changing world. It is our strong belief that this will help our students to develop their God-given gifts and talents in a way that enables them to impact their world for Christ.  

The loving community that surrounds our student body is foundational to our school identity.  A few years ago, I read the book The Boys in the Boat, an excellent account of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team. Each member of the team brought unique talents to the group and each individual played a vital role in the team’s success. The book provides an incredible illustration of the power of team and community. As with the rowing team, every member of the GRACE community has an important role to play. Some have been blessed with the gift of time and we value it greatly as our on-campus volunteers are an essential part of GRACE running smoothly. Some have been blessed with gifts and talents that can be utilized during special events during the year. Some have been blessed with financial resources that enable us to enhance our students’ opportunities. Our GRACE Community represents  a local body of Christ, and as such, each contribution is valuable. As Paul shares in his first letter to the Corinthians, “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” (1 Corinthians 12: 18-21) Each individual part of our GRACE body brings value to the whole.

We want to grow together this year as a community and we want to encourage each family to be in relationship with the faculty, staff, and other families at GRACE. To that end, we plan to be intentional in providing opportunities for growth and fellowship among our community, including the following:

  • Head of School Coffees and Luncheons – In my inaugural year at GRACE, I hosted several coffee events. These served as a great way for me to get to know the community. My plan is to continue to host these informal fellowship sessions, or something similar, during the school year. Dates will be announced via email or #WhatsUpAtGRACE.
  • Men of GRACE: Donuts for Dads – GRACE fathers have a tradition of gathering each month for a special time of devotion, fellowship, and consumption of donuts. This is a great opportunity for men throughout the GRACE community to build relationships, learn from one another, and grow through the special messages provided by a guest speaker. Contact Greg Robinson for more information.
  • Women of GRACE: Prayer Teams – Every week, groups of GRACE moms gather to share a time of prayer for our community. Contact Lucille Sossaman or Lori Ritterskamp for more information.
  • Principal Coffees  – During the first quarter, Mrs. Gill and Mrs. Thompson provide opportunities for parents in each grade level to discuss issues specific to that age group. Dates for 2017-2018 can be found on the GRACE Academic Calendar (search for Principal Coffee).
  • Parent Teacher Fellowship – PTF committees provide parents with opportunities to become involved in the school in the areas of their respective interests and expertise. See the PTF Page on the GRACE Website for more information.
  • Book Clubs – We are working with the PTF leadership team to develop a series of book studies for parents during the upcoming year. Details about the books and meeting times will be available at a later date.
  • Friday Night Tailgating – This fall, the Eagles Club will be partnering with the Athletic Department to create tailgating events at our home football games.  

As we focus more intentionally on connecting members of the GRACE community in meaningful ways, we will also be changing the manner in which we request financial contributions in the hopes of maximizing the benefit of your generosity. We are completing plans to transition the majority of field trips and monetary classroom “asks” into a grade level activity fee that would be assessed at the beginning of the year, but could be paid over the course of the entire school year, like tuition. We are also working to reduce the number of asks in support of myriad causes throughout the year. For instance, we are not conducting a Boosterthon event this year. From a development standpoint, we will be placing a renewed emphasis on investing in our annual fund by asking you to prayerfully consider to support GRACE financially by participating in one of the following giving opportunities:

  1. October: 10 Day Annual Fund Giving Campaign
  2. December: End of Year Giving
  3. March: Celebrate GRACE Annual Fundraising Dinner

Our annual fund allows us to go above and beyond our operational budget to enhance the GRACE experience in ways that directly benefit your students as well as accelerate the process of improving our campuses. In recent years, the annual fund giving has been used for the following upgrades:

  • Classroom renovations on both campuses;
  • Security cameras on both campuses;
  • Upper Campus renovations of the Chapel, Activity Building, and second floor classrooms;
  • Lower Campus remodeling of the fifth-grade and sixth-grade hallway and locker areas;
  • Sound equipment for the fine arts program;
  • Purchase of a fourteen passenger bus;
  • Athletic equipment;
  • New computers benefitting both campuses;
  • Installation and implementation of the Raptor security system on both campuses;
  • A complete overhaul of the bathrooms on the lower campus; and
  • New HVAC systems for the lower campus.

Thank you for the opportunity to partner with your family. We look forward to a great year and to seeing what God has in store for us in the coming months.