Revised Fall 2020
Dear Grace Families,
This communication has been consistently updated since mid-March to provide the most up to date information to all of our Grace Family and our extended constituency. In the midst of a highly unusual health crisis here in the United States and around the world, Grace Baptist Church and Academy took a direct hit from a tornado just before midnight of Easter Sunday, April 12 causing catastrophic damage to our campus and devastating the surrounding neighborhoods of East Brainerd. It was immediately evident that we could not function on our campus as a school nor church and faced a monumental recovery and rebuild process.
Since the Academy had already responded to the restrictions of the COVID-19 crisis by launching a distance learning program, we were already in full gear of a new and strategic pursuit of our mission of providing a high-quality, Biblically-integrated academic program. We are confident that our students made good academic progress as our loving teachers continued to cultivate the caring community that is the cultural fabric of Grace. We have not wavered in our vision that GRACE TRANSFORMS! Grace Academy is a school where God transforms hearts, minds, and futures. You can watch the first video message to the Grace family after the tornado from our Head of School, Matt Pollock by clicking here.
The following FAQ's were originally developed related to our immediate response to the restrictions of the health crisis but have now been updated following the impact of the tornado in East Brainerd and as we engage in the new school year. Our full attention has been turned to managing our school through this health crisis (see downloads on this page for more details) as well as rebuilding our campus with exceptional advancements in campus security and building design, convenience and efficiency, and also major expansion of our program. We will continue to update these responses as necessary and helpful.
How are we managing the Academy in temporary facilities and during this health crisis?
We returned with "live, in person" instruction in August. School is being held in the beautiful facilities of Morris Hill Baptist Church (https://www.morrishillbaptist.org/). Thanks to the generosity of this congregation, we are accomplishing our God-given mission with our student body IN PERSON once again. We are also grateful to other local churches and schools that are hosting our athletic programs, allowing our coaches and student athletes to continue training and competing. For more information, you can download the documents found above on this page; The A, B, C's of GBA's Reopening Plan for Fall 2020 and Frequently Asked Questions.
When will our own campus be ready for return?
Of course, a major objective has become the redesign and rebuild of our home campus at the corner of Shallowford and Jenkins Roads. Our plan is being guided by experienced and deeply committed leaders of our ministry and is focused on improving security, traffic flow, extending our visibility, expanding the effectiveness of our educational programs and increasing energy efficiency. All of this is founded on our continued mission of partnering with parents, educating their children to transform their world by thinking and living Biblically.
Amazing Outcomes Are Possible:
- Pieced together over a number of years as we acquired property, our campus will now benefit from a comprehensive and cohesive plan.
- We will not be working under some of the limitations that guided our building construction style and materials in the past.
- Much of our previously announced development plan may be able to be directly incorporated as we move forward.
- In the long run (ironically enough), the rebuild may take less time than the complete remodel would have taken.
- We will experience together the same joy and anticipation of building something new that our original student body and parents once did.
How can I help?
There are actually several things one can do to help Grace Academy:
- Pray for us: pray for those who are organizing and making critical decisions; pray for the students and teachers, particularly the seniors; pray for the organization of the coming school year.
- Identify with us: all of our friends and supporters...be 'Grace' with us.
- Tell our story; you never know who may be able to respond and lend a helping hand.
- Support Grace and our future with your gifts of love.
Who do I contact if I have a question?
We are available to help. Our main school number 423-892-8224 is active during the regular work day. But it may be best to use email to initiate communication with our administrators, staff, and classroom teachers. Some specific leaders you may wish to contact directly.
Upper School Principal: Scott Hicks ([email protected])
Lower School Principal: Nancy Cooper ([email protected])
IT Support Staff: [email protected] (Jessica Pollock & Marty Cooper)
Financial Office: Lisa Payton ([email protected]) *student accounts
Development Department: Les Compton ([email protected])
Public Relations: Mariah Cummings ([email protected])Head of School: Matt Pollock ([email protected])
Did Camp Grace operate during the Summer of 2020?
With guidance from health professionals and local government agencies, YES, we continued our highly successful program for children from ages 5 to 12 for ten weeks as scheduled. We felt like our kids needed Camp Grace like they never had before! We are thankful to Redemption Point Church at 3831 Ooltewah Ringgold Rd for offering their beautiful facilities as our home base this summer, so that our one-of-a-kind program continued for the 5th summer in a row!
The safety of our staff and campers is our number one priority. Along with following the COVID-19 safety guidelines, we had Dr. Barbara Richardson, DNP, ARNP with us every morning during drop-off performing health/COVID screenings of every staff member and every camper as they arrived each morning.
Camp Grace has DAILY enrichment in STEAM, cooking, music, arts & crafts, sports, science, and active group games. Because of the health restrictions earlier in the summer, Camp Grace was not able to take field trips, however, later we were able to add some of these much loved experiences back to our program. We organized dynamic, active, and fun activities in order to create many meaningful and memorable experiences for our campers this summer! We were so excited that the same camp staff was with us to help create a summer full of amazing adventures and cherished memories our campers will treasure in their hearts forever! We had over 170 students enrolled this summer!For more information you can visit our website https://www.campgracechatt.org/ or contact Beth Smith @ [email protected].
Can prospective families still check out Grace Academy & enroll their children at this time?
We continue to welcome inquiries from prospective families. We have been holding virtual visits but can also offer in person visits to our new temporary campus. We have added 70 new students to our enrollment this year. If you have interest in our school, please reach out to Nathaniel Haston ([email protected]), our Lower School (K4-5th grade) Admissions Coordinator or Jennifer Ross ([email protected]), our Upper School (6th-12th grade) Admissions Coordinator. You may also TEXT them at 423-892-8224. Or go to this web page to schedule a visit with our staff. https://gracechatt.org/136/schedule-a-visit
Is the Children's Center open?
Due to damage from the tornado, our early childhood development program had to close operations temporarily. After weeks of significant repair and upgrade work, we anticipate re-opening for service on Monday, November 30. We are so pleased with our brand new and updated facilities. We serve families with babies as young as six weeks old up to four year old children. https://www.gracechildrenscenter.org/.
What is the status of our Golden Eagle athletic program?
In harmony with the directives of the TSSAA , our student athletes are back in action on other local practice fields and gymnasiums with guidance by our county health department and other professionals to get ready for our fall sports seasons. Go Grace! Soaring Like Eagles this Fall 2020! www.gracegoldeneagles.com