Friday, March 27, 2020
Dear Grace Families,
In the midst of a highly unusual health crisis here in the United States and around the world, Grace Academy has responded by launching a distance learning program that allows us to pursue our mission of providing a high-quality, Biblically-integrated academic program. We are confident that our students are making good academic progress as our loving teachers continue 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.
The following FAQ's were developed for your information and will continue to be updated during this ongoing crisis. As you know, our plans must remain quite flexible since government agencies and medical professionals are communicating new guidance almost daily.
When will campus re-open?
Due to Governor Lee’s most recent directive, Grace Baptist Academy has extended our distance learning plan through Friday, April 24th with expectation of returning to campus on Monday, April 27th. (Our distance learning program began on Monday, March 23 at the conclusion of our Spring Break.) As we receive messages from governing authorities, we will evaluate if this distance learning program must be extended beyond the current five week period.
Who do I contact if I have a question?
We are available to help. Our main school number is still active and being monitored. You may call 423-892-8224 and leave a voice message for a specific department and your call will be returned. However, it is probably best to use email to initiate communication with classroom teachers. Others 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 accountsHead of School: Matt Pollock ([email protected])
Will my child be on a screen all day long during this crisis period?
We certainly do not expect that to happen. Our faculty understands that the amount of screen time will vary by the child’s age and grade. It is our goal to design our distance learning plan so that it is developmentally appropriate. Breaks from school work, off-screen time, and physical activity are all very important. We hope that a part of your child’s educational day will be spent outside, as weather permits.
How are we delivering Learning Support for those children with unique needs?
NILD effectively provides Teletherapy with the same accuracy as face-to-face therapy. The NILD/Zoom teletherapy platform will be used. An NILD Teletherapist License is required to actually use this platform, and all six of GBA's therapists are being trained in this very helpful therapy for times like these.
Will families receive a tuition refund while students are not on campus?
Our faculty and staff have not wavered in their commitment to see each of our students move forward effectively in their academic progress. They have dedicated themselves to providing excellent distance learning classes for our students. Distance learning demands new innovation and additional initiatives by our faculty and staff as they are putting in countless hours to ensure our students have the optimal learning experience at home. We are convinced that you will be very pleased with our work during this crisis period. Teaching and learning is continuing, and therefore Grace Baptist Academy will continue to collect the annual tuition as usual. Families who are experiencing an extreme financial hardship due to the economic impact of this pandemic should contact our Student Accounts Manager, Lisa Payton. As always, we will work with you if you need to restructure your current payment plan.
Can prospective families still check out Grace Academy and enroll their children?
We continue to welcome inquiries from prospective families. We are scheduling virtual visits and also encourage you to share your experience of partnering with Grace Academy. Applications are in process right now and we already have new students enrolled for next fall. If you have a family member or friend who may have interest in our school, please encourage them to reach out to Donna Dean ([email protected]), our Lower School Admissions Coordinator or Jennifer Ross ([email protected]), our Upper School Admissions Coordinator. You may also suggest that interested parents may TEXT them at 423-892-8224.
What is our plan for standardized testing?
We have cancelled our standardized testing for this spring. We are working on a plan for rescheduling in the future.
Challenges with Bandwidth
This is something that Grace Academy cannot improve for you in your own home. With the potential of multiple devices being used simultaneously in a home, bandwidth could be taxed. It will be helpful if parents observe so that one user isn’t streaming or playing video games ( Netflix, Fortnite, etc.) while another is having class via Zoom.
What is the status of our athletic program for Spring Sports?
Due to the current restrictions across our region and state, no athletic teams are practicing or competing. We maintain hope that our spring sports teams will be able to resume their activities as soon as possible.
Have any plans been adjusted for our major end of the year events?
As already announced, we are planning to hold full days of classes for the Upper School during the week of May 18-22 and will not administer final exams during that week. The Lower School is moving their last full day of classes to Wednesday, May 20 and will hold the traditional “Class Day” ceremony on the morning of Thursday, May 21.
Questions have arisen about various school events, field trips, and other major functions as well. Please be assured that we are working hard to preserve as many of those as we can. It is our desire to minimize loss of any special experiences for our students.