Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory. Psalm 115:1
If Walls Could Talk What is it like inside the walls of GCA? What happens there day to day? Celebrating Grace gives you a glimpse of the amazing ways the Lord has blessed our school.
Prayer by Robbie Mason, Head of School
Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4 What an incredible start we have had to this school year! It’s hard to believe that we have already finished our first quarter of school. The Lord has blessed us with a record enrollment of 678 students and with that growth HE has provided GCA with an incredible faculty and staff that are here to partner with you and your family. As you take the time to read about the different areas of our school ministry that we are celebrating, I would ask that you join with me in praying daily for GCA. When you take a stand for the Kingdom of God, Satan loves to disrupt the tremendous work that is being done in the name of Jesus at GCA. Please pray for: Protection -- For our students, parents, faculty and staff as we partner together to train up the next generation to be champions for Christ GCA at Thompson’s Station satellite campus -- For the Lord to send us the right families and staff as we continue to make plans to open this campus in the fall of 2019 Provision—Exciting plans will be announced soon. Pray for GCA as we look for funding and resources to equip this next generation I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the GCA family. Thank you for your partnership and for continuing to entrust your students to us. God is doing amazing things in the lives of our students at GCA!
Academically Excellent and Distinctly Christian
CONTENTS Head of School News
Pre-K & Elementary News
Middle School News
High School News
From the Librarian
Development & Fundraising
Pre-K & Elementary News By Rona Branson The first quarter is a vital time for teachers to develop a classroom culture where true learning can take place. Each classroom at GCA has become a safe, productive and fun learning environment. This is not an easy thing to do, but our GCA elementary teachers make it look easy. As I visit classrooms, it is amazing to see how students participate joyfully in class, ask deep and investigative questions, and take responsibility for their assignments and things. They are actually having fun and loving to learn! This is the foundation of who we are at GCA and I pray you are experiencing that through your childrenâ€™s experiences here. Here are pictures of some of the things our classes have been up to first quarter.
The Pre-K and Kindergarten classes went to Gentryâ€™s Farm.
The Kindergarten classes read Charlotteâ€™s Web and created dioramas. They also made pumpkin seed Math manipulatives. The 1st Grade classes visited Morning Glory Apple Orchard. The students were very attentive as they learned about pollination, products from bees (honey), and how bees help farmers. The students also learned about varieties of apples and what products are made from apples.
Elementary News By Rona Branson
The 2nd Grade classes celebrated Rome Day by wearing togas and drinking out of goblets.
The 3rd Grade classes visited Lucky Ladd Farms.
4th Grade created insects.
Mrs. Bakerâ€™s 4th Grade won the Homecoming door decoration contest.
4th Graders practiced their teepee building skills after learning about Native Americans.
5th Grade classes visited the quarry.
Middle School News By Rona Branson Our students have settled into routine and are excelling in the classroom and on the field. Most importantly we feel God working in the hearts of our students everyday as they study God’s Word and how they can apply it to their lives. We are grateful that God has provided a wonderful faculty to teach, mentor and care about our Middle School students. We wrapped up the first quarter with a very exciting pep rally and our highly anticipated class trips. These trips are amazing opportunities for our students to learn outside of the classroom, as well as form deep relationships with fellow students and teachers. 8th Grade Washington D.C. TripThe 8th Grade field trip to Washington, D.C. will be a treasured memory for everyone. Our tour guides, Will and Tim, did an amazing job leading the discussions and providing Christ-like attributes on which to focus each day. Students saw with their own eyes God’s grace poured out on our founding fathers as the memorials gave glory to God for His provision and faithfulness. We prayed for our U.S. Supreme Court Justices on the Supreme Court steps as the court was actually in session. We prayed for an unwavering pursuit of truth and justice from our country’s leadership as we heard Marine One flying overhead. In Washington National Cathedral, we prayed and sang “Ten Thousand Reasons” in a small chapel which holds the tomb of Helen Keller. We walked through the Old and New Testaments in the Museum of the Bible, which was the highlight of the trip for many students. We will never forget the laying of the wreath ceremony and the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery. As the rain began to fall, we could hear the sound of a twenty-one gun salute. And of course, there were lots of laughs, selfies, souvenirs, and good times to be had for this bunch. God Bless GCA and God Bless America! ~Mrs. Penny Myers
7th Grade Creation Museum/Ark Encounter TripOur 7th Grade students went on their first overnight trip to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in Kentucky on October 10th and 11th. Students were able to see God’s Word come to life through these amazing attractions. Every exhibit we visited on the lifesize Ark was an opportunity to better understand God’s almighty power and the grace He shows to His people. There was a flood of information that quickly engulfed our students as they marveled at the undeniable evidence of the truthfulness of God’s Word. But the trip wasn’t purely academic! Students also participated in a zipline adventure, rode camels, experienced state-of-the-art videography showing the creation of the cosmos, and sang worship songs at the top of their lungs during the bus rides. This trip encompasses all that GCA represents: partnership with parents, academics, relationship building among middle school students, and a strong emphasis on biblical teachings!
6th Grade US Space and Rocket CenterOur 6th Grade students took an all day trip on October 10th to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Students were able to marvel at the heavens God created and learn about the vastness of His glory! Students took a spin on the G-force ride, which sometimes left them feeling a little dizzier than expected! One of the highlights of the day was the Space Center Lab, where students built their own rockets and then launched them outside with air cannons. The space shuttle simulator ride and the 3D movie about the space program were educational and fun. Students had a wonderful time growing in relationship with one another and bonding on the GCA bus. God is truly the “God of wonders beyond our galaxy.” 6th Graders made lasting memories together on this first official Middle School class trip! We thank God for safe and fun trips for all the Middle School grades and look forward to more in the future!
Middle School Bible News By Julie Monkley Middle School students and families have embraced the new Bible curriculum implemented by GCA! 6th Graders have delved into Summit Ministries’ Building on the Rock curriculum, which introduces 6th Graders to major world religions opposed to the Christian worldview. Students are engaging with the material in a safe classroom environment, as many are learning about Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism, etc. for the very first time. The class viewed Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, detailing Nabeel Qureshi’s dramatic conversion from Islam to Christianity. This was a very real example of “seek, and ye shall find” for the 6th Graders. They have also investigated the historical Jesus, and poured over evidence compiled by researchers detailing why the resurrection is true and historically accurate. As students have studied worldviews opposed to Christianity, 6th Graders have been learning about building bridges in order to share their faith with someone who is not a believer. 7th Graders have been immersed in the world of first century Palestine through The Life of Christ (Purposeful Design) curriculum, supplemented by the interactive lifeofchristweb.com. Hungry for more than the basic Bible stories of childhood, 7th Graders have studied and memorized the differences between the four Gospel accounts, examined the geography of the Middle East, learned several Greek and Hebrew vocabulary words used in the original Scriptural texts, explored countless Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament, and are now memorizing all books of the Old and New Testaments in order with correct spelling. 7th Graders utilized individual chromebooks to complete Google Slides research projects dealing with life in first century Palestine. Students reported on housing of the day, food consumed, modes of transportation, politics, early church doctrinal issues, etc. 8th Grade students are also studying worldviews through Summit Ministries Lightbearer’s curriculum. This curriculum is designed to keep students from being deceived by anti-Christian worldviews, and to train teenagers to actively live out the truth of Christianity in a culture of relativism and confusion. Our hope is that before moving into High School, 8th Grade students will see that God’s truth is more powerful than the false ideas capturing the minds of so many teenagers. During the first quarter, students enjoyed evaluating a form of entertainment that was particularly appealing to them as individuals. Students chose a TV show, movie, song, game, website or book and objectively evaluated that form of entertainment, looking for major messages and subtle messages. Students considered questions such as “does it gloss over evil?” “How do the messages compare with your personal values and what you know to be right and wrong?” “What might happen if someone took these messages literally?” The class benefited from follow up class discussions as students helped one another to see what messages the given form of entertainment was trying to promote. Currently, the 8th Grade class is being exposed to Empiricism, the belief that science is the only reliable method for gaining knowledge. This will be an exciting quarter as students study 2 Corinthians and Colossians to see what God’s Word has to say about what is true, how we can know truth, and how the nature of reality is foundational to every worldview!
Sherman Bucher from Daystar Counseling came and spoke to GCA parents on the morning of September 28. He was humble, personable and wise as he offered us some great thoughts and challenges. He reminded us that one of the best things we can do for our children is to help them develop GRIT! How do we do this? Let them overcome challenges and obstacles by themselves. When we (parents and other adults) come in and remove all barriers, we rob them of the opportunity to grow and be empowered to overcome their own obstacles. When they can accomplish things on their own, they are more confident and less anxious. Intentionally teach delayed gratification. Students need to learn how to wait graciously and patiently and without complaining for things they want or sometimes even need. Help them take ownership for their part when things go wrong or are hard. For example when a bag can’t be found, they should ask, “Where is my bag?” Or “where did I put my bag?” NOT, “ What did YOU do with my bag?” If you are finding yourself feeling afraid of your child’s reaction to something, this might be an area to work on – developing grit. He also reminded us that we are our child’s model. They watch what we do more than what we say. We must teach our children to respond in kindness (and other attributes) by modeling that both in and out of public. Lastly, he reminded us that our calling is to BE godly parents. God is in control of the outcome of our parenting – how each child turns out. Our responsibility is to be and live out what He has called us to with them and in front of them. Parents, remember you are not defined or measured by your child’s behavior today! GCA is planning to offer more opportunities to encourage and help our parents and families on this journey of raising kids. Our next Parent Seminar will be Thursday, November 29 at 8:15 AM. Please make plans to attend as we learn about gaming and social media.
He also reminded us that we are our child’s model. They watch what we do more than what we say.
Middle School Spiritual Life By Dan Spencer This first quarter has been a fantastic one! We began the school semester with an amazing retreat at Deer Run Camp filled with worship, adventure, and friendships. I am so proud to see how our students are continuing to grow in their faith! Teams have stepped up to lead their peers in worship in chapel, and I’m grateful for the culture they are fostering. I see joyful, kindhearted students walking our halls! We began the semester talking about our Honor Code (Integrity, Compassion, Respect, Perseverance, Responsibility, and Courage), and how pursuing these virtues leads us to an uncommon culture of unity and freedom in Christ! Our students have hung on to these virtues and are building lasting friendships. I see joyful, kind-hearted students walking our halls!
Middle School and High School have student worship teams.
A few weeks ago in a chapel, we declared the Gospel. Mr. Knowles presented a chemical analogy (bleach and iodine), that represented how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection makes us “clean” and righteous before God! What an awesome visual to see that Jesus makes us new! Recently, we hosted Mr. Gabe Lyons (of www.qideas.org) who spoke to us about truth, beauty and finding the good in the culture around us. Mr. Lyons spoke about how we can know truth from four concrete sides: Scripture, Reason, Tradition, and Experience. This discussion has spurred us on to take a good, hard look at everything around us. He presented to us - in order for something to be true, it must be both beautiful and good, and also, in order for something to be truly beautiful, it must be both good and true. What an awesome lens of wisdom for us to see through! I highly recommend his book, Good Faith, for more on this topic. He did not ask me to plug that.
After chapel, students broke into small groups for discussion time.
â€œLet the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.â€? - Colossians 3:16
High School News
By Richard Anderson “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6) “Why am I in Education? I am in Education to make a permanent difference in the life of a child.” (Bel Kaufman, author of Up the Down Staircase)
I am thanking God today for the faculty at Grace Christian Academy. . . Back in the spring, the high school students at GCA were given the opportunity to fill out an evaluation form on each of their teachers. Though they were given the option to keep them anonymous, some students chose to sign their names to the forms. The responses were as varied as the student body is. . .and as varied as the teachers are. But certain common “threads” ran through most every evaluation. Among these were: “My teacher loves the Lord;” “I know my teacher loves me;” “My teacher knows his/her subject matter well;” “My teacher is passionate about the subject he/she teaches.” Wow! Those comments are music to an administrator’s ears. . .and they should be music to the ears of any parents reading this! It put me to thinking about the teachers and mentors in my own “school days”. . .those who “called forth” something in me (perhaps some traits I did not even realize I had!). Jesus did that, you know. . .(in Matthew 16): “. . .He asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ “Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’” (Matthew 16:13 -19) A pastor once said, “I think the only way Jesus could accept Simon Peter is that He saw him not as he was, but as he was becoming. . .not as he was, but as he would one day be.” In the same way, our students are “in process.” In other words, what we observe on a given day (from the smallest Pre-K student to the tallest Senior. . .and all points in between) is NOT the finished product! That is what Philippians 1:6 is saying: the Lord has begun a good work in us. . .He will see it to fruition/completion. Thus did Jesus give Peter a “name change.” “Simon” means “small, shifting pebbles.” Jesus said, “That is who you WERE.” I will call you “Peter” (or Petros, meaning “rock”), “That is who you ARE.” And that “rock” went on to be a leader of the early church, a man whose preaching brought 3,000 to salvation on Pentecost. Soli Deo Gloria. To God Alone be the Glory for the faculty and staff of GCA!
Academic Accolades and Updates By Dr.Page Amy 17 Hodgson GCA Announces its first National Merit Semifinalist and two National Merit Commended Students Senior Sidney Hauk has received the honor of being named a Semifinalist in the 64th annual National Merit® Scholarship Program. She is the first student from Grace Christian Academy to attain this title. Of the 1.6 million entrants in this academic competition, she is among approximately 16,000 students nationwide to receive this honor, and has the opportunity to continue to compete for the National Merit® Scholarships and advance to Finalist standing. As a Semifinalist, Hauk is considered one of the highest scoring entrants from our state on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. “Grace Christian Academy is very proud of the accomplishments of Senior student Sidney Hauk,” said Richard Anderson, High School Principal of Grace Christian Academy. “Sidney embodies the triangular partnership in which GCA operates—that of home, church, and school all speaking into the lives of our students. Sidney is obviously a hard worker academically, but also finds time to serve others, to pursue her musical and writing talents, and to be involved in her church youth group. Several prominent schools comprise Sidney’s ‘short list’ for admission—any one of them would be most blessed to receive this young lady!” Currently, Sidney plans to attend Texas A&M next year and study political science. Two other Seniors, Mattie Van Mason and Christian Rhodes, also earned recognition for their high PSAT scores as Commended students. To receive this distinction, their scores were among the 34,000 highest scores of the 1.6 million test takers in 2017. Mattie Van Mason is currently considering either Baylor University or Samford University and hopes to major in international relations. Christian Rhodes expects to attend either Trevecca Nazarene University or U.T. Knoxville. GCA is pleased to announce that our ACT scores continue to climb. The class of 2019’s ACT average is 25.5, well above the national and the county’s average. Congratulations to the following students who have a composite of 30 or higher. th
12 Grade: Eli Cooper Sidney Hauk Audrey Johnson Mattie Van Mason Addison McGinniss Christian Rhodes 11th Grade: Storm Killough
GCA also recognizes students who received a perfect score (36) on at least 1 section: 12th Grade: Sidney Hauk, 36 Reading Christian Rhodes, 36 English Mattie Van Mason, 36 English; 36 Reading Audrey Johnson, 36 English 11th Grade: Storm Killough, 36 Reading
Congratulations to freshman Charniya Brown who was invited to attend the National Gymnastics Camp at the University of GA. She had a wonderful time and represented the state of TN well within the eight state region. She then went on to attend a college gymnastics camp in Destin, FL, along with 42 other gymnasts from UK, Arkansas, University of FL and LSU. Way to go, Charniya!
High School Spiritual Life By Andi Hauk It is hard to believe that a little over two months ago the GCA High School students were headed out to the Deer Run Retreat Center to kick off the first annual Lion Nation Retreat, an event co-sponsored by Spiritual Life and Student Life, and the 2018-19 school year! It’s been a whirlwind since then as the first quarter ended and Fall Break began, so it serves as a good time to stop and reflect on the year up to this point. Over the summer, before the retreat, the new High School Spiritual Life Leadership met together, prayed together and chose a theme and verse for the 2018-19 school year. SL2, as they are nicknamed, is made of up 20 Juniors and Seniors who felt that unity in our school should be the emphasis for this year. They chose “The Body of Christ,” as the theme and Psalm 133:1 as the verse: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” A special Senior Retreat that included an extra day and overnight at Deer Run kicked off the Lion Nation Retreat. Seniors participated in Deer Run activities and heard from Dave MacNeil, a local student minister, who emphasized what it is to lead together. Then the rest of the student body joined the Seniors on Friday, and Dave challenged the student body to strive for unity together under the banner of Jesus. Local worship group, Frontier Worship, led our Seniors and student body in worship over the two-day retreat.
Since the retreat, the High School Spiritual Life has focused on continuing the theme of unity and the Body of Christ through weekly chapel services. The specific emphasis this quarter has been a student’s own responsibility for his/her personal spiritual growth starting with the question, “Am I even part of the body?” that included a Gospel presentation. Then the following chapels have focused on personal spiritual disciplines. Guest speakers in chapel have included High School Principal Richard Anderson discussing John 21, Senior Carson Ford sharing his personal testimony of what reading the Bible has done in his life, local student minister Sam Landrith speaking on Acts 2:42 and what the early church practiced together, and Karris Hudson, Vice-President/Field Director of Danita's Children in Haiti, talking about how God can use spiritual gifts in unique ways all over the world under the united cause of Christ. Students have also participated in new small groups co-led by Junior and Senior students, and in a time of individual study and practice of personal spiritual disciplines like scripture memory, journaling, fasting and praying. It’s been so exciting to see the students dive into God’s Word together and learn what it is to be united, to pray for one another and to hold each other accountable. They meet each week on Thursday mornings at 7:30 AM to pray for sophomore Carson Anderson, who is battling cancer. On a rainy Wednesday morning in September, over 100 students gathered in the high school entryway to pray for our nation, our community and our school. They meet with their athletic teams to study together and to pray together. And they have worked together to raise money for (at current count) over 80 Christmas shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse, mostly without the help or even knowledge of their parents. It has been amazing!
In all of this, students and staff are becoming more aware that striving for unity and working together in the body of Christ also puts a large target on the school and the individuals in it. Because of that, we ask you to join with us and pray for us. Pray for SL2 as they seek God’s guidance in the direction of High School spiritual life. Pray for the Seniors as they work to lead well and finish well. Pray that God will continue to raise up new leaders in the student body who actively pursue Him and help others do the same. And pray for the staff as we get a front row seat in watching God move in the lives of these kids and, as a result, in our lives, too. Pray that our focus continues to stay on Jesus in all that we do and that this school and these students and staff will be a light in our community. Thank you for partnering with us.
High School Student Life By Jen Neilson
GCA High School Student Life began the 2018-2019 school year by teaming up with Spiritual Life for the first ever Lion Nation Back-to-School Retreat. The retreat was held at Deer Run and our Seniors arrived on Thursday and the rest of the school joined them on Friday morning. The retreat was a team building and unifying time for our High School students with an emphasis on the Body of Christ which Spiritual Life chose as the theme for chapels for this school year. Our students, faculty, and staff had a great time and we are already looking forward to and planning next year’s retreat.
Homecoming was early in this school year, but the Student Leadership Team planned a great week for our entire school. The theme of the week was “GCA Goes To The Movies.” All grades participated in dress up days and the pep rally. The Elementary grades participated in a door decorating contest while the Middle School made banners in support of our GCA Lions. The High School students kicked off the week with some friendly competition between their houses in the form of the powderpuff game, with Elliot House taking first place. As the week continued, the High School students worked long hours on their house’s homecoming floats. The movies represented by the floats were Up, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and Shrek, complete with the main characters from each of the movies. It was a HOT day for a pep rally, but the excitement was high and the entire GCA student body had a great time. The presentation of the Senior Homecoming Court took place during halftime of the football game on Friday night. The Senior class elected students from their class that they felt embodied the spirit of GCA. The students who were elected and presented were Madison Brown, Anna Kate Bechman, Sidney Hauk,
Hope Ring, Carson Ford, Cole Scott, Matthew Smith, and Sam Johnson. The house float competition concluded the week’s competition with Wycliffe winning the float category with their representation of the movie Finding Nemo. Homecoming Week was a lot of fun and we want to thank all of the people (especially the Dream Team) that helped make this week special for our school, including those families that allowed our High School students to come over each night and decorate floats. Thank you so much for your patience and hospitality.
High School Student Lifeâ€”continued By Jen Neilson Our High School student body was challenged by Student Life and Spiritual Life to raise enough money to fill and ship 50 boxes for Samaritanâ€™s Purse. The key to this was that the students were challenged to raise the money with NO help from their parents. This was to be a student-led drive. Not only did the students raise enough money for 50 boxes, but for 80. We are SO proud of our students for working hard and raising the money. Our Seniors shopped and filled the boxes and the entire school will pray over them during Chapel. As we move into the second quarter and the holiday season, Student Life has plans for many other great activities for our student body along with many club offerings that will be available to students.
Since 1993, Samaritanâ€™s Purse has partnered with local churches around the world to deliver 157 million shoebox gifts to children in need in 160 countries.
By Judy Barnette GCA’s Missions class took a field trip on September 24 to Brightstone, a day facility for adults with special needs. Brightstone was started by Brenda Hauk, the mother of Jennifer Dial, mother-in-law of Andi Hauk, and grandmother to six GCA students…..obviously, she has strong GCA ties! However, back in the early 1990’s before Brightstone started, Mrs. Barnette taught with her at Franklin High. Mrs. Hauk taught special ed and realized that the students did not have a place to go once they graduated. Through a series of events that only God could have orchestrated, she founded Brightstone and is now in the process of moving to a $25 million campus. What did the students learn by going to Brightstone? 1. Dreams do come true! This organization was started by one woman who saw a need and decided to do something about it. 2. These students are full of joy. Many of the GCA students stated that their favorite part of the visit was seeing how joyful the students were and how inspired they were to find joy in the simple things. 3. GCA students were introduced to special needs adults that they might never have met before. They realized that they are not as different from us as they thought.
If you have never had the chance to visit or tour Brightstone, take a trip over there. You won’t be sorry. They will welcome you with big smiles and great hugs. Brightstone 140 Southeast Parkway Court Franklin 615-790-4888 Brightstone.org
They will welcome you with big smiles and great hugs.
Curriculum Mapping at GCA: The Path to Rigor
Curriculum Mapping By Elizabeth Hutchison
I’d be lost without my GPS. It shows me the best way to get from here to there, without missing turns; it makes sure I stay on the path to my destination. That’s what Curriculum Maps do for GCA. While we often refer to textbooks as curriculum, the curriculum is the path that we take in teaching; the textbook provides a foundation for the content. Mapping is the process of writing down what we teach, including documenting objectives, Biblical integration, state standards that apply, classroom activities and assessments. Mapping provides us with these advantages:
Consistency: Irrespective of the teacher, the year, or the textbook, your child will be the recipient of consistently good content and instruction. The map tells the teacher what was done in the past, and that rigor is then continued.
Reviewing: Mapping encourages collaboration between teachers, allowing them to easily identify gaps and repetitions in the content. GCA is on a cycle of reviewing maps every few years to ensure, even if the instructional method or the teacher changes, that the content remains consistent.
Alignment: In what order does faculty teach each subject? (horizontal alignment) How does what is taught in 2nd Grade science affect what is taught in 4th or 9th Grade? (vertical alignment). What math does a 6th Grader need be successful in science class? Should we teach students about cells in 3rd and 5th Grade? These are all questions that teachers ask as they collaborate about maps. Changes are made, teachers share ideas regarding how to teach and they come to a better understanding of how what they teach contributes to the whole.
Planning: Good planning is the bedrock of excellent instruction. With maps, teachers plan and update curriculum on a regular basis. Lesson plans correlate with the map, making it a living document that animates current classroom activities.
GCA uses Curriculum Trak, an online mapping site. Since 2016, faculty have developed maps for the five core subjects (English, math, Bible, history and science) plus maps for Spanish, business, and PE. Faculty are creating and reviewing maps for Fine Arts, Information Technology and other electives. Our aim is to have these maps available to parents via Grace’s website, giving you access to information about how and what we teach. Using my GPS ensures that I reach my destination. Our destination is an education that is distinctively Christian, biblically saturated, Christ glorifying, academically excellent, and service and mission oriented. Mapping ensures that faculty employ an ongoing, systematic, collaborative approach to reaching that destination.
Library Lines: News From the GCA Library “We read to know that we are not alone.” C.S. Lewis God tells us that He will never leave us; He tells us to fear not, and that the world is His. Reading reminds us of many Biblical truths, including that we are not alone, and that He made all things. Libraries offer access to words, worlds and truths about how we can live. And, if you haven’t heard….GCA has a library. We are excited to offer collections and services for students, parents and faculty. Our library catalog can be found online at: https://gcalions.booksys.net/opac/gcalions/index.html#menuHome Services and collections of note are:
Parenting Collection: As Christian parents, we desire to parent Biblically and with grace. And that’s hard; we need help to parent well. Our parenting collection includes classics such as Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Intentional Parenting and Grace Based Parenting. Ebook Collection: GCA owns 132 ebooks. These books can be accessed online at: https://www.mackinvia.com/ Username: gcalions Password: graceandgrit At the top right, click “Log In.” Your user name is identical to your RenWeb user name and the password is gcalions.
Class visits: Pre-K to 5th grade students visit the library every second week. Together, we read, listen to audio books, learn to use the library catalog and check out materials. The aim of these visits is three-fold: 1. To engender a love of the Word of God and of reading (I want your child to love reading, books and libraries!) 2. To scaffold reading instruction and support the GCA Curriculum (We practice skills such as predicting, summarizing, inferring, asking and answering questions.) 3. To teach 21st century digital and library skills (how to use the library catalog, how to use apps to create stories, how to find an appropriate book) Middle School students also visit the library for instruction and to check out materials. Teaching Research Skills Middle and High School students are growing in their ability to find, evaluate, assimilate and cite information. As part of that process, I visit Middle and High School classes to teach research and citation skills. GCA has access to the Tennessee Electronic Library. The Tennessee Electronic Library is a virtual library that you can access from any computer with an Internet connection. Access to over 400,000 electronic resources including magazines, WorldBook, podcasts, videos, e-books, test preparation materials, search engines for children, Tennessee primary source materials, and more can all be found here. You can use this resource at: https://tntel.info If you, as a parent, need help with research, please just drop by or send me a message. Iâ€™d be privileged to help you. Volunteering Are you looking for an easy way to contribute to GCA life? Your skills and talents could be put to work in the library. I need help with processing and shelving books. No experience necessary. The Library by the Numbers We have materials at both campuses, and here is the library by the numbers at a glance: Circulation period for students: 2 weeks Circulation period for parents: 4 weeks Total items: 3795 Fiction: 1908 items Biographies: 238 items Ebooks: 132 items Non-fiction: 1290 items Try out our catalog and databases; drop by the library! I am here to serve you and your children. To His glory, Elizabeth McKay Hutchison
By Carrie Estes
The Fine Arts Department is starting strong this year with an amazing new team and a lot of exciting new things to make this year outstanding. Fine Arts classes and faculty decided on this verse for the year; “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 All School Levels: We started the year off - with what I’ve heard from many - was the best Grandparents Day yet! We added a dance that included students from all school levels and we added emcees that helped host the event. Every student in the school was on stage at some point. It was live streamed, which was great for Grandparents who couldn’t make it. K-12 students are also helping with the artwork and set design for the Middle School production of Willy Wonka Jr. We are starting our first reserved seating online ticket system.
Coming up in the spring, GCA will be hosting an ACSI Art Festival. Stay tuned for more information. Elementary Music, Art & Drama We are so blessed to have a dedicated space for Elementary Music and Art this year! Half of the week the students work with Mrs. Wolf to create wonderful visual art, and the other part of the week they are singing, moving and playing instruments with Mrs. Johnson. The Art students are working on a beautiful candy land set for the Middle School production of Willy Wonka Jr. and the Music students are diving into Christmas auditions and music as they prepare for their annual Christmas performance on Monday, December 3rd.
Middle School: Don’t miss Willy Wonka Jr. on November 2nd at 7:00PM and November 3rd at 2:00PM and 6:00PM. We have 66 Middle School students involved both on and off stage. We have also included 41 Elementary Oompa Loompas. That makes it over 100 students involved which is a HUGE thing to celebrate for GCA. The Middle School art classes and clubs are also helping to design things you will see on and off stage. You will not want to miss Willy Wonka Jr. We are turning GCA into a Wonka wonderland. The production would not be possible without all the love, support and help from our parents. Thank you for partnering with us. It takes a village and we honestly couldn’t do it without your help. We started Middle School Clubs and opened it to our umbrella program. We have 43 students participating in either or both of our Visual Art and Drama Clubs. Middle School Clubs happen on Tuesday’s from 3:00-4:30. If interested in participating next semester, please sign-up after Thanksgiving Break to reserve a spot. In January we will start our first Middle School 8th grade choir! High School: For the first time we have Beginners and Advanced Fine Arts Classes. We also have a block schedule for students that are interested in both choir and theatre so they can participate in both classes. Our High School Visual Art Class’ artwork is on display in the High School, please stop by and take a look. We have 31 students involved in worship band! The choir is working on music for Pastor Appreciation, Veterans Day, and Christmas, and we can’t wait to share it with you. We’ll be planning some fun activities around Christmas as well and teaming up with the Theatre Class to do a Madrigal on Saturday, December 1st. Our first Annual GCA’s Got Talent is coming up on November 5. We have 18 acts involved, including written poetry, dance, bands, vocal solos and duets.
Auditions for our High School Musical Godspell will take place November 12-16th. We are looking forward to taking a group of students to NYC for Winter X in January. Don’t miss the rest of our performances this semester. Lots to be celebrating! Willy Wonka Jr. November 2nd & 3rd High School Choir Concert & Madrigal Saturday, December 1st Elementary Christmas Musical December 3rd Always remember Audience of ONE! Creativity Takes Courage
By Kay Farrar
Both the Standard and the Advanced High School Art artists have taken their skills several levels higher with focus and hard work! Some artists have never tried to draw and are excited by their results! Some artists have been celebrating their God given gifts for years, but are now grateful for the time and quality materials to master their craftâ€”from simple drawings of spheres to portraits to landscape compositions! We are so excited by the successful and beautiful artworks they are creating!
Development Team Update By Brad Myers Dear GCA Family, We have several things to celebrate from the first quarter of this school year! First, GCA officially opened enrollment for Grace Christian Academy at Thompson’s Station for the 2019-20 school year at the September kick-off meeting for our new campus. The info meeting was well attended, and we want to thank everyone involved for making it a success, including our student panel, who gave of their time to share their personal experience of GCA with prospective families. If you know of families in the Thompson’s Station and Spring Hill areas who would be interested in a distinctively Christian education for their children, please continue to spread the news of the new campus coming fall of 2019. Additional information about our Thompson’s Station campus may be found under the “Admissions” tab on our school website at: gcalions.com.
Second, we want to recognize our GCA Alumni! We had a great reunion with all of you at Homecoming 2018. In efforts to continue to stay connected to your GCA family, we invite you to keep us updated on the latest news in your lives. To do this, please visit the “Support” tab at gcalions.com, and click “Alumni News” to update your contact info with us and let us know the latest happenings in your life. You may choose to have your alumni news published in Celebrating Grace, in which case, we look forward to celebrating you by featuring you in our future publications. As always, we are grateful for the support of our GCA family, and look forward to sharing an exciting announcement with you soon! The Development Team hosted an alumni tent where BBQ and all the fixings were served at the Homecoming game.
By Haley Riggs Parent Teacher Fellowship has had a wonderful start to the 2018 school year. We seek to find ways to bless our teachers and provide support to all of GCA. The first quarter was filled with Room Moms serving the elementary classrooms, parents volunteering for Picture Day and Homecoming Week and preparing for upcoming events such as Scholastic Book Fair. We have quarterly teacher luncheons to bless our teachers and give the staff the opportunity to connect and fellowship with one another. The first quarter luncheon was a hit with a food truck from Mojoâ€™s Tacos here to serve our teachers. The faculty and staff enjoyed a longer lunch period and desserts brought in by parents. In November, we will celebrate Thanksgiving with a special meal provided by parents and PTF. Our fundraising efforts were very successful last year and over the summer, PTF was able to purchase a new computer cart with computers for the lower campus, as well as replace an old cart. This provided more computers for the Elementary and Middle School students to be able to use on a regular basis throughout the school year. The computers will also be used as GCA continues to move forward with online standardized testing. We also purchased a badge printer for athletics and the school to use. This printer allows the school to make staff badges as needed to identify our growing staff and keep our students safe. Also, be on the lookout for beautiful new Christmas decorations at the High School campus to celebrate our first Christmas in the new building. All of these efforts were made possible by the money that we received from Kroger shopping, Publix shopping, AmazonSmile, Box Tops and our summer Consignment Sale. If you have questions about how to get connected with these efforts, feel free to reach out to Haley Riggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5th Annual Sporting Clay Shoot
By Alicia Jordan and Jennifer Dial
Our 5thAnnual Sporting Clay Shoot was a huge success. Many of you were a part of the event through either a sponsorship or as a participant, as a volunteer or your high school student helped one of the days of the event. Our Trap team, our girls’ and boys’ Soccer teams, our Volleyball team and our Football team all helped make the event successful! We are excited to announce that we raised $44,000 and we purchased a restroom trailer for the athletic fields with these funds. We were able to have the restroom trailer at the fields for our girls’ district and regional Soccer games as well as the last home Football game of the season. Cheers erupted in the crowd when Coach McKnatt announced that the restroom trailer was available for use. Parents with little ones are especially thankful for lights and sinks in the restrooms. Thank you again for being a part of the Sporting Clay Event. We appreciate your help and support in making this a successful event!
Grandparents Day and Pastor Appreciation Day By GCA Events and GCA Fine Arts
Two of Grace Christian Academy’s special events this fall were our annual Grandparents Day and Pastor Appreciation Day. What a special time to celebrate our grandparents, special friends, and the pastors that influence the lives of GCA students. Grandparent Day’s unique program encompasses all that GCA is about as it includes everyone from PreK to 12th grade. As we continue to grow as a school, this special event has been able to continue to showcase students across the Elementary, Middle, and High Schools. Our very youngest Pre-schoolers were so fun to watch as they dressed up as their grandparents. Our Elementary students memorized Scripture, recited the books of the Bible, sang worship music, and recited poetry. The Middle School students showcased their artwork in the lobby, recited memorized scripture, and performed a drama to the music “Dear Younger Me” and our High School students ended the event with the newly adopted school song, “Hallelujah”. From family pictures to a dance ensemble featuring students from each school, we sure do hope that this event left your grandparents and other special friends feeling extra special.
Pastor Appreciation is the month of October and GCA wanted to make the pastors of our students feel extra special. This past Thursday, we had a breakfast and assembly to honor the pastors of the students of GCA. GCA students attend 71 different churches across four different counties. We had over 50 pastors join us Thursday as we honored them with a special breakfast. The high school Spiritual Life Leadership served as table hosts as they helped to make our guests feel welcome. All of this was followed by an assembly where students were able to showcase their God-given talents to their pastors. Be sure to invite your pastor next year as we continue this annual tradition. We also want to make sure you know about GCA’s Veterans Day Program. Please invite your friends and family that are Veterans to join us on Friday, November 9 at 9:30 AM as we have a program in the sanctuary.
Fall Athletics By Len McKnatt What a pleasure it has been to see all of our MS and HS coaches pour into our student athletes this fall. What an equal pleasure it has been to see the effort and attitude all of our student athletes have displayed as they have represented God, family, team, and Grace Christian Academy very well. As we finish up our Fall season and move into winter Sports I would like to highlight three teams that have had great success. Our 2018 HS Boys Golf team, led by Head Coach Chuck Hammett, won another District Championship. Josh Breland led the Lions to the District Championship taking medalist honors. GCA has won back to back to back District titles in Boys Golf. The team District title advanced our Boys to the Region Tournament. The team fell a little short in qualifying for the State, but Charlie Koellein shot his best round of the year. His 73 won medalist honors for the Region tournament and qualified him for the State Golf Tournament, GCA’s first golfer to ever compete in the State Tournament. Averi Thorne had a great round in the District tournament on the girls’ side and qualified for the girls’ Region tournament as an individual. In the Region tournament she fell a few strokes short of qualifying for the State tournament. Congrats to Coach Hammett and all of our HS Golfers. Our 2018 HS Girls Soccer team took us on a great ride this fall. Coach Brett Armstrong led the Lady Lions to a District Championship, Region Championship, and a Sectional Win. The 1-0 sectional victory over Adamsville High School qualified the girls for the TSSAA State Soccer Tournament. Our girls Quarterfinal State Matchup was against Polk County in Murfreesboro in which Polk County won 1-2. Way to play this season, Lady Lions!
Our HS Boys Cross Country team, led by Coach Annie Olivo, won our first ever Cross Country team Region title. They have advanced to the State tournament and will run at Steeplechase on November 3rd. They did a great job running for their Lord and their teammates. Here were the incredible results as individuals: Will Beasley- 2nd place Nick Dial- 3rd place Jack Ray- 4th place Christian Allen- 10th place Seth Almon- 19th place Michael Koellein- 20th place Ethan Hill- 24th place All of these young men earned individual medals, but they were more proud of the first place team plaque. Jackson Olivo will also run with these young men at the State tournament.
You can find updates on all of our sports on social media and our website. GCA is proud to announce that Blake Barton and Grant Solomon were selected to participate in the USA Baseball 15U/16U National Team Identification Series in Cary, North Carolina from August 1519. Grant and Blake represented Middle Tennessee in an effort to be identified as a candidate for next year's 17U National Team Development Program. This was a great opportunity for our athletes to highlight their athletic ability against players from across the nation. We want to highlight our partnership with the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, and thank them for their continued support of GCA. They provide our Athletics Department with our GCA Team Physician, Dr. Ian Byram. The Institute has thirteen nationally and internationally recognized orthopedic surgeons and twelve mid-level providers. Their specialties include: sports medicine, joint replacement, spine, foot and ankle, shoulder and elbow, hand and wrist, and pediatric injuries, among others. The Institute has a new state of the art facility being constructed on the Williamson Medical Center campus, opening in spring 2019. Currently, the practice is temporarily located on-site in Williamson Tower, located at 4323 Carothers Parkway, in Franklin. For more information, please visit their website at www.boneandjointtn.org, or to schedule an appointment, call (615) 791-2630.
Grace Christian Academy 3279 Southall Road Franklin, TN 37064 615-591-3017 Www.gcalions.com
The mission of Grace Christian Academy is to assist Christian families in the teaching of their children by providing them an experiential education that is distinctively Christian, biblically saturated, Christ glorifying, academically excellent, and service and mission oriented. We exist to help parents cultivate the legacy of Christ's hope in each student and to prepare them to spread that hope along every avenue God provides.