In the spring of 1992, a group of parents met together to discuss the need for a new alternative in education. The need grew out of their shared desires to be serious and active in carrying out their unique responsibilities as parents in the total education of their children. Their known alternatives at the time were traditional public (including charter), traditional private, and home schooling. Collectively, these parents had experienced all three. They discovered that, while each had its positive aspects, all were in some way less-than-ideal for their family’s needs or life situations.
Prayerfully, they agreed to work together to start a new school that represented a different alternative—one that incorporated positive aspects from the others while embodying its own special set of distinctives. If they succeeded in addressing their own concerns regarding active parental involvement, it seemed appropriate that they should begin sharing what they learned with other parents who, like them, were seeking better ways to educate and raise their children. The result of their efforts was the formation of Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas, a private school that currently serves K-12th grade students from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and its surrounding areas. Grace Preparatory Academy (“GPA”) is a unique private Christian school that utilizes a university-type schedule and a teacher-parent integrated instructional approach to produce a high level of academic achievement while enabling strong ties between parents and their children. The school was the first concrete expression of a new educational model called University-Model® Schooling (UMS) in which two proven elements of educational success, the professional classroom instruction of a teacher and the caring at-home mentoring of a parent, are combined into a single, unified, college-simulated program. Other proven elements of the school’s program include character education, low student/teacher ratios, hands-on learning, a strong student work ethic, an effective college-preparatory curriculum, character-building student activities, and servant-minded local operation and management. The school was officially incorporated on December 18, 1992, and opened for its first day of classes on August 16, 1993. Revised Articles of Incorporation were filed and approved on June 4, 1997, under the name GPA Ministries, Inc., which became the umbrella organization for both the school and the National Association of University-Model Schools (NAUMS). NAUMS is the “outreach arm” of GPA, dedicated to equipping parents and educators who live beyond the Arlington area with information, seminars, and support as they develop University-Model® schools in their own communities. In 2005, NAUMS incorporated and became a separate entity from GPA. As one of the most sought-after schools in North Texas, along with similar schools in other parts of Texas and the United States, GPA now more deeply and intentionally demonstrates that it is indeed possible for both parents and teachers to effectively work together for the common goal of providing God’s children with an exceptional, Bible-based, Christian education that is both cost-effective and strengthening to families. In this context, GPA takes seriously its mandate to raise up students with uncompromised intellectual prowess and moral integrity based on the development of Christ-like character, and it continues to forge new territory in education for the glory of Christ. In this new paradigm, GPA is dedicated to producing next-generation disciples that will not merely endure, but define, the surrounding culture spiritually, academically, artistically, athletically, and ethically.