Families, I hope you are well and staying safe this summer. Due to recent Tarrant County restrictions and the increase of COVID-19 cases in the DFW community, here are a few changes that you need to be aware of: 1) Beginning tomorrow, June 26, 2020, if you are going to be on campus you must wear a face covering; this includes all staff, faculty, students, and families. Face coverings may consist of homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas, or a handkerchief. 2) On Monday, June 29, 2020, all extra-circular summer activities, including all athletic events/practices/workouts, are postponed until further notice. 3) Our re-enrollment period is extended until July 15, 2020. You will now have an extra two weeks to decide whether or not you are returning. Our school leadership is currently working through a detailed “re-entry” plan to accompany our recent “re-opening” announcement. This re-entry plan will layout the extensive precautions and measures that we are employing to help keep our families/students/staff/faculty safe. You will receive this announcement within the next week. **It is pertinent that you decide your enrollment status by July 15, 2020. Despite the dreadful situation our community currently finds itself in, Grace still has a waitlist in many of our grades. If you are not returning, we need to know so that we can welcome new families. 4) Our August 1, 2020, Primary/Elementary co-teacher training will transpire through video. More information to come. 5) Our annual Back-to-Grace event, scheduled for August 3, 2020, has been canceled. Thank you for your diligence and patience as we continue to traverse these unique times. Still, our goal is to be on campus, in person, August 12, 2020. Of course, we will exercise prudence in all of our actions and decisions. As always, we take comfort in knowing that God is in control.
Families, many of you have reached out concerning the 2020/21 school year and your child’s return to campus. After weeks of research, conversation, and consideration, our school leadership has formulated a plan to reopen our school for the 2020/21 school year. Based upon CDC/State guidelines and best practices concurrent with recent data, this is how Grace Prep intends on approaching the 2020/21 school year: The Fall semester will begin on Wednesday, August 12, with the school open to all families and students attending in-person classes. Elementary and Primary students will start on Thursday, August 13, in the same fashion. We will continue with on-campus, in-person classes for all grade levels until Thanksgiving Break (November 23-27). After Thanksgiving Break, we will begin virtual classes (online learning) and continue with virtual classes until the end of the semester (December 16, 2020). On December 16, Christmas Break will begin. After Christmas Break, we anticipate a full, in-person return to campus on January 6, 2021 (the beginning of our Spring Semester). This format follows the lead of many universities and institutions of higher learning. Coupling Thanksgiving and Christmas Break with online learning allows us to prioritize the safety of our students/staff/faculty during the height of the “flu season.” This window also gives us time to deep clean our school and monitor the local and national progress in the fight against COVID-19 Along with this modified calendar, we are taking measures “within our halls” to safeguard our students/staff/faculty against the spread of COVID-19. These measures include: 1) Placing automated hand sanitizing stands/dispensers in every classroom and high traffic areas throughout the school. 2) Practicing and teaching good hygiene principles regularly, including handwashing for 20+ seconds. 3) The hiring of an upper school (MS/HS) and lower school (Ele/Primary) nurse(s). 4) Temperature checks for every student at the beginning of the school day, as they enter the building, using touchless infrared thermometers. Students with a temperature of 100.4° or higher will be sent home. 5) Though wearing a mask will not be mandatory, it is an option for those students/staff/faculty who desire to wear one. Grace Prep will have masks on hand at school for those who chose to wear them. 6) Where possible, we will practice social distancing guidelines; this includes creative spacing measures at extra-circular events, recess, and lunchtime. As you can see, we are doing everything within our reach to provide a safe learning environment for our students/staff/faculty. We understand the importance of face-to-face learning, and we know that you long to be on campus. We long to see you! At the same time, we are responsible for providing a safe learning environment, and we will do that at any cost. I pray that you find these measures both reasonable and practical as we navigate these odd and trying times. Thank you for supporting our school. Be well and stay safe.
Lion Nation, Last week the Governor of Texas closed schools for the remainder of the 2019/20 school year. In these unprecedented times, I understand how it is he came to his decision. Respecting human life, especially the life of our children and elderly, has been of the utmost importance during these times, and Grace Prep has gladly followed the lead of our civil authorities. These uncharted waters have caused us to adapt and overcome many new and unforeseen obstacles. Thank you for your patience and flexibility. Your faithfulness to our school has been overwhelming; it is because of your support and love that we will make it through to the other side of this pandemic. I am confident that we will come out stronger in the end. Moving forward, I want to begin to bring closure to the 2019/20 school year. Below are some details and dates that you need to be aware of. This information will help guide you through the next few weeks and prepare you for the 2020/21 school year. Because of the diligence and thoughtfulness of our staff and faculty, you will be pleased to know the majority of content has been taught to your child(ren) this year. Though we will miss days of fun, such as field day, field trips, class parties, and other activities, your child has received the best academic instruction possible in light of our circumstances. This diligence has allowed us to establish the following schedule: May 1, 2020 – Last Day of Class for our Elementary and Primary Students May 1, 2020 – Last Day of Course Work for our Junior High and High School Students May 4-8, 2020 – Finals Week Schedule: (7th-12th Grade) Monday, May 4 – History Tuesday, May 5 – English Wednesday, May 6 – Science Thursday, May 7 – Math Friday, May 8 – Foreign Language **There will be no final exams in elective classes.** May 8, 2020 – Final Bell for Seniors @ 1PM @ Grace Prep (more information to come) May 11-21, 2020 – AP Tests (instruction will continue for AP classes- more info to come). June 19, 2020 – Graduation Ceremony (more information to come) July 16, 2020 – Junior/Senior Prom at Bass Hall (more information to come) ** We are still hoping for a senior trip early summer ** I want you to have an enjoyable summer, one of less quarantine and more sunshine! I hope to see you soon, long before August 2020! We have many events and activities planned for this summer, leading us into the next school year, I pray that they become a reality! Again, thank you for your faithfulness and love. Those things are very much reciprocated, as we miss and love you and your child very much. Be well and stay safe, C. Harper
Friends, This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered schools to remain closed until May 4, 2020. Grace Prep will follow the Governor’s orders. This means that we will continue utilizing our distance learning platform for the foreseeable future. It is VERY likely that we will finish the semester online, but we will make that decision when we have more information. Our intention is to have our graduation ceremony on May 15, 2020, as well as have a Jr/Sr Prom and Senior Trip in June 2020. If we must postpone graduation we will, but we are committed to having a physical graduation in order to honor those families that have completed their Grace Prep education. There is much uncertainty and anxiousness about the days ahead. In light off that, I would like to share an article that I read this week. Alasdair Groves, the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation wrote this and I found it to be a great encouragement. In sharing this with you, I hope you’ll be comforted as well… “The COVID-19 coronavirus provides us with an opportunity to think about how we respond to anxiety. Specifically, I want to think about how we can handle the particular strain of anxiety that comes when we are waiting for a threat that is gliding toward us, its fin visible above the surface. Thankfully, Scripture knows the fear of impending danger intimately and speaks to it repeatedly. So let’s seize this occasion to refresh our collective memory on how Scripture navigates this particular eddy within the larger current of anxiety. What is our comfort when a significant threat looms but has not yet begun to erode the shore in earnest? Let’s look at an unfamiliar portion of a familiar Old Testament passage to get our minds moving in the right direction. After they left Egypt, the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness for decades. When they finally arrived on the doorstep of the promised land, they faced one last obstacle to entry: the Jordan River. You know how the story goes. The priests carry the ark into the river and, once their feet get wet, the waters part and the people walk through on dry ground. God repeats the miraculous provision of deliverance their parents had experienced a generation earlier at the Red Sea. What we can easily miss is a little detail in the first two verses of Joshua chapter 3, and it’s this: the people had to camp and wait at the river’s edge for three days (3:2). Without knowing what was coming next or how they would cross. What’s it like to sit in your tent watching a river at flood stage churning by (3:15)? What’s it like to watch your children playing outside, knowing that they are going to have to somehow cross this engorged river, dark with flood-stirred sediment? What’s it like to look at your sheep, donkeys, and the precious heirlooms you carried all the way from Egypt that represent your life…
Families, after prayerful consideration, our school leadership has decided to continue with our online distance learning platform and will not re-open our campus on April 6, 2020. At this time we do not know when classes, on campus, will resume. The situation is very fluid and we are looking to local, city, and state officials for guidance and support. When health officials determine it is safe to resume school (in-person), we will reach out to you with a date. With this announcement, we are disheartened to say that our Spring Musical is canceled and will not be rescheduled. This announcement also affects our Junior/Senior Prom, which is now canceled (April 25) but will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Also, we are currently looking at creative ways to host our Academic Awards Ceremony that is both safe and honoring to our students and families. Please know, the safety of your child is of the utmost importance to us. Though we desire to be near them and educate them in person, we cannot, in good conscience, do that at this time. While this situation has led to more “family time” than normal, we are thankful that our “partnering with parents” commitment lets our families handle it well. We pray that, though unexpected, this will be a time of growth and bonding. We are thanking God for your patience and understanding as our school and country traverse this unprecedented time. Be well and let your light shine, C. Harper
Family, today at noon, Governor Greg Abbot closed all Texas schools through April 3, 2020. Grace Prep, of course, will honor the Governor’s decree and will continue online learning/education through April 3, 2020. After April 3, we hope our situation improves to the point where we can gather again. Terra Nova testing is canceled and will not be rescheduled. Allow me to leave you with this today… earlier I received a note from one of my seminary professors, Mark Bailey, who happens to be the President of Dallas Theological Seminary. In the note, Dr. Bailey wrote; “Christopher, I would like to lead us to one of my favorite passages for times of crisis – Psalm 145. The Psalmist exhorts us to direct our attention and that of future generations to praise God. The call to praise (1–7) reminds us of our privileged response for each day and all eternity. Three clusters form the content of such praise: God’s character and kingdom (8–13); His care and kindness (14-16); and His compassion and keeping (17–21). Each segment is pregnant with meaningful truths about God’s character, His works, and what He expects in our responses. The wonder-filled attributes of God that are highlighted include His greatness, goodness, righteousness, grace, mercy, kindness, faithfulness, power, sovereignty, and generosity. His wonderful works show that He is a ruling, sustaining, raising, rescuing, providing, satisfying, responding, fulfilling, and attentively hearing kind of God. The attributes show the perfection of His character, and His actions show He is always present in the midst of our real-life circumstances. He will never act inconsistently with His character. Therefore, not only is He worthy of our trust but deserves our wholehearted worship as well. How would He want us to respond to this pandemic? Underline these words in the text and internalize them in your thinking. From verses 4–7 we see God wants us to praise Him in our communication, meditation, proclamation, celebration, and even the lyrics of our “singsperation.” Please join me in praying for the rapid containment of this threatening virus, which challenges the health and well-being of our world. And as God’s people, let us think from a biblical worldview and act in ways that bring witness to our great God who has shown us this better way.” Be well today, and I hope to see you soon, – C. Harper
Friends, this week, Tuesday 3/17 and Wednesday 3/18, from 10AM – 1PM, we ask, if need be, you come by campus and get what you need from your locker so that you’re equipped for online classes beginning 3/23. Our campus will be closed to families after Wednesday at 1PM. Middle to late this week you’ll receive instructions concerning online classes and how to prepare for those. More info to come. Once again, thanks for your patience and understanding. As we continue to monitor the regional and national situation, we very much hope to be back on campus in two weeks. Be well, C. Harper
This morning I listened as John Piper expound this truth from the book of Isaiah. I find comfort in knowing, “Nothing, absolutely nothing, befalls those “who love God” and “are called according to his purpose” but what is for our deepest and highest and longest good (Romans 8:28; Psalm 84:11). I hope you and you’re fmaily are well this morning. “ . . . declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” (Isaiah 46:10) The word “sovereignty” (like the word “Trinity”) does not occur in the Bible. We use it to refer to this truth: God is in ultimate control of the world from the largest international intrigue to the smallest bird-fall in the forest. Here is how the Bible puts it: “I am God, and there is no other. . . . ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Isaiah 46:9–10). And: “[God] does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:35). And: “He is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me” (Job 23:13–14). And: “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). One reason this doctrine is so precious to believers is that we know that God’s great desire is to show mercy and kindness to those who trust him (Ephesians 2:7; Psalm 37:3–7; Proverbs 29:25). God’s sovereignty means that this design for us cannot be frustrated. It cannot fail. Nothing, absolutely nothing, befalls those “who love God” and “are called according to his purpose” but what is for our deepest and highest and longest good (Romans 8:28; Psalm 84:11). This is why I like to say that the mercy and the sovereignty of God are the twin pillars of my life. They are the hope of my future, the energy of my service, the center of my theology, the bond of my marriage, the best medicine in all my sicknesses, the remedy of all my discouragements. And when I come to die (whether sooner or later), these two truths will stand by my bed, and with infinitely strong and infinitely tender hands lift me up to God.
A message from TAPPS, the Texas Athletic Asociation of Private and Parochial Schools: After much consideration and evaluation, the TAPPS Executive Board determined the following in regard to interscholastic competition in the near term. Games / Contests TAPPS is suspending all interscholastic competition through April 12, 2020. This action will take us through the Easter Break. If your teams are in competition today they may conclude today’s (March 13) activities. If it is deemed safe at that time to resume participation, we will have developed a plan for championship competition for each activity, given the constraints of scheduling and available facilities. Practice If your school is in session, then it will be left to local discretion on whether teams may practice. If your school has closed campus (which includes online or digital classes), then practice is not allowed. Athletic Activities The suspension shall be in place for those activities governed by the organization and includes Baseball Golf Softball Tennis Track Fine Art Activities As a result of the suspension, the following fine art activities will have the method of competition amended to allow for the competition to move forward without the exposure of large crowds or numbers of participants. Music – Solo and Small Ensemble Music – Medium and Large Ensemble Academics Speech/LD Debate Art Robotics
Families, on March 23, 2020, Grace Prep will resume classes ONLINE. Within the next week, your child’s teacher will be reaching out to you to help define the process. I encourage you to work hand in hand with your child’s teacher so that, academically, we can make the best of the time that we have. All extracurricular activities remain canceled. Also, Prom has been moved to April 25, 2020, and our Spring Musical will now have one performance, April 24, 2020. Our intentions are to be back on campus, in the classroom, the week of March 30, 2020. Be on the lookout for more information early next week. Be well, C. Harper