Greetings GRACE Families and Friends,
Over the 12 years that GRACE has existed as a system, we have found ways to become stronger together while continuing to celebrate the uniqueness of each of our communities. As I finish my first year as Superintendent and my seventh year with GRACE, I am amazed at the beauty and uniqueness of each school. Each community comes together in a unique way to serve children, create a Christian community for families, and live our Catholic faith. The gift of serving all our schools allows me to see the beauty and diversity of our Green Bay Catholic community.
In addition to faith and families, GRACE values high-quality education. One way we ensure this is through learning assessment tools. These tools hold us accountable and allow us to respond individually to each student. Our school leaders use the results to plan professional development and make curricular choices. Most importantly, our teachers look at the results of tests and quizzes and use them to adjust how they teach. One standardized assessment that we use is the Fountas and Pinnell Assessment. K-5 teachers administer this assessment by sitting individually with each child and reading with them. This standardized process determines reading levels to help students read and learn with books that fit their skills.
Over the past several years, the Diocese of Green Bay required the use of the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress Assessment (MAP tests). We will be ending the use of this assessment along with the rest of the Diocese of Green Bay and begin using the Star Assessment. The Star Assessment tests reading and math. This tool was selected in part because the tests are short, accurate, and the assessment data is efficiently accessible by our teachers to adjust instruction for each child. This test also better aligns with our Catholic faith in our schools.
This year, one of our biggest curriculum changes was using Project Lead the Way Launch, a hands-on science curriculum discussed elsewhere in this newsletter by our Director of Curriculum, Laura Blicharz. In the program, students begin each unit by learning about an area of science and then using that knowledge to solve problems through hands-on experimentation and design work. In addition to this work, we spent time with our teachers learning about how faith and science are interconnected and how to share these natural connections in the classroom.
GRACE also made great strides in technology this year. We are updating our long-term plans and strategy to remain low-cost and highly effective. This summer, projects are underway to increase the safety and security of our online environment. Our Technology Services Team continues to provide consistent and high-quality service to our teachers and students.
First and foremost, what makes Catholic education different is sharing the very person and love of Jesus with our teachers and students. It is also the way teachers seek to instill traditional Catholic values in our curriculum, handle problems on the playground with Catholic morals, and the way all staff helps each child learn to love one another. Our faith informs the decisions we make with our purchases of books, our Internet security, and every other decision. Most importantly, we point to our faith as the reason we treat students and families with love and respect.
The Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System consists of nine schools. We focus on the development of each student grounded in our foundation of Catholic faith for grades PK3-10.
Our mission continues to evolve in these unique times as we embrace new technologies, deliver innovative teaching and learning strategies, and hire exceptional faculty and staff dedicated to the vocation of education. Our current GRACE Strategic Plan outlines action steps in the areas of faith, academics, vitality and experience that have assisted us to enjoy enrollment growth over the past five years.
Please know you are always welcome to visit our schools to learn more about our offerings and the culture that makes each of our GRACE schools unique. The rewards of a Catholic education are endless. The gift of a Catholic education prepares your child and will remain with them throughout their life. Learn more about us here.