President’s Blog featuring insight from GRACE President Kimberly Desotell:

August 28, 2020: First Week of School

I am a bit overwhelmed by the vibrant strength and character of our GRACE family community.

The outpouring of support and commitment to our schools during this time of challenge as we begin an unprecedented year has been nothing short of remarkable. We have received so many messages of gratitude and generosity that encourage and affirm our decision to open our schools face to face this fall. The positive feedback directly to our teachers and principals spur a further momentum for the continued hard work.

As we began this year, there were so many uncertainties. However, this I know …

  • Our GRACE families deeply care about our schools and even during this time, they want to be in community together.
  • Our GRACE teachers are proud and highly committed to their vocation of teaching in our Catholic schools.
  • Our support staff comprised of aides, office workers, lunchroom staff, bus drivers, playground supervisors and so many others join in our efforts to place children first for each and every decision made.
  • We will be stronger together once we are able to look at this challenging time in the “rearview mirror.”

Thank you all for your continued support. Please continue the encouragement in every small and large way. Please know I feel privileged to lead GRACE schools each and every day.

June 12, 2020: Commitment to Social Justice

In our GRACE community and within our churches, we are compelled to reflect upon issues related to racism as this aligns with our deep commitment to social justice. Please know I am initiating dialogue with internal and external stakeholders related to our commitment to diversity and actions within our schools related to inclusion. If you have thoughts or ideas, or wish to share your viewpoints or experiences as a GRACE stakeholder, I would invite you to contact me directly at kdesotell@gracesystem.org. I would offer the opportunity to have a phone conversation, set up an online meeting or meet in person to discuss these vital topics with you. I feel an initial step is to embark upon needed personal and professional reflection related to diversity so that we can maintain our important responsibility to genuine Catholic Social Teaching and overall fairness and equity. Again, I welcome having you reach out to contact me.

February 29, 2020: Unique Learners

Today’s GRACE Facebook post showcases the only student in our system who has a birthday on Leap Day — how special! The posting is symbolic of the way in which we honor what is special about each learner in our nine schools. If you ask a GRACE teacher, they can certainly share unique aspects of every single student. They get to know their personality, experiences, emotions and gifts as a means to personalize learning. They will tell you all of our students are one of a kind! So here’s to what makes us all unique and to the manner in which we celebrate this throughout our classrooms. And Happy Leap Day Birthday to James from Holy Family Catholic School!

January 10, 2020: The Start of a New Year

Please click HERE to see a video featuring GRACE President Kimberly Desotell welcoming the start of 2020.

August 27, 2019: First Day of School

Welcome to the first day of school! As tradition holds, I visit each of our nine GRACE Schools on the first day. I present a spiritual or prayer book to the principal to help them serve in their role as spiritual leader of the school. It is a rewarding and joyous visit to all sites.

Today, I witnessed so much beauty inside our GRACE Schools. Here are a few “first day moments” I was fortunate to see:

  • A principal on the playground making sure each new student feels a part of the school and makes friends
  • A parent shared that their sixth-grader proclaimed, “I’m glad to be back because I love learning”
  • A principal using a handheld device to operate the school bells and PA system
  • Two twins had matching, sparkling, new school shoes
  • A brief Family Feud game for middle school students to get to know new teachers and staff (for the record, the students won the game!)
  • Chicken nuggets for lunch — a fan favorite of all students
  • Three parents I now call the “Coffee Brigade” served coffee to teachers from a rolling cart down the hallway
  • One student guessed correctly how many GRACE students we have this year — over 2, 220! (we have 2, 224 students, marking our fifth straight year of enrollment growth for GRACE)

The first day of school proved our students are ready to learn, eager to return to the safe and loving environments provided in our GRACE Schools, and they rejoice at seeing familiar faces and friends.

As I parted each classroom today, I shared two pieces of simple advice — work hard and pray hard. I invite all of our GRACE stakeholders and friends to join together on our shared journey to work hard, play hard and make it a great year ahead!