Grace and Hope Academy and our Parents: A Partnership
Grace and Hope Academy is a “covenant model” school. We affirm that a child’s academic and Christian education is primarily the responsibility of the parent/guardian. The faculty and staff of Grace and Hope serve as delegated authority figures. As a covenant model school, one or both parents must be professing Christians, willing to sign the covenant contract for parents, and be actively involved in a local church.
The Academy Mission
The Bible says “a cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). At Grace and Hope, we believe that a strong program in biblical, character and academic training will be most successful through the collaborative work of the Holy Spirit, parents and a Christ-centered school. Working together, we will provide support, encouragement, and structure for each student.
At Grace and Hope Academy, we enroll families. Parent, guardians and grandparents are every child’s first teachers. They play a vital role in a child’s emotional and spiritual development, which can not be mimicked or denied. Because of the integral nature of the parental role, parents and guardians are required to enter into a “covenant”, or partnership with the Academy. A covenant is an agreement by which we affirm our partnership and clarify our expectations. This agreement is known as our Parent-Academy Covenant. In what follows we describe the details of this partnership.
Grace and Hope Academy
We welcome informal communications between staff and parents. Feel free to call or to e-mail for updates at any time. We will try to return calls and e-mails within 24 hours. Our head of school is available and open to communication from parents and families.
The quid pro quo of the partnership with parents is that we expect our parents to treat our teachers as professionals who know what to teach and how to teach, just as we expect our teachers to treat parents as experts about their own children, experts who have something crucial to contribute in our work with the students.
Engage your child in conversations around events that have moral overtones. Encourage participation in events that promote high standards (e.g., service) and actively discourage participation in events that can lead to immoral, unwise, or illegal behavior (e.g., do not permit children to have unsupervised parties or to partake in drug, alcohol, or tobacco use). Do not fear opposing bad choices, even if you made them yourself in your youth. Admit you were immature when you made the bad choice. Help your child to capitalize upon successes, and even more importantly, to learn from setbacks and failures as a part of life. Attempting to cover up mistakes on the part of your child is a disservice to your child and to the school.
Discord Between Students and Families
Matthew 18:15 describes the manner through which Christians should resolve grievances with one another. Students, staff and families of Grace and Hope Academy are expected to follow the following resolution model:
- Pray about the situation, pray for wisdom, love and a peaceful heart, and pray for the other party(ies).
- Go to the other party. Ask to schedule a time when a discussion can be held.
- Pray at the beginning of the discussion.
- Endeavor to seek a resolution and peace. Be open to a resolution different from what you might initially desire.
- Do not go seeking a specific resolution.
- Clearly and concisely, with humility and gentleness, address your issues.
- Be open to listen as much as, and even more than you speak.
- Seek a resolution that meets the needs of both parties.
Academic or disciplinary difficulties
If a student begins to demonstrate academic difficulty, the teacher or administrator will schedule a meeting, to be attended by the parent(s)/guardian(s), student and academic leaders. During this meeting the group will seek to determine the causes for academic difficulties and to adjust the curriculum expectations and objectives as necessary. The head of school is the duly appointed authority and final decision maker for curriculum decisions.
Schole’ “restful” learning
At Grace and Hope, we adhere to the schole’ learning philosophy, which promotes:
- restful learning through a peaceful and tranquil environment
- learning through methods and media that students find enjoyable, fascinating and fun
- learning at a slow, comfortable and unrushed pace
- personal growth through self-reflection and honest self-examination
- deep engagement with books and immersion in concepts so that learning is permanent
- study and practice of the arts
- personal and sincere connections with others
- study of scriptures and development of an intimate relationship with Christ
- self-directed learning which promotes committed investigation into new concepts and ideas
- a safe and secure learning environment that emphasizes trust and integrity
In order to construct this type of learning environment, students, parents and staff must be committed to respecting the school community’s right to experience schole’. Intentional disruptions will result in consequences. Each student is expected to demonstrate their desire to be a student at Grace and Hope Academy through their consistent effort toward a schole’ environment. Student’s whose behavior demonstrate a lack of desire to be a student may be asked to withdraw. Parents are strongly urged to consider their student’s ability to contribute to a successful schole’ learning environment before applying.
The head of school will inform parents at the earliest appropriate juncture about any disciplinary event and its consequences. Students may be accompanied by their teachers to any disciplinary proceeding or conversation (but may not be represented by parents or legal counsel). If the event is serious enough, a 3-way conference with the parent and child and school authorities may be required. The school handles these situations in loco parentis, attempting to balance consistent discipline within the school with the needs of the individual child.
Grace and Hope Academy does not condone abusive language or bullying, nor will we allow violence of any kind. It is our educational philosophy that we must train Christian character through every encounter, lesson and experience. Students must feel safe to develop to their fullest potential, so therefore, we must provide a safe and secure learning environment. In addition, as Christ admonished his followers to “turn the other cheek”, Christians are called to refrain from violence. We understand the desire to protect our children that leads so many to advise their child to “hit back”. However, we believe that a childhood in which this philosophy is lived out prepares us poorly to carryout the will of Christ that leads us to refrain from angry and volatile actions. Therefore, we have enacted a policy through which any student participating in verbally abusive or physical infractions may face suspension and expulsion consequences. We advise parents to discuss the serious nature of these actions and strongly encourage students to immediately report any violence acted out toward them or any other student.
Parents who fail to be civil and/or become disruptive in their relationships with the school place that relationship in jeopardy. Disruptions on the part of students or family members may result in student withdrawal.
The Structure of Grace and Hope Academy
It is the responsibility of parents to understand the structure of Grace and Hope Academy and its board of directors. As an independent school, Grace and Hope Academy is governed by a self-perpetuating board of directors, whose job it is to secure the future of the school. It does so by setting basic policies, hiring, supporting, and evaluating the head of school, undertaking strategic planning, evaluating the performance of the school, and leading in financial support of the school. The board entrusts all the daily operations of the school to the head of school, who supervises and evaluates all programs and personnel and is the final arbiter of any disputes that may arise, including those of parent issues or student disciplinary issues. The board does not sit in review of administrative decisions, so the head of school is the court of last resort for any problem. For matters large and small, the proper channel to raise an issue or register a complaint is to go the most direct level first i.e., to the teacher, or staff member most closely related to the issue and capable of addressing it. If not satisfied at that juncture, a parent should seek out the next level (lead teacher or staff). If all else fails, one should then go to the head of school. We also invite parents to contact any staff member for quick responses to questions or needs. We suggest avoiding the assumption that what you hear from your child, or in the parking lot, is a completely accurate rendition of any event.
Financial responsibilities of parents
It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that tuition payments are made in a timely manner. However, it is also important that parents commit to the annual giving, fundraisers, and capital campaigns. We also accept in-kind gifts of time, service, materials, equipment, or whatever else they may be able to offer. While contributions to the annual fund and fundraisers are not mandatory, they are crucial for an independent school. It costs the school thousands of dollars more than we charge in tuition to educate each child, and therefore we are absolutely dependent upon the generosity of parents and patrons to make up that difference. Please be respectful and responsive when you are called upon for a gift. Additionally, the fundraisers are major events for our school. We need parent volunteers to help us plan and orchestrate these events and all parents to participate. You will find that these evenings are entertaining and spirited.
If we work together with honesty, respect and sincerity, it will benefit the student and all parties involved. Children prosper when the people who care for them are united. We look forward to working with you.
I/We have read and understand the agreements contained in the Parent/School Covenant
Grace and Hope Academy Faculty and Staff
As the duly appointed educational representatives to whom parents have delegated reasonable and appropriate authority we hereby commit to:
- providing a high quality education
- upholding the standards of our mission and purpose
- modeling and teaching responsibility, respect, discipline, integrity, cooperation and love
- growing through continuing professional development and christian education
- striving to be an example of professionalism
- keeping you informed of your child’s progress in all areas.
- providing written reports each term.
- giving midterm reports and early warning notices as needed
- contacting you promptly if your son/daughter is having academic or disciplinary difficulties
- providing the building blocks of support, encouragement and structure
- upholding the values and ideals stated in our mission statement
- consistently instruct students to carry out the biblically mandated resolution process in an effort to help develop strong character, self-respect and respect for others.
- assisting students who are having academic difficulties and to keep parents informed.
- investigating disciplinary infractions thoroughly and adjudicating fairly.
Parents of Enrolled Students
By enrolling my child at Grace and Hope Academy, I/we, the parent(s) of _____________________________________________ agree to:
- read, understand, and endorse school mission and policies
- work with staff and faculty to fulfill the mission and purpose
- read the student and parent handbook and discuss the philosophy and policies contained in it with my child
- maintain regular contact with the faculty and staff
- show my support and encouragement by participation in school activities and attendance at school events, especially those in which my child has a role to play
- treat all grace and hope academy staff with respect
- model integrity and civility, listening, supervising, and supporting consequences for dubious behavior
- periodically assess the extent to which i am giving my child the three foundations of encouragement, support and structure
- be a role model when it comes to honesty and civil behavior at all times, but especially in behavior towards others at the school, on the sidelines at athletic events, and in conversations with and about the adults at school
- instruct and encourage students to resolve difficulties with peers in this manner by practicing at home, and modeling the process when resolving conflict with other parents, teachers and staff at Grace and Hope Academy
- approach other parents using the resolution process outlined above, when necessary. If a resolution can not be found, parents are welcome to schedule a meeting with the head of school
- trust that Grace and Hope Academy will respond to academic and disciplinary problems fairly and appropriately. They will support the policies and decisions of the school.
- make timely payments.
Parent Signature: Date:
Parent Signature Date
Head of School Signature: Date: