Grace Elementary School
Grace Elementary School
A private school in Tyler, Texas, that takes seriously the statement that “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!'”
GCS Elementary School
Educating from a Christian Worldview
It is exciting to share the great opportunities and experiences that the Lord provides here at Grace Community Elementary School! We conscientiously plan avenues for our students to grow in the same ways that Jesus grew, as described in Luke 2:52 – “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Daily recess, PE classes, and age-appropriate classroom environments and activities nurture the physical growth of our students. Growth in wisdom is fostered through our academics, daily Bible lessons, and weekly chapels. As children respond to the teaching of biblical character qualities and values, they grow in “others-centeredness” and as peacemakers and caretakers, thus growing in favor with God and man. We are ever mindful of the developmental stages of children in junior kindergarten through 5th grade and the various needs of learners, who are all image-bearers of God. The grade-level highlights, below, will give you a snapshot of our program for each grade. It is, however, simply a snapshot. Please join us for a tour; we look forward to sharing what the Lord has done and is doing at Grace Community School!
Grade Level Highlights
Our Junior Kindergarten program introduces students to school by engaging them in learning activities full of action and fun! From social skills to beginning reading skills our students experience a curriculum that is rich and age-appropriate. It includes phonemic awareness, number sense, and perceptual and motor skills that all prepare a child to succeed in school. Our students enjoy snack and play time, as well as Spanish, art, and music classes. Junior Kindergarteners enjoy many activities in the “Center Room.” Children rotate among dramatic play, creative art, building, and number or letter exploration centers. It is precious to hear God’s word coming from the hearts and mouths of our Junior Kindergartners; they commit many Bible verses to memory and learn about Bible characters from both the Old and New Testaments. In Junior Kindergarten, we have many “special days” that enhance our learning including the Noah’s Ark dress-up Parade, Ties and Tutus Day (learning the letter T), Crazy Hair Day (learning the letter C), Bread-making Day (learning the letter B) and the infamous Thanksgiving Feast, to name a few. To see learning in action, visit a Junior Kindergarten classroom today! Grace offers half day or full day classes and you may enroll for two, three or five days per week.
Kindergartners attend school five days a week starting their mornings with Bible time, which includes prayer and singing! These students memorize a Bible verse for every letter of the alphabet and study the lives of the Old Testament patriarchs and the life of Jesus. The curriculum focuses on developing more complex phonemic awareness and motor skills, reading, numbers, and cursive writing.
Definite highlights of the afternoon are the learning centers and group activities that focus on thematic units. Snack time and recess are a part of every day in Kindergarten. Students also enjoy attending classes in computer, library, art, music, P.E., and Spanish each week.
Although there are many highlights in Kindergarten, there is one that stands tall; each child is honored for a week as the “Special Kid.” Parents and family members are invited and encouraged to share in this exciting week. The fun continues with the Annual Kindergarten Talent Show, Donuts with Dads, Cocoa and Cookies with Moms, the Thanksgiving Feast and the oh-so-precious Graduation ceremony. Grace offers half day or full day classes.
First graders are eager learners and advance quickly in reading, cursive writing, and arithmetic using the A Beka curriculum. Foundations and Frameworks is the program that Grace uses to build comprehension skills and to teach vocabulary. In this program, students learn and practice specific reading comprehension and thinking skills through literature. First graders begin the year introduced to the genres of Fairy Tale, Fable and Moral, Tall Tale, Fantasy, and Biography. Then, the students progress into learning Referential Representations, Sequence of Events, and Retelling. The year ends with focus on Character (Story Elements), Story Structure, and Cause and Effect. Two recesses and a morning snack give these young children opportunity for movement and unstructured playtime during the very busy school day. First grade highlights include the production of Little Bo Peep for the entire school and community, Rodeo Day, visiting performances by Tyler Junior College’s Fairy Tale Theater and the Thanksgiving Feast. A weekly highlight includes time spent listening and reading to their fifth grade Reading Buddy.
Grace second graders are focused on mastery in phonics skills, addition and subtraction math facts and cursive handwriting. Students begin reading literature to practice fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills with Foundation and Frameworks as well as beginning Accelerated Reader for frequency of reading practice. A favorite second grade unit of study revolves around the book, Nate the Great. Because Nate loves pancakes, the second graders have a pancake feast to end this unit on sequence! Every second grade class prepares their very own program to present at chapel and loves participating in the Christmas musical. Grace second grader students participate in the ASCI Speech Meet learning to memorize and speak in front of others. Another highlight includes a trip back in time to Edgewood Historical Park.
Third graders at Grace experience a step-up in responsibility and academic content. Skills taught through Foundations and Frameworks include: sequence of events, settings, summarization, main idea/supporting details, cause and effect, character, plot, and author’s purpose. Other graded subjects are math, spelling, and grammar. You can find third graders working on the SMART board and in small groups to master the subjects taught. Although science and history are upgraded in third grade, students gain depth in understanding the world around them and how God uses believers and nonbelievers alike to carry out His purposes. This concept comes to life when they present the American History Hall of Fame program based on biographies read throughout the year. The students research, write, and give a speech as their historical figure of choice in full costume. Other highlights include ACSI competitions in speech, math and spelling, reading Pilgrim’s Progress, a zoo trip for a fact hunt, memorizing all of Hebrews 11, and the annual Christmas musical presented to the entire school and community.
Fourth graders continue to grow in responsibility, organizational skills, and independence with history and science becoming graded subjects. Students develop presentation skills by participating in a weekly public speaking activity fashioned after Toastmasters and in presenting their own class chapel program including the annual Veteran’s Day chapel. Many projects enhance their academic instruction including the Adopt A Tree project, Colonial Apprenticeships, Flat Stanley, the George Washington Carver essay project, the Texas Notebook, the Marine Animal poster, and the Spring concert where students play their recorders. Field trips include a visit to Tyler’s Rose Garden, Christmas caroling at area nursing homes, and a trip to hear the East Texas Symphony Orchestra. The fourth grader is full of activities that foster learning as well as a true sense of independence.
Fifth grade is a transition year for Grace students. A block schedule allows them to change classes, have lockers, and adjust to more than one main teacher. This fosters independence, awareness of others, responsibility, study skills, and an introduction to the Humanities approach. Students memorize the important American documents, which are started in the fourth grade, as well as 69 of the capitals and countries from the Eastern Hemisphere. The students also map the continents of the world and begin the study of Latin. Fifth graders apply to be Servant Leaders to help with flags, assist in the library, greet families in the mornings and help care for the facilities. This fast-paced year includes mammal projects, the Living Wax Museum, the Medieval Feast, the World’s Fair project, puppetry, chapel skits, the Spring Concert, and trips to the Kilgore Oil Museum and the Outdoor Education program at Pine Cove. Fifth graders compete in ACSI meets in speech, spelling, and math. A weekly highlight for fifth grader is paired with a first grader, their reading buddy, and they take turns listening and reading to each other. We cannot tell which students love this more – the first graders or the fifth graders!
GCS Elementary News
I was reading an article in the May 4th edition of the Wall Street Journal entitled, “A Surprising Way to Stay Resilient.” In the article, Elizabeth Bernstein shared that one miracle technique, more than any other, fortified the “psychological immune system,” a...
GCS students placed 2nd in TAPPS Documentary Category for "Moby Dick the Musical the Documentary." The documentary was directed and edited by Aaron Caskey, Alexis Evans, Aidan Stinson, and Drew Roark. This 2020 TAPPS Documentary Submission was a two-year effort in...
GCS Fine Arts Teacher, Katie Ritcheson, shares the results from the TAPPS film contest. GCS students placed 1st, 2nd, and 4th. https://youtu.be/i61TnrWcf4o "A Winter Night in the City" won 1st place in TAPPS Narrative Category, to watch click here. "Moby Dick the...
Meet Our Team
Jennifer serves as elementary principal. Before becoming the elementary principal, she was the elementary assistant principal and a junior kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade teacher. Jennifer earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University and her master’s degree from Centenary College of Louisiana. After teaching for five years in public schools in Louisiana, Jennifer joined the Grace Community staff in 1996. She and her husband, Jeff, have two sons. Jody attends Grace High School and Justin graduated from GCS in 2012. The Doziers are members of Green Acres Baptist Church. Jennifer enjoys Jazzercise, reading, and all sorts of crafts.
Lisa began teaching in 1989 after graduating from Texas A&M University with a bachelor of science degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She taught music and kindergarten in public school for six years before joining Grace Community School in 1996 as an elementary music teacher. After completing her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Covenant College, she began serving as assistant principal at the elementary campus. Lisa and her husband, David, have two grown children who graduated from Grace in 2010 and 2013. In addition to working at GCS, Lisa and David serve at Grace Community Church, where Lisa plays the piano in the worship band while David works with the Grace Kids Ministry.