Eagle Notes – From Our Head of School

September 2017

Dear ACA families,

As I begin this letter, I realize we are only three months away from Christmas.  The Bible has a lot to say about the quick passing of time.  We are wise to cherish the time we have with our friends, children, and family.  At ACA, we love and value the time we have with our students. We are entrusted with teaching and partnering with you, the parents, in helping to raise young people with the moral values, wisdom, skills, passions, and memories that will last a lifetime.  The month of September was another month of memories and exciting learning opportunities at ACA.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Mrs. Jacob’s asked her Kindergarten class their favorite activities during the month of September….and these were some of the responses: “I love to play Giant Step.  The teacher asks me a question, and then I take a giant step!”, “I like learning how to make letters.”, “I like singing our calendar songs like Days of the Week, Months of the Year, and the Seasons song…..and the Color song!”, “We learned about the directions, North, East, South and West and learned a funny song.  Then we learned how to say Never Eat Soggy Waffles to remember North, East, South and West.”, and “I LOVED going on the treasure hunt and FINDING TREASURE!!”
  • Mrs. Williams’ first grade continues to work on cursive writing. It is still the favorite!  By the end of September, the students will have learned ALL of the lower case letters of the alphabet.  We love that our kids learn cursive writing at ACA.  This may well be a lost art with so many in the future.  Students also love doing Spelling City on the iPads and playing classroom games like Sparkle. DOT DAY was also a highlight.
  • Mrs. Troke’s second grade enjoyed celebrating Mrs. Honea’s birthday.  They also enjoyed having their room transformed in order to be used for a commercial and learning that it takes so many people and equipment to make one 30 second commercial!  It was fascinating!   The class scarecrow is Pirates of the Comedian with pirate puns and jokes sent in by the students.  Academically, the class finished our first Social Studies unit, Governing Our People”.  
  • Mrs. Seebohm’s third graders really enjoyed their field trip to City Hall in Alpharetta! They met Mayor David Belle Isle who explained about his job and all of the wonderful projects going on in our community. The students enjoyed going inside of a SWAT truck and learning about Alpharetta’s amazing SWAT team. Their favorite was Mattis, the K-9 Unit police dog, who performed tactical maneuvers on apprehending suspects.  Third grade also received a visit from their service project, Canine Assistants.  The class is starting to collect donations and planning a visit to the Canine Assistants’ facility.  In Science they learned through a planting activity what a seed needs in order to grow.
  • Mrs. Melton’s fourth grade and fifth grade science classes continue to enjoy a lot of hand’s-on science experiments. Fourth grade had fun making GallonBots to reinforce liquid measurements and doing a Clean Hands vs. Dirty Hands experiment.  Fifth grade Science observed mushroom spores and planted fall vegetables in the fourth and fifth grade class garden.
  • Mrs. Worthy’s fourth and fifth grade highlights included the following:  The fifth grade visited the Apple Store.  Students loved learning about technology. The Will’s Park Service Project was very rewarding.  Fourth and fifth grade enjoyed putting together a soldier scarecrow (a joint effort) to honor our military.  Students also enjoyed creating their own fables and folktales this month.
  • Mrs. Harton has been getting her P.E. classes “READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!!” They are wrapping up a fun football unit and have learned the basics of gripping, passing catching, and, yes, even playing flag football.  In addition, students learned our bodies have more than 600 muscles, and fun facts such as it takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown!  
  • Mrs. Castillo’s highlight for the month in Spanish class has been communication. The older students have been able to speak and practice what they have learned by using those sentences to ask one another questions and receiving and understanding responses.  Students are learning many new words in the younger grades in order to improve our understanding and appreciation of the Spanish language.
  • Mrs. Weaver’s art classes celebrated International Dot Day and the kids did grade level projects to support the book, The Dot, by Peter Reynolds.  Students showcased their creativity in the art room with projects like concentric circles with watercolor on coffee filters,  paper plate radial designs, and circular zentangles to name a few.  “It was a fun day!”.  Mrs. Weaver also wanted to send out a reminder that students come to art every Monday, so please remember to wear navy or dark shirts “in case we get messy.  Smocks are also available for those who forget”.  
  • Mrs. Fowler recently got married and is now Mrs. Cranfill.  Her music classes are so excited to have begun working on the music for the annual Christmas program! The students are looking forward to auditioning for solos and beginning to work on speaking parts. The ACA chorus also began rehearsing this week, and chorus members have started learning songs to sing in chapel.
  • Mrs. Hewett’s computer classes are working hard on keyboarding skills. Kindergarten is doing a fantastic job with the mouse using the app, KidPix. First grade has been learning and practicing the home row keys as they begin their typing journey. Second grade through fifth grade have been reviewing proper typing skills and are constantly striving toward 100% accuracy in Typingclub.com.
  • All of Mrs. Hewett’s media classes are working on media routines and have started checking out books. Classes are reading stories or books relevant to the weekly topic for each grade level.

As I close this month’s newsletter, let me conclude by letting you know what it is that we do at ACA, why we do what we do, and who benefits from what we do.

First, we carry out our mission statement daily to be a Christ-centered and family-oriented ministry dedicated to developing and transforming students for a lifetime of learning, loving, leading, achieving, and serving.  

We value education and the development of the love of learning in our students.  We desire that our students will be equipped to handle the challenges of life, will be prepared academically, and will have a relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Clearly, our students benefit.  They enjoy a safe-learning environment that nurtures and prepares them for the challenges they face.  They have outstanding teachers who desire to help them achieve.  Our teachers strive to develop students  into leaders who will make a difference in their communities and in the world.

As we survey the current state of affairs in our country, it is refreshing to be in an environment of people who love our Lord and each other.  We value education, life, success, and service to others.  We consider it a blessing to be in partnership with you and to serve as a ministry of Alpharetta First Baptist.

Your support and partnership are greatly appreciated.  Many of you have stepped up to help ACA by contributing your time, talents, and money.  Thank you so very much.  As we start our annual campaign for our Eagles Club fund, please know that your investments are making a difference and positively impacting our students and our school.  I would ask that you pray for and continue to support ACA.  It matters.

Also, please pray specifically for Jack Kurowski (security) and his wife.  She is undergoing heart surgery, and I am sure they will appreciate your prayers.  In addition, please pray for Bates (Cass Brannon’s son).  He has been in the hospital with some stomach pain, and the doctors have not been able to figure out the source.

In Christ,

Ray Davis

Head of School

August 2017

Dear ACA family,

As we head into the Labor Day weekend, ACA is well underway having completed four weeks of school.  I remember the days when schools did not go back until after the Labor Day weekend.  That sure seems like a long time ago.  Of course, this year, there are many people, friends, and loved ones who will be trying to recover from the impact of a storm that will be remembered for a longtime to come.  It is with them in mind that I ask you to continue to pray for all the people affected by Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that is devastating homes, businesses, schools, and lives.  It appears the recovery will take a lot of time.

On a more positive note, great things are happening at ACA.  As part of my monthly communication, I like to share the highlights that are taking place in some of our classes, on our campus, and in specific grade levels.  Here are a few of the August highlights (including some direct quotes from the teachers):

  • The ACA annual picnic was a great way to kick off the year.  Thanks to the Eagles Club, we enjoyed Que.  We also enjoyed chips and drinks.  Side dishes and desserts were delicious.  Hamburgers and hotdogs provided by Bay Equity Home Loans were also a welcome treat.  The weather, food, and fellowship were all a blessing.
  • The solar eclipse was incredible.  Thank you for providing feedback that helped us make the best decision for allowing you to enjoy this time with your family.
  • Our first family chapel was a lot of fun with singing, learning moves related to the songs, and learning about “being accountable”. Be sure to look at the calendar for the dates of our family chapels and plan to attend.  Most family chapels are the last Wednesday in the month except for December and May.
  • We had a few visitors on campus that were so impressed with our students being so engaged and interested in the reading from the mystery reader for second grade.  They were also impressed with the penmanship.  The visitors remarked and lamented the loss art of cursive writing in today’s society.
  • Our Academy students wrote letters of appreciation to the public-safety employees of Alpharetta.
  • Kindergarten enjoyed playing games in order “to learn our friends’ names”.  They learned about how God has made us unique by giving us five senses, and learned about our vowel sounds with hand motions.
  • “First Graders are thrilled to be learning cursive writing. They are learning how to form a new cursive letter each school day and are practicing diligently.  It is by far the favorite activity of these students the first month of school…Students also completed a Science Unit on ‘Discovering Ourselves’ (The Five Senses). They culminated the unit with a Tasting Party where the students sampled foods that were salty, sweet, sour, and bitter.  The students proved to be very adventuresome and sampled all the foods that were offered…Another student favorite has been English. The class is learning the parts of speech and how to classify sentences.  They are proud of how much they have learned about nouns, verbs, and adverbs. They love singing the “Jingles” that help them learn about language…Most importantly, the students are studying God’s word and applying it to their daily lives. These children ask thought -provoking and deep questions. They are growing in their faith as evidenced by their sincere prayers, efforts to memorize Bible passages, and eagerness to learn more stories and lessons from the Bible. 
  • “The students have made a wonderful adjustment to the expectations of second grade.  The highlight of Mrs. Troke and Mrs. Honea’s day is Bible.  We begin the time worshipping and praising Jesus!  The three songs we have learned so far are One Thing Remains, Blessed Be Your Name, and 10,000 Reasons.  We follow that with a time of prayer.  Each of the students is given the opportunity to pray aloud, and it is such a privilege to hear them lifting their requests not only for themselves but often for parents and family members, pets, ACA, and others in need – like those in Texas.  Next, they listen to a Bible story about Moses, then write a reflection in their Bible journal.  What a wonderful way to begin each morning!  We have learned new capital and punctuation rules in Shurley English, along with new vocabulary words including synonyms and antonyms.  We finished our first Science Unit on Enjoying Myself and Others, learning how God has made each one of us in a unique and wonderful way, and how He fashioned our bodies to work in a specific manner. What an amazing God we serve!  We were also able to celebrate our first two birthdays, Madeline Grace’s, and Frances’.  We are off to a spectacular start!!”.
  • “Third grade completed a Flat Stanley Summer Reading Project. The students read Flat Stanley over their Summer Break, and decorated a Flat Stanley cutout and wrote about their Summer adventures in a journal. Third Grade is also using Class Dojo, and Read Theory”.
  • “The Fourth Graders have enjoyed performing experiments on yeast to determine if it is a living thing. They have also had fun observing what yeast looked like as it developed and reproduced under a microscope”.
  • “Fifth grade enjoyed making recycled paper and testing acids. They also learned how to use a microscope!”  In addition, fifth grade has enjoyed “all the fun experiments that they have been able to do during science!”.  They are excited about their field trip to the Apple Store and anticipate it being a major highlight.
  • Music class “highlights of the month have been getting to meet the children, and some of the parents, and singing as a group”. 
  • “In Computers, Kindergarten is doing a fantastic job of using the mouse during our mouse exercises utilizing the application, KidPix.  First grade has done wonderfully learning and practicing the home row keys as they begin their typing journey. Second through 5th grade have all done an excellent job of reviewing proper typing and are constantly striving toward 100% accuracy in the typing application, Typingclub.com”
  • “In Media, all students are learning our routine and have started checking out books. Every week we are reading a story or book relevant to our weekly topic or grade level.” 
  • “In art class, the students are wrapping up their grade specific drawings that also include the use of tempera paints.  Hopefully you will notice the colorful artwork around the school, which include their favorite foods, overlapping art supplies, lions, and Viking ships”.
  • P.E. classes have been enjoying team bonding games.
  • Spanish class is loving “the use of the Apple TV. Every class has been watching and singing the many songs we learned to sing a while ago but had never had the video to help us learn the words…the 5th grade class is excited to sing the songs they learned in kindergarten and can now read the words. That was our aha moment for this month…Technology!”

As you can see, we do a lot of wonderful things at ACA, and this is only the first month!  We have great kids and families here, and it is a true blessing to be a part of a Christian school that values strong academics, character development, enrichment opportunities, and seeks to follow the will of our Savior and Lord in all that we do and all that we are.

One final note, thank you to all of you who have stepped forward to contribute to our school through the GaSSO tax-credit program.  Remember that the form will need to be completed before Christmas for us to benefit.  The process is simple, and you may go to this link to participate:  https://www.georgiasso.us/DonationForm.html

In closing, I hope you all have a safe and blessed Labor Day weekend.

In Christ,

Ray Davis

Head of School

May 31, 2017

Dear ACA family,

As I write my final letter to close out the 2016-2017 school year, I imagine many of you are already enjoying your summer.  Perhaps you already have your feet in the sand at a nice beach.  Maybe you are enjoying a cookout with friends and family.  Many of you are likely hanging out by the swimming pool watching the kids splash around.  Wherever you may be or whatever you do this summer, I pray you have safe travels.

I asked the teachers to reflect on this last month and on the year and let me know what their top highlights were.  I have broken them down by grade level for easy review.  I hope you will enjoy reflecting on these as much as I did:

Kindergarten –

  • The students wrote books for their moms for Mother’s Day.
  • The students enjoyed Game Day and RAD (Read All Day) during the last week of school.
  • Elizabeth was baptized this month (May).
  • Favorite thing all year – a lot of the students brought their pets to school for show and tell!

First Grade –

  • Ms. Taylor’s and Mrs. Williams class enjoyed the Cultural Days.  The students “absolutely loved those two days of traveling around the ‘world’.”  Students were allowed “to volunteer and stay in ‘our country’ for one rotation.  The students loved this!  They got to work the ‘immigration’ office and stamp passports.  It was wonderful to hear from our native guest speaker how much my students knew of her country and how they helped her with the presentation.”
  • Ms. Taylor’s and Mrs. Williams’ highlight of the year was the trip to Zoo Atlanta.  “The students had a blast seeing all the animals and getting to ‘show off’ their knowledge to the zookeepers and their parents.”
  • A few other highlights mentioned for the first grade were the Stone Mountain trip, the Canine Assistants, and the Christmas program.

Second Grade –

  • “Our highlights for this month were our trip to Tellus where we learned about the three states of matter. We got to see ten helium balloons disappear into a cooler that held dry ice; explore science theories in the Big Backyard; and even turn liquid-milk-into a solidify cream!”
  • “We finished our animal units by making dioramas and presenting them to first grade in preparation for their Zoo field trip.”
  • “We read with our four-year-old book buddies for the last time (which my kids totally enjoyed)!”
  • “For Cultural Days, we represented Japan in honor of my Mom and Will’s grandma. We watched a video clip about the four main islands, ate rice with chop sticks, tried some Japanese treats, and made Origami puppies!” 
  • “The highlight of our year was having several of our classmates either receive Jesus as their Savior or be baptized as a profession of their faith!!  I loved listening to these students pray every morning sharing their concerns or needs, and also praying on behalf of others. It was truly a blessing!”

Third Grade –

  • Third grade highlights included going to the Tellus Museum and listening to the Galactic Weather program.
  • Watching the Atlanta Opera perform Cinderella was a big hit.
  • Enjoying time with reading buddies in the T-K class was very rewarding.
  • Keely winning the Spelling Bee that took place between the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades was very impressive!
  • Learning about France as a part of our Cultural Days was a lot of fun!
  • Favorite highlight of the year was the field trip to City Hall!

Fourth Grade –

  • “Students wrote their own narrative stories that we made into a book with illustrations. We then had a Young Author’s Conference the last week of school so the students could share their stories with the class.”
  • “The students also did a planet scavenger hunt in groups where each student had their own job to research for their planet. The group then created a slideshow to teach the rest of the class about their planet.”
  • The Highlights of the year were the Science Fair, the Valentine’s Store where the students created products to sell to raise money for Feel Beautiful Today, and the Vocabulary Parade.

Fifth Grade –

  • Easily, the highlight of the month and the year was the overnight trip to Tybee Island!

No doubt our students were very blessed with learning opportunities and experiences they will likely remember for the rest of their lives.  For me, one of the major highlights of the year was the new relationships I made with students, teachers, staff members, and families.  At ACA, I often hear that we are a family who cares for each other.  I love that about our school, and I have sensed that since I have arrived.  We really have something special here, and I am looking forward to seeing what our Lord has in plan for us.  

The end of any school year is always bittersweet.  In some ways, we are happy for the year to be over and to have time off from the rigors of the academics.  We look forward to the downtime, the warm weather, the late nights, less traffic, fun trips, exciting outings, lightning bugs, and good times.  The tough part is saying goodbye to those who are moving on.  I certainly want to wish our fifth graders well as they enter middle school and a new phase of life.  Several of our families have moved or are moving out of state.  I wish them well also.  A few others move on for various reasons.  Whatever the case, saying goodbye is never fun.  Still, the good news for those of us who are in Christ is that we know saying goodbye is not forever because our paths will surely cross again in the future.  At ACA, we see our relationships as eternal not temporal.  For most of you, we look forward to seeing you back on campus in just a few short months.  We also look forward to welcoming new friends and families to ACA.    

A couple of final points before signing off.  We will be updating our calendar to reflect a change in the chapel days.  We will be moving chapel to Wednesdays next year to improve our scheduling.  I have included an attachment of summer reading and practice ideas.  Barnes and Noble offers a program that rewards your child for reading over the summer, as does Scholastic.  These are not requirements, but are helpful if you would like sources of information that can help young students during the long break.

Also, if you have not yet filled out the survey, I have attached it for your convenience.  We welcome your feedback so that we can continue to improve.

One final note, I recognized several teachers and staff members who completed a milestone this year.  Cyndi Jacobs, Kim Rossi (Preschool), and Kathleen Wood (Preschool) just completed ten years of service with us.  Andrea Harton, Mary Troke, Lisa Matthews (Preschool Director), and Ann Phillips (Preschool) just completed fifteen years with us.  Maria Castillo just completed twenty years with us.  That is over one-hundred years of combined experience and is quite an accomplishment.  It is an honor and a blessing to have these outstanding professionals here at ACA.

It has also truly been a blessing to serve our students and families for the 2016-2017 school year.  Enjoy your summer.  Be safe in your travels.  I look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

In Christ,

Ray Davis

Head of School

Note: The attachments from this letter are posted on the Elementary Forms page.

February 28, 2017
Dear ACA family,
As we come to the end of February, let me share some highlights of this month with you:
  • Maddie Tosh, one of our fifth graders, recently won two United States Equestrian Federation National Championships.  Congratulations, Maddie!  That is very impressive.
  • The preschool and academy enjoyed Muffins with Moms.
  • We continue to add new opportunities to our students.  Tennis for fourth and fifth graders is taking place with Mrs. Vater, Mrs. Troke, Ms. Harton, and Mr. Gregg coaching.  We have added a STEAM opportunity to our school through Challenge Island.  STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.  Challenge Island brings unique and fun collaborative challenges to students weekly, in the after-school program, focusing on these areas.  Look for information concerning the after-school program to come soon.  We are also considering the possibility of adding an after-school music opportunity for students.
  • We hosted Challenge Island right before the Winter Break as part of an in-house field trip.  Students took on this President’s Day inspired STEAM challenge to build their own little White Houses.  They worked collaboratively together in tribes to design the facilities such as basketball courts, bowling alleys, and rose gardens. They also designed the China for the White House.  The students had a blast and were very creative.  They also learned a few things about the actual White House.
  • Student projects have been impressive this month.  Our fourth graders put together some incredible PowerPoints on individuals as part of their study of National African American History.    In addition, the fourth graders also produced great projects on American History topics.  Mrs. Troke’s second grade had their annual Famous American project.  Students transformed themselves into some interesting people such as Pocahontas, Thomas Jefferson, Betsy Ross, Francis Scott Key, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Neil Armstrong.  The fifth graders presented their Famous African American slide shows to Mrs. Troke’s class.
  • I heard many great stories from students, faculty, staff, and families who enjoyed some rest and trips during our Winter Break.  Several families went on cruises.  Some went to Disney.  Many families went to the beach.  I enjoyed taking my family to the mountains and doing a little snow skiing, exploring Grandfather Mountain, and visiting the Biltmore.  Many families simply enjoyed the downtime and their homes.  What was clear, was that it was a nice break and a blessing to enjoy our families in different ways.
At ACA, family is very important.  It is one thing of many that sets us apart and makes being here a blessing.  The highlights listed above were just a few of the ones I enjoyed and could reflect upon.  Truly, we have so much going on each month.  Our teachers do a great job of engaging our students and enhancing their lives.  As I reflect on these highlights, I am reminded of John’s words in his gospel, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25).  While I don’t think we could live up to that lofty claim, I am certain that there are a whole lot of other highlights that happened this February that could help me fill up a few more pages, but these will have to suffice.  I am proud to call myself a Christian and have a savior who did so much to prove who He is.  He is the model for us in all that we do.  It is a blessing to be at a school that recognizes the importance of imparting true wisdom to students and developing the whole child, which includes directing them in their faith.
In closing, I again ask that you please consider ways to support or continue supporting our school.  It is never too late to make donations to our Eagles Club fund.  Another great way to support ACA is to tell Georgia how to spend some of your tax dollars.  This can be done through the GASSO program.  I invite you to please visit this website and learn more about how you can help us: http://www.georgiasso.us/Home.html.
Last month, I mentioned that it is also not too late to start making middle school plans, and that I would be inviting 3rd and 4th grade parents to come in and meet with me about the plans we are ready to enact.  I will be happy to meet with anyone of any grade level during our next scheduled Open House, which will take place on April 11, 2017 at 9:30 am.
Please know that my office is open to you if you need anything.
Thank you for supporting and choosing ACA.
In His service,
Head of School

April 2017

 

Dear ACA family,
April has come and gone.  Spring Break makes April a short and fast month.  Many of our families enjoyed exciting trips.  Some students came back from the break with tans and talked about their beach getaways.  Some went to the mountains, and others enjoyed a “staycation”.  I was one of those who stayed home and did some work.  Still it was a blessing to be able to enjoy a little more time with family.  Ephesians 5:20 reminds us to be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.  I hope that we all take the time to count the many blessing we have and to always be thankful for the gifts we receive daily.  I am very thankful for ACA, our faculty and staff, our students, and our families.
I am especially grateful to the many families, faculty, and staff that demonstrated their love for Ally and helped her in her time of need with monetary donations.  She was overwhelmed by your generosity.  We presented her with the donations at a faculty meeting.  Your generosity will help her pay off many medical bills.  We also received Gay Middleton back.  While Gay is not fully out of the woods, it is nice to have her back and to see her making progress.
This month was also special because we celebrated our Lord’s Resurrection.  I love this quote by Martin Luther, “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime”.  What a God we serve, what a country we live in, and what a time to be alive.
Here are a few of the April highlights at ACA:
  • Did I mention Spring Break?
  • Easter class parties and lots of yummies
  • We enjoyed a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt Spirit Day thanks to our ACA Eagles Club and Corrie Auterson.
  • Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday
  • Students in the preschool dressed up in “who they want to be when they grow up” outfits.  I was impressed!
  • The Fire Department visited with our preschool.F
  • Fourth and fifth grade enjoyed a trip to the Funk Heritage Museum.
It is hard to believe we have only three more Mondays left in preschool and four in the Academy this school year.  Time continues to move quickly.  May promises to be an eventful and a packed month with end-of-the-year activities.
Before I conclude, I would like to take a moment to thank Shannon Blosser and Katrina Garabelis for heading up our yearbook this year.  It will be passed out the last week of the school.  These ladies have done an excellent job.  Next year, Jessica Hewett has volunteered to head up the yearbook, but she is asking for parental help. We will need at least one parent at each grade level to assist with taking pictures and working to provide any help she might need.  We will have more information about this at the beginning of next year, but I wanted to plant the seed now, so that you can be thinking about it.
I hope you will continue to pray for the Lord’s will and blessings concerning ACA.
Thank you for your continued support.
In His service,
Ray Davis
Head of School

January 31, 2017

Dear ACA family,
We are well into 2017.  It is amazing how quickly January has gone by.  It seems the older I get the faster time flies.  I am reminded of several passages in scripture that tell us that life is fleeting.  I love Psalms 144:3-4, “Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?  Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow.”  This passage is a reminder that our Lord does care for us, but that, indeed, our time here on this earth is short.  This is especially true when we consider eternity.  I pray that we will make the most of the time that we are given and that 2017 will be a blessed year for all of us at ACA.
So, what all has been going on at ACA in this new year?  Here are a few of the highlights from January:
  • Our teachers returned to school on Tuesday, January 3rd.  We took a Google Docs workshop and learned a lot.  Several of our teachers are diving in and incorporating what they learned in their classrooms.  I have been impressed with our students’ and our teachers’ enthusiasm.  We are continuing to implement technology at ACA.
  • We were greeted to a snow and ice storm our first weekend back.  I don’t like driving in it, but I sure enjoy seeing it and playing in it with my kids.
  • Our students enjoyed learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. and discovering why there is a day set aside in his honor.
  • Our students enjoyed having a special science lab by the Science Academy.  The theme was the Gifts of the Magi.
  • We celebrated the 100th Day of School.  Several students and teachers really aged on this day, but fortunately and miraculously, they looked much younger the next day.
  • Many classes enjoyed watching portions of the inauguration and learning about this important historical process.
  • We celebrated National School Choice Week.  The whole month of January, our students learned a dance in P.E. and wrote essays in classes about why they love ACA.  We showed all the classes performing the dance during our family chapel.  Winners of the essay contest were recognized during the family chapel, and the winners received a gift card.  The overall winner received a gift card and a week of no uniform requirement.  The winners were Owen Dromey in Kindergarten, Madeline Grace Kennedy in 1st grade, Grace Trulock in 2nd grade, Keely Price in 3rd grade, Liam Holloway in 4th grade, and Jackson Rowan in 5th grade.  The overall winner was David DePadro (3rd grade).  The students did a great job writing their essays.  As a faculty and staff, we were impressed, humbled, encouraged, and thrilled to hear the words and thoughts of these young students.  It is wonderful to hear how our students love being at ACA.
  • During our family chapel, our 4th graders brought forth the message about the gifts of the magi.  We even had a three wise men from the 4th grade make an appearance (Blake Arrowsmith, Ryan Bourne, and Michael Rogers).
We have been enjoying open houses as we are in the process of re-enrollment for the 2017-18 school year.  If you have not already re enrolled, we hope that you will plan to do so soon and take advantage of the discount offered.  Your early re-enrollments help us to better prepare for the upcoming school year.  This becomes a very busy time in schools as new plans are made, new teachers are hired, current teachers recommit to another year, and curriculum is purchased.
Thank you to all of you who provided input into the school calendar for next year.  The votes are being tallied, and I plan to have the official calendar out to you no later than next week.
Right before Christmas, I sent out a reminder of a few ways that you can support ACA. One way is to make donations to our Eagles Club fund.  The other way is to tell Georgia how to spend some of your tax dollars.  This can be done through the GASSO program.  I invite you to please visit this website and learn more about how you can help us: http://www.georgiasso.us/Home.html.
Did you know it is not too late to start making middle school plans?  I would like to invite 3rd and 4th grade parents to come in and meet with me about the plans we are ready to enact.  I will plan to schedule a meeting in the next month or so for you to come in and listen to the vision that we have for middle school at ACA.
My office is open to you if you need anything.
Thank you for supporting and choosing ACA.
In His service,
Ray Davis
Head of School

December 16, 2016

Dear ACA family,
What a fantastic way to end 2016!  Our Christmas performances were a joy to watch from the preschool programs to the evening academy program.  The kids performed and looked great.  The Chorus performed several times and did a great job singing and entertaining.  Thank you very much for all the help after last night’s performance in breaking down the stage.  It was a big help and very much appreciated.
We have a great group of students, families, faculty, and staff at ACA.  I am really enjoying getting to know everyone, and I continue to look forward to what God has in store for the future of our school.  When we return from the break, we will be starting the reenrollment season.  I hope you will all plan to be back and remain a part of the ACA family.  I will be planning some times for parents to come in and have an opportunity to join me and Debbie Burleson, our Admissions Director, in some coffee talks.  I look forward to discussing our plans for having a middle school, and I am encouraged because I know our Lord can build our school with families who are committed to Christian education.
It is never too late to support ACA.  I want to bring to your attention a couple of ways that you can support our school.  Our Eagles Club fund will always take donations.  Again, this fund serves as ACA’s annual fund.  The funds we raise directly benefit our school and our students in so many ways.  Your generous donations have been used to purchase Apple TVs for classrooms and will be used to assist in upgrading our intercom system.  We are continuing to upgrade technology, and your generosity allows us to continue moving forward and helps to offset expenses that are not covered with tuition dollars.  Another way you can support ACA is to direct your Georgia state income taxes to ACA.  That is correct.  You can direct a portion of your taxes to ACA to benefit our school.  I invite you to please visit this website and learn more about this program: http://www.georgiasso.us/Home.html.  If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, I urge you to do so before the end of December.  This is a highly popular program among private schools, and the cap is usually reached by the first week of January.  There are many great families who would not otherwise be able to attend private school without the help of this scholarship program.  It is a win-win program because you can direct your taxes to benefit our school, the school is able to qualify students who would not be able to afford to attend, and we increase our enrollment while the tuition is fully covered.
When we return from the break, please be mindful of the uniform policies and requirements for shoes and shoe colors.  The uniform policies can be found in the family handbook.
School will resume on January 4th.  Remember that we start school at 8:30 am.  Arriving a little before 8:30 am allows our students to be ready for the day, our teachers to begin on time, and is beneficial for everyone.
On behalf of all of us at ACA, thank you for your support, kind words, Christian spirit, generosity, love, and friendship.  We are all truly blessed in so many ways.  I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
Ray Davis
Head of School

November 16, 2016

Dear ACA family,
As one of my favorite pastors from my days in Milledgeville would say, “Well, glory!”.  He would always start off his greetings to the church with that phrase, and it has stuck with me.  During this time of season, we have so much for which to be thankful.  It is hard to believe that I have been here almost two months.  The time is certainly flying by, but I am very grateful to be here at this wonderful school.  I have been so impressed with the quality of education our students are receiving in a school that is honoring our Lord.  I am very appreciative for Debbie Dodd and the foundations that she laid for this school and her years of leadership.  I certainly wish her a well-deserved and enjoyable retirement and appreciate all her help in assisting me during this transition. At ACA we have great families, teachers, staff, and students, and we should all be very grateful for that.  I have been blessed to be a part of several schools during my career, but there is something truly special about Alpharetta Christian Academy.  I am looking forward to what the Lord is going to do in the coming months and years here (Psalm 127:1).   The past few months have been busy months with a lot of exciting things and new initiatives taking place, a few of which I want to share with you…
 
Technology:
 
G Suite
 
We are taking several steps to improve our technology at ACA.  We were recently approved for G Suite for Education through Google.  Our Academy teachers have a new email address.  We have added the domain of aca-eagles.org.  Our teacher’s email addresses will utilize the teacher’s first name initial and last name, so for instance Mrs. Williams email address is dwilliams@aca-eagles.org.  In setting up the domain, we had to use the hyphen in between aca and eagles, so that will be very important to remember.  We are planning to do some training with Google Docs when we return from Christmas Break.
 
RenWeb and FACTS
 
We have partnered with RenWeb and FACTS and are in the process of converting data to this very powerful school information management program.  This will truly bring us fully into the digital age, and the impact will begin to take place starting next school year.  A few of the benefits will include an on-line directory, on-line grading, lesson plans, progress reports and report cards, payment plan, on-line enrollment and reenrollment, and mobile technology capabilities just to name a few.
Intercom System and Security
 
We are moving forward with our plans for an updated school intercom system and hope to have it installed and in use by sometime next semester.  Our students’ safety is very important, and the intercom system is essential to that end.  We will also benefit from new cameras that will be installed.
 
Eagles Club and Annual Eagles Club Fund
 
It has been a real pleasure to get to know Corrie Auterson, President of our Eagles Club. If you don’t know her, I recommend that you reach out to her.  She is always looking for good volunteers.  The work of the Eagles Club is tremendous.  I know the Eagles Club could use some volunteers for a few of the planned events coming up like the Christmas Store and Christmas wrapping.  There will be additional opportunities going forward.  We had a great time at the Pieology Pizza night.  Thank you to the Eagles Club and to all who participated.
Because private schools do not receive public funds for education, we depend on the generosity of families on a yearly basis and utilize an annual fund.  Our Annual Eagles Club Fund depends on your generosity, which benefits our students, our faculty, our staff, our families, and our school.  I want to thank all of you who have donated generously to our Annual Eagles Club Fund. Many of you work for companies that match your generosity.  Thank you, thank you.  Please do not underestimate the impact that has.  We are counting on your generosity to continue to help us with technology and other needs like our intercom system. The best part is your donations are tax deductible.  As an example, if every student represented at our school had $100.00 donated in their honor, we would have more than enough to pay off our intercom system and add additional technology without having to dip into our operating budget.  We appreciate all donations, no matter the amount. thank you, again, to our Eagles Club for heading this up.
 
New Mission Statement
 
Private schools are mission statement driven.  Everything we do will be with our mission statement in mind.  It will guide us in all that we do and all that we are.  We have adopted a new mission statement that will become more and more visible as we move forward.  Our new mission statement reads, “Alpharetta Christian Academy is a Christ centered and family oriented ministry dedicated to developing and transforming students for a lifetime of learning, loving, leading, achieving, and serving.”  Our previous mission statement is now our Purpose Statement (for reference check the handbook). We will be adding a vision statement soon.
Middle School
 
Plans are underway to add a middle school beginning next year for the 2017-2018 school year and add a grade each year through eighth grade.  Please mark your calendar for Thursday, December 1.  We will host an Open House and reveal many of the details at that time.
We truly have a great school here at Alpharetta Christian Academy.  These are interesting times that we are living in, and it is exciting to be a part of a school that seeks to keep Christ at the center of all we are and all that we do.  While we recognize that there are a lot of school choices out there, we feel very confident in who we are and what we will offer going forward.  I am personally excited to be a part of all that our Lord is doing here at Alpharetta Christian Academy.  I am blessed and I do not take this opportunity lightly or for granted.
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.
In Christ,
Ray Davis
Head of School