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:
- 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.
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
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,
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,
Head of School
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.
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…
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
Head of School