Long-Range Planning

Grace Church School's fifth Long Range Plan provides a roadmap for shaping the future of the School within four distinct areas: programmatic and academic excellence; Episcopal identity as the foundation for an intentionally diverse community; greater integration of the four divisions of the School; and financial security and sustainability. The Plan embodies a commitment to the traditions and ideals that have served the School well for over a century, while also embracing innovations in curriculum content and design demanded by the complex and interconnected world in which we live.

Progress Reports

List of 3 items.

  • YEAR ONE

    The Long Range Plan adopted by the Board of Trustees in May 2015 serves as roadmap for the school through 2022. Each year trustees, administrators, faculty and parents will address actions mandated in the distinct areas of the plan and will report on what has been accomplished.
     
    This year, in the programmatic area, the school adopted a new advisory system for the Middle School coupled with daily tutorials. A revamped classroom schedule was put into place at 86 Fourth Avenue, a schedule that will receive additional review going forward to ensure appropriate flexibility across all divisions. The Cross Grade Connection (CGC) program was strengthened, bringing together cross-grade groups of students to include affinity groups with spaces for LGBT and gender-neutral students. A new honor code and discipline system for the High School reflects that division’s allegiance to ethics and kindness as a member of the GCS community.
     
    The school completed the National Association of Episcopal Schools Identity and Culture Self-Study.  More work will take place in the upcoming year to create a concise and easily understood statement about religious diversity in an Episcopal school that includes children of all faiths or no faith.  A new Diversity Structures Task Force has formed to coordinate diversity and anti-racism efforts throughout the School in a more systematic way.
     
    Work to promote greater integration of the four divisions of the School has included instituting cross-divisional meetings among faculty to discuss curriculum, teaching, and developmental expectations. Attention has been paid to improving communications vehicles for parents at all levels JK through 12.  There has been progress in efforts to unify the visual identity and branding of the School through the adoption of a redesigned School crest.
     
    The Finance, Development and Capital Campaign committees continue to adhere to rigorous schedules regarding financial security and sustainability.
  • YEAR TWO

    The Long Range Plan adopted by the Board of Trustees in May 2015 serves as roadmap for the school through 2022. Each year trustees, administrators, faculty and parents will address actions mandated in the distinct areas of the Plan and will report on what has been accomplished. This is the Year Two report.
     
    A drafting group addressed the charge in the Plan to create a concise and easily understood statement about the School’s Episcopal identity and how it is the foundation for religious diversity in a school that includes children of all faiths or no faith at all.  A draft statement of Episcopal identity at Grace Church School was developed in a year-long, iterative process of review, feedback and revision that drew upon School administrators, faculty, parents and trustees.  The statement includes a brief statement that will inform the “elevator speech” called for in the Long Range Plan, as well as additional details on four key elements of the School’s Episcopal identity: equity, inclusion and social justice; service learning; chapel; and the study of religion and ethics.  The Board of Trustees adopted the draft statement in May 2017, and it is now posted on the School’s website at gcschool.org/episcopal-identity. 
     
    The Diversity Structures Task Force, created at the close of last year in response to the Plan’s directive to continue to broaden and deepen all aspects of diversity in community and programs, focused on assessing existing School structures with responsibility for fostering diversity. The Task Force will next examine comparable structures at peer institutions.
     
    As part of promoting greater integration of the four divisions of the School, the Branding Committee continued its work on unifying the visual identity and branding of the School in ways that characterize the School’s mission and best present its visual identity.  New graphic images, based on design elements found in the new School crest and featuring the word Grace, were adopted as symbols for the School to be standardized according to use. The Communications Office will take the new brand concept and roll it into all school publications, websites and items that bear Grace symbols and graphics over the summer and into the fall.
     
    In the programmatic area, progress was reviewed in the areas of enhancing cross-disciplinary teaching and learning; use and expansion of curricula that integrate and strengthen the sciences, math, art, design thinking and technology; and curricular overview of language instruction and student placement, highlighting the ease of communication that has resulted from frequent meetings between language instructors from both campuses.  
     
    The Finance, Development and Capital Campaign committees continue to adhere to rigorous schedules regarding financial security and sustainability.
  • YEAR THREE

    As we approach the halfway mark in the life of the 2015-2022 Long Range Plan, the Long Range Planning Committee is pleased to report on the work and achievements accomplished during the past academic year in addressing the actions mandated in each of the four distinct areas of the Plan. A notable highlight for the year was the Town Hall meeting held on January 29, when members of the Board met with the School community for a comprehensive update on progress under the Plan in the following areas: physical plant expansion; security audit and plans; community, diversity and anti-racism; curriculum changes; and School finances, including budget, tuition, fund-raising, financial aid, and faculty compensation. 
     
    The Program goal of the Plan showed movement in many directions.  Of particular note, the Committee detailed examples of ways in which the School develops competence and confidence in students, coupled with excellence in thought and action, through a variety of curricular elements and School-wide traditions that encourage an examination of ethics and goodness in contemporary life. For example, this year the English curriculum included two weeks on media literacy, asking students to ponder “What is fake news? How do you distinguish it?” Discussion included examining the First Amendment in the context of examining one’s own biases.  In the HS journalism class, students look at the website “allsides” and are asked to determine how to write a wire story without bias, using facts only - an ethical as well as compositional exercise. The pursuit of “excellence” throughout the academic program frequently accompanies examination of “goodness,” and what hinders it. Examples were compiled of how the content and quality of service learning in all divisions is reviewed to ensure that students learn community action skills and reflect upon the School’s mission statement and who we are as a Grace community.  Extracurricular and after school programs, as well as the School’s commitment to multi-sensory teaching and learning also were favorably reviewed in light of the Plan’s proposed actions for these initiatives. 
     
    The Diversity Structures Task Force led the effort under the second Goal of the Plan.  The Task Force outlined major recommendations to the Board for steps to achieve the Plan’s objectives to broaden and deepen all aspects of diversity and anti-racism at Grace; increase community awareness of programming and provide adequate staffing for these efforts; and promote efforts to ensure that all students and families feel welcome and are able to fully participate in the life of the School.  A highlight was the creation of a new position of Dean of Equity and Inclusion, which has been filled and will fully operational beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year. In addition, the Diversity Mission Statement for the school was rewritten to reflect the current breadth and scope of our commitment to this work.
     
    The Committee’s effort to track the progress of the Vertical Integration goal of the Plan focused on the following specific activities designed to integrate the four divisions of the School: the Great Thanksgiving Listen Project; school-wide events commemorating MLK Day; the National School Walkout organized by students to end gun violence; Grace Spirit Day; cross-divisional faculty and department meetings and events; initiation of a high school transition meeting to replace the former open house; restructuring of the Parents Association to create co-president positions for the High School division in addition to the co-presidents already in place at the JK-8 campus; and science and athletic department reviews. The Committee noted that the administration and faculty have been thoughtful about identifying the best ways to bring divisions together and in some cases reversing initiatives after determining that there was little to be gained. 
     
    The Board’s Finance, Development and Capital Campaign committees continue to adhere to rigorous schedules regarding the Financial Sustainability Goal of the Plan.

    Our Commitment to Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism
     
    Grace Church School seeks to provide its students with an outstanding education and with the desire to use it to make the world a better place.  Every facet of our work is enhanced by the diversity and strength of our community.  We believe that equity and inclusion are not only hallmarks of a just society, but also virtues essential to sound learning.  And so, Grace seeks to recognize and honor the unique gifts of its students, families, faculty, and staff—and the cultures, beliefs, values, and experiences that have shaped them—striving always to cultivate mutual understanding, humility, respect, and kindness.
     
    But inclusion is not enough and equity is an impossibility if we cannot name, acknowledge, and oppose the forces of racism and all forms of bias, hate, and fear that exist in our society and that seek to diminish so many in our midst.  Knowing this, we commit ourselves to the work of anti-racism and to the cause of justice:  that all students may find in Grace a home, may learn from Grace their precious worth, and may hear from Grace a call to serve the common good and the dignity of humanity. (Adopted 2018)
© 2017 Grace Church School
Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for over 700 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.