Special Projects

Current Projects

Building Safey, Improvement and Beautification Project

In September 2019, Grande Ronde Christian Academy was blessed with the opportunity to purchase the building we had been leasing since 2010. The decision to purchase the building was financially sound, providing stability for the school and space for continued growth. However, the building is in need of improvements so that we can continue to provide an environment that fosters learning and creativity. 

Our primary focus is always on the safety and security of our students, staff and visitors. The double door systems currently in place are the originals from the armory built in 1951, and while well made, they do not have modern door access systems, which provide the safety features that are becoming standard in schools. We plan to shift school operations to the main entrance of the building and need to install a more secure door system with monitored keyless entry. In addition to the doors, increased camera coverage is needed in areas not previously in use. As we've expanded classrooms and usable space, we are outgrowing our current network capacity and are making plans to install a hub and spoke system to alleviate any downtime that might occur during high usage times as we continue to grow.

We have been blessed to make progress on the some improvements already, with installation of new gutters and downspouts, exterior paint, interior paint, and remodeling of a large storage area to allow for a new classroom with the necessary pace for physical distancing when classes started back up in Fall of 2020. The room required a tremendous amount of work, as well as a new HVAC system, to make it usable as a classroom. Many thanks to Natalie, Tyler and Hannah Leigh, and Gary and Jackie Kuiper for their tireless work to prepare the room for our students, also to Total Home who provided the flooring at a sizable discount and La Grande Ace Hardware for discounts on paint and supplies to patch and improve the walls! Also to the McLean family for seeing to the exterior improvements.

Summer of 2022 found GRA making more improvements to the building with additional interior paint thanks to the hard work of Natalie and Hannah Leigh, a secure front door access system thanks to grant funding provided by the Juan Young Trust and new landscaping funded in part by a grant from the Oregon State Fire Marshal's office and the hard work of many GRA families including: Natalie and Hannah Leigh, Don McLean, Bob and Sherry Kavanaugh, EOU football coach Tim Camp and EOU football student athletes, the Vavra Family (Hope, Cody and Samantha), the Pedro Family (Mike, Darcy, Kat and Mady), Sarah Jacobsen, The Upwall Family (Jared, Jaclyn, David and Jeremiah), Kaden Ridley, the Lane Family (Carrie, Marissa and Natasha) and MiTrac Construction. The improvement is continuing down to the last minute with newly installed equipment and wiring for the school's computer network and installation of windowed doors on our new offices and classrooms thanks to the McLean Family!

We plan to continue improvements to the building as funding is available to finish up the interior paint and flooring, gutter drainage, and exterior wall maintenance and improvement. If you would like to donate to this project or have further questions, please call the office at 541-975-1147 or donate online. We also ask for continued prayer over this project, the school, our students, staff and board. Thank you to our wonderfully supportive community!

New Classroom - Before

New Classroom - After

Landscaping & Exterior Paint - Before

Landscaping & Exterior Paint - After

Completed Projects

Technology & Science Projects

The Technology Project is of particular importance to the school and is currently our largest project. With innovations in technology, the educational resources available to schools have exploded, but so have the costs to become equipped with the devices to utilize those resources. The GRA Technology Project seeks to provide faculty and staff with the necessary hardware and software to utilize available resources with which to provide the best education to our students. GRA also strives to teach students how to appropriately use the technology available to them.

The Technology Project goes hand-in-hand with our science project, which we anticipate, over time, evolving into a more robust STEM (science/technology/engineering/mathematics) project requiring the purchase of new curriculum, equipment and hands on resources. With the goal of moving U.S. students to the top of the pack in math and science achievement over the next decade, this project gives GRA the opportunity to engage students in the world of science and introduce them to science related careers!

Grande Ronde Academy would like to thank Trust Management Services, LLC, the Juan Young Trust, Northwest Farm Credit Services (NWFCS), the Stanton Family, Soroptimist International of La Grande and our anonymous private donors for their generous gifts to the Techology and Science Projects. We've been blessed with another anonymous donation that has gone toward the purchase of many chemistry and STEM essentials including Lego Robotics kits, specialized chemical storage cabinets, model kits and refraction plate! The award from NWFCS Rural Community Grant program allowed us to begin upgrading our education technology system with the purchase of classroom computers. Funding from Trust Management Services has provided for technology equipment and accessories, including: document cameras, digital projectors and projection screens in our classrooms, a new computer for our kindergarten classroom as well as Chromebooks and iPads for our teachers to use to enhance their lessons. The Stanton Family Memorial donation was instrumental in bringing the computer lab up-to-date with new computers with hardware and software, this was accompanied by a donation of headphones by La Grande Stereo and Music for each computer in our computer lab. The Juan Young Trust and our anonymous private donors made possible the purchase of student iPads, Chromebooks with accessories, and charging stations. Soroptimist International of La Grande blessed us with an award to purchase new microscopes and  hands-on science resources. We are also grateful to Tim Welch, Sam Delaney and Don Noel for donating their time, expertise and materials as we implement the Technology Project. 

Fifth Grade Student Working in the Classroom using His Chromebook

Health & Physical Education (PE) Project

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has recognized that schools are uniquely positioned to provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. At GRA we are blessed to have a strong PE program. Our teachers make excellent use of the resources we have, any updated equipment helps support our efforts to keep our students healthy and strong.

Exercise is not the only area that we need to focus on when trying to stay fit and healthy; nutrition is another piece of the puzzle that needs to fall into place. The GRA Health and Physical Education (PE) Project will also strive to bring general health and nutrition education to our students through updated equipment, curriculum, guest speakers and hands on experience. The CDC has found that schools play a vital role in supporting healthy behaviors through their policies and practices. At GRA we work to grow the whole child, and we want them to be healthy so they stay healthy for a lifetime.

Grande Ronde Academy would like to thank the Juan Young Trust for their generous donation that will purchase much of the needed equipment and curriculum aids, to the Soroptimist International of La Grande for granting funds towards health curriculum, Disc Golf Experience for their donation of disc golf equipment for our students, Thrivent Financial for their donation of a portable basketball hoop and to Thrivent Financial and Reed & Associates for their continued support and sponsorship of the Union County Middle School Track & Field Championships hosted by Grande Ronde Academy!

Disc Golf Equipment Package Donated by Disc Golf Educational Experience

Security Project

With GRA's purchase of the building in 2019, the Security Project will be joined with the overall Building Improvement Project.

In light of recent tragedies at schools across the nation, Grande Ronde Academy felt it import to review current safety procedures. The school consulted with local law enforcement for recommendations to improve the security at the school and train staff in violence prevention and threat response. The recommendations include improved security at access points throughout the school, installation of a new electronic entry door system and closed circuit monitoring.

Grande Ronde Academy would like to thank Northwest Farm Credit Services Rural Community Grant Program , The Juan Young Trust, the Olsen Family and the Stanton Family for supporting the GRA Security Project. Thank you for blessing our school and helping to keep our children safe!

Fine Arts Program

Through the Fine Arts Program, Grande Ronde Academy seeks to create a diversified educational experience, and in doing so, cultivate a lifelong appreciation for the arts that students will continue to share with others. The proposed project expands the Fine Arts Program currently offered at the school through the investment in new curriculum, equipment, instruments and supplies that will provide students with an integrated experience within the arts.

Grande Ronde Academy would like to thank Northwest Farm Credit Services, Soroptimist International of La Grande, WalMart, The Wildhorse Foundation and Zion Lutheran Church for the significant contributions to the Fine Arts Program. We are truly appreciative of Northwest Farm Credit Services and their continued support of GRA with funding that will allow us to start purchasing choral risers; the Soroptimist group and their donation towards art supplies; WalMart Local Community Giving Program for funding new art curriculum for grades K-5th; The Wildhorse Foundation for blessing us with a sizable donation for instruments and stage and sound equipment; and the Zion Lutheran Mission Endowment and Memorial Committee for getting us started with new music curriculum. It is a blessing to have community partners who place the same value on education as we do!

Kindergarten Student Working With Watercolors as a Special Guest Comes to Share Painting Techniques

Fall Leaves paper Quilling by 5th Grade Student

Outdoor Education Program

At Grande Ronde Academy we recognize the importance of having an integrated learning experience. We want our students to be creative, have critical thinking and problem solving skills, be able to work with a team of peers and communicate results in a meaningful way. Field-based projects such as the Outdoor Education Program, provide the opportunity to connect classroom learning with relevant hands on learning experiences in the field.

The Outdoor Education Program has been made possible through the hard work and careful planning of our parent volunteer, Jennie Yancy, in partnership with Blue Mountain Conservancy in La Grande and a generous grant from the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School and Diack Ecology Education Fund. We would also like to thank Soroptimist International of La Grande who is providing funding towards resources and equipment for the program. Up to this point, the majority of this project has taken place at Pete’s Pond in La Grande. With a focus on field-based science inquiry and ecology studies, this project gives student the opportunity to develop age appropriate skills in specimen identification, collection and documentation as well as experiencing the dynamics associated with group work. We are blessed to have this program and look forward to its continued growth with the addition of geology and soil science studies.

Outdoor Education at      Pete's Pond

Library Project

The ability to read and write is the basis for all other education and allows us to understand information. Literacy is a strong focus for all grade levels at GRA. The library project will give students a space to study individually or in breakout groups, learn how to use a library catalogue and the Dewey Decimal System, and give access to a more comprehensive range of literature. The abilities to read, write, think critically and access and use technology are developed in these early grades and will allow students to reach their full potential.

Grande Ronde Academy would like to thank Thrivent Financial, Millers Cabinet Shop and Faith Lutheran Church for funding and in-kind labor that started our new library shelving, Northwest Farm Credit Services Rural Community Grant Program and our anonymous private donor who have allowed us to complete the shelving. We are also grateful to Soroptimist International of La Grande for their grant towards new books, the Davis Family for their donation of library supplies and to Mindy Davis and Angie Grayson for the hours they spent entering data into the library catalog system and sorting books; we are grateful for their dedication to our school and children! We would also like to thank Shirley Roberts, Karen Campbell and Camden McClelland for lending their expertise as we developed this project.

We are thrilled to have our Library Manager, Christine McLean, working hard to keep our library up and running. Please come visit her in our library!