Special Projects and Programs
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 have a strong PE program lead by Pastor Sam Wiseman who is also our Middle School Track and Field coach. Pastor Wiseman makes excellent use of the resources we have but it would be beneficial to the students to have updated equipment to support his 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 & 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, but we want to grow them healthy so they stay healthy for a lifetime!
Grande Ronde Academy would like to thank Soroptimist International of La Grande granting funds towards Health Curriculum, Disc Golf Educational Experience for their generous donation of disc golf equipment for our school, 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!
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 at 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. The majority of this project took place at Pete's Pond. With a focus on field-based science inquiry and ecology studies, this project gave students 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.
Technology & Science Projects
The technology project is of particular importance to the school and is currently our largest special 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, over time, is 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 Technology and Science Project. The award from the NWFCS Rural Community Grant 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 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 and 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 for donating his time, expertise and materials, to Jess Roberts from Integrity Technology and Sam Delaney for their technical assistance as we implement the technology project.
In light of recent tragedies at schools across the nation, Grande Ronde Academy felt it important 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, we are grateful for your support of GRA’s students and education!
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 by purchasing 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; Wal-Mart 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.
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 proposed library project would 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 the 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 the 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 for the hours she has spent entering data into the library catalog system; we are grateful for her 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 develop this project.
We would also like to welcome our new volunteer Library Aide, Christine McLean, who has already spent many hours helping us complete this project. Please come visit her in our new library!