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Grace BLOG

Welcome to the Grace Blog! In the 2016-17 school year, we'll feature voices from around our school: specialists, faculty and staff, and more. Tune in each week for another snapshot of our community! 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture visits Grace

As residents of the DC Metro Area, we are incredibly lucky to have so many world-class museums and cultural opportunities in our city center. The fact that these places are open to the public for free means that families, students, and teachers are able to enjoy in-depth expeditionary learning on a regular basis.

This past week at Grace, we had the chance to experience something very special: our newest museum came to us! Grades 1-3 welcomed Museum Teacher Ms. Amy, an educator from the The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).


Our newest museum is widening its reach through an educational outreach initiative that sends museum educators out to schools with the goal of helping to "empower, enrich, and educate young children, from birth to eight years old, and provide resources and support to the parents, caregivers, and educators of early learners. [The program] seek[s] to promote positive identity development with all children and begin age appropriate conversations on race . . . By investing in our youngest visitors, we believe we will see a brighter future for our country by empowering individuals and starting a dialogue with young children about fairness, tolerance, and equity."

Here at Grace, Ms. Amy started on the carpet with a story and some looking activities. She introduced students to Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist; and Hale Woodruff, artist. The age-appropriate programming she shared "encouraged students to think about the different tools people use to make the world better -- from speeches to gavels to paintbrushes." Students then moved to their desks for a self-portrait activity. The students analyzed how they can make a difference with their self-portraits.

Mrs. Aponte in Grade 1 shared her students' experience: "Ms. Amy was an amazing resource who immediately captured the children’s attention. She read a story, showed them pictures of three famous African American figures, and the children drew a picture where they were helping others, making a difference in the world. What a wonderful experience!"


We here at Grace are extremely grateful for this wonderful visit, and look forward to taking our students to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the near future. Visit the museum website to explore more.

Posted by kfloman on Monday April 10 at 01:52PM
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BrainDance at Grace

Faculty and students have been fortunate enough this spring to learn about a routine known as “BrainDance” from current parent, Ashley Thorndike-Youssef, mother to Laeth in Prekindergarten. Ashley holds a PhD in Dance Studies from Ohio State University. A dancer, choreographer, scholar, educator, and citizen, she founded Now Next Dance in 2010.

Developed by Anne Green Gilbert (c) 2000 at the Creative Dance Center "this 'dance' is an excellent full body and brain warm-up for children and adults and can be done in any setting. BrainDance may be used as a warm-up for any physical or cognitive activity; before tests, performances, and presentations; after sitting for long periods of time; as a break during computer work and TV watching; and to increase energy and reduce stress. It is a centering body/brain movement tool for brain reorganization, oxygenation, and recuperation.


Ashley was kind enough to come to a faculty meeting recently where everyone was introduced and even enjoyed a session of BrainDance. This week, Ashley came to share BrainDance with students in Grades 3, 4 and 5. Done with some regularity, our students should see some immediate benefits such as reorganization of their neurological system, increased blood and oxygen flow, enhanced core support and alignment and a deeper understanding of dance technique. We are so grateful to Ashley for her time and her expertise and we are delighted that our students have access to this thrilling movement routine!

Posted by kfloman on Thursday March 30 at 03:34PM
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Grace Gryphons Basketball and the Rise of the Underdogs

This week, we welcome Guest Blogger Angie Rutledge as she takes us on an exciting journey with a recap of this year's amazing basketball season. Huge thanks go to volunteer photographer (and basketball dad) Stephen Brundage for the action-filled images!

It was November and the fall kickball/soccer season had ended with little fanfare. Basketball was next on the horizon, and the energy was building. The students in Grade 5 were anxious to see how much their skills had developed since last year. They would be the leaders of the teams and seemed up for the challenge. The boys’ team had a solid eleven players signed up for the first game.


The girls were nervous, with only five Grade 5 players; they needed to entice some of the Grade 4 girls to play. After some initial concerns, we had grown into a team of seven, and the girls were ready to take on the season.


Our outdoor practices were windy, wet, cold, hot and some days, just right. (Hey, it’s been that kind of winter.) The players were putting in great effort and working hard to improve. The first games were scheduled for January 12th at Woods Academy. As the day grew nearer, the players were anxious to get the season started. The jerseys were given out. New high tops were purchased; sports glasses and mouthpieces were ordered. After a nervous start, both teams came out victorious in the first outings of the season.



Needless to say, the biggest competition and games of the season would come against National Presbyterian School. We would play them two times each, and the kids were really excited to see and show our previous Headmaster and Coach, Malcolm Lester, how they had grown and improved as players. The boys lost the first meeting with NPS 35-29, and the girls won 22-19. NPS would also host the final basketball game for each team. The NPS gym was packed on February 16th. The game was tight, and the boys had ice running through their veins. With less than 30 seconds left on the clock, the defense held on and the offense exploded for a 55-52 victory over National Presbyterian School. Every player had to dig deep in this start to finish nail biter. What an exciting way to end the boys’ basketball season!

On the trip to National Presbyterian School on Wednesday, February 22nd, the girls were pumped and ready for a final victory. They entered the gym and sized up the opponent. For the fifth graders, it would be their final game as Grace Gryphons. The game was close from start to finish. Our team defense was tight, and each player saw a lot of playing time. With 15 seconds left on the clock, we were down by 3 points. Danielle fought through a triple team to take a last second shot….it rimmed in and out, and the game was over. Although the tears flowed, the girls had an unexpectedly great season!


Coach Petersen and I are very proud of all their efforts and improvement throughout the season. The teams combined for a record of 9-3 on the season. Please congratulate these members of the 2016-2017 basketball teams: Krishna, Alek, Nevan, Miles, Casey, Malcolm, Liam, Frederick, Anthony, Luke, Lucas, Lillian, Amara, Danielle, Skylar, Charis, Sofia, and Madeleine. Special thanks to all of the parents, administrators and faculty who supported us this wonderful season. We will have a recognition assembly in the MPR on Friday, March 10th at 9:00 am. Great job Gryphons!

Posted by kfloman on Wednesday March 1 at 03:12PM
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Grace Episcopal Day School will provide every student the opportunity for academic excellence in a caring, nurturing, moral environment that embraces diversity and promotes creativity, self-confidence, and service to others.

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