No longer a secret: Grace Academy plans free Family Fun Day

By: 
Feb. 1, 2013

Grace Academy is currently organizing a free Family Fun Day for Feb. 16, at The Casements, as a way to boost its exposure.

BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Before Christian Dickinson took over as director of Grace Academy, 1060 W. Granada Blvd., two years ago, the K-8 private school’s identity was that of “the best kept secret in Ormond Beach.” But he didn’t care too much for that.

So he’s decided to do something about it, by hosting a school-sponsored Family Fun Day 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at The Casements, as a way to boost exposure.

“It’s really just intended to be an outreach to the community,” he said of the event, which will feature a bounce house, slide, face-painting, basketball and art, “to let (people) know Grace Academy is around. ...And I plan on continuing doing it ... hopefully this time every year.”

He’s also quick to clarify that the event is not a fundraiser — aside from a few food booths, everything is free. And besides, carnival-type events are just not Grace’s style when it comes to raising funds.

Last fall, the school put on a silent auction of student-made artwork, along with items donated by parents and local business sponsors. It brought in $30,000, all of which was used for technology and improvements to the 20-year-old infrastructure.

Dickinson led the purchase of big-screen LED televisions for his facility, he built new walls, put in a Mac lab, updated the playground, added mulch around the grounds, redid flooring in the bathrooms and, Thursday, Jan. 31, he signed off on the installation of fencing and security gates around the school.

With 20 years of experience in education, Dickinson is big on technology. He calls it “a tool, not a toy.” And he uses that tool, he says, combined with “old school” methods to customize education for his students, one-third to half of which are gifted-level learners.

He says that after two years attending Grace, most students score two years above the national reading average.

“(We) hold the bar up high and haven’t watered it down,” he said. “The whole ideas is, we’re building a model school, and you can do this and not spend millions of dollars.”

Call 673-5166 or visit www.graceacademy21.com.