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Spring Letter from the GRACE President

Dear Members of the GRACE Community:

Warm spring greetings during this beautiful time of Easter, growth and reflection. I am filled with gratitude for the blessings that continue to enrich our beloved GRACE community. 

One of the cornerstones of our mission is to ensure that our schools are beacons of faith and knowledge, open to all those who seek the light of Catholic education. With the support of our 23 GRACE-affiliated parishes, we are steadfast in our commitment to welcoming every child into our classrooms regardless of background or circumstance. Together, we embrace our community knowing that it is through unity that we truly thrive to reach the kingdom- our ultimate yearning. 

The impact of a GRACE education extends far beyond the walls of our schools. By providing more students with access to quality education, we not only foster academic excellence but pave the way for brighter futures and boundless opportunities. Our commitment to nurturing a thriving community around us is rooted in the belief that Catholic education is the cornerstone of our students’ futures. 

I am delighted to report that our enrollment remains strong, a testament to the unwavering dedication of our staff and families and the enduring appeal of Catholic education in greater Green Bay. With robust and thriving schools, our students are provided not only with excellent academic opportunities but also with vibrant social experiences that help shape them into well-rounded individuals. Each child brings a unique perspective to our community enriching our classrooms with a tapestry of personalities and ideas. 

A steady enrollment also serves as the bedrock of our fiscal practices, ensuring the stability and sustainability of our schools for generations to come. Through the support of our growing community, we are empowered to uphold the traditions and teachings of our Catholic faith in partnership with our parents and parishes, nurturing the hearts and minds of our students. 

As we celebrate our successes, let us also cherish the bonds of friendship and unity that are forged within our GRACE family. Together, parents and educators alike form a supportive network that cultivates our beautiful community and creates a sense of belonging and lasting friendships for our students that endures long after graduation. 

I extend my deepest gratitude to each and every member of our GRACE community for your unwavering support and dedication to our mission. Together, let us continue to uphold the values of faith, excellence, and community that define us, inspiring future generations to shine brightly in the light of God’s love. 

With prayers, peace and warmest regards as we enter into these final days of the academic year!

Kim Desotell signature

Kimberly A. Desotell

President, GRACE 


This is an excerpt from the Spring 2024 GRACE Newsletter. Check out the whole newsletter by clicking the button below!


Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.

A Spud-tacular Visit: The Spudmobile at Our School!

What a day to remember as the Spudmobile rolled into our school, bringing with it a wealth of knowledge and fun all centered around the humble potato. Students, teachers, and staff gathered in excitement as the state-of-the-art mobile classroom parked on our grounds, ready to deliver an engaging and educational experience.

           

Learning Through Fun

The Spudmobile is not just any vehicle; it’s a high-tech, interactive learning center on wheels. As students stepped inside, they were greeted with a variety of exhibits and activities designed to teach them about the potato industry. From the history of potato farming to the latest in agricultural technology, the Spudmobile provided a comprehensive look at how this staple crop is grown, harvested, and brought to our tables.

Hands-On Activities

Our students enjoyed several hands-on activities that made learning about potatoes both fun and memorable. They explored interactive displays, participated in virtual field trips to potato farms, and even took part in cooking demonstrations showing different ways to prepare potatoes. These activities not only educated but also inspired many of our students to think more about where their food comes from and the importance of agriculture in our daily lives.

The Science Behind Potatoes

One of the highlights of the visit was the section dedicated to the science of potatoes. Students learned about the nutritional benefits of potatoes, the different varieties, and how potatoes can be a part of a healthy diet. There were also lessons on plant biology, showing how potatoes grow from seed to plant, which fascinated many of our budding scientists.

A Community Connection

The Spudmobile visit wasn’t just an educational experience; it was a celebration of community. By learning about the local and national potato industry, students gained an appreciation for the hard work and dedication of farmers in our area. This connection to our community’s agricultural roots was a valuable lesson in itself.

Thank You, Spudmobile Team!

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Spudmobile team for bringing this incredible experience to our school. Their passion for education and agriculture shone through every activity and exhibit. The visit left a lasting impression on our students and sparked a newfound interest in the world of farming and food production.


Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.

GRACE Newsletter

GRACE Spring 2024 Newsletter Now Available

The latest GRACE Spring 2024 newsletter is now available to read! This issue highlights the Father Allouez Catholic School Faith Fair, puts a spotlight on newcomer Father Adam Bradley, a thoughtful reflection from Deacon Dan, an update on GRACE athletics from new Director of Athletics and Activities, Matt Riebe, and even more!

Check it out by clicking the button below.

Read Now

Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.

abundant blessings preschool program

Abundant Blessings Preschool Program

Abundant Blessings is an outdoor preschool education program at Holy Cross Catholic School. The curriculum is seasonal, place and play-based, and integrated with the tenets of the Catholic Faith. It includes a mixture of inquiry and hands-on activities, group and individual activities, indoor and outdoor activities, along with active and quiet activities. Children will develop self-regulation, problem-solving skills, confidence, and more as they learn in, from, and about God’s natural world. Learn more about this unique preschool program at www.holycrossfamily.org/academic-life/preschool or watch the video below!

Learn more about Holy Cross Catholic School here.


Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.

Voices for Adoption: Students Shine in Knights of Columbus Essay Contest

In a world where the power of storytelling can illuminate and inspire change, the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest emerges as a beacon for advocacy, particularly on the topic of adoption. Recently, students from various corners of our community took up the challenge to lend their voices to this noble cause.

The annual essay contest, hosted by the Knights of Columbus, not only serves as a platform for young minds to express themselves but also fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation for the beauty of adoption. With pens poised and hearts open, students embarked on a journey to explore the significance of adoption in our society.

Through their words, students painted vivid portraits of love, resilience, and belonging—themes that resonate deeply with the essence of adoption. They delved into the complexities of identity, the bonds of family, and the transformative power of acceptance. With eloquence and empathy, they advocated for a world where every child is cherished and every family is celebrated

           

Among the many outstanding entries, two students’ essays rose to the top, securing the esteemed positions of first and second place in the Knights of Columbus Essay Contest. Their exceptional talent and heartfelt dedication to the topic of adoption shone brightly through their words, earning them well-deserved recognition and admiration. We extend our congratulations to Addie Peterson and Liv Callan on this outstanding accomplishment. In her winning essay, Addie eloquently expressed, “Adoption is an option that distributes benefits to all who are involved. It can offer a second chance, relief, a pair of welcoming arms, or the blessing of children.” These profound words not only showcase the winner’s literary prowess but also encapsulate the essence of the contest theme and the significance of adoption in our society.

As we applaud the efforts of these young students, we are reminded of the profound impact that individuals, regardless of age, can have in shaping a more compassionate and just society. Their voices echo the timeless truth that love knows no bounds and that every child deserves to grow in the embrace of a loving family.


Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.

Witnessing Grace: Catholic School Students’ Remarkable Performance of the Living Stations of the Cross

In the heart of our community, nestled within the walls of our beloved church, something truly remarkable unfolded today. With hearts full of reverence and dedication, our students took center stage to present a stirring rendition of the Living Stations of the Cross. It was a moment that transcended mere performance; it was a profound journey of faith and reflection.

As the audience gathered in anticipation, there was a palpable sense of reverence in the air. The solemnity of the occasion was met with eager anticipation, knowing that we were about to witness something special.

From the very first station to the last, our students poured their hearts and souls into every moment. With each step along the way, they brought to life the profound moments of Christ’s journey to Calvary. Through their poignant portrayal of each scene, they conveyed the weight of suffering and the depth of love that permeated every aspect of this sacred narrative.

What made this performance truly exceptional was not just the skillful execution, but the evident sincerity and devotion that shone through every gesture and word. It was as if the spirit of the Passion infused the very air around us, drawing us closer to the heart of Christ’s sacrifice.

As we watched our students embody the roles of Jesus, Mary, and the various figures along the way, you couldn’t help but be moved by the depth of their understanding and the authenticity of their portrayal. It was a testament to the profound impact of our Catholic education, nurturing not only their minds but also their spirits.

But perhaps what touched us most deeply was the sense of community that permeated the entire performance. Our students worked tirelessly together, supporting one another every step of the way. In their unity, we saw a reflection of the love and solidarity that Christ calls us to embody in our own lives.

           

As the final station drew to a close and the audience sat in reverent silence, you couldn’t help but feel a profound sense of gratitude. Gratitude for our students who had poured their hearts into this performance, gratitude for our teachers who had guided and inspired them, and above all, gratitude for the gift of faith that unites us all.

In a world often filled with noise and distraction, moments like these remind us of the power of silence, reflection, and prayer. They invite us to pause, to ponder, and to allow the grace of God to penetrate our hearts more deeply.

As we leave this sacred space and return to the busyness of our lives, may we carry with us the lessons learned and the grace received. May the memory of this remarkable performance continue to inspire us to live out our faith with courage and conviction, knowing that we walk in the footsteps of the One who gave everything out of love for us.

And so, we give thanks for this day, for this moment, and for the countless blessings that surround us. May we always remain open to the movement of the Spirit, guiding us ever closer to the heart of God.


Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.

Hour of Grace

In partnership with Notre Dame Academy’s 24 Hour Eucharistic Adoration, join us in preparation for Holy Week as we spend ONE hour in prayer with our Lord as ONE united GRACE + NDA community. The Hour of GRACE will be at the St. Norbert Chapel on the Notre Dame Academy campus. All are welcome – enjoy snacks and fellowship to follow!

           

 


Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.

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Navigating Tuition Affordability

GRACE is committed to partnering with families to ensure that Catholic education remains accessible and affordable, irrespective of income levels. Our dedication to this mission is evident in the various avenues available to manage and reduce tuition costs.

GRACE proudly offers financial aid to support families in need for children enrolled in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, with over 300 students annually benefiting from GRACE Financial Aid. Generous private donors, who share our belief in the value of Catholic education, make it possible to reduce tuition through scholarships and financial aid for families. The average GRACE Financial Aid award is around $1,500 per student. Families can access the GRACE Financial Aid application through our online TADS enrollment management portal.

Tuition costs for 2024-25 are $5,565 for grades K-5, $5,685 for grades 6-8, and $8,385 for Chesterton Academy of St. John Paul II Classical School grades 9-12. Active, registered parishioners completing the parish verification form with our GRACE 23 supporting parishes qualify for a $2,000 tuition reduction (Active Parishioner Incentive) per child enrolled in grades kindergarten through 12th grade.

To cater to individual family needs, GRACE provides an array of tuition reduction opportunities in addition to the aforementioned Active Parishioner Incentive. These include a New Family Referral Incentive, Sibling Incentive, SCRIP Program, Parish and School Scholarships, Payment Plan Options, GRACE Employee Tuition Discount, and a CatholicLink Tuition Discount (for employees who qualify.) Detailed information on these options can be found at gracesystem.org/admissions/tuitions-and-fees/.

In addition, the State of Wisconsin permits residents to leverage private tuition costs. The Wisconsin Parental Choice Program offers vouchers for full tuition at a GRACE school based on family income and eligibility. Families are encouraged to apply between February and April 2024. Find more details at gracesystem.org/admissions/wisconsin-parental-choice/. In addition, families can take advantage of Wisconsin Tax Deductions for private school tuition. Families are encouraged to check with their tax advisors regarding options that may apply to their situations.

GRACE is not just committed to academic excellence and the formation of children, but also to ensuring that quality education is within reach for all families. Our goal is clear: no child should be denied a Catholic education due to financial constraints. We remain steadfast in our commitment to making Catholic education available, accessible, and affordable to every interested family. We know Catholic education is a transformative gift for each child and family.


Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.

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GRACE Teacher Compensation

Besides education and faith, one of the very top priorities of GRACE leadership is to continually elevate educator compensation. Through the support of our Board of Trustees and our sound fiscal practices, GRACE has been able to make significant gains in employee compensation over the past six years. This is part of GRACE’s Strategic Plan to enhance compensation for our valued employees in a fiscally responsible and equitable manner. We are proud of the specific actions, which include:

  • GRACE employee wages have increased every year with raises historically between 3% and 5% annually.
  • We have developed, and are implementing, a multi-year, sustainable plan to continue to retain and attract top talent, including via competitive compensation which includes, in part, competitive compensation.
  • GRACE offers a robust benefits package to teachers and staff, including medical and dental benefits. Candidates seek to join our GRACE employee ranks to take advantage of not only our mission, but our benefit package as well.
  • We offer childcare for employees at below market rates through our GRACE Little Saints Child Care program.
  • GRACE employees receive attractive tuition discounts so their children can attend GRACE Schools. Tuition discounts are also available for our employees who have children attending Notre Dame Academy as well as St. Norbert College through our CatholicLink relationships.
  • Recognizing talent with our GRACE Teacher Excellence Awards through both Top Teacher Talent Awards and a Master’s Path Program which involves a fully paid Master’s Program for teachers through St. Norbert College.
  • From time to time, through generous support of donors and sound financial governance, GRACE has been blessed to provide special bonuses to our employees. Such bonuses reward performance achievements enabled through dedicated, valued teachers, staff and administrators – the most recent bonus distributed in January 2024.

These actions are important and vital steps in our ongoing strategic efforts to elevate compensation overall for our valued GRACE employees.

Competitive compensation is crucial for retaining and attracting excellent teachers and staff in all areas of our schools. This in turn, helps to build and support skilled and dedicated professional teams within our schools and our system.

Compensation is only one piece of the puzzle. Our educators feel valued when GRACE parents and students take time to express their genuine thanks for the excellent Catholic education teachers provide. This gratitude, coupled with attractive compensation and benefits makes GRACE an employer of choice and, in turn, contributes to the stability and continuity of our GRACE school communities.


Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.

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The True Value of GRACE

By Nick Anderson
GRACE Board of Trustees Chairperson

I am fortunate to have attended Notre Dame of De Pere for grade school where I received an excellent Catholic education. I was a student there years before Notre Dame and the other Green Bay area Diocese schools came together in what we now know as the GRACE System. Fast forward (many, many years) to 2023 and my wife and I are now blessed to have three students enrolled in a GRACE school and be part of a vibrant school/parish community.

I am a firm believer in the value of Catholic education. I am particularly passionate about keeping that education affordable for all families, especially for our middle-income families who reflect the majority of our community.

That’s where GRACE excels. Today, tuition at GRACE elementary schools is about $3,500 per year for active parishioners. While that amount certainly represents a significant sacrifice – and investment – that parents make for their children, GRACE tuition is reasonable as compared to other Catholic schools. For example, parishioner tuition at a Catholic grade school in the Milwaukee area is $4,990, and in the Fox Valley tuition ranges from $4,300 to $5,300 per year.

How does GRACE do this to maintain affordable tuition? In two ways: (1) By limiting costs, and (2) by drawing funding from a broad range of funding sources.

First, let’s consider the cost side. Today the full actual cost of educating a student in a GRACE school is about $8,000 per year. Here are the components of this cost:

  • 64% – Educator pay and benefits
  • 11% – Facilities (buildings and grounds, rent, etc.)
  • 8% – Medical Insurance Benefits
  • 6% – Books and technology
  • 4% – Administrative pay and benefits
  • 3% – Food service
  • 4% – Other operational

This cost would be significantly higher without GRACE. That’s because GRACE provides key economies of scale (think: purchasing textbooks and technology in bulk; limiting administrative costs). Without GRACE each individual school would need to pay for its own benefits, manage facilities, and provide books and technology – all without the robust platform that GRACE provides. Before GRACE was formed, our parishes were investing upwards of 75% of their annual parishioner giving to support their parish schools.

Let’s turn to the funding side. As noted above, tuition of $3,500 falls well short of the $8,000 actual cost to educate a student. Generous support by our community allows GRACE to coordinate funding sources that bridge the gap. Here are GRACE’s key funding sources:

  • 36% – Tuition
  • 28% – Wisconsin Parental Choice
  • 19% – Parish subsidies (remember, there are 23 parishes supporting nine schools).
  • 6% – Food Service (e.g. Annual Appeal, grants)
  • 6% – Site-level Third Source Funding (e.g. $ from so many great Site Advisory Committee (“SAC”) events/auctions)
  • 5% – Centralized GRACE fundraising

Some good news: while GRACE’s overall enrollment has been increasing throughout its existence, GRACE’s reliance on parishes and third source funding (SAC) has, in that same timeframe, decreased. To maintain this positive momentum, centralized GRACE development will be a particular area of focus in the coming year. GRACE recently formed a Development Committee to explore the best ways to fund Catholic education, better collaborate with our outstanding SAC leadership, and support GRACE’s objective to continue to systematically reduce reliance on the amounts that individual parishes invest.

I will admit when I first heard about the GRACE System, I made some faulty assumptions. I jumped to the conclusion that GRACE was an unnecessary bureaucracy – I thought each school could simply run itself. But I was wrong. I have since asked a lot of questions, learned more, witnessed GRACE in action in many facets, and come to realize the wisdom and vision of the parents, priests and Bishop who formed the GRACE system over 12 years ago. The math shows that, absent the power of the GRACE System, any lone individual school would need to charge more tuition and/or engage in far more fundraising in order to manage the administrative and operational costs needed to maintain a high-quality school experience. As a parent I am grateful for the support of our great SAC leaders, volunteers, parishes and donors, all of which help keep Catholic education affordable and attainable to our Green Bay community. And that is the true value of GRACE.

Nick Anderson
GRACE Board of Trustees Chairperson


Holy Cross Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8). The school has open enrollment and is located on the Northeast side of Green Bay near the Town of Scott and is near the Red Smith neighborhood and Wequiock Falls.

Holy Cross provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

For more information about Holy Cross Catholic School, feel free to browse our website: https://holycrossfamily.org.