Founded in 1975 and currently led by Dr. Liz Walgamuth, Grace School is the first AdvancED STEM-certified (Science Technology Engineering Math) school in Houston. Grace School went through a rigorous review process, including parent and faculty surveys and on-campus observations of the school’s curricular materials and instructional strategies, in order to show that that the school meets the nine indicators required to be STEM-certified.
Leigh Anne Shumate, principal of the lower school, laughs as she recalls the day a student-built robot appeared in her office and she was able to communicate with the students back in the STEM lab, via the robot’s onboard camera. The STEM curriculum begins in Primary School and covers all grade levels. Each year, Grace hosts a STEM Fair for families to see not only what their children are learning, but also what students in other grades are learning.
Much thought is also given to the school’s outdoor learning environment. The outdoor playground is Nature Explore-certified which requires a more natural environment (wood mulch, grass, trees, sandpits), plus annual training for teachers and goals for engagement with young learners.
The school, which is a ministry of Grace Presbyterian Church, sits on 13-acres at 10219 Ella Lee Lane (at the West Sam Houston Tollway.) “Most of our families come from the Westchase area,” Shumate said, “but some drive from much further away to be part of the Grace School difference.”
“Our school is the perfect blend of tradition and innovation,” said Shumate. “It’s an environment that is welcoming to all ages.”