St. Paul Lutheran School (SPLS) is a ministry of St. Paul Lutheran Church and is connected with the church’s Lutheran denomination. So what difference does that make?
A tradition of Christian education in the Americas spanning literally hundreds of years comes with the SPLS connection to the nationwide system of Lutheran grade schools, high schools, early childhood centers, colleges, universities and seminaries. As Lutherans, we have done non-public education successfully for a long time.
Seeing the world through the lens of God’s Word, the Bible, brings a different perspective for teachers, staff and ultimately students. For example, a Biblical world-view would see each child as a unique creation of a loving God, infinitely valuable, full of potential and unconditionally loved. This causes faculty and staff to see students in a unique way but also leads students to understand why they should care deeply for one another and for the people of the world.
In another example, a Biblical world view sees each child as one created in God’s image but suffering from the effects of falling short of God’s expectations (sin). This not only helps us better understand the choices students sometimes make but also specifically shows how each child needs relief from the consequences of his or her choices. This view helps everyone understand that everyone needs the forgiveness God has provided through His Son, Jesus Christ. No child, in fact, no person, can truly avoid sin and please God on his or her own. We all need a Savior.
The evidence that St. Paul Lutheran School is a Christian school is found in more than Bible verses on display, prayers before meals and daily Bible lessons. It is our intent to make the Christian faith something that permeates the day in a natural and yet very intentional way. Making faith connections when reading stories, discussing current events, exploring our world and so on is directly part of the curriculum. Applying the faith when conflicts occur, when sadness or worry impacts children and when great things happen flows from who we are as people who trust God.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 (New International Version, ©2010)
Teachers and staff are guided by words from the Bible that tell them to do their best at everything, because everything we do is ultimately for our God. This then leads students to understand that school is not primarily about accomplishments and grades. School is about doing your best at everything and making that a life philosophy.
Common curricular components across the board at SPLS.
First and foremost is the study of the Bible and its application in life. In ECEC and PK students have daily Jesus Time on the carpet, as they explore Bible stories for ideas about God’s love for us and His calling for us to love one another.
We are proud to use curricular materials from Concordia Publishing House in most of our Christian Studies and Jesus Time settings.
Reading and language activities and mathematics instruction are part of every day, as well. For younger students phonics and spelling are vital. Older students delve into trade books and novels and other forms of literature. Developing a robust vocabulary is a key part of language instruction as are the traditional study of grammar and parts of speech.
Written expression is also crucial to the curriculum as we use Six Traits Writing throughout the elementary and middle school years as away to enhance students’ abilities to use the written (or typed) word to convey facts, ideas and opinions and to entertain.
Unlike some schools, SPLS continues to make science and social studies instruction much more than a curricular afterthought. In fact, we are blessed with teachers who love to share the wonder of God’s world through science investigation.
We continue to teach manuscript and cursive writing, but allow children more freedom in choosing which form to use than may be traditional.
Special subjects are also part of the school day as students experience art, music, physical education, and Spanish. Many grade levels also get regular instruction in technology and health.
Middle school students choose from a broad range of elective courses than are designed to meet current student interests and create new ones.