March 12, 2007

Mount Olive Lutheran School

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

Mount Olive Lutheran School has a long history in Delano, and as Delano continues to grow, Mount Olive continues to adapt and grow to adjust to the needs of the community and its students.

Mount Olive Lutheran School is for pre-k to eighth grade, with an enrollment of 80 students. Approximately 80 percent of the schools’ students are members of the Mount Olive Lutheran Church congregation, but admission is open to children with all religious views.

“Everyone can come as long as they are willing to accept what we are doing,” Principal Scott Loberger said.

The school has been operating since 1955, and in those 52 years, the school has had three additions added to accommodate faculty and student needs.

The original building was built in 1955, and consisted of two classrooms and an office. When attendance rose to 50 students, they knew they had to build on to accommodate the needs of the students.

“They had 50 students in the two classrooms,” Loberger said.

An addition was built, and two new classrooms, a gymnasium, and a kitchen were added on to the school.

“The enrollment at the time was approximately 90 students,” Loberger said.

The second addition to the school added two more classrooms, as well as a locker room.

The third addition to Mount Olive Lutheran School is in progress, and will be finishing up this month. The addition brings the school one more classroom, new offices, and a new entryway.

“We can move into the new classroom after March 20,” Loberger said.

The new offices will overlook the new entrance area, which will provide a better security program for the school, allowing the secretary to see everyone going into the school.

“It’s going to make the school more secure, which is very important these days,” Loberger said.

The new addition to the school is actually part of the new church being built for Mount Olive, being constructed by the Vanman Company, and will connect the school to the church, which will benefit the students who will now have access directly to the church when they have chapel during the school day.

“The church is the main focus of the building,” Loberger said.

Along with the new additions, the old offices will now be converted back into another classroom. The temporary walls will be taken down, and a full classroom will be available to the faculty and students.

To go along with the new additions to the school, renovations to the older buildings have been done, and are in progress. A new ceiling was put into the old entrance area, and plans for new lockers, flooring for the hallway, and repainting the bathrooms and hallway are all in the mix.

“We are looking at refacing the building and making it more attractive to our guests,” Loberger said.

Mount Olive offers a 3 and 4-year -old preschool program, which runs twice a week. The program is designed to build skills such as listening, fine and large motor skills, pronunciation, and visual skills, as well as learning to interact with other children, and learning about the Savior.

The kindergarten class at Mount Olive is a full-day program, having classes three days a week. The remaining classes, grades one to eight, have a regular schedule, meeting every day.

The teacher-to-student ratio at Mount Olive is excellent, averaging 15 students to a classroom.

“The teachers get a chance to really know the kids,” Loberger said.

The faculty consists of five full-time teachers, with an addition of several part-time employees. The part-time employees consist of an art, band, language arts, and a piano teacher, along with teacher’s aides.

Mount Olive’s mission statement is to provide families with knowledge of Jesus as their Savior, train students in all areas of academics, and encourage families in Christian living.

This mission is evident in their curriculum, going to chapel twice a month, as well as teaching the students in subjects such as arts, language arts, mathematics, physical education, religion, science, social studies, and foreign languages.

The foreign language program starts in first grade and continues through eighth grade. Mount Olive’s premise to starting a foreign language so early is simple; it is easy for a child to learn a foreign language at an earlier age than it is when they are older.

“It is the first year, school-wide, and the second year for the middle school,” Loberger said.

To go along with the fine curriculum, Mount Olive offers students many opportunities in extra curricular activities. They offer activities such as the art and science fairs, forensics, math, and spelling bowls, plays, sports, and a track and field fun day.

The activities allow the students to participate in things they are interested in, and explore new ideas within those topics. A majority of the activities allow the students to go outside of Mount Olive, and meet and compete against students from other schools.

For example, the track and field fun day, a yearly event, brings two schools to Delano – Timothy Lutheran, located in St. Louis Park, and Petra Lutheran from Sauk Rapids.

“They come for the whole day,” Loberger said.

The three schools compete in various activities throughout the day, with the younger children playing games such as shoe kick, scooter races, and bean bag throw in the morning. The older children compete in track and field events.

“We have been doing this for a long time,” Loberger said.

Then, in the afternoon the schools break into teams and play softball.

“We used to play softball the whole day, but that made for a long day,” Loberger said.

Mount Olive also provides a solid, competitive sports program. They are affiliated with the Twin City Lutheran Grade School Athletic League, and compete with other schools in basketball, cross country, softball, track, and volleyball.

The league has a regular schedule, playing both home and away games, with tournaments taking place at Lutheran high schools such as St. Croix Lutheran and West Lutheran.

The young athletes also have a choice of playing with the Delano Public School. They can be on both teams if they desire, and if the schedules don’t conflict.

“They can play both, with the understanding that it is here first,” Loberger said.

To help organize all these events, parents are crucial to the success. For this reason, every parent of a student is a member of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). The PTO meets five times a year, and assigns events and duties to each parent.

“They are automatically on the PTO, and we have very good participation,” Loberger said.

The PTO exchanges a lot of ideas, and they organize and run every event at Mount Olive, including the annual cookie dough fundraiser.

“There is a lot of information exchanging between the parents and teachers,” Loberger said.

Mount Olive Lutheran School has a long and treasured history here in Delano, with small class sizes and a great amount of teacher care. As Mount Olive continues to improve its facilities to meet the students’ needs, the teacher quality and care for the student, is one thing that will be a constant at Mount Olive.

“All teachers love kids, but the teachers here have a special interest in the child’s life as a whole,” Loberger said.

Mount Olive Lutheran School Events

Christian Education Week March 12-16

Preschool/Kindergarten Round Up March 13 6:30

Math/Spelling Bowl March 17

Track, Field, and Fun Day/League Track Meet May 4

Art Fair May

Awards Evening May 16 7:00

End of the Year Play May 22 7:00

Graduation/Closing Service May 24 7:00

For additional information, visit www.mtolivedelano.org

For more immediate assistance, call (763) 972-2442 or e-mail at mtoliveschool@hotmail.com

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