By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN For more than 90 years, St. James Lutheran School in Howard Lake has been providing a Christian education for the children of St. James Lutheran congregation and the surrounding area.
When the school opened in 1918, only sixth through eighth grades were being taught.
Throughout the years, more grades were added, the most recent being the addition of preschool in 2000.
There were only 50 students enrolled in the school the first year it was open, and today, there are about 137, with an average class size of 15.
Most students are from Howard Lake, Winsted, or Waverly, but others come from Monticello, Cokato, Montrose, and Maple Lake areas.
The school holds high educational standards and its students score well on assessment tests.
The modern school facilities and curriculum, which include the addition of four SMARTboards this year, help students achieve while being provided a Christian education.
“We’re kind of learning together,” said eighth grade teacher Rhonda Whitcomb about using the SMARTboards. “It’s been kind of fun, and a big help with algebra.”
In seventh and eighth grades, confirmation classes are taught by St. James Lutheran Church pastors Michael Nirva and Dave Taylor.
Along with a Christian education, students are offered a well-rounded school experience, with extracurricular activities, such as volleyball and basketball.
Students can participate in other extracurricular activities through the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District.
The school also offers an on-campus library, computer labs, and a kitchen serving hot lunch.
Students attend weekly church services, and participate in field trips and an end-of-the-year track and field day.
Learning centered on Christian teachings
St. James Lutheran School offers a unique learning experience centered on Christian teachings, values, and beliefs in accordance with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
The school stands firmly rooted in the Bible, through which the Gospel message of God’s love in Jesus is taught, according to St. James Lutheran School teacher Jennifer Schmidt.
“It provides the individual student with a strong sense of worth and value as a loved and redeemed child of our heavenly Father,” Schmidt said.
The small class sizes at St. James Lutheran School allow students to develop a relationship with their teachers and one another that fosters education and spiritual growth, she added.
Students leave St. James Lutheran School with a strong connection to their faith, and a firm foundation in education.
Following their education at St. James Lutheran School, students go on to attend area high schools, such as Mayer Lutheran High, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Dassel-Cokato, Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose, and Watertown-Mayer.
Registration for kindergarten at St. James takes place during its kindergarten roundup, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in St. James Lutheran School’s cafeteria.
Tuition for kindergarten children of congregation members is $650 for the year; for sister Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod members, tuition is $910; and non-member tuition is $1,207.50.
Children must be 5 years of age by Sept. 1, 2013 to register for kindergarten. There is also a registration fee of $100 per student.
The goal of St. James Lutheran Little Saints Christian Preschool is to develop a well-rounded Christian personality in God’s little people, and to satisfy the needs of children in their spiritual, physical, social, emotional, and educational development.
A preschool roundup will take place Tuesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. in St. James Lutheran School’s cafeteria.
Tuition is $95 per month, and children registering for preschool must be 4 years old by Sept. 1, 2013.
Preschool classes take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout the school year from 12:15 to 3 p.m.
Anyone with questions may contact the school at (320) 543-2630.