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2323 E. 12th St. ∙ The Dalles, Oregon
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  • Columbia Lutheran School
  • 2323 E. 12th St. The Dalles, OR 97058
  • Columbia Lutheran School
  • (541) 298–1392

Columbia Lutheran School


To provide a quality classical Christian education for the families of the Mid-Columbia area, preparing students for their current and future God-given roles and supporting parents in their vocation to educate and nurture their children.

Classes Suspended for 2020–2021 School Year. Investigating Resumption in 2021–2022.

In January, 2020, the Voters’ Assembly at Bethany directed the school board to investigate the possibility of opening a preschool that would work in parallel with Columbia. Most of our synod’s parochial (elementary) schools work this way. Without a preschool, it takes more work to bring new families into our school. This was especially evident in a rebuilding year after Mr. Radliff retired from teaching in the lower classroom.

The school board began addressing this in February and March. Then came COVID-19 and lockdown. As far as teaching our students, we were blessed. After four days off, we began teaching remotely. It lasted the entire fourth quarter of the school year. Remote teaching worked, but not for everyone, and not for all subjects and activities. Three students needed other arrangements, leaving ten who finished the year with us.

Every school suffered during this time. What hurt Columbia most was not the reduced ability to teach, but the complete lack of opportunity to reach out into the community and look for more students for next year. We did use the Web and radio. But everything we had planned at our early registration in February was out the window, and nobody could say what will happen next school year. As of July, schools are required to choose between three models and submit a detailed plan to the state about how it will be done. The three main choices are remote learning, onsite learning, or a mix of the two.

We investigated all three options well before the state’s requirement. Our school board and staff realized that the only choice allowing the school to fulfill its mission is onsite learning. Students need to be in school, and we need them there to teach them effectively, especially to teach the gospel and the Christian life. That clarified things for us. Since the state expects onsite learners to be distanced at least 6’ from each other, we calculated our maximum capacity and estimated the base tuition needed to run our program. Unfortunately, it was a steep increase from the last few years, partly because we can’t rely on the same outside sources of funding.

We asked our school families and the community to consider their interest in onsite school next year under these circumstances and with this cost. Some of our families expressed interest, but the increase in tuition was too great for almost all of them. With limited time and resources to ask the community the same thing, we did not receive any responses. Again, the pandemic lockdown has been a major factor.

Bethany’s voters met again on July 7. The school board recommended that Columbia operation be suspended for the next school year (2020–2021), but that the school board continue to investigate the possibility of opening again soon. The voters approved this plan. School resources will be kept and there will be a report January 2021 about the possibility of opening school for the 2021–2022 school year. It may be different at first than the K-8 parochial school we have been operating. We thank our families for their patience as we reached these conclusions.

Note from Pastor Jacobsen (CLS principal and upper-grades teacher)

It has been a privilege and joy for me to work with our school staff these past six years, and especially to teach our students. I pray that we all remember the most important thing we have learned: that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is our Savior from sin and death (1 Peter 3:18). He has overcome the world with all its diseases, wars, strife, and suffering (John 16:33). Though other things change, He does not (Hebrews 13:8). His resurrection means that all who believe in Him have eternal life (John 3:16).

But what I’d like everyone to realize at this time is that our new, eternal life in Jesus Christ has already begun. We don’t see it in its perfection and glory yet, but by faith we already have it. Even now, we can live at peace with God. Despite the disappointments and pains of this world everyone who trusts in Christ is already serving Him in all that we do. Especially during this pandemic, I encourage you to live boldly and joyfully in this faith by showing the love of Christ to one another. Seek out the highest gifts of God, which Christ still provides to His people on a weekly basis. That’s where we all may receive the strength, comfort, and certainty we need to deal with our time on earth.

As Christ hath full atonement made
And brought to us salvation,
So may each Christian now be glad
And build on this foundation:
Thy grace alone, dear Lord, I plead,
Thy death now is my life indeed,
For Thou hast paid my ransom.

Not doubting this, I trust in Thee,
Thy Word cannot be broken,
Thou all dost call, “Come unto Me!”
No falsehood hast Thou spoken:
”He who believes and is baptized,
He shall be saved,” say’st Thou, O Christ,
And he shall never perish.

(Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #227 v. 6–7)

Making Connections

Look here for periodic articles from our school board, staff, or other contributors.

Page last modified July 20, 2020, at 09:54 AM by .
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