For Immediate Release
March 12, 2014
- Bethany Lutheran Church, 2323 East 12th Street, The Dalles
- Pastor Jesse Jacobsen: 541–298–8385 or 541–701–9137
- Bethany Lutheran School Opening Columbia Lutheran School in 2014
This article was picked up by The Dalles Chronicle.
Columbia Lutheran School: A New Education Option in the Gorge
Families with elementary-aged children in the Gorge will have a new choice on their list of education options beginning this fall. Bethany Lutheran Church, a Christian congregation in The Dalles, Oregon, decided in February 2014 to open a new elementary school on their present site at East 12th and Thompson Streets. Although the congregation had been actively researching a school start for two years, this decision came earlier than expected, as a local opportunity for support presented itself at the end of 2013.
The most important aspect of the school for the people of Bethany is that it will incorporate their faith into all aspects of education. This point of view is shared by many families in the Mid-Columbia area who have been sending their children to parochial schools or home schooling them for years.
Bethany is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS). The ELS model for Christian schools, called the “classical model,” reaches back to a tradition of education used for centuries. This teaching philosophy focuses on teaching children the usual subjects like history, language, math, and science, but following an overall sequence called the Trivium, using various curriculum resources. As provided in the ELS model, Lutheran classical education also incorporates the Christian worldview into every subject.
The Trivium recognizes three natural stages of learning and takes advantage of them by using age-appropriate material in the curriculum for each student. For example, young children love to memorize and do it without even trying. The Grammar stage takes advantage of this natural learning by teaching the building blocks of subjects, such as facts and dates. Older children begin to question how their lessons should square with what they already know. The Logic stage encourages those questions and teaches those relationships. Later, when students begin to critically assess the things they see and hear and to express themselves, they are taught the Rhetoric parts of each subject. In every subject, children are built up to think and live as well-informed, understanding, free individuals.
Bethany is now pressed for time, as the church has only about six months to bring the school into full operation. Enrollment will open in March. The school’s first teacher and principal will be obtained through its synod’s nationwide network of experienced teachers. The school will use multi-grade classrooms, which are an advantage for both students and the school. The final determination of which grade levels will be included this year and how they will be combined will wait for the end of the registration season.
Pastor Jacobsen recognizes the challenge in this. “Any time someone starts something new, there are unknowns. But it’s an exciting time anyway. We want to share this exceptional approach to teaching and we think parents will recognize that this school could provide the best education available in the area. I encourage parents, who are looking for a quality option for their children, to become part of Columbia Lutheran School’s start-up team by registering their children early and participating in the process. It’s really a rare opportunity, and the more cooperation we have, the better the school will be.” For enrollment information, and to learn more about classical education and Columbia Lutheran School, those interested can visit the school’s website at http://www.columbialutheranschool.org or call the church at 541–298–8385.