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Our mission: 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.

2323 E. 12th St. ∙ The Dalles, Oregon
(541) 701-9137Contact Us

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  • Columbia Lutheran School
  • 2323 E. 12th St. The Dalles, OR 97058
  • Columbia Lutheran School
  • (541) 701–9137

School Philosophy

Key Features of a Classical Lutheran Curriculum

1. God’s Word is at the heart of all that takes place within the school, with a proper division of Law & Gospel continually emphasized as the essence of Christian education.

2. The members of the school community honor God by seeking excellence in all things and, in Christian love, hold one another accountable for excellence.

3. The school provides Christian education for children of member families and welcomes children of non-member families as an evangelistic outreach opportunity.

4. The school should seek opportunities to provide service to the members of the community, and not just for school promotion.

5. Support parents in their God-given role to educate and nurture their children.

6. The use of uniforms in the school, to emphasize academic dedication and a cohesive learning community.

7. Enhancement of education through the study of music, the arts, and Latin.

8. Financial sustainability of the school by resolving to charge actual cost-per-pupil tuition, along with the establishment of scholarship funds and financial aid for those in need.

9. A commitment to thorough scope-and-sequence curriculum planning and implementation, focusing on long-term academic success.

10. Implementation of an academic curriculum founded on the principles of classical education.

The Gospel: God’s Promises in Jesus Christ

The most important element in our teaching is the Bible’s good news. We teach that all truth is Christian truth, and relates somehow to the Christian faith. But Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), is the center and focus of our school and all of its activities. We want all children and adults to learn and grow in the certainty of God’s favor that His Word provides, which is guaranteed by the life, death, and resurrection of His only-begotten Son, and delivered to us through God’s Word and sacraments.

Free Citizens

We believe that the American Declaration of Independence is correct when it states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Every individual human being possesses the dignity of being God’s special creature. We are distinguished from other living members of Creation by God through His gift of a rational, immortal soul, but most importantly through the incarnation of the Son of God as a human being born of the virgin Mary. In light of these superlative gifts of God, every human being deserves to be educated in such a way that he or she can receive the greatest benefit from them. This is the purpose and goal of classical Lutheran education: that every student should learn to think and live to his or her full capacity as a free citizen under God.

The education of free citizens is vitally important for the security of a free society. Through history, people held as slaves were denied the opportunity of such an education, because it would threaten the tyrannical power of their masters. The same is commonly found among the subjects of tyrannical governments which control or suppress education, free speech and freedom of conscience. However, free citizens bear most of the responsibility for maintaining their society through self-government, first as individuals, and then in a system of representation like that of the United States. When the commonly-available education fails to teach the correct, independent use of reason and the biblical worldview that supports the presuppositions of the Declaration of Independence, then the freedom of society in general is endangered.

Classical Lutheran education is an excellent antidote to this trend. It offers a way for parents to provide the best possible education for their children, and also to help protect the principles and promote the worldview that gave birth to the best features of American society. While these are important and necessary benefits, we believe that the most important advantage of classical Lutheran education is the clear, accurate teaching of the Gospel. Through this message, God draws sinners to Jesus Christ, and grants the gift of faith. It is by faith in Jesus Christ that our students have the certainty of God’s favor, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life.

Family Orientation

Psalm 68:6 (NKJV) says, “God sets the solitary in families.” We believe that God is the one who has established the family as the basic unit of human society on Earth. Children learn best from their parents, and a school is not a replacement for them. Rather, the school exists to supplement the education provided by the children’s parents in their godly vocation as parents. We encourage families to start and maintain a regular habit of family worship around God’s Word.

We realize that not every student’s family may hold to the same convictions of faith that we have, and we respect that. We are happy to explain our faith in detail and answer all questions, because we believe that our teachings are solidly based upon God’s Word. Where parents may disagree with certain parts of what we teach, we ask them to support the school in its work by requiring their children to learn the material, while also explaining to their children the reasons why they disagree. Though we strongly encourage children to attend and participate in all of our chapel activities, we respect the conscience of those who believe that certain kinds of participation would be wrong.

Human Beings as Body, Mind, and Spirit

Since God created us not only with a mind, but also a physical body and a spirit, Columbia Lutheran School incorporates many different kinds of learning into the school. Athletic activity, creative and performing arts complement the academic classroom teaching in our curriculum. Students are encouraged to participate in occasional music recitals, concerts, and Sunday church services at Bethany.


Clothing choices are an expression of a person’s individuality and perspective. Columbia Lutheran School is an environment where our purpose is to teach the foundation of a well-informed and well-reasoned perspective, while also teaching what gives each person genuine value. By requiring students to wear appropriate uniforms every day at school, we promote a focus on the enduring and valuable things we teach every day. It also eliminates certain difficulties related to clothing choices that can arise between students, or within families. Those difficulties would only distract from our focus.

Curriculum Overview

The scope of materials used at Columbia includes a wide variety of sources currently available. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod board for elementary schools has produced a resource index for classical Lutheran schools that reflects this variety. The course materials actually in use at Columbia are determined through periodic assessments by the teaching staff in conjunction with the school board. Our chief concerns are:

  • That the materials should not confuse or undermine our presentation of the Christian worldview in each subject with teachings contrary to the Word of God. (See Our Faith for a description of the Christian worldview.)
  • That the content of materials serve the progression or sequence of learning that students will follow from the early Grammar stage through the Logic and Rhetoric stages of the Trivium.

Page last modified February 06, 2015, at 03:02 PM by PastorJacobsen.
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