Category Archives: School Board

Limited-Time Opportunities for 2015-2016

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This year, the CLS School Board is offering an early registration incentive based upon the generous gifts we have received over the past year. All students registered for 2015-2016 before May 15th will have their registration fee later credited toward their tuition. This still allows the school to make needed purchases in anticipation of the next school year, while also effectively lowering the monthly cost for our families without any mandatory fundraising. Registrations after May 15th will not qualify for this incentive.

In addition to this, for a limited time, new student registrations will also qualify for a sponsored discount, due to a generous donor who believes in the principles of Christian education followed at CLS. The net result is a monthly tuition rate below $499 for next year, before any tuition assistance is provided. This combined discount is an opportunity that eligible families will not want to miss.

Besides these discounts for early registration, interested families will want to bid in this year’s Bicoastal Media Radio Auction on Saturday, March 14. Columbia Lutheran School has donated a new student enrollment for next year. Items donated for this auction often sell at an excellent price, so if you know of anyone who might be thinking about CLS for next year, now is the time to spread the word about this auction. It might be won for hundreds or even thousands less than its full value!

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Possibilities for 2015-2016

Merry Christmas to all! I write this just after the last class day of the second quarter. It may seem early to be considering the next school year, but in our school start-up last year, we learned the value in early preparation. Easter will be here before you know it!

As a small school, Columbia enjoys certain advantages over schools with more inertia. There are some education practices with advantages, which are hard for larger schools or entire districts to implement.

District 21 has been considering the possibility of a full-year schedule, as other places have tried. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. The disadvantages are generally inconveniences that arise whenever a family must harmonize different schedules. The main advantage is academic: it avoids the loss of learning that takes place every summer, requiring a month or more of teaching in the fall just to catch up.

A full-year schedule is not really year-round. There is a 6-week (or so) summer break, as well as a slightly shorter break around Christmas. The two remaining breaks are about two weeks long — long enough themselves for a family vacation. Overall, students also have more school days through the year, but without the dreaded hard transition from a long summer. Students and their families can look forward to a generous break after each quarter.

The academic advantage has been observed in other countries and in a number of American schools that have already made the switch. It’s been supposed to be part of the reason that students in public education do well in places like Japan. There are both proponents and detractors from the idea, but since every school and every student has different challenges and gifts, the question boils down to whether it makes sense in a given environment.

The most difficult disadvantage for us is ironically something not even found at Columbia Lutheran School: the inertia of schools like District 21 and St. Mary’s. While we are able to make a change like this without as much hardship as they might face, we are also affected by the inconvenience of their contrasting schedule. Families with students in two different systems have to adjust and compromise. This is also true with students in multiple District 21 schools, but it will always be another, similar challenge to harmonize the Columbia Lutheran School schedule. Furthermore, extracurricular programs in the community have the greatest incentive to accommodate the District 21 schedule, and may be ignorant of Columbia Lutheran School.

The question then turns back to our flexibility. Can CLS be flexible and creative enough to take advantage of a full-year calendar, while also helping our student families to manage the scheduling challenges? There are ideas we could use in the summer quarter that would allow students and their families to accommodate the demands of certain extracurricular activities, and retain some sense of “summer vacation” while still progressing academically. One example is something that has been used year-round at a classical Lutheran school in Roswell, New Mexico. School meets for 2 or 3 days each week, with longer take-home assignments for the intervening days. Parents are asked to attend a weekly session so that they can stay up to date with the progress of their students, and make sure the work is well done. Another possibility would take advantage of the longer daylight hours, starting the school day later (or earlier) to allow another part of the day for other activities.

There is little doubt that a full-year schedule would further distinguish the excellence of our classical academic program, and be a significant benefit for our students. But as we reach out to the community with the hope of attracting more students, will our neighbors also recognize the importance of this distinction? If they are not willing to consider it or learn about it, then it may be an idea before its time, even at Columbia.

The CLS School Board has been considering this from the very start. We didn’t begin with a full-year schedule because of the time constraints we faced in the CLS start-up, and to allow our families a more gradual transition. The change seems to be a very good one, and it deserves serious consideration. The time to make this decision and set a plan in place for marketing is now upon us. Please pray for our school, and come, help our school board with the planning process.

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The Future Direction at CLS

Next year, CLS expansion could either focus on higher grades (5-6), or lower (preschool/child care). Either way, we would need many more students to support another teacher. Parents, grandparents, and guardians: if you have a preference, please contact the school or leave a comment here. The decision may be partly based upon how many students we are likely to have either way. The more certain our school board can be about your child’s attendance next year, the more influence your input will have on which way we will go.

Three years ago, Bethany’s members thought it only remotely possible that a school could be operating this year. It may seem to you that the obstacles to expansion are also great, but God is glorified through our weakness. “We are weak but He is strong.” Thanks be to God for what He makes possible!

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Meet Our School Board Members: Donna Larson

We continue our series of posts composed of interview questions with our school board. On the School Board page of Columbia’s web site, you can see their pictures, but here you can know them a little better. Introducing Donna Larson, serving as recording secretary of the School Board.

How long have you lived in the area?
I have lived in the Hood River area for 49 years. Prior to that, my husband and I were missionaries in Cairns, Queensland, Australia for five years. I was born and raised in South Dakota.
What’s your church background?
I was baptized in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod on March 11, 1934. I was confirmed in the same church on May 16, 1948. I have belonged to ELS for about 22 years, I think. I have always been a Lutheran Christian, and I am very thankful to belong to the Heavenly Family.
What’s your family background?
I am the eldest of five daughters born to my parents. My youngest sister died at the age of 2 days. I was her godmother when she was baptized in the hospital.
I was born and raised on a farm in South Dakota, and lived in SD until my marriage in 1960. I graduated from high school, attended summer school for ten weeks at Northern State Teachers College in Aberdeen, SD (now Northern State University), then began teaching a country school, consisting of eight grades, and twelve students my first year. After teaching four years, I decided a career change was necessary, so I worked at First National Bank in Milbank SD for four years until my marriage. I was the Head Teller at the time of my marriage. I know all of these career moves were influential in my life as a pastor’s wife and later as teacher in our Christian School.
What’s your connection to Columbia Lutheran School?
I’ve been interested in the school since we first began meeting as a group in order to get a school started. I later was nominated to be a school board member, though at my age, I wasn’t sure if I was qualified to be on the board. Nevertheless, I was appointed to the board, and haven’t been sorry. I presently serve as the recording secretary of the board, and it is very exciting to see how everything is coming together.
What do you believe about the role of father and mother?
I believe that every child needs both parents in his home, and that every child needs to know that he/she is loved by his parents. I believe that parents are to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, making sure that they are taught to respect others, to be obedient to their parents and teachers, but above all, that it is the parents’ responsibility, given to them by God the Father in Heaven, to bring their children to God through Holy Baptism, and to bring them to worship at the House of God at every opportunity when services are being conducted. I believe that the children should be confirmed after instruction in the Chief Parts of Christian Doctrine, and that they should know that only through the Death of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Glorious Resurrection, can they be saved, through faith in Him. Parents need to show by example that family devotions and worship are the most important things in their lives. All other things fall into place when true faith is shown in a home.
What do you believe about the importance of the Christian faith?
I believe that Christian faith is THE most important thing in anyone’s life. Without Christian faith, there IS no life. Without Christ, our lives have no purpose at all. We are just going through the motions of living when we don’t have Christ in our lives.
Why do you think your church should have a Christian elementary school?
I believe our church should have a Christian elementary school because our children are exposed to so many outside influences, and a Christian school will help them to learn everything from a Christian perspective. All school subjects can be learned from a Christian point of view, and this only helps to strengthen the child’s faith. Children are like sponges–they soak up so many things when they are very young, and it’s so important for them to “soak up” Biblical truths, rather than some of the things being offered in government schools these days.
Why should parents who are not Lutheran, or not Christian, still consider Columbia Lutheran School?
Any parents who are not Lutheran, or not even Christian, should still consider Columbia Lutheran School, because their children will receive an excellent classical education, and will be under the influence of Christian educators, who will be watching out for their souls, as well as their minds. The hope, of course, is that the children will come to saving faith in Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and may be able to bring their parents to a saving faith, as well.
What should parents in The Dalles know about the classical model of education?
Parents should know that the classical model of education will educate their children in all the basics of education, so that when they graduate, they will know how to read, how to do math, how to put these skills into practice, how to think through things, and how to come to a conclusion.
To your mind, what makes the classical model of education important?
The classical model of education is important, because schools today seem to focus on social skills, in other words, they don’t want to damage a child’s psyche–anything goes, as long as the child is happy. It doesn’t seem to matter whether or not the child is actually learning, or how he is learning. In the classical education, the child is taught the basic skills in reading, math, etc., then he learns how to use them in other aspects of life, and he learns to think and reason how things work together, and how to share what he has learned with others.
Who can benefit from an education with Columbia Lutheran School?
Any child can benefit from an education at Columbia Lutheran School, but not only the child, but everyone with whom he comes in contact. A Christian education is so much more fulfilling than secular education.
How do you describe the value or worth of a CLS education?
A CLS education is priceless, in my opinion. Just learning that Jesus died to take the punishment for your sins is wonderful, and that is the aim–that all would come to the knowledge of Jesus as their Savior.
What benefit do you think CLS will have for the mid-Columbia community?
The benefits of being educated at Columbia Lutheran School are endless, and the graduates of CLS will be assets to the entire community in the Columbia Gorge. They will be productive citizens.
Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, or about CLS?
I guess the only thing I would want to say is that I am so blessed to be working with other Christians in this endeavor, and I pray for us daily, that God would continue to bless Columbia Lutheran School, its called teacher, Mr. Doug Radliff, and its called administrator, Pastor Jacobsen, as well as all of us who work with and for CLS.

More interviews with the other School Board members to come…

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Meet Our School Board Members: Leanne Klaviter

We continue our series of posts composed of interview questions with our school board. On the School Board page of Columbia’s web site, you can see their pictures, but here you can know them a little better. Introducing Leanne Klaviter, recently reelected, and serving as a liaison between the School Board and the Boosters, an organization of volunteers for the benefit of CLS.

How long have you lived in the area?
I grew up in The Dalles. I moved out of town for about 10 years to attend college and work; I lived in Corvallis to attend OSU and moved to Troutdale after I graduated. After my husband and I had our son we decided it was time to move back to that small community we grew up in! We believe that a small town is a great place to raise a child!
What’s your church background?
I was baptized in a Lutheran church when I was a baby. I grew up attending a Presbyterian church until college. During college I attended and taught preschool at the local Lutheran church. After my husband and child moved back to town we began attending Bethany Lutheran Church.
What’s your family background?
My parents grew up in Lincoln, NE where they met and became high school sweethearts! They moved to The Dalles shortly after they were married. They had three girls, two of which are twins! I am one of those twins. We grew up attending the Presbyterian church here in The Dalles. After Bethany Lutheran church was built my mom made the change to Bethany and we been attending ever since; some of us more than others!
What’s your connection to Columbia Lutheran School?
My mom is a Bethany church member as well as my husbands grandparents; they have been members for many years. My husband and I have recently become members and had our son baptized at Bethany Lutheran Church as well.
What do you believe about the role of father and mother?
It is my belief that mothers and fathers must protect their children and teach them how to become positive members of the community. It is also their job to instill a strong sense of faith and the importance of family.
What do you believe about the importance of the Christian faith?
Christian faith teaches us how to live a true and just life; everything from forgiveness to acknowledging that we are all sinful beings. I believe this is very important to learn and to teach others.
Why do you think your church should have a Christian elementary school?
The Dalles needs a Christian elementary school; especially with the closing of Covenant Christian Academy. Our church, Bethany Lutheran, has an amazing group of members who provide a vast amount of knowledge and wisdom to the school board. The support that we give and receive as members is exactly what a Christian elementary school needs to be successful for the children attending.
Why should parents who are not Lutheran, or not Christian, still consider Columbia Lutheran School?
Its all about the environment; it’s safe, small class sizes, the students will get much more 1:1 time with their teacher, we are using the classical education model which will help ensure success with their children’s education.
What should parents in The Dalles know about the classical model of education?
This answer is simple; It works, it has been around for many many years, children follow this learning style amazingly well. Why change what works?
To your mind, what makes the classical model of education important?
Again, it works. Children learn so well through exploration and hands on learning. The classical education model has been around for many years and has been proven to work over those years. Public schools have so many cuts in funding which have forced a change in their curriculum, CLS is building their foundation from the ground up with this model.
Who can benefit from an education with Columbia Lutheran School?
Anyone can benefit from an education at CLS. Success is waiting for each and every child who will attend!
How do you describe the value or worth of a CLS education?
Its hard to put into words how I value this type of education. I will say that my husband and I believe in this school so much that we are sending our son there. He will be starting kindergarten and we are thrilled CLS has opened and given us the opportunity to send him there.
What benefit do you think CLS will have for the mid-Columbia community?
CLS offers the community another option for elementary education for our children. It allows people to have another choice for their children.
Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, or about CLS?
This school is built upon the needs of our children and the community. Everyone who has had a part in turning this dream into a reality cares for each and every child who attends. We all want success, not just for the school but for the children. They are our future and CLS will give them such an important foundation to build on as they grow and develop. As a parent, that reassurance is so comforting.

More interviews with the other School Board members to come…

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Meet Our School Board Members: Herb Klaviter

Our school board members have answered some interview questions about themselves and their connection to Columbia Lutheran School. On the School Board page of Columbia’s web site, you can see their pictures, but here you can know them a little better.  The first members we feature is Herb Klaviter, currently serving as chairman of the School Board.

How long have you lived in the area?
36 years
What’s your church background?
Lutheran
What’s your family background?
German
What’s your connection to Columbia Lutheran School?
President of the School Board
What do you believe about the role of father and mother?
Their roles are key in fulfilling God’s design. Children need parenting; they need parents.
What do you believe about the importance of the Christian faith?
It is a gift freely given by God, not found or made by man.
Why should parents who are not Lutheran, or not Christian, still consider Columbia Lutheran School?
To establish a good foundation for life. There is no better foundation than a solid Christian education.
What should parents in The Dalles know about the classical model of education?
It teaches the process of rational thinking. That’s something needed by all, and beneficial to all.
To your mind, what makes the classical model of education important?
The step by step training process, leading through the Trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric) to the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, science, and music).
Who can benefit from an education with Columbia Lutheran School?
All who attend. Anyone!
How do you describe the value or worth of a CLS education?
It will develop the virtues needed by our students to become active and effective citizens in society
What benefit do you think CLS will have for the mid-Columbia community?
Very positive

More interviews with the other School Board members to come…

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