Valley Lutheran High School in Saginaw, Michigan, has been named a National Exemplary Lutheran School by the National Lutheran School Accreditation Commission. VLHS was one of only eight schools nationwide to earn the designation.
Dr. Bruce Braun, superintendent of Schools for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Michigan District, formally presented the award during chapel on Monday, April 28.
“This award is a validation of what I have often seen over the years when I visit Valley,” Braun said. “It says this is a terrific place that cares about kids and uses the Christ-centered education there to challenge kids for today and build strong Christian character for the future.”
VLHS is accredited by AdvancEd (formerly the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools), National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA) and the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools (MANS). After recent recognition by the NLSA as a very high quality Lutheran school, VLHS was then invited to apply for the “exemplary” status.
“To achieve this status, your school needs two or more attributes or programs that can be shared with and replicated by other Lutheran schools throughout the nation,” said VLHS Executive Director John Brandt. “Our ‘exemplary’ programs are our Special Needs Program, Summer Read Program and our Family Groups/Service Days.”
VLHS’ Special Needs Program provides additional assistance for students with special needs so they can be successful in the classroom. The Summer Read program is a summer break reading assignment for the entire student body. And semiannual school-wide Service Days are the cornerstone of community service at VLHS. Students are organized into “Family Groups” that engage in Bible study, and plan and conduct fall and spring community service projects each year.
“Being named an Exemplary School is both a confirmation and an encouragement,” Brandt said. “It confirms the quality of our school, and it encourages us to continue to seek the best ways to help our students meet the challenges their lives have before them.”
NLSA district commissioners chose eight Lutheran schools in the United States for recognition as “exemplary accredited schools” for the 2013-14 academic year. VLHS was the only Michigan school chosen.
“Being selected as an exemplary school is a high honor resulting from a school’s demonstration of exceeding compliance with NLSA standards and its implementing unique practices that are worthy of replication by others,” said NLSA Director Terry Schmidt.
Based in St. Louis, NLSA recognizes and encourages schools that offer quality Christian education and continuously improve. NLSA currently accredits 720 schools in the Missouri Synod that engage in vigorous self-study and evaluation. In the 2013-14 school year, there are 2,255 LCMS preschools, elementary schools, and high schools in the United States.