When students walked through the doors of St. John Lutheran School in Redwood Falls earlier today they began the new school year knowing what they learn is more than just their ABCs and 123s.

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13 When students walk through the doors of St. John Lutheran School in Redwood Falls today they begin the new school year confident knowing what they learn is more than just their ABCs and 123s. That education is based on the fundamentals of education, but it centers itself on the foundations of the Christian faith. What students receive at St. John is a faith-based education, said Dave Gartner, St. John Lutheran School principal. That focus on faith is important to area families, which is evident in the number of students enrolling at the school. As of the week leading up to today, there were 168 students in the preschool through eighth grade program, and, according to Gartner, it was during the weeks prior to the first day when that number was hit. “We were expecting 152 kids, but then we enrolled 16 more in the past two weeks,” Gartner said, adding the school is truly experiencing the blessings of God as it continues to provide education for its students. While Gartner said the school has a great staff and a strong program, he is confident it is God who is leading the success the school is experiencing. “We continue to see blessing after blessing,” he said. The growing enrollment at St. John has led the school’s leadership to begin discussing its future. Even though the building it is housed in is very new, there are some talks about expansion to meet the school’s needs. 

What Gartner said he does not want to see is the school facing the issue of having to cap class sizes and creating a waiting list. “We want every student who would like to come here to be able to,” he said. Any expansion of the building itself is not on the immediate radar, but Gartner said to maintain good class sizes in the future there may also be a need to hire more staff in the future. There are currently 12 teachers on the St. John Lutheran School staff, said Gartner, and he said they are all committed to offering every student a quality education. The school has added a new third and fourth grade teacher – Kelly Danelle. Gartner said the students who come to St. John this year are going to be taught using a new science curriculum. The new program, he added, is more hands-on. Technology upgrades are also a part of the new school year, added Gartner, as the computers have been updated and there have been additional purchases of iPads for student use. Gartner said the new interactive science curriculum and the increased focus on technology fits into how students learn – more visually and by getting involved with what they are learning. The theme verse for the new school year is Philippians 4:13, which encourages students to see it is with God’s help that they can accomplish what is put in front of them. St. John School begins its 32nd year this year, and Gartner said he is ready to have another great year. “I am excited for the new year to get started,” said Gartner. “It was great to see so many families at the open house and to see the students reconnect. I think they are excited for the year to start up again Monday.” Gartner said those who might be interested in the school can stop by to talk with him or other staff members. Tours of the school are also available. One can find out more on the school Web site at www.sjschool.org.