Guest Column: Lutheran Schools ‘the best-kept secret in education’

Don Gillingham

By Don Gillingham
Executive Director, Rockford Lutheran School

Recently, as we tore away the first page from the calendar of 2013, there was a rare triple celebration in the world of education.

Beginning Jan. 27 across the country, supporters of Lutheran education, Catholic education and those who promote school choice nationally celebrate a week devoted to talking about their work.

All across the country, parents are increasingly demanding more support for educational options that include open enrollment districts, home-schooling, tax credits, vouchers and other ways in which parents can feel a more direct impact on their child’s education.

Since the country was born, there has never been a dispute about the importance of religiously-oriented schools in our country. All of us need to celebrate and support our public system of education that has the potential to raise our country’s learning goals to ever higher levels. But this, by no means, detracts from those who are intent on receiving a quality education in a Christian environment. It is not necessarily a good thing that Lutheran Schools are often referred to as “the best-kept secret in education.”

The Greater Rockford Area Lutheran Schools (grals.org) serve more than 1,800 students from Machesney Park to Belvidere, and all across the city of Rockford.

Lutheran Schools began to impact this community as early as 1888, as people, gathering under the banner of St. Paul’s, made education a priority for their children.

In Boone Country, Immanuel Lutheran School in Belvidere has been a fixture even before their move to a new campus.

Alpine Academy is serving the southeast side of Rockford as a neighborhood school with quality programs.

“Rockford Lutheran provides opportunities in activities and athletics that help to develop leadership skills and the importance of teamwork. On all levels, students are encouraged to develop and experience an appreciation of the benefits available to those who explore the arts.” — Don Gillingham (Photo provided)

Concordia Machesney Park is moving in a new direction by forming a partnership with Rockford Lutheran School, a preschool through 12th-grade operation that has been a force in the community since 1964.

The hallmark of Lutheran education is the commitment to develop the whole child. Academically, we provide an excellent education with more than 95 percent of our students going on to pursue higher education. Scores across the range of our schools are routinely higher than scores in other schools throughout the community.

Rockford Lutheran provides opportunities in activities and athletics that help to develop leadership skills and the importance of teamwork. On all levels, students are encouraged to develop and experience an appreciation of the benefits available to those who explore the arts. Most importantly, the students in our classrooms, performance venues and hallways have daily encounters with the Creator of the universe. We seek to provide a foundation for the growth of the next generation of leaders.

We encourage you to explore the many options that parents have for an excellent education in the Rock River Valley. You can learn more about Lutheran Schools by visiting the grals.org or rockfordlutheran.org. Enjoy the celebration of education that goes on every day.

Don Gillingham came to Rockford Lutheran School in January 2010 to fill the office of executive director. Since that time, he has become involved in efforts to unify the community and help us focus on what brings us together.

From the Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2013, issue

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