Students at Green Park Lutheran School work with touch pads during the 2020-21 school year.

The Summer 2021 Tokyo Olympics highlighted not only the physical strength and skills of the athletes, but also brought to light the need to care for mental health. When our darling of the gymnastics team, Simone Biles, bowed out stating emotional issues, it made a tremendous statement to the world: the mind is a powerful thing, and without health in this area, our body suffers.

Our schools are tasked to prepare students to succeed in life, not just to do well in school. Beyond academics, Lutheran schools spiritually care for students and share the message of life-saving grace. It’s the basis of our mission.

Lutheran schools also help students develop social and emotional skills that will enable them to work with others and achieve their potential. In 2019, Forbes Magazine identified emotional intelligence as the #1 job skill for the future. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and express our own emotions and understand someone else’s emotions. In the past year, LESA teachers have learned about Social-Emotional Learning and the skills of empathy, self-control, integrity, embracing diversity, and grit.

One of our professional development speakers, Dr. Thomas Hoerr, shared this statement with our educators: Who you are is more important than what you know. This means students having a secure self-view. We need to be intentional in teaching students how to be caring, disciplined, honest, accepting, and resilient. Students need to develop skills in both social-emotional learning and academics to become understanding and respectful as well as skilled and productive. In a world where the only constant is change, learning these skills prepares students for success.

For Lutheran schools, the statement, “who you are is more important than what you know” has deeper meaning. We teach “who you are” is a forgiven, loved, and accepted child of God. This gospel message is taught alongside the law, to develop future citizens of heaven.

In addition to professional development, your gifts also help fund counseling services for member schools who do not otherwise qualify for any funding for student counseling services.  Last year, your gifts helped us reach 761 students who receive 2,057 hours of counseling at five member schools last year.

Amidst the ongoing challenges of routines and schedules students crave in order to be successful, please keep our LESA educators lifted in prayer this school year as they address not only academic needs, but care for students’ emotional and spiritual needs. School ministry is not an easy calling. Give thanks to those that have answered the call to help students grow in grace, knowledge, and wisdom in Christ.