Revised August 2021
St. John Lutheran School
15671 158th Street Northeast
Thief River Falls, Minnesota 56701-4237
Dear Parents and Students,
This handbook has been prepared so that you will be better acquainted with all aspects of St. John Lutheran School. It has been arranged in such a manner that you will be able to use it as a quick reference for necessary information.
Every school must have standards, regulations, and procedures to help ensure effective operations and orderliness. Because of this, every student should read this handbook and become responsible for the information in it. To fully utilize the information in this handbook, we encourage parents to go through it with their children.
It is our objective to give Christ Jesus all honor and glory for what we do and what is accomplished at our school. Serving Him is an exciting way of life. Be a part of it!
School Board Members
Mr. Robert Ballard Chairman (218) 686-782
Mrs. Tammy Ballard Secretary/Co-Principal (218) 686-4042
Mr. Brian Kading Treasurer (218) 686-8457
Mr. Gary Geske (218) 686-1698
Mr. Jason Simoneau (218) 686-4146
Mrs. Delores Kading Interim Superintendent (218) 689-1941
Ms. Emily Ehlert Teacher/ Co-Principal (218) 681-7753
Rev. Thomas Puffe Spiritual/Doctrinal Advisor (218) 683-3404
Table of Contents
Philosophy/Goals of Education
The philosophy of education at St. John Lutheran School rests upon the principles of Holy Scripture. This gives direction as to what we teach and how we teach. Thus, our curriculum and methodology are distinctively Christian.
This Christian philosophy affirms that each subject will be taught from the Biblical principles of that subject because the Word of God is the only source of absolute truth, wisdom, and knowledge. One of our educational objectives is that students learn to reason from the Bible in all aspects of life.
It is the goal of St. John Lutheran School to produce students with Christian characteristics of faith, penitence, industry, steadfastness, diligence, patience, liberty of conscience, and Christian, brotherly love. These students should be witnesses of the love of Jesus in their home, church, community, state, and nation.
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not
hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Statement of Faith
We believe that the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) is the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God and is our only rule in matters of faith and practice. We accept the historic Lutheran confessional documents (three ecumenical creeds, Luther’s small and large catechisms, Augsburg Confession, and the other elements of the Book of Concord) as a true exposition of the Word of God, for they have been drawn from Holy Scripture and remain subject to its rule and authority.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:14-17.
We believe in the Triune God: the Father Who created the heavens, earth, and all of nature (including man, who was created in the image of God Himself); the Son Who redeemed us from sin, death, and the devil; His deity, virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, suffering and death on the cross for the forgiveness of all our sins, bodily resurrection, ascension to the right hand of the Father, and personal return in power and glory; and the Holy Spirit Who creates faith in us, guides, comforts, and sanctifies us.
We believe that all men are sinful by nature. Therefore, God’s redeeming work is necessary for salvation. Salvation comes by grace through faith, not by any work of ours. Even our faith we receive as a gift from God.
We believe the Christian possesses the fruits of the faith by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Both the saved and the lost will be resurrected on the last day—the saved unto eternal life with Christ and the lost unto eternal damnation. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 Born anew through water and the Word, all who believe and are baptized have died to sin and now have new life in Christ, as children and heirs of the heavenly Father. To Him be the glory, both now and forevermore!
St. John Lutheran School will integrate all learning with faith
in Jesus Christ and His redeeming work on the cross.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Prospective students, together with their parents, need to fulfill the following steps to enroll at St. John Lutheran School:
In the event that St. John Lutheran School can no longer serve the educational needs of a child, the school and parents (or guardians) need to fulfill the following steps:
In order to keep current with our financial obligations, we ask that families pay all tuition and fees promptly. If an account becomes more than 30 days delinquent, a 1½ % monthly finance charge will apply. Unless arrangements are in place and being acted upon, the school board reserves the right to turn any account which becomes more than 45 days delinquent over to a collection agency. Related academic records will be frozen until the balance due is paid.
Children entering preschool must be at least three years old and potty-trained before enrolling. Also, each child is uniquely created by God and develops at his or her own rate. Some circumstances (e.g. excessive separation anxiety or other immature behavior) may indicate a need to delay enrollment.
Parents (or guardians) need to attend all parents’ meetings. The first is the Open House and Orientation, held Thursday evening prior to the first day of school. Parent/teacher conferences occur in the middle of first and third quarter.
We encourage parents to help their children keep up with their academic work by regularly checking to see if they have completed all assignments taken home. Students, starting in third grade, should keep track of their lessons with assignment books. Teachers will sign the assignment books at the end of each day, noting any work that is yet to be completed. We ask that parents commit to holding their children accountable for doing what is required of them at school. Parents should sign the notebook acknowledging they have seen it and that the work has been completed.
Communication between teachers and parents will be done via phone, email, or written notes. Faithfully reading and acknowledging all information received will promote timely communication and full awareness of a child’s progress and events at the school.
We also encourage family involvement in various school programs, the annual science fair, and athletic events. Parents may be asked to help with other aspects of our school such as a summer cleanup. For those who are able, opportunities exist to help with providing hot lunch or helping in the classroom as teacher aides.
Each family is expected to help with school fundraisers. Families may be assigned specific tasks and fundraisers during the year.
If for any reason concerns should arise, parents are Biblically commanded to go directly to the student’s teacher or principal and seek to resolve such concerns in a Christ-like manner (Matthew 18:15-17). When faced with conflict, we remember Jesus’ words, that we may forgive one another as God has forgiven us. Let us be positive about all aspects of St. John Lutheran School—especially when mingling with others in the community. In whatever the circumstance, may God be glorified.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly in this section, parents bear the responsibility for a child’s education. God gives parents this essential task (Exodus 12:24-27, 20:3-6; Deuteronomy 4:9-10; 6:4-7; I Samuel 3:13; Job 1:5; Psalm 127:3; Proverbs 10:1; 13:1, 24; 14:26; 15:4-5, 20; 17:6, 21, 25; 20:7, 11; 22:6; 23:12-15, 19, 22-26; 29:15-17; 31:26-28; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17; Acts 2:38-41; 16:30-34; Ephesians 6:1-4; II Timothy 1:5; II John 1:4). St. John Lutheran School is here to assist and work with parents in carrying out this God-given task.
We humbly ask that parents and relatives of our students pray for the ministry here at St. John Lutheran School, each day, that our teachers and staff may faithfully fulfill God’s holy purpose. “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2.
All students are expected to be involved in fundraisers for our school. Without additional funds from other sources, the entire financial burden for a child’s education would rest upon the parents (or guardians). Through the various fundraisers held during the school year, we strive to keep our tuition costs down, we ask that everyone work together to make each fundraiser a success, and we invite any new ideas you can bring to our Boosters’ meetings.
The purpose of the dress code at St. John Lutheran School is to promote modesty and a sense of decency in all areas of our lives, including how we dress. Our apparel is how we show ourselves to the world. We want it to be obvious that we honor Christ in every aspect. However, we realize that each family will have various ideas on what type of apparel is appropriate, so standards must be followed for consistency. Even as we do this, we realize that we cannot, nor do we desire to, judge another’s faith or spirituality by apparel. We do not want it to become a spiritual issue. Our dress code gives a conservative, traditional look that will be modest and neat and conductive to learning in a classroom environment.
Generally, shorts are not allowed. However, an exception may be made for physical education class and for days when the weather is extremely warm. As with skirts, shorts for either girls or boys should be no shorter than mid-thigh length. Jeans are allowed but must not be torn or ragged. Tops and bottoms must meet. Absolutely, no bare midriffs.
Students are encouraged to dress up for chapel. Dress pants and shirts, dresses or skirts, and blouses are encouraged. Students are free to change into more casual attire afterward for recess or physical education activities.
In all this, we desire that students and their parents present apparel that is modest and neat. This dress code is implemented not to add more rules, but to impress upon our families the importance of modesty and appropriateness in dress.
Please contact the school if you have questions about the dress code. The principal will be the final authority in this matter.
Chapel Worship and Devotions
Prayer assembly and devotions are held at 8:30 each morning Monday through Thursday. During these devotions, songs of praise are sung and the monthly Scripture is recited. Students are expected to memorize verses each month. The number of verses depends upon the age and ability of the child. Prayers are offered to God for our students, their families, our country, its leaders, and so forth.
Chapel worship services are held at 8:30 each Friday, generally led by the pastor. Family and friends are welcome to attend. Students are expected to abide by the dress code for chapel days, thereby showing special reverence toward God and the public proclamation of His sacred Word.
Students are expected to be in school every day and to be there on time. In case of nonattendance, we ask that parents (or guardians) call the school or send a note of explanation prior to the absence. Whenever students fail to show up for school, unless we have been informed as to why, we become concerned for their safety. Planned absences such as family trips, vacations, significant events, etc., need to be arranged with the teacher to keep students from falling behind in their work. Please try to arrange doctors’ appointments, family events, and so forth at times when they do not interfere with school.
Tardiness is not acceptable. School begins at 8:30 by school clocks. Since it normally takes several minutes to unload bookbags, put away coats and lunch boxes, use the restroom, sharpen pencils, and so forth, children should plan to arrive at the school by 8:15. Unless extenuating circumstances exist (e.g., icy roads), each minute that a student is tardy will cost five minutes of break time.
As mentioned above, parents must notify the school of a child’s absence and give the reason why. Reasons for staying home include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, infectious diseases as diagnosed by a doctor (e.g., pinkeye or chicken pox), and prearranged absences (e.g., family events).
God also tells us, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:5 Regular attendance at Sunday School and Divine Service trains children to dedicate time for gathering together to worship the Lord each week as the communion of saints and body of Christ. Parents set the example for their children in this.
Parents should call students at school only when absolutely necessary. Students are discouraged from using the phone during the day. They must have permission from their teacher to use the phone. Except in emergencies, students will return calls at their teacher’s discretion and only with their teacher’s permission.
Transportation, Cancellations, and Late Starts
Thief River Falls public school provides transportation for those who live in that district. Through the open enrollment policies in public education, bussing is available from other nearby districts as well.
For those who drive their students to school, we ask that you not bring your children before 8:00 a.m., and that you pick them up by 2:45 p.m., unless prearranged with the school.
School cancellations and late starts will be announced on KTRF (1230 A.M. radio) and will usually coincide with the Thief River Falls public school cancellations or delays.
Standard of Conduct
St. John Lutheran School’s basic concept of discipline is found in Proverbs 4:23, where God tells us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” The responsibility is upon the individual student to voluntarily yield to the Lordship of Christ and allow Him to govern (control and direct) every area of life by the power of the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. This results in internal self-government, and the student will then require very little, if any, external government.
For those students who have not yet developed this internal, Christian self-government, we do have rules and procedures for the good governing of our school. The following rules and procedures also serve as a guide for all our students.
It should be understood that this Standard of Conduct is a joint agreement between St. John Lutheran School, the parents (or guardians), and the student. Parents and St. John Lutheran School should together enforce these standards. Noncompliance with any part of the Standard of Conduct may be grounds for appropriate discipline. Discipline could include suspension or expulsion if deemed best for the entire student body.
Parents (or guardians) should not enroll their children at St. John Lutheran School with the intent or thought that the school will reform them. Students are to come to school expecting to follow the rules and regulations, not change them to their benefit or convenience.
Griping will not be tolerated. If your child complains about a school policy or discipline, please give the teacher the benefit of the doubt. It is possible that your child does not have all the facts. Call the student’s teacher or principal for the full story. Realize that the school has a reason for all rules. The primary reason is to provide a Christian environment conducive to the spiritual growth and development of young people who, perhaps, are not yet mature Christians.
St. John Lutheran School uses Christian curriculum in almost all subject areas to ensure that subjects are taught from a Christian perspective. Secular phonics and math books may be used in some of the grades. Students will be challenged academically. Parents can be assured that their children are receiving a strong academic foundation for all future learning.
Students have a traditional teacher-led classroom. In some instances, grades will be combined in the social and science areas, computer, and the like. Students will not miss any classes, but some may have them in different sequences. For example, world history may precede American history for some students.
Students can expect to have homework if assignments are not completed in class. Parents (or guardians) need to encourage their children to do the assignments faithfully. Children should have a quiet place to accomplish them. Please limit television viewing. It is helpful if the whole family limits viewing so as not to be a distraction to the children.
At the high school level, students have various electives. St. John Lutheran School desires to help all students reach their God-given potential and will work with individual students to provide special courses above and beyond the basic college entrance requirements. Advanced students also have the opportunity to take courses at the local community college in conjunction with their normal high school curriculum, if they desire.