Greetings from the district office. I want to take this opportunity to tell you about the schools in our district. I will tell you about the number of schools, teachers, and students in the district. I will show some facts about the number of Lutheran, non-Lutheran, and mission students enrolled in our schools. And I will give you some ideas about how you can help a school in your area continue to be successful.
You may already know that our district is very wide spread geographically. Our borders reach as far as the western border of Arkansas to the eastern border of Tennessee, and south as far as Chattanooga up to the northern school of Holy Trinity in Bowling Green, KY. We currently have one high school, located in Alexander, AR, eleven elementary schools with five being in Arkansas, five in Tennessee, and one in Kentucky. All eleven elementary schools also have a preschool. In addition, we have thirteen stand alone preschools.
Of the elementary and high schools, Avilla Christian Academy in Alexander, AR is the only K-12 program in the district. Heavenly Host Lutheran in Cookeville, TN has a K-9 program and there are six K-8 schools in the district. Those six schools include Concordia Christian Academy in Jonesboro, AR, Christ Lutheran School in Little Rock, AR, Belvoir Christian Academy in Chattanooga, TN, First Lutheran School in Knoxville, TN, Christ the King Lutheran School in Memphis, TN, and Immanuel Lutheran School in Memphis, TN. The three K-6 schools in the district are First Lutheran School in Fort Smith, AR, St. John’s Lutheran School in Stuttgart, AR, and Holy Trinity Lutheran School in Bowling Green, KY. Each of those eleven elementary schools also has a thriving preschool.
We currently have thirteen freestanding active childcare / early childhood centers, and one that is inactive this year. In western Arkansas we have St. Johns Lutheran Childcare in Fayetteville which accepts students ages 1-4, and Salem Lutheran School in Springdale which has three and four-year-old students. Two other day care centers in Arkansas are Grace Lutheran Early Childhood Development Center in Little Rock with infants through age 4, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Preschool in Gillett with three and four-year-old students.
There are two preschools in the Memphis area. Faith Lutheran Preschool in Collierville accepts students ages 1 through 5. Grace Celebration Child Development in Cordova has infants through age 4. The preschool in Collierville is the largest in the district with 243 students and 61 teachers.
Preschools in the center of Tennessee include Grace Lutheran Preschool in Clarksville which accepts students ages 1-4, Our Savior Lutheran in Nashville, ages 2-5, Emmanuel Lutheran Church Learning Center in Hermitage, infants through age 4, Trinity Childcare in Gallatin, inactive this year, TLC Child Care Ministry in Columbia, ages 2-5, and Faith Lutheran Preschool in Tullahoma, ages 3-5.
Two of our preschools are in eastern Tennessee. Shepherd’s Little Flock Daycare in Crossville accepts infants through age 5 children and St. Paul Lutheran Preschool in Wartburg has three and four-year-old students.
Here are some district totals for you to think about. Of the eleven elementary schools with early childhood centers there are 679 students in the early childhood programs, 142 students in kindergarten, and 776 students in the first through ninth grades for a total of 1,597 students. These students are served by 49 full-time and 34 part-time teachers in the early childhood centers and by 88 full-time and 40 part-time teachers in the elementary schools. The stand alone early childhood centers in the district serve 773 students. There are 64 full-time and 113 part-time teachers in these centers.
Our district serves a diverse population. In our schools we have students who are American Indian, Asian, Black, White, Hispanic, Hawaii Pacific, and Multi Race. But here is the reality of this important ministry. In all the early childhood programs, 9% of the children are Lutheran, 64% are non-Lutheran, and 27% have no church home. In the elementary schools, 13% are Lutheran, 70% are non-Lutheran, and 17% have no church home. Yes, the statistics that I received from the synod do not indicate how many of the non-Lutheran children are Christian, but the statistics still tell us that these are very important ministries.
What can you do to help the schools in the Mid-South District? First of all, we should all pray that the Lord will bless these ministries. Your prayers for the teachers, students and support staff are important. Secondly, if you are close to one of these schools and you have the opportunity, I would encourage you to volunteer some time. There are many opportunities to read stories, supervise at recess time, tutor those who need additional help, and in general be a servant to the needs of the school. Simply contact the school’s principal or director and ask how you can be of service. You can also help financially by sponsoring a student or by purchasing needed supplies. There are certainly many needs at each of our great schools.
I have had the opportunity to visit each and every one of the schools in our district. There are a lot of good things happening at our schools, but the devil is constantly attacking the good we are trying to accomplish. Pray that the Lord’s will be done in all circumstances.
— Allen Piepenbrink