2017/2018 enrollment for Lutheran schools in Northeast Indiana shows a slight drop this year. Last year’s reported enrollment for our 18 schools was 4096. This year, 3983. While disappointing to report (we always would like to see increases!), we rejoice in the nearly 4000 Kindergarten through grade 12 students that will be impacted by the Gospel during this school year.
Here are some breakdowns of the numbers-
- Schools outside of Fort Wayne and New Haven were able to maintain enrollment this year. Considering the realities of the demographics of these areas, this is good news. Can we improve? We will do our best to get admissions’ encouragements out into the communities.
- Emmanuel-St Michael had the only significant enrollment increase, that of 10 students from 1617.
- The number of choice scholarship students is up from 1973 recipients in 1617 to over 2000 full or partial school choice scholarship recipients this year.
- While kindergarten enrollments were down as a region last year, this year’s kindergarten enrollment is up 17. However, 9 of our 17 elementary schools have lower kindergarten enrollment this year.
Here are some reflections on our enrollment numbers-
1- We all need to encourage legislators to affirm the state’s school choice legislation. Students are getting an opportunity to be in our schools at a time when they otherwise would not have considered it. This is a great opportunity that has eternal ramifications. As a school and as individuals, be sure to email or call your legislator and thank them for school choice.
2- We live in an ever-increasing secular society, and most people are unaware of the effects of this change. Children need to know their Savior and the perspective on life Jesus brings. Lutheran schools have as their top priority sharing the Gospel. The ramifications of nearly 7 daily hours of a child being in a Christian environment are fundamental for their eternal care. For some of our schools, a middle school drift occurred. We must prioritize the need for Christian education for equipping adolescents for the bombardment of non-Christian values in society.
3- Ongoing PR and marketing efforts from TLSP and from individual school efforts are needed to counteract other voices out there; our story needs to continue to be told and told well.
4- All of us who share the passion for Lutheran education can help slam the backdoor and assure stronger retention numbers. Teachers who are timely in their reporting to parents, who understand and respond accordingly to the individual needs of his/her student and who go the extra mile for their kids are needed in our schools. Parents need to be strong ambassadors of the school speaking the truth in love of the great things going on at the school. Kids have great opportunities to tell the good news about our schools- and they’re quick to do so. All of these things will help increase our retention numbers.
5- Pray! We say this a lot but it’s our most important activity as a Christian. Pray for our nation. Pray for our leaders. Pray for families. Pray for administrators and teachers. Pray for pastors.