St. Paul's Lutheran School nears completion of first year with seventh graders
Next year eighth grade will be added
PERHAM — St. Paul's Lutheran School in Perham is almost to the finish line for its first year with seventh graders.
Superintendent Candice Bicondoa noted after 30 years of not offering junior high, the private school brought back seventh grade. Next year, eighth grade will return as well.
The junior high grade addition came about because parents expressed an interest to the school board. The board researched the option to determine if it was sustainable. When the results favored the growth, the school board brought a plan to the church congregation for a vote. Bicondoa said the results from the vote were overwhelmingly in favor of adding seventh and eighth grade.
“We do not have any eighth-graders enrolled this year,” Bicondoa said. “We anticipated a slow start. We see that as a positive challenge – to grow internally as well as get the word out there for students who may want a Christ-centered education.”
The school that is located on the west side of town added seventh grade to start the current school year. With three students in seventh grade, the school opted to combine them with the sixth grade class. (Next year, seventh and eighth grade will be combined instead.)
Seventh grader Jacqueline Holzer said she appreciates the smaller class size and has not felt hindered in learning from sharing the same teacher with her sixth grade classmates.
The daughter of Jamie and Jake Holzer of rural Perham noted that, when it comes to science and math, she has a different teacher than the sixth-graders.
“I like science because of the experiments we get to do,” she said. “I also enjoy chapel. It’s a shorter version of going to church.”
While attending a private school, Holzer explained she has plenty of extracurricular opportunities.
“I’m in volleyball,” she said.
Bicondoa added the school offers volleyball and basketball, but all students are also invited to participate in public school activities offered at the Perham-Dent School District.
The students at St. Paul's Lutheran School also ride the same buses as public school students.
“We have a great relationship with all schools in Perham,” Bicondoa said. “It is not a this school or that school mentality. We’re all leaders working together in harmony and focusing on building strong students.”
Bicondoa added students attending all Perham schools receive an “excellent education.” The lessons are a nationally-recognized curriculum, students receive the same technology as public schools and will even get the same free breakfast and lunch program offered to public schools, starting the next school year, Bicondoa said.
“Here, we have a religion class and also integrate faith into every subject,” she added. “That sets us apart.”
There is also tuition at St. Paul's Lutheran School. Bicondoa said the cost can vary. For example, if a parent is a church member the tuition would be reduced to $270 per month. She added there are also scholarship programs available.
Bicondoa encouraged any parent interested in learning about the new seventh and eighth grade opportunities at St. Paul’s Lutheran School to contact her at (218) 346-2300.