NEW ULM - Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School welcomes the new school year with new faculty and staff, a continued effort toward re-accreditation, staff development initiatives and some facility improvements.
Faculty and staff
Randy Cox, MLC baseball coach, will teach Government and Consumer Math during the first semester, while 2012 MLC graduate Austin Becker will teach Latin I and II, specified Principal Tim Plath. The food service will also have two new faces, Ronda Schnobrich and Kelly Diersen. Mae Tacke, the current development assistant, will take time each day to teach Accounting. MVL also welcomed LaVonne Oeltjenbruns as the new Administrative Assistant during the summer.
New MVL staff: left to right: Kelly Diersen, Ronda Schnobrich, Mae Tacke, LaVonne Oeltjenbruns, Austin Becker, Randy Cox
As part of accreditation by the Minnesota Non-Public School Accrediting Association (MNSAA), it is the school's responsibility to work on school improvement each year of the seven year accreditation cycle, explains Plath. In 2011-12, MVL engaged in a self-study that was in accordance with the standards set forth by MNSAA.
"Our Steering Committee did an excellent job of keeping the study moving forward and then writing the strategic plan that will guide us through the next cycle," said Plath. "The self-study and strategic plan are both completed and will be sent to our visitation team. The team will visit our school Oct. 29-31 and then report to MNSAA on their findings. We will learn early in 2013 as to whether or not our accreditation will be renewed."
According to Plath, the process is a challenging one, but lends real credibility to the schools who are accredited through MNSAA.
In order to further grow the quality of education that MVL provides, the faculty will be engaging in a study designed to improve classroom instruction, said Plath. The faculty will be engaging in a book study of "The Art and Science of Teaching" and then spend in-service time looking for ways in which they can improve their instruction. Plath said he was excited about this opportunity. "We have an excellent faculty of experienced teachers. This program will confirm the many good things our teachers are already doing in the classroom, but challenge them to become even better," he said.
It has been a busy summer at MVL with a number of facility upgrades that have been completed or are almost finished, said Plath. Those upgrades include fresh paint in hallways, office areas and classrooms; ceiling tile in hallways and classrooms; new carpeting in an office area and several classrooms; and an ADA compliant restroom on the second floor.
Plath cited the important role that volunteers played in the project. "We are really blessed to have so many volunteers who willingly gave of their time this summer to allow us to complete these projects and keep the costs down."
Like other high schools across the country, MVL recently received the cumulative results of the ACT exams given to the class of 2012. The state average of ACT results was 22.8. MVL's was 25.4. Over the last five years, the state average has been 22.8, while MVL's has been 24.4.
"Obviously, our faculty is pleased with the results," shares Plath. "When we see the fruits of our labors in our students' academic successes, we give thanks to God for the talented and hardworking students we have, their parents who value a Christ-centered secondary education, and our Lutheran elementary school and MVL teachers who continue to challenge our students to use their God given talents to the fullest."
"I know I can speak for the faculty and staff when I say that we're excited about the opportunities that we will have to provide a Christ-centered secondary education to our students again this year," concludes Plath.
Enrollment at MVL has declined from 300 students in 2001 to 206 students in 2012-13. According to Plath, enrollment will make one more drop in 2013-14 school year before it levels off somewhere between 180 and 200 students.