NEW ULM - Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School is beginning the new year with a larger-than-anticipated enrollment, three new staff, and facility upgrades.
MVL opened its doors with an enrollment of 198 students, said Principal Tim Plath. While that number is down from the 205 students enrolled last year, Plath said he was very thankful for the number of students enrolled.
"We anticipated an enrollment of 187 students this year, and instead are blessed with a number substantially higher. This is a real blessing," he said.
Plath also noted that there are a number of new students that MVL did not anticipate. "We have more than 20 new families who have entrusted their teens to our care for their high school education. It's a responsibility that our faculty and staff take very seriously," said Plath.
MVL also welcomes several new staff members this year.
Nicole Lehman is the upper level math teacher; she also coaches cross country and will coach the Math Team. Lehman spent three years in China after she graduated from Martin Luther College.
Beth Monthie teaches English, is the advisor to the National Honor Society, and will coach the Speech Team.
Renee Holm was hired recently as the new Food Service Director.
Not only have there been changes in personnel this year, the facility has seen some changes, too, said Plath. Those changes include painting, carpeting and ceiling tile in classrooms, as well as updating the security system.
"Our Board of Directors is very devoted to the continued efforts of addressing the needs of our building as it ages. Their commitment is making a difference in the overall condition of our school," said Plath.
MVL continues to provide a quality education to students, said Plath. The final total scores for the ACT results for last year's seniors, released over the last several weeks, showed an average of 25.1. That compares to a state public-school average of 23.0. The five-year average of the MVL students is 24.6, while the state average for the same period is 22.9.
"We are blessed with students who take their academics very seriously. Their parents encourage and support them to use their God-given talents to the fullest. Our teachers in Lutheran elementary schools, as well as our own MVL faculty, really challenge our students to use their talents to the fullest," said Plath.
MVL will be addressing its strategic plan as part of its ongoing accreditation with Minnesota Non Public School Accrediting Association, adds Plath. The three main components of the plan are curriculum, development and governance. Plath summarized the planning work as follows: "We have a great deal of work ahead of us this year, but we are confident that God will bless our efforts."