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Zion Lutheran School approaches new school year with fresh energy and enthusiasm

It may be a small, but it is mighty. Nestled in the Fallbrook countryside is a private Christian school whose talented staff has over 300 years of combined experience teaching youth. As Zion Lutheran School prepares to begin the 2010-2011 year, it is with new vision, excitement and a revised structure that places even more importance on providing the opportunity for parents and teachers to communicate to ensure the success of all students.

“We want to continue to build relationships,” said principal Donna Woods, who has taught fifth grade at the school for many years and was recently appointed to the administrative position. “We have high academic standards and our staff is excited to try even more new, innovative things. We are continuing to step things up to make the school the best it can be.”

Woods said as the new school year approaches, the staff has “a new sense of purpose, enthusiasm, and commitment to the students and families” and that in “everything we do, Christ is at the center.”

Given the high test scores and the small class sizes (low student number to teacher ratio) the school is known for, Woods said it’s no surprise the staff is enthusiastic about being progressive about the learning process.

“We took a fresh look at everything and thought of ways we could improve even more,” said Woods.

One of the new ideas was to empower the teachers by grade level groups in order to build a stronger departmental focus and team effort to work with students and families.

“We now have additional focus by department level – Preschool, Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5), and Middle school (6-8),” said Woods. “Essentially, we put more leadership in the hands of the experts in those grade levels.” Instead of cutting programs, as some other schools have done given the difficult economic times, Zion has gained programs.

“We have added programs, not lost them,” verified Woods.

One of the new additions for the upcoming school year is foreign language.

“Our Student Council chose to purchase a multi-foreign language program that will be used by all grade levels beginning this year,” she said.

On a campus that serves preschool through eighth grade students, in addition to outstanding academic instruction, students are exposed to technology, art, music, and physical education.

After school sports such as football, volleyball, basketball and soccer are also offered.

Seventh and eighth grade students are given the opportunity to make two different trips – one to learn more about the state of California and the other to China, to assist in a mission effort.

“Our China mission trip is led by Dan Fischer, our seventh grade teacher, and it starts in Hong Kong and ends up in Beijing,” explained Woods. The trip not only provides an international cultural experience for the students, but allows them a first-hand opportunity to assist the needy.

An emphasis on community service in the local community is also fostered, Woods said.

“We earnestly desire to become more involved in Fallbrook, to create partnerships and relationships with our local friends, and especially to teach our students how to share the love of God by serving those around us,” explained Woods.

“We have a community service coordinator that focuses on teaching the students how to serve their community, in other words, ‘how to put their feet to faith,’” said Woods.

Creating, treasuring, and maintaining relationships are clearly what make Zion stand out.

“We have a very strong program that is rooted in loving relationships with our families. We have the ability here to do that – to care for and support our families.”

Zion will host an information event for the public on Wed., Aug. 25, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. at its fellowship center located at 1405 E. Fallbrook Street.

“We will be sharing information about our school programs,” said Woods.

Fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the National Lutheran Schools Association, Zion offers before and after school care as well as a hot lunch program.

The Christian faith is taught in weekly worship and daily religion classes by the teachers and Pastor Mark Demel, who also leads the confirmation preparation classes for grades five through eight.

To learn more about Zion Lutheran School, visit http://www.zlcs.org or call the school office at (760) 723-3500. Questions may also be directed to Principal Donna Woods email: [email protected].

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