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8th Grade Resource Packet: Everything You Need To Know

Introduction

Welcome to the 8th grade! No doubt it’s been quite the journey here, and things keep changing every year. New classes, new teachers, new friends, new challenges. The exciting part is that you keep getting to grow and learn, discovering more of your natural talents, your unique passions, and pursue the dreams that can stick with you throughout high school, into college, and far beyond.

 But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! We’ve got to get through 8th grade first, of course. For many reasons, this grade level can feel like a big jump for many students, with higher performance expectations, study standards, and extracurricular activities all vying for your time and energy. It’s when finding a healthier study/life balance becomes even more important and you can set the stage for positive habits that will serve you well into your adult years.

 To help you navigate this new year, we’ve put together this resource packet. It explains a lot of the educational approaches we have here at Lutheran High School and can help you understand better why we do what we do, and why we’ve chosen the classroom strategies that our faculty employ.

Take a look through everything we’ve gathered for you. You may end up having some extra questions that aren’t covered here, and we’re glad to answer those for you when you’re ready!

 Why Lutheran High School?

There are many high schools that you could’ve chosen to attend, and we’re honored at the privilege of guiding you through this next stage of your educational journey. There are many reasons why you might have chosen Lutheran High School. Maybe it was just the closest to your home and had a convenient bus route. Perhaps your parents picked it without you even knowing. You might’ve had siblings here and you’re following in their footsteps. Or you just moved to the area and LuHi is where your family has landed.

Whatever the reason, we’re excited to have you as a student. The following links help clarify our stance on different educational philosophies, our core culture, and what we expect from both our students and faculty in their daily lives.

The faith found and taught in LuHi is fundamental to our very existence. We don’t just seek to educate, but to help students grow in their faith and help them follow God for the rest of their lives. If that element is missing from the educational process, then everything else is pointless. So we start with this foundation and build from there. Discover why we follow a Christian calling and why it is embedded in everything we do.

LuHi isn’t like any other high school out there. Yes, we have classes and teachers and some traditional structures, but our culture is what makes us and our students unique in the long run. We love to celebrate all aspects of our culture, which remains the same year after year, despite the many different students and faculty that study and work here. This section should help you fully understand what sets LuHi apart, and hopefully help you have a better idea of what to expect from your experience with us.

We want to always be absolutely clear about not just the performance standards of students when it comes to homework, projects, and testing. We also want to make sure everyone understands how their daily behavior and conduct can affect their lives, both in the short- and long-term. That’s why we’ve established a solid code of conduct that governs everything students should strive to adhere to during their time in our halls.

While student standards and behavior are important, we also hold our faculty to a higher standard as well. After all, without their commitment to LuHi’s core values and faith-inspired priorities, our educational approach and march toward excellence in all things would be impossible. Our students and their families should know the ideals and educational strategies that our faculty embrace to better engage with them both inside and outside the classroom.

 Attending Lutheran High School

Have questions about the logistics of attending LuHi? Perhaps you need tuition assistance or are looking for financial aid of some sort. We have many ways to help in all of this, and the following are good places to start.

Getting into LuHi follows a particular process that all families and students are required to participate in. How exactly does this work? What should you expect along the way? We can break that down for you in this section so there are no surprises and all the required info and forms are made easily available every step of the way.

If you’re still undecided on which high school to attend or whether LuHi is truly the best fit for your students and family, we host a rotating series of admissions events where parents and students can meet our faculty and get a better sense of the experience waiting for you here. We want the opportunity to answer your every question and allay every concern or doubt that you might bring. We look forward to connecting with you and guiding you into the high school experience for however long you’re with us. 

At LuHi, we believe we are meant to be stewards of the resources God has given us, which includes our finances. As parents, you want to know that you aren’t just “paying for school” with your student--you are investing in their future. That’s why we seek to enable your wise and transparent use of available financial aid and tuition assistance in circumstances where needed. Finances can be a tricky conversation, even for the best families, and so we are here to sit down with you, discuss all options, and offer what help we can in the process. 

 Student Growth Resources

Each student is going to have approaches to their study habits, homework strategies, and in-class interactions that can optimize their educational growth. We try to facilitate proactive student learning approaches that can be adapted to meet a wide variety of needs, especially when students may be struggling with a particular topic or course program. Here is an overview of our class/faculty structure and how we’re empowering students to succeed in all areas of their schooling.

Some people think, by default, that smaller classes are automatically better, with lower student/teacher ratios letting each student have more personal attention and the ability to align with learning styles. At LuHi, we strive for balance in class sizes, recognizing that not all topics require lower student/teacher ratios to have optimal learning environments and outcomes. This resource details our viewpoint on class sizes and addresses many of the common questions parents often have about such. 

Some students have certain challenges with learning that can present more obstacles throughout their time here at LuHi. Our goal is to ensure that all students, no matter what disorder or diagnosis they may have, are equipped for the best success they wish to achieve. Access is expressly for students who have a current Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan from a previous school or students who have received a psychoeducational evaluation by a qualified doctor within the past three years. Learn more about this program and all it entails here. 

With the ubiquitousness of tech in students’ lives makes us realize that it should be employed in the classroom as a powerful learning tool. Obviously, we have to strike a balance between the personal use of tech toys so students aren’t distracted by text messaging or aren’t cheating on tests with personal devices, but tech-enhanced learning is giving us huge opportunities that previous generations simply didn’t have. Learning to use technology in a mature, balanced manner is critical and something all of our faculty incorporate in their lesson planning.

Because of how much tech is an inherent part of the learning process in practically every classroom in our high school, we wanted to ensure that students had access to the resources they needed in a manageable format. The Canvas portal keeps students, faculty, and parents alike connected via its dashboard and calendar functions, and also helps students not miss out on lessons and educational advancement due to any unfortunate sickness or vacation absences.  

Activities and Club List

One of the best ways to flourish as an individual is outside of the classroom, with all the extracurriculars Lutheran High School offers. There’s something here for everyone! Whether you are into the more academic hobbies, enjoy athletics, or just want to give back to your community, we can help you connect with like-minded students and faculty who can help you enjoy your passions beyond the tests and homework.

Every student is involved in classwork and has to meet similar performance standards as their peers. But there are so many ways to make schooling at LuHi incredibly unique through the varied and growing extracurricular activity program we offer. We make these programs available because of the demand our students have with their passions and dreams and the powerful ways they want to be involved in and give back to their community. From nonprofit volunteering to student committees to art projects and beyond, there is something for everyone, with extracurricular activities also providing an excellent way to make new friends and discover what you really love to do. 

Our athletes are driven by a unified desire to achieve excellence in all things. With a 90% participation rate across the 14 varsity sports we offer, LuHi is incredibly proud of our athletic programs and the amazing accomplishments our athletes make each year. What sport do you want to get involved in, or continue from middle-grade leagues? Where are you hoping to play when you head off to college? Who are our coaches and what are their philosophies about competition, sportsmanship, and balancing practice and studies? Learn all about that in this section.

Giving your time back to the school, your peers, and the surrounding community is an incredible way to grow as an individual. Serving others provides an excellent growth opportunity for all students, and we love to help them find creative ways to volunteer their time and energy to better the lives of others. Parents can be involved too! Discover all the volunteer opportunities available throughout the year and get more information about the various organizations and nonprofits we partner with to make a difference. 

High School Student Planning

College planning is often talked about, but high school planning is an important step that many tend to skip over. Students and parents alike should sit down and plot out key goals and outcomes they want to see from going through high school, allowing them to better figure out what’s required to achieve those results. Without a plan, it’s easier to just get lost in the mix and settle for subpar results without having any real focus. Let’s look at how to get started with this sort of planning.

While every student shouldn’t go into high school without a plan they’ve discussed with their parents and guidance counselors, each plan will no doubt be as unique as the student it applies to. Everyone has different dreams and passions, and any career can have a million different ways to achieve various levels of success within that field. The hard part can be simply narrowing down all the options and coming up with a comprehensive, but not overly complicated path to that desired success. Here are questions that will help you focus on what really matters to you.

Knowing the difference between short- and long-term goals and how much time and energy should be invested into either goes a long way to helping students find balance in their lives. Some projects that might require intensive prep and effort one week may be a fading memory the next. And that college prep exam that you won’t take for a couple of years? There may already be ways to start getting ready for that so it doesn’t catch you entirely off-guard. Let’s take a look at how you can divvy up different goals and objectives during high school so they don’t feel like jobs you have to tackle all at once and can approach in a strategic, wise manner. 

At LuHi, we believe that success truly begins in the home. We just further things along here at school in the academic sector. But students and their parents make the biggest difference in how high school will turn out for everyone. We love to see parents who are involved in their students’ lives and studies each year they’re here at LuHi, and strive to give them every opportunity to do so. This means everything from open communication between faculty and parents, parent-student events and activities, and encouraging awareness of and participating with their studies (to a reasonable degree, of course). Learn more about our philosophies of student and parent interaction in high school and how we can help you maintain strong family bonds during these years.

Personal Development

While grades are important, it’s equally (if not more so) critically to grow as a person throughout high school. These are formative years, evolving you into a more mature self and helping you discover a deeper sense of identity and value. We want to foster this development just as much as we want you to do well on your next report. The following resources are ways to help you follow that more personal journey you’re on alongside the educational pursuits. 

We all love to have friends who stick with us for year after year, but you may have already lost some dear friends in the switch from middle school to high school. Or perhaps you don’t feel like quite the same person as last year, and the crowd ou once hung out with just isn’t fitting anymore. Discovering and making new friends while juggling the complexities of high school is a whole other level of challenging--but it can be fun and rewarding if done well. Let’s discuss the best ways to connect with new friends and keep them for the long-term. 

  •     Study/Life Balance

Students these days are more stressed-out than ever, what with the constant pressure of homework, testing, projects, and extracurricular activities. Handling life at home, different drama with friends, and just having a little time to relax and have fun every so often are all competing priorities. It’s easy to get out of balance in one or more area, becoming obsessed with scores or forgetting about school standards when every opportunity to goof off comes along. We want our students to develop healthy study-life balances and establish excellent habits and lifestyle choices that will position them for success throughout high school and beyond.

Remember how we talked about our commitment to a faith-first educational approach? That’s because we believe that all things in this world, if done without God as the center and first priority, are meaningless. You can be the smartest student ever, but if faith isn’t guiding your life, then you’re lost. God created that amazing brain and body you’re totting around our halls, and we consider it our responsibility to help you be just as strong in your faith as you are in your academic or athletic pursuits. Here’s where it really all begins and ends.

Looking Beyond High School

Even though you may just be starting 8th grade, it’s never too early to consider what waits beyond high school. The sooner you start planning for the long-term, the better your chances of achieving those goals and dreams become. This is the place to start scoping out potential college choices, figuring out scholarship avenues, and (if you’re involved in athletics) see which sports programs you want to invest in.

Preparing for college in a significant way is a daunting task, and should never be left to just one’s senior year. After all, it involves choosing a college, an initial study program, securing financial aid of all sorts, and figuring out the logistics of transitioning to your new center of higher education. Do you have a plan in place for your college years? There’s no better time to start than now! This resource will help you focus on the critical elements of college selection and give you solid questions that you can begin to answer for your future.

Are you an athlete here at LuHi already or have dreams of playing a sport at a collegiate level? While we push our competitive side here at LuHi, college sports can be an enormous step up with higher pressure and stress for the unprepared. That’s not even factoring in what you should be doing during high school to catch the eye of coaches and get potential scholarships. Use this resource to get a solid grasp of what’s expected of higher education athletes and how to balance your work-life-study-play load

Choosing the Right School

We understand that high school is a pivotal time in a student's life. Surrounding yourself with influential adults and likeminded students is what helps you excel in life. The relationships you build in high school are what help you become who you are today. In addition to the connections and relationships you build, the resources available to you give you the chance to reach the goals you want and attend the college of your dreams. Here at LuHi, our students are our top priority and we have so much pride in the adults they become. We hope you found all the information you need and if you're looking to schedule a tour or a shadow to learn more about everyday life here at Lutheran High, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to answer any questions you may have!