Dear Lutheran High School Family,
I stood in front of our faculty and staff this last August and challenged them to do something that at the time, probably seemed like a stretch. In the face of uncertainty as to how the state’s response to coronavirus was going to affect our school year, I asked them to make it the best school year we have ever had at Lutheran High School. I asked them to turn it over to God and let Him reach our students no matter what. And now as we near the end of the 2020-2021 school year, I am in awe of how God has blessed Lutheran High School. We’ve been with our students, every day, encouraging them in their walk with God and nurturing them in their academic progress. I’m proud of those who work at Lutheran High School and their commitment to students. I’m proud of our students and their families and their commitment to Christian education.
It seems to always come back to our core values - wanting students to interact with talented, relational teachers who are men and women of God. Lutheran High School is blessed with excellence in many areas, and continues to impact the Parker community. But simply put, none of the things that define school excellence in today’s world really matter more than surrounding our young people with Christian mentors who know how to bring the best out of each and every one of them. The goal has always been and will continue to be to hire good people faster than the school grows.
It is an exciting time to be a part of Lutheran High School - it does seem like things are constantly changing and expanding. God has certainly blessed the timing and funding of our Greater Impact projects.
The western addition (cafeteria, bathrooms, counseling center, classrooms) is on schedule to be completed in October of next school year. Upon completion, we will immediately move into it and make full use of the new space. We will need to make use of the gym for a cafeteria space for the first few months of next school year.
We have entered into a 10-year lease agreement with Grace Lutheran for use of their classroom addition upon completion. They are set to begin construction this May. If it is not completed by the start of the school year, the plan is to add a short-term modular space to the front patio of the school to use temporarily until their construction is completed. We will use their current space for a handful of classes at the beginning of the school year until their project is finished.
Plans for 60 additional parking spaces and an access road to Main Street have been submitted to the Town of Parker. If all goes well, this will be completed by the start of next school year. Future parking plans include adding a lot to the east of Grace Lutheran.
We are currently working with our architects to revise and finalize the conceptuals for a second gym that will fill the space to the southwest of the current addition being built right now. This will become Greater Impact - Phase 3 and become an integral part of Lutheran High School moving to 4A for the 22-23 school year. A cost estimate and timeline for funding and completion will be provided during next school year.
With an anticipated freshmen class of around 230 students next year, our total enrollment should be close to 800. With the completion of the western addition, the Grace Lutheran classrooms, and expanded parking, total enrollment could reach 900 over the next 3-4 years as the Parker area continues to grow and the need for quality Christian education grows with it. We look forward to continuing to find ways to expand opportunities for students in all areas, academic and extracurricular.
Last May we made the decision to add flatscreens and cameras to classrooms to allow for a “Zoom-In” feature for students during the 2020-2021 school year. I never pictured how much its flexibility would be needed during a school year of random quarantines and the need for students to stay home at the first sign of illness. As challenging as it was for teachers to adapt to teaching to two audiences in their classrooms, it certainly assisted our efforts to navigate the school year in-person as much as possible.
I believe both teachers and students would generally agree that being in school is a superior learning experience to making use of the Zoom-In option. We are currently evaluating if the Zoom-In option will be available next year and what situations might merit its use. We also desire to remain flexible as it relates to future quarantine rules coming from the health departments. We will update the community on this front over the next couple of months.
As you read the rest of this report, I hope you can enjoy seeing both how God has blessed this last school year and how much the administration of Lutheran High School is both planning and looking forward to the future. I’m blessed to work with people who love Jesus and love their students, and their families. I am encouraged daily knowing that God is firmly in control of our future and charts the course for the expansion of His kingdom.
Thanks for being along for His ride.
Executive Director, Colorado Lutheran High School Association / Lutheran High School
Lutheran High School exists to humbly serve and impact the people in our community to God’s glory. We do that by hiring talented people who love students and their families and provide the highest level of customer service. We provide Christian secondary education at the highest level.
Lutheran High School is a Christian high school that nurtures academic excellence and encourages growth in Christ. Our Core Values We are a highly relational educational environment. We present a Christian worldview, rooted in Holy Scripture. We are dedicated to surrounding students with talented people.
The Colorado Lutheran High School Association’s Board of Directors is made up of people who support and promote Lutheran High School’s development and growth. The board establishes the mission of Lutheran High School and sets policies to ensure high standards and fiscal stability. Operating under a policy-based governance model, it develops strategic end goals for the Executive Director to carry out on an annual basis.
John Paulus, Board Chair
Rev. David Vanderhyde
To maintain sustainability and growth of the ministry of the CLHSA, the following critical targets were/are the focus for the 2020-2021 school year:
The following shows a breakdown of the operating revenue for the 2020-2021 school year:
2020-2021 Operating Revenue: $7,205,000
Non-tuition revenue (approximately $560,000 in 2020-2021) still plays a large role in the annual budget. Without non-tuition revenue, annual tuition would need to be higher and the tuition assistance much less to operate Lutheran High School. As can be seen it the table below, the major avenues for annual giving are on track to meet the 20-21 goalsProgram: Church Support
Program: Annual Fund Ron Brandhorst Tuition Angel
Program: RRR Fund
2021-2021 School Operating Expense: $6,666,000
Schools: Denver Lutheran (est. 1955), Lutheran Parker (est. 2000), Lutheran High School, Parker (est. 2011)
1952: The Colorado Lutheran High School Association is formed.
1955: Lutheran High School begins at 3201 W Arizona Ave.
2000: Lutheran High School of the Rockies - later renamed Lutheran High School Parker (LHSP) and North Lutheran High School are born. The Lutheran High School in Denver is renamed Denver Lutheran High School (DLHS).
2004: The CLHSA borrows 19 million dollars to build the current campus for LHSP and remodel the building at DLHS.
2006: North Lutheran is closed due to its inability to meet enrollment projections. The Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) assists the CLHSA in refinancing its 19 million debt to an amount of 14.5 million. The DLHS/LHSP community raises 1.1 million dollars in 30 days to assist this effort.
2009: LCEF extends a two-year interest-only period to the CLHSA.
June 2010: DLHS is sold to Denver Public Schools for 5 million dollars. 2.25 million is applied to the principal of the loan. LCEF allows for 2.5 million to be placed in an escrow account to be used for the relocation of the campus to the northwest part of the Denver metro area. The CLHSA must then do a campaign to raise the remaining needed funds to relocate under the caveat that the first $600,000 of the campaign goes to LCEF.
October 2010: The campaign feasibility study indicates that the campaign will be well short of the funds needed to relocate the campus.
November 2010: The CLHSA Board of Directors wrestles with questions about the financial viability of both campuses in light of dragging payables, lack of tuition income, and debt service. In light of the impending default on the loan with LCEF, it asks for a recommendation from LCEF on what to do moving forward.
December 2010: LCEF recommends the consolidation of the two ministries to the Parker campus, thereby applying the 2.5 million in escrow to the principal of the loan.
January 2011: LCEF offers to buy out the existing bond loan and convert the principal to a conventional 30-year loan with a 3-year interest only period. They also offer to match $1 for every $2 raised in a capital campaign to reduce debt service.
February 2011: The CLHSA announces the consolidation of the two ministries for the 2011-2012 school year at the Parker campus. The CLHSA announces its goal to raise immediate money to address its short-term funding issues. The short-term Hope for the Future raises approximately $250,000.
August 2011: “Lutheran High School” begins the school year in Parker with 238 students.
October 2011: The Lights to the World capital campaign begins its silent phase.
January 2012: The Lights to the World capital campaign goes public.
March 2012: The Lights to the World capital campaign reaches the 1 million mark in pledges.
May 2012: Lutheran High School graduates its first graduating class as a consolidated Lutheran High School.
August 2012: Lutheran High School starts the 2012-2013 school year with 290 students, up 52 from the previous school year. 290 students is 70 students ahead of the original 5-year enrollment projections.
August 2013: Lutheran High School starts the 2013-2014 school year with 330 students, up 40 from the previous school year. The school year begins with 100 freshmen.
August 2014: Lutheran High School begins the 2014-2015 school year with 356 students and 112 freshmen.
December 2014: The Lights to the World capital campaign ends.
February 2015: LuHIFuture.com is launched with vision for the future of Lutheran High School. Included on the website are plans for the “Academies at Lutheran High School” and future expansion plans. Future capital campaigns are named Greater Impact and broken down into distinct phases.
April 2015: Loans A, B, and a short term line of credit are consolidated into one loan on new terms with LCEF. Debt service increases each year at a metric that will match enrollment growth.
April 2015: Greater Impact – Phase 1, a plan to upgrade the current stadium with new turf, expanded bleachers, and lights is publicly launched. A pledge for lights and bleacher expansion is secured.
August 2015: Lutheran High School begins the 2015-2016 school year with 390 students, up 34 from the previous school year.
June 2016: New turf is purchased through the efforts of Greater Impact – Phase 1 and installed in July. Permanent field lights are installed in October.
August 2016: The 2016-2017 school year begins with 475 students. Two modular buildings (four classrooms) are added to the campus.
June 2017: Plans are finalized for Greater Impact Phase 2A and 2B. An aggressive silent phase seeks cash and pledges to facilitate Phase 2A, a remodel of existing space and the addition of a weight room to add four additional classroom spaces to the campus.
August 2017: The 2017-2018 school year begins with 526 students and reaches 544 students by the start of the second semester.
December 2017: The Greater Impact Campaign Phase 2 is publicly launched. Phase 2A addition and renovation is set to begin in May 2018.
March 2018: $900,000 is borrowed from LCEF to assist with the complete of Phase 2A May 2018 Construction of Greater Impact Phase 2A - Weight room and Forge addition begins.
August 2018: The 2018-2019 school year begins with 595 students.
December 2018: Greater Impact Phase 2A is completed.
June 2019: Greater Impact Phase 2 - Summer Renovation (music room and flex room renovation) is started and completed by the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The project also included the upgrade of the fire evacuation system. Approximately $300,000 is borrowed from LCEF to complete the project.
August 2019: The 2019-2020 school year begins with 675 students.
June 2020: Construction begins on the renovation of room 022 to be two classrooms. It is completed by the start of the 20-21 school year.
August 2020: The 2020-2021 school year begins with 740 students.
January 2021: With over two million dollars in cash available from the Greater Impact Campaign, LCEF agrees to an additional four million to be loaned if needed to fund the Greater Impact 2 - Western addition.
February 2021: The CLHSA has its groundbreaking ceremony for the western addition and construction on the six million dollar project begins.
We want a Christ-centered, life-giving, and encouraging culture to be one of the hallmarks of Lutheran High School. It’s our prayer. We are so thankful for God’s faithful provisions in allowing us to continue to practice and live out this culture over the course of this school year. We were blessed with in-person education; maintaining key events like the Freshman Retreat and Homecoming with creative twists; following our regular chapel schedule; and putting things in place to celebrate our seniors at the end of the year. Our hope and desire has been to continue to advance culture in classrooms, hallways, and extra-curriculars by preserving the key elements of school climate: unapologetically Christian character development, a highly relational environment, student engagement, and opportunities for growth in Christ. We want to be steadfast in protecting LuHi Culture and are grateful God has allowed us to do so.
While we are celebrating the blessings of the current school year, we are also planning for 2021-2022 with eager anticipation. With the bedrock elements of LuHi Culture in place, we’re looking forward to a school community that is revitalized and reinvigorated. We want students to experience chapel and worship all in one location; bleachers, theater seats, and stands full of students and families supporting school activities; and our full student body attending school together. We are excited to re-establish and expand important components of culture with the entire Lutheran High School Family. We were made to be in community and can’t wait to experience it in the fullest sense!
Culture is important at any school, but at Lutheran High School, Jesus is our foundation. He defines who we are and is the reason our ministry exists. We can plan events, activities, and encourage high character interactions with each other, but we don’t have to build the culture from scratch. We have the handbook. Within this template, we get to highlight, emphasize, celebrate, encourage, and create a LuHi Culture that is set apart and exists to glorify our Heavenly Father and build up and encourage one another.
I love sharing with my organic chemistry and physics students how God is screaming “Hi I’m here!” through observable phenomenon. I was blessed to be a guest speaker in our freshman theology classes this year and shared observations through the lenses of astronomy, geology, and biochemistry that point to our Creator. I praise God that those occurrences are going on daily with the staff of Lutheran High.
The greatest blessing this year was the ability of Lutheran High to have a unified staff that relentlessly pursued in person learning from the first day to the last day. They refused to quit, and it was epic and awesome to see! I am beyond grateful to serve with a staff that is so unified around the purpose of what we do, and the value of in-person education.
My excitement about the future of Lutheran High School is the same as when I joined the staff in 2008. I get to see adolescents transform into strong and courageous men and women of God. I get to encourage and challenge students to grow in their intellect, maturity, and self discipline. I get to serve in a building where the Holy Spirit works to strengthen the faith of believers and challenge the worldviews of the unbelievers. I get to serve a community that challenges us to transform our approach to ministry into one that resonates with their diverse backgrounds. I even look forward to examining our student rules and policies this summer and making changes that will even better serve our students. That plays a big role in creating the culture we work hard to build daily at Lutheran High School.
This school year has been full of adapting and reconfiguring, but one thing remains constant - Our God! He has provided for us constantly throughout this year from major technology upgrades in the classroom to in - person, on campus learning every day to the blessings of full hallways and new construction projects. Our mission of nurturing academic excellence and encouraging growth in Christ could not be more relevant in these times and I am proud of our teaching staff and students for another year of a job well done.
Next year will focus on Cognia and National Lutheran School Accreditation - a chance to adjust and create a school-improvement plan that will guide academic decisions in the future. Integrating and mentoring new staff is always a focus, and I look forward to trying even more ideas to help build staff culture. We are excited about new classes we are adding, academic handbook review, more ideas for the utilization of Canvas, and the use of Portfolium for Academies. I am especially dialed in on systems that can be utilized to identify and help students who fall behind or need extra help academically.
It is said that true character is revealed under pressure, and I am exceptionally proud of our students and staff in the way they have revealed their true character this year. This season has called for flexibility, perseverance, and commonly fighting for what is right and true! As I look to our future, I am encouraged by how this year has fortified us as a community around the importance and significance of Lutheran High school’s presence and mission in Parker, Colorado. Furthermore, we are emboldened to live out that mission as highly qualified, highly relational educators who love to guide and learn alongside our students for the sake of Christ and for His glory.
This year has had the most generous outpouring of gifts to LuHi in my six years here. Just as God brought more students to LuHi, along with more rockstar teachers to inspire and equip them, God also inspired parents, grandparents, alumni, and friends to bless LuHi with gifts of cash and stock enabling us to build more classrooms to meet the need. It’s also been awesome to be part of a thriving ministry that has been open every day during the past year to serve students and families.
I’m so excited for this fall when LuHi’s new wing is completed and students and staff get to use it! Everyone will be blown away by how useful AND cool it is. Even though we will still be seeking donations to complete the funding for the new wing, we are beginning to plan for a much needed larger gym to accommodate our larger student body for chapels and school events. Having two gyms will also enable athletic teams to practice simultaneously and get home in time for family dinner.
The future for continued improvement at Lutheran High School looks strong. We believe Parker and the neighboring towns will continue to be a magnet for new homes and businesses for decades to come. The Lord has placed LuHi in an incredible location, and He’s inspiring His people to generously fuel this ministry to prepare students to be a light for Jesus Christ.
After a quiet end of the 2020 school year, The Admissions Office hit the ground running with both tours and shadows starting in August. Over 230 eighth graders came to campus for a shadow day. Over 100 prospective families visited for a tour to get questions answered and meet our people. We were also able to host families on campus for various open house events. After all these years, having families on campus remains the best way for them to get to know our faculty, mission, and culture.
It’s exciting to watch the various expansion projects across campus add value to our school. As we look forward, the Lord has already been faithful in providing students to fill the new addition. What other business can look to the future with confidence knowing that their investments will pay off so quickly?
It’s increasingly important to care for current customers and help them on their journey to become advocates for the school. A new effort we would like to add is setting up avenues for current families to become evangelists. Continuing to create good content - especially strong long-form content - will be an important strategy to continue to build web authority. Keeping the website relevant and easy to navigate is an ongoing task. Reevaluating what works and what doesn't work on the website will be a focus for the coming summer and school year.
The Admissions Office is blessed to support LuHi’s vision of serving the community. For us, this means helping prospective families see the value LuHi teachers and staff members add to their student's lives. Our goal is to fill the school so we can encourage growth in Christ in as many students as possible.
When reflecting on 2020-21 for Lutheran Athletics, I am overwhelmed by the number of significant milestones we have experienced together. God has been at work through the ministry of our athletic programs with the promise and assurance of our identity in Christ allowing us to keep incredible perspective through incredible circumstances. The resilience of our student-athletes and coaches has been on full display throughout the many stages and changes of the past twelve months, starting with our athletic department’s return to campus in July and the dedication from the Lions with their summer workouts. That daily work ethic and commitment has continued throughout the year as our programs have turned challenge into triumph. This is far from a complete list, but some of the shining moments so far this year include our softball team’s remarkable inaugural season and state runner-up finish, football and boys cross country qualifying for the state playoffs, our defending state champion boys golf team returning to the state tournament, girls and boys basketball both advancing to the state championship games with the boys bringing home the title, and we also saw the relaunch of our wrestling program that resulted in a state qualifier. The Lions aren’t done yet so stay tuned as there are more milestones still to come this year!
Exciting change is on the horizon as next year will be LuHi’s final year as members of the Metro League and 3A classification. Beginning in the fall of 2022, LuHi will officially move up to 4A classification as members of the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference. The current lineup for the new league includes Lutheran, Lewis-Palmer, Palmer Ridge, Discovery Canyon, Air Academy, and Cheyenne Mountain. For more than 50 years the Metro League has been synonymous with Lutheran High School. The league was founded by Denver Lutheran's principal and our school has been one of the only constants for the league throughout the years as the member list has seen many changes. This move is exciting, challenging, and also necessary with our enrollment flying past the 3A/4A cutoff in nearly all of our sports and with LuHi now being more than twice the size of all but one Metro League school. This new conference aligns with the trajectory of our school and will be a great fit competitively, philosophically, and geographically.
The LuHi Family has proven time and again that we embrace challenge as opportunity. That was never more evident than this past year with the countless examples of our community working together, adapting, innovating, and persevering on behalf of our students and the mission of LuHi. Our families, once again, have been amazing. To God be the Glory and GO LIONS!
While the 2020-2021 school year has been a challenge for LuHi performing arts, we are overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness through this season. It is not a stretch to say that performing arts have basically been non existent or severely modified in most schools in the area. We have been blessed to still have several of our major performances including A LuHi Christmas, The LuHi Arts Showcase, a radio play entitled Vintage Hitchcock, our one acts showcase and in May, our upcoming musical, The Music Man. With over 100 students involved in music ensembles and over 75 different students involved in theatre productions, the arts continue to be a major part of student life here at LuHi.
We are looking forward to incorporating the incoming class of students into the program with 92 incoming freshmen expressing interest in music and/or theatre. The renovated performing arts space continues to be an exceptional addition to the program. It is not uncommon for the room to be used for 12+ hours a day for classes, rehearsals, and extra-curricular events. In the last two years, we have added LED stage lighting, mirrors for choreography, upgraded risers and storage, and new classroom furniture. As we move into the 2021-2022 school year, it is our goal to complete furnishing the space with a permanent sound system and additional LED stage lighting as we utilize the space for additional performances and events.
The Lutheran High performing arts program exists to provide exceptional experiences in theatre and music through growth in Christ, growth as performers, and growth as individuals.We want people to know Jesus through participation in the performing arts. We also want to give students a place where they can thrive in the performing arts within the context of a Christian worldview. As we continue to make enhancements and improvements to the program, they are made with these goals in mind. Students can grow as performers but most importantly, it is our prayer that these students are transformed by the truth of the resurrected Christ.
The 20/21 school year has been one of the most, if not the most fulfilling and enjoyable years of teaching in my thirty eight years of ministry. God has moved in the hearts of so many students resulting in multiple baptisms, students beginning a relationship with Jesus, atheists deeply questioning their beliefs, and many of our seniors sharing their faith with coworkers, family and friends. The seniors have seen the world in a tailspin and want to make a difference. The stories of their excitement of sharing, with those who do not have hope or meaning, have been inspiring. They have been able to offer friends despairing of life, the Giver of Life. The enhanced technology provided for off campus students to participate as if they were in the classroom, enabled students, who would have missed a lesson, to still be impacted. We were able to move the Senior Retreat to the Spring and see God provide one of the only normal activities they have been able to have in a year. They were fired up! Thrive (student ministry once a month) and Thriving Parents have been even more meaningful due to the difficult year the students have been through. I am thankful, beyond words, for the Parents in Prayer that continues to bring LuHi before God especially with the many families impacted by deaths and other difficult situations.
Although, this year has been incredible, I am really looking forward to next year! Being able to have everyone in chapel together will be a huge help to the community as we will be able to worship together in person. We will be able to get back to chapel small groups with 9-12 graders in the same group. This allows the upperclassmen to mentor the underclassmen more effectively. Obviously, the new addition will provide a large group meeting space for Thrive and Thriving Parents. We will also Zoom our Thriving Parent Meetings to reach more families. I look forward to our school community back together to celebrate all of our extra curricular activities together!
The blessing of in-person education, being able to build relationships with students, and turning our focus to Christ through it all has made this school year incredible! I am blessed to work with colleagues that integrate technology in the classroom and yet continue to make our students their primary focus.
The opportunity to share Jesus with students daily through personal interactions is truly a privilege. The students and staff at LuHi continue to be what makes this place special. I love that these teenagers get to spend time with people I work with because I believe they are the best at what they do--educating, building relationships, and sharing Jesus’ love.
Next school year will provide even more Bible study opportunities for Lutheran High’s females. I am especially excited about plans for bringing in outside speakers that will point students to their identity in Christ. We are excited to welcome back Advent by Candlelight, and look forward to expanding on the Big Sister program for freshmen girls. Mostly, I am excited to share with even more students and families who they are in Christ and what He has done. I am excited to continue to work with an amazing staff who loves their Lord, each other, and their students.