Mistakes happen. Everyone at Lutheran High School understands that. Part of learning and growing is failing occasionally, and then striving to do better the next time. And an element of that process is being held accountable for one’s behavior — but in a manner grounded on love, integrity, and discipleship.
Accountability isn't just about following all the rules or beating yourself up when you fail. It's both a quality and a habit of responsible behavior. It is a commitment to show up for others, act with integrity, and be receptive to feedback. The quality of accountability is equal parts self-discipline and equal parts an ability to hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit and act in accordance to His leading. At Lutheran High School, rather than taking a deficit-based approach to discipline, we approach accountability with an emphasis on relationships, love, and strength, such that we cultivate students who are brave, highly capable, and concerned about the welfare of others.
Accountability helps build resilience, which is a critical characteristic of the leaders Lutheran High School endeavors to help students become. It means holding fast to your word and honoring your commitments so that people come to know you as a reliable worker, a trusted team member, and someone who they can count on to follow through on their promises, both in their professional and personal lives. A student must not only hold themselves accountable — and be held by others in a loving fashion — in their future jobs, but also in how they act within their family as a parent or spouse, and in their community, as God’s representative.
Beyond One-Dimensional Excellence
At Lutheran High School, students are held accountable by teachers, staff, and peers, all of whom are informed by the Christian obligation to help another person who may be falling short of his or her potential, or, lacks the usual wherewithal to get through life's more trying times. In the relationship-oriented environment of Lutheran High, we help students realize their full potential with discipline practices born from compassion, grace, and evidence-based interventions, knowing that while we are all perfect in the eyes of God the Father through the imputed righteousness of Christ, sometimes we make mistakes — but when we focus on learning from those mistakes, we are being accountable.
We don't just have high standards of excellence for staff and students. We have policies, programs, and practices that support both academic rigor and optimal cognitive, emotional, and social development. We recognize great feats of learning and provide support as it is needed. From a student’s very first day, we clearly and kindly communicate expectations to students and parents, both to ensure that everyone is on the same page as well as to provide each student with a blueprint for academic success. We establish predictable routines and consistent practices across grades and encourage a positive group identity within each classroom for cooperative learning and a sense of responsibility toward one another.
We support parents in taking an active role in their child's education and spiritual development by prioritizing at-home learning, advocating for their child, and helping them understand how they can positively contribute to their child's growth as a student and disciple of Christ, both on and off-campus. We recognize the multiple roles that parents play in their child's life and honor their other responsibilities in the world.
A Safe Space to Grow
We at Lutheran High School believe that students have a right to attend school in a setting that is both safe and supportive. Students are expected to behave in a manner that is consistent with the policies and values of LHS. Interactions should be courteous and respectful. In all things, the way we treat ourselves and others is to be informed by the depth of our relationship with each other and our relationship with our Creator. Teachers pursue accountability with students by first establishing relationships with them. This helps students realize that they are truly cared about as a person. This emphasis on “relationship first” makes holding students accountable to classroom policies far easier, since these are basic standards that are clearly communicated and enforced. At times that is reflected in their grade or in discipline procedures but it all starts with a relationship first.
Providing such a foundation allows students to understand that we are always on their side, that we care. And when a student knows that they are worthy of love no matter what, that their dreams are supported, and that it's okay to take appropriate risks, they feel safe to explore and understand both their successes and rethink their adverse choices.
After all, without love, we know that everything else becomes worthless in God’s eyes. As St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, we can accomplish great things and be the most lauded person in the world—but unless love is central to our purpose, it achieves nothing of eternal worth. That is what we at Lutheran High School hold paramount, and informs all that we do.