Mandy Gilbart of Carroll Lutheran School.
Mandy Gilbart of Carroll Lutheran School. (Courtesy photo)

As we wrap up another successful school year at Carroll Lutheran School (CLS), a nonprofit educational institution for kindergarten through eighth grade in Westminster, we begin to look forward to next year and a major milestone in the school’s history.

Carroll Lutheran School was originally conceived in 1996 by the churches in the Westminster Conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. After planning and preparing for several years, the vision became reality in September of 2000 when the school opened its doors. The school has continued to grow over the years and will soon celebrate its 20th year educating area students and preparing them for what comes next. During that time, hundreds of children have benefited from the CLS experience.

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When new families ask about private Christian education, there are many misconceptions about what it is and what it should be. At CLS, we focus first on our priority of educating our students with a program of rigorous academics. This is supported by the fact that every teacher on staff is certified by the Maryland State Department of Education.

While CLS does not teach a Common Core curriculum or administer high-stakes testing, it does adopt a curriculum that provides an exceptional foundation for learning, blending a traditional approach to education with modern technology. An underlying focus on faith and character development, paired with experiential, application-based learning and problem-solving skills, ensures that students are prepared for challenges inside and outside the classroom.

For new families considering a private Christian education, I suggest that they consider the following key factors as they weigh the options available:

1) Does the school have a strong academic reputation?

Parents are often surprised to learn that many private Christian schools do not require their teachers to be certified by their state’s education department. Not all Christian schools use nationally recognized curricula or hold certificates of approval from their state’s education department. I encourage families to look closely at academic programming before selecting a school for their child.

2) How is Christian faith and a spirit of service reinforced?

At CLS, our mission is exceptional education, formed in faith. We deeply believe that worship, Faith Studies classes and community service opportunities help students to achieve their maximum potential so that they will make moral choices, display mutual respect, and demonstrate an understanding of right and wrong throughout all aspects of their lives.

3) What is the school’s community like?

Often one of the best ways to evaluate a school is by looking at its community. Is it vibrant and active? Is it an integral part of the community in which it is located, and does it give back to that community?

4) Can our family afford the tuition?

Some families find the costs of a private school to be prohibitive. Thankfully, some schools, including CLS, offer scholarships, financial aid, payment plans, and even multistudent discounts. These programs can make a private education much more accessible than many families realize.

Choosing the right educational setting for your child is always a personal decision. We welcome any questions about our school and can offer guidance as you consider the benefits that a private Christian education affords. Please feel free to contact me at 410-848-1050 or mgilbart@clsedu.org.

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