The Right People. The Right Place. The Right Time.

I have a small card under the glass on my desk at school that bears a simple, yet profound, message:  “Everything seems impossible until it is done.”  I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about that card lately.

It wasn’t too many days ago that none of us were too sure how the school year would begin.  New (and often contradictory) regulations and guidelines were hemorrhaging out of Sacramento, seemingly hourly. Newscasters made the most of the confusion, predicting a crisis in classrooms through California and the nation, as a whole.   Meanwhile, here in Orange,  St. John’s Lutheran church and school leadership quietly spent the last seven months intensely studying the guidelines, creating policy, and then deftly shifting it to follow the new guidelines that would ultimately determine how St. John’s Lutheran School would face a challenging (and, at times, a daunting) future.

Yet, here we are.

It’s the second week of school for all of us.  Preschool through the Sixth Grades are in their proper classrooms, being taught by hardworking, caring, and somewhat exhausted Christian teachers.  While the Seventh and Eighth Grade students are still learning online, the word going around is that, given the current trends, Seventh and Eighth Graders could be back in the Chapman Building in a couple of weeks.

Far from the potential train wreck predicted by some, the opening of St. John’s Lutheran School  has been, calm and orderly and, in a sense, predictable.  We’ve met the challenges and pressed forward.  Given the predictions of disaster, how has St. John’s Lutheran School  achieved such a feat?

It wasn’t us.

God’s Hand has clearly been at work.  In His eternal foresight, Our Lord has placed the right leaders in positions where their skills are in direct alignment with what needed to be done – and when.  The right people became “Covid-19” experts.  The right campus management team envisioned the right policies that allowed the right administrators to compose the right words for the waiver, which was submitted to the right people, at the right time, to effect the right outcome.  The right teachers prepared for both styles of learning – online and face-to-face – so that, whichever mode was needed could be implemented immediately.  Parents stood in solidarity with St. John’s Lutheran School, praying, petitioning, and holding their ground as SJLS supporters even when things looked a bit dicey.

Because of the power of the Almighty, working with and through the people mentioned in the paragraph above,  St. John’s Lutheran School opened, as it should have, on the date that was determined last January, before most Americans had ever heard of plague known as “Covid-19.”  While not, perhaps, in the same league as changing water into wine, I consider what happened here miraculous, given the challenges the church and school faced – and is facing today. 

God is good.  God is powerful.  God engages with His people.  We’ve just seen that here at St. John’s.

Like you, I’m awed.  And, of course, highly thankful.

Kevin G. Smith

Seventh Grade Language Arts & Christian Faith and Life

The 30th Annual St. John’s Student Leadership Retreat

Every summer, two weeks before the upcoming school year begins, over twenty 6th,  7th, and 8th grade students from the St. John’s Lutheran School Student Leadership Team attended a “retreat.”  This year’s retreat was quite unique.  Even with the uncertainty of the details that surround the start of the  2020-2021 school year, our dedicated Student Leaders were able to receive the training necessary to help them lead our school during the upcoming year.  Our Student Leaders were also given the opportunity to plan, prepare and strategize for the major events they will be hosting during the upcoming school year, including:

  • Spring Spirit Week planning
  • Fall Pep Rally planning
  • Packaging 75 Open House “Survival Kits” for the incoming 6th graders
  • ASPIRE presentation training with Mr. Mercier
  • Habitudes (Images that Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes) training with Mr. Mercier
  • Peer Counseling training with Miss Doyle

Student Leaders spent time doing team building activities in the gym.  Not only were these activities fun and engaging, but they were designed to help our students experience the power of effective communication.  Good listening, engaged body language, eye contact and being empathic were just a few of the skills that were practiced during our afternoon games.  These games also gave our Student Leaders an opportunity to get to know each other in a fun, safe, encouraging environment.

The St. John’s Student Leadership Team is excited to serve our school’s student body, our congregation and community.  What a blessing it is to have such a dedicated group of students and teachers who want to make a positive difference in the lives of so many people during the 2020-2021 school year.

July 17 – School Update

Dear SJLS families,

God’s grace and peace be with you! I am thankful that all of our families have continued to partner with us through this entire COVID pandemic. I believe that God is with us in any situation, which is why the school theme for 2020-2021 is “Faith Over Fear!”

St. John’s leadership is expecting updates from Governor Newsom at 12 noon concerning K-12 schools. While we do not know what the school update will be, all of us at St. John’s Lutheran Church and School want you to know that we are committed to your family. As a private, Christian school we enjoy many freedoms that our public peers do not. These freedoms are a gift from God. Once the announcement has been made, St. John’s leaders will carefully look at the new guidelines and continue to walk by faith into this coming school year.

No matter what the announcement is, St. John’s commitments remain:

  • Proclaim Jesus Christ and the Salvation that comes through Him
  • Provide exceptional teachers who love and care for your children through this storm
  • Provide an exceptional education no matter what the venue or platform
  • Walk alongside your family as we all endure the uncertainty placed before us

The survey sent out this week indicated that approximately 75% of our families want a face-to-face experience for their children and 25% of families want an online experience. We are committed to offering both options for our families as health guidelines allow. We are also excited about some outdoor classroom settings! We will be communicating consistently throughout the coming weeks leading up to our August 18 first day of school. You can always find the latest updates at www.sjlslearning.com.

Always remember: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Faith Over Fear!

Jake Hollatz, Ed.D.

Principal
St. John’s Lutheran School
714.288.4406 • www.sjls.orghttps://sjlslearning.com

  • Delivering the Restorative Hope of Jesus • Courageous Faith. Inspired Learners •

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