The coronavirus pandemic forced Nevada’s schools to close and sent thousands of students home for their lessons. Although delivering curricula remotely requires technology, ingenuity and the ability to overcome logistical challenges, a school leader said Faith Lutheran Middle & High School was well equipped and ready to adjust.
Faith Lutheran CEO Dr. Steve Buuck said innovation is one of the school’s core values and has manifests itself in the adaptability, nimbleness and forward thinking of its faculty and staff, as seen during the transition to remote learning.
Buuck said his faculty and students have long been technologically savvy. Faith Lutheran is in its 12th year of being a 1:1 school; high school students are given a MacBook Air and middle school students an iPad to use throughout the school year. Also, he said, built-in online learning days for Faith Lutheran’s high school segment eased the adjustment to a fully remote schedule.
Buuck said Faith Lutheran Innovation and Continuous Improvement Director John Orr was preparing to move the school’s lessons and services, including spiritual life and counseling, online several days before Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered a 30-day statewide school closure.
“We wanted to make sure that our students had all of our services available to them during this challenging time,” Buuck said. “Many people worked extra hours to get us up and running. Teachers had only two full working days to transition all of their face-to-face plans to online/remote. They were heroic in their efforts.”
A pair of videos showed Faith Lutheran creatively adjusting. In one video, physical education teacher Matt Shallenberger showed students how to create a weight by filling a gallon-size milk jug with water and sliding a towel through for a handle. He used the weight for a bent-over row and a weighted wall sit.
Also in the video, Shallenberger demonstrated several classic bodyweight exercises including pushups and sit-ups. To keep the exercises going, Shallenberger sent an ancillary email with links to videos for high-intensity interval training workouts, and workouts featuring “Star Wars” and “Fortnite” characters and the Marvel superhero Captain America.
Meanwhile, an honors engineering student showed the power of improvisation. He built a bridge from cardstock paper and Scotch tape and tested its load-bearing limits.
The student straddled the bridge in a footlong span between two tables and piled on up row after row of canned beans and foodstuffs. He stopped when the load reached 80 pounds and the can stack had grown as tall as he dared to let it.
Buuck said the coronavirus-forced transition showed Faith Lutheran’s quick-strike agility and offered lessons for the school’s future.
“We have learned a ton through this,” he said, “so we’ll be able to add all of this to our emergency plans going forward.”
About Faith Lutheran Middle School & High School
Faith Lutheran Middle School & High School is Nevada’s largest private school and the largest Lutheran school in the United States, serving more than 1,900 students from the Las Vegas Valley and abroad.
The school, on a 50-acre state-of-the-art campus near Downtown Summerlin, offers advanced middle school and high school college preparatory curriculum and extensive athletic, fine arts, and after school activities in a distinctively Christian environment.
Faith Lutheran’s unique high school academies program includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Justice & Advocacy, Business & Entrepreneurship, Film & Broadcast, Hospitality & Tourism, Christ Academy and the Conservatory of Fine Arts. The school is dedicated to its mission statement of Everyone Prepared! Everyone Saved! and is fueled by its core values of Family, Academics, Innovation, Truth and High Achievement.
Faith Lutheran is accredited by AdvancED and the National Lutheran Schools Accreditation. Learn more at www.faithlutheranlv.org
The school’s mission is Everyone Prepared! Everyone Saved! For more information, call 702-804-4400 or visit www.FaithLutheranLV.org .