Questions and Answers about Mayer Lutheran Middle School
When will Mayer Lutheran Middle School be taking enrollment?
Enrollment will go live online starting 1/24/24. We will have multiple events and open houses in the winter and spring of 2024. Any family interested in the middle school at any time is encouraged to contact our school office.
How many students can we expect to enroll in the middle school?
This answer will only be known once we announce the formation of the school in early 2024. Every school we studied varied based upon their location and situation Some schools are in states that offer parent choice programs and their schools started with more than seventy students. Others, in more rural areas, saw significantly smaller enrollments. While we do not know the enrollment number now, we would consider full enrollment to be 25 students per classroom, or 75 total students, with our current facilities.
How many students does the middle school need to open next fall (2024)?
The Board of Directors has indicated that we will open the middle school regardless of the total number of students enrolled. We anticipate a three-year period before evaluating the sustainability of the school. While we hope it is profitable right away, we are planning for the possibility that profitability may take two or three years. Enrollment will determine the future of the school, like all independent schools.
Are we recruiting from our current supporting schools?
No, Mayer Lutheran is not recruiting from other Lutheran grade schools. Middle school marketing materials and strategy will be directed to the community at large apart from our churches and schools. Mayer Lutheran Middle School is an outreach opportunity to extend our mission to students in the public school system, homeschooling communities, etc.
Will there be a draw of younger students to the Mayer Lutheran Middle School from our feeder schools when a family’s oldest child enrolls in Mayer Lutheran High School to create a “one-stop-shopping” scenario?
We cannot predict whether this will occur. Our protocols to deter transferring from a feeder school to Mayer will come into play. Over the past several years, though, the “one-stop shopping” scenario has unfolded when a family’s oldest child enrolls at Mayer Lutheran and they enroll the younger siblings at Zion Lutheran School in Mayer, often transferring from another Lutheran partner school.
What if I want to send my child to Mayer Lutheran High School but they do not attend the Mayer Lutheran Middle School? Will we be able to do so?
While our own middle school students will have the first chance to enroll in high school, students from our twelve feeder schools will have the next priority before opening up enrollment to our high school to the general community. We envision enrollment windows for each group that will provide sufficient time for enrollment before opening up enrollment to the next group. The details of high school enrollment deadlines are still being worked out.
What about the curriculum?
We anticipate that we will offer a traditionally vibrant curriculum in line with other Christian middle schools. Our differentiator from free community schools will be the intentional Christian frame of reference and a Biblical world view in our curriculum not currently available in government-supported schools. In addition to language, science, math, social studies, and theology, we will have electives in music, visual arts, physical education & health, and STEM.
Will there be help for students with special needs?
Mayer Lutheran has traditionally admitted students with special learning challenges and provided a resource teacher to help them maximize their potential in the classroom. We anticipate that we will continue to do so with middle school students as we are able. Staffing will dictate the extent of help we are able to offer and we are intentionally seeking such help.
Can the middle school students go on the annual mission trip?
At Mayer Lutheran, students have an opportunity to practice character development and be the hands and feet of Jesus through our longstanding mission trip. Every year Mayer Lutheran offers students a mission trip opportunity over Christmas break. The middle school students will get to join in this special opportunity.
Will Mayer Lutheran provide transportation to middle school students?
Yes, there is transportation available for our middle school students. Waconia and Watertown/Mayer districts provide free bussing to Mayer Lutheran for students. This is coordinated by the parent directly with Koch Bus Company. For those outside of Watertown/Mayer and Waconia school districts, there is an affordable payment option for bussing. We currently have three vans and one bus for transportation.
Will Mayer Lutheran middle schoolers bring their own devices?
Yes, MLMS will be a BYOD 21st century school, utilizing Microsoft Office and Teams as the main technology platform. Students are expected to bring their own devices; however, if needed, there will be other options available if there are financial concerns.
How will the school monitor student technology use?
There will be many ways to monitor that students are appropriately using their technology devices. Some examples include, but are not limited to: technology set-up and training at the beginning of the school year, devices are linked to our secured firewall-protected network (certain websites are blocked on our network), cybersecurity lessons from our Director of Technology, etc.
Will middle schoolers be allowed to have cell phones in the classroom?
No, students will not be allowed to have cell phones during the school day. If parents need to get a hold of students, they will be encouraged to call our office and send a message or connect with the student at the end of the school day.
What about co-curricular activities?
Mayer Lutheran’s middle school will participate with other middle schools in the Minnesota River Conference athletics. We will also partner with our Mayer Knights youth activities to provide additional opportunities for our middle school-aged students.
Planned 2024-25 MS Co-curriculars:
- Fall Athletics: Volleyball, Football (knights)
- Winter Athletics: Basketball
- Spring Athletics: Softball, Baseball, Track and Field
- Fine Arts: Fall Play, One Act, & Spring Musical
- Other Activities: National Honor Society, Key Club, Robotics, and more through our knights program.
- Additional activities may be offered through co-op opportunities with other schools.
Will Middle School students be pressured to join a Lutheran church?
We desire that each student at Mayer Lutheran grow in a relationship with Jesus. More than half of our current students are not Lutheran and they are living testimonies of the richness of relationships they discover among fellow Christians from all denominations and worship traditions. Naturally, for families without a church home who desire to join a faith community, we can connect them with local Lutheran churches to help them in this process.
What? No confirmation class at the Mayer Lutheran Middle School? What if a child or family decide they would like do chatechesis after learning about the Christian faith in class?
When families without a church home ask about joining a church, we will, with their permission, share their name with a supporting parish closest to their home and follow up with the pastor to ensure the opportunity to be shepherded in the faith will occur. Since we anticipate many students may not have a church home, working with our congregations will be a great blessing to those students and their families.
What about staffing? Will the students be taught by existing high school teachers?
Mayer Lutheran High School teachers will not be the primary teachers for grades 6-8. Depending on enrollment, for now the plan is to have a teaching principal and another middle school teacher help. Our art, music, industrial arts, technology, and physical education teachers will teach middle school specialist courses. Middle school and high school students will not intermix for classes, except for music.
Our long-term goal is to maintain a uniquely dedicated middle school teaching staff including administration. In our early years, we expect to have a teaching principal who will have time in the day to plan and execute strategies for strengthening the middle school in addition to teaching. This is a common occurrence as several local Lutheran schools have teaching principals who provide outstanding leadership.
We also envision the addition of clerical help for the middle school. The office assistant may be a part-time (less than 30 hours/week) position. We hope this part-time employee will have skills in student support and be able to oversee the student support services as well.
Will Mayer Lutheran take teachers from our local Lutheran schools for the new middle school?
In hiring teachers, Mayer Lutheran High School has traditionally avoided offering positions to teachers already serving in our feeder schools and we intend to follow that practice as we seek teachers for the middle school. Naturally, in our LCMS calling structure, any teacher may apply for a position in any school that has an opening. Our strength at Mayer Lutheran High School has traditionally relied on strong feeder schools taught by talented and strong teachers. Our desire is to not change that reality.
How will adding grades six through eight affect fundraising?
Anytime we make a significant change, fundraising can be affected. Our prayer is that our many donors will support the Ministry of Mayer Lutheran, including grades six through eight. We can certainly segregate gifts for just one school or the other at the donor’s request, but we would hope our cherished tradition of un-restricted giving will continue. Adding three grades worth of families will increase our potential giving pool of donors. Our sincerest prayer is that those who support the next generation of Christian leaders with their sacrificial gifts will continue to do so and, as stakeholders in our ministry, be willing and open to share advice and counsel as we have enjoyed for many decades.
Does the middle school have any staff yet?
Gina Plotz was hired as Principal beginning June 1, 2023 to establish and organize the new school. She will serve part-time through May of 2024 with full-time service beginning June 2, 2024 for the school’s opening in August of 2024. At this time we plan one additional middle school staff person to be hired as enrollment needs require.
How can I learn more about this initiative? How am I able to share my ideas and concerns?
As we gather more information and make further plans for the addition of the three grades, we will provide news online through our website, social media, and monthly newsletters.
The Executive Director is always eager to discuss any Mayer Lutheran news, ideas, dreams, concerns, and criticisms personally through a meeting, phone call, or email. He can be reached at 952.657.2251 x 1007 or email@example.com. Additionally, Middle School Principal Gina Plotz can be reached at 952.657.2251 x 1009 or Gina.Plotz@mayerlutheran.org.