Ascension Lutheran Christian School opened its doors in 2017 with the goal of providing a quality Christian education to the children of Gary. With a new principal at the helm this year, the school is making progress in reaching children for Christ, while providing a solid Lutheran education.
“Building a school from scratch is hard work,” said Rev. John Albers, executive director of the Lutheran School Corporation of Indiana and administrator for Ascension Lutheran Christian School. “We’ve been hard at work. Sometimes you see dramatic results. But most often success comes in some very small steps.”
Ascension’s impact is making difference in the lives of one family who moved to Gary after a relative passed away. While searching for a new school, they were happy to find a high quality educational option down the street from their house.
Although Ascension has many success stories, a unique challenge that they face is the instability of families, who may lack reliable transportation, food, and housing. Currently, one-hundred percent of the students at Ascension qualify for the Indiana School Choice Voucher. Because so many families suffer from financial instability, many are forced to move away from Gary, making it difficult for schools like Ascension to keep a growing enrollment. Despite this obstacle, Ascension is holding steady with 34 students this year.
To give children a quality education, the school is building a solid foundation of staff development through ongoing professional development opportunities and the addition of new principal, Alicia Collins.
Collins has a master of education in leadership and a decade of experience in charter and public schools in Illinois and Indiana. Ms. Collins started in August after serving as senior dean of culture at Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, where she supported 20 staff. The school brought a steep decline in disciplinary referrals and a 100% graduation rate during her time there.
“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to return to Gary, in a role that enables me to work closely with the students and families that I hold so dear,” said Alicia Collins. “I believe in the brilliance of the students at Ascension and I will proudly serve as their principal. It’s an exciting time to join this growing school.”
Ascension is also building a firm foundation of faith integrations into their curriculum. Rev. Rick Boshoven and Rev. Delwyn Campbell have been providing instruction to bolster the teachers’ knowledge of Biblical doctrine and what it means to be Lutheran.
Beyond the classroom, the school continues to have a need for financial support. Although the school receives significant funding through the State of Indiana School Choice Scholarship program and the new ministry initiative grant from the Indiana District, Ascension’s limited enrollment means the school is heavily reliant on funding from congregations and donor support. Last year, the church received gifts from 27 congregations totaling $40,000. This year, they only received $5,000 to date. As a result, they are in need of additional financial support in order to secure a strong future for the ministry.
“The new ministry initiative grant from the district has made a huge impact,” stated Reverend Albers. “But consider responding to the convention call from two years ago and find a way to support the work of Ascension.”
If you want to partner with Ascension Lutheran Christian School in Gary, contact Rev. Albers at 219-887-5031 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.