Lutheran schooling in the U.S. dates back prominently to the original immigration of Lutherans from Germany and Scandinavia. The foundation of Lutheran education was a priority for the immigrants, who quickly set up parochial schools wherever they settled. The result is a strong system of schools that runs through to today, with a current total of 1,368 early childhood centers, 1,018 elementary schools, 102 high schools, 10 universities, and 2 seminars, for a total of over 2,488 schools with nearly 300,000 students. The LCMS or Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, located here in St. Louis, makes up the largest system of Protestant based schools in the U.S.
As most Lutheran communities immediately began to set up schools, or to allow Lutheran missionaries and priests to teach their children as soon as they emigrated. The result is that unofficial schools with no names, or who were removed before official records were made, or which were officially created after many years of teaching, often exist. The first of these types of schools were in the late 1700s and early 1800s, and taught in primarily German and sometimes bilingual German and English. By the time the first official Lutheran schools were formed, they had developed a bilingual curriculum of German and English, as a way to preserve culture and heritage of the German church service. The Lutheran service correspondingly remain partially in German during this period. Finnish and Scandinavian schools set up similarly, and eventually blended in with the German Lutheran churches to form the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in 1847.
Lutheran Schools in St. Louis
|St Louis Lutheran Schools||Phone Number||Tag|
|Abiding Savior||314-892-4408||South County|
|Atonement Lutheran School||314-837-1252||North County|
|Chapel of the Cross||314-741-3737||Early Learning North County|
|Child of God Lutheran School||636-970-7080||St Charles|
|Christ Community Lutheran School||314-822-7774||Central County|
|Christ Memorial Childcare Center||314-631-0992||Early Learning, South County,|
|Grace Chapel||314-867-6564||North County|
|Green Park||314-544-4248||South County|
|Holy Cross PReSchool||636-272-4505||St Charles|
|Immanuel Lutheran St Charles||636-946-0051||St Charles|
|Immanuel Lutheran Wentzville||636-639-9887||St Charles|
|Immanuel Lutheran Olivette||314-993-5004||Central County|
|Lord of Life PReschool||636-532-0400||St Charles|
|King of Kings Preschool||314-469-2224||St Louis County|
|Lutheran High School North||314-389-3100||South County, High School|
|Lutheran High Schoo South||314-631-1400||North County, High School|
|Messiah Lutheran||636-329-1096||St Charles|
|Metro East Lutheran High School||618-656-0043||Illinois|
|Our Redeemer Lutheran School||314-427-3462||North County|
|Our Savior Lutheran Preschool||636-947-8010||St Charles, Preschool|
|Our Savior Lutheran School||636-353-7511||South County|
|River Roads Lutheran School||314-388-0300||North County|
|Salem Lutheran School||314-353-9242||South County|
|Salem Lutheran Florissant||314-741-8420||North County|
|St Johns Lutheran||636-464-7403||Jefferson County|
|St Marks||636-386-0186||West County|
|St Pauls||314-822-0447||South County|
|Trinity Lutheran||636-250-3350||St. Charles|
|Unity Lutheran||618-874-6605||East St. Louis|
|Village Lutheran Church Preschool||314-993-1834||Ladue|
|Word of Life Grade School||314-832-1244||South St Louis|
|Word of Life Preschool||314-781-8673||South St Louis|
|Word of Life Preschool||314-351-2628||South St Louis|
A History of Lutheran Schools in the United States
St. Mathew School in Manhattan: The St. Mathew School in Manhattan is the oldest continuously operating Lutheran School in the U.S., and probably in the world as most Australian Lutheran schools were formed in the 1830s. The school was opened by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Mathew, which received a charter in 1664, and still operates today, teaching preschool through the eighth grade. While it is the oldest known school in operation, there are likely several others that are not recorded that could be older.
Bilingual Tuition: Most German-Lutheran schools carried out bilingual tuition from the 1800s up to 1918, when at the advent of World War 1, the anti-German sentiment caused many of the churches to choose to Americanize their tuition. The German language was dropped from tuition, and German was removed from the remaining church services, so that the Lutheran church taught purely in English. Scandinavian, and Finnish Lutheran schools operated on a similar, although less language based learning module for some time as well, before switching to purely English. Most records show that tuition began as primarily German, but eventually evolved to bilingual with a first language of English. meaning that most Lutherans up to the mid-1900s were bilingual.
Concordia University System: The Concordia University System is a series of 10 universities operated by the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and operate in New York, Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Illinois, California, Oregon, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, the oldest of which is the Concordia University Chicago, which traces it’s roots back to 1855 and was officially founded in 1864. These colleges teach over 28,000 students today, and operate individually with their own president, faculty, and board of residents. Like the schools, they choose their teachers independently, but also do interact, allowing students at one school to attend any other school for up to one year as part of a ‘visiting’ program.
Today: Today, most Lutheran schools are autonomous, choose their own curriculum, and set their own tuition rates. Most also hire their own teachers, who do not necessarily have to be of Lutheran faith, so long as they are qualified and willing to teach the doctrine and lessons. Therefore, the lessons and teachers can vary quite a bit from school to school. Most Lutheran churches fund their schools privately from the parish, along with supplemental income from tuition costs, which allows them to individually hire and support their own teachers and lessons. Many churches also operate individual tutoring and lessons programs directly from the church, which allows them to offer Lutheran schooling to churchgoers who do not attend the school, or who do not have a local school to attend. While there are more than two thousand schools available for young learners, there are few options for high school and college age students, meaning that most eventually go to public, or a non-Lutheran private school after elementary school.