A Great Place to Grow
Lutheran Schools are great places to grow because . . .
They are driven by a commitment to the Gospel and focused on a mission of bringing hope and healing to students and their families.
They are governed by board members who clearly understand their roles and focus on the vision and board policies that effectively govern the operation of the school.
They are engaged in effective strategic planning which enables the Lutheran school to maximize its ability to achieve its mission. They utilize an accreditation process like National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA). They develop and follow a business plan. They develop and implement a communications/marketing plan.
They meet or exceed state and national academic standards at all grade levels.
They help to develop a minimum of 30 developmental assets in children.
They lead a minimum of 3% of their students to professional church work.
They lead students to share Christ and their faith story in an unbelieving world.
They identify future leaders for our schools.
. . . and they have educators who . . .
Model visionary leadership. They inspire a shared vision and model the way. They practice stewardship of resources, build up others and empathize with others.
Model servant leadership. Do those served grow as persons; do they while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? (Robert Greenleaf)
Model spiritual leadership. They study God’s Word, share their personal faith story, apply law and Gospel appropriately, exhibit a passion for ministry, act courageously, equip God’s people for service, care for others, demonstrate integrity, and pray.
Holy Cross Lutheran Church and School was organized in Saginaw in 1849, it continues to provide quality, Lutheran Education to Christian families nearly 150 years after its founding.
The early church fathers always planned for the education of their children. It was thought then, and continues to this day, that a good Christian education is the foundation for everything in life. The Christian Day School has always been an important part of Holy Cross Congregation. The early congregations also had branch schools. This was necessary to minimize the distance that the children would have to walk to get to school to school. Holy Cross was no exception to this practice.
As events unfolded in Europe, it appeared possible that the United States would enter the war. The sinking of the British passenger ship, Lusitania, brought it closer. In 1917, the United States entered World War I. President Woodrow Wilson stated that this war would make the world safe for democracy. It was also billed as the war to end all wars.
This war created a unique problem for the majority of the Lutheran Churches. It was thought that anyone who spoke in the German language was potentially opposed to the government. The Michigan State Legislature introduced a bill to bring about the closing of all private and parochial schools in the state using the German language in their classrooms. Pastor Louis Linn, together with many other faithful Christians worked feverishly against this bill. With the help of our almighty and gracious God, the bill was defeated.
One clear outcome occurred as a result. The Lutheran Church realized that it would have to act quickly and change the language used in its classrooms and worship services. The instruction in Holy Cross School was changed to the English language and worship services were conducted in both languages.
During these years, throughout our Synod there was a group of churches that appeared under the name of the English District. This name was chosen to show the language used in their worship. This non-geographic district is in existence today and there are several congregations in Michigan that are members of the English District.
Under the leadership of Pastor Linn, the old frame school was replaced by a modern three story brick building in the year of 1922. This building served as Holy Cross School for forty-two years.
In the fall of 1942, the ninth grade was added at Holy Cross and continued for some time. This enabled our students to go directly to Arthur Hill High School (which housed Grades 10-12) and therefore they would not attend a middle school for one year.
As the student body at Holy Cross continued to increase and our school building grew older, it was necessary to construct a new facility. The plan was to raze the old three story school and connect the new building to the church. The school should compliment the church and not over shadow it. A one story building with classrooms built around the library-learning center was approved.
During construction in the 1968-1969 school year classes were held in various locations. The Kindergarten class met at Zion Lutheran on Hancock. Grades 1-3 used extra classrooms at Bethlehem, and the upper grades had classes in the Fellowship Hall. All of this was possible because Holy Cross still had school buses and the students could be transported and returned for pickup in the afternoon.
On September 19, 1969, the new Holy Cross School building was dedicated. A total of 229 students, in Kindergarten to Grade 8, began classes the next day. The congregation expressed great joy at this completion of the $628,778 facility.
The new building consisted of nine classrooms, a music room, and a gymnasium. The open classroom concept was utilized with all of the upper grade classrooms opening directly into the learning center.
As the size of the average American family became smaller, it was apparent that we would be unable to fill all of the classrooms with only member children. Also, during this time, there was some dissatisfaction with public education and there were requests from non-member families about enrolling their children at Holy Cross School.
Since 1977, we have had a number of nonmember students enrolled. It is considered to be a great mission opportunity and Holy Cross Church has gained some families as member due to having their children attending school.
Holy Cross is classified as an Urban School by the Michigan District. Each year we are eligible for some tuition money from the District Fund. Nonmember families may apply for these funds. Financial assistance is given on the basis of the need of the family.
Several members of Holy Cross were very instrumental in starting the Lutheran High School. In 1977, the members of the Lutheran Churches in the Saginaw Valley were delighted to open Valley Lutheran High School.
Holy Cross Congregation is a member of the Lutheran High School Association which enables our students to attend with reduced rates. Each year Holy Cross sends several students to Valley Lutheran High School, many of whom have been valedictorians of their graduating classes.
Throughout the years, there have been many changes at Holy Cross School. As education for even the younger children became a part of American life, Preschool was started in 1973. Holy Cross Preschool is well known throughout the community for its excellent programs.
At one time, a Young Five’s program for that extra year before Kindergarten was provided. Now, Kindergarten offers optional-full day classes for families who wish to make use of this program. Some students attend mornings only, while others are enrolled all day.
A very necessary addition to the operation of Holy Cross School has been the Extended Child Care Program for after school care. This service is needed by many of our school families.
Holy Cross School has also participated in the National Lutheran Schools Accreditation Process in 2000 and continues to update curriculum and programs each year in preparation for review in the year 2007.
In the fall of 1998, school tuition charges were initiated for Holy Cross members. Each family pays according to an established rate in addition to their regular offerings.
Our playground and parking lot area was significantly redesigned in December of 2001. New playground equipment was purchased and installed which would appeal to all grade levels and focus on buidling upper body strength. Additional grassy play area was negotiated with the Saginaw City School District and is frequently used by the middle and upper grade students for touch football.
Holy Cross Lutheran School was forward thinking in embracing the potential of the Internet. The school was one of the first parochial schools in Saginaw county to register and own its internet domain name in 1997. Our school and church office computers were connected to the internet in 1998 through a single dial-up modem and utilized Linux as our central fileserver. In the Spring of 2003 Holy Cross Lutheran School provided each teacher a Dell notebook computer with wireless internet access. It was becoming apparent that computer technology was going to play a significant role in teaching our students how to effectively communication with others, and we wanted our teachers to be properly prepared.
During Easter break 2004, the school and church community worked together on a ambitious plan to remodel our library and create a new computer media center consisting of 18 Dell desktop computers. That was also the year that Holy Cross provided a full time technology teacher to allow us to provide computer instruction to every grade level.
Between 2005 and 2006, 32 HP notebooks computers were provided by the federal government "Freedom to Learn" program. The combination of desktop and notebook systems provides a student to computer ratio of 4:1 in our kindergarten through eighth grade levels. This investment in technology and our students provided Holy Cross Lutheran School with one of the best technology programs in Saginaw county.
During the summer of 2010, the library student computers were migrated from the Microsoft Windows XP operating system to Ubuntu (Linux Terminal Server Project) utilizing the latest in open source and thin client computing. This change immediately provided greater affordabilily, reliability, security, and uptime of the student computer systems. Key benefits of Ubuntu are that it's free, lifetime upgrades, thousands of free applications, available for download by students and their families so that they can have an similar environment on home computers that matches what their child uses at school.
Our computer network infrastrcuture was redesigned in the summer of 2011 to improve security and provide expanded coverage of wireless capabilities for the teaching staff. Also, four portable smartboards were purchased for the teachers to integrate into their classroom instruction.
Throughout the years, there have been many changes in the curriculum and programs. Staff members have come and gone. The role of the family has changed in our culture, with more of the responsibility of the training of children given to the school rather than the home. The mission of Holy Cross School remains the same, to preach the Gospel of salvation.