The ongoing pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to our Lutheran schools—along a great deal of creativity. Innovation abounds as necessity indeed proves to be “the mother of invention.”
This is certainly true at Long Island Lutheran Middle & High School in Brookville, NY. Like other schools, LuHi was forced to adapt quickly to online learning in Spring 2020. Then the famous LuHi Summer Programs were cancelled for the first time in its 58 years.
Forced with these realities, LuHi’s administration and teachers got very innovative in ways to provide ongoing educational experiences for their students and families. The result was the 2020 LUHI SUMMER SPARK SERIES. This optional online offering provided valuable learning experiences throughout the Summer in keeping with the school’s mission to educate students in body, mind and spirit.
This series of weeklong, free mini-courses were led by volunteer LuHi teachers. “Many were very willing,” according to Principal Jessica Raba. “The goal was to bridge the natural disconnect over the pandemic with 7 weeks of courses focused on the three themes: CREATE (artistic expression), CRASH COURSES (Academic inquiry) and CARE (Christian growth and service).”
Art contest finalists from the CREATE themed Summertime SPARKS
All courses were offered online, so students, families and friends could work through them at their own pace. There was no pre-registration, so participants could join for one course or all. This was one more way in which LuHi sought to maintain a sense of community throughout the pandemic while “keeping the SPARK of learning shining bright.”
Mrs. Raba reported that participation in the SPARK offerings varied by topic and weeks but felt the response from all parties was very positive and appreciated. For example, an online Art Contest produced some wonderful activities and projects. (Above) “The SPARKS SERIES could definitely outlive the pandemic as another service of LUHI,” said Raba. Hopefully it also provides a creative model for other schools, congregations and organizations.