The National Lutheran Schools Accreditation (NLSA) has awarded Orange Lutheran High School with recognition as an Exemplary Accredited School, one of only eight schools of the over 2,300 Lutheran schools nationally to be recognized with such an honor.
This award is a “reflection on the excellent quality of your school and your commitment to the mission of sharing Jesus with the children you serve and their families,” said Terry Schmidt, National Director of Schools for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).
NLSA is a rigorous national-accrediting process designed to evaluate schools based on their unique purpose as Lutheran schools. It helps schools evaluate not only the quality of the academics and programs, but more importantly, the spiritual dimension of the school. The NLSA is a process of self-evaluation followed by a visit of objective observers designed to help Lutheran schools improve the quality of their programs.
It has been quite a year for the Orange Lutheran community. In July, the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC), one of six regional accrediting associations in the United States, announced that Orange Lutheran was the recipient of the highest accreditation rating possible of six years through June 2019. In November, Principal Leslie Smith was selected by the Pacific Southwest District (PSWD) of the LCMS as the 2013 Administrator of the Year. The PSWD is one of 35 districts spread across the nation and covers 291 ministries in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. And now this honor by the NLSA.
“It is a blessing and honor to be recognized as an Exemplary School by the National Lutheran School Accreditation for exceeding accreditation expectations,” said seventh-year principal Smith. “God has assembled a uniquely talented, skilled, passionate, faithful group of people here at Orange Lutheran who are committed to providing an excellent Christ-centered education and high school experience for our students.”
Among the standards for accreditation are: The school is mission driven and demonstrates its Christian mission through relationships with congregations, community, staff, students and families, and the school has written curriculum that integrates the Christian faith and Christian teachers that facilitate student learning to achieve the planned outcomes of the school’s curriculum.
“The classes at Orange Lutheran are rigorous, but the teachers are very good at helping students learn the information well,” said current Orange Lutheran junior, Tiffani Armstrong. “The staff makes my high school experience better because they all truly care about students' feelings and their well-being.”
Through a rigorous faith-based education plan which includes academic programs like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and nationally recognized arts, athletics and service programs, Orange Lutheran has developed a reputation as a pre-college environment rather than a typical high school setting.
“We have seen our daughter go from a shy and slightly insecure freshman, to a young woman filled with beautiful character ready to follow her dreams.” Said Danielle Augustin, mother of recent graduate Taylor ’12 and current sophomore TJ. “Orange Lutheran provided her the framework, love, and support to successfully transition into college and adulthood.”
The faculty and staff at Orange Lutheran are committed to fostering a sense of community that carries beyond the walls of campus. Through missions programs designed to serve others while sharing the gospel message of Christ Jesus, and campus events in the award-winning Alexandria Nechita Center for the Arts, Orange Lutheran has engrained itself in the community at large.
“Citizens I know whose children attend, or have attended Orange Lutheran, brag about the caring faculty and mission work the school organizes and sponsors for student service,” said Teresa Smith, Mayor of the City of Orange. “As I have attended public events at Orange Lutheran, I have witnessed the Christian demeanor of Orange Lutheran students, faculty, administrators, and parents.”