Early childhood centers through grade 12 schools participate in the North American Division (NAD) six-year accreditation cycle intended to move schools along a continuum of good-to-better-to-great. A recommended status of accreditation is ratified by the Adventist Accrediting Agency’s Commission on Accreditation.
The Lake Union believes in spiritually, professionally and personally strengthening the ministry of its educators. One such avenue is through teacher certification. Teachers can apply to have their tuition covered by the Lake Union for academic classes towards a master’s degree or teacher certification. The LUC registrar maintains certification and endorsement records for 284 active educators, as well as other educators who are keeping their Seventh-day Adventist credentials up to date.
In keeping with the importance of meeting student learning needs in a manner that is whole-student based, innovative, and attends to diversity of learning styles and cultural representations, the Lake Union financially assists schools in implementing new cycles of NAD curriculum. Attention to learning standards guides the selection of the new textbooks. During the past six years, the Education Department has provided funds for schools to purchase teachers’ editions for social studies, language arts, math and biology, as well as kits for Bible Encounter.
Whenever new curriculum is introduced, the Lake Union provides training for superintendents, principals and lead teachers. However, when the new, groundbreaking, Christ-centered Bible Encounter curriculum was implemented, the NAD financially assisted conferences and the Lake Union in training every teacher, grades 1 through 12.
The Lake Union has given financial support to conferences to train every teacher in the implementation of the new assessment program, Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), which is administered three times a year, and provides teachers, parents and students with immediate feedback on students’ academic growth.
Our department coordinates, sponsors and hosts annual Math, English and Science Professional Learning Communities for academy and junior academy teachers.
The care and early education of young children is the beginning of the continual growth process. The Lake Union supports and provides trainings for three early childhood centers and 10 preschool and PreK programs.
The Lake Union has 37 multi-grade classrooms, including 28 one-room schools. Our department embraces the need to support multi-grade teachers by providing week-long, highly-focused Small Schools Workshops to strengthen teachers’ preparedness to serve as multi-grade teachers.
Our office encourages educators to take advantage of professional growth opportunities provided by the Lake Union, as well as national professional memberships/ conventions, and maintains a limited budget to assist. In addition, planned superintendents’ and academy principals’ collaborative forums are hosted by the Lake Union Education Department throughout the year.
We are blessed to partner with Andrews University in many ways, including an annual fall Professional Day for superintendents, full-time principals and pre-service teachers. Lake Union academy students are invited to the Andrews campus on multiple occasions, including music festivals and SciFest. Andrews University professors have partnered with our department for LUC Leadership Councils and training forums.
Academy student leaders participate annually in the Lake Union sponsored, three-day Secondary Leadership Conference held at Camp Au Sable. Led by the Lake Union Education department, students are immersed in spiritually nurturing forums, leadership workshops, and meaningful social connections, all targeted towards personal growth, and more so, students’ leadership impact on their campuses.
We were delighted to assist in planning and hosting the 2018 NAD National Teachers’ Convention held in Chicago, attended by over 6,000 educators from around the NAD. The Lake Union and each conference budgeted funds to make it financially possible for all Lake Union educators to attend. Attendees benefited from the plethora of presentations, workshops, forums and spiritual features provided.
Our office wishes to voice a special thank you to superintendents, principals, teachers— and all who have faithfully served and continue to support Adventist education during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Many changes were implemented, including the following:
In December 2020 and December 2021, our office, working with our Lake Union treasurer, reaollocated some of our Education budget to provide financial support for schools during the pandemic.
From Early Childhood Centers to senior academies, we are humbled to join superintendents, principals and teachers in imparting a “knowledge of God” which, as Ellen White penned, “is the foundation of all right education” (Counsels to Teachers, p. 422). Please know that we will continue to pray for each of your schools and for the many teachers that daily impact the lives of your students.
Linda Fuchs is the director Education for the Lake Union Conference; Ruth Horton is the associate director.