School Newsletter: December 10, 2020
Prepare for Jesus
‘Prepare the royal highway,
the King of kings is near;
let every hill and valley
a level road appear.
Then greet the king of glory
foretold in sacred story:

O blest is he that came
in God the Father’s name?’
 - Fran Michael Franzen

Are you preparing? What are you preparing for? I see Christmas decorations up in many places I drive. Oops…. let me clarify… I have seen many Christmas decorations up in many places I drive. It seems that some have been up for several months already. I guess some of the public feels decorating somehow brings the holidays closer. Maybe it sends a message of hope during this unusual time of pandemic.

As Fran Michael Franzen wrote so eloquently in his hymn ‘Prepare the Royal Highway’, we are always to be preparing for the coming of Jesus. We fall short each day due to sin, selfishness, and inward thinking. It is very easy in challenging times, to focus on ourselves and enter that ‘me zone’. That is not the zone God wants us in. He wants us to be outward focused on others, their needs, and how we can use our gifts and talents to serve.

Due to our sinfulness, God sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world. He prepares our heart by His Law and Gospel. He cleans us up and makes us presentable to a Holy God. It’s called righteousness. Each day we must be preparing for that return. Let’s be about serving the kingdom and preparing the royal highway for that glorious day.

As we place our faith and trust in God (no matter the stresses we face), we can all be thankful that God holds us in the palm of His hand and gives us what He knows is best for us. So, when trials come (including the stresses of COVID19, keeping your school safe, or taking care of those in need), step back and know God’s plan is perfect. Stay in the Word. Take care of yourself to be Well. Use your words and life as a Witness.
Remember each day – Christ loves you and holds you close.

Serving the Master Teacher,
Lois Stewart
Thank You!

Our teachers have really stepped up.

We give thanks to our Lord for all you have done, especially for the gifts Jesus has bestowed upon you. Thank you for the extra effort, dedication, passion, service, and going the extra mile.
Please watch this video and know that you are valued. And, please share with other teachers you feel may need to hear these words of encouragement.
LCMS National Office of Education
School administrators, please make sure that you have submitted your annual Statistical Report to Rosters, Statistics, and Research.

We are also working hard at both the National and District levels to ensure that school information (staffing of Rostered Workers) is accurate. I encourage you to take a few minutes and do the following:
·        Access the LCMS Locator at
·        Do a search for your school and click on the tab for Rostered Staff.
·        Check the list of names that appears on your school page.
·        If there are Rostered Workers missing from your list OR that are on the list and shouldn’t be, contact the NID office ( Be prepared to let her know what corrections need to be made.

The LISN website is open all year, so you may access your information at any time to do updates. If you have any questions about the LISN website, contact Sue Green. Keep in mind that we are not given access information for each school. Please find time to complete and submit your report.
May God continue to strengthen and bless all of our NID congregations and schools. Please see the attached resource ‘13 Ways You Can Equip Parents to Lead Their Children Spiritually’.
Soldiers of the Cross Covid-19 Response - Help in Time of Need
When the first wave of Covid-19 struck our nation, our church body moved quickly to address the needs of its church workers. The LCMS partnered with the LCEF to fund the Soldiers of the Cross Covid-19 grant. They in turn asked local districts to support the fund, contributing 20% to any grant request coming from their respective district, and the Northern Illinois has joyfully joined the cause of supporting our church workers!

The fund is set up to provide financial relief (up to $2,000 per grant) for anyone employed by one of our NID churches, schools, RSOs, or ministries, whether they are called, rostered, non-rostered, salaried, or hourly workers. Is a worker has been financially impacted by Covid-19, whether directly dealing with the disease or simply by the economic impact the virus has had on their place of employment, affecting their own compensation, that worker is encouraged to go to our website , click on our COovid-19 resource button and scroll down to Crisis Support – Responding to Church Workers Suffering Financially. At the bottom of that subsection, you’ll find the Soldiers of the Cross Covid-19 grant application. Simply fill it out electronically and email it to our Soldiers of the Cross Covid-19 Response Administrator, Rev. Kris Whitby at

Once your application is received, it is reviewed by our SOC Covid-19 team. Grants that are awarded are mailed to the applicant from our Hillside NID office. An acknowledgement of the grant award is also sent from our synod’s office in St. Louis.

In these difficult times, what a blessing to know our Lord resources us with the means to uphold church workers bringing them support through the Soldiers of the Cross Covid-19 Response grant!
Leadership Conferences
After prayerful consideration and discussion, the Leadership Conference Planning Team decided that the February and April conferences would be cancelled for this year. This decision was based on Administrator’s time and the on-going concerns related to Covid-19. If you have a credit from April, 2020 and/or registered for this year already, you will be receiving a check to refund the money. We will start off fresh and exciting in fall, 2021. Stay encouraged! It will be great when we can be back together in person!
Comfort Dog Virtual Visit
Lutheran Church Charities is a blessing to all of us. If you would like to schedule a virtual visit with one of the Comfort Dogs, go to and click on K-9 Ministries. The first tab that appears is ‘request a virtual visit’.
Attend to Well-being and Over Communicate
During this continuing time of pandemic, it is most important that we all attend to well-being in our schools. Be prayerful and don’t hesitate to over communicate to families. Recently, the following was shared by a NID administrator:

 “I had a board member early on in last year’s shutdown urge me to over communicate. I am glad that we did. I know that the pain of doing another video and drafting another email was time well spent towards calming fears and communicating a sense of calm for our school families in a very much shaken world. Our social media team worked hard to plan a campaign with media rich graphics and targeted messages… meeting with them for hours at a time via zoom was definitely a grind.

As our school continues to be open after 14 weeks for in-person learning while the rest of our public school counterparts are only remote, our communication has to continue to remain strong in thanking parents, reminding parents, and providing strong messages about how/why we are successful together. Messages need to be simple, clear, and targeted. Messages need to reinforce and reaffirm our mission and values. For our parents, prospective parents, congregations, and other stakeholders, there is comfort in seeing/hearing what we share as we re-emphasize about our school and its functions (Academic progress, social norms, Christ-centeredness, classroom/student/teacher/activity spotlights/online mini-lessons/challenges/etc…). We are not naturally great at being vocal with our story. But, day by day we get better! The personal touches we can provide to inform, encourage, and express gratitude go a long way toward keeping our Lutheran schools as ‘the best place to be’.”
TEC21 Update
Your teachers are unimaginably stretched as they manage a variety of teaching and learning scenarios in this unprecedented time. The TEC21 Workshop Program boosts the mental and spiritual health of teachers, while equipping them for a new educational frontier. We recently heard this from Joel Wahlers, former principal at St. John’s Lutheran School in Napa, California, now serving as the District Education Executive in the California-Nevada-Hawaii District: “I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank you for TEC21. We have three individuals that have gone through TEC21 (including a facilitator, Kari Perna) who are now technology coaches for the rest of our staff. Each of our grade-level groups (K-2, 3-5, and 6-8) have one TEC21 teacher helping the others, and I cannot tell you what a blessing that has been in our conversion process to online or virtual teaching and learning!”
Belize Mission – Hearts for Jesus
The ‘Hearts for Jesus’ mission project this school year is new NID Belize Mission Project. Please share the attached flier with your students and plan to support this mission. It is always great to share the project with congregation members as well. Watch for other resources to follow.  
Professional Development Credits
As the school year begins, please know, once again, that professional development credit is available through Concordia University Chicago. Administrators are asked to contact Catherine Nessling at She is the person that will process the request. All professional development sessions that are directed to student growth, curriculum development, etc. related to state standards may count.
Empower Illinois
The application process for Empower IL will open at 7:00pm on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Please review the attachments. Their contact information is located at the bottom of each document. 
Required Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
Illinois state law requires that all employers provide all their employees sexual harassment prevention training. In order to be in compliance with this law, commonly known as the Workplace Transparency Act, this training needs to be completed by December 31, 2020.
The Illinois Dept. of Human Rights has put together a training model, complete with certificate of participation, which can be used to meet this law’s requirements. This training model can be found at this website.
The model takes no more than an hour to complete and can be used individually or as a team.
The training PowerPoint can also be found below.
Voice of Care
Blessings in disguise… Due to the coronavirus restrictions, Voice of Care could not conduct their Jesus Time Chapel visits in facilities and group homes. However, they have worked hard to make them accessible through video recordings. Typically, the in person visits reached 80-100 a week. They are now reaching over 1,000 people per week.

The Jesus Time Chapel videos are available for Lutheran School chapels or classrooms. Simply go to and click on the latest Jesus time link. It will take you to the page where all the videos are posted. Starting November 29, the chapels will be Advent themed. If you would like a Voice of Care team member to visit, or customize a chapel for your school, please contact Dennis Pieper at .
NID Website Updates
Please continue to be encouraged to visit website for updates in the Coronavirus block.
National Lutheran Schools Resources

Visit the LCMS website to download the 2021 National Lutheran Schools Week resources and the 2021 chapel talks.
Filled with living hope in Christ,

Confessing, Praising,

and Advancing His Kingdom

For Information on LCEF contact Vanda Toner at 708-223-3117 or

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