NLSA group accredits 106 Lutheran schools

Last month, 106 Lutheran schools were accredited by the National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA), bringing to 602 the number of schools that have earned that distinction.

Meeting Aug. 3-5 in St. Louis, 36 NLSA commissioners approved accreditation for nine high schools, 87 elementary schools, and 10 preschools.

NLSA — a program of LCMS District and Congregational Services — School Ministry — has served Synod schools since 1986.  NLSA’s commissioners are consultants from all 35 LCMS districts and its national director (currently Terry Schmidt of LCMS School Ministry).

NLSA’s mission statement says that it “encourages and recognizes schools that provide quality education and engage in continuous improvement.”

Schmidt described NLSA accreditation as “a necessary tool today for our schools in their marketing efforts.”

He said that other private and public school systems, as well as regional school-accrediting agencies, recognize NLSA accreditation as “a mark of excellence.”

“In order to become accredited,” Schmidt said, “schools must undergo a strenuous yearlong self-study process, based on standards designed specifically for Lutheran schools.  Following the self-study, a team of objective educators, under the direction of a trained team captain, conducts an on-site assessment of the school, validating the self-study report and making a recommendation regarding the school’s accreditation status.  That recommendation is passed along to the LCMS District Accreditation Commission for further review and recommendation.  The final decision regarding accreditation is made by the National Accreditation Commission at its annual meeting in St. Louis.”

Schmidt said that since NLSA was established, “no other single program or process has done so much to improve the overall quality of Lutheran schools.” 

Also during the annual meeting this year, NLSA commissioners:

  • adopted a new mission statement and strategic plan that “charts a positive course for the future,” according to Schmidt.

  • approved changes to the accrediting process that include adoption of new required standards with indicators of success.  Schmidt said a new rating scale “will allow the site visitation team to ensure that a school has complied with the elements of each required standard.”

  • elected Scott Bell of Mequon, Wis., as NLSA secretary.

For more information about NLSA, contact Schmidt at or (314) 996-1292.

Posted Sept. 1, 2006

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