DANVILLE — For 44 years, Trinity and Immanuel Lutheran churches in Danville supported and operated a parochial school, serving K-8, and later pre-K, students.
This year, they decided to dissolve Danville Lutheran School and run their own schools.
Immanuel Lutheran School, at 1930 N. Bowman Ave., will serve pre-K for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds through third-grade students, and Trinity Lutheran School, at 824 E. Main St., will serve kindergarten through eighth-graders.
“The two congregations decided they wanted to try something different,” said Gail Garner, a retired Danville schools principal who was tapped as the Immanuel school administrator.
His wife, Barb Garner, also a retired Danville schools principal, will assist him in his duties.
“It was a relatively recent decision,” Garner continued, adding the changes “started rolling out in May. ... The timing was right, and we’re very excited to get started.”
Kim Wright, who led Danville Lutheran School, will serve as Trinity’s administrator.
Trinity Lutheran School was established in 1864, and Immanuel was established as a branch school two years later, according to Trinity’s website. The two operated as separate schools for 78 years, starting in 1896.
In 1974, the two churches came together to run one school, housing K-4 students at Trinity and 5-8 students at Immanuel. When pre-K was added, it was housed at Immanuel, which was one level and had more space.
The two campuses officially became Danville Lutheran School in 1983.
Then in 2017, both campuses underwent a major reorganization and renovation, aimed at creating more modern, inviting and age-appropriate learning environments.
The Immanuel campus was designated the early-learning center for pre-K through second-grade students, while Trinity became the advanced-learning center for 3-8 students. Trinity also taught pre-K students for families in that area.
Wright, who is also a 7-8 teacher, said Trinity is currently accepting students, and she and her staff are gearing up for fall classes.
“The congregation is excited for the upcoming year and the program addition of a new resource room and teacher,” she said, adding that, like its predecessor, the school will provide a Christ-centered curriculum, family-friendly environment and innovative learning opportunities. “We offer 3D printing, robotics, Makerspace and digital textbooks. Every students in grades 3-8 have their own Chromebook.”
Garner said Immanuel officials decided to continue as an early-learning center.
“We’ve been very strong in the preschool area, so it was kind of logical for us to pick up that piece of the puzzle,” he said, adding it’s also still enrolling students.
“We’re very pleased with the enrollment right now,” Garner said, adding officials had hoped to have a minimum of 42, but already had 57 by registration night on Wednesday.
In addition to having a Christ-centered curriculum, the school plans to emphasize family and getting the congregation more involved through different events and activities.