Nurturing Excellence and Global Engagement is a key focus in many educational institutions around the world. Schools strive to create an environment that promotes excellence in academics, character development and the pursuit of knowledge. By nurturing excellence, educators aim to inspire students to reach their full potential and achieve outstanding results in their academic pursuits.
At the same time, global engagement has become increasingly important in education. Schools recognize the need to prepare students for a globalized world where interconnectedness and cultural diversity play significant roles. Global engagement involves exposing students to different cultures, perspectives and ideas, fostering intercultural understanding, empathy and a sense of global citizenship.
Nurturing excellence and global engagement go hand in hand as they equip students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world. By nurturing excellence, students develop the academic competencies, critical thinking abilities and problem-solving skills needed to excel academically and contribute to their communities. Global engagement, on the other hand, cultivates empathy, cultural understanding and a sense of responsibility towards the global community.
Located in the midst of the vibrant core of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Lancaster Mennonite School (LM) stands as a beacon of educational excellence and character development. With a rich history rooted in providing an Anabaptist, Christ-centred environment, LM has evolved into a diverse community that nurtures students to become creative; innovative learners prepared for college, career and life.
Christy Horst, Director of Enrolment at Lancaster Mennonite School, brings exceptional leadership and a wealth of experience to drive successful enrolment strategies and foster a thriving school community strategies and foster a thriving school community.
Let’s explore the approach LM is taking to help students forge their paths into the contemporary world!
A Journey of Transformation
The school of what is present-day Lancaster Mennonite was founded as an alternative to public schools where students could be taught in an Anabaptist, Christ-centred environment. The school is currently a learning hub for approximately 600 students. The land was purchased from formerly Yeates School in 1942, during World War II, and revived for this Anabaptist Mennonite School for people who were seeking religious freedom in school for teaching their children.
The school started as a high school with 151 students and then expanded over the years to include middle school and elementary school. At one point, the school stretched across five campuses, and now all grades PreK-12th are at one location on the beautiful 96-acre campus. Once the dormitory was built, it was primarily used by students from the region who would stay there during the week and go home on the weekends. Now the residence hall is primarily for international students and a few students from the U.S.
The schools initially served mainly students from Mennonite backgrounds, but persons from many denominations increasingly became part of the student body. Now the school serves students and families from very diverse backgrounds who resonate with the values of the Lancaster Mennonite School community.
Mission, Vision and Core Values
Mission: Lancaster Mennonite School provides PreK-12th grade education in a diverse community that nurtures students to become creative and innovative learners who are prepared for college, career and life. Centred to Christ and committed to educational excellence, students are empowered to change the world through Christ-like love, peace-making and service.
Vision: “LM will be a leader in PreK-12th grade educational experiences of excellence and character. Through local and global connections in a Christ-centred community, lives will be transformed, and our world changed,” shares Christy.
Core Values: LM’s core values are seamlessly integrated into the curriculum and create a nurturing and transformative environment.
Christy says, “We proudly say that as a school community, together we will;
- Seek Jesus Wholeheartedly
- Live Compassionately
- Build Bridges of Peace
- Cultivate Global Citizens
- Nurture Curiosity and Creativity
- Empower Lifelong Learning
- Change the world!”
The Driving Force Behind Success
The success of Lancaster Mennonite School can be attributed to a dedicated team of Administrators, Board Members, Faculty and Staff and Residence Hall Advisors that are the heartbeat of the school. This team is passionate about helping students and preparing them to succeed in college, career and life. The school’s holistic approach provides a focus on the whole student, and the caring community ensures students feel welcomed and supported academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Beyond academics, Lancaster Mennonite School offers a vibrant array of extracurricular activities to enrich students’ experiences.
- With over 20 student clubs and organizations, including the Art Club, National Honor Society, International Student Association (ISA) and Yearbook, students have ample opportunities to explore their interests and passions.
- LM also boasts a robust athletics program featuring 12+ varsity sports, nurturing physical well-being and teamwork.
- The arts thrive at LM, with opportunities for students to participate in orchestra, band and vocal ensembles, as well as the Advanced Music Program.
- The school’s annual drama performances showcase students’ creativity and talent, fostering their artistic expression and confidence.
- Mini-courses to explore local, national or international opportunities.
Global Exposure and Cultural Exchange
Lancaster Mennonite School places a strong emphasis on global exposure and cultural exchange. Through exchange programs and trips, students have the opportunity to engage.
Some of these include:
- Exchange programs and trips annually for students with schools in Germany and Spain
- Mini-courses to explore local, national, or international opportunities – for students in grades 11 and 12, provide opportunities for students to learn with their peers and teachers and benefit from teachers’ expertise and creativity. Mini-courses are a minimum of three days and may include overnight trips or day trips for those three days. Students may count school-led summer trips as their mini-course prior to their junior or senior years. Mini-courses focus on an academic area and service and occur every two years (spring of even years). Trips this year were to the following places: Mexico, Spain, Jamaica and various places in the United States, like hiking the Appalachian Trial and Grand Canyon and exploring the history of the local area by kayak, to name a few.
- It has a Spanish Immersion Program that starts in Kindergarten, and so the teachers in Kindergarten through HS are heritage/native speakers, and many teachers and staff have lived or served all over the world. They authentically bring their culture and appreciation for other parts of the world into their classrooms and school.
- International students are from 8+ countries, which include: Bahrain, China, Ethiopia, Italy, Kenya, Spain, South Korea, and Vietnam and bring their unique cultures and experiences to the school community.
- US students are from a variety of backgrounds and ethnic groups and provide a rich diversity to the school community as well. It’s surprising to many people the number of languages and cultures represented within the school community!
- LM is a school that services the local community and the entire world. It’s a place where global and local meet.
Major Achievements and Recognitions
Lancaster Mennonite School has garnered significant achievements, accolades and recognition.
- Named by Newsweek as a Top 5,000 STEM High School. It was named in the top 10 per cent for U.S. High Schools nationally due to its innovative STEM curriculum and opportunities and amazing teaching staff that is preparing students to excel in college, career, and life.
- AP Test Scores – LM’s academic excellence is evidenced by significantly higher Advanced Placement test success versus PA and national averages, according to College Board data.
- The average of the last five years (2018-2022) shows 82.4 per cent of LM’s AP scores were three or higher, compared to the national average of 60 per cent. This reflects the strength of LM’s academic program driving increasing AP success.
How did its students do in 2022?
LM students took 13 different AP tests in 2022 and scored an average of 3.64 on all tests taken, compared to the national average of 3.17 on these same tests.
- SAT – LM high school students continue to score higher than the national average. In the last three years, LM students have averaged 15 per cent higher scores.
- The three-year trend shows increases over the national average, beginning with 11 per cent higher in Fall 2020 and up to 22 percent higher in Fall 2022.
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