Choosing the Right School for You – Ascension Lutheran School is hosting its 4th annual “High School Fair” on Wednesday, November 14, from 7:00-8:00 PM in Founder’s Hall. This is a great opportunity to get information on private, public, and online high schools as you determine which school is the right fit for you! This event is open to our school families, church families, and the community. Come and take advantage of this great opportunity to explore over a dozen high schools in a short time frame!
High Schools in Attendance: Oaks Christian, Louisville, Crespi, Chaminade, Vista Del Real Charter, Century Academy School, Newbury Park High School, Thousand Oaks High School, Westlake High School, Villanova Prep, Grace Brethren, La Reina, Saint Bonaventure High School, Newbury Park Adventist.
Ascension alum, Gunnar Squires (class of ’14) shares some words of wisdom with current students as he prepares to head to college at Pacific Lutheran University!
Mrs. Farrell has over 20 years of teaching experience, and she will be starting her 3rd school year here at Ascension as a middle school teacher and the 5th-grade homeroom teacher. She says her favorite thing about Ascension is the community stating, “I feel at home and that I belong at Ascension Lutheran School.” This summer she is enjoying spending time with friends and family and catching up on some reading! For the upcoming school year, she is looking forward to helping a new group of 5th graders to be successful in middle school!
Learn more about Middle School at Ascension
At Ascension, we truly believe that middle school should be a time for students to flourish, not to fear. It is our joy to see our students grow into bold, compassionate, and confident leaders through their middle school years. Our comprehensive approach, with a focus on educating the whole student in a caring Christian community, produces graduates who go on to excel in high school and beyond. Highlighted below are 14 ways we help ensure middle school students thrive at Ascension:
- Exceptional teachers who truly know and genuinely care for each student.
- Small class sizes (20 average class size) foster close relationships, lifelong friendships, and facilitate academic excellence.
- Hands-on service learning projects build compassion as students gain an understanding of some of the issues facing our world and how they can be part of the solution.
- Spanish class is incorporated in the schedule for all students. When students graduate from 8th grade they have completed the high school Spanish I curriculum and are prepared to advance to Spanish II if they choose.
- Leadership opportunities abound including athletics, student council, student ambassadors, leading worship, performing arts, and more.
- Music education is offered for all grade levels providing exposure to music history, composers, instruments, vocal performance, and more.
- Athletic teams are offered for grades 5-8 in football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and co-ed volleyball. Ascension participates in the Tri-Valley Christian Athletic League.
- True electives where students choose from a different slate of courses each trimester.
- Annual Outdoor Education Trips provide students with enriching learning experiences that encourage them to grow personally, academically, and socially. These trips culminate in an 8th-grade class trip to Washington DC.
- Time learning outside! Our Outdoor Classroom and Organic Teaching Garden provide students with learning and growth opportunities beyond the classroom.
- Small peer advisory groups offer an avenue for leadership development, study skills, and deeper friendships to emerge.
- Valuable mentoring experience as our older students are paired with a younger buddy who the older students mentor and lead in a variety of learning activities and get to attend chapel together every week.
- Access to technology including our one to one iPad program, a mobile computer lab, and the Makerspace equips students as 21st-century learners and problem solvers with skills in coding and robotics.
- A strong faith foundation means students leave here grounded in a knowledge of who and whose they are.
Learn more about Ascension’s Middle School Program:
Our principal, Mrs. Jonas, can list many reasons she loves Ascension Lutheran School. Her favorite thing though is our emphasis on preparing bold, compassionate leaders to serve in a Christ-like manner. Looking ahead to the coming school year, she is excited about continuing to make the Makerspace and Outdoor Classroom integral parts of the learning experience.
Mrs. Jonas is looking forward to celebrating special milestones with her family this summer! She and her husband are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary! Her oldest daughter is also getting married in August. She is looking forward to having many friends and relatives join them in the celebration!
An interesting fact that you might not know about Mrs. Jonas is that she absolutely loves to fish! She has fond memories of her grandpa teaching her. While she prefers trout fishing over bass, she says that so long as she’s got a pole, bait/lure, and a lake… she’s good!
Deanne Phillips has over 20 years of teaching experience and has been instrumental in developing our Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten programs. Ms. Phillips currently serves as Assistant Principal. She shares that the thing she loves most about teaching at Ascension is the people, finding that it is truly a family here where teachers, as well as students, are encouraged to discover and cultivate their passions and gifts.
Ms. Phillips is a champion of developing our Nature Explore program. She is excited to continue expanding this program next year with the goal of obtaining Nature Explore Certification for our TK-8 campus. An integral part of this vision is the new garden space, which is now in planning stages, and will include an outdoor kitchen, greenhouse, and much more! Ms. Phillips is looking forward to more time teaching and learning outside with all of the classes TK-8, integrating all aspects of our curriculum and taking it outdoors. “I hope to develop an appreciation and respect for nature in all of our students and to connect them in new ways to God’s creation,” says Ms. Phillips, “It could be summarized perhaps by these words: Discover, Learn, Appreciate.” She loves being out in nature and learning about wildlife in different areas. This summer she is going to Ireland and England and exploring all there is to see in a camper!
Coach Clem serves as our middle school PE teacher, health teacher, and athletics director here at Ascension. Each year, Coach Clem looks forward to having excited students participate in a sport or two and encouraging the athletes as they progress through their season. Ascension participates in the Tri-Valley Christian Athletic League and offers Girls Volleyball and Flag Football in the fall, Boys and Girls Basketball in the winter, and Boys and Girls 5 v 5 Soccer and Co-Ed Volleyball as winter sports.
All three of her own children are alumni of Ascension Lutheran School who attended here Kindergarten through 8th grade. She loves this school and the individual attention that each teacher gives to their students! She also finds it special that our elementary teachers know students all the way through their middle school experience. The caring community that allows parents to be involved and feel welcome on campus for all grades is another aspect she feels to be valuable.
This summer, Coach Clem is excited to go house boating on Lake Powell with friends and family – something she’s always wanted to do. An interesting fact that you might not know about Coach Clem – Somewhere along her family tree, she is related to Ulysses S Grant (18th President of the US).
Today, it’s our 3rd-Grade teacher, Mrs. Rowlands who is in the Summer Spotlight. A founder and ongoing champion of the Makerspace here at Ascension, she is always looking for ways to cultivate opportunities for students to connect their learning to the real world. “Teaching at Ascension is exciting,” says Mrs. Rowlands, “because while we are exploring academic concepts, we are simultaneously learning about how God calls us to be leaders and servants in our world.” She finds that this approach inevitably sparks inspiration, creativity, and excitement in the students she is with, whether in 3rd grade or the Makerspace.
This summer Mrs. Rowlands will spend some time in Ohio celebrating her daughter who will be receiving her white coat as a Physician’s Assistant! A fun fact about Mrs. Rowlands is that she has run 7 marathons and hopes to run an international marathon sometime in the future. We are extremely blessed by her energy, creativity, and passion for teaching!
Today’s Summer Spotlight on Staff features Dr. Susanne Maliski. History Teacher for grades 6-8, technology coordinator, and computer teacher for 1st through 5th grades are just a few of the hats that Dr. Maliski wears around our campus. During the summer, she loves the opportunity to travel and visit family. This summer, she plans to spend time camping and will visit Disney World. She’s excited to visit two states that she has not previously been to, Rhode Island and Connecticut. This will be state numbers 32 and 33 towards her goal of visiting all 50 states.
Dr. Maliski is looking forward to and is busily preparing for the coming school year! She is again organizing our annual Disney Youth Education Series trip for middle school students. Dr. Maliski loves taking students on field trips and seeing them learn in new and different ways. As our technology coordinator, she is setting up new iPads purchased for 6th and 7th graders and setting up Google Classroom for our school. Additionally, she is working with the church to help plan service projects and our next Gifts of Hope project.
“My favorite part of Ascension is the community. I love seeing students and families grow over time,” commented Dr. Maliski adding that “One of my favorite things is attending graduation and celebrating each of our students.” She says that she is also thankful to work with some of the best educators around! She is also grateful to work in a school where she gets to worship and share her faith with her students.
We often say that a Transitional Kindergarten year is truly a gift you can offer to your child. At Ascension, the appropriate candidate for TK is one who is a bit young to start Kindergarten but is excited and ready to begin exploring kindergarten concepts. On the flip side, if your child is Kindergarten age, but you feel that a 2-year Kindergarten option will give them the opportunity to mature socially, emotionally, and academically to ensure future success in school, then we also encourage you to consider a Transitional Kindergarten year. At Ascension, we require that our TK students turn 5-years-old by the end of December. A unique aspect of our program is that at the end of the TK year students are evaluated for placement in either traditional kindergarten, but in some cases, we may determine that a student has met all the standards academically and socially and should advance to first grade. Essentially, TK gives your child that extra time, assurance, and confidence that increases their readiness for the challenges that await them in subsequent grades.
Children at this age learn largely through play. At Ascension, Transitional Kindergarten students are provided with opportunities both inside and outside to learn math, language, art, and social concepts through play and discovery. We begin with an excellent creative curriculum that introduces the kindergarten standards at an age-appropriate pace while encouraging students to explore their interests and use their unique voice so that we instill a love of learning from a young age. We are in the process of becoming a Nature Explore Certified school and have developed an outdoor classroom space and teaching garden that allows our students to be inspired by nature as they create, learn, and explore the curriculum standards that are introduced.
Yes, our Transitional Kindergarten students enjoy a full school day from 8:30 AM-3: 00 PM. This affords them plenty of time for the introduction of academic lessons as well as play-based exploration, specialty classes, fun activities, and a read and rest time in the afternoon. Especially during the beginning of the school year, we find that students might take a nap during the read and rest time and that is absolutely fine! Built into each day are three opportunities for Outdoor Exploration Time. The majority of core lessons are presented during the morning hours. For TK students we do offer an option to pick-up at 1:00 PM, as we understand that some younger students may prefer a shorter day. We do find, as the year progresses, that most students want to stay the whole day as to not miss out on any of the fun!
Ascension offers Extended Care as a safe, fun, and flexible option for daily before and after school care for your children. The hours are 7-8 AM and 3:15-6:00 PM and the cost is $7 per hour. This service can be used on an as-needed basis. Additionally, the school offers a variety of afterschool enrichment classes that vary by trimester but typically include choir, art, woodshop, sports, and music classes.
At Ascension, we have credentialed teachers overseeing the curriculum and teaching our Transitional Kindergarten Class. The standards are introduced and taught in a way that helps ensure Kindergarten readiness. According to a Study, The Impact of Transitional Kindergarten on California Students, TK gives students an advantage at kindergarten entry on a range of literacy and mathematics skills, including letter and word identification, phonological awareness, expressive vocabulary, problem-solving, and knowledge of mathematical symbols and concepts.
Teachers here have also noted social and emotional benefits to exposing students to the TK-8 campus environment. Students in our program benefit from attending weekly chapel services and establishing a special relationship with a “chapel buddy” a mentor from our 7th-grade class. TK students also participate in specialty classes including music, PE, and garden time. What we see from these interactions and operating within the larger school is a boost in maturity and confidence that dramatically eases the transition to the next grade levels.
We invite you to Schedule a Tour to get to know our TK and Kindergarten program better.