Lakewood Lutheran School Adapts, Opens Doors For 2020-21 Year

It’s business as usual for Lakewood Lutheran School.

Yes, LLS has implemented measures to protect its students and faculty from COVID-19. Rather, what’s business as usual at the corner of Madison and St. Charles is the school’s family-centric approach to education.

“It’s certainly a strange year,” principal Carolyn Potantus said. “It was a strange summer as we prepped the school for the year and figured out how to make everything work.”

LLS, which has been a staple of the Lakewood community for nearly 125 years serving students K through 8th grade, is open five days a week.

Standard COVID precautions are in place — social distancing of at least 6 feet between desks, plexiglass barriers on the desks to further protect students, mandatory masks and a teacher to greet each student at the door for a temperature check.

Additionally, LLS is offering distance learning for those not comfortable with an in-school setting. The teachers have been trained in Google Classroom, and the school is loaning Chromebooks and laptops to the students. However, Potantus said that teachers aren’t simply broadcasting their in-room lessons for the students to watch. Rather, lessons are recorded so the kids can have an on-demand learning experience.

“We wanted to make it so the students can learn on their time,” Potantus said. “If a parent can’t be there to help them log on or keep them focused or whatever reason, the lesson can be stopped and started when it works for them. We’ve had to be a bit more flexible on due dates and things like that, but it’s our hope that this will work out best for everyone.”

In a way, the adapted schooling situation is just another way that the school is offering its individualized education.

“We like to call it customized classrooms,” Potantus said. “Each student learns at his or her own level for each subject.”

Students take placement tests to learn where they are in their education for various subjects. As a result, a fifth grader could be taking sixth grade math, fifth grade science and fourth grade social studies.

Potantus said that LLS has open enrollment throughout the year and that any interested families can learn more at She did note, however, that in-building spots are limited due to social distancing.

“We understand that everyone has their own level of comfort with in-person interaction right now,” Potantus said. “We knew back in the spring that we wanted the students back in the building. The end of last year was tough on us, on the students and also on the parents.

“We know that we can’t make it perfect for everyone, but we want to make it the best we can for everyone, whether they are in the building or at home.”

Jon Behm is a former professional journalist who gave up a career in sports journalism for an even better job -- being a dad.

Jon Behm

Jon is a former professional journalist who gave up a career in sports journalism for an even better job -- being a dad.

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Volume 16, Issue 18, Posted 5:22 PM, 09.16.2020