Sierra Lutheran High School students participate in a chapel session Sept. 27. Head of School Patrick Maynard reports the private school has seen a 20% increase in enrollment this school year.
Photo by Jessica Garcia.
Sierra Lutheran High School is up nearly 20% in enrollment from the 2022-23 school year, and the campus’ uptick is expected to continue for at least the next few years, Head of School Patrick Maynard told the Nevada Appeal.
With numbers hanging at about 125 in 2021 and gradually climbing upward since then, Maynard said the school easily could see about 170 for 2024-25.
“It’s all predicated on what space we can create,” he said.
The high school campus continues its focus on academic and extracurricular expansion, using its dual enrollment program to attract students. But Maynard said the hope is to demonstrate its strengths on its Roman Roads campus in its faith environment with students seeking out extracurricular activities and preparation for college, and it has continued to bring in its younger cohorts and families wanting an alternative option to public school.
“Our freshmen for next year, we already have 44% more applicants than the year before,” Maynard said. “We already have people working on their applications. We have 130% more completed applications. We’re going to be limited.”
More students coming in means needing more classroom space in the near future.
“We’ve got to look at portables or a secondary site,” he said. “This year’s freshman class is in the mid-50s. If we’re at 44% enrollment, if that trends, we could have 65 freshmen next year if we wanted to. … The enrollment challenge is huge for us.”
Staff members are considering how to ramp up their curriculum. The dual credit program with Western Nevada College has been useful, but Maynard the school only offers two Advanced Placement courses and wants to build on these classes.
“(WNC) wants our kids on campus there full-time, but our kids come to Sierra Lutheran to be a part of our community, to be a part of our faith environment and our close-knittedness,” he said. “We’ll probably never find a way to have kids be there full-time. But we’ll probably start working with a four-year university here next year or the year after being able to offer dual credits that’s going to transfer nationally a lot better for our kids.”
Part of its long-term strategy is to maintain a viable sports program that keeps its student athletes engaged, and there are prospects this year for those with interests in basketball or ski, for example, Maynard said. Ski is starting its second season, and basketball for the first time in the school’s history had to begin cutting students from two teams, which Maynard found disappointing but indicated as another sign of growth.
“I hate cutting,” he said. “We’re already trying to figure out how we don’t have to do that next year, like how to add a third team.”
He also noted the school’s football program was competitive this season and was proud of its girls volleyball team, saying its members “had nothing to be ashamed of.” Maynard also commented two cross-country athletes went to the state championship.
There are other activities helping to boost student interest, such as a grief and care club for those who have experienced loss or a crafting club.
He also called the school’s staff unified and “interested in (the students’) long-term success.”
“If every kid in that class goes to college 100%, that’s great as long as it’s the right fit for them,” he said. “And if we didn’t try to do what’s right for them, we have totally failed as an institution, and that’s where I see other competition and people are so obsessed with, ‘Well, are they going to college?’ … We need to serve the child and their family before, ‘Well, look at us, we look good.’ That’s what drives me crazy.”