Dear Partners in Ministry,
On Thursday, February 28, the DSM Governing Board held its third quarterly meeting of the 2018-2019 school year. What follows is a summary of what was discussed and some important updates on the opportunities God has placed before us to grow and serve in His kingdom.
When you stop to write this out you can’t help but give thanks. To God be the glory.
Pastor Carlos Leyrer
President - Divine Savior Ministries
We continue to build our staff for the 2019-2020 school year. The following are calls that have been placed and accepted for new teachers on our Doral Campus for next year:
Lead Academy Pastor - Pastor Caleb Schmiege
Athletic Director - Brian Kasten
High School English - Kyle Fax
Middle School Math - Alana Enger
Assistant Athletic Director - Matt Willems
Academic Dean - Scott Sievert
Educational Support Program (ESP) - Kari Fuerstenberg
1st grade - Elise Schmiege
Calls that are currently being deliberated or will be made:
High School Geometry
High School Science - Perry Lund
High School Science
Dean of Students - Matt Prost
Middle School Civics and Religion - Joseph Hering
1st grade - Kelly Hering
PreK-4 - Sandra Hemling
God continues to bless DSC - Doral:
On Christmas Eve two bilingual services drew almost 400 people.
Christmas For Kids reached 125 kids mostly from DSA and our church.
Pastor Caleb Schmiege was installed on February 10 as our Lead Academy Pastor. His primary congregation is the students of DSA-Doral and their families.
Spanish Connect Groups have been growing using ZOOM for video conferencing.
25 people attended a one-day marriage workshop, a third of which are prospects.
We continue working towards our goal of 40 students next year.
We have several events planned to get us into the community.
We continue to market and drive families to tour our facility.
Jennifer Chojnacki has accepted a call to teach 1st grade next year.
We have spoken to all our existing families and they are very happy with the ministry in Delray.
Our Delray team is doing a great job of creating a Divine Savior Family in Delray!
Divine Savior Church continues to be blessed!
100 people attended Christmas Eve service.
Our first confirmation welcomed 6 new members!
We continue to make inroads into our community and meet new people to serve with the gospel.
Sienna Plantation Campus
We give thanks for a triple digit enrollment…102!
Open houses have been very well attended.
Families are touring the facility on a consistent basis.
On February 20, a master site plan was introduced to our DS – SP families.
This includes phases 1B, 2, 3, and a church.
It leaves a portion of the site untouched for future growth.
There will be three drivers as to when these phases are added: God’s plan, student count, and third source fundraising and gifts
Before any buildings are added in Sienna, portable units will be installed for the 2019-2020 school year. This will provide a bridge to phase 1B, the expansion of the existing facility. Due to anticipated growth we will need more classroom space.
The work of DSC - SP continues to be blessed.
Women's Bible Study (weekly) and Men's Bible Study (every two weeks) are growing in popularity and proving to be a blessing for both nurture and outreach.
We concluded a four-week stewardship series: Gifts Fit for the King. It was received well and allowed for healthy conversations and feedback.
CMO: After initially not budgeting for a CMO due to concerns regarding offerings and finances this first year as a separate congregation, the leadership submitted a generous pledge for 2019. We are thankful for this opportunity to support our WELS!
Santa Rita Ranch Campus
We continue to work towards a May 18 groundbreaking!
The construction documents are approximately 75% complete.
Permitting is in process and should track with our timelines.
Financing has been secured! God continues to provide significant gifts to make this ministry a reality! Thank you for your prayers along the way.
Over 1 million in cash has been gifted through 38 individuals.
Land valued at 1.2 million was gifted to house this ministry.
We will be calling a ECE Director in the fall of 2019 for the 2020 school year. Early Childhood Director Shawna Mehlberg will take the lead on licensure, equipping the facility, and staffing during construction. She will be assisted by people connected to the ministry in SRR.
DSC - SRR continues to do great work.
We are preparing for the groundbreaking on May 18th. This event will be widely promoted by Santa Rita Ranch. We continue to be blessed with an amazing partnership.
We are planning an outdoor Easter service at Santa Rita's Ranch House. Each year this service continues to grow. This year an Easter Egg hunt for the kids will be added after the service.
Music is a big area of weakness for us. We have no live music. We've been exploring different options for worship coordinators. Part of that is exploring the different grant options that are available as this will have to be a paid position.
West Palm Beach Campus
Two new Bible study initiatives, a monthly Saturday morning men's breakfast bible study and a weekly Sunday morning 4-6 grade bible study have been well received by the congregation and enhanced our 'connecting' with one another around God's precious Word.
The Lord has blessed us with receiving 9 new people into membership through adult confirmation and transfer thus far in 2019.
We are working on three campus improvement projects that will bring new lighting into the sanctuary, new ceiling grid and tiles to the fellowship hall, and new main doors in the gathering area and fellowship hall.
The Divine Savior School (West Palm Beach)
The opportunity has presented itself to consider opening a campus of The Divine Savior School at our West Palm Beach campus. A summary of how this came about is found below:
Years ago Hope Lutheran in WPB attempted to open an early childhood center.
What was then the parsonage was renovated to accommodate this ministry.
For reasons not entirely known to us the ECC was never opened.
Hope then voted to lease the facility to a group called The Academic Link (TAL). TAL serves students with learning disabilities and unique educational needs. They are currently operating and have 31 students.
Over the last year and a half the owner of the TAL has realized her need to retire and expressed interest in passing off her school to another entity.
DSC - WPB sees this as a unique opportunity to move ministry forward on their campus.
The Governing Board has moved to conduct a feasibility study. Once this is complete, the Governing Board will vote on whether or not to move forward with this new ministry opportunity.
The Divine Savior School (Doral)
The developers continue to work on permitting. We are told they are close. God-willing construction will begin soon. In the meantime, Dr. Althoff continues to work programming, staffing, and scheduling for this new program.
The DSA Gala held in benefit of the TDSS was a great success. Many more were made aware of this ministry, and over $40K was fundraised for the TDSS.
Tim Biesterfeld, Pastor David Bivens, Shawna Mehlberg, and Sam Londono are reviewing policies on all four academy campuses. The primary goal of this work is as follows:
A comprehensive policy book will exist for Doral, Sienna Plantation, Santa Rita, and Delray Beach.
A policy book will begin to be compiled for Divine Savior Ministries. (This project will take a bit more work after the campus policies are completed.)
A clear set of guidelines will be outlined for updating policies in the future, making them available to staff, and procedures will be outlined for ratification of policies on each campus.
Each campus will have a baseline of policies that need to be followed and the flexibility to add site-specific policies when needed.
Culture and Core Values
The following Rollout Timeline has been established for our Core Values Project:
Second Semester 2018-2019
*Focus group creation from cross section of Doral faculty and staff
Core Values feedback and final document creation
Creation of review system with focus on communication loops
Review system feedback by focus groups
**Hiring of DSM Staff Support and HR Coordinator
Back-to School Kick-off 2019-2020
Core Values review/presentation
Review system presentation
First Semester 2019-2020
Planning for next HR system development
Creation of next system with faculty and staff input
*Faculty and staff input. We are gathering faculty and staff input on these values and systems. We will integrate this feedback into our verbiage and planning.
**Staff Support and HR Position. This semester we are moving away from ADP and towards hiring an HR Coordinator who would serve the needs of our campuses in the area of staff support, payroll, benefits, and HR. In respect to the Core Values project, this HR Coordinator would ensure that our review system is set-up according to best practices.
***Leadership training. This timeline gives us the ability to train leaders in these systems before the back-to-school launch.