After years of steady decline, enrollment at St. Louis-area private schools is on the rise again. Here’s how the pandemic might have helped.
Lutheran South High School in Affton is experiencing a growth in demand. Lutheran South saw a record number of transfer students for this school year — more than three times what the school was expecting — and now has a waiting list for new students.
In 2021, the school had 460 enrolled in 9th to 12th grade. This year, that number jumped to 515, an 11% increase. To adjust, the school is breaking ground on a $15 million, 42,000-square-foot performing arts center within the next six weeks, which will give the school more space to house the increasing number of students interested in enrolling, said Jonathan Butterfield, head of school at Lutheran South.
Both Lutheran South and Living Water Academy pointed to their mission as Christian organizations
as additional draws for families, suggesting that a faith-based program is important to the parents who enroll their students in their classes.
“What we have experienced at Lutheran South is an increase in families who tell us that their desire is an educational setting that more closely matches their family's values,” Butterfield said. “They're looking for a strong partnership that aligns with their home and they seem to be dissatisfied with their current setting.”