St. James Lutheran

St. James Lutheran School

Information updated February 2024.  

St. James Lutheran Church and School of Howard Lake is built on the rock – the foundation – of Jesus Christ.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

We believe, teach, and practice that God, our heavenly Father, created the world in six days and that He sustains it.
We believe, teach, and practice that God created Adam and Eve, the first humans on this Earth and that He is the author of all life.
We believe, teach, and practice that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.

We believe, teach, and practice the sanctity of life and that no one is to take the life of another human. We believe that life begins at conception and that the taking of unborn life is murder, as is the euthanasia of any person.

We believe, teach, and practice that all humans are born sinful and that the only way to eternal life and heaven is through God’s gift of faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who suffered, died, and rose again to save us from our sins.

We believe, teach, and practice that people have the responsibility to practice their faith in their everyday life and interactions as they love God and love others.
For more than 100 years, St. James Lutheran Church and School have been a part of the Howard Lake community, “Equipping and Empowering Families and Students through Christ.”

The school provides an education that nourishes and enriches students biblically, academically, physically, and emotionally. In addition, the school introduces and reinforces Christian beliefs as taught in the student’s home and church. St. James strives to provide a quality Christian education in a caring, safe, and secure environment where our students can learn to the full extent of their God-given abilities.

More than 100 students in preschool through grade eight attend St. James Lutheran School. St. James holds accreditation through National Lutheran School Accreditation. Preschool through fourth grade are taught in traditional, self-contained, single-teacher classrooms, while fifth through eighth grades move through a block class schedule throughout the day. Grades five and six share a homeroom, as do grades seven and eight.
Students of various denominations or no church affiliation are welcome with the understanding that students will receive biblical instruction as well as traditions and doctrines of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

The communities of Howard Lake, Cokato, Montrose, Waverly, Winsted, and the surrounding rural area are represented in the student enrollment, with some of the faculty also coming from outside the Howard Lake community.

St. James’ curriculum covers religion instruction and the core subjects of math, reading, English, literature and writing, spelling, science, social studies, music, band for grades four to eight, and physical education.

Religious instruction occurs at all grade levels, and all subject matter is taught with Jesus Christ as the foundation or basis – our rock.
Students in grades one through grade eight are tested three times using STARS, with Kindergarten testing once a year. Test results consistently place St. James in the upper percentile nationwide.

St. James is served by a dedicated faculty of full and part-time teachers and paraprofessionals. Pastor Loder, SLED (School Leadership Development) certified, serves as the administrator of the school. Additionally, parents, grandparents, and friends of the school volunteer, helping with the library, coaching, refereeing, providing transportation to and from games, listening to students read, serving as field trip chaperones, and helping with school programs.
Extracurricular activities include band, piano lessons, spelling contests, science and social studies fairs, the interscholastic sports of volleyball and basketball, and field trips throughout the school year.

St. James has great facilities and equipment, including a full-sized gymnasium, a library, Chromebooks, tablets, and interactive Smartboards.
The highlight of the school week is chapel, where the school body and any member of the church or community come together for worship, hearing God’s Word, and responding with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. The service is led by St. James’ Pastor Loder, Vicar Michael Speckhard, or by a visiting pastor of another Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. The students are divided into chapel “families” and sit with their “family” during some chapel services. These “families” also engage in non-curricular activities during the course of the school year. Another aspect of the weekly chapel is that students bring monetary offerings that are then given to non-profit charities.

The Parent Teacher League (PTL) is an organizational entity of the school, under the oversight of the Board of Elementary Education, that promotes and supports the school through a variety of activities and fundraisers, including the annual Celebrate St. James Drive and the Gala.
St. James operates a childcare day service for preschool children. After the preschool session, students transition into child care services up until 5 p.m. on all weekdays.

St. James Lutheran School is located at 1000 Sixth Avenue, Howard Lake, MN, 55349. Contact Lead Administrator Pastor Mark Loder at of the school office at 320-543-2630 to learn more about St. James Lutheran, or email us at
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Psalm 22:6 ESV