Bethesda Lutheran School


Partnering with families to:

Share the Gospel and love of Jesus Christ

Provide an excellent Christ-centered education

Bethesda Lutheran School is a ministry of Bethesda Lutheran Church in Hot Springs, South Dakota. 

The school opened its doors in 1980 with an enrollment of eight students in kindergarten through 3rd grade.  Each year a grade was added so that eventually the staff reached the size of three teachers. During the course of the years as circumstances changed, so did the number of students and staff.

Our facility for the first 11 years was in the Education Building of Bethesda Lutheran Church.  Due to growth in 1981, an addition was added to the basic building.   In 1992 a completely new educational structure was built as an addition to the existing church structure and serves as the school today.  

In 2010 the preschool was added, and in 2018 South Dakota Department of Social Services approved a licensed Child Care program. The Bethesda Lutheran School mascot is the Bald Eagle which comes to us from our school Bible verse which is Isaiah 40:31.  The school colors are maroon and grey.

Bethesda Lutheran School and Early Learning Center is part of a larger body of Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Schools consisting of nearly 1,800 Early Childhood Centers, 785 Elementary Schools, and 96 Lutheran High Schools.

Bethesda Lutheran School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.

It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions, and other school-administered programs.

Bethesda Lutheran School and ELC Standards of Excellence


  • Pray regularly for their children and their families by name.
  • Love the Lord and know that God loves them, cares for them, and forgives them.
  • Consider and demonstrate that teaching God’s Word is their most important calling each day.
  • Recognize and demonstrate the importance of greeting every parent and child when they arrive.
  • Develop and implement student-centered lessons within the established curriculum.
  • Sprinkle a healthy dose of “fun” and creativity in the children’s learning activities.
  • Develop trusting, caring relationships with one another, families, and volunteers.
  • Value and support individual differences in background, learning styles, and learning readiness; seek the help of others in accommodating for those differences.
  • Keep on learning and improving their skills.
  • Work together as a team and support one another in Christian love and service.
  • Have a healthy sense of humor.
  • Communicate openly with one another, with parents, and volunteers.
  • Speak the truth in love.
  • Keep confidential information confidential; do not discuss other students and staff members with parents.
  • Are consistent, dependable, and take responsibility for their actions.
  • Are firm, have high expectations, have many smiles and affirmations for all children.
  • Seek answers to questions arising from self-examination, from children and parents.
  • Take the necessary time to care for themselves and their families.
  • Welcome helpful suggestions.


Bethesda Lutheran School and Early Learning Center is fully accredited by National Lutheran Schools Accreditation (NLSA) and the State of South Dakota. 

National Lutheran School Accreditation


The governance of Bethesda Lutheran School and Early Learning Center rests primarily with the Voter’s Assembly of the congregation.  This body executes its will through an elected School Board composed of six persons with the pastor and principal serving as ex-officio members.  The School Board The principal is responsible for seeing that the policies and directives of the School Board are carried out on a daily basis.

The School Board has the responsibility for establishing policy; the Principal has the responsibility, with other staff, for determining procedure to carry out the policies.

The policies developed by the School Board and the procedures developed to implement policy are designed to promote a safe, effective and efficient school.

There are policies that are common to all levels of the school, but procedures for implementing them may vary from level to level.  The Principal with the teachers establish procedures for conducting activities within their individual levels.

“Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  Luke 18:16