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The Lutheran Schools Partnership represents more than 4,000 students enrolled in 17 elementary and middle schools across northeast Indiana, plus Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne. With so many options available, you’re sure to find the right fit for your child!

Lutheran schools are Christ-centered, nationally accredited, and follow Indiana state standards. Private tuition assistance, SGO grants, and Indiana Choice Scholarships are available to help make the Lutheran schools affordable.

Our commitment to education runs deep. Lutherans founded the very first school in northeast Indiana in 1837, and it still serves students today. Come discover why Hoosier parents have been choosing Lutheran schools for more than 175 years!

Best Practices
Mark Muehl | September 11, 2017
Proximity- (noun) nearness in place, time, order, occurrence, or relation. At the Global Leadership Summit 2017, Bryan Stevenson (founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative- https://eji.org/bryan-stevenson) spoke on the “power of proximity.” His message was especially related to the need of helping the poor and incarcerated- not with money- but with a visible, active  presence in the community. His stories were impressive as they reminded of the need to demonstrate care for all. It’s a good message, this idea of proximity. Jesus life is all about proximity. Instead of a god out of touch, just throwing blessings down from on high, our God sent his Son to be as close as one can be- born of Mary, living in our world, changing the world with his words and actions, dying and rising. Right there- right by us. Immanuel. That is proximity. Thinking about life as a Christian and the impact of Lutheran schools, this notion of the “power of proximity” is integral. In a world where there seems to be a greater disconnect with reality and more and more demonstrations of an inability to communicate with one another, the “ministry of proximity” bears greater influence. Consider this list of examples of proximity in ministry...and then feel free to share your additions- *Parents’ presence. Kids need their parents- both parents- in their lives, participating in their lives, engaged in their lives. It’s God’s idea. Research also supports that it is holistically healthy for kids to have both parents in their lives. *Presence of Christ in communion. We believe in his REAL presence, right there, for us. The God who is Immanuel and lived with us continues to be here, in bread and wine, with us and in us. *Pastors’ presence in our schools. By being there, it shows pastors care and provide opportunities to connect with kids. Pastors’ presence builds relationships with staff, too. *Proximity in the classroom. Teachers next to kids, not walled behind their desks. Teachers at eye level with kids, getting their attention, showing their care for the kids. Teachers who show up for events and are seen in church. Teachers can do SO much by just consistently being there for their students. *Proximity in the community- Rural or city, small town or Fort Wayne, residential or near businesses, Lutheran schools are nearby, affecting their community.  Does the nearby community know the school (and church) are there? If not, it might be time to make the school (and church) actively part of the neighborhood. *Showing mercy. It might be “churchy” language but it’s a call from God to us (Luke 6:36). Perspective is affected by proximity and that perspective will have bearing on a response. It’s compassion and patience and those happen when we are living as a community, living with one another. How is proximity affecting your reactions to your life’s opportunities? We look forward to the sharing.
Quality Education
Mark Muehl | October 2, 2017
2017-2018 Enrollment News
2017/2018 enrollment for Lutheran schools in Northeast Indiana shows a slight drop this year. Last year’s reported enrollment for our 18 schools was 4096. This year, 3983. While disappointing to report (we always would like to see increases!), we rejoice in the nearly 4000 Kindergarten through grade 12 students that will be impacted by the Gospel during this school year. Here are some breakdowns of the numbers- Schools outside of Fort Wayne and New Haven were able to maintain enrollment this year. Considering the realities of the demographics of these areas, this is good news. Can we improve? We will do our best to get admissions’ encouragements out into the communities. Emmanuel-St Michael had the only significant enrollment increase, that of 10 students from 1617. The number of choice scholarship students is up from 1973 recipients in 1617 to over 2000 full or partial school choice scholarship recipients this year. While kindergarten enrollments were down as a region last year, this year’s kindergarten enrollment is up 17. However, 9 of our 17 elementary schools have lower kindergarten enrollment this year. Here are some reflections on our enrollment numbers- 1- We all need to encourage legislators to affirm the state’s school choice legislation. Students are getting an opportunity to be in our schools at a time when they otherwise would not have considered it. This is a great opportunity that has eternal ramifications. As a school and as individuals, be sure to email or call your legislator and thank them for school choice. 2- We live in an ever-increasing secular society, and most people are unaware of the effects of this change. Children need to know their Savior and the perspective on life Jesus brings. Lutheran schools have as their top priority sharing the Gospel. The ramifications of nearly 7 daily hours of a child being in a Christian environment are fundamental for their eternal care. For some of our schools, a middle school drift occurred. We must prioritize the need for Christian education for equipping adolescents for the bombardment of non-Christian values in society. 3- Ongoing PR and marketing efforts from TLSP and from individual school efforts are needed to counteract other voices out there; our story needs to continue to be told and told well. 4- All of us who share the passion for Lutheran education can help slam the backdoor and assure stronger retention numbers. Teachers who are timely in their reporting to parents, who understand and respond accordingly to the individual needs of his/her student and who go the extra mile for their kids are needed in our schools. Parents need to be strong ambassadors of the school speaking the truth in love of the great things going on at the school. Kids have great opportunities to tell the good news about our schools- and they’re quick to do so. All of these things will help increase our retention numbers. 5- Pray! We say this a lot but it’s our most important activity as a Christian. Pray for our nation. Pray for our leaders. Pray for families. Pray for administrators and teachers. Pray for pastors.
Christian Leadership
Mark Muehl | October 9, 2017
Our Great Defenders
The lessons and hymns for the Festival of St Michael and All Angels (September 30, celebrated October 1) voice for us reminders of the power, role and protection that angels have in our lives. While we may not have announcements from heaven when a baby arrives (only Jesus gets a heavenly host showing up for his birth), we can be sure that the angels celebrate when a baby is joined to the family of God in the waters of baptism. While we may not have angels putting burning coals on our lips or knocking us down on roads to ready us for sharing the message of Jesus, God does provide his messengers (pastors and teachers) to announce God’s grace to us and gives us the very Word for us to read and meditate upon. And let’s not forget that we sing with the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven “Holy, Holy, Holy” as Holy Communion is set before us in Divine Service. Yes, God’s angels are with us, just as Jesus promised. But the lessons also connected to many issues of the day (Wow, what a surprise. God’s word tending to our lives)- From Daniel 12:30, “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”  It seems society more and more marks Christian as the ill-informed, the unintelligent, the foolish. The learned says we are foolish for believing in Jesus, for believing in a young earth, for believing that God created man and woman for each other and that all live is a gift from God (in the womb or even at death’s door). We Christians do stick out from the crowd...and that’s just what is expected. We are lights that show the way as we share Jesus.  In a dark world of sin, our words and actions, reflecting the grace that have been enlightened to us, brings light to the need of Christ. From Matthew 18:4, 10,  “Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven...and see that you do not despise one of these little ones”    Isn’t interesting having these verses that do not explicitly talk about angels? Yet here Jesus highlights the humility and dependence of children; just as angels perform their humble service for God Almighty.  Children are dependent on parents; we are dependent on the God of all creation. Humility is a product of faith. Sadly, we distorted God’s order and done a disservice to children by making them number 1, catering to their every need, ensuring they have all the comforts of this world, protecting them from pain and uncertainty and allow them to be decisionmakers (displacing the role of a parent).   From Lutheran Service Book Hymn 521-   The ancient Dragon is their foe; His envy and his wrath they know. It always is his aim and pride Thy Christian people to divide. As he of old deceived the world And into sin and death was hurled, So now he subtly lies in wait To ruin school and Church and state. Prowling lion, dragon, serpent, foe, deceiver. The Bible has no complimentary words for Satan. He’s our enemy and he’s out to get us...and we forget this. The hymn writer (the reformer, Phil­ipp Me­lanch­thon) reminds us of one of his favorite tactics- divide and conquer. “It always is his aim and pride thy Christian people to divide.” Infighting. Quarreling. This divisiveness is not always explicit. The devil also uses divide and conquer by siloing our ideas and our opinions apart from community and from the Church. Thank God for His angels and their defending of us.   Image: Gods Grace Faces Us
Funding the Mission
Jon Dize | July 27, 2017
9 Ways a Triathlon is like Lutheran School Fundraising
Those who follow my personal communications may have noticed that I recently completed my first Sprint Triathlon… a race where participants swim, bike, and run a series of distances in succession. While I didn’t finish anywhere close in the upper ranks of finishers (third place in my age division… out of 3), I did reach my goal of A) not drowning, B) not falling, and C) not stopping… As I was running I started crafting the following analogy of how triathlons compare to Lutheran school fundraising (like I said, I wasn’t too far up front in the pack here, folks.) Here it goes: You gotta start sometime: I have been wanting to run a triathlon for 25 years, but “life” got in the way… many of our Lutheran schools want to start fundraising, or want to be more successful in their fundraising, but just have never made that next step. The plan keeps getting shelved until the next principal arrives. Triathlons involves three distinct disciplines: I had to train in the basic movement exercises of swimming, biking, and running… for most of our partnership schools, the trifecta of fundraising includes SGO/annual giving, endowment giving, and estate giving, and these basic efforts form a strong foundation to build a fundraising program. You need modest goals to start: as stated above, my goal was not to be the best, it was to simply succeed by finishing… no one expects our partnership schools to be the best the first go-round, they just need to try, see what happens, adjust for the future, try again, and keep improving. With time comes improvement: 12 months ago I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping… we have 5 schools with paid staff responsible for fundraising and schools together raising millions in SGO dollars; who would have thought that possible 5 years ago? It is easy to get sidetracked; jobs, marriages, and families all help distract... how many of our principals and school boards don’t have fires to extinguish every day? Hence why we advocate for paid fundraising staff with a dedicated focus on fundraising. Drafting is bad: following behind someone too close on the biking section would result in penalties… our schools certainly should never embark on their fundraising efforts half-heartedly and simply mimic what other do. Instead they should take the best practices and apply it to their own, unique situation. The event was going to happen, come rain or shine: you should have seen the dark green for the race area on my weather app… Lutheran schools need to understand that fundraising is no longer an option. It takes a change in culture to succeed… I lost 30 pounds in the 12 months leading up to the triathlon by changing my habits of little exercise and poor diet… our schools need to consider themselves nonprofit organizations that need a dedicated, directed, and intentional fundraising plan. The rewards abound: while exhausting, I can’t wait to do it again… with fundraising success comes more success. Perhaps you can list even more comparisons. Anyway, I always wondered what I would think about during my race, and aside from a few training songs, recent selections performed by the Promise Lutheran Church praise band, and oddly enough the lyrics from the Battle Hymn of the Republic, what filled my head was mostly drafting this article… yep, I was working. That is perhaps a final bonus comparison: our schools should never stops looking for fundraising opportunities… they tend to pop up in the strangest places. Perhaps I should talk to Mark about expensing my race costs. --JD
School Choice
Mark Muehl | October 12, 2017
School Choice Myth: Vouchers Cause Discrimination and Segregation.
This year more than 30,000 students will again head to their school of choice, made possible by the Indiana School Choice Scholarship. With more students than ever participating in the voucher program, and 81 percent of parents saying they’re “overwhelmingly satisfied_” with their school of choice, there’s plenty of evidence this program is benefitting children across the state. Judging by consumer satisfaction, school choice is a clear winner in Indiana. Opponents, however, don’t agree. They believe school choice is causing discrimination and segregation. For example, in previous op-eds in the Journal Gazette, two public-school advocates argued against vouchers by pointing out that private schools are not as diverse as public schools. One went so far as to deny that vouchers are enabling thousands of minority students to attend the school of their choice. Another incredibly suggested that vouchers are enabling “white flight.” To support these positions, however, these “friends of public education” must ignore the increasingly diverse student populations of Indiana private schools since the School Choice Program began in 2011. Using stats from last year, according to data from the Indiana Department of Education, Bishop Dwenger High School had quadrupled its Hispanic population in the first  five years of the choice scholarship program. Bishop Luers, one of the most diverse private high schools in Fort Wayne, experienced a similar increase in Hispanic students in the same period, and the number of African-American students grew by 50 percent. Since the 2012-13 school year, Concordia Lutheran High School’s racial diversity has increased from 17.83% to 21.48% (2017-18). Their largest increase is in Hispanic students. Overall, these schools are now more diverse because Choice Scholarships have made it possible for more students to attend. Using this year’s input from Lutheran elementary schools, Concordia (30% non-white), Holy Cross (27.7%), and Lutheran South Unity (88% non-white) demonstrate diversity- diversity that is embraced and encouraged. This is also diversity that represents the school’s neighborhood. It’s undeniable that Choice Scholarships have opened doors of opportunity to thousands of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. According to Indiana Department of Education data, the number of African-American students participating in the Choice Scholarships program grew from 943 to 4,252 over the past six years. Similarly, in the same period, the number of multiracial students grew from 287 to 2,081, and the number of Hispanic students grew from 794 to 6,644. Statewide, 12.4 percent of Choice Scholarship recipients are African-American (compared with 9 percent of all Hoosiers) and 19.4 percent of Choice Scholarship recipients are Hispanic or Latino (compared with 6 percent of all Hoosiers). In total, the percentage of Choice Scholarship recipients who are non-white is 39.7. When given the choice, these Indiana families are opting in to the Choice Scholarship Program.   image: bipps
Mark Muehl | September 18, 2017
School Choice Myth: Vouchers Are Too Expensive For Taxpayers
Choice scholarships (vouchers) are a good deal for Indiana taxpayers. Opponents of school choice argue that choice scholarships are too expensive for taxpayers. But the fact is public schools use more tax dollars per student than private schools, making the School Choice Scholarship a better use of taxpayer money. Public-school costs are on the rise, increasing from an average of $10,969 per student in 2011 to $11,843 per student in 2016. Because the average cost to educate a child in a private school in Indiana is around $6,600, and because choice scholarships never pay that full cost, school choice saves tax dollars. Each Indiana Choice Scholarships covers only 50 to 90 percent of the average cost of private school tuition in Indiana, costing much less per student than public schools. The average Choice Scholarship value in 2016–17 for 90 percent was $5,618 and for 50 percent was $3,032, far less than the $11,843_ average cost per student in our public schools. The math still works even when a student receives the maximum choice scholarship amount. Students from lower-income families—those who are eligible for 100 percent free or reduced lunches—can receive a choice scholarship for no more than 90 percent of their public school’s per-pupil funding. Indiana Choice Scholarships are always less than public-school costs. Choice scholarships return high value for the taxpayer’s dollar.   Studies in other states have also shown that vouchers save money when compared with costs to educate the same child in a public school. In the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, Robert Costrell studied the financial results of using Choice Scholarships and found that in 2008, vouchers are providing an estimated benefit of $32 million. To this equation, we must also add the value of giving parents a choice. Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program lets parents decide where their child will attend school—and where the child’s educational dollars go. Without choice scholarships, low-income families wouldn’t have any other choice than their assigned public school. Indiana’s School Choice Program offers these families an opportunity once available only to wealthy households. School choice empowers lower-income families to have a voice and make a decision about where their children attend school. For parents, that option is priceless. For our state, it’s a matter of social justice. Shouldn’t all Hoosier families, including the most needy, have the opportunity to choose the school that best fits their child’s needs—whether it’s a public school, charter school, or private school? School choice levels the playing field by making educational choice available to all parents, regardless of income. There are some special interests that want to take away that choice, and turn back the clock on Indiana’s voter-approved and court-tested choice scholarhip program. We must not let that happen. Indiana voters must zealously guard the freedom of parents to direct the education of their children. Let’s keep a level playing field for all families. The Indiana Choice Scholarship Program benefits students because they give all families, regardless of ZIP code or income level, the opportunity to choose their school.
News and Events
Mark Muehl | October 16, 2017
2017 Indiana Lutheran Schools State Volleyball Tournament
Last weekend, the 2nd Annual Indiana Lutheran Schools Athletic Association (ILSAA) State Volleyball Tournament was held in Indianapolis. ILSAA is a non-profit organization that sponsors annual Christian based sports competitions for Indiana Lutheran middle schools. Ten grade schools were invited to the State Tournament and five of those teams were from the Fort Wayne area. The five Fort Wayne schools included Ascension, Central, Holy Cross, St. John-Emanuel, and Wyneken. Pool play began on Friday, October 7 and continued the next morning. Saturday afternoon saw cross over pool play, and the tournament concluded on Sunday with teams competing in Gold, Silver, or Bronze bracket play. Three of our Fort Wayne area schools competed in the Gold Bracket: Central Lutheran, St. John-Emanuel, and Wyneken. Wyneken finished the tournament in 3rd place. The Championship game saw the Central Lutheran Charges against the St. John-Emanuel Tigers. This was the third time this season that Central and St. John-Emanuel played each other. St. John-Emanuel won the match in two games and was crowned the state champion. All five Fort Wayne area schools had at least one player nominated to the All-Tournament team. This honor was voted on by coaches, athletic directors, and tournament directors. A special congratulations goes to Ascension for winning the tournament Sportsmanship Award. Ascension, Central, St. John-Emanuel, and Wyneken take a group picture after the Championship game.
Emmanuel St. Michaels
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