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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
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
Alicia Levitt | September 8, 2017
Memory Work: Homework for a Lifetime, part II
As we examined last time in Part I,  there are excellent reasons why memory work is a part of the curriculum in our Lutheran schools.  However, it isn’t always easy for children to learn their memory work.  Many children and parents experience a weekly struggle with memory work that may attempt to steal the joy of sharing that time in God’s Word together as a family. One of our local schools has developed an exemplary memory curriculum that provides useful ideas on making memory work meaningful and effective.  Pastor John Stube of Ascension Lutheran Church and School developed the memory program “Learn by Heart.” He used Lutheran Catechesis by Rev. Peter Bender as a model and starting point, customizing it to fit Ascension’s needs.   Students at Ascension Lutheran School worship together 4 days per week, usually led by Pastor Stube.  During chapel, they recite their shared memory passages for the week.  Weekly memory work includes a Bible verse, a passage from Luther’s Small Catechism, and a hymn verse. The daily repetition provided is a proven method for memorization. Students are also graded in their classrooms on the memory work, with increasing requirements for older students. The “Learn By Heart” program follows a three-year cycle, meaning students come back to memory assignments, further cementing them in their long-term memory. Good old repetition, repetition, repetition, is a very effective way to memorize.  However, repetition can get tedious, especially at home.  Research suggests there are other ways!  As with all learning, knowing and using our multiple intelligences (as identified by Howard Gardner in Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences) is effective in helping students memorize with lasting results.  Below are those intelligences, with a brief description in parentheses, and an idea or two for helping that learner with memory work.  You can likely identify multiple areas that your child will be drawn to, but focus on their areas of strength for best results. Visual/Spatial (think in terms of physical space): have him or her illustrate the memory work.  Keep those illustrations and make a book that you can enjoy together as a family!   Bodily/Kinesthetic (use the body effectively): have your child physically write the memory work on an index card, and hold the card while reciting the memory work - no peeking!  The act of holding and feeling the card can help kinesthetic learners.  Again, save the cards, and put them on a ring.  Students can go back to those words again and again. Musical (sensitive to rhythm and sound): sing it!  There are common tunes that can be used as a setting for many memory work passages.  Try “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and “Jesus Loves Me,” or have your musical child make up their own tunes! Interpersonal (understanding, interacting with others): have a conversation about the memory work.  Talk about what it means to each of you.  Note: this conversation benefits all types of learners as we build our families of faith.  Make it a weekly dinner table ritual! Intrapersonal (understanding one’s own interests and goals/independent): have your child research and explore the words in the memory work, or have him or her put the memory work in his or her own words. Linguistic (uses words effectively): ask your child to write or tell you about the memory work, or tie it to a story. Logical/Mathematical (good at reasoning/calculating): make a puzzle of the memory work.  Write the memory work down, cut the pieces apart, and have the student put them in the correct order.  You could also write the verse, leaving some key words blank, and have the student fill in the blanks.   No matter the method used, time spent studying God’s Word and committing it to memory is valuable.  What a blessing that, along with our schools, we work together to follow God’s directive to us in Deuteronomy 6:6–7, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
 
Christian Leadership
Mark Muehl | September 11, 2017
Proximity
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.
 
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 | 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.
 
SGO
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
Jon Dize | July 24, 2017
The SGO Credit Race is On… and its Fast and Furious
I’m sure I’ll get an email… the title today is a mix of movies and metaphors… However, this title best describes how the SGO program is moving along in only 19 days of the current fiscal year... The race is definitely on! This graph highlights donations to The Lutheran SGO of Indiana from July 1 to July 19 in each of the fiscal years 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, with our current period on the right. Donors have supported over $780,000 in scholarships in 19 days… our best ever! And our schools are definitely getting the word out quicker this and last year. And the SGO program is also definitely moving fast and furious… statewide we have already used over $3.1 million in credits… 25% of the total $12.5 million available this year in only 19 days! (we even had donors using our online donation system at midnight on July 1.) Let us put this in perspective: last year at this time we had only raised $1.3 million last year the state hit the $3.1 million mark in September last year we hit the 25% mark in mid August … however you measure it, while last year we thought the program was growing, this year is even faster… and furious-er… What does this mean? Perhaps more of our family of schools are promoting the program sooner and more determined… perhaps donors are looking at their entire financial needs and increasing their support.. perhaps donors are telling their friends about the progream… In any case, if you plan to participate, we suggest NOT waiting too long… this race could run out of gas just as quick as it did last year.
Emmaus
Emmanuel St. Michaels
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