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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 | October 1, 2018
Lutheran Schools and the Rule of 51/49
Gary Vaynerchuk (Biography) is a 42 year old entrepreneur who took his family’s wine business from a company of $3 million to $60 million.  Some of his success is based on a rule of 51/49. For him, 51/49 means that in every relationship (business or personal) he wants to give at least 51% of the value within that relationship. His philosophy is driven by a desire to have an impact and leave a legacy. At this year’s Global Leadership Summit, restaurateur Danny Meyer (author of Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business) referenced this rule of 51/49 as a key element to his restaurants’ successes. He claims that 49% of an employee is technical (skills, things that are learned) and 51% is Emotional Intelligence (see Tim Elmore's blog posts here) and attitude. Meyer declares there is no good reason to get the technical things wrong. Meyer says, “There’s no excuse to not get the knowledge stuff right. It’s there for everyone to have. The awesome part about this whole thing...is that we have to be right in respect to things that people expect us to do well.” What is Meyer talking about for a restaurant? His 49% is about food, hospitality, precision, and cleanliness. The 51% is a staff person's optimism, intelligence, work ethic, empathy (other-awareness), self-awareness and integrity (do the right thing when no one is looking). Is there an application of 51/49 for Lutheran schools?  What is the 49% that are “have-to’s” with Lutheran schools and what is the 51% that sets Lutheran schools apart? The people who are part of our schools are the 51% that differentiates us from the other options. It’s why admission counselors and principals know that if a family visits our schools, they will fall in love with us. There’s an atmosphere that is Spirit-driven. But the 49%...do all of us involved in Lutheran schools know and understand that the 49% are have-to’s, essential, no excuses? And what are the 49%? It might be wise to start with the standards and indicators of National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA). NLSA outlines a process for self-assessment that includes an examination of purpose, relationships, leadership, professional staff, teaching and learning, student services and facilities. As one drills down into  the indicators of each standard, it isn’t a difficult conclusion that Lutheran schools’ 49% are laid out in this effort of ongoing improvement. If one accepts this as true, then each of us will admit that there is much work to do to get the have-to’s done. This includes a list from the NLSA “Facilities” section of “buildings and grounds reflect the institution’s commitment to maintaining a safe and productive learning environment for students.” That statement alone should give plenty of opportunity for the owners of our schools to define and implement. As a sales pitch for TLSP, our schools would benefit from an “all in” commitment to TLSP academic services. Curriculum mapping, critical friends visits, and the tech council provide meaningful, tangible ways of addressing the “have-to’s” of the NLSA “Teaching and Learning”  standard. TLSP’s Alicia Levitt spearheads these efforts and provides the needed insights, processes and planning in addressing this standard. What are your thoughts about the 49%? Where do HVAC systems come into play? How about dependable Wifi? School safety plans? Issues addressed in  “Protecting Your Ministry”? Lutheran Spirit is strong in northeast Indiana. It’s part of our 51. But let’s be sure we are showing our Lutheran Spirit by addressing our 49 just as strongly as we can.
 
Quality Education
Mark Muehl | October 4, 2018
Lutheran Spirit-School Spirit
“We’ve got spirit, yes we do!  We’ve got spirit, how about you?”  That cheer dates me, for sure, but it is still true in our Lutheran Schools.  As I write, Homecoming Week at Concordia Lutheran High School has just ended. Walking the hallways last week, I had a fun challenge trying to figure out what the theme of each dress-up day was.  One day, I saw one student dressed like a cowboy, one teacher in a Frenchman’s attire, and one student in a Hawaiian shirt.  Of course, it was Salad Dressing Day, with Western, French, and Thousand Island dressings represented. Very clever! Most, if not all, of our schools celebrate spirit week(s) sometime during the school year, with many of them being during National Lutheran Schools Week in January. However, school spirit is something that permeates our buildings throughout the year, and in many ways. The feelings of belonging and school pride and the traditions we embrace are all a part of school spirit.  Those are wonderful things, and we want our students to feel that they are a part of a close and caring school family.  We honor the traditions of our churches and schools, and we find new ways to celebrate what makes us unique. Students in our Lutheran Schools wear their school colors as part of their uniforms, as they represent their school in athletics, and when they attend school events. Their parents buy t-shirts, bags, and sports gear in the school colors, and wear them proudly.  One thing that sets our Lutheran Schools apart is the fact that much of our spirit wear is emblazoned with Scripture. I love seeing students from our schools out in the community proudly wearing their school colors, and exhibiting their faith. I also love seeing the many different vehicle decals from our schools.  My children and I notice them often as we drive around the area. We know even from a distance whether a car belongs to a family from Concordia High School, Emmaus, Wyneken, or  Ascension. It is fun to see how many Lutheran School families are out and about among us. We have a sense of shared pride in our Lutheran Schools, too. However, our identity does not come from being an Eagle, Charger, Phoenix, or Cub.  We have the unique opportunity to help students understand their identity in Christ.   Our students know that they are a part of their school family, but more importantly, they are part of the family of Christ.  They are children of God, dearly loved and forgiven. Now that is something for which we can always cheer!   Photos from Concordia High School Homecoming, taken from Facebook 10/4/2018
 
Christian Leadership
Mark Muehl | September 24, 2018
Lutheran Spirit- Storytelling
Don’t you marvel at a good storyteller? No, not fish stories...although those stories can be entertaining. Storytellers can describe both the details of the event AND bring you to some kind of emotion. It’s a gift to be a storyteller. However, it’s much easier to tell a story when you know the story, when the story has happened to you and you can share the emotional attachment of the event. In Psalm 78, Asaph says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation”, God is reminding us to share all we know about Him, but also implies we need to know the story well enough to tell it. Here’s some thoughts about telling the story- 1- Know the story- If we are going to share the story, we need to know the story. The curriculum of Lutheran schools include Religion classes, History,  Literature, and Science. Test the curriculum for supporting of Asaph’s encouragement. Is the Religion curriculum rich with Bible stories, church history and explanations of each piece? Is History taught with depth and unbiased presentation of the facts of historical narrative? Are students given the ability to see the historical Bible with history shared in other textbooks? Are literature selections supporting the Christian story? Does the Science curriculum give opportunity to appreciate the complexity of God’s handiwork and enjoy God’s power and design? Oh, and most of all,  let’s be sure our kids know Jesus and all His marvelous works! 2- Share the story. Teachers, pastors, and mentors of all kinds in our schools (coaches, teacher aides, administrative assistants, custodians, cafeteria managers) hold the responsibility to share the story. And while they are encouraged to share, each needs to be diligent in knowing the story themselves (1 Timothy 6:20). Worship, Bible study, and personal devotions need to be keys in everyone’s ability to share the story. 3- Practice telling and hearing the story. Coaches help players practice the skills to perform well in competition. Directors help musicians make the needed adjustments to share fine music. Our schools should demonstrate and provide opportunities for practice in telling and hearing the story. How do chapel services do this? Is the liturgy used to share the Biblical truths of Christ and his love for us? Are musicals and other drama productions opportunities to uniquely share the Gospel? While there is much music to enjoy and appreciate, do we use music as opportunities to teach and share? English units that include preparing and presenting speeches are important in gaining confidence in speaking any message, let alone the message of the Gospel. So much is being heaped upon schools these days. More and more regulations and required trainings are expectations for the proper functioning of schools. But for us as Lutheran schools, we should be keenly aware that we are making storytellers.  Storytelling- It’s Lutheran Spirit.
 
Funding the Mission
Jon Dize | October 11, 2018
SGO Status, Gift Types
As summer turns to fall, and since we surpassed 25% of the SGO tax year and over $5 million credits of the $14 million available statewide, it seemed appropriate to post an SGO status update. As of September 30, our schools have raised over $1.2 million in SGO credits. We forget sometimes just how much donors have caught that Lutheran Spirit: during the first year of existence, we raised less than $300,000 for the entire year... Of interest to me is our breakdown by gift types: 60% of gifts came in via check- these gifts include gifts of cash, check, money orders, IRA charitable rollover designations, ACH transfers, Donor Advised Fund distributions, matching gifts, and monthly automatic giving. 24% from bank cards- while we thought that bank cards would surpass checks, our gifts via debit and credit cards continue to grow as donors enjoy the ease, convenience, and “points” available when using bank cards to fulfill their charitable goals. 14% stock & mutual funds- taking advantage of this historical stock market levels, donors can avoid the capital gains tax and support scholarships. The balance: gifts of grain- as farmers find ways to help support our schools with product donations. We still do not know the status of the SGO with the federal deduction, nor how the increase in the standard exemption will affect overall giving. However, we do know that the state’s 50% SGO tax credit is HERE TO STAY… and perhaps will play an even more important role in your charitable and financial planning. Have questions? We have answers. 260-203-4509 and info@lutheransgo.org
 
School Choice
Mark Muehl | April 23, 2018
Primer on School Choice
School Choice. It’s a controversial topic that is like a tsunami throughout our country. School Choice is about kindergarten through grade 12 options for education- public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling. School choice is about programs that give access to these options. School choice is about trusting parents to make the best choices for their children. It’s an exciting age that we live in. The days of choosing between the neighborhood public school or a community’s religious school is long gone. School Choice in its broadest sense has opened the doors to a variety of options for children. Public schools have created choices within their own system. Magnet schools (public schools organized around a theme such as STEM or global studies) and even local public choice have opened the door for new opportunities. Religious schools provide a stark difference in curriculum and culture that many parents desire for their children. Technology allows for new delivery methods in traditional school settings. Technology also can also support parents’ desires to homeschooling through online academies and the like, using the home’s nurturing environment to support learning. School choice programming supports parents’ ability to choose. Here are some of the ways states have made accessibility to school options possible (definitions from EdChoice)- Vouchers (choice scholarships)- Vouchers allow students to attend private school with the government providing a set amount of tuition money directly to parents for private schools. Programs vary, but in many cases, private schools accepting voucher students are not subject to most government oversight (for example- mandatory services for students with disabilities), though they often must meet certain organizational standards (for example- accreditation). Tax Credit Scholarships- Tuition tax credits can operate in different ways. One is as scholarship tax credits, which give individuals and businesses tax credits for charitable donations to private, nonprofit organizations that provide private school scholarships. Similar to vouchers, funds for these scholarships are raised and distributed in the private sector. Tax Credits- individual tax credits (or deductions), which provide families with tax benefits for private school expenses, such as tuition and textbooks. Education Savings Accounts- Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) offer “educational” choice, removing the requirement that public funds be applied to school enrollment. Instead, a state puts money into special savings accounts that parents manage for education expenses. These programs vary by state, but generally the funds represent all or some of what would otherwise be spent educating the child in a public school. The money can be used for qualifying expenses that may include private school tuition and fees, homeschooling materials, tutoring and test prep, homeschooling materials, therapeutic services, transportation, and more. Why share this quick primer on school choice? Much time could be spent in defending school choice programs. In many of our states, verbal and written battles rage on the right and wrong of school choice programs. At this point, courts have supported school choice programming but challenges continue. So for the purpose of this article, let the laws speak for themselves from state to state. But how does a Lutheran school consider the value of school choice? How does a school determine its involvement in various choice programs? What are the ramifications of such involvement? Three issues come to mind: Issue of trusting parents decisions- At its roots, school choice is about parents’ ability to choose what is best for their family. One can argue about access and about value. But if one peels aways the arguments against choice, one might conclude that school choice says to parents, “We know what’s best for your child” versus “You know what’s best for your child.”  Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), when serving as the U.S. Secretary of Education in 1992, asked, ”If we trust parents to choose child care for their children, and if we trust them to help their children choose a college to attend—and both those systems have been so successful and are so widely supported– then why do we not also trust parents to choose the best elementary and high school for their children?”  Lutheran schools have long understood that education is about partnerships- home, school and church. Children are gifts to and of family. Family is the cellular part of society- not institutions. It’s the church’s and school’s responsibility to empower, educate, and support families in their God given responsibilities. Issue of dependence- Lutheran schools are fiercely independent. School Choice participation may seem to be a challenge to that independence. Examining the programs and judging its impact on budgets, curriculum and community are important issues to dig into before choosing to be part of school choice. Choice may be beneficial short term but may be damaging long term. As is always the case, discernment is important. Issue of mission- School choice will impact mission. Schools must determine whether the program(s) support or challenge mission. Does the program offer a unique outreach opportunity? Does the program bring stipulations that can challenge statements of faith? Will the program bring a new way to support families ability to support their school and church? For our schools, for parents, the major subject is Jesus. Our schools are about the pure proclamation of the Gospel, the saving message of Christ and his redemptive work. It’s the biggest issue to address when it comes to a school’s decision to be involved in school choice....our schools are still all about Jesus.  
 
SGO
Jon Dize | October 11, 2018
SGO Status, Gift Types
As summer turns to fall, and since we surpassed 25% of the SGO tax year and over $5 million credits of the $14 million available statewide, it seemed appropriate to post an SGO status update. As of September 30, our schools have raised over $1.2 million in SGO credits. We forget sometimes just how much donors have caught that Lutheran Spirit: during the first year of existence, we raised less than $300,000 for the entire year... Of interest to me is our breakdown by gift types: 60% of gifts came in via check- these gifts include gifts of cash, check, money orders, IRA charitable rollover designations, ACH transfers, Donor Advised Fund distributions, matching gifts, and monthly automatic giving. 24% from bank cards- while we thought that bank cards would surpass checks, our gifts via debit and credit cards continue to grow as donors enjoy the ease, convenience, and “points” available when using bank cards to fulfill their charitable goals. 14% stock & mutual funds- taking advantage of this historical stock market levels, donors can avoid the capital gains tax and support scholarships. The balance: gifts of grain- as farmers find ways to help support our schools with product donations. We still do not know the status of the SGO with the federal deduction, nor how the increase in the standard exemption will affect overall giving. However, we do know that the state’s 50% SGO tax credit is HERE TO STAY… and perhaps will play an even more important role in your charitable and financial planning. Have questions? We have answers. 260-203-4509 and info@lutheransgo.org
 
News and Events
Alicia Levitt | August 27, 2018
How We Spent Our Summer: A Back to School Essay
It’s a classic back-to-school assignment: the “how I spent my summer” journal entry, collage, picture, or essay.  While summer has provided a nice break in routine, The Lutheran Schools Partnership was not closed this summer. Here’s a taste of what we have been up to in the area of Academic Excellence while our schools were on summer break:  June was a busy month, with Learn and Lead 2018 bringing nearly 300 teachers and other staff members together for professional development.  We shared worship, received encouragement, and completed some of the trainings required for our staff members by the State of Indiana.  Later in June, eighteen educators from TLSP attended a Google Certification Academy, and many of the attendees have since received certification and badges from Google as official “Google Educators.” In July, the Indiana District Administrators Conference was held in Brown County, followed by a day of training for the new Indiana District Curriculum Team.  This team of six educators, including myself and two teachers from our TLSP schools, is developing a plan for better collaboration on excellent curriculum resources within our district.  We are thinking big and are very excited about how this project could bless our schools! July ended and August started during a big week for us- the first IT Girls Camp, led by Concordia Lutheran High School senior Hayley Grisez.  Nineteen junior high girls from our area attended the camp, which was sponsored by The Lutheran Schools Partnership. These young ladies worked with robots, coding, and each received their own mini computer, called a “raspberry pi”.  It was a real privilege to get to be a part of this exciting program! Early August also brought more required trainings.  New staff members to our schools were invited to the Indiana District office to learn more about the resources available to them through the District, TLSP, and other local support agencies.  These new staff members received Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) suicide prevention and awareness training. Lutheran Social Services of Indiana provided training on child abuse awareness and prevention.  Cecily Chandler, principal at Holy Cross Lutheran School, also led some of our school crisis teams through Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training. Summer is a break from the regular routine and pace of the school year.  However, it is also a time for thoughtful preparation. Now that the 2018-2019 school year is here, we are excited for new ways to learn and grow as we continue in school ministry together in northeastern Indiana.  May the Lord bless our efforts!
Emmaus
Emmanuel St. Michaels
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