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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 | August 20, 2018
Called and Back to School
“Real. Present. God.” For many of our schools, this is the school theme of the year. Inspired largely from Psalm 46 but influenced by all of the Psalms, we start the year knowing that the God of all Creation loved his creation so much that He chose to live life here among mankind and redeem it. It is the distinguishing part of Lutheran schools- the message of the Gospel- God hand picked you to be His own child. And for the faculty and staff of Lutheran schools, it’s the joy of life in Christ and our vocation to make sure that all those who are a part of the school as students and as families experience the joy of our merciful Lord. The fantastic part of working in Lutheran schools is that it matters- all that we do and say. But the hardest part about working at Lutheran schools is also that what we do matters and matters EVERY DAY. Storm clouds are already building. Standing firm on the teachings of Christ as written in His Holy Word will be challenged. Encouraging families to embrace the uniqueness and value of a Lutheran education is part of our task. Speaking confidently about this uniqueness is essential. To be sure, our schools will be invested in the matters of academics. To be sure, we will encourage growth in honing skills and God-given ability. But  most important, we get to share an unbelievable message- God loved us so much that He ensured our eternal life with Him by sending His Son Jesus to be our Savior.  It certainly matters that our schools share the Gospel in chapel services, in daily prayer, in religion classes and in the influences of Christian life throughout all the curriculum. It matters, not just for the life of faith we lead now, but it matters because of eternity. 5 days a week, 6.5 hours a day, 180 school days of hearing about Jesus and learning from Christian teachers about His magnificent world.   What an honor, blessing, and privilege it is sharing the greatest news in the history of the world. May God’s grace be upon each of us. He is indeed Real and Present.
 
Quality Education
Mark Muehl | August 20, 2018
Called and Back to School
“Real. Present. God.” For many of our schools, this is the school theme of the year. Inspired largely from Psalm 46 but influenced by all of the Psalms, we start the year knowing that the God of all Creation loved his creation so much that He chose to live life here among mankind and redeem it. It is the distinguishing part of Lutheran schools- the message of the Gospel- God hand picked you to be His own child. And for the faculty and staff of Lutheran schools, it’s the joy of life in Christ and our vocation to make sure that all those who are a part of the school as students and as families experience the joy of our merciful Lord. The fantastic part of working in Lutheran schools is that it matters- all that we do and say. But the hardest part about working at Lutheran schools is also that what we do matters and matters EVERY DAY. Storm clouds are already building. Standing firm on the teachings of Christ as written in His Holy Word will be challenged. Encouraging families to embrace the uniqueness and value of a Lutheran education is part of our task. Speaking confidently about this uniqueness is essential. To be sure, our schools will be invested in the matters of academics. To be sure, we will encourage growth in honing skills and God-given ability. But  most important, we get to share an unbelievable message- God loved us so much that He ensured our eternal life with Him by sending His Son Jesus to be our Savior.  It certainly matters that our schools share the Gospel in chapel services, in daily prayer, in religion classes and in the influences of Christian life throughout all the curriculum. It matters, not just for the life of faith we lead now, but it matters because of eternity. 5 days a week, 6.5 hours a day, 180 school days of hearing about Jesus and learning from Christian teachers about His magnificent world.   What an honor, blessing, and privilege it is sharing the greatest news in the history of the world. May God’s grace be upon each of us. He is indeed Real and Present.
 
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 | August 23, 2018
Monthly Giving Goes Mainstream
I will see advertisements for webinars, posts from experts, etc. advocating a cool, new concept, monthly giving. Is monthly giving new? Not really. How many remember the old 3 minute-long commercial from “Feed the Children”-type charities that would challenge you thus:  “for less the cost of a cup of coffee every month, you could feed this child...” I spoke with a United Way CEO recently who lamented, “Heck, we invented monthly giving with payroll deduction and workplace campaigns, and now everyone is doing it.” Hmmm. There is probably a very good reason United Ways were so successful. In fact, churches have been asking for support every week since the offering plate was invented, and most giving members placed a check in the plate every week or every month throughout the year. Why bother with monthly giving? Besides the fact that fewer and fewer people under the age of 45 have checkbooks anymore or carry cash to place in the offering plate, perhaps a donor doesn’t have the cash flow to make the sort of SGO gift they want to in December. Instead, they set up auto pay every paycheck. For schools, churches, and other nonprofits, automated giving allows for members to give in a way that is easy, a way that does not allow for forgetfulness, a way to continue to give even when away on vacation. And, it helps create loyal donors who are comfortable supporting your mission on a constant basis throughout the years. Next question… is it right? Shouldn’t congregational members want to drop a gift in the plate every week? I read a recent study by Thrivent/Barna called The Generosity Gap that noted, among other things, that of those members that give, and give generously, they are more familiar with and have used giving options like ACH/auto transfers than those less inclined to give. The study also notes, “technology may offer people greater opportunity to flex their giving muscles — including Millennials and Gen Xers for whom electronic giving is the norm.” And consider the dad who recently told me about his Millennial children who have set up auto pay to automate their church tithing, and now continue to support extra mission appeals as they are presented. Seems like a great plan to me: tithing continues and sacrificial giving lives on. Unfortunately, the study quickly laments that only ⅓ of churches in their studies accept ACH and other electronic giving. Sounds like missed opportunities and possible financial troubles ahead to me. To conclude: is monthly giving new? Nope. Inventive? Not really. Important, you bet! And the cost to set up an automated, online system at your church and school has never been easier or less costly than it is today (I have some suggestions for those interested.) Is your church and school moving forward? Do they have a “Give Now” button on their website? P.S. I know of at least one church that has giving cards with a QR Code for parishioners to make a bank card online gift during the offering songs. Great idea!
 
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 | August 16, 2018
Learn and Lead 2018
On June 4 & 5, 40 attendees basked in the light of the stained glass windows of Concordia Lutheran High School’s Worship Conference Center (see picture) as The Lutheran Schools Partnership hosted its annual Learn & Lead conference. As usual, we invited our schools and associated churches, but then also opened spots for schools that are part of The Lutheran SGO in the state, churches in the District, and then other Lutheran-based RSOs and nonprofits. This year we brought in the faculty from The IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy who taught their popular “Fundraising for Small Nonprofits” two day course. We wanted to bring this class to Fort Wayne because professional development is VERY KEY to success in the fundraising industry, but many budgets for fundraising staffers are limited. By bringing the IU School of Philanthropy to Fort Wayne, attendees did not have to travel, have overnight accommodations, nor worry about daytime meals (we fed everyone well for morning to afternoon shifts). While we could tell you how wonderful the instructional sessions were, let those that attended tell you in their own words what they thought of the two days: “I appreciate that the content and instructor understood the realities of a small non-profit and recognized the starting point at which most of us begin.” “I have attended many presentations in my career and this was by far one of the best speakers, along with useful material I can take and run with in my position.” “Bill was wonderful in explaining the the process.  He provided many real life examples and kept me engaged throughout the course.” “Very good use of the money and time I spent at the training session.” “Would highly recommend this course.” “Practical USEFUL information that can be implemented NOW (while providing plenty to review and become better at in the future).” We look forward to hosting more well-received options for our schools such as this year for years to come. P.S. SAVE THE DATE: June 3-5, 2019 We will be partnering with ALDE in 2019 to bring their Essentials in Fundraising Course for Executive Directors and their course for those new to fundraising. Plan your time and budgets accordingly!
 
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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