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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 | June 2, 2016
Critical Friend Visits
A Valuable Resource for our Schools This year, the Lutheran Schools Partnership has been doing Critical Friend Visits in six schools to keep academic programs strong and growing. This evaluation process allows a team of 5-7 people, including principals and teachers from other Lutheran schools, to collect data using an observational tool that covers six areas. These Critical Friend Visits help schools to either prepare for accreditation or to validate whether a school is headed in the right direction after accreditation. After the visit, the school principal meets with Cindy McKinney and me to discuss what was observed as a way to focus on improvements and celebrate positive gains. After receiving feedback, the school principal sets an area of focus for the next three to six months. According to Cindy, “Critical Friend Visits provide a structure to establish short-term goals for long-term benefits.” Through this year’s visits, the team is refining the observational tools to better meet schools’ needs, so that the Critical Friend Visits can be even more impacting next year. Six more schools can participate in next year’s visits, giving schools the opportunity to use this great tool to reach a goal in a particular area or to support their professional development growth. Several schools have already filled slots for next year’s visits, but a few spots remain open. Cindy states, “Schools can use a critical friends visit as a growth goal after accreditation, like a more connected professional development.” Two people from each participating school are trained on how to collect the data and what to look for on Critical Friend Visits. These people will participate in a visit where they will spend time in the classrooms collecting information and targeting a specific focus area. Cindy says that the long-range goal is to form networks of schools that work on the same goal throughout the year. These networks might ask higher level thinking questions, plan professional development days, or give each other feedback. Collaboration may spur questions that would be incorporated into curriculum maps. As a result, schools work together and support each other in the growth process, sharing ideas of how to reach a school wide goal. Ultimately the Critical Friend Visits are a valuable resource for schools to sharpen their focus and reach their potential. Cindy adds, “Anytime a school feels like they’re stuck or needs feedback, we want to have a team available to help.” Critical Friend Visits give schools the support they need to accomplish their goals. For more information or to participate in the Critical Friend Visits, contact Cindy at cindym@tlspartnership.org.
Quality Education
Mark Muehl | June 20, 2016
Holy Cross Emphasizes Technology
Teacher Encourages Students Through Projects and Videos At Holy Cross, technology has grown leaps and bounds since Kevin Schroeder came on staff 32 years ago. From early computer games like The Oregon Trail to today’s coding apps, technology continues to evolve, keeping Mr. Schroeder on his toes so he can prepare students to be tech savvy. “I want students to get familiar with the tools they can use,” Mr. Schroeder says. “When they get older, they won’t have these tools. They’ll have something else that they’ll accept and use that.” Holy Cross has a technology class for each grade, kindergarten through eighth, and starts the youngest students with mastering Microsoft Word’s basic tools. Mr. Schroeder also coordinates grade-level projects so that students can use technology to enhance their assignment. “I coordinate it with what they’re doing in their classrooms. The social studies teacher has a project on the graveyard of American history. They do the project in iMovie and upload it to YouTube. If they’re studying Indiana history, then we work it out with what they’re doing in the classrooms.” By adapting technology to student ability, students are able to work at their own pace. “I steer them in the right direction as far as what they’re working on,” Mr. Schroeder says. “They help each other and do a lot of work in groups. My job is to facilitate. I try to make the projects so they can do it simply or integrate other things into it so they can make it more advanced.” Former student Joey Chandler flourished in the technology classes at Holy Cross. Now a freshman at Concordia Lutheran High School, Joey took a video production class and an advanced video class this year. He got his start doing videos at Holy Cross under Mr. Schroeder, using green screens to do video news segments. He appreciated how Mr. Schroeder taught him the basics of video production and then gave him the freedom to be creative. This was the foundation he needed for continuing his learning at Concordia High School. Mr. Schroeder also teaches students to use technology in a way that glorifies God. “Hopefully we can instill in them the values of the Christian education and using technology with the gifts we’re given and in a God-pleasing way.”
Christian Leadership
Mark Muehl | June 16, 2016
Zion Alumnus Shares the Love of Christ in the Dominican
Teachers Influenced Rachel Powell’s Faith “Since I was a child, I thought it would be amazing for my job to essentially be telling people about Jesus,” missionary Rachel Powell says. She now lives that dream, serving in the Dominican Republic training deaconesses to share the love of Christ with others. Rachel, who attended Zion Lutheran School from kindergarten to the eighth grade, credits her time spent at Zion Lutheran church and school as instrumental in shaping her faith and giving her the building blocks for a life of ministry. “The faculty and staff were always encouraging and taught me to be creative and to appreciate who God made me,” Rachel says. “I received a Christ-centered education that was modeled not only in words, but also through the actions of my teachers. Everything I learned about Christ at home was reinforced at school and expounded upon. Without the mentorship and loving service of my teachers at Zion, I may not be serving the Lord in the same capacity today.” Rachel is currently assisting in the establishment of a deaconess training program for women in the Dominican Republic. “The main goal of my work is to teach, mentor, and raise up Dominican deaconesses who have a strong foundation of Biblical knowledge, confidently share God’s love through mercy projects in their congregations, and point others to God’s gifts in His Word and His Sacraments.” Rachel teaches practical theology classes, Bible studies and mentors the Dominican deaconesses as they serve their communities. Although the Lord paved the path to being a deaconess through college, conferences, and a short-term missionary internship in Peru, the foundation for her calling was spurred on by the investment of family, church, teachers, and mentors who shaped her life early on. Rachel credits two teachers who made an impact on her while at Zion Lutheran, Mr. Risch and Mrs. Salemink. “While I was blessed to study under many wonderful teachers, Mr. Carl Risch and Mrs. Heather Salemink stand out to me in particular,” she adds. “Mr. Risch’s enthusiasm for the gospel and for his students to learn to think for themselves left quite an impact. Mrs. Salemink invested the time and effort to talk to us seventh graders with Christian love, honesty, and always had an ear ready to listen. Especially at that formative age having a mentor like her, even for one short year, was an incredible blessing. In particular, she encouraged me to consider a vocation of full-time service in the church.” Rachel also has many fond memories at Zion, including sports opportunities and small class sizes. But ultimately it was the Christ-centered education that impacted her the most, increasing her faith and giving her the foundation she needed for ministry overseas. “I learned during my time at Zion what it means to be a Christian and to live that, even when it’s not easy. I learned to embrace who God has made me and to cling to my baptism. I gained confidence in my skills and in the gifts He’s given to me. A desire to serve sparked in my heart during my time at Zion.” Rachel looks back at her time at Zion and is thankful for the teachers who invested in her. “I praise God for the faithful Lutheran pastors, teachers, volunteers, and other staff who have poured Christ’s love into the lives of countless students like me,” she adds. “Your service in Jesus’ name is not in vain! It is a school that offers quality education while teaching its students about the greatest treasure of all—salvation in Christ.”
Funding the Mission
Jon Dize | July 18, 2016
And They’re Off!
So, who’s tired of hearing about the SGO program yet? I’m not! I love Indiana’s premiere system (the envy of other states) that allows donors to school scholarships to receive a 50% tax credit on their Indiana state taxes. And more and more donors agree with me. The program has been accelerating over the past couple of years, to the point that Indiana donors ran out of available credits from the state in February and had to wait until July 1 to re-start their SGO support. And after 5 months of empty credit tanks, our schools are zooming ahead since July 1: Nearly $1,200,000 in credits, over 10% of what is available, have been taken in two weeks… this time last year, only $300,000 had been taken. Last year less than 200 donations had come in by 7/15; this year, over 400. For just the schools in the Lutheran SGO of Indiana family we have raised over $425,000, 30% of what we raised the entire year last year. In only two weeks. Quick Quiz: what does this all mean?   Donors want their credit and are therefore making their gifts earlier to ensure they get the SGO tax credit. We will probably run out of credits before December 31. Donors are making larger gifts than last year. We most likely will run out of credits before December 31. Donors continue to enjoy supporting scholarship and providing the chance for a quality, Christian education for families. We will run out of credits before December 31. Answer: All of the above. Yes, we think the SGO Tax Credit program will run out of credits before December 31. We typically receive the bulk of our donations in December, and most of those gifts come in the last two weeks of December. If trends continue as we expect, we may be returning gifts received in December. And we hate doing that.  
School Choice
Mark Muehl | March 24, 2016
Emmanuel St. Michael Invests in Students
Families Share How ESM Provides Strong Academics and Support “I didn’t realize the difference until after we switched schools,” parent Chad Loggins admits about the quality of Emmanuel St. Michael. “The care and compassion they give to the kids is eye opening to me. They take it to another level.” He and wife Erin, sent their children to ESM two years ago, after first trying a public school. Angela and Tony Hudson share a similar story. Their growing concern about the social environment caused them to seek a Christian education for their children, Sam and Stella. “When I helped at the other school, I felt like it was chaos. When I saw how organized it was here, I was sold.” Although the families didn’t know each other, their reasons for choosing ESM were based on a common feeling--they weren’t satisfied with their previous school and knew there was something missing. The Loggins family, whose children include Jake, Mia, and Ethan, wanted a small school atmosphere, where the teachers and parents could partner together more easily for a child’s success. “Every year we discussed whether we should send our kids to public or private school,” says Erin. “We realized that our son would do better in a small school atmosphere. It’s a partnership between parents and teachers that I didn’t see in the public schools.” For Erin, who attended Emmanuel St. Michael as a child, it was an easy decision. But husband Chad wasn’t convinced that a private school could compete academically. “I had reservations about transitioning to a religious school,” Chad admits. “But the curriculum is as good, if not better, than what they would have gotten in public school.” For the Hudson family, who transitioned here the same year, the previous school’s atmosphere was not a good fit for their son Sam. “The culture of the school did not emulate the values we have,” notes Tony. When Tony and Angela were looking for a school, a number of things fell into place that led them to ESM. Tony went to school with ESM’s current principal, Jacob Pennekamp. “I knew Jacob Pennekamp’s heart and ability,” Tony says. “When we saw the environment of the school, we made a conclusion that it starts with the leader and this is a place we want to move .” After visiting the school, he met another parent who also sent their child to ESM and gave it high recommendations. Angela was skeptical about sending her children to a Lutheran school, but after the teachers at ESM went above and beyond to help her children, she knew she had made the right decision. “My daughter was anxious about starting school here. Her teacher met with the kids at the beginning of the year and told them there was a new girl coming. They were very welcoming at the school. I couldn’t be happier,” Angela admits. “I’ll be the first one to say it: I was wrong when I said I wouldn’t choose a Lutheran school. They care about the success of your child.” Erin and Chad Loggins agree that the teachers have gone to great lengths to help their kids flourish at ESM. “It’s truly a partnership,” Chad says. “Every teacher is so caring and compassionate and willing to work with you. It’s like a family.” Angela Hudson adds, “You can get quality academics a lot of places, but you can’t get the love and nurturing like the kids do at Emmanuel St. Michael.”
Jon Dize | July 1, 2016
SGO tax credits again available
Give kids the freedom to attend the school of their choice. Please generously support our SGO scholarships. Donors will earn a 50% state tax credit on gifts made through the Lutheran Scholarship Granting Organization of Indiana—but only if they hurry. The State limits the total amount of tax credits awarded each year, and we expect that limit to be reached before December 2016. Donations from $5 to $5 million may qualify, so long as they are received before the tax credits run out. So act now! Raise a beacon of liberty, and give generously. Tax credits are available now!
News and Events
Mark Muehl | May 9, 2016
St. Peter-Immanuel’s Preschool Eases Transition to Kindergarten
Preschoolers Participate in Chapel Families and School Activities When you walk in the preschool room at St. Peter-Immanuel, you can feel the energy of young minds ready to learn. Whether students are digging for treasures in the sand box or planting seeds and watching them grow, the preschool program inspires creativity and learning, preparing young minds for kindergarten and beyond. St. Peter-Immanuel began their preschool program three years ago, adding a great early education option to the school. Preschool teacher Lindsey Irwin started at the school when it opened, adding years of early education experience to the program and giving Mrs. Irwin the opportunity to build the learning environment from scratch.  “When we started, the room was completely blank,” Mrs. Irwin notes. “We had to buy everything.” Now the room contains creative play stations, learning activities, and plenty of space for active preschoolers. Mrs. Irwin’s focus for the preschool is clear. “The preschool program lays the building blocks for academic excellence later in life as kids grow. Our goal is to support each child with their needs and their transition to kindergarten.”  The school offers a three-year-old class on Tuesday and Thursday, as well as a four-and-five-year-old class that meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Both classes meet for half days, but extended care is offered for all preschoolers. She adds, “Being out in the country we make available for parents who can’t get out of work.” Mrs. Irwin takes special care to design learning activities that interest children, whether it’s a unit on dinosaurs, complete with digging for dinosaur bones or studying how seeds sprout in the spring.  By using hands-on learning experiences, students gain confidence and are assimilated into the whole learning environment at St. Peter-Immanuel. Middle school students from St. Peter-Immanuel also benefit through leadership opportunities with the younger students. During the school’s chapel service, middle schoolers are responsible for a “chapel family,” consisting of younger students. The chapel family leaders help preschoolers follow hymns and participate in service projects. This also provides preschoolers with a big brother or sister to look up to, giving St. Peter-Immanuel a family focus.  Julie Kowalke, principal at St. Peter-Immanuel, says, “Our pre-kindergarten students have daily contact with the older students in the school. This gives them more confidence around all age groups. They leave preschool ready for kindergarten.” Interest in the preschool program continues to grow; the class has tripled its numbers in three years with many students going on to kindergarten.  Because this transition can be a huge change for children, preschoolers at St. Peter-ImmanueI already have a head start on their peers. They are used to the building, recess, principal and library, making kindergarten an easy transition instead of a frightening change. Mrs. Irwin’s favorite thing about teaching this age group is watching their development and excitement for learning. “This is the most important time and they’re like little sponges. They get excited and it’s really fun watching them learn.”   The program is not only beneficial for students, but also has been a blessing for the entire school as well. “It helps bring in different families to the school,” Mrs. Irwin states. “They fall in love with the school.” “Because of the small size our students are truly part of a small community,” Ms. Kowalke says. “We are able to see each child as an individual and help them to grow in areas they are weak.” The future continues to look bright for the preschool program at St. Peter-Immanuel. Ms. Kowalke adds, “Our kids are being taught how to treat others and how to respect themselves by using God's Word. Our kids know they are valuable to God.”
Emmanuel St. Michaels
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