Faithful. Focused. For You.

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 | March 27, 2017
Alicia Levitt joins The Lutheran Schools Partnership
The Lutheran Schools Partnership (TLSP) is pleased to share that Alicia Levitt has accepted the call to serve as its Academic Excellence Coordinator effective July 1. Levitt will be leaving her call as Assistant Principal of Emmanuel-St Michael Lutheran School, Fort Wayne to join the collaborative efforts of TLSP. The TLSP opening occurred as Cindy McKinney moved her talents to Region 8 Education Service Center. Mark Muehl, Executive Director of TLSP says of Levitt: “We are very excited about what the future holds for TLSP with Mrs. Levitt's direction. She’s a talented educator with a unique perspective for Lutheran education. She will be a great blessing for our partnership of schools. We look forward to her leadership and teamwork!" Levitt is a life long Lutheran and gained her BA from Concordia University-Chicago and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University- Irvine. Her experience as teacher and administrator of Lutheran schools will provide insights for the planning and execution of academic initiatives and efforts. “I have a passion for Lutheran education, and believe that the Lord will allow me to support and advocate for our Lutheran school in a new way.” said Levitt.    
Quality Education
Mark Muehl | December 20, 2016
Christmas as a Lesson in Teaching
What did Mary see? An angel visiting at her front door. A bustling town so busy that there were no rooms at the inn. A barn full of animals. Excited shepherds worshipping her firstborn son and telling tales of angel choruses. The mother of our Lord saw a lot, and Luke says, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” What are you seeing this Christmas and what do you treasure? The joy of sharing Christmas programs and student-led Christmas services are highlights of Lutheran-school calendars. My wife and I include within our Christmas traditions Lessons and Carols at Concordia University Chicago and Christmas at the Embassy, presented by the Concordia Lutheran High School Fort Wayne’s music department. Each of these events beautifully share the Christmas story and seem to create a connection with all who attend. Why is it that Christmas tugs at our hearts? So many folks, even some non-Christians, connect strongly with Christmas. No doubt much of the tug is its “Immanuel” message (God with us). The reality of God in human form, the Creator walking with His creation–it’s “a great and mighty wonder” that God comes to us so uniquely. Christmas is about promises fulfilled, hope for the future, peace that transcends human initiative. Could it be that our love for Christmas comes from the full use of human senses in sharing the narrative of Christmas? Consider the fact that most people are visual learners. When words are connected with images, learning is maximized (Gwen C. Nugent’s article “Pictures, audio, and print: symbolic representation and effect on learning” published in Educational Technology Research and Development, Volume 30, Number 3 (1982), 163-174). Brain research also demonstrates that human eyes are capable of registering 36,000 visual messages per hour, and that over 80 percent of all information that is absorbed by the brain is visual in nature. Some of the best communicators in history–including our Savior (e.g., His parables)–taught using the power of the metaphor and image. (Consider reading more on the topic of visual learners on Tim Elmore’s blog.) In light of these facts, it’s no small wonder that the Christmas narrative is so ingrained in our hearts. The visual of angels breaking through the darkness of night and singing to a ragtag group of shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem is shared with hymns, carols, art, and actors. A barn as the initial home for the King of Kings is depicted with manger scenes in homes, at churches, and even in “live” settings outside of churches. Mary caring for the Savior of the world while travelers from a distant land arrive with kingly gifts–gifts of great riches, but gifts that also foreshadow the King’s future death. You’ve “seen” this message shared in many ways over your life–in picture books, videos, and programs. Really, when all is said and done, Lutheran schools teach Christmas with all the wisdom and insights of 21st century best teaching practices! Images are everywhere in the Christmas narrative, and through our many senses, the message is shared in a variety of ways–ways that become fixed in our hearts. Hearing? Oh, those carols and hymns! We hear the Christmas story from OT prophecy to angels songs to reflections of Mary. While the words are filled with familiarity, many of the carols and hymns also eloquently share the authenticity of Christmas with words directly from holy writ. Which carols and hymns do you most enjoy? The solitude of Silent Night? The full Biblical historical narrative of The Messiah? The festive announcement of Joy to the World? Isn’t it interesting that these carols never get old? Their message and music transcend generations. Smell? Certainly there were many smells that were a part of that first Christmas, and most of those smells are not anticipated. But what about today’s aromas and how do they connect. What’s the big deal about the smell of gingerbread or the the overwhelming aroma of cinnamon? It may not be the smells themselves but surely just a bit of intentionality can connect Christmas traditions with the joy of the Christmas message. Smells that remind us of Grandma’s house remind us that family is the how God blesses us with community. Family is the cellular unit of a civilization and family with mom and dad are the way that God furthers his world. Touch? This sense might be the one that we need to work on the most.  Thanks to pictures, we may be able to visualize and emotionally attach to the narrative of Christmas but touch means so much to the human condition. In the Christmas message is God in human form. He takes on skin and bones and his mother touches him, holds him, cares for him. There’s a physical bond with God and man and it’s one that is physically felt. Hugs, hand shakes, sitting on Grandpa’s lap are part of what creates the warmth of Christmas. Knowing the gift of touch and how the gentle touch of mom or the firm grasp of Dad are so meaningful in our lives, how does touch become ministry? Should part of Christmas be spending time in the neonatal section of the hospital? Do those with young children have a greater corner on the market of appreciating Christmas? Taste? Most of the tastes that come along during Christmas season are purely secular. However, those “tastes” provide some of the memories we connect with Christmas. That’s why it’s important for “tastes” to be shared with stories. Wafer thin sugar cookies that bring up memories of Grandma. Fruitcakes that make everyone enjoy their own version of “Why do we make these?”  The greatest taste of Christmas is the greatest taste of every Divine Service. In the Sacrament of the Altar, we taste and see that the Lord is good. We hear the words of our Lord as we share of His Body and Blood, as we commune with our fellow believers and as we commune with the heavenly hosts. The angels song of Christmas, Gloria in Excelsis of Divine Service, is joined with the saints and sinners of this time and place. Holy Communion is the highest point of the Christmas celebration. Oh, Christmas is good teaching! “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Col 3:16).  Merry Christmas!
Christian Leadership
Mark Muehl | April 14, 2017
What Crowd am I In? (A reflection of the Passion Narrative of John)
What crowd am I in this week? Holy Week shares Jesus’ march to His ultimate goal- redeeming the world through His death. It’s right to focus on Jesus, His passion, for you, for me. While considering the crowds of Holy Week, I think they help us see our sin and draw us ever closer to our need for a Savior. The crowds that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem shouted “Hosanna!”  Messiah. King. Time to restore Jewish reign. No more Romans. Most who witnessed Jesus’ triumphal entry missed the real Jesus. They didn’t see a Redeemer who was there to  “save now” from sin because they missed that it was the promised one who was coming to save. I hope I see Jesus for who He is and don’t make Him something less than He is. He’s more than protector and king.  He is God alone who died for lowly me. How am I part of the group that questioned the woman who anointed Jesus?  Do I miss that worship is about Jesus and not me? Oh that I can see with the same faith as the woman and see promises fulfilled through Jesus, that His death is what I need for life now and eternity! Her anointing of Jesus was a faith-filled confidence that Jesus was the Savior promised for us. As the disciples were gathered for Passover, they wondered,  “Is it I?” when Jesus announced that a disciple would betray him. Can I see my own sin and realize that it IS I? I sent Jesus to the cross. I have betrayed him, too. I’ve hidden from opportunities to stand strong in faith. I’ve had my price as I’ve “given Jesus up” and it wasn’t thirty pieces of silver. What is my paltry price?  Appreciation? Acceptance? Avoidance of ridicule?  Lord have mercy on me, a poor miserable sinner. Am I part of the crowd yelling “Crucify!” sending my own versions of insults and jeers? Surely not!  How could I be so blatant in my opposition to Christ?  Death to Christ?!  Selfishness. Defensiveness. Self-justification.  Oh, yes! I had a role in sending Jesus to the cross and hammering those nails. How am I hiding in fear as the disciples did after Jesus death? While it’s obvious that Jesus is a man of His word and fulfilled the words of the prophets, His absence for three days left the disciples feeling alone, seemingly a target for opposition and trembling in fear. Am I fearful? Do I have confidence in the promises- I will not leave you, I will send the comforter?  Do I understand that God’s “little while” may often seem like a dark, long period of time but His “little while” is a blink in the vision of eternity?   Am I thrilled beyond belief?  The disciples started hearing stories- stories of an empty tomb, of angels, of Jesus appearances. Do I hear the stories? Do I share the wonder of “Can it be?”  Am I seeing with eyes wide open my crucified and risen Lord? This week, I DO have my eyes wide open! I see my sin, I see my desperation, I see I’m chief of sinners.  But I will hear Jesus. His words will be remembered and I will taste and see that He is good! Christ’s death and punishment are for me…and I am forgiven I will “take and eat” and at the very gate of heaven and be with the crowd of angels and all the company of heaven in sharing our Hosannas and Hallelujahs! I’ll be reminded that God’s will is not done apart from Jesus. It’s done without my prayer, but it is surely done. Jesus has sealed my future. He left guilt and death in the grave. Thy will be done? Absolutely. In Christ, I’m going to “feed His lambs” with knowledge to share about Jesus, the bread of life, the paschal lamb, the one who sustains. I hope you’re part of a visible crowd this weekend…and that crowd being in church. God’s gifts are waiting there “for you.” A blessed Holy Week everyone!
Funding the Mission
Jon Dize | April 24, 2017
Maimonides Laws Concerning Gifts to the Poor
In November I had the opportunity to attend a conference on Religious Fundraising presented by the Lake Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. This article is one in a periodic series of articles highlighting the historical foundation of faith and fundraising throughout the ages. Spanish-born philosopher Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), was one of Judaism's most revered rabbis in the Middle Ages. Excerpted from the final chapter of his “Laws Concerning Gifts to the Poor”, Maimonides speaks of eight levels of “tzedakah”, often translated as “charity”. He used the term “levels” to equate to “degrees”, suggesting that the levels progressed in order of desirability. Below are his eight levels of charity, in order of best to least: The 1st or best level is Partnership; where one with the means takes the hand of another in need and either provides a loan, makes a partnership, or finds employment, to strengthen the person until they no longer need help. The 2nd level just below partnership is anonymous support; that is, the donor does not know who is receiving the help and the beneficiary does not know who is providing the support. The 3rd level is where the donor knows who the beneficiary is, but the receiver does not know who the donor is; in the past sages would toss coins in the door openings of the poor. The 4th level is opposite of the third, where the beneficiary knows who the donor is, but the donor is unaware who is benefitting from their generosity. This was supposed to allow the recipient to keep their pride or not feel shame. The 5th level is where a donor puts a gift in the hand of those in need before they are asked to help; this could be akin to the more modern “random acts of kindness” or “pay it forward” efforts. The 6th level is where a donor gives after being asked; this could be similar to what was considered “begging”. The 7th level is where a donor is asked, and gives, maybe not quite enough, but in a pleasant manner. The 8th level, and the level least desireable by Maimonides, is giving begrudgingly, or sorrowfully. What do you think about these levels? Where do your own giving habits fall on the list? Where does the Biblical “Cheerful Giver” as described in 2 Corinthians 9:7 fall? Where would the Good Samaritan’s actions fall? “Faith can exist without money, but religious organizations cannot.” -- GW Bowersock     Picture credit: Pexels.com
School Choice
Mark Muehl | March 20, 2017
Level the Playing Field by Protecting School Choice
Years ago, students from low-income families didn’t have much of a choice when it came to education. Some were stuck in poor-performing schools and unable to move to a better district. Non-public schools were out of the question, assumed only to be available to the affluent. Indiana’s Choice Scholarships ushered in a new era—one where all families, regardless of economic status, could choose the school they wanted, not the one they were forced into by circumstances. Opponents of school choice would have us overlook those needy families. They claim that expansions to Indiana’s choice scholarship have made it an “entitlement program for the wealthy.” However, data from the Department of Education simply doesn’t support their claim. The families benefiting most from the maximum Choice Scholarships are those who have the greatest need. Almost 69 percent of students who received the Choice Scholarship came from families whose annual income qualified them for the federal free or reduced lunch program. These are the students who received the maximum voucher amount—90 percent of the local public school’s per-student cost—and they are the clear majority of students who received vouchers. The remaining 31 percent are those who received a 50 percent scholarship. These are middle-income families whose annual income was equal to or less than 150 percent free or reduced lunch eligibility. When school-choice opponents say choice scholarship (vouchers) only benefit the elite, they are clearly ignoring the data. They also forget that the wealthy can already afford any school of their choice. Affluence gives them a freedom that low-income families did not have before choice scholarships. When Indiana voters gave low-income families the power of school choice, it leveled the playing field. It empowered all Hoosier families—regardless of wealth or ZIP code—an opportunity to choose the school that best fit their child’s needs. School choice should not just be for a privileged few. Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program gives all Hoosier families the freedom to direct the education of their children, and that’s precisely how it should be.
Jon Dize | December 19, 2016
SGO Credits are Gone!
I hate to be the Scrooge-bearer of bad news, but the SGO credits are gone. Finished. We are out of coal for Bob Cratchit's office. For those wanting to support scholarships and receive the 50% state tax credit, you will have to wait until July 1, 2017 to make your gift. What does this mean? The Bah Humbugs: We received a number of donations late Friday, Saturday, and even Sunday (online credit/debit gifts). Since the Indiana Department of Revenue accepts SGO credit requests on a “first-come, first-get” basis, when they opened their emails this morning, they started down the list and many of these last-minute donations were too late. We will return checks and refund credit/debit card payments to these donors, strongly encouraging them to make their gift again in July. Per DOR rules, we cannot accept a gift and then hold the gift until July 1. (We hate returning gifts as much as Ebenezzer hated giving to charity.) If you have an autopay that sends us donations every month, you will need to suspend those payments until July 1. What is next? The Ghost of Christmas Futures: The Lutheran SGO of Indiana staff will continue to process non-credit gifts (matching gifts and gifts from donors not wanting the credit.) We still have two scholarship application due dates of January 15 and March 15. The 2016-17 fiscal year will be the 5th year of operations for our SGO, and we plan a few announcements to celebrate this milestone. We will be working with our School Choice partners to raise the credit amounts next and year and into the future, and may need your help convincing State House Scrooge's to free more credits for more scholarships; the more we raise, the more families we can help! We will still be available for questions (and answers!), donor presentations, etc. so keep calling and emailing. On the bright side, by going through $9.5 million in SGO credits, donors in Indiana have supported scholarships for families to attend non-public schools to the tune of $19 million. WOW. And, most of our schools raised the same or more than they did last year in less time than last year. We are therefore proud of our schools’ efforts to “get the word out” and start their fundraising efforts as early as the did. On behalf of the board of The Lutheran SGO of Indiana, Lynn, Jenny, and myself, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy, happy New Year. God bless us, every one!
News and Events
Mark Muehl | April 17, 2017
First Citywide Middle School Musical a Success
About a year ago, Concordia Lutheran High School’s drama director, Chris Murphy, had a vision to give students the opportunity to be involved in a drama production at an earlier age, and to be an intricate part of a production beyond being merely a support to the high school shows. That dream came to fruition in the form of our first citywide middle school musical, “Annie, Jr.” So, the call went out for guys and girls in grades 6-8 to be part of the show. Recalls Murphy, “We invited students to audition particularly from our Lutheran schools, but also students who attended Concordia summer drama camp, and others who heard about the show.”  Auditions were held last September, and practices began mid-September on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. “Annie, Jr.” was performed on March 17 and March 18, 2017 at Concordia Elementary. The cast of “Annie, Jr.” was made entirely of middle school students from 12 different schools around Fort Wayne, with 9 of the 12 being Lutheran Schools: Central, Concordia Elementary, Emanuel-St. Michael, Holy Cross, Lutheran South Unity, St. Paul's, St. Peters, Suburban Bethlehem, and Woodburn Lutheran. “We have a lot of talent in the area, and this was a great chance to showcase that talent.” says Murphy. First the students became castmates, and then they became friends. “They really enjoyed each other and were making great efforts to find ways to keep in touch with each other after the show was over,” observed Murphy. The collaboration of schools did not stop with the students. Murphy, an 8th grade teacher at Emanuel-St. Michael, called upon Concordia Elementary’s 5th grade teacher, Angie Owen, to be the assistant director. Owen also designed and built the set of “Annie, Jr.” as well as organized the light and sound crew for the production. Choreography was done by fellow Concordia Elementary teacher, Erin Mickelini and Lutheran South Unity music teacher, Natalie Reynolds, worked with the singing. Murphy is already looking at shows for next year. “It really has been an awesome experience and I would really encourage kids in next year's 6th-8th grades to consider auditioning and telling their friends about the opportunity as well!”
Emmanuel St. Michaels
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