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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!

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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 31, 2016
Lutheran South Unity School Encourages Young Authors
First Grade Teacher Inspires Students Through Writing Workshops In Judith Sabel’s classroom at Lutheran South Unity School, students are hunched over their desks, scribbling out words. Colorful signs remind students to use “sparkly words” and ask questions. These first graders are participating in a writing workshop, learning how to see themselves as authors who are developing their unique writing voice. Mrs. Sabel was inspired by a professional development opportunity last summer at Columbia University’s Teachers College, a weeklong intensive designed for teachers to learn how to conduct writing workshops. Mrs. Sabel is a veteran teacher, boasting 32 years of experience including 6 years at Zion Lutheran School in Fort Wayne and 7 years at Lutheran South Unity School. “Writing has become an essential part of our curriculum today,” Mrs. Sabel says. “When I went through school, there were no classes on teaching writing,” she notes. “Opportunities for young children to write reinforce their thinking, reading and spelling skills.” LSUS principal, Krista Nagy agrees, “Our aim is to get all students writing fluidly. Students think better when they’re actively engaged in thinking and writing. It’s really important for students to have a voice.” This workshop style is a different way of learning to write—one that allows for more of a student-directed approach to writing. For example, children begin by listening to a “mentor text,” a book introducing students to various aspects of narrative writing. After students decide on their own personal story to write, they tell their story in sequence, draw pictures to go with it, and then write their story. Mini-lessons on catchy introductions and conclusions, elaboration, punctuation, spelling and grammar are incorporated into each unit. This allows Mrs. Sabel to enrich her students’ vocabulary, language abilities, self-expression, and critical thinking skills through writing. “With writing workshops, you have to take a child where they are and work with them,” notes Mrs. Sabel of the individualized approach. Working with a partner to evaluate, proofread, and edit each other’s work is part of the approach. “One child wrote about something they liked and said, ‘It’s great and I love it!’ But the other kids noticed what was missing in her writing and said, ‘You need to give reasons.’” Mrs. Sabel teaches students that they must have reasons to support their ideas, a necessary skill for the future when students write research papers. Besides learning to evaluate each other’s writing, students are exposed to a wide variety of styles. They write reviews by bringing in a toy collection and writing about their favorite. When students cover nonfiction books, they teach something in the style of a “how-to” book and add pictures to emphasize their point. Mrs. Sabel takes it one step further, giving students the opportunity to give a speech on their writing topic. The impact on students is transformative, as kids begin to see themselves as authors who have a voice in the world. “Students see themselves as authors. It’s exciting to see their growth and ability to communicate,” Mrs. Sabel adds. “At the beginning of the year one student was writing only a few words on each page. Now he fills his whole page providing descriptions and dialogue. Another very capable student wrote very little during the allotted workshop time, but recently wrote an excellent review about Applebee’s that served as a model for other students.” Stories like this show us how the continued practice of writing transforms kids into authors at Lutheran South Unity School. Mrs. Sabel is pursuing that goal with the students at LSUS every week, inspiring budding authors to communicate through their words. “It was an amazing opportunity,” she says of her week at Columbia University. The opportunity not only benefits her personally, but every student in her classroom at Lutheran South Unity School and beyond.
Quality Education
Mark Muehl | May 26, 2016
Consensus Curriculum Mapping
Collaborative Mapping Process Supports Teachers and Strengthens Schools Consensus mapping is an important process to ensure schools are hitting critical skills in their curriculum through all grades. Lead teachers have been established at each Lutheran school to head up the mapping process and make their curriculum even stronger. Now all teachers can participate in the mapping process in a team effort that will allow teachers to map together. This will give Lutheran school teachers the chance to collaborate on their consensus maps. Cindy McKinney, academic excellence coordinator, says, “Consensus mapping is a level above what our teachers are doing now because it combines teachers from different schools to join forces, focus on a content area, and ask what are the critical skills needed at one level.” They are launching the project on June 20th and invite teachers to be a part of consensus mapping. Their focus for the day will be math (K-8th grade) with an emphasis on the pacing of math instruction prior to our state assessment. The goal of consensus mapping is to provide a big picture template of what critical skills look like in the classroom. Teachers from all schools would be able to use the map throughout the school year. This will be a valuable resource for our educators. By bringing together grade level teachers and seeing what they’re learning and how they’re accomplishing their objectives, it would strengthen all teachers and their consistency. As the big picture of critical skills emerges, teachers can develop practical ideas to use in the classroom. These include strategies like formative assessment questions that show what students are learning so that teachers can make adjustments to their lesson plans before the summative assessment. One area teachers will focus on is using higher level thinking skills in the classroom. Most of the questions asked by teachers only deal with what students know and understand, not higher level skills. “You have kids that need basic thinking skills, but we need to be challenging students who need more higher level thinking,” Cindy adds. “Let’s create maps that give teachers the plan to do it, knowing that we can do both.” Cindy hopes this collaborative effort at mapping will pay big dividends in the classroom. “I’m hoping the consensus maps will sharpen the focus of our curriculum which will help our students clearly understand what they need to do at each grade level.” Over the next year, teachers will be developing science consensus maps (K-8th grade) that will be aligned with the new state standards and focused on STEM activities (science, technology, engineering and math). We will be looking for teachers at all grade levels to contribute to this valuable resource. Cindy invites teachers to be a part of the math consensus mapping on June 20th. For more information, please email her at cindym@tlspartnership.org.
Christian Leadership
Mark Muehl | May 17, 2016
Announcing the TLSP Board of Directors for 16-17
Join us in Congratulating New Board Members for 16-17 The delegates from the schools of TLSP met on Tuesday, May 10 and elected three new members to our Board of Directors. Congratulations to David Herman, Tim Klage and Rev. Roy Olsen. David is a lifelong member of Emanuel Lutheran Church in New Haven and has been a Financial Associate at Thrivent Financial for 8 years. He’s a Central Lutheran School and Concordia Lutheran High School grad. David commented, “I am a firm believer in Lutheran education. I understand the value Lutheran education has been for me and my family. I want all families to have the same opportunities that my wife and I had.” Tim is a member of Peace Lutheran Church here in Fort Wayne and is the Chief Financial Officer of Ambassador Enterprises. Tim shared with the delegates, “I am thankful for the opportunity to have grown up in the Lutheran school system, starting with Holy Cross in 4th grade, through my graduation from CLHS in 1986. All four of our kids graduated from LSUS and then CLHS after that. The high level of education and focus on faith that we received shape who we are today. I would like to make sure others benefit from Lutheran schools in the future.” Rev Olsen is pastor at Emmaus Lutheran Church. Rev. Olsen was a teacher for 7 years and a principal for four years before graduating from Concordia Seminary in St Louis in 2005. Olsen said, “It is my hope and desire to continue to be a bridge connecting the church and the school together, not as separate entities, but as one body with one mission to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this and the next generation. There is so much potential in the Fort Wayne area Lutheran community for partnership that we have yet to tap into, a gift that most other communities do not enjoy. For the sake of the Gospel, we must seek every opportunity to work together, building bridges and exploring new avenues of partnership between our churches, schools and local ministries.” “I’m excited to have our new board members join us,” said Mark Muehl, Executive Director of TLSP. “We continue to seek the insights and direction of a broad constituency.” TLSP also says thank you to its outgoing Directors- Karl Davis (St Paul- FW), Rev. Doug Punke (Zion-FW and LSUS) and John Weber (SPI, Central). Each of these Directors have served TLSP for 6 years, leaving the BOD because of term limits. “Each of our outgoing board members have been dedicated, insightful members of TLSP,” Muehl said. “We are thankful for their strong leadership and look forward to their ongoing support of Lutheran schools and TLSP.”
Funding the Mission
Mark Muehl | May 18, 2016
Commissioning Service Held for Lutheran Schools Service Project
Lutheran Schools Send Off Shipping Container That Will Become A Library And Resource Room On Monday, May 16 at 9:30 am, students at area Lutheran Schools held a commissioning service for a 40-foot shipping container destined to become a library in Liberia. The commissioning service marked the completion of their Kids Love Liberia service project and was held at Lutheran South Unity School. Through the Kids Love Liberia school project, students prepared a 40-foot shipping container, filled with school, construction and medical supplies. The container will be converted into a community library space and resource room when it arrives in Liberia. Students from Lutheran South Unity, Emmanuel St. Michael, Holy Cross, Emmaus, Ascension, Concordia Elementary, Concordia Lutheran High School, St. Peter-Immanuel, St. Paul’s, Central and St. John Lutheran in Kendallville donated supplies and volunteer hours by painting the container, sorting library books, and fundraising for the cause. The container will be shipped to a Lutheran school in Liberia under the direction of Joe Boway, a Liberian-born Fort Wayne resident and Lutheran South Unity School parent who started Lutheran schools in Liberia's more remote areas. These schools, which serve over 3500 students, are in need of additional classrooms and supplies to support their growth. Mr. Boway, who is currently in Liberia, conducted a Skype call with the students during the commissioning service. Lutheran South Unity School principal Krista Nagy said, “Our kids are having an influence on an entire country since thousands of students will use the resources we are sending to learn. They were encouraged by the fact they were not simply converting a container, but also supporting their fellow Lutheran school students to have an impact on this war torn, developing nation.” All eleven Lutheran schools participating in this project are part of The Lutheran Schools Partnership, representing Lutheran preschools, 17 elementary schools, and one high school in Northeast Indiana.
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 | May 23, 2016
Race Toward Your SGO Scholarship Goal
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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