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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 | February 27, 2017
Be Ready to Speak
Peter writes, “...always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. (1 Peter 3:15).  Knowing the story and being ready to share it are integral to our witness. What are your ways of sharing Christ? How does technology support that effort? Social media is a marvelous way to connect with the world. I’ve reconnected with friends, family, classmates, students and colleagues thanks to Facebook. What does your profile say about you? Is it a bold confession of your faith in Christ? Do your “liked” pages reflect your faith in Christ? But while technology opens doors for witness, person to person, face to face, still is the best method for communicating. What does your presence say while communicating? My friend, Erik Palmer (@erik_palmer), has taken it upon himself to be the voice for teaching speaking skills. When I first met him, he was speaking at an ASCD convention in Washington DC on tech tools for the classroom. Now in his most recent book, Well Spoken-Teaching Speaking to All Students, Erik gives lessons for “teaching speaking to all students” including his thoughts on building a speech and performing a speech. From consideration of the audience as well as use of visuals, Erik encourages preparation for public speaking. The importance of having prepared content in our teaching and witness is important. Being “ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2) with a clear, consistent message is integral in our Christian witness. That being understood,  Well Spoken-Teaching Speaking to All Students addresses performing one’s speech. It could be argued that presenting the message is just as important as the content in our readiness to share the message. Short and sweet, delivering one’s message is about presence and presentation.   Here are 4 quick hitters from Palmer’s book- Presence/Poise- We’re not all gifted with the willingness or ability to speak in front of a group. However, we all can WORK at making sure that our presence is such that it does not distract from the message. Quiet feet as opposed to rocking back and forth provide a much more confident look. Hands that find a “home” position do no harm to a message as opposed to hands that are flicking one’s bangs away, touching one’s nose or scratching one’s ear. Poise is as much a learned skill as a state of mind. As is is the case with most skills, it needs practice. Adults in front of adults with a willingness to share thoughts on one another's speaking may be (should be?) a professional development portion of your upcoming faculty meetings! Passion- Some of us are “rah rah” people. We enjoy firing up the crowd and energizing them with a stirring speech. Others? Not so much. However, lack of passion or over-exuberance can be detriments to our ability to share the Gospel. While we know that it is God’s Spirit who moves in His word to accomplish what it sees fit, I hope you share my prayer that I do my part to stay out of His way and let his will to be done, rather than inhibit. In his book, Erik emphasizes “life in the voice.” He encourages emphasis of certain words and phrases for effect. What are the words and phrases of your Christian witness that aren’t just a personal desire to share but point others to the cross? Eye contact as part of presence- (see presence and poise!). I confess that outside of sports, the tv shows I watch most often are singing related. While most of the commentaries are about as worthless as the canned audience participation, one valuable piece of coaching that often comes up is connecting with the audience and that usually means making eye contact. Eye contact engages. I once had a pastor who never looked at me when he talked to me or as I was talking. He was always looking elsewhere- out the door, out the window. I was sure he had better things to do than converse with me. What does our eye contact say about sharing our faith? Do we look ashamed? Do we look too intense? Are we looking for someone else to talk to? Or are we reading our imaginary script? Pacing- Pacing is not just about speed. It includes speed- too fast of a pace can be exhausting! Too slow of a pace can be....exhausting in different way! But pacing is all about understanding and how speed can enhance that understanding. It’s not wise to hurry through the message just to say it’s shared. Meaningful sharing involves a sort of formative assessment and pacing reflects a response to this assessment. For many reasons, purchase Erik’s book, Well Spoken: Teaching Speaking to All Students. It’s a fabulous resource. And be ready to speak, speak the truth in love, and speak boldly of the grace that has been given to you.  
 
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 | January 30, 2017
One Thing's Needful
Unique dress days. Coin wars to support mission projects. Worshiping together.  Special lunch menus. Field trips. Those are some of the things we usually think of when celebrating National Lutheran Schools Week and all of these things, plus a whole lot more, were present during last week’s NLSW festivities.  This past week, many also took time to thank God for their own personal experiences with Lutheran schools and the influence of teachers, coaches and pastors.  For me, I remember Miss Kopishke and my Dad, both who encouraged me to be a Lutheran teacher. I also give thanks for Immanuel in Marshfield, WI and Concordia in Chicago for my elementary schooling and my college education. All the aforementioned have provided God’s direction to me through Lutheran education. And, so NLSW concluded. It was a week to remember. As the week came to a close, I was reminded that life in Christ is what we teach, what we preach, and what we live. It’s a cradle to grave ministry. This week, that fact was very apparent. Monday I had the honor to share the homily at Concordia Lutheran High School’s chapel service. Through baptism hymnody (God’s Own Child I Gladly Say It, Baptized into Your Name Most Holy) and a reflection on the Aaronic Blessing (Numbers 6:24-27), God’s face shone brightly upon those gathered. While 2000 years ago, God turned his face on his only begotten because of the shame and guilt of the sin Jesus carried to the cross, we--the redeemed--share the blessings of God’s name being placed upon us through His Word and through baptism. Usually, in this grace-filled tone of new life, life in Christ is celebrated as life on earth, in communion with one another, in grace, in peace. As a school community, we live out this life in Christ with worship, with devotions, with prayer, and with other reflections on God’s Word. But it’s also acted out in our mission projects and in behavior management plans that are centered on confession and absolution, of living out the Christian’s life of repentance. However, on Friday of last week, life in Christ was seen as a new beginning realizing the hope that we teach in a more harsh way. On Friday, I worshiped with hundreds who were mourning the death of their teacher, colleague, and friend (preschool teacher of St Michael, Michelle Wolfer). Worship to start the week; worship to end the week. Jesus at the beginning; Jesus at the end. This worship was unique. In this worship, we celebrated a race complete, a joy mixed with mourning. It could have been a very sad time. It could have been time to dwell on cancer as the evil it is. It could have been a time to find some type of success story lined with Michelle’s accomplishments and all the lives she touched. In true Lutheran fashion, the message instead was about life. It was the same message Lutheran students need and that they hear every day. Because the message was not about Michelle’s doings, but Christ’s doings. The message of the day was baptism- and it was unmistakeable in words and in the baptismal pall that draped Michelle’s casket. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” What makes Lutheran schools unique? It better be all about Jesus. Michelle showed us that on Friday. Because as cancer had taken most everything away from her, the one thing left was the only thing needed- Jesus. As this new week gets started, let’s keep Christ at the forefront.   “Nothing have I, Christ, to offer, You alone, my highest good. Nothing have I, Lord, to proffer But Your crimson-colored blood. Your death on the cross has death wholly defeated And thereby my righteousness fully completed; Salvation’s white raiments I there do obtain, And in them in glory with You I shall reign.” Hymn #536, One Thing's Needful
 
Funding the Mission
Jon Dize | February 22, 2017
Committees and Endowments
  One of the committees organized by The Lutheran Schools Partnership is our Advancement Committee; this group, comprised of community members, TLSP board members, and Partner school fundraising staff, helps identify fundraising efforts that TLSP can promote and partner with our Partners schools. So many activities can be cost-prohibitive for a school to consider on their own; TLSP can therefore pull its resources to help all schools. One item determined important was creating a short video to explain and promote gifts to endowments. Studies show that only about ⅓ of our congregations and school families understand what an endowment is; but with The Lutheran Foundation providing a very important match for our schools, it is important for more supporters to learn more about this topic… and when a dollar can turn into three dollars, we find that very important! As outlined in my previous article HERE, most of our Partner schools are planning dinner/auctions in the next couple of months, and most of them will designate all or part of their event proceeds to meet their endowment matches. We decided to provide schools with a cost-effective and succinct way to promote their endowment efforts at these events and at in church, but without the cost to create their own video. Want to be one of the first to see the video? Want to learn more about how endowments work? Curious about The Lutheran Foundation’s match? Watch the 1:40 minute video above and let us know what you think. “Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities… The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said…. When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses…” -- Genesis 41:47-56 Picture credit: Life, December 1947
 
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.
 
SGO
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 | March 13, 2017
2017 Indiana Lutheran Schools State Basketball Tournament
In February, Lutheran schools from all over the state competed in the annual Indiana Lutheran Schools Athletic Association’s State Basketball (ILSAA) tournament in Fort Wayne, IN. ILSAA is a non-profit organization that sponsors annual Christian based sports competitions for Indiana Lutheran middle schools. The tournament included 10 grade school boys teams and 12 grade school girls teams. Over the weekend of February 24-26, a total of 36 games were played at 5 area Lutheran schools including Concordia Elementary, Holy Cross Lutheran School, St. Peter’s Lutheran School, Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School, and Concordia Lutheran High School. After an exciting weekend of basketball, state champions were crowned in the main gym at Concordia Lutheran High School. In the boys division, Immanuel, Seymour defeated Lutheran South Unity School, Fort Wayne to win the championship. In the girls division, St. John Sauers, Seymour defeated Emmanuel-St. Michael, Fort Wayne for the championship. Congratulations also goes out to the team sportsmanship winners: St. Paul’s, Bremen for the boys and Lutheran Central, Brownstown for the girls.      
Emmaus
Emmanuel St. Michaels
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