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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 | 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 13, 2017
Fundraising is...
When I was growing up in the 1970s, my older sister used to have these “Love is” characters around… for a young boy, they were quite annoying... … However, using that theme in February, I thought we could discuss just what is “fundraising”: Fundraising is NOT: Fundraising is not bake sales (cookie dough, wrapping paper, wreaths, or just about any DC trip effort)... Fundraising is not begging… Fundraising is not pickpocketing... Fundraising is not sales… Instead, Fundraising IS: Fundraising is the systematic use of limited resources to receive charitable donations (Wikipedia definition)... Fundraising is owning/managing the relationships of the organization (my favorite definition)... Fundraising is philanthropy... Fundraising is nurturing generosity... Fundraising is connecting to hearts… Fundraising is helping connect resources to needs... Fundraising is not apologizing for asking… And last, Fundraising IS vital to our schools, and vital to start now, but don’t just take my word on it: “Faith can exist without money, but religious organizations cannot.” --GW Bowersock “Most religious institutions would go bankrupt, but for the benevolence of a few major donors.” --Laurence Iannoccone Transformational fundraising takes a long time. Urgency is the enemy of fundraising.” --Eileen Savage, J Paul Getty Trust Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. --St. Francis Assisi
 
School Choice
Mark Muehl | February 6, 2017
Your Voice is Needed
Please accept this plea to be actively engaged in the support of our schools as Indiana state legislators tend to their responsibilities during this session. Many bills are under debate that could have a lasting impact on our schools--including both parent choice related bills and bills for any school in Indiana. INPEA (Indiana Non-Public Education Association) is our trusted advocate in the statehouse. Jon Mielke (our Indiana District-LCMS executive counselor for education), Jon Dize (advancement coordinator for TLSP), and Mark Muehl (executive director for TLSP) serve as board members on INPEA. As legislation effecting our schools is introduced, INPEA will inform us of our need for input and will issue a plea for action. Our legislators have many bills on their list including curriculum considerations, accreditation issues, administrative issues, and parent choice issues. YOUR VOICE MATTERS. Be it a call, email or letter, you make a difference. Here’s the latest request for help from INPEA re: House Bills (HB) Senate Bills (SB)-   Curriculum SB 337 - Ethnics Studies Course (Taylor) SB 337 would require the study of ethnic and racial groups to be included as part of each school corporation's high school United States history course. INPEA Stance: INPEA understands the desire to have this included in all US history courses, but like other curriculum bills proposed this session, we believe it over regulates and burdens our non-public schools. It is also INPEA's position that the desired content in the bill is already being taught and is included in the Indiana Academic Standards. Current Status: Referred to Senate Education Committee, will be up for amendments and vote on 2/8/17. Other bills concerning curriculum have passed the Senate.   Administration HB 1430 - Youth Suicide Prevention (Olthoff) HB 1430 would require accredited non-public schools to have certain school employees attend or participate in at least two hours of evidence based in-service youth suicide awareness and prevention training. INPEA Stance: INPEA is supportive of the intent of the legislation. We have some concerns about additional professional development requirement for teachers. INPEA hopes to work with the authors of the bill to explore alternative approaches. Current Status: Was heard by House Education Committee on 2/1/17. Will be up for House Education Committee amendments and vote soon.   Administration HB 1430 - Youth Suicide Prevention (Olthoff) HB 1430 would require accredited non-public schools to have certain school employees attend or participate in at least two hours of evidence based in-service youth suicide awareness and prevention training. INPEA Stance: INPEA is supportive of the intent of the legislation. We have some concerns about additional professional development requirement for teachers. INPEA hopes to work with the authors of the bill to explore alternative approaches. Current Status: Was heard by House Education Committee on 2/1/17. Will be up for House Education Committee amendments and vote soon. Choice   HB 1004 - Pre-Kindergarten with Choice (Behning) HB 1004 would expand early education matching grants, and expand the early education pilot program to 10 counties, up from the original 5. Allows for a grant or pilot recipient to also receive a Choice Scholarship for kindergarten the following year if the family meets the Choice Scholarship guidelines. INPEA Stance: INPEA fully supports the expansion of the early education matching grants and the prekindergarten pilot program. Additionally INPEA supports the expanded Choice pathway for pilot and grant recipients to also be eligible for Choice Scholarships. Current Status: Passed House Education Committee 9-4, on to House Floor for vote. Please take action above!   Pre-Kindergarten SB 276 - Early Education Grant Pilot Program (Holdman) SB 276 would expand the prekindergarten pilot program to include five additional counties. Expands the requirement that the FSSA carry out a longitudinal study of students who participate in the pilot program to include the students in the five additional counties. Establishes the prekindergarten pilot program fund. Makes an appropriation to the prekindergarten pilot program fund in an amount of $20 million for each fiscal year. INPEA Stance: INPEA fully supports the expansion of the early education matching grants and the prekindergarten pilot program. Current Status: Up for Senate Education Committee amendments and vote on 2/8/17   Go to INPEA’s Legislative Action Center for a link in contacting your legislators-  TAKE ACTION  
 
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 | November 11, 2016
Your Voice is Needed
The Indiana Non-Public Education Association (INPEA) is hosting a legislative engagement training meeting at the Indiana District office downtown Fort Wayne on November 17th from 6-7:30 PM. Come learn more about how to help the non-public school voice be heard. The event is open to anyone interested in connecting our parents and community with the upcoming legislative session in the new year. We invite anyone to attend this event, including pastors, administrators, student council/board members, and parents.   RSVP FOR THE TRAINING HERE November 17th, 2016 - Fort Wayne 6:00-7:30pm LCMS Indiana District 1145 S Barr St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802 We encourage all Lutheran schools to have at least one representative at this training because school choice legislation has had an impact on each of our Lutheran schools. For example: 15 of our 18 schools are benefiting from students in our schools receiving school choice scholarships (voucher). 40% of our region’s enrolled students are receiving a school choice scholarship (voucher). All schools in The Lutheran Schools Partnership (TLSP) are members of the Lutheran Scholarship Granting Organization of Indiana (LSGOI) Through school choice scholarships and/or donor tax credits, all TLSP schools are benefiting from the school choice program.   One more thought - does your school have a legislative liaison? Legislative liaisons are INPEA’s first stop for sharing important legislative information and asking for communication help. Make sure INPEA has the name and contact information for your school’s liaison. Email the information to Andrea Zimmerman at azimmerman@inpea.org
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