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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 | December 2, 2018
The Lord Has Need of It
“The Lord has need of it.” The disciples said this to the colt owner as they untied the colt for Jesus parade into Jerusalem. Jesus told his disciples exactly what to do, what would happen, and how to respond. Lo and behold, it came to be just as Jesus said. Jesus command might seem a bit presumptuous. The colt wasn’t the disciples’ but Jesus told them to bring it to him. The disciples were simply told to respond to “What’s up?” with “Jesus needs it.” Very simply, what colt has Jesus asked you to give? What challenge has He placed on you to demonstrate love for one another?   Our schools will provide ample opportunities in the weeks to come for students to share Jesus love. Socks drives, gift giving, food bank sharing and much more will be hallmarks of how our schools will share their gifts. Here’s an additional challenge. Lutheran schools are strong ways to share Christ to kids of all ages, male and female, those of various talents and abilities. While almost trite these days, Jesus is the reason for the season. Without the celebration of Jesus birth in Bethlehem starting His walk to the cross, Christmas is no more than a holiday, a day off, a party. In no other time in our lifetimes have our Lutheran schools differentiated themselves from the culture of the day. Teaching about Jesus and encouraging a life that walks in His teachings are counterculture. Even here in Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana, it’s obvious that the options for our kids outside of Lutheran education challenge and threaten faith and life. Yet even within Lutheran circles, some have walked away from the opportunities God has given them in supporting generously the sharing of the Gospel and the peace and comfort of Christ choosing instead to direct riches granted by God towards things that do NOT have eternal ramifications. As you consider gifts for one another, please speak to your principal about unique gifting available to you in supporting Christ and His work in our schools. The gift will be a blessing to many and will be blessed by the Lord toward you as well. Also consider how you may support the unique ministry that TLSP is for the schools of northeast Indiana. We are humbled by the opportunities that God daily places in front of us in encouraging our teachers, administrators, pastors, admission counselors and board leadership. Your gift will be a great blessing to us. (http://thelutheranschools.org/support/) Paul tells the followers in Thessalonica, “...May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another...” (1 Thessalonians 3) May that blessing be to you as well.
 
Quality Education
Mark Muehl | October 4, 2018
Lutheran Spirit-School Spirit
“We’ve got spirit, yes we do!  We’ve got spirit, how about you?”  That cheer dates me, for sure, but it is still true in our Lutheran Schools.  As I write, Homecoming Week at Concordia Lutheran High School has just ended. Walking the hallways last week, I had a fun challenge trying to figure out what the theme of each dress-up day was.  One day, I saw one student dressed like a cowboy, one teacher in a Frenchman’s attire, and one student in a Hawaiian shirt.  Of course, it was Salad Dressing Day, with Western, French, and Thousand Island dressings represented. Very clever! Most, if not all, of our schools celebrate spirit week(s) sometime during the school year, with many of them being during National Lutheran Schools Week in January. However, school spirit is something that permeates our buildings throughout the year, and in many ways. The feelings of belonging and school pride and the traditions we embrace are all a part of school spirit.  Those are wonderful things, and we want our students to feel that they are a part of a close and caring school family.  We honor the traditions of our churches and schools, and we find new ways to celebrate what makes us unique. Students in our Lutheran Schools wear their school colors as part of their uniforms, as they represent their school in athletics, and when they attend school events. Their parents buy t-shirts, bags, and sports gear in the school colors, and wear them proudly.  One thing that sets our Lutheran Schools apart is the fact that much of our spirit wear is emblazoned with Scripture. I love seeing students from our schools out in the community proudly wearing their school colors, and exhibiting their faith. I also love seeing the many different vehicle decals from our schools.  My children and I notice them often as we drive around the area. We know even from a distance whether a car belongs to a family from Concordia High School, Emmaus, Wyneken, or  Ascension. It is fun to see how many Lutheran School families are out and about among us. We have a sense of shared pride in our Lutheran Schools, too. However, our identity does not come from being an Eagle, Charger, Phoenix, or Cub.  We have the unique opportunity to help students understand their identity in Christ.   Our students know that they are a part of their school family, but more importantly, they are part of the family of Christ.  They are children of God, dearly loved and forgiven. Now that is something for which we can always cheer!   Photos from Concordia High School Homecoming, taken from Facebook 10/4/2018
 
Christian Leadership
Mark Muehl | November 5, 2018
Whom Do You Fear?
David writes, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) Whether David wrote this as he first became king or if he wrote this in the close of his days onearth, David provides two major insights for school leaders- teachers, principals, board members, and committee members. First, he saw God as God and all that this means. Oh, this can be so tough for school leadership! As we are in such a strong “product and result” environment, we are easily swallowed up into a need for proving the value of our schools, our programs and even ourselves. This can quickly take the life out of ministry and make it a tremendous burden. David’s words remind us that Lutheran schools are a reflection of Christ and Christ alone. David’s declaration of “The LORD is my light” is recognition of God as THE giver of every perfect gift, of daily bread, the source of all goodness and blessing in life. While schools of any age level must be of quality to serve its families, its reason for existence distinguishes itself as Christ’s work and His impact on lives. This doesn’t minimize the responsibility of doing our best with the gifts that God gives us but it place priorities in the right place. Second, David embraced that he reflected the Light in his life....and it was not of his own accord but all thanks to God. With the confession that God is light (not just a giver of light), and the confidence that Light has power over all, including “darkness” of all kinds, we too can follow with David’s words of “Whom shall I fear?” It’s liberating to know the past, present and future are in God’s providential care. It’s also a powerful reflection that we have. Just as a full-moon can washout any number of shining stars, so our reflection of God’s love is a great influence in our community. So how does this impact ministry as we deal with contentious people and situations? Stay in the light. We know it; we teach it; we often fail to live it. Time gets away from us and we miss our personal devotions, our prayer time and sometimes even worship and Bible study. This allows for shadows to come into our lives. Instead, put these on your schedule making them a greater obligation than the monthly board meeting and quarterly voters’ meeting! Blessings to you as you find yourself lifted up (Psalm 27:6) and as you confidently share the Light.
 
Funding the Mission
Jon Dize | December 13, 2018
Charles Dickens and Fundraising in 1843
I am a big fan of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I grew up watching George C. Scott (see picture) as Ebenezer Scrooge, and more recently have found Patrick Stewart’s portrayal to be quite enjoyable and true to the story. And I have been known to be found watching Mickey Mouse’s version with Scrooge McDuck as the miser... … But have you ever read the story? I try and read my hard copy of the tale every year, and of course, I read it while wearing my fundraising hat. What I have found: even in 1843, people understood some basic fundraising techniques.  Below are some lines from the story followed by my commentary: had let two other people in. They were… pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Scrooge’s office. They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him. These two fundraisers had done some research and knew that Mr. Scrooge was a man of means with a successful company, and came in person to approach their potential donor. They didn’t just write a letter and hope for the best. And, as evident in a later chapter, these two gentlemen were not paid fundraisers, but instead were fellow businessmen of Mr. Scrooge and greeted him as an equal. Peer-to-peer fundraising by your board is always a good idea. Also, they came in pairs with one person leading the discussion and the other ready to add to the conversation when needed. “... have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Marley?” “... Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years,’ Scrooge replied. However, they hadn’t done enough research beforehand and didn’t know that one of the business namesakes had died 7 years ago. Awkward! Alas, Google was not around back then. “We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner,” said the gentleman, presenting his credentials. After sticking their foot in their mouths about the dead partner, these two gents didn’t miss a beat, and on the fly came back with a platitude and suggestion that Mr. Scrooge consider a memorial in Marley’s name. And then they provided the 1843 equivalent of their business card to Mr. Scrooge as a more formal introduction (and perhaps an additional distraction from their goof.) “At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up his pen, “it is more than usual desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who supper greatly at this present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.” After greeting the potential donor and introducing themselves, the two gentlemen present their “elevator speech” or their reason for paying Mr. Scrooge a visit in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner. “... A few of us are endeavoring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?” Next comes the reason for their visit and the ask. What better time to ask for a charitable gift when Christian charity is at its highest, and those in need are at their worst? And while they didn’t give Scrooge a specific ask, such as “Please consider sponsoring three Poor Souls in memory of dear Marley with meat and drink for only 6 shillings,” they did hint that they are current donors and asked him to support the cause as well. And they didn’t apologize for asking; in fact, they assumed Mr. Scrooge would respond positively. “Nothing!’ Scrooge replied. “You wish to be anonymous?” I love this part; the gents were not deterred by the initial “NO” and came back with a polite, impromptu counter-ask to Mr. Scrooge. “I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “... Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew. Alas, not every ASK results in a positive response, and these two gentlemen knew that Mr. Scrooge’s NO was a NO (for now), didn’t complain, and bid Mr. Scrooge a respectful goodbye. ... had not gone far, when coming on towards him he beheld the gentleman, who had walked into his counting-house the day before… “My dear sir,” said Scrooge… Allow me to ask your pardon. And will you have the goodness” -- here Scrooge whispered in his ear. “Lord bless me!” cried the gentleman… “Are you serious?” … “Don’t say anything, please,” retorted Scrooge. “Come and see me.” And here is where the two gentlemen’s work paid off: after considering their request (and after visits from several ghosts) Mr. Scrooge decided to make a generous pledge towards the effort that was much larger than expected. And you can be sure the gentleman visited Mr. Scrooge to collect on that pledge the next business day as requested. As I type this, I wonder if those two gentlemen were the ones who sent the ghosts; their ask was rejected, so maybe they reached out to their mutual contacts-- or spirits-- to persuade Mr. Scrooge to reconsider his opinion... … In any case, I hope that you agree with me that working with donors was much the same in 1843 as it is today: treat donors with respect, present you case for support, ask for the gift unapologetically, and understand that their heart may not be with your cause now. But with a bit of research and a healthy dose of prayer, you may just get more than you asked for. God bless us, everyone!
 
School Choice
Mark Muehl | April 23, 2018
Primer on School Choice
School Choice. It’s a controversial topic that is like a tsunami throughout our country. School Choice is about kindergarten through grade 12 options for education- public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling. School choice is about programs that give access to these options. School choice is about trusting parents to make the best choices for their children. It’s an exciting age that we live in. The days of choosing between the neighborhood public school or a community’s religious school is long gone. School Choice in its broadest sense has opened the doors to a variety of options for children. Public schools have created choices within their own system. Magnet schools (public schools organized around a theme such as STEM or global studies) and even local public choice have opened the door for new opportunities. Religious schools provide a stark difference in curriculum and culture that many parents desire for their children. Technology allows for new delivery methods in traditional school settings. Technology also can also support parents’ desires to homeschooling through online academies and the like, using the home’s nurturing environment to support learning. School choice programming supports parents’ ability to choose. Here are some of the ways states have made accessibility to school options possible (definitions from EdChoice)- Vouchers (choice scholarships)- Vouchers allow students to attend private school with the government providing a set amount of tuition money directly to parents for private schools. Programs vary, but in many cases, private schools accepting voucher students are not subject to most government oversight (for example- mandatory services for students with disabilities), though they often must meet certain organizational standards (for example- accreditation). Tax Credit Scholarships- Tuition tax credits can operate in different ways. One is as scholarship tax credits, which give individuals and businesses tax credits for charitable donations to private, nonprofit organizations that provide private school scholarships. Similar to vouchers, funds for these scholarships are raised and distributed in the private sector. Tax Credits- individual tax credits (or deductions), which provide families with tax benefits for private school expenses, such as tuition and textbooks. Education Savings Accounts- Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) offer “educational” choice, removing the requirement that public funds be applied to school enrollment. Instead, a state puts money into special savings accounts that parents manage for education expenses. These programs vary by state, but generally the funds represent all or some of what would otherwise be spent educating the child in a public school. The money can be used for qualifying expenses that may include private school tuition and fees, homeschooling materials, tutoring and test prep, homeschooling materials, therapeutic services, transportation, and more. Why share this quick primer on school choice? Much time could be spent in defending school choice programs. In many of our states, verbal and written battles rage on the right and wrong of school choice programs. At this point, courts have supported school choice programming but challenges continue. So for the purpose of this article, let the laws speak for themselves from state to state. But how does a Lutheran school consider the value of school choice? How does a school determine its involvement in various choice programs? What are the ramifications of such involvement? Three issues come to mind: Issue of trusting parents decisions- At its roots, school choice is about parents’ ability to choose what is best for their family. One can argue about access and about value. But if one peels aways the arguments against choice, one might conclude that school choice says to parents, “We know what’s best for your child” versus “You know what’s best for your child.”  Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), when serving as the U.S. Secretary of Education in 1992, asked, ”If we trust parents to choose child care for their children, and if we trust them to help their children choose a college to attend—and both those systems have been so successful and are so widely supported– then why do we not also trust parents to choose the best elementary and high school for their children?”  Lutheran schools have long understood that education is about partnerships- home, school and church. Children are gifts to and of family. Family is the cellular part of society- not institutions. It’s the church’s and school’s responsibility to empower, educate, and support families in their God given responsibilities. Issue of dependence- Lutheran schools are fiercely independent. School Choice participation may seem to be a challenge to that independence. Examining the programs and judging its impact on budgets, curriculum and community are important issues to dig into before choosing to be part of school choice. Choice may be beneficial short term but may be damaging long term. As is always the case, discernment is important. Issue of mission- School choice will impact mission. Schools must determine whether the program(s) support or challenge mission. Does the program offer a unique outreach opportunity? Does the program bring stipulations that can challenge statements of faith? Will the program bring a new way to support families ability to support their school and church? For our schools, for parents, the major subject is Jesus. Our schools are about the pure proclamation of the Gospel, the saving message of Christ and his redemptive work. It’s the biggest issue to address when it comes to a school’s decision to be involved in school choice....our schools are still all about Jesus.  
 
SGO
Jon Dize | October 22, 2018
Updated Thoughts on the 529 Program Changes for our Lutheran Schools
Back in January, we outlined the changes coming to the 529 plans, including the change that withdraws up to $10,000 per year are also eligible for K-12 educational expenses at private and religious schools, including our area Lutheran schools and Concordia Lutheran High School. Since that article, Indiana has modified things just a bit: The K-12 school to benefit from your 529 plan must be in Indiana In 2018, 10% of total contributions up to $500 can be for K-12 education, then in 2019, the deduction can be the full 20% up to $1,000 Reminder that in Indiana, the state tax credit cannot exceed $1,000 per family and is nonrefundable. You can see a more technical description with this Baden Article where they remind everyone that in Indiana, the state tax credit cannot exceed $1,000 per family per year and is nonrefundable. So, how can K-12 schools promote and benefit from the enhanced 529 plans? The points listed last time are still valid: Promote saving, as early as possible: wanting to send your newborn to a Lutheran school but worried about elementary school tuition? Or, do you have your K-8 costs managed, but wonder how you can afford to send Johnny to a Christ-centered high school? Start adding “Gifts to the 529” to everyone’s Christmas lists as soon as possible. The sooner you start saving, the greater the benefit from tax-free compounding interest. According to Indiana’s plan FAQ, while you cannot create a 529 account for an unborn child, you can create an account, name yourself as beneficiary, but later change the beneficiary to a future child. In Indiana, there is not a waiting period between donations and withdraws as long as the 529 account stays open for at least a year from the initial deposit date. How many other ways are there for grandparents to directly impact the education of Little Sally than helping fund their 529 plan, grow tax-free, and receive a 20% state tax credit in return?! Families pay for tuition, anyway… why not plan accordingly and receive a state tax benefit? Catch the Lutheran Spirit, save for K-12 and college education, and utilize all your options, including the SGO Program.
 
News and Events
Alicia Levitt | August 27, 2018
How We Spent Our Summer: A Back to School Essay
It’s a classic back-to-school assignment: the “how I spent my summer” journal entry, collage, picture, or essay.  While summer has provided a nice break in routine, The Lutheran Schools Partnership was not closed this summer. Here’s a taste of what we have been up to in the area of Academic Excellence while our schools were on summer break:  June was a busy month, with Learn and Lead 2018 bringing nearly 300 teachers and other staff members together for professional development.  We shared worship, received encouragement, and completed some of the trainings required for our staff members by the State of Indiana.  Later in June, eighteen educators from TLSP attended a Google Certification Academy, and many of the attendees have since received certification and badges from Google as official “Google Educators.” In July, the Indiana District Administrators Conference was held in Brown County, followed by a day of training for the new Indiana District Curriculum Team.  This team of six educators, including myself and two teachers from our TLSP schools, is developing a plan for better collaboration on excellent curriculum resources within our district.  We are thinking big and are very excited about how this project could bless our schools! July ended and August started during a big week for us- the first IT Girls Camp, led by Concordia Lutheran High School senior Hayley Grisez.  Nineteen junior high girls from our area attended the camp, which was sponsored by The Lutheran Schools Partnership. These young ladies worked with robots, coding, and each received their own mini computer, called a “raspberry pi”.  It was a real privilege to get to be a part of this exciting program! Early August also brought more required trainings.  New staff members to our schools were invited to the Indiana District office to learn more about the resources available to them through the District, TLSP, and other local support agencies.  These new staff members received Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) suicide prevention and awareness training. Lutheran Social Services of Indiana provided training on child abuse awareness and prevention.  Cecily Chandler, principal at Holy Cross Lutheran School, also led some of our school crisis teams through Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training. Summer is a break from the regular routine and pace of the school year.  However, it is also a time for thoughtful preparation. Now that the 2018-2019 school year is here, we are excited for new ways to learn and grow as we continue in school ministry together in northeastern Indiana.  May the Lord bless our efforts!
Emmaus
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