The Lutheran Schools https://www.thelutheranschools.org/ 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! en-us Mon, 11 Nov 2019 06:00:32 -0500 Mon, 11 Nov 2019 06:00:32 -0500 THE WINDOW IS OPEN!!! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-window-is-open Sun, 10 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0500 developer@gotobig.com (admin) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-window-is-open A second window is now open for families to take advantage of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program. 15 of our 19 Lutheran schools are in the Indiana Choice Program. These schools provide great opportunities for families to consider for the learning needs of their kids.

Interested parents can first take a look at Indiana Choice Scholarships and click “Parents/Guardians” to check out the document called “Second Period Application How to Apply”

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Mark of Excellence https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/mark-of-excellence Sun, 03 Nov 2019 00:30:00 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/mark-of-excellence One of the great strengths of the schools within The Lutheran Schools Partnership is their desire to use all the gifts the Lord has given them in order to excel at what they do. One mark of excellence is accreditation. While there are multiple systems of accreditation, and some of our schools use more than one, the benchmark for excellence as a Lutheran school is National Lutheran Schools Accreditation, or NLSA.

National Lutheran Schools Accreditation is an evidence-based accreditation process in which schools must submit numerous evidences in seven domains: Purpose, Relationships, Leadership, Professional Personnel, Teaching and Learning, Student Services, and Facilities. Schools undertake an extensive self-study of these areas, and then an accreditation team visits the school to review the evidence, do classroom observations, and meet with school constituents. Schools are then applauded for their strengths, affirmed in the areas of growth they have self-identified, and given additional feedback to support and strengthen their ministry. The Indiana State Board of Education recognizes NLSA as an approved third-party accreditation. Details on NLSA and its processes can be found on its website.

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Masterpiece https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/masterpiece Sun, 03 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/masterpiece I discovered in college that art was enjoyable. I don’t remember art as a favorite in elementary school and I am sure I had no art classes in high school. But in college, 2D art and Teaching Art were two classes I vividly remember. Contour line drawing, doing color studies and studying various artists helped me appreciate art.

As an example, consider Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh was a Dutch artist who created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. However, outside of his obvious creative talent, Van Gogh had his issues; alcoholism and depression haunted him. But to be sure as an artist, he created many masterpieces.

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It has to be said this week https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/it-has-to-be-said-this-week Mon, 28 Oct 2019 08:28:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/it-has-to-be-said-this-week While Christians of all types fight side by side for religious liberty, conscience and life issues, there remains a basic truth that distinguishes. The truth of the Reformation still stands. We are justified for Christ's sake, apart from our works, apart from the works of any saints. It is Christ alone.

The centurion stands at the foot of the cross and confesses, "Surely this man was righteous." There is no one righteous, no not one, except for our Lord Jesus. So it happened upon the cross that our Lord was forsaken by his own Father; he was judged guilty that we might be pardoned. He received the verdict that rightly belonged to us.

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Eric Palmer - Happy Birthday TLSP https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/eric-palmer-happy-birthday-tlsp Mon, 21 Oct 2019 23:30:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/eric-palmer-happy-birthday-tlsp

https://erikpalmerconsulting.com/about/

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Pray https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/pray Mon, 14 Oct 2019 01:00:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/pray Scripture Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 ESV

17 pray without ceasing,

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Mark Muehl - Happy Birthday TLSP https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/mark-muehl-happy-birthday-tlsp Tue, 08 Oct 2019 08:00:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/mark-muehl-happy-birthday-tlsp ]]> Are Lutheran schools worth it? YES https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/are-lutheran-schools-worth-it-yes Sun, 29 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/are-lutheran-schools-worth-it-yes Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”—Matthew 10:29-31

One of the first thing that the Saxon immigrants did when they settled in Perry County (Missouri) was to build a school to educate their children. While much has changed since that first Lutheran school, the need for children to be instructed in God’s Word and world has not changed. However, we live in a different era where the challenges facing the operation of Lutheran schools are great. Here are just a few examples:

    Recruitment and retention of qualified, Lutheran teachersRecruitment and retention of studentsRecruitment of qualified board membersFundingCurriculum developmentDeferred maintenanceMarketingUtilization of technologyParental supportCongregational support

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Podcast Newsletter https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/podcast-newsletter Sat, 28 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/podcast-newsletter Drive to school. Drive to work. Drive to church. Drive to the grocery store. Drive to the soccer field. Many days, I feel like a taxi driver or an extension of my vehicle. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that in 2017, Americans spent an average of 51 minutes per day in their vehicles. That is a lot of time! Lately, I have found a way to use my minivan time more meaningfully - I’m listening to podcasts.

Podcasts are digital audio files which you can download from the internet to listen to on a computer or mobile device. Basically, they are like radio shows anyone can listen to, anywhere. In my case, I use the podcast app on my mobile phone, and listen to them through the Bluetooth in my car. Through the podcast app, I can search for topics of interest or specific podcasts, by name.

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Custodians of Treasures https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/custodians-of-treasures Mon, 23 Sep 2019 09:19:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/custodians-of-treasures The Roman statesman Marcus Tullisu Cicero is quoted as saying, “Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.”

I’ve heard countless times of accounts from pastors who have shared of folks with dementia or other failing memory issues the wonderful ability to recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, parts of the historical liturgy, Psalms and hymns. Why? These things were more than committed to memory but became part of who they were.

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Why Choose Lutheran Schools, Part 3: The Middle School Years https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/why-choose-lutheran-schools-part-3-the-middle-school-years Mon, 16 Sep 2019 01:00:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/why-choose-lutheran-schools-part-3-the-middle-school-years Ah, middle school. Do you remember that time in your life, or have you blocked it out? Many years later, I can finally look back on the awkwardness of those years with laughter. I also remember some of the difficult experiences that characterized that time in my life, see how much growth and development occurred, and recognize how it shaped me as a person today.

Middle school is a period that can be characterized as full of change. The adjustments physically, socially, and emotionally can be overwhelming at times. So much seems out of the control of a middle schooler, just as they desire to take on more control in their own lives. The addition of social media to the mix certainly has not made this an easier time in the lives of our young people.

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Rejoice Always https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rejoice-always Sun, 08 Sep 2019 08:00:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rejoice-always Scripture Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 ESV

Woohoo! Another school year is underway. The excitement of a new school year, a new teacher, new students, fresh paint, shiny floors and a clean slate bring great joy to administrators and teachers, parents and kids. It’s akin to the budding flowers and new green grass of a midwestern spring. There’s a newness that allows for renewed perspective and a bounce in one’s step. However, the buzz-kill usually comes at midterm when the realities of grading papers, the results of classroom performance and the reactions of parents and kids come roaring in with anger, frustration and defensiveness.

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Why Choose Lutheran Schools: The Elementary Years https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/why-choose-lutheran-schools-the-elementary-years Sun, 01 Sep 2019 01:00:00 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/why-choose-lutheran-schools-the-elementary-years Elementary school, usually categorized as including grades K or 1-5, sets the stage for young people in so many ways. Many positive characteristics can be seen in the elementary years. Students in these grades are growing academically by leaps and bounds, developing strong foundations in reading and math, and ready themselves to a deeper dive into new concepts. Students look up to their teachers and want to be like them in many ways. Students in these grades often love to help their parents, their teachers, their fellow students, and others.

Many reasons exist for choosing a Lutheran education in the elementary years. First, the smaller class sizes and well-qualified teachers often help students experience above-average academic growth. Setting the stage for future academic success is a tremendous responsibility that our teachers take seriously.

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Hope in a Hurting World https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/hope-in-a-hurting-world Wed, 28 Aug 2019 16:21:00 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/hope-in-a-hurting-world On August 2nd, teachers and staff new to schools in The Lutheran Schools Partnership were invited to participate in a day of professional development to help them meet some of the requirements set forth for school staff by the State of Indiana. This day of training was filled with topics that aren’t easy to hear about or discuss- suicide, child abuse, and human trafficking. Our world is hurting, and our youth are showing the signs. It is vital for our schools to have people trained to recognize those who need help, and to share the love of Christ with all.

Teachers and school staff first participated in QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer training on suicide awareness and prevention. They heard the sobering statistics on suicide rates in Indiana, which include a rise in suicide each of the last twelve years. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that this problem is on the rise among young people. QPR training meets Indiana’s requirement to have staff trained in an evidence-based approach to recognizing those who are at risk, reaching out, finding resources, and connecting people in need with appropriate help.

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SGO Results and Causes https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-results-and-causes Sun, 25 Aug 2019 23:30:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-results-and-causes The fiscal year has ended for the SGO program. As of June 30, donors across the Indiana supported SGO scholarships with over $21 million in donations resulting in nearly $11 million in SGO credits awarded to Indiana residents.

This is a reason to celebrate! But wait, most SGO organizations are not dancing in the streets. Why? Because last fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, there were over $12 million in credits awarded to Indiana donors. Giving appeared to have gone down between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years. Indeed, our Lutheran SGO of Indiana raised about $500,000 less in donations this past year.

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Giving USA 2019 Report on 2018, Part 3: Where do We go from Here https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-usa-2019-report-on-2018-part-3-where-do-we-go-from-here Sun, 18 Aug 2019 23:30:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-usa-2019-report-on-2018-part-3-where-do-we-go-from-here We are last post look at the Giving USA 2019 Report.

Part 1 summarized where 2018 generosity came from. Part 2 looked at where the charitable dollars went in America.

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Giving USA 2019 Report on 2018, Part 2: Where is the Giving Going https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-usa-2019-report-on-2018-part-2-where-is-the-giving-going Sun, 11 Aug 2019 23:30:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-usa-2019-report-on-2018-part-2-where-is-the-giving-going We are on Part 2 of a three-part look at the Giving USA 2019 Report. While Part 1 summarized where 2018 generosity came from, this post will look at where the charitable dollars went in America.

What the report tells us from 2018 trends:

    29% of all giving went to religion. This is giving to congregations, denominations, missionary societies, and religious media.14% of all giving went to education. K-12, college, seminaries, etc.12% to human services.The remaining 45% in donations were directed to foundations, 10% to health, pubic benefit, international affairs, arts, environment, animals, and individuals. See the report on the right.

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Giving USA 2019 Report on 2018, Part 1 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-usa-2019-report-on-2018-part-1 Sun, 04 Aug 2019 23:30:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-usa-2019-report-on-2018-part-1 Every year, Giving USA produces a report on charitable giving in America. The 2019 full report came out about a month ago. Giving USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive report of its kind in America, is published by Giving USA Foundation, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute. It is researched and written by University of Indiana Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

While you can read my post on last year’s report, let’s look at this year’s data and focus on the where generosity is coming from.

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The IT Girls https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-it-girls Thu, 27 Jun 2019 09:53:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-it-girls This Summer, CLHS graduate Hayley Grisez is running her second year of The IT Girls, a technology camp for middle school girls. In spring last year, CLHS tech services director and teacher Scott Storm recommended Hayley for the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Award and won District Honorable Mention. This year, Hayley earned the District Award which also made available an entry into NCWIT’s AspireIT program. Thanks to NCWIT, Hayley applied, earned the chance and then won a grant for informational technology and its connection with the social issues of women in the workplace. With the partnering of The Lutheran Schools Partnership staff of Alicia Levitt and Mark Muehl and the support of Mr. Storm, Hayley created the curriculum, made a budget, made an entire marketing effort, recruited assistants for the camp, recruited participants, and covered all the details the grant demanded for a second year.

What was Hayley’s motivation? “I love technology and I enjoy seeing the girl’s eyes light up when they figure out the next challenge or know that they can do something techy”. The IT Girls easily got on board with Hayley’s excitement and the first year of camp was fantastic! This year participants will work with Scratch coding, explore Java programming and work with Lego Mindstorm Robots. Their big project will be working with circuits and conductive paint!

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Beyond Islands https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/beyond-islands Sun, 16 Jun 2019 21:17:00 -0400 jessican@tlspartnership.org (Jessica Neuman) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/beyond-islands Technically the IDCI - Social Studies Curriculum Team finished three days ago. However, I can’t stop thinking about the great experience I had being a part of this team and pilot program. I had the opportunity to work on something bigger than my own classroom. Together we worked to create something that could be used not just by ourselves but by other teachers and classrooms. This Social Studies Curriculum we created will be made available to pilot schools this Fall. These schools will use the curriculum and critique and leave notes for revision before this curriculum is made available district wide in the Fall of 2020.

Here was something I poured passion into. I am passionate about teaching and helping students grow of course, but I am especially passionate about Lutheran Education. Here was the opportunity to work on something that was not only for the efforts of teaching students Social Studies and meeting standards, but something that was especially for us in our Lutheran Schools. A curriculum that was challenging and goal-setting but also Lutheran. Distinctly Lutheran with faith tie-ins to each unit. In Lutheran Schools we know Jesus isn’t a subject that gets taught in a 40 minute block. Jesus is throughout our day and here was the chance to help fuse Jesus into Social Studies.

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Monday Morning Musings https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/monday-morning-musings Mon, 10 Jun 2019 00:36:00 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/monday-morning-musings A few months ago, at the suggestion of John Schoedel, I started sending weekly fundraising sound bites on Monday mornings. Maybe a quote I read recently, perhaps a link to a good article, etc. I send it to our Partner school cohort; those who are responsible for fundraising at area schools. I also send it to some of our TLSP committee members.

Here is a recent MMM:

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How to Find your Roy, Who’s Parking your Car, and other Gems from Learn & Lead 2019 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-to-find-your-roy-whos-parking-your-car-and-other-gems-from-learn-lead-2019 Thu, 06 Jun 2019 09:53:00 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-to-find-your-roy-whos-parking-your-car-and-other-gems-from-learn-lead-2019 We just wrapped our 3rd annual “Learn & Lead: Marketing and Fundraising in the Fort” conference.

Or was it a retreat?

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Addressing the Anxiety Problem https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/addressing-the-anxiety-problem Sun, 02 Jun 2019 22:23:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/addressing-the-anxiety-problem In a recent post entitled Three Ways to Relieve Teen Anxiety Today, Tim Elmore provides insights and suggestions for addressing the growing issue of teen anxiety. As usual, Mr Elmore’s article provides observations and input from research and interviews of educators throughout the United States. In this article he notes three major culprits for high anxiety for today’s teens (probably true for younger kids as well....and maybe even adults?) and suggests activities and changes that can provide help. The three culprits-

1) Sedentary Lifestyles

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How TLSP is Leading and Reading for Success https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-tlsp-is-leading-and-reading-for-success Thu, 30 May 2019 08:02:00 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-tlsp-is-leading-and-reading-for-success I am always looking for ways to help our Partner schools be Champions of fundraising.

For the second year in a row, I purchased a book for everyone tasked with fundraising at our schools and led a weekly book club on Wednesdays in our ACE room at Concordia Lutheran High School (see last year’s Book Club article here.) Many attended, some called in, and others read the book on their own due to scheduling issues (we hope to record the discussions in the future.)

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Reflecting on Another School Year https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/reflecting-on-another-school-year Sun, 26 May 2019 22:13:00 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/reflecting-on-another-school-year The end of the school year has come, and rather quickly, it seems! The final days of a school year are often filled with many emotions. Joy, sorrow, regret, fulfillment, and more can mingle together in our hearts and minds. As students, teachers, and parents say goodbye to a school year, the way we reflect upon the year can be a powerful tool.

Recent research on the topic of reflection by Dr. Carol Dweck, Dr. David Yeager, and others has focused on how reflection affects our mindset and ability to change our thinking. When we intentionally reflect on an experience by thinking or talking about it and especially by writing about it, our ability to grow and learn from that experience increases significantly (Dweck, et al., 2014).

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The Secret Sauce in Lutheran Education: Champions and Chapel Services https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-secret-sauce-in-lutheran-education-champions-and-chapel-services Thu, 23 May 2019 12:38:00 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-secret-sauce-in-lutheran-education-champions-and-chapel-services While not related directly to fundraising, I would like to share how much I enjoy visiting our school chapel services and what it all means to me.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the chapel service of Central Lutheran School in New Haven on May 15, 2019.

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Where Do You Turn https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/where-do-you-turn Mon, 20 May 2019 14:12:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/where-do-you-turn Google?

Youtube?

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Persistence https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/persistence Mon, 20 May 2019 10:20:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/persistence “I do not like that Sam I am.”

“I would not eat them here or there, I would not eat them anywhere.”

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Excellence in Teaching https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/excellence-in-teaching Wed, 15 May 2019 09:28:00 -0400 jessican@tlspartnership.org (Jessica Neuman) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/excellence-in-teaching This past week we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week, a chance to thank teachers who work so hard to educate and shape our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. When we think back to our favorite teachers we often think about those teachers who think outside of the box. The teachers who often are our most memorable, are the ones who not only challenge us academically, but also make us think differently about ourselves. One of those teachers is Jon Bolt.

Jon Bolt teaches Science to middle schoolers at Central Lutheran School in New Haven. That, in and of itself, can seem like a large task, but Jon takes the subject of Science and uses it to also teach the faith. “Anything we look at we can see the hand of God,” he remarked. “We talk about Jesus whenever we can. Biology, evolution, volcanoes and then look at what Scripture says. Everything points to God. These are easy opportunities to integrate faith.”

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Clarity-Confidence-Courage https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/clarity-confidence-courage Wed, 08 May 2019 15:31:00 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/clarity-confidence-courage Clarity turns into Confidence turns into Courage. Pastor Henry Graf has preached on these words several times.

That sentence is hard to say three times fast, but after posting those lines on Linkedin recently I realized they have powerful applications for fundraising at our schools and churches.

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Attend Learn & Lead 2019 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/attend-learn-lead-2019 Mon, 29 Apr 2019 00:00:47 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/attend-learn-lead-2019 It's time again for our annual Learn and Lead, a conference for area schools, churches, RSOs, and other faith-based nonprofits. Staff, boards, committees, etc. can all benefit. And you can send staff to one day, both days, or either day. We have discount codes available, so contact us at 260-203-4510 or jond@tlspartnership.org. To sign up, visit here.

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Trumpets Will Sound https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/trumpets-will-sound Mon, 22 Apr 2019 06:03:30 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/trumpets-will-sound 1 Corinthians 15: 51,52- Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

Why weren’t there trumpets at the Resurrection of Jesus? There was an earthquake. There were angels. There was an empty tomb. But no trumpets.

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For You. https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/for-you Mon, 15 Apr 2019 04:48:04 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/for-you It’s personal, isn’t it? It’s not glitzy. It’s not novel in any way.

But “for you” are two simple words that make it clear what Jesus is all about and what Holy Week demonstrates.

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How Much Are Volunteers Worth? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-much-are-volunteers-worth Mon, 08 Apr 2019 00:10:16 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-much-are-volunteers-worth According to the annual study by Independent Sector, the value of Volunteer Time is $24.69 per hour, up 2.2% from last year.

What?

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The "Jen Promotional"​ Scam -- or Gem -- and its Application to Fundraising https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-jen-promotional-scam-or-gem-and-its-application-to-fundraising Thu, 04 Apr 2019 20:19:48 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-jen-promotional-scam-or-gem-and-its-application-to-fundraising Recently I posted an article on Linkedin that I would like to share with our TLSP friends, schools, and churches as well.

The Wall Street Journal recently posted an article about a promotional/junk mail effort sent to pregnant women around the country from someone named "Jen". It appeared to be a handwritten note from a friend named Jen who provided some free gift cards. Sounded innocent enough.

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Teaching Waiting for Life and Faith https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teaching-waiting-for-life-and-faith Mon, 01 Apr 2019 05:35:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teaching-waiting-for-life-and-faith Waiting. One can conclude it gets us in line with God’s will.

In his book, Therefore I Have Hope, Cameron Cole writes about the death of his young son. The following is an excerpt from the book and describes what he determined was the only way he and his wife could heal from the death of their son-

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NonCash may be the New King https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/non-cash-may-be-the-new-king Mon, 25 Mar 2019 06:06:23 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/non-cash-may-be-the-new-king Last week I wrote on the need for churches and schools to have ways to accept bank cards.

Next, let’s talk “noncash” gifts, such as stocks and mutual funds. For donation information like this, I go to the research of people like Professor Russell James, J.D., Ph.D, CFP, director of graduate studies in Charitable Financial Planning and holds the CH Foundation Chair in Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University.

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Cash, We Will Miss Thee https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/cash-we-will-miss-thee Sun, 17 Mar 2019 22:49:00 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/cash-we-will-miss-thee In my work with our area Lutheran schools I often note that I am nearly 50 years old and I don’t have a checkbook anymore; regardless of the fact that my Wells Fargo account turned into Flagstar in 2019 and I didn’t bother to order any checks, I still haven’t had much use for checks in several years. I find myself using a debit card whenever possible.

According to a Fed­eral Re­serve sur­vey in Oc­to­ber 2017, cash only rep­re­sented 30% of all trans­ac­tions, and that percentage has probably decreased since then.

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Endowment Match and Video https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/endowment-match-and-video Thu, 14 Mar 2019 20:15:41 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/endowment-match-and-video To help our Partner schools promote their endowment match challenge from The Lutheran Foundation, we created this video and infographic below. Let us know what you think!

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Faithful Focus https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/faithful-focus-1 Mon, 11 Mar 2019 07:06:07 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/faithful-focus-1 The lament of Asaph in Psalm 73 gives us a glimpse of what happens when our eyes turn toward our own success and for measures that are earthly. “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” What Asaph saw with his eyes were successes and happiness. He was frustrated that “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.” Asaph was valuing pleasure, prestige and possessions as measurements of success. It appears that as Christians, we need to come to grips with a Biblical teaching of success. It might just be that we need to look at something other than the ledger. (See this article for more on that.)

Rick Warren suggests “three antidotes” (https://pastors.com/temptations-success/) to what he calls, “success temptations.” He includes- integrity, generosity and humility. Each of these seem to stem from a driven character that is above board, seeks to improve the world around him and doesn’t seek fame.

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Faithful Focus https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/faithful-focus Mon, 11 Mar 2019 06:43:40 -0400 jessican@tlspartnership.org (Jessica Neuman) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/faithful-focus The lament of Asaph in Psalm 73 gives us a glimpse of what happens when our eyes turn toward our own success and for measures that are earthly. “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” What Asaph saw with his eyes were successes and happiness. He was frustrated that “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.” Asaph was valuing pleasure, prestige and possessions as measurements of success. It appears that as Christians, we need to come to grips with a Biblical teaching of success. It might just be that we need to look at something other than the ledger (reference- link to 3/3 post).

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It’s Thrivent Choice Time Again! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-thrivent-choice-time-again Thu, 07 Mar 2019 05:13:47 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-thrivent-choice-time-again If you are a Thrivent Financial member, that is, you have investments and certain insurance products, you can direct charitable dollars to approved charities. Both The Lutheran Schools Partnership and The Lutheran SGO of Indiana can receive those donations.

But you have to decide before March 31, or you lose those dollars to direct! (if mailing, you have until March 17; if by phone, March 29; online is March 31.)

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Can Success Fool Us? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/can-success-fool-us Mon, 04 Mar 2019 07:57:58 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/can-success-fool-us Often, adversity strengthens us, while success can fool us.

In the Global Leadership Summit of 2018, Rasmus Ankersen (chairman of Danish Football Club Midtjylland), spoke to the struggles of gaining and maintaining success. He shared the assumption that good results come from superior performance. However, this is not a good assumption to draw. As an example, he shared the success of the 2011-12 Newcastle football team- success which ownership attributed to new contracts and good performance. For many years before, Newcastle labored in, at best, 10th position. When 2011-12 was completed and the team finished 5th, management was sure the good times were going to roll. They didn’t make any changes and were ready for years of success. Their assumption was the good standings came from excellent performance. In reality, when the following year found them finishing in 16th position, it was found that their success could largely be based on luck. Even though they had fewer shots on goals, fewer accumulated goals and a low goals scored vs goals allowed ratio, they had rung up a good year of wins in 2011-12. Really, one could say, Newcastle got lucky and was blinded by success. Lucky rolls and some tight wins skewed the ledger to show success. The statistics told a different story. Since management was blinded by its success, it failed to see the winning year was due more to a trip, a fall or a lucky post kick. Since then, Newcastle has continued its losing ways.

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School Endowment March Challenge Explained Visually x2 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-endowment-march-challenge-explained-visually-x2 Sat, 02 Mar 2019 00:38:31 -0500 jessican@tlspartnership.org (Jessica Neuman) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-endowment-march-challenge-explained-visually-x2 ]]> Thanks, Thrivent (Again) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thanks-thrivent-again Mon, 25 Feb 2019 03:16:30 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thanks-thrivent-again During the fiscal year, The Lutheran SGO of Indiana will receive notice of matching gifts… gifts from employers that match (or double-match) donations received from their employees and retirees.

This week we received notice of another batch of matching gifts, this time from Thrivent Financial employees. A review of the matching information site shows that and we received nearly $54,000 in matching dollars from Thrivent in 2018... $54,000!

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The Magic of the SGO https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-magic-of-the-sgo Mon, 18 Feb 2019 08:07:14 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-magic-of-the-sgo We have had donors label the SGO program as “magical”; why is that?

When you donate to the Lutheran SGO, you get a 50% State tax credit that carries forward for 9 years should you be eligible for more SGO credits than you need. This is true whether you itemize or not.

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Religious Liberty White Paper https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/religious-liberty-white-paper Mon, 11 Feb 2019 08:16:49 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/religious-liberty-white-paper The Indiana Non-Public Education Association (INPEA) supports the religious diversity and religious liberties of our member school communities.

Every child is an individual, and every student arrives at school with a unique set of abilities, needs, and goals. That’s why the diversity of Indiana’s schools is one of our state’s greatest strengths. Hoosier families choose from a broad range of school types, academic settings, and educational programs. The choices available in Indiana help ensure that every child’s individual needs are met.

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SGO Results 2018-19 Part 1 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-results-2018-19-part-1 Thu, 31 Jan 2019 07:22:23 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-results-2018-19-part-1 Now that the “donation deluge” of December is over and accounted for, here’s a summary of how SGO fundraising is going among the 53 schools in our family of schools.

What does this mean for you and for our schools?

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Celebrating National Lutheran Schools Week 2019 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/celebrating-national-lutheran-schools-week-2019 Mon, 28 Jan 2019 05:49:57 -0500 jessican@tlspartnership.org (Jessica Neuman) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/celebrating-national-lutheran-schools-week-2019 This week is one of my favorite weeks of the school year - National Lutheran Schools Week. If you walk into one of our local Lutheran Schools this week, chances are you’ll find students and teachers dressed differently than usual. Some may be mismatched, some may be extra dressed up while others may just show up in their pajamas. Schools are also planning special activities. A couple schools will watch a movie as an entire school. Several are spending time and doing activities with chapel families. A few have special visitors or groups coming in for assemblies. Other schools have special lunches, talent shows, and pep rallies.

Why celebrate this week? Why not just acknowledge that Lutheran Schools are great and move on? Why do we disrupt learning times with silly outfits and activities?

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Open Houses Sunday, January 27 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/open-houses-sunday-january-27 Mon, 21 Jan 2019 09:00:02 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/open-houses-sunday-january-27 Most of the region’s Lutheran schools will host open houses next Sunday, January 27. From noon-3, schools around the region will open their doors to welcome interested folks to their buildings to share the good news about Lutheran schools.

You can help make these open houses successes.

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Life Month is About You! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/life-month-is-about-you Thu, 17 Jan 2019 19:56:47 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/life-month-is-about-you Life month is about you! You made in the image of God. You as a fellow redeemed. You as a part of the mystical body, the Church. You as a chosen person.

School leaders are first responders in our schools. School leaders tend to the grief, trauma and crisis of others on a frequent basis. This empathy for others can have a significant impact on one’s mind, body, and soul.

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Life in Christ Cares https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/life-in-christ-cares Mon, 14 Jan 2019 05:22:04 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/life-in-christ-cares Life month has other implications for life in Christ.

Consider the notion of man as the crown of creation. The crown of creation is humankind and all are made in His image- Christians and non-Christians. Though damaged through our parents’ sin in the Garden of Eden, the image of God has its influence on the whole concept of Luther’s use of “neighbor.”

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In Christ Demands Speaking for Life https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/in-christ-demands-speaking-for-life Thu, 10 Jan 2019 07:51:49 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/in-christ-demands-speaking-for-life January is Life Month. Psalm 139:13-16 will be shared multiple times, especially near January 18 when the Right to Life March occurs in Washington DC. The writer of Psalm 139 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Life Month is simply a celebration of life itself! The Giver of every perfect gift is the giver of life. His breath into clay brought about human kind. To think that of all of His creation, only in Man does God share intimate attention as He “formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7) For the rest of creation, it took God’s Word alone; for His most prized possession, the crown of creation, it was personal.

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Endowment Funds have Uses https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/endowment-funds-have-uses Sun, 06 Jan 2019 22:04:03 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/endowment-funds-have-uses It’s January when our partner schools’ attention turns from SGOs to… endowments!Thanks to an ongoing yearly matching challenge from The Lutheran Foundation, our schools can raise pre-determined levels every year from July 1 to June 1 of each year.However, based on research from Phil Meizen from The LCMS Foundation, only ⅓ of our congregation members give to endowments. What does this mean? ⅔ of those in the pews don’t understand how an endowment fund can benefit the church and school.Simply saying, endowment funds allow for future needs funded by donations today. One can also paraphrase Genesis 41 and say that endowment funding during the good years can help our schools get through the lean years. In addition, endowment funds help needed projects become reality without having to fundraise! Below are just two examples of how our local Lutheran schools are using their endowments Zion Lutheran, Decatur: New Digital Sign“It's a 16mm full color, electronic sign,” explains Mitch Hill, principal. “We purchased it with endowment funds. We also used funds for updated security cameras in the building.” St. Peter Lutheran, Fort Wayne: Renovation to the Preschool Entrance“With one of the largest preschools in Fort Wayne,” explains Tony Hunt, Director of Development for St.Peter’s,“we needed to improve the flow and safety of students in and out of the building as well as trafficcontrol during drop-off and pickup times.”And the best part is, both schools met their need when they needed it, how they needed it, thanks to the generosity of donors in the past who saw the benefits of planning for the future.Future funding for our schools is getting brighter every year.

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History and Jesus - Part II https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/history-and-jesus-part-ii Wed, 02 Jan 2019 22:54:53 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/history-and-jesus-part-ii History and PerspectiveIt’s very easy for 21st century man to be quite enamored with himself. There’s much to be proud of. The present can also misdirect us from teaching history- documented, accepted history. The reality is that history keeps us from being self-centered and self-absorbed. Psalm 77:8-14 says,“Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” SelahThen I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. SelahNote how the writer Asaph changes focus from his troubles to God’s track record. And note how the result of this change in perspective brings Selah (praise). When our eyes get off ourselves and onto all that God has done, is doing and will do our focus, our self-centered, gloomy perspective turns to one of praise for the God of all grace.And so we turn to our schools. From a humble beginning of 12 churches and 19 schools, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has grown to 1,127 Early Childhood Centers, 778 elementary schools, and 87 high schools (2018-19 data). The LCMS also operates ten universities and two seminaries. These schools educate more than 280,000 students and are taught by almost 22,000 teachers. Lutheran schools operated by the LCMS also exist in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Vietnam. (info from Wikipedia). Our present history is grounded on a nearly 180 year history in northeast Indiana. With 3950 K-12 students and 19 schools, God has blessed this region with faithfulness and perspective.It’s good to embrace and cherish our history. But even more, knowledge and appreciation for history binds us to the saints who have gone before us, who were faithful and who experienced God’s faithfulness.We too experience God’s faithfulness but we also can know with certainty, because of history, that God’s faithfulness will continue. Christmas turns us to a historical fact. God is Emmanuel- God with us- born in Bethlehem, at the time of Roman rule, at the time of a census, at the time that God chose...and that history proves.You won’t get his perspective in a public school; they can’t do it. Lutheran schools provide the reality of the transition of BC to AD. It’s all about Christ. It’s all about God’s dramatic, but humble, insertion into time and place.Our God is Emmanuel; our God is with us.Happy New Year from TLSP.

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History and Jesus - Part 1 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/history-and-jesus-part-1 Thu, 27 Dec 2018 21:58:23 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/history-and-jesus-part-1 Who Cares about History?“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John” (Luke 3)These words preclude Luke’s description of John the Baptist mission as the preparer of the way for Jesus. But of similar importance is Luke's historical context for John. John comes to Judah at a very specific time and place- times and places of history. Real times; real places.Generally, history is studied because it teaches us what we have inherited from generations of men and women before us. However, if we take time to look at the curriculum of schools today, one will see a dramatic change from studying history to studying social studies. Rather than learning about our past, we spend more time with anthropology (specifically present cultural anthropology), economics, geography, political science/government, sociology and psychology. While history is about the past, social studies is mostly about “now.” Social studies often is impacted by relativism; history however has history to interpret itself. This shift should have all Christians extremely concerned. “Who really cares about something that happened 2000 years ago” is the focus, the core for each of our lives, our schools and our future. The historical Jesus of Nazareth of 2000 years ago is the Jesus of Creation and the Jesus who Redeemed us; his earthly history is essential for us.The writer of Psalm 44 knew history, its importance and its need to be shared.

O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us,what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted;you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free;for not by their own sword did they win the land,nor did their own arm save them,but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face,for you delighted in them.

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In Search Of: $1.3 Million in Donations, 2,600 Scholarships https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/in-search-of-1-3-million-in-donations-2-600-scholarships Mon, 24 Dec 2018 06:52:03 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/in-search-of-1-3-million-in-donations-2-600-scholarships We recently ran the numbers, and $1.3 million in donations -- 2,600 potential scholarships -- were received from donors during the 2017-18 school year / 2017 tax year that has not donated yet this year. FYI, we call these report “LYBUNTs”: donors who gave Last Year BUt Not This year. The LYBUNT report is an important area to watch, for current donors are the best source for repeat donations, and we never want to lose a donor.Back to the statistics: encouraging $1.3 million in donations could translate into the following: 2,600 potential scholarships for families that want to provide a quality, Christian education in Indiana that they may not otherwise be able to afford. 2,600 scholarships for students in schools in Indiana... from Auburn to Aurora, from Woodburn to Gary, from the farm fields to the inner city, and everywhere in-between. 2,600 scholarships for students ranging from the 5-year-old kindergartener to the 18-year-old senior. P.S. Gifts must be received by Monday, December 31 for your 2018 tax year benefit.

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The Gift of Music https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-gift-of-music Thu, 20 Dec 2018 06:15:53 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-gift-of-music Martin Luther wrote, “Next to the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” It is no surprise, then, that the Lutheran church and her schools have a heritage of great music and music education. The Lutheran Schools Partnership schools are no exception.Many studies have shown the academic benefits of music education on children. Music instruction has been shown to help build reading skills, including vocabulary and verbal sequencing (Science Daily). Research also suggests that students who can keep a beat and be part of basic elementary music instruction have an advantage as they learn the rhythm of reading and language (Northwestern University).The academic benefits of music education certainly give it a worthy spot in any school’s curriculum. However, our Lutheran schools prize music for more than its academic value. Through music, we worship; we praise the God who created us, sustains us, and saves us. Through music we celebrate what He has done. Through music, we build community and celebrate. Music moves our souls. These experiences connect what we teach and confess with the emotion of music.As we near Christmas, many of our schools are working on Advent services, Christmas programs, or Christmas musicals that they share with their school, church, and broader community. Lutheran school students will share the Good News of the birth of the Savior with their families and friends through music. What sets these musical opportunities in our schools apart from other schools is the focus on Christ. The season of Advent and the Gospel message of Christmas are not forgotten, glossed over, or intentionally left out in our Lutheran schools-they are celebrated! Truly, music is a great treasure, and we are blessed to share that treasure with the students in our Lutheran schools.Photo: D. Schroeder

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She’s a Great Teacher, Charlie Brown https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/shes-a-great-teacher-charlie-brown Mon, 17 Dec 2018 07:37:16 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/shes-a-great-teacher-charlie-brown WARNING: This is an article on schools, teachers, and instruction written by a finance major.While this is not an article about alumni, I often tell our schools when considering an alumni program, that “most people have a warm-fuzzy for a K-8 teacher. Mine was Mrs.Schwartz, 3rd grade. If she called me up today for help with herclass, I would ask how soon should I get there?”In fact, I often quote this about Mrs. Schwartz and 3rd Grade when talkingabout anything good about elementary education in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 3rd grade is when kids start to see the world in a bit more realistic terms. You start to question things. You start to decide what your role will be in the world.I was recently reminded about the importance of 3rd grade when Mark Muehl and I visited a foundation in Indianapolis that focuses on improving reading in K-3 grades. As they explained, “If a child is not reading at grade level by third grade, they will never catch up.”This statement, of course, reminded me of Mrs. Schwartz.Next came memories of the “Gorillas”, the “Apes”, and the “Orangutans”. Mrs. Schwartz was customizing teaching skills to individual students needs back then: Gorillas were those more advanced in a particular subject matter and could move ahead, beyond what the rest of the class was doing. It may come as no surprise that I greatly enjoyed independent learning and was a Math, Reading, and Creative Writing “Gorilla.” I still love those subjects, so I guess Mrs. Schwartz was right. Orangutans were those that needed more work than others. I hated spelling and was horrible at it. English was not logical! (Who puts a “c” in “disciple”?!) In fact, I think Spell Check was invented by a fellow Spelling Orangutan. Apes were those right on track. I guess there is nothing new under the sun, even with teaching methods, just maybe new names (I will venture that the use of primates to separate learning circles would not be in favor in today’s classrooms. But it worked back then.During that same day in Indianapolis, I remembered how Mrs. Schwartz cast me as Linus in our 3rd Grade production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I can still quote the ending monologue that includes Luke 2: 8-14; for a kid in public school that wasn’t used to memorizing Bible verses, and with a slight stuttering problem, this was a leap for Mrs. Schwartz as casting director and a huge boost for this fledgling introvert’s little ego.As I sit around the table in the ACE room and hear principals lament the lack of teachers coming out of our Concordia University system and the lack of people entering the teaching field in general, I worry that there will not be future Mrs. Schwartz’s to mold and shape future Jonny Dize’s. Anyway, if the saying is true, that Nostalgia is a liar, so be it. I will keep to my memories, thank you very much. And I will continue to work to spread the Lutheran Spirit and encourage kids to be teachers, kids to be good citizens of the world, kids to be lifelong learners.P.S. as I write this article, I remember our long-term custodian at Sunnymede Elementary School, Bob. He and I would eventually share a love of apples and of a new-fangled contraption, the Apple-Cutter. It sliced apples and left the core; how wonderful for a finicky kid who brought his Star Wars lunchbox to school every day (except for pizza Fridays.)

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Charles Dickens and Fundraising in 1843 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/charles-dickens-and-fundraising-in-1843 Thu, 13 Dec 2018 15:39:18 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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:[Bob Cratchit] 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. ... [Scrooge] 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!

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#GivingEveryDay https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-every-day Mon, 10 Dec 2018 08:50:39 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-every-day By now, #GivingTuesday is just a memory or a “to do list” for next year: After Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, and Cyber Monday comes an avenue to donate, mostly online, on Tuesday. It’s a fundraising option that some of our schools use, including Concordia Lutheran High School and Redeemer Classical School.On #GivingTuesday morning, our Social Media leader, Jessica, asked if I wanted to create a #GivingTuesday post for The Lutheran SGO of Indiana.My reply was the following:Yes, it's #GivingTuesday, and any gift to The Lutheran SGO today will provide scholarships to families wanting a quality, Christian education yet this year. In addition: You can also #GiveWednesday with a stock gift! And #GiveThursday with a charitable rollover from your IRA! Or #GiveFriday with a gift of grain!Now I get a chance to expand on my original thoughts!As a bonus, Tom Ahern, fundraising communications guru, provided some good advice for #GivingTuesday, #GivingWednesday, and #GivingEveryDay: Giving makes you feel good Giving makes you feel great Giving makes you feel better Giving makes you feel wanted Giving makes you feel connected Giving makes you feel in touch Giving makes you feel kind Giving gives you purpose Giving is important Giving is important to your health Giving is about someone else Giving is about you P.S. I did toy with the idea of The Lutheran Schools Partnership creating a #GivingTuesday effort on behalf of our 19 schools… do you think I should consider something in 2019? Let me Know.

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The Lord Has Need of It https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-lord-has-need-of-it Mon, 03 Dec 2018 00:00:28 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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.

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Henry “Hank” Rosso: Giving is a Privilege https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/henry-hank-rosso-giving-is-a-privilege Thu, 29 Nov 2018 06:12:55 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/henry-hank-rosso-giving-is-a-privilege “Giving is a privilege, not a nuisance or a burden. … Thoughtful philanthropists see themselves as responsible stewards of life’s gifts to them. What they have they hold in trust, in their belief, and they accept the responsibility to share their treasures effectively through their philanthropy. Giving is an expression of thankfulness for the blessings that they have received during their lifetime.”-- Henry “Hank” Rosso, from his Achieving Excellence in Fund Raising bookHank Rosso founded the IU Fundraising School in 1974. He developed this philosophy of fundraising over a lifetime of work as a fundraiser, consultant, and teacher. These principles have stood the test of time and culture, so I thought I would share some of his wisdom.These are the joys we get to experience as fundraisers.

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Lutheran Curriculum in the Light of Christ and Psalm 8 (Part 3) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-curriculum-in-the-light-of-christ-and-psalm-8-part-3 Mon, 26 Nov 2018 07:01:53 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-curriculum-in-the-light-of-christ-and-psalm-8-part-3 Psalm 8 continues to serve as inspiration for a discussion on curriculum. This last article is- The Man’s Role in Nature/Ecology (Part I, Part II)Psalm 8:5,6- Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet.Weather is fascinating. To consider wind patterns, the influence of elevations on vegetation, the ebb and flow of weather patterns and the impact of extreme environmental events, we can be awestruck. We can also be misdirected by the interpretation of these things and be led to guilt and misguided passions. End of church year pericopes remind us that God knows and is in control of all time, including the end times. Global warming or any environmental concerns are stewardship issues but not end of the world issues.It’s important that as we teach ecology and care of the earth that we remember that humans were created by a loving God and given the responsibility to rule over, subdue, and care for the Creation. Man is not capable of controlling the earth. Control belongs to the Creator Himself (Psalm 24:1), who has made us His earthly stewards. As one considers the minute position of earth in comparison of all the terrestrial bodies, we are wise to see the omnipotence of our God.While Psalm 8 will direct our look at science and other subjects, Psalm 106 serves as a fitting way to express the depth of learning possible in science and other subjects. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Ps 106:1). Knowing and appreciating the depth of the Creator’s creation, we will share the abundance of His love. While creation and all that is Christ’s is learned, students (and teachers!) will no doubt grow in their relationship in Christ. The results will be found in faithful work and faithful relationships. “Oh give thanks to the Lord for He IS good”....very good.

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Lutheran Curriculum in the Light of Christ and Psalm 8 (Part 2) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-curriculum-in-the-light-of-christ-and-psalm-8-part-2 Sun, 18 Nov 2018 23:22:52 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-curriculum-in-the-light-of-christ-and-psalm-8-part-2 Psalm 8 continues to serve as inspiration for a discussion on curriculum. AstronomyPsalm 8:3,4- “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?It’s fun to make shoe box displays of the constellations. It’s a challenge to make a (somewhat) scaled model of our solar system. But digging indeeper, consider the precision of the related orbits (lunar and planets) within the Milky Way.While we love to dip our toes in the oceans, isn’t it marvelous also to consider the rhythms of tides? And what about the consistent rhythm of seasons and how changes can be expected? Teaching these in the context of an omnipotent Creator is greatly emphasized when we consider how unimaginably large our universe is; we even use an incomprehensible unit of measurement to describe distance (light year).Just as God uses his terrestrial beings to bring us to awe and hope, so we are reminded of how he also used stars in demonstrating his fulfilled promise to Abram and and in leading a crew of Gentile Magi to Christ.The universe is not a need for conjecture and made up theories. We know our Creator and digging into what science KNOWS about our world only supports the attributes of God- omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience. “He’s got the whole world in his hands” but he created it with a word.

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It Takes Time https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/it-takes-time Thu, 15 Nov 2018 06:09:29 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/it-takes-time Transformational fundraising takes a long time.

Urgency is the enemy of fundraising.

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Lutheran Curriculum in the Light of Christ and Psalm 8 (Part 1) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-curriculum-in-the-light-of-christ-and-psalm-8-part-1 Mon, 12 Nov 2018 05:23:58 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-curriculum-in-the-light-of-christ-and-psalm-8-part-1 Learning to read is important and necessary for functioning in this world. Math helps us budget, plan and work. Science helps farmers do their work and health professionals to care and bring healing. Music and art are useful for expression and comfort.However, none of the disciplines and subjects are an end to itself. Science needs math. Music needs science. Reading supports all subjects.Lutheran schools have long been confined and even sabotaged by textbooks. From evolutionary thought to biases that lead to strongly humanistic morals, Lutheran schools have struggled to have strong resources to support its unique educational ministry. Over 20 years ago, Silver Burdett Ginn edited their elementary science curriculum to provide a Christian tone but for many the attempt seemed awkward.As curriculum mapping is used to demonstrate subject matter in our schools, the awareness of standards is more pronounced. The next steps of the process of mapping for our schools includes hearty discussion on the need for our curriculum to be uniquely Lutheran. It’s wise to consider the wisdom of God’s word and how it relates to the work of educating students in our schools.Psalm 8 could serve as inspiration for a discussion on curriculum. This is the first of three articles that include some quick thoughts on this need.Biology (Psalm 8:2)- Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes to still the enemy and the avenger.Out of all the ways God could have come and redeem the world, He chose to enter through the miracle of birth. To man, He gave the intimate contact of “breath[ing] into his nostrils the breath of life.” How does this choice by God impact our dealing with life issues and with care for children of all ages? How does this fact impact our direction and content for biology lessons at every level? It’s important to share the intricacies of the human anatomy and not avoid it. It’s important for students to see for themselves the cellular development of a baby in the womb- from conception to birth. What else would be requirements for a Lutheran biology curriculum?From sociological and psychological development, It’s important to share the unique ways in which God provides for babies and children through a mother and father. At what age does curriculum necessitate this content? Knowing that non-Christian morals are aggressively taught elsewhere in our kids' lives, it’s best we address this topic.It’s also important to pay careful attention to bias against marriage- marriage between a man and a woman, the way God designed. Resources that Lutheran schools, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom, need careful consideration of how they support God’s design for family and how family continues.This is not a political issue for us as Lutheran schools. This is a matter of being faithful- faithful to Scripture, faithful to the church, faithful to our Lord.

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Whom Do You Fear? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/whom-do-you-fear Mon, 05 Nov 2018 05:56:33 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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.

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Doing Nothing vs. Doing Something https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/doing-nothing-vs-doing-something Thu, 25 Oct 2018 04:11:47 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/doing-nothing-vs-doing-something I subscribe to a periodic blog, Future Fundraising Now. A few years ago there was an entry on Fundraising Predictions. One of the five predictions was titled, “Doing Nothing Will Not Be Less Risky.” I would like to explore that with our area Lutheran schools.Indeed, keeping the status quo is always easier. Fundraising has not been a long tradition for most of our schools. It has been referred to as “third-source funding” for a reason: schools first relied on their congregations for support (and still do!) “Second-source” funding then came from tuition and fees charged to families to help cover the increasing cost of education. Then came fundraising, but in many cases, it was equated to bake sales, the Scrip counter, and car washes. However, most school leadership knew there had to be something better, but maybe “next year”. With long board meetings, overworked teachers, and enrollment worries, focusing on fundraising was just too risky in time and effort to take the plunge. Then came Indiana School Choice and the SGO program. Other than a periodic building campaign or a pew appeal for a new boiler, for most schools, there has never been a catalyst like the SGO Scholarship program to usher a change in fundraising thinking. For the first time, there was an identifiable, quantifiable reason to begin a systematic, annual giving program. In other words, it was time to jump into the fundraising water. Families needed scholarships, donors loved the state tax credit, and new students loved our schools. Fundraising could result in Catching the Lutheran Spirit.However, some schools were slow to adopt SGO promotional activities; after all, it did involve the government, didn’t it? As they sat on the sidelines and didn’t do anything, those schools that jumped into the SGO pool with both feet saw early success that continues to grow as more donors participate and existing donors give more every year.Looking back nearly three years since this prediction was made, I think we can stamp this prediction as TRUE. While Doing Nothing may always be an option, when your donors exclaim, “I went from owing state tax to receiving a refund; I’m giving more next year!”, sometimes stepping out into the water may not be such a bad idea. Picture Source: Pixabay.com

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Updated Thoughts on the 529 Program Changes for our Lutheran Schools https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/updated-thoughts-on-the-529-program-changes-for-our-lutheran-schools Mon, 22 Oct 2018 05:45:10 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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.

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SGO Status, Gift Types https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-status-gift-types Thu, 11 Oct 2018 05:27:43 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-status-gift-types As summer turns to fall, and since we surpassed 25% of the SGO tax year and over $5 million credits of the $14 million available statewide, it seemed appropriate to post an SGO status update. As of September 30, our schools have raised over $1.2 million in SGO credits. We forget sometimes just how much donors have caught that Lutheran Spirit: during the first year of existence, we raised less than $300,000 for the entire year...Of interest to me is our breakdown by gift types: 60% of gifts came in via check- these gifts include gifts of cash, check, money orders, IRA charitable rollover designations, ACH transfers, Donor Advised Fund distributions, matching gifts, and monthly automatic giving. 24% from bank cards- while we thought that bank cards would surpass checks, our gifts via debit and credit cards continue to grow as donors enjoy the ease, convenience, and “points” available when using bank cards to fulfill their charitable goals. 14% stock & mutual funds- taking advantage of this historical stock market levels, donors can avoid the capital gains tax and support scholarships. The balance: gifts of grain- as farmers find ways to help support our schools with product donations.We still do not know the status of the SGO with the federal deduction, nor how the increase in the standard exemption will affect overall giving. However, we do know that the state’s 50% SGO tax credit is HERE TO STAY… and perhaps will play an even more important role in your charitable and financial planning.Have questions? We have answers. 260-203-4509 and info@lutheransgo.org

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Tuck the Curtain https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tuck-the-curtain Mon, 08 Oct 2018 07:36:48 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tuck-the-curtain As a recent presentation, the following story of Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels was shared:At a gala celebrating his life, Mr. Hilton was asked, "What was the most important lesson you've learned in your long and distinguished career?" His reply was, "Remember to tuck the shower curtain inside the bathtub."While I can only assume the ‘net is correct and this was a true comment from Mr. Hilton, more importantly, why am I sharing this?At first glance, one may think, that's it? What do shower curtains have to do with successful hotels, and more importantly, what do shower curtains have to do with Fundraising and Lutheran schools?Mark recently wrote to you all about the 51/49 rule… and I think that paying attention to the small details is a big part of the 51% and can make all the difference when we are trying to achieve excellence. Consider below: If you attend the galas from two of our schools and one has your name spelled “Jon” while the other has it “John”, which will you remember? If you donate $100 to two different schools, and one sends you a hand-written thank you note while the other never says anything, which one will you entrust with a $1,000 gift the next time? If a school asks for a gift and you tell them to give you a call in April, and they never call you in April, are you going to call the principal and remind them to ask you for a gift?When we miss the little things, we can miss the opportunities for the bigger things. And Catching the Lutheran Spirit is all about the little things that lead to the eternal things.

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Lutheran Spirit-School Spirit https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-school-spirit Thu, 04 Oct 2018 19:54:47 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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 studentdressed 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

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Lutheran Schools and the Rule of 51/49 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-schools-and-the-rule-of-51-49 Mon, 01 Oct 2018 07:02:59 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-schools-and-the-rule-of-51-49 Gary Vaynerchuk (Biography) is a 42 year old entrepreneur who took his family’s wine business from a company of $3 million to $60 million. Some of his success is based on a rule of 51/49. For him, 51/49 means that in every relationship (business or personal) he wants to give at least 51% of the value within that relationship. His philosophy is driven by a desire to have an impact and leave a legacy. At this year’s Global Leadership Summit, restaurateur Danny Meyer (author of Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business) referenced this rule of 51/49 as a key element to his restaurants’ successes. He claims that 49% of an employee is technical (skills, things that are learned) and 51% is Emotional Intelligence (see Tim Elmore's blog posts here) and attitude. Meyer declares there is no good reason to get the technical things wrong. Meyer says, “There’s no excuse to not get the knowledge stuff right. It’s there for everyone to have. The awesome part about this whole thing...is that we have to be right in respect to things that people expect us to do well.”What is Meyer talking about for a restaurant? His 49% is about food, hospitality, precision, and cleanliness. The 51% is a staff person's optimism, intelligence, work ethic, empathy (other-awareness), self-awareness and integrity (do the right thing when no one is looking).Is there an application of 51/49 for Lutheran schools? What is the 49% that are “have-to’s” with Lutheran schools and what is the 51% that sets Lutheran schools apart? The people who are part of our schools are the 51% that differentiates us from the other options. It’s why admission counselors and principals know that if a family visits our schools, they will fall in love with us. There’s an atmosphere that is Spirit-driven.But the 49%...do all of us involved in Lutheran schools know and understand that the 49% are have-to’s, essential, no excuses? And what are the 49%? It might be wise to start with the standards and indicators of National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA). NLSA outlines a process for self-assessment that includes an examination of purpose, relationships, leadership, professional staff, teaching and learning, student services and facilities. As one drills down into the indicators of each standard, it isn’t a difficult conclusion that Lutheran schools’ 49% are laid out in this effort of ongoing improvement. If one accepts this as true, then each of us will admit that there is much work to do to get the have-to’s done. This includes a list from the NLSA “Facilities” section of “buildings and grounds reflect the institution’s commitment to maintaining a safe and productive learning environment for students.” That statement alone should give plenty of opportunity for the owners of our schools to define and implement.As a sales pitch for TLSP, our schools would benefit from an “all in” commitment to TLSP academic services. Curriculum mapping, critical friends visits, and the tech council provide meaningful, tangible ways of addressing the “have-to’s” of the NLSA “Teaching and Learning” standard. TLSP’s Alicia Levitt spearheads these efforts and provides the needed insights, processes and planning in addressing this standard.What are your thoughts about the 49%? Where do HVAC systems come into play? How about dependable Wifi? School safety plans? Issues addressed in “Protecting Your Ministry”?Lutheran Spirit is strong in northeast Indiana. It’s part of our 51. But let’s be sure we are showing our Lutheran Spirit by addressing our 49 just as strongly as we can.

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Lutheran Spirit- Storytelling https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-storytelling Mon, 24 Sep 2018 04:41:36 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-storytelling Don’t you marvel at a good storyteller? No, not fish stories...although those stories can be entertaining. Storytellers can describe both the details of the event AND bring you to some kind of emotion. It’s a gift to be a storyteller. However, it’s much easier to tell a story when you know the story, when the story has happened to you and you can share the emotional attachment of the event.In Psalm 78, Asaph says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation”, God is reminding us to share all we know about Him, but also implies we need to know the story well enough to tell it. Here’s some thoughts about telling the story-1- Know the story- If we are going to share the story, we need to know the story. The curriculum of Lutheran schools include Religion classes, History, Literature, and Science. Test the curriculum for supporting of Asaph’s encouragement. Is the Religion curriculum rich with Bible stories, church history and explanations of each piece? Is History taught with depth and unbiased presentation of the facts of historical narrative? Are students given the ability to see the historical Bible with history shared in other textbooks? Are literature selections supporting the Christian story? Does the Science curriculum give opportunity to appreciate the complexity of God’s handiwork and enjoy God’s power and design? Oh, and most of all, let’s be sure our kids know Jesus and all His marvelous works!2- Share the story. Teachers, pastors, and mentors of all kinds in our schools (coaches, teacher aides, administrative assistants, custodians, cafeteria managers) hold the responsibility to share the story. And while they are encouraged to share, each needs to be diligent in knowing the story themselves (1 Timothy 6:20). Worship, Bible study, and personal devotions need to be keys in everyone’s ability to share the story.3- Practice telling and hearing the story. Coaches help players practice the skills to perform well in competition. Directors help musicians make the needed adjustments to share fine music. Our schools should demonstrate and provide opportunities for practice in telling and hearing the story. How do chapel services do this? Is the liturgy used to share the Biblical truths of Christ and his love for us? Are musicals and other drama productions opportunities to uniquely share the Gospel? While there is much music to enjoy and appreciate, do we use music as opportunities to teach and share? English units that include preparing and presenting speeches are important in gaining confidence in speaking any message, let alone the message of the Gospel. So much is being heaped upon schools these days. More and more regulations and required trainings are expectations for the proper functioning of schools. But for us as Lutheran schools, we should be keenly aware that we are making storytellers. Storytelling- It’s Lutheran Spirit.

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Lutheran Spirit- Listen https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-listen Thu, 20 Sep 2018 05:27:22 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-listen Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth!I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generationthe glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Psalm 78:1-4Do you hear Asaph demand, “Listen!” This demand is all about the importance of passing our faith on to children. As they will carry the message to another generation, it’s imperative that the nurture of our children must be one of our greatest priorities. It’s a major part of Lutheran Spirit.Consider these main points of Psalm 78-1- Listen and obey. “Give ear” has the same tone as a parent or teacher saying to child, “Listen to what I say AND obey.” The notion is for the child to pay close attention, lean in, be focused on the upcoming message. A coach uses a whistle, a teacher may raise a hand, an emergency announcement may be alerted by an alarm. Note here- Asaph uses words...and so does our God. Mere words? No. He uses His own words and His Son- the Word Incarnate.2- Tell a story and share its meaning. Some stories need no explanation; some stories do. Jesus’ stories (parables) caught the listener’s ear and led them to wonder, “What does this mean?” In Asaph’s case, he told the stories of the Israelites. The stories shared God’s care for his people and the cycle of judgment and mercy of the Israelites. Why should we share this story....over and over again? We are just as poor at taking events to heart as the Israelites were!3- Remember and share. Moses wrote, “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children.: (Deuteronomy 4:9). The narratives of the New Testament and Old Testament are for us to remember and share. Why? In these narratives, we see God’s faithfulness, his compassion, and his tenacity in desiring all to know him. When we fail to share what is known to be true, we contribute to a generation growing apart from Christ.4- Repeat #1. All this listening! All this telling! All this sharing! We hear this from Asaph but we hear “Listen, Share and Obey” over and over by the prophets and Christ himself. By the prophets, “Here oh Israel...” and from Jesus, “Go, make disciples...baptizing....teaching...”Lutheran Spirit? Listen! Share! Obey!

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Lutheran Spirit- Community https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-community Mon, 17 Sep 2018 06:53:53 -0400 jessican@tlspartnership.org (Jessica Neuman) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-community When I was in fifth grade, it was decided that instead of attending the public middle school, I would attend the local Lutheran School. That one small decision impacted my life greatly. Now I am a Lutheran School teacher, married to a Lutheran School teacher, raising my kids in the Lutheran faith and sending them to a Lutheran School. I guess you could say I bought in.It was also decided that if I was going to to go to a Lutheran School, our family should probably start going to church. I had attended a Christian preschool and visited the Catholic church for the First Communion of my cousins, but we had never really attended church as a family. That summer before I started 6th grade, my sister, my mom, and I were baptized. My parents became members. We became ‘church people’. That one small decision my parents made regarding middle school continued to make a large impact on my life. When it was time for me to attend college, I was encouraged by the teachers from my Lutheran School to look at Concordia University. Since I was looking into education programs already, their guidance to become a Lutheran School Teacher made sense. Those same teachers that taught me then became my colleagues. They became friends and encouragers. I am now a member of a community that stretches across the country and around the world. When Lutherans meet other Lutherans, they love to play the ‘which Lutherans do you know’ game. Chances are they find at least one in common. Teachers they’ve had, people they went to school with, pastors they’ve met, churches they’ve visited, all part of one great, big, Lutheran community. It’s pretty easy to catch the Lutheran Spirit. It sweeps you up. This community of believers is not just fun to socialize with (we are a good time, I promise) but can also become the biggest encouragement. This is a group of people who are often willing to lend a hand, an ear, and certainly a prayer. One does not have to dig far to find stories of hope and encouragement given to one another. Several are mentioned in other articles on this very page (Generosity, Mercy, Blessed). We do these things for each other through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit sends us out with the love of Christ, to show Christ’s love to others. It’s hard NOT to Catch the Lutheran Spirit.

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Lutheran Spirit - Generosity https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-generosity Mon, 10 Sep 2018 04:56:44 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-generosity Ten years ago, Woodburn Lutheran School’s enrollment was 53.In 1718, enrollment was 122.10 years ago, there was no 7th and 8th grade at WLS. Last year, 23 boys and girls made up the 7th and 8th grade.There’s plenty to be thankful for the churches of Zion and Christ. Their school is attracting a diverse group of Christians as the bold message of Christ crucified is shared with kids and families.But another sign of the Spirit that has caught on at WLS happens at Roemke Farms in September. For years, Mark and Carol Roemke host Woodburn's Blue and White Night, the annual benefit auction for Woodburn Lutheran School.Fancy? No this is not a high-brow event.Expensive? Not for tickets, but this year’s prime rib tasted expensive!Worth every minute invested? Absolutely.Talk to those who spearhead this annual event and you’ll catch the Spirit - Lutheran Spirit.Superheroes (a theme of this year’s Blue and White Night) are all around this event. Sandy Kammeyer was involved in the initial WLS fundraiser 14 years ago. That event, with a matching gift opportunity, (raised money) was for windows. This year’s event, with a matching opportunity from The Lutheran Foundation, (raised money) was for endowment growth and various operational supports. When talking to Sandy, you know she has the Spirit. She’s been helping with the event for years. “I believe it’s so important that all of our children know their Lord,” says Sandy. It’s that motivation that tirelessly helps her and the committee make a great event.Mogan David is not a member of either association church. His kids go to St. Peter-Immanuel and CLHS. But there sits Mogan, helping out with registration and check-out. Why? Because Lutheran schools mean that much to he and his wife, plusthe Lutheran community has demonstrated its love through support of SPI’s auction. “Sandy and Mark (Roemke) showed me Lutheran Spirit by supporting our school and its event so this is my chance to share the Spirit and support their Lutheran school,” said Mogan.Roemkes? Mark and Carole Roemke are about as passionate about Lutheran education as a couple can be. Mark is quick to say events like this are for the kids - his kids are fifth generation at WLS. No doubt, these fundraisers help support the day to day efforts of the superheroes who work with students every day. But Mark also is quick to tell you, Lutheran schools share Jesus. “Lutheran schools teach about Jesus. There is nothing more important than that,” says Mark.This Lutheran Spirit springs generosity. This year’s total (expenses need to be covered) will be about $100,000! Nearly $20,000 was donated simply by asking.The time, the planning, the scheduling, the donations, the folks who showed up....generosity is obvious. That’s what happens when we get out of the way and let the Gospel make superheroes out of ordinary people and make rather ordinary efforts become extraordinarily generous. WLS kicked off the year’s fundraising efforts for Lutheran schools. Hopefully you have or will catch Lutheran Spirit this year and find out the excitement (and generosity) of Lutheran Spirit.

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Lutheran Spirit- Blessed are Those who Mourn https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-blessed-are-those-who-mourn Mon, 03 Sep 2018 05:58:16 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-blessed-are-those-who-mourn In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5, we read, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Those words have new meaning for me after the recent death of my dear mother-in-law. When I posted my mother-in-law’s obituary on Facebook, many of my friends shared comments of sympathy, as well as prayers. What a comfort it was to readthrough those kind and caring words! It was uplifting to know that people were praying for our family. One friend, who has herself experienced a great loss, shared a poignant prayer that truly touched my heart. She wrote, “I pray you are surrounded by love, compassion, and kindness and that you feel God's immediate presence in the days ahead. And I pray God uses His Church to provide all the love, support, compassion, and grace you need as you face the feelings and grief of this loss.”I was so touched by those words, not only by the compassion and care my friend showed by writing them, but by what they showed me about the many ways God was indeed using His Church. We were blessed while we mourned, for we were comforted by our church and school family.We attended church the morning of the funeral. Our pastor, church staff members, and fellow parishioners shared their condolences, gave us hugs, asked if we needed anything, and offered their continued prayers for our family. We were blessed while we mourned, for we were comforted.God’s mercy and love were shown to our children from within their Lutheran school. Fellow parents offered to provide transportation to school and extra-curricular events. Our children’s teachers and former teachers offered prayers for them, gave them hugs, and even attended the funeral visitation. Friends of our children attended the funeral and came to our home afterwards, as well. My children were blessed while they mourned, for they were comforted.Our family is a part of a small group Bible study. The members of our small group checked in with us, asking if they could help with our children, bring a meal, or provide support in any way. When we hosted our family and friends at our home following the funeral, our small group came. They brought the flowers from the funeral home and arranged them throughout the house. They made and brought desserts, iced the drinks, served the food, did the dishes, and took out the garbage. They left us meals. When we didn’t even know what we needed, they provided it. Blessed were we while we mourned, for we were comforted.I have always considered it a blessing to work in Lutheran schools and churches. It is a privilege to be able to serve God’s people through school ministry. In challenging times, the work of God through His church on earth is so clearly visible. This week my family was blessed as we mourned, for we were comforted by God through His people.

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Lutheran Spirit- Mercy https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-mercy-1 Thu, 30 Aug 2018 05:47:13 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-mercy-1

Stan Hines died tonight. Stan was the husband of first grade teacher Mary Hines of St John-Emmanuel Lutheran School. His health deteriorated rapidly recently and only in the last week had entered hospice care.

Stan and Mary have understood (and Mary will experience even more in the days ahead) that Lutheran Spirit is a lot of things and certainly one of its biggest components is mercy.

Stan’s health was cause for great concern, enough concern that Mary was needing time to care for her husband. That care was appropriate and needed.

The care for the Hines came also from the community - the Emmanuel Soest community, the St. John community and the SJE school community. The outpouring of mercy, of compassion, exhibited itself with lawn care, with canning garden foods, and even uniquely giving them their privacy. Mercy came in the the school’s administration making it possible for Mary to have time with Stan during these last days of his life even as school was started.

And then uniquely, those students - students who have known Mary as their teacher, but even students who are just bubbling with the love of Christ, have prayed and made cards of care to let Stan and Mary know they are loved. Two 7th grade girls started selling hair ties, bracelets and bookmarks. Two 5th graders made “slime” for purchase. And the entire school community has had them in their prayers and designated their chapel offerings for the Hines family.

School is just a few weeks old. Routines are just getting established.

SJE is experiencing something right now that isn’t normal for the beginning of a school year, let alone at any time of the school year.

But there is certain confidence and peace that Lutheran spirit brings to this time of mourning. Lutheran spirit oozes with the confidence that our Redeemer lives and He has gone to prepare a place for each of us. Stan has joined the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven in constant hosannas.

SJE and our Lutheran schools share with Mary our deepest sympathies. But oh, we have so much more than sympathy. We have a crucified and risen Lord to share and He is Life indeed- for us and surely for Stan.

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Lutheran Spirit - Mercy https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-mercy Thu, 30 Aug 2018 05:19:29 -0400 jessican@tlspartnership.org (Jessica Neuman) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-spirit-mercy

Stan Hines died tonight. Stan was the husband of first grade teacher Mary Hines of St John-Emmanuel Lutheran School. His health deteriorated rapidly recently and only in the last week had entered hospice care.

Stan and Mary have understood (and Mary will experience even more in the days ahead) that Lutheran Spirit is a lot of things and certainly one of its biggest components is mercy.

Stan’s health was cause for great concern, enough concern that Mary was needing time to care for her husband. That care was appropriate and needed.

The care for the Hines came also from the community- the Emmanuel Soest community, the St John community and the SJE school community. The outpouring of mercy, of compassion, exhibited itself with lawn care, with canning garden foods, and even uniquely giving them their privacy. Mercy came in the the school’s administration making it possible for Mary to have time with Stan during these last days of his life even as school was started.

And then uniquely, those students- students who have known Mary as their teacher but even students who are just bubbling with the love of Christ have prayed and made cards of care to let Stan and Mary know they are loved. Two 7th grade girls started selling hair ties, bracelets and bookmarks. Two fifth graders made “slime” for purchase. And the entire school community has had them in their prayers and designated their chapel offerings for the Hines family.

School is just a few weeks old. Routines are just getting established.

SJE is experiencing something right now that isn’t normal for the beginning of a school year, let alone at any time of the school year.

But there is certain confidence and peace that Lutheran spirit brings to this time of mourning. Lutheran spirit oozes with the confidence that our Redeemer lives and He has gone to prepare a place for each of us. Stan has joined the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven in constant hosannas.

SJE and our Lutheran schools share with Mary our deepest sympathies. But oh, we have so much more than sympathy. We have a crucified and risen Lord to share and He is Life indeed- for us and surely for Stan.

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How We Spent Our Summer: A Back to School Essay https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-we-spent-our-summer-a-back-to-school-essay-2 Mon, 27 Aug 2018 04:36:38 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-we-spent-our-summer-a-back-to-school-essay-2 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!

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How We Spent Our Summer: A Back to School Essay https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-we-spent-our-summer-a-back-to-school-essay-1 Mon, 27 Aug 2018 04:26:30 -0400 jessican@tlspartnership.org (Jessica Neuman) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-we-spent-our-summer-a-back-to-school-essay-1 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!

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How We Spent Our Summer: A Back to School Essay https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/how-we-spent-our-summer-a-back-to-school-essay Mon, 27 Aug 2018 04:21:11 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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!

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Monthly Giving Goes Mainstream https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/monthly-giving-goes-mainstream Thu, 23 Aug 2018 05:16:41 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/monthly-giving-goes-mainstream I will see advertisements for webinars, posts from experts, etc. advocating a cool, new concept, monthly giving.Is monthly giving new? Not really. How many remember the old 3 minute-long commercialfrom “Feed the Children”-type charities that would challenge you thus: “for less the cost of a cup of coffee every month, you could feed this child...” I spoke with a United Way CEO recently who lamented, “Heck, we invented monthly giving with payroll deduction and workplace campaigns, and now everyone is doing it.” Hmmm. There is probably a very good reason United Ways were so successful.In fact, churches have been asking for supportevery week since the offering plate was invented, and most giving members placed a check in the plate every week or every month throughout the year.Why bother with monthly giving? Besides the fact that fewer and fewer people under the age of 45 have checkbooks anymore or carry cash to place in the offering plate, perhaps a donor doesn’t have the cash flow to make the sort of SGO gift they want to in December. Instead, they set up auto pay every paycheck. For schools, churches, and other nonprofits, automated giving allows for members to give in a way that is easy, a way that does not allow for forgetfulness, a way to continue to give even when away on vacation. And, it helps create loyal donors who are comfortable supporting your mission on a constant basis throughout the years.Next question… is it right? Shouldn’t congregational members want to drop a gift in the plate every week? I read a recent study by Thrivent/Barna called The Generosity Gap that noted, among other things, that of those members that give, and give generously, they are more familiar with and have used giving options like ACH/auto transfers than those less inclined to give. The study also notes, “technology may offer people greater opportunity to flex their giving muscles — including Millennials and Gen Xers for whom electronic giving is the norm.”And consider the dad who recently told me about his Millennial children who have set up auto pay to automate their church tithing, and now continue to support extra mission appeals as they are presented. Seems like a great plan to me: tithing continues and sacrificial giving lives on.Unfortunately, the study quickly laments that only ⅓ of churches in their studies accept ACH and other electronic giving. Sounds like missed opportunities and possible financial troubles ahead to me. To conclude: is monthly giving new? Nope. Inventive? Not really. Important, you bet! And the cost to set up an automated, online system at your church and school has never been easier or less costly than it is today (I have some suggestions for those interested.) Is your church and school moving forward? Do they have a “Give Now” button on their website?P.S. I know of at least one church that has giving cards with a QR Code for parishioners to make a bank card online gift during the offering songs. Great idea!

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Called and Back to School https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/called-and-back-to-school Mon, 20 Aug 2018 04:26:02 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/called-and-back-to-school “Real. Present. God.” For many of our schools, this is the school theme of the year. Inspired largely from Psalm 46 but influenced by all of the Psalms, we start the year knowing that the God of all Creation loved his creation so much that He chose to live life here among mankind and redeem it.It is the distinguishing part of Lutheran schools- the message of the Gospel- God hand picked you to be His own child. And for the faculty and staff of Lutheran schools, it’s the joy of life in Christ and our vocation to make sure that all those who are a part of the school as students and as families experience the joy of our merciful Lord.The fantastic part of working in Lutheran schools is that it matters- all that we do and say. But the hardest part about working at Lutheran schools is also that what we do matters and matters EVERY DAY. Storm clouds are already building. Standing firm on the teachings of Christ as written in His Holy Word will be challenged. Encouraging families to embrace the uniqueness and value of a Lutheran education is part of our task. Speaking confidently about this uniqueness is essential.To be sure, our schools will be invested in the matters of academics. To be sure, we will encourage growth in honing skills and God-given ability. But most important, we get to share an unbelievable message- God loved us so much that He ensured our eternal life with Him by sending His Son Jesus to be our Savior. It certainly matters that our schools share the Gospel in chapel services, in daily prayer, in religion classes and in the influences of Christian life throughout all the curriculum. It matters, not just for the life of faith we lead now, but it matters because of eternity. 5 days a week, 6.5 hours a day, 180 school days of hearing about Jesus and learning from Christian teachers about His magnificent world. What an honor, blessing, and privilege it is sharing the greatest news in the history of the world. May God’s grace be upon each of us. He is indeed Real and Present.

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Learn and Lead 2018 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/learn-and-lead-2018 Thu, 16 Aug 2018 05:00:52 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/learn-and-lead-2018 On June 4 & 5, 40 attendees basked in the light of the stained glass windows of Concordia Lutheran High School’s Worship Conference Center (see picture) as The Lutheran Schools Partnership hosted its annual Learn & Lead conference. As usual, we invited our schools and associated churches, but then also opened spots for schools that are part of The Lutheran SGO in the state, churches in the District, and then other Lutheran-based RSOsand nonprofits.This year we brought in the faculty from The IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy who taught their popular “Fundraising for Small Nonprofits” two day course. We wanted to bring this class to Fort Wayne because professional development is VERY KEY to success in the fundraising industry, but many budgets for fundraising staffers are limited. By bringing the IU School of Philanthropy to Fort Wayne, attendees did not have to travel, have overnight accommodations, nor worry about daytime meals (we fed everyone well for morning to afternoon shifts).While we could tell you how wonderful the instructional sessions were, let those that attended tell you in their own words what they thought of the two days: “I appreciate that the content and instructor understood the realities of a small non-profit and recognized the starting point at which most of us begin.” “I have attended many presentations in my career and this was by far one of the best speakers, along with useful material I can take and run with in my position.” “Bill [the instructor and director of the fundraising school] was wonderful in explaining the the process. He provided many real life examples and kept me engaged throughout the course.” “Very good use of the money and time I spent at the training session.” [The sessions were not free, but we provided some great discounts for our schools and churches.] “Would highly recommend this course.” “Practical USEFUL information that can be implemented NOW (while providing plenty to review and become better at in the future).”We look forward to hosting more well-received options for our schools such as this year for years to come.P.S. SAVE THE DATE: June 3-5, 2019We will be partnering with ALDE in 2019 to bring their Essentials in Fundraising Course for Executive Directors and their course for those new to fundraising. Plan your time and budgets accordingly!

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The Giving USA Report for 2018 is Ready to View https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-giving-usa-report-for-2018-is-ready-to-view Mon, 13 Aug 2018 04:44:17 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-giving-usa-report-for-2018-is-ready-to-view The Giving USA Report for 2018 is Ready to ViewEvery year, Giving USA releases the state of giving in America. You can see the graphic below or view it here.

… What does this report tell us for giving in 2017? Total giving topped $400 billion for the first time. Billion. With a B. Perhaps hitting common wisdom, over 70% of giving every year still comes from individuals. And when you add the 9% from individual giving by bequests (wills), and the estimated ½ of foundation giving that comes from Donor Advised Funds and personal foundations, then we are talking about 87% of giving coming from people. Conversely, then, not very much giving comes from corporations or foundations. Think about that the next time someone says, “Foundation grants are our saving grace.” However, writing grants and asking for corporate gifts have their place. However, meeting with people appears to provide a pretty good Return On Investment of time and resources. Giving to Religion is 31% of total giving; while this number is lower than in the past when nearly 50% of all gifts benefitted religion, it is important to note that this category only includes religious organizations like churches, synagogues, etc. Schools, like our 19 Lutheran schools in NE Indiana, are listed in the next category, Education, which is 14% of total giving (also includes universities, etc.) Therefore, while an organization may be religious, it will be classified by its operational sector. What does this mean? While giving to churches may be decreasing, giving to church-related organizations is holding steady.It also means that fundraising for cute kids in Lutheran schools should be (relatively) easy! Get out there and ask, folks, and feature stories and pictures of the students.

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The IT Girls - Inspiring Girls in Technology https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-it-girls-inspiring-girls-in-technology Thu, 09 Aug 2018 05:15:40 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-it-girls-inspiring-girls-in-technology Your senior year is coming up and it’s been a busy year. As a National Honors Society member, you’ve maintained a 3.98 GPA while being a cheerleader, Koinonia leader, participant in peer ministry, and assist with the school’s techsupport (sound booth, tech installations and troubleshooting). Knowing it’s going to be an eventful senior year, what would you do over the summer? How about plan and implement a technology camp for middle school girls? That’s what CLHS senior Hayley Grisez did this summer.In early spring, CLHStech services director and teacher Scott Storm recommended Hayley for the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT)Aspirations in Computing Award. Hayley earned District Honorable Mention which also made available an entry into NCWIT’s AspireIT program. Thanks to NCWIT, Hayley applied, earned the chance and then won a grant for informational technology and its connection with the social issues of women in the workplace. Hayley’s busy school year was now going to flow into the summer.With the partnering of The Lutheran Schools Partnership staff of Alicia Levitt and Mark Muehl and the support of Mr. Storm, Hayley created the curriculum, made a budget, made an entire marketing effort,recruited assistants for the camp, recruited participants, and covered all the details the grant demanded. The result? An excellent week of learning for a full classroom of 24 middle school girls.What was Hayley’s motivation? “Tech is cool. It’s fun. It’s not nerdy things and I wanted the girls to share that excitement.”The IT Girls easily got on board with Hayley’s excitement. They learned Scratch coding, programmed Raspberry Pis, explored Java programming and worked with Lego Mindstorm Robots. And while unexpected things can interrupt the best laid lesson plans, Hayley also learned the importance of having back-up plans and not letting the unexpected ruin the day. When the Raspberry Pis took a bit longer to load than what was planned, the group went into an impromptu Dance Party and learned the Cha Cha Slide.What else did Hayley learn? The week “affirmed my knowledge in the overall field of technology and my enjoyment for the field. Tech isn’t boring and I had fun all week.” She also learned how to be a better leader. “Lead but not be a “know-it-all,” is what she shared. Phrase things so you don’t shut the girls down. The week “Helped me understand what good teaching needs to be.” It affirmed for her the effective teaching she has had in her life. Her dad (problem solving), Mr Storm (content from IT classes) and Miss Volmerding from St Peters (teaching strategies) all played roles in a week of fun and learning.From all of us at TLSP, way to go Hayley.

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10 Latest Auction Trends https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/10-latest-auction-trends Mon, 06 Aug 2018 05:44:44 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/10-latest-auction-trends Auction Season ApproachesFor some people August is the start of the school month… for fundraising staff, it's the start of the fall auction season!As some of our schools look to October through December to operate their dinner/auctions and golf outings, others will start working with their committees and start to plan their spring auctions.Below is a list I found of the "10 Latest Auction Trends" from Red Apple Auctions to help jump-start our schools as they start or continue their planning, along with some [additional notes] from me: Moving the auction to a day other than Friday or Saturday [I find Thursdays as a great alternative] Trying different formats instead of the traditional sit-down dinner auction [some of our schools are trending away from the “rubber-chicken-dinner-auction” and opting for a reception-style meal] Greater sophistication in sponsorships and approach [sponsorships are the key to driving up your total event proceeds] Altering a traditional layout or venue to meet specific goals [sometimes, moving to another location is all that is needed, or moving the event back to campus as some of our schools have] Changes to Paddle Raisers / Fund a Needs to create more levity and interaction [find that Cheerful Giver] Swapping out traditional auction items [unique, one-of-a-kind, and priceless are the best] A continued shrinking of silent auctions [we have seen several schools shrink their silent auctions and actually raise more money] Using a professional fundraising auctioneer for your auction and paddle raiser [this is a MUST] Investing in the most appropriate technology for your event style [“eBay-type” bidding may not work for your school] Make every guest feel like a VIP [we should be doing this, anyway, right?!]A few times every year, we will schedule a “Special Event Networking Meeting” for volunteer and staff involved in their special event at our 19 schools to meet for lunch, share ideas, and even share horror stories. Want to ensure that your school’s key leaders are invited to these lunches? Contact me at jond@tlspartnership.org and I will add them to the invite list. We will be hosting another one in mid- to late-August before Labor Day.P.S. We also have a 14-step guide to improve your event; let us know if you would like a copy.(photo: Life Magazine)

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9 Things I Learned While Running in a Spartan Race https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/9-things-i-learned-while-running-in-a-spartan-race-1 Thu, 02 Aug 2018 07:51:55 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/9-things-i-learned-while-running-in-a-spartan-race-1 Last year around this time I ran my first triathlon and wrote a post about 9 ways it compared to fundraising.A few weeks ago a friend joined me as we ran our first Spartan obstacle run, and like last year as I successfully finished (a.k.a. survived) the obstacles, I started to make some comparisons to the world of fundraising. See my musings below: Just like fundraising, you need a friend or mentor; my friend, Randy, helped me over a few obstacles, like most of the Walls, and I helped him with the Hercules Hoist. Fundraising staff need someone to test ideas, proof drafts, etc. and cannot operate for long in solitary confinement. Allow your staff to attend conferences, interact, and network with peers. Sometimes you have to do things differently, and learn from others. On the Barbed Wire Crawl I found it difficult to get low enough to clear the barbs, so I mimicked others my size that found success with a barrel roll. In nonprofits, the standard is to borrow from others and copy what is working. I didn’t complete everything; there were 22 obstacles and 4.4 miles of running involved and I couldn’t do at least 4 of the challenges and had to do the penalty for each, 30 burpees. Sometimes fundraising staff can’t get everything done in time or correctly. However, with good data you will know what to work on for the next time. Once you start, don’t stop. We had to carry a large bucket full of rocks uphill over 100 yards and return back (see my picture). Some of the “young guns” stopped half the way, and put their buckets down. However, they had an even harder time re-starting their efforts. Same with fundraising; you will never get where you want to go by stopping with every bump in the road. Sometimes, you have to do things your way. With the Spear Throw, the volunteer was showing participants how to do it, but it wasn’t working for most. I threw a different way and succeeded. Tom Ahern, the leading expert on donor communications, notes that “if your board doesn’t like your appeal letter, you are probably doing it right.” You hired the fundraising staff to fundraise, so let them do it! You have to know your limits. I knew I couldn’t do the Rope Climb, so I took the penalty and moved on to the next obstacle. Nonprofit fundraising = limited resources. You need to focus on what works and where your strengths are. Sometimes, you will get dirty and have to roll in the mud. At the end, after completing your task, it’s OK to have a bit of fun like the Fire Jump. Celebrate, take the picture, and look forward to the next competition. It is good to remember why we are doing what we do, and for Whom. Perhaps my biggest takeaway, or as Pastor Henry Graf says would be my “Kairos Moment”, was seeing Christ during the Sandbag Carry. We had to carry a heavy bag of sand on our shoulders uphill, through the woods, and back. My back hurt; my hands went numb; I was miserable. However, I knew I would be going downhill eventually; I knew it was going to end; and I knew I would get relief. Compare this to Christ’s journey to the Calvary, all uphill, beaten to the brink of death, carrying the cross, and knowing how everything was going to end. Sharing the the love of Jesus with the children in our care seems worth it to me.Well, anyway, that’s what I think about when exercising. And I know I will never complain about taking out the trash ever again.

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9 Things I learned while Running in a Spartan Race https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/9-things-i-learned-while-running-in-a-spartan-race Thu, 02 Aug 2018 07:28:43 -0400 jessican@tlspartnership.org (Jessica Neuman) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/9-things-i-learned-while-running-in-a-spartan-race Last year around this time I ran my first triathlon and wrote a post about 9 ways it compared to fundraising.A few weeks ago a friend joined me as we ran our first Spartan obstacle run, and like last year as I successfully finished (a.k.a. survived) the obstacles, I started to make some comparisons to the world of fundraising. See my musings below: Just like fundraising, you need a friend or mentor; my friend, Randy, helped me over a few obstacles, like most of the Walls, and I helped him with the Hercules Hoist. Fundraising staff need someone to test ideas, proof drafts, etc. and cannot operate for long in solitary confinement. Allow your staff to attend conferences, interact, and network with peers. Sometimes you have to do things differently, and learn from others. On the Barbed Wire Crawl I found it difficult to get low enough to clear the barbs, so I mimicked others my size that found success with a barrel roll. In nonprofits, the standard is to borrow from others and copy what is working. I didn’t complete everything; there were 22 obstacles and 4.4 miles of running involved and I couldn’t do at least 4 of the challenges and had to do the penalty for each, 30 burpees. Sometimes fundraising staff can’t get everything done in time or correctly. However, with good data you will know what to work on for the next time. Once you start, don’t stop. We had to carry a large bucket full of rocks uphill over 100 yards and return back (see my picture). Some of the “young guns” stopped half the way, and put their buckets down. However, they had an even harder time re-starting their efforts. Same with fundraising; you will never get where you want to go by stopping with every bump in the road. Sometimes, you have to do things your way. With the Spear Throw, the volunteer was showing participants how to do it, but it wasn’t working for most. I threw a different way and succeeded. Tom Ahern, the leading expert on donor communications, notes that “if your board doesn’t like your appeal letter, you are probably doing it right.” You hired the fundraising staff to fundraise, so let them do it! You have to know your limits. I knew I couldn’t do the Rope Climb, so I took the penalty and moved on to the next obstacle. Nonprofit fundraising = limited resources. You need to focus on what works and where your strengths are. Sometimes, you will get dirty and have to roll in the mud. At the end, after completing your task, it’s OK to have a bit of fun like the Fire Jump. Celebrate, take the picture, and look forward to the next competition. It is good to remember why we are doing what we do, and for Whom. Perhaps my biggest takeaway, or as Pastor Henry Graf says would be my “Kairos Moment”, was seeing Christ during the Sandbag Carry. We had to carry a heavy bag of sand on our shoulders uphill, through the woods, and back. My back hurt; my hands went numb; I was miserable. However, I knew I would be going downhill eventually; I knew it was going to end; and I knew I would get relief. Compare this to Christ’s journey to the Calvary, all uphill, beaten to the brink of death, carrying the cross, and knowing how everything was going to end. Sharing the the love of Jesus with the children in our care seems worth it to me. Well, anyway, that’s what I think about when exercising. And I know I will never complain about taking out the trash ever again.

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Welcome to a New School Year https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/welcome-to-a-new-school-year Sun, 29 Jul 2018 22:58:22 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/welcome-to-a-new-school-year The Lutheran Schools Partnership is excited about a new school year and the opportunities that will present themselves. Here is a quick list to share-- Lutheran Night at the Tin Caps is Monday, August 6. It should be a fun night of baseball and celebrating all the Lutheran ministries in our community. Support of the statewide tax credit program is continuing to grow. While the maximum of $12.5 million ofcredits was not reached this past year, it was still a record year for The Lutheran SGO of Indiana. Total donations tallied over $3 million just in our SGO alone! As this year rolls around, consider your support of TLSGOI and the impact your donation can make for students throughout the state (https://www.lutheransgo.org/forms). And oh by the way, it’ll help make your Indiana taxes less painful too! Take time to welcome all the new folks in your school. For example, TLSP and the Indiana District will welcome new teachers and principals to the region later this week as we share all the great supports that are part of this region. Be it a principal, teacher, pastor, student or family, be sure to let them know they are appreciated and you are happy they are part of your community. What does that mean? A handshake, a casserole, the extra-face-to-face visits, and prayers are all ways to welcome our newcomers into the fold. Alicia Levitt, TLSP’s academic excellence coordinator, has been busy planning out curriculum mapping efforts, planning teacher and administrator training events for the school year and networking with educators and other folks passionate about Lutheran schools. She has a calendar of events all ready to go which has been shared with each school. TLSP has begun work with BIG as our new marketing company. Much planning has been going on over the summer and you will soon see the new products and strategies that will share the contagious spirit of Lutheran schools. While there is plenty of local opposition to it in our community, we at TLSP will continue to support all who have put into place and continue to support School Choice in Indiana. We are thankful that parents are given opportunities to make a choice with this program to place their kids in our Choice schools. What does this mean for us? It’s important to thank our legislators for this program and we encourage each of you as well to tell your Indiana legislators “thank you” for their support of School Choice. It is indeed a parent’s right to choose the best situation for their kids.Oh, there will be and there is more on the TLSP docket but this hits the high points.Thank you for your prayers.

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Alumni Engagement: It's not just for Universities Anymore, Part IV https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-iv Thu, 31 May 2018 06:02:28 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-iv Today’s post is the fourth of four articles [Read Part I, Part II, Parts IIIA, and IIIB here.] on K-12 alumni engagement. I hope you have enjoyed our discussions on just who alumni are, why bother to connect to them, how to overcome the barriers to starting a program, and basic steps to creating a plan of action.While this effort (and these articles!) may seem overwhelming, please, please remember that the future YOU will be thankful for your efforts now. Good alumni engagement takes time and investment. Alumni engagement must be a part of an overall, methodical, comprehensive fundraising plan. Also remember that everyone’s job is alumni relations; alumni may reconnect to your school via a phone call, a chance meeting at a conference networking session, a website search, even an impromptu drive while in the area visiting relatives.Also, someone must own the process, whether it be a development or alumni director, school board member, even an admissions staffer. We do not suggest the principal or pastor to manage the effort, but must certainly be involved. Last, give the effort a budget and give alumni engagement the tools to be successful. One final point on engaging and fundraising from alumni to keep at the forefront of your efforts: You should not Ask –If you have not Engaged You cannot Engage –If you have not Connected You cannot Connect –If you do not have a Database You cannot have the Database –If you have not done the work to collect names, addresses, etc. You cannot collect the names, addresses, etc. –If you do not startWe are done! Did we miss something? Should we have included the answer to a question you have? Please contact us at 260-203-4510 or jond@tlspartnership.org with any comments or questions.P.S. It’s still all about the warm-fuzzies and our K-12 schools have a unique opportunity to keep the fuzzies warm. Go forth and engage!Picture Source: Time-Life Archives on Google, “James Linen’s Party for Hotchkiss Alumni”

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Alumni Engagement: It's not just for Universities Anymore, Part III-B https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-iii-b Thu, 24 May 2018 01:30:24 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-iii-b Welcome to Part B of Part III of a now 5-part series (should I say “saga”?) on alumni engagement. See the previous Part I, Part II, and Part III-A. Part B continues from A with a plan to communicate and engage those alumni after creating a goal, a committee, and a database with records you found. V. Connect & CommunicatePlease note as your committee starts to create your alumni database: a school will need to connect with alumni first and ask for money later. Your first letter to your alumni or the first enewsletter should not be with your hand outstretched for a gift. Resist that urge; reconnect first. That is, “friend-raising” will lead to fundraising, so don’t rush the ask. (But still plan to ask for support if that is part of your overall goals from Step I.)After a period of time, such as a year or so, and you have at least 200 or more names, send a mass mailing to the names with addresses that you have. It can be a newsletter, or simply a, “welcome back to the family, alumni!” detailing your efforts. Use a local mailing house (Pakmail, Postmasters, etc.) to send the mass mailing through the bulk mail department of the US Post Office and ensure that the envelope has “Return Service Requested” on the outside.First, the mailhouse will “scrub” your mailing list and correct any bad addresses, reflecting moves within the last 6 months. Next, if someone has changed addresses in less than 6 months, the post office will forward you the new address. The address forwarding and mailing will cost, but now you have a much more accurate database. Remember to make all of the address corrections in your database!In addition to this first communication, create a plan to regularly communicate with your growing database of alumni. You can also look to connect with an alumni blog, online alumni directory, social media, even a phone call campaign. We suggest at least two contact times per year to start. St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran in Decatur simply put a note about their endowment match in a church bulletin, and an alumnus was in town visiting family saw the information and gave a generous donation to the match… VI. Engage Now that you have a goal, a growing database, and a communications plan, start to engage. those alumni; maybe send a survey to ask how they want to connect; personally visit or invite small groups to lunch or a reception; maybe invite them back to your campus as guests for key activities, such as the following: Existing events Invite the alumni to existing events – sometimes at no charge Confirmation Weekend Lutheran Schools Week Grandparents Day Sports Tourney School Play Arts performances Christmas service Athletic events Homecoming New events Alumni Awards Lunch with students New Fundraiser event Alumni Day: interact with students, assemblies Social get-togethers Speaker breakfasts or lunches 8th grade/senior class projectBe aware of the ages of the alumni as you plan these efforts, and don’t wait until alumni are are older to engage. There is no reason why you cannot engage younger alumni now even current 8th/12th grade students, so that once they graduate they will keep those warm-fuzzies feel connected as the school faces will still be familiar.Still with me? Next week is our last article on alumni engagement and summaries the main points we have been discussing and will highlight some local success stories of our schools working to engage their alumni.P.S. I understand there is a huge amount of additional work to do in-between these 6 points, and that is why I am here for our 19 Lutheran schools: to help them create a customized plan of action and help them achieve their goals. Picture Source: Time-Life Archives on Google, “Walnut Hills High Calculus Class”

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Alumni Engagement: It's not just for Universities Anymore, Part III-A https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-iii-a Mon, 21 May 2018 06:28:48 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-iii-a Over the last two weeks we have been building the case for our K-12 schools to not shy away from engaging alumni [Part I& Part II]. We defined what alumni are and identified the common barriers we here on why a school cannot or will not initiate or continue efforts.So this article will outline a six step process to break past the barriers and create a plan of action to engage alumni. And, as is often the case, my plans for these articles has changed: what was originally a 4-part series is now 5, as Part III is just to large to keep in one post... Create a PlanLike any trip, if you do not have a map to a destination, you will never get anywhere. Is there a major milestone that you want to celebrate and engage alumni, such as the 100th anniversary of the school? Is a long-term teacher retiring? Is the school bringing back the annual musical? Would the school want to create a mentorship program with local alumni business leaders?Or, does the school have an endowment match challenge of $40,000 to meet (sound familiar to anyone?) Is leadership looking toraise $50,000 for a new scholarship fund? Is new playground equipment on the wish list?Or, your goal can simply be to get alumni back on campus and on on a mailing list for a future effort. Wesuggest you establish an initial reason to engage alumni and work from there (your goal can change later as you move through the process). Get a DatabaseAs I have highlighted before, “It’s important to invest in your database. It’s your institution’s memory.” You need a place to store data and a place to retrieve that data in a timely and accurate manner. So often, schools have that long-term receptionist or teacher that “knows everyone and everything” but when that staffer is gone, so are those gold nuggets stored in their brain. As far as software, while a school could manage an alumni effort using Excel or Google Sheets that are free, you get what you pay for. There are several affordable and more expensive options out there depending on what you want, from Donor Snap to Donor Connect (part of RenWeb), from Bloomerang to Raiser’s Edge, just to name a few. All have costs that differ based on what you want and need from the software. Most of our local schools with databases use one of these four options listed above.While the subject of choosing a database is an entirely separate presentation (and a future post), below are some of the data points a good database should track: Name (original and married) Current addresses Graduation year Current employment Areas of interest when at the school Relationships (parents, children, spouses, etc.) Current level of engagement Donation information & Moves Management Record all contacts and visitsThere are also some key considerations as to where the data is stored (servers or the cloud), who should enter the data, etc. Again, that is another future post. Assemble a CommitteeA school will want to create a committee of 5-7 people that “knows everyone” and can start amassing the information you need. The committee members can be alumni, grandparents, retired teachers, etc. Understand, the initial effort may take a year or more with monthly, bi-weekly, or even weekly meetings early on as the committee moves to Step IV. Taking breaks is fine, but everyone involved needs to understand this will need to be a long-term effort and people will come and go from the overall committee. This is why it will still be important to have someone who “owns” the process and is ultimately responsible for its successful completion. Ideally, your school fundraising staffer should oversee the committee, but until you hire someone, appointing an alumni committee chair will help keep the group connected and focused.Central Lutheran in New Haven formed a fantastic committee that took charge of the effort and built an alumni database who attend their annual gala and even donates to the SGO from out-of-state. Just remember to make it fun; provide lunch for the committee, as it will be a social gathering for the group as much as a data gathering group. Start with Records SomewhereYour school must have records somewhere. Whether it be old grade cards with names, old yearbooks, even old confirmation pictures with names. One of our local schools did just that: Woodburn Lutheran unboxed their first year grade cards and started writing down names. If you are lucky, perhaps there is a list the previous principal left behind from the 50th anniversary celebration. Maybe ask those retired/long-term teachers and staff to search their files. Or perhaps your associated church(es) have old membership files or birth/death records that can be shared.Next, the committee either starts with the first year graduates, or chooses a decade and starts with each name: who knows this person? Anyone know their mom? What is their married name now? The committee will soon find that Dr. Google will become their friend as they start looking for current addresses. When that decade or first year has been gone through, go to the next decade, and so on. Of course, there will be lots of holes and “lost” alumni. That’s OK: the committee has to start somewhere. The gradual finding names, contacting relatives, etc. can happen as the year progresses. It is better to start and have a few names than never start and have no names to work with!Your committee can then start using more modern data collecting services, such as posting 10 “lost alumni” on Facebook, create a website portal for alumni to log in and provide their updated information. Concordia Lutheran elementary/middle school even listed lost alumni by decade on a big sign in their church narthex for church attendees to get in on the fun. Central Lutheran has held annual alumni receptions to help gather data. Please remember, even if an alumnus is lost, you will want to keep their name in the database just in case.And this ends Part III-A. Next week we continue with how to connect and engage now that you have a plan, a committee, and a database.P.S. This was a long post… let me know if you think it was too long.Picture Source: Time-Life Archives on Google, “Walnut Hills High Calculus Class”

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Alumni Engagement: It's not just for Universities Anymore, Part II https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-ii Thu, 17 May 2018 06:17:53 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-ii Last weekI outlined my reasons for our area Lutheran schools to initiate or resurrect an alumni engagement plan. This week, I will define just what an alumni is and some common barriers to starting a program or continuing past efforts.First, Let’s define who our alumni are. Please consider the following four major constituency areas: 8th Grade and 12th Grade Graduates (Elementary/Middle and High Schools, respectively.) “Almost Graduates”; those students that either moved or switched schools before they graduated. Again, many times it was a very important teacher that imprinted a life-long love of the school. (St. Paul’s Lutheran in Fort Wayne had a “mystery donor” to a previous building campaign from an alumnus who only attended St. Paul’s for a year or two.) Public School Confirmands; while not in the school 5 days a week, they were most likely friends with alumni and they went through the years of confirmation class with your associated church’s pastor. Finally, the “& Friends” as in “Alumni & Friends”: parents, grandparents, neighbors, etc. that have the hindsight to see the long-term benefit of your school. They may not have had a direct benefit from the school, but they have seen the direct benefits for the students.Now that we have identified who we are focused on, let’s identify the following common barriers to starting or continuing an alumni effort: It takes specific skills, time, and money to engage alumni. Many schools do not even have fundraising plans, so forget having a staff member who can focus on alumni. Alumni engagement is not a quick route to successful fundraising. It will take decades before your alumni will be in a position to give back, so your investment may not bear fruit until many years down the road. However, if your school has been around for 30 years or more, there are alumni out there now who will want to be engaged with you. Where can schools find names and addresses of alumni if no one has been building a fundraising database with contact information? Database? What’s a database, how much does it cost, and who is going to manage it?! And once you have names, the US Post Office says 25% of America moves every year. How can a local school stay in touch with alumni? Finally, there is a natural turnover of teachers as they change schools and retire; why would alumni with the warm-fuzzies want to keep a connection to the school?Enough about the reasons not to do it; look for Part III next week as we provide the building blocks to create a plan of action and ways to break down this list of barriers.P.S. Did we miss a barrier to starting an alumni program that you have heard at your school? Let us know at 260-203-4510 or jond@tlspartnership.org. Picture Source: Time-Life Archives on Google, “Quiz Kids Alumni Party”

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The Case for Advancement https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-case-for-advancement Mon, 14 May 2018 06:08:48 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-case-for-advancement Teacher, administrator, bookkeeper, education leader, secretary, counselor, admissions, PR, Athletic director, VBS, Sunday School, youth director, special ed. It’s quite the job description, that of a Lutheran school principal. For most Lutheran schools, the investment in staff is in the classroom while the administration of the schools is on the shoulder of a leader who hopes to have a strong, talented administrative assistant who can think ahead and work in effective support with the principal.It’s a taxing job, that of the Lutheran school principal. The roles are listed. Add to the responsibilities of state reporting, church leadership and its many meetings, human resource tasks and financial reporting and planning and the job is not just taxing but probably needs Superman/Wonder Woman to get it done.Years ago, the LCMS introduced the idea of an admission counselor. As part of the Funding Academy, administrators were challenged with addressing the empty seats in their schools. To do this, principals were faced with the challenges of getting the good word of their school out to the church community and beyond. Marketing efforts, admissions processes and retention strategies were listed. Yet how would one find 20 more hours to deal with this when a 60 hour labor of love was already being performed as a principal? Solution? Invest in an admission counselor (also known as enrollment manager). The rationale was clear- invest in a part-time person to own the enrollment process and by enrolling 4 or 5 additional students, the admission counselor’s part-time salary would be covered.It’s apparent that this plan has been well received synod-wide and the results have been effective. The wisdom (and desperation) that occurred to bring about this idea has been a healthy addition to many schools. 10 years later, the investment from school to school is realized.The admission counselor was about marketing as much as it was about funding. With tuition being a the #1 revenue source for many schools and a growing part of traditionally funded schools, the need for strong enrollments means better bottom lines and better programming.However, funding continues to be a challenge for schools. Expenses have increased due to the needs of the school. Expenses include increases in health benefits (but kudos to Concordia Health Plans for their strong efforts!), support for various student issues, responding to the growing realities of new teacher student debt and the effects of regulations imposed by the state and other regulatory agencies. While expenses have increased, funding sources have changed. Congregational support has decreased, government support has increased, and tuition has increased. All of these issues contribute to funding issues. For many schools, salaries are in need of improving. Too often, the funding issues of the school land on the staff in a “fourth source” funding model- low pay and understaffed.So new funding models are sought. Some schools have looked to a higher ed model of funding that includes tuition, endowment, annual fund campaigns and grants to fund the mission. A growing number of Lutheran high schools are utilizing this design. But what is needed for a strong advancement effort? What expertise is needed? What tools are needed?As an example, consider the administration of receiving gifts. What policies are in place for the acceptance of a gift? How can a donor be encouraged toward the needs of the school? How can the donor be certain that his/her direction for the gift is honored? What happens when a gift is received? Who receives it? Who deposits it? Who says thank you? Who tracks the gift giving? What templates are in place for acknowledgement of the gift? What receipt is needed for the gift? Is there a difference in terms of acknowledgement and receipt based on the type and size of the gift? How quickly should thanks be given? These are just the issues within the topic of gift reception. What happens when endowments are considered? How does one continue engagement with donors? How are potential donors sought and fostered?Those knowledgeable and with expertise in the area of fundraising talk about three major areas of administering an ongoing advancement effort. Pull away the marketing portion of the effort and the three major necessities are maintaining a database (including tracking donations), operating an annual fund campaign and growing the endowment. Operating a database is extremely valuable but takes time to manage. Carrying out an annual fund campaign needs planning that includes themes, stories, determining a campaign goal and being sure to follow-up with all donations. Growing endowment takes time as relationships are gained and fostered, opportunities to give are shared and gifts are received. If these efforts were easy, everyone would have these in place and everyone would invest in the ongoing efforts. However, fundraising takes time, takes expertise and takes an investment of people and money.There is no simple answer to growing advancement efforts. However, be sure that someone needs to own the effort and it will take time before the benefits occur. As the job of the principal is already diverse and taxing, consider staffing for this need. Advancement staffing may not be understood within our Lutheran schools. Now is the time to make this effort happen. As many are experiencing strong returns in financial investments of the past, it’s time for asking of support of school ministry to occur now. We need to talk and be better informed on this need and do our best to staff for this effort.Advancement and fundraising is about generosity. It’s about support. It’s about making sure the Gospel continues to be shared. Just as is the case for elements of the school, advancement as well is all about Jesus.

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Alumni Engagement: It's not just for Universities Anymore, Part I https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-i Thu, 10 May 2018 05:55:56 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alumni-engagement-its-not-just-for-universities-anymore-part-i I recently updated my presentation on alumni engagement for our schools and thought I would share the information in a series of posts. With schools that have histories going back nearly 180 years, our Lutheran schools in NE Indiana should have strong, engaged alumni efforts. However, alumni efforts are many times dismissed as a “college” thing. On the contrary, our research shows that, proportionally speaking, our K-8 and high schools have great potential for alumni engagement. Most people have a “Warm Fuzzy” with their favorite elementary or high school teacher (mine was Mrs. Schwartz). Unfortunately, K-12 programs generally haven’t stewarded those warm-fuzzy memories since graduation like universities have perfected over the years.“Why bother?” you may ask. We all know that alumni can be a great source of funding. Most school building campaigns can regale stories of the “mystery donor” or unknown estate gift that was discovered to come from some alumni that no one knew. Beyond raising money, please note, alumni can be some of the best candidates for leadership positions at the school, goodwill ambassadors to the public, student mentors, corporate internships, shadowing and other networking opportunities, and even parents and grandparents of prospective students. From a bigger-picture view, alumni also represent our past and should be the foundation of our schools’ future. Alumni are not only the graduates; they are the carriers of the vision. The power of the alumni pipeline has been said to continue to nurture individuals as they mature and navigate life stages. You want to ensure each student will reach their full potential. When that happens and alumni believe the school played a role in the their life, they will stay connected or eventually reconnect with the school.And of interest for the pastors associated with our schools, alumni can provide ministry information: are alumni of our school still active in our church? In other Lutheran churches? Are their own children in a Lutheran school? Do they still consider a quality, Lutheran education important?For these reasons and others, our schools cannot afford to lose touch with their graduates. However, many K-12 schools have a hard time engaging and keeping track of alumni. And because the “return on a school’s investment” in alumni takes time and effort, schools are less apt to make effective alumni relations a top priority. For those with alumni programs, many times the key volunteer that led the effort has left and now there is no real plan or strategy for what they want to achieve or how alumni efforts fit into strategic plans. I strongly believe that our K-12 schools could be just as successful engaging their alumni as colleges and universities have, and I suggest taking what high education does and scale it down for our K-12 needs. So strongly, in fact, this article is the first of four on alumni engagement. Next week we will define the term “alumni” and discuss common barriers that school leadership run up against that block their efforts. Then, Part III will address creating a plan of action, and Part IV will bring it all home in summaries and conclusions.It’s definitely not easy; it takes time, it takes a plan, it takes someone to own the process, and it takes a database to keep the data safe and manageable. But more on this later; the future YOU will be so thankful for your efforts now.P.S. “Schools with successful and long-term alumni programs raise larger gifts in proportion to the size of the enterprise than the leading colleges and universities.”—Handbook for Educational Fundraising Picture Source: Time-Life Archives on Google, “Quiz Kids Alumni Party”

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Teacher Appreciation Week https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teacher-appreciation-week Mon, 07 May 2018 19:50:29 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teacher-appreciation-week In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week, here are TLSP staff reflections on their memories of a favorite teacher.Alicia: A teacher for whom I give thanks often is Mrs. Feuerbach, at Zion Lutheran School in Wilton, Iowa. Mrs. Feuerbach was my kindergarten teacher, but so much more. She was my choir director, my volleyball coach, my friend’s mom, and my cheerleader. She was loving and kind, but firm. Mrs. Feuerbach made her classroom a placeI wanted to be, full of music and laughter. She showed me what itmeans to be “all in” with ministry-giving your time, talents, and treasures. She encouraged me as a student, but has also been a kind encourager during my own years in ministry. Thanks, Mrs. Feuerbach!Jon: I still have my strongest “warm fuzzies” for my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Schwartz. Why was she my favorite teacher? That’s a hard answer to pinpoint; she was funny, she was fair, but most importantly, she was caring. You know she and her beehive hairdo cared for every one of us. Looking back with 40 years of hindsight, she seemed innovative (at least to me) in that she was the only teacher that had tiered spelling, reading, and math groupings for the students so that kids with like skill levels in those areas learned at the appropriate paces (I was a “Gorilla” in Math and Reading, but an “Orangutan” in spelling. If I only had spellcheck back then...). And she seemed to be able to do everything, from creative Halloween decorating skills to patiently directing the third grade play. If third grade/8 or 9 years old is when you start seeing the world for what it is, she made reality enjoyable and understandable, and encouraged us to do great things. All in all, as a 2nd grader, you usually prayed to get into Mrs. Schwartz’s class the next year. I was one of the lucky ones.Jessica: Mr. Henry Foote was my 6th grade teacher. I was new to the school and also new to the Church. In his class I learned a lot academically, but I also learned a lot about the faith having just been baptized that summer. I especially remember him playing kickball with us at recess and making up crazy stories during our Spelling tests using that week’s word list.I had always wanted to be a teacher, but it was Mr. Foote who showed me what it was to be a Lutheran School teacher. It was through seeing him volunteer as coach, pick up chairs after events, and do all those extra little things that come with being on a faculty at a Lutheran School, that I saw what it really meant to serve. It was Mr. Foote and his wife Karen (also a Lutheran School teacher) that really encouraged me to attend a Concordia and become a Lutheran School teacher. Now here I am; a Lutheran School teacher married to another Lutheran School teacher. I am now blessed to call Henry and Karen friends as they continue to teach and encourage me as I continue in my own vocation. I try to play kickball with students when I can but I have yet to really master those crazy Spelling test stories…...Mark: Stecker, Lau, Schumann, Tarble, Kopischke, Henning, Martens- those were my Lutheran elementary teachers in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Add to the list Pastors Messerschmidt, Krueger, Murray and Jansen. It was Pastor Messerschmidt who encouraged church work for me (he prodded me toward being a pastor though). But the teacher of note and not listed above- my Dad. Dad loved teaching. Dad loved music; he was choir director and church organist. He worked long hours but I never heard him grumbling. And he certainly loved (and loves) his Savior (83 years old, teaches Bible class and is the financial secretary of his church). Do I have stories? Sure do! Pull up a chair with me sometime- we’ll talk. For the record, the fad of “loud socks” was started by my Dad!

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Fundraising Quotes to Live By https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/fundraising-quotes-to-live-by Wed, 02 May 2018 19:50:23 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/fundraising-quotes-to-live-by For those of you that have seen my presentation “From Bake Sales to Philanthropy” know that I like using quotes. Quotes from the Bible, from Martin Luther and other theologians, from other fundraising professionals, even from political figures and celebrities.Quotes have a way of “personalizing” a concept. I just recently was in a meeting where a long-time fundraising peer of mine noted that “most organizations hire a development person in a drought, and then expect them to make it rain in three days.” Powerful stuff!I recently found a listing of great fundraising quotes from Jerold “Jerry” Panas. Mr. Panas is Executive Partner of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners—one of the nation’s most highly regarded firms in the field of fundraising and board development with over 3,500 past clients since its founding in 1968. A frequent speaker, Mr. Panas is also a regular contributor to professional journals and his books are considered the foundation for study. There are few who have had a greater influence in the history of the profession, and there is no wonder why he is considered “the godfather” of fundraising.Below is the list of some of his best quotes; enjoy! Individuals contribute approximately 90 percent of all philanthropy, year in and year out, through gifts and bequests. It doesn’t come from foundations or corporations. The 80-20 Rule doesn’t work now. It’s closer to 90 percent of the money comes from 4 to 5 percent of the donors. People don’t give money because they should. They give money because you asked. People don’t want to give money away. They want to invest in bold, exciting, and inspiring ventures. Donors give to exciting and audacious dreams. Donors give to change lives and save lives. A donor wants to know: Why should I give to this organization? Why this project? Why now? Why me? More than ever before, donors want to know the results of their investment. You should ask for a specific amount, not a range. Averaging what a group of people will give is a guaranteed way to fail. (If 500 alumni gave us $1,000 each …) If you have three to four passionate and committed fundraising volunteers, you are luckier than most. No organization will rise above the strength and commitment of its board. It often takes a long period of cultivation. You don’t make a pickle by sprinkling a little vinegar over it. You have to immerse it.

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Chores https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/chores Mon, 30 Apr 2018 04:14:57 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/chores I grew up in an 1880’s farmhouse on a dusty, gravel road in rural Iowa. My parents weren’t farmers, but chores were a major part of my life as a child. We had about 4 acres of grass that we mowed on our 14 acre property, and a few more acres at my grandparents’ house down the road. We had gardens, pets, and that big old farmhouse that all needed regular care. Daily chores included making beds, doing laundry, cooking, washing dishes by hand, house cleaning, and more. As a child, I definitely would not have said I was happy about doing chores. In fact, I am pretty sure my complaining was as annoying as that of any child! However, as an adult I am grateful to my parents and grandparents for making daily chores a part of my life.I recently read a blog post, “The Research on What Creates Satisfied and Successful Kids,” on Tim Elmore’s website, www.growingleaders.com. The post speaks of some of the benefits of doing chores as a child. Elmore references one of the largest longitudinal studies ever, the Harvard Grant Study, which concluded there is a correlation between doing chores in childhood and becoming a successful adult. Elmore goes on to say that children today are so busy with activities that focus on them, that they often contribute little, if any, to the needs of their family.Children learn much from doing household chores. They recognize their role as a contributing member of the family. Chores help them learn necessary life skills such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and organization. Children develop a greater respect for property when they help to care for it. They learn time management. They also practice obedience to their parents and following instructions.Children benefit from seeing how their parents trust them with household work. Remember that “I do it myself” desire for independence that makes young child want to dress themselves or carry things that are bigger than they? Our older children feel a similar sense of accomplishment when they take on tasks such as cutting the grass or using the stove. The joy of helping may not be as evident with middle-schoolers, but the benefits still exist.Finding appropriate chores and fitting them into busy schedules can seem like a chore in itself, but one worth the effort. Having a chart with the days of the week, including activities and chores for each day, helps cut down on “whose turn is it?” arguments. Taking out the garbage, getting the mail, loading or emptying the dishwasher, and making beds are all chores that can be done in a very short amount of time. Training your child in how to do each chore can take time, but helps children to understand our expectations for quality work.At what age should chores begin? Even the youngest children can contribute to their family by doing some chores. Carrying your dirty dishes to the sink, putting away toys, and pulling up the covers of your bed are things even a very small child can do. By the time children are in elementary school, most are capable of doing much of their own laundry, cleaning their own bedroom, and cleaning up after meals. Focus on the Family has a great list of appropriate chores by age on their website. Finally, giving our children chores provides them an opportunity to honor the Lord by honoring their parents. Just as they learn how to do chores by practicing them, they also practice obedience by carrying out tasks as they have been instructed. Philippians 2:14-15 tells us, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” What a good reminder to us all, and worth practicing daily!

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Primer on School Choice https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/primer-on-school-choice Mon, 23 Apr 2018 04:34:38 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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.

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Book Club for Church and School Fundraising Success https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/book-club-for-church-and-school-fundraising-success Fri, 20 Apr 2018 04:09:18 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/book-club-for-church-and-school-fundraising-success “If you religious people ever get smart about fundraising, the rest of us may be in trouble.”-- United Way official to author, William “Bill” EnrightSometime around Christmas I had the opportunity to read a new book entitled, “Kitchen Table Giving” by William “Bill” Enright. Written by a pastor for pastors, Bill was the founding leader at the Lake Institute, the religious giving research arm of the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis. Full of quotes (like the one above), statistics, and anecdotes gleaned from his time as a pastor and as a leader of the institute, I found this short, 6-chapter, 77-page a quick read yet full of useful information not just for our local churches but also for our 19 area Lutheran schools.So useful, in fact, that I had an idea: since I meet with the fundraising staff/volunteers/principals of most of our schools on a weekly or monthly basis, why not alter our meetings for 6 weeks and instead host a 6-week book club, discussing one of the chapters a week? Consider it a Bible study on fundraising, of sorts? I am already building a case that fundraising is a calling (more on that in a future post), so this book seemed a great first step.After I had TLSP head honcho Mark Muehl read the book to ensure its doctrinal integrity, we found a date and time (Wednesdays and noon) for all or us to either meet or call-in to discuss the points of the chapter for the week. Now in our fourth week, the discussions around the table and the additional anecdotes from those in attendance have been invaluable.I figured that if I want to help change the way our schools and churches see fundraising, as the book outlines, we need to change from within the way our church and school leadership views fundraising. So my plans grew to first host this Book Club, whose attendees will then host their own book club study with their own school and church leadership. We already have one person in the group who purchased copies for his entire advancement committee, and another who invited his pastor to join him in the future.As the opening quote indicates, if Religious Fundraising is the highest category of giving every year for Americans according to the experts, and if education is the second-highest area of giving, why aren’t our Lutheran-based schools with all of these cute, smiling kids raising more money than they could use? Read the book and find out for yourself. It's only $15 (and free shipping if you are an Amazon primer like myself). And once you read the book, purchase a copy for your pastor to read, too. (Especially chapter 2.) Here is the Amazon Book Link.

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Kevin Creutz Named LEA's Distinguished Lutheran Elementary Administrator https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/kevin-creutz-named-leas-distinguished-lutheran-elementary-administrator Mon, 16 Apr 2018 05:46:41 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/kevin-creutz-named-leas-distinguished-lutheran-elementary-administrator Lutheran Education Association’s 2018 Distinguished Lutheran Elementary Administrator award is Kevin Creutz. At the time of the selection, Mr. Creutz was principal of Central Lutheran School in New Haven. However, Mr. Creutz recently accepted a call to serve as Superintendent of Schools for the LCMS Ohio District beginning his new position in February. Last week, Mr. Creutz returned to Central where Dr. Jonathan Laabs, Executive Director for LEA, presented the award to Mr. Creutz during chapel. Of the award, Mr. Creutz said, “This is quite an honor to be recognized in this way; but the way I look at this is it’s not so much about me. This is an award for Central. This is something we all share in.”In his message to the student body, Mr. Creutz said: “I’ve been thinking about what Central’s story is. What is Central all about? And there are two things I kept going back to. Number one: it’s all about who Jesus is. We talk about that every single day. That is a blessing here at Central. We talk about who Jesus is and what he’s done for us. The other part of Central’s story is who you are going to become. It was a joy for seven years to see all of you grow up. I think about the 7th and 8th graders----you were in 1st and 2nd grade when I got here--I’ve seen you grow up and represent your school and yourself and your Lord and Savior so well. The Lord has blessed you in who you are today. 2nd and 3rd graders: you were the very first students in our preschool. And look at what you did this year in the Operetta! All the time and preparation to perform and share God’s love with hundreds of people. Just another example of how you are growing as Children of God, and you are becoming awesome people who will serve the Lord no matter what you do.” Mr. Creutz earned a Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University, Chicago and a Master of Educational Administration from Concordia University, Nebraska. Mr. Creutz is a 2007 School Leadership Development (SLED) graduate and a 2012-2013 Fellow in the Van Lunen Center, an Executive Management Training Program for Christian School leaders. Mr. Creutz’s first call was to Zion Lutheran Church and School in St. Charles, Missouri, where he served as junior high math teacher, athletic director, technology coordinator and assistant principal.In 2011, Mr. Creutz was called to be principal at Central Lutheran School. During his nearly seven years serving as principal, Mr. Creutz led Central in starting a preschool program and led the building project that included an early childhood wing, new school office, and gymnasium. One parent commented, “As principal, he sets the tone of the school. He leads with strength and compassion. We take great comfort in knowing that our children spend their days in a school led by a man of such moral character. He is respected by parents, students, and fellow faculty.”In support of his nomination, one colleague said, “Kevin is a dedicated leader to his faculty and staff, as he carries out his professionalism serving the Lord as a called church worker. He daily models his faith and promotes Lutheran education in all he does. Mr. Creutz has a passion for the students he serves at Central. He knows every child by name as he welcomes each of them to school in the morning while directing morning arrival. Throughout the week you will find Mr. Creutz walking the halls while talking with kids and showing up to the MANY, many after school events where he supports all different extracurricular activities.”

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For a Healthy Future- Lutheran Schools https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/for-a-healthy-future-lutheran-schools Mon, 09 Apr 2018 04:51:30 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/for-a-healthy-future-lutheran-schools “....The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. We all must have something to love.”

-American clergyman George Washington Burnap and repeated/attributed to Immanuel Kant, a philosopher of the 1700’s.I remember these words being part of the first unit of the middle school health book I taught out of in the 90’s. Assuming its truth, one can quickly conclude of the importance of meaningful activities, meaningful relationships and a hopeful look to the future to experience strong holistic health. Certainly good physical health is an essential part of holistic health. But one may conclude that many present health issues stem from meaningless activities, lack of personal relationships and not seeing meaning in life. When one considers the issue of trauma in the classroom, increased depression and anxiety for all ages and more expressions of despair (note increased suicide rates) and the impact these have in our community (stresses upon schools, hospitals, social ministries), one has to do more than fix the results. A deeper solution needs to be considered.While it is debatable if Burnap’s/Kant’s statement is wholly true, observations can certainly point that the antithesis of their statement is contributing to our society's sobering downward spiral. Consider the following-

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Foolish or Wise? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/foolish-or-wise Fri, 30 Mar 2018 03:45:11 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/foolish-or-wise ]]> TLSP Schools at the National Lutheran Basketball Tournament https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tlsp-schools-at-the-national-lutheran-basketball-tournament Thu, 29 Mar 2018 06:05:34 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tlsp-schools-at-the-national-lutheran-basketball-tournament St Paul’sLutheran School Fort Wayneand ConcordiaLutheran Schoolrepresented The Lutheran Schools Partnership (TLSP) schools at this year’s National Lutheran Basketball Tournament in Valparaiso, Indiana.Both teams played into the last day of the tournament.St. Paul's went 4-1, and played in the championship bracket throughout the tournament. The Bears defeated Our Redeemer, Delavan, Wisconsin 47-27 in the first round, Trinity, Waconia MN 52-22 in the 2nd round, Lincoln Lutheran, Lincoln Nebraska 52-28 in the quarter final, and lost in overtime to the undefeated Minnesota State Champion 43-37, Zion Mayer, MN. The Bears went on to defeat Zion Marengo, Illinois in the 3rd place game 51-37. St. Paul's had two players on the all tournament team, both 7th graders. CJ Davis who had 54 points in the tournament, averaging 11 per game, and Darrion Brooks, who had 75 points in the tournament, averaging 15 per game.Concordia went 4-2, and made it to the Consolation Bracket Semi Final. They defeated Christ the King, Memphis, TN in their first game, 55-40. They lost in the 2nd round to the eventual champion, Divine Redeemer, Hartland, WI, 56-38. This moved them into the consolation championship bracket. In their first game in that bracket, they defeated Concordia, Omaha, NE 36-31. In the second game, they defeated Hales Corner Wisconsin 39-25. They lost in the consolation semi-final to Salem, Tomball, TX. Congratulations to both teams!

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It's All About Jesus- Holy Week https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-all-about-jesus-holy-week Mon, 26 Mar 2018 04:05:11 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-all-about-jesus-holy-week Not lost on this Palm Sunday is the fact it is March 25. March 25 makes this year’s Palm Sunday 3 months after Christmas and 9 months until the next Christmas celebration. 9 months from now, we celebrate the birth of our Savior. 3 months ago, we welcomed the newborn King. Today we sang, “Hosanna” to the King riding into Jerusalem. Today, we celebrate the Savior's trek into Holy Week. All that Christmas stuff was aimed at this week- and here it comes....including a blanket of white for many to our south just to put things into greater perspective. His blood will make our hearts as white as new fallen snow. Too cool.And so this week, Holy Week, we would do well to have our thoughts on Christmas. The greatest Gift of all is finishing His work this week. He came in humbly because he humbly took up the task to save us. While Messiah sounds like an inspiring name, it simply announces Jesus for what he is- Savior.He’s going to demonstrate that humility again this week when He acts as a servant washing His disciples feet. But then He is going to serve us again, doing some last minute preparations with his disciples. He’ll pray for them and for us, that we remain strong in faith. And to make sure it’s possible for frail sinners to stay strong, He’ll give us himself through His Supper to do more than just remember Him but to have Him live with us and in us.He’s going to take our sin to the cross with him this week. We’re going to see the full wrath of our God toward sin, and we’re going to see God take it out on His Son... for us. It’s going to be ugly, because sin is ugly. It’s going to be an abandoned Savior on that cross, because sin separates. But he’s going to let us know it’s finished, His lifework of redeeming us. It will be finished.Then comes Easter. This Savior of ours is going to let us know that all is good and right. Our guilt and shame is left in the grave. He has announced his power over all that wants us separated from Him- sin, death, the devil. He is our conquering King, our King Eternal. And so our “Hosannas” will change to loud “Hallelujahs.”This week, our schools will spend a lot of time sharing the Holy Week messages. Continue the sharing at home. And assure your time in church this week. Christ’s gifts are there; He is there. A blessed Holy Week to you.

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Coming Soon: Shrek the Musical Jr. https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/coming-soon-shrek-the-musical-jr Mon, 12 Mar 2018 06:23:54 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/coming-soon-shrek-the-musical-jr This weekend, a special collaboration of middle school students will take the stage at Concordia Lutheran Elementary School. Shrek The Musical, Jr. is a citywide middle school musical taking place Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17, 2018 at Concordia Lutheran Elementary School (4245 Lake Ave) at 7:00pm. Admission is $5 for students and $7 for adults. Doors open at 6:15pm and the house will open at 6:30pm both evenings. A dessert theater will be offered during intermission. Shrek, Jr. is the second annual citywide middle school musical and is directed by Mr. Chris Murphy. The cast of Shrek, Jr. is made entirely of middle school students from 13 different schools around Fort Wayne, with 11 of the 13 schools being Lutheran Schools. Represented in the cast is: Lutheran South Unity, St. Peters, St. John-Emmanuel, Emmanuel-St. Michael, Concordia, Woodburn, St. Paul’s, Central, Emmaus, Holy Cross, and Suburban Bethlehem. The collaboration of schools does not stop with the students. Murphy, Chair of Concordia Lutheran High School’s Drama Department and Algebra teacher, called upon Concordia Elementary’s 5th grade teacher, Angie Owen, to be the assistant director.Choreography was done by fellow Concordia Elementary teacher, Erin Mickelini, and Lutheran South Unity music teacher, Natalie Reynolds, worked with the singing.Music Theater International describes the show, “Beauty is in the eye of the ogre in Shrek The Musical Jr., based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and fantastic Broadway musical. It's a big bright beautiful world as everyone's favorite ogre, Shrek, leads a cast of fairytale misfits on an adventure to rescue a princess and find true acceptance. Part romance and part twisted fairy tale, Shrek Jr. is an irreverently fun show with a powerful message for the whole family.”

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2018 ILSSA State Basketball Tournament https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2018-ilssa-state-basketball-tournament Mon, 05 Mar 2018 05:06:45 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2018-ilssa-state-basketball-tournament [caption id="attachment_2450" align="alignright" width="300"] St. Paul, Fort Wayne: 2018 ILSSA State Tournament Champions[/caption]Last weekend, Lutheran schools from all over the state competed in the Indiana Lutheran Schools Athletic Association’s State Basketball (ILSAA) tournament in Fort Wayne, IN. ILSAA is a non-profit organization that sponsors sports competitions for Indiana Lutheran middle schools. The tournament included 10 middle school boys teams and 10 middle school girls teams. Over the weekend of February 23-25, 2018, a total of 34 games were played at three area Lutheran schools: Concordia Lutheran High School, Central Lutheran School, and Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School.[caption id="attachment_2451" align="alignright" width="300"] Concordia, Fort Wayne: Team Sportsmanship Award winners[/caption]The Final Four brackets on the girls side and the boys sides were filled by Lutheran schools from southern Indiana except one: St. Paul’s, Fort Wayne boys. The boys Championship game took place in Concordia High School’s main gym on Sunday afternoon. Our own St. Paul’s, Fort Wayne defeated St. Peter’s, Columbus 51-42. In the girls championship game, Immanuel, Seymour defeated St. John, Sauers. Congratulations to Emma Klinge from St. John, Sauers and to CJ Davis from St. Paul’s, Fort Wayne, who were named MVPs for the tournament. Congratulations also goes out to the team sportsmanship award winners: Concordia, Fort Wayne for the boys division, and Holy Cross, Indianapolis for the girls division.

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TLSP Schools Support Ongoing Disaster Relief Efforts https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tlsp-schools-support-ongoing-disaster-relief-efforts Fri, 02 Mar 2018 03:46:37 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tlsp-schools-support-ongoing-disaster-relief-efforts When natural disaster strikes, the devastation seems ever before us on our televisions and computers...at least for a while. Donations are sent almost immediately to help those affected by earthquakes, wildfires, and floods. However, aid may slow down as quickly as it begins. As we are reminded by LCMS Disaster Response, the need for support through prayer, donations, and volunteering is ongoing in these situations. The schools of The Lutheran Schools Partnership have a tradition of annually working together to support a chapel offering project. This year, our schools collected money during National Lutheran Schools Week and opted to send it to Lutheran schools in Houston, Texas, directly affected by Hurricane Harvey. During the National Lutheran Schools Week challenge, TLSP schools raised $10,242.03 for hurricane relief.The Lutheran Schools Partnership has established a new award for our schools, called the TLSP Challenge Cup. This trophy will be awarded annually to the school who wins a challenge placed before our schools. This year, the challenge was to raise the most money per student for hurricane relief. In the future, our schools may challenge one another to perform volunteer hours, collect items for a charity, or perform some other act of service. We look forward to having fun, challenging one another and sharing the joy of serving the Lord by serving others. [caption id="attachment_2446" align="alignright" width="300"] St. John students show off the TLSP Challenge Cup.[/caption]The winner of the first annual TLSP Challenge is St. John Lutheran School in Kendallville. St. John raised $2033.32, which is $12.87 per student! St. John was awarded the TLSP Challenge Cup at the teacher professional development event hosted by TLSP on Feb. 16. Thanks to a Thrivent Action Team grant, St. John will also be awarded an all-school ice cream party to be served by the staff of The Lutheran Schools Partnership. Congratulations, and great work, St. John Eagles!

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Brain Break Challenge https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/brain-break-challenge Mon, 26 Feb 2018 04:10:31 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/brain-break-challenge What do you get when you give a group of students an Ipad or a cell phone and a challenge? Amazing videos! The Lutheran Schools Partnership sponsored a Brain Break Video Contest for our schools to celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week. Many of our schools use websites like www.GoNoodle.com to provide “brain breaks” for students during the school day. To celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week and to celebrate what makes us unique, we challenged our schools to create brain breaks that show who we are, and that we could use in our TLSP schools.Brain breaks are short, active times in the classroom that allow students to get out of their seats, get their bodies moving, and get their brains ready to learn more. Having videos that students can follow along with for these brain breaks is fun for students and helpful for teachers. In a previous article, Keeping the Brain In Mind, I referenced the research on cross-lateral exercises, and their importance for children. We encouraged our brain break video creators to include those types of exercises in their 1-3 minute videos. In all, eighteen brain break videos were submitted by six of our TLSP schools. Some videos were put together by classes of students with teacher leadership, and some were created by small groups of students working almost independent of teacher help. It is a true reflection of the excellence of our schools to see the creative, funny, and useful videos created by our students that also share the Gospel message. A committee of four TLSP teachers judged the videos using guidelines that had been shared with schools when they were invited to enter the contest. Honorable mention awards went to St. Peter’s sixth grade for their “Lit” brain break, Ascension Kindergarten and first grade for their “Can’t Stop the Praising” video, and St. Paul’s first and second grade for their “JESUS” video. Each of these schools received a Meijer gift card. First place in the Brain Break Video Contest was awarded to Mr. Buuck’s third grade at Emmanuel-St. Michael Lutheran School for their video, It’s All About Jesus. Their class received a Visa gift card.The eighteen videos created for the contest are located on a Google Team Drive to which only teachers in TLSP have access. Teachers can now use the video brain breaks in all their classrooms, sharing the talents and imaginations of our schools with one another.

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The Paradox of Giving https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-paradox-of-giving Mon, 19 Feb 2018 06:46:37 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-paradox-of-giving I have been building the fundraising library of The Lutheran Schools Partnership and recently added The Paradox of Generosity, a book that can be summed up in one sentence: “Those who give their resources away receive them back in return.”As the introduction states, “The paradox of generosity should not be surprising.” There are numerous examples of historical writers that have taught different versions of how to give and receive. Everything from Proverbs 11:24-25, to Aesop’s fable of the Lion and the Mouse: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”However, we modern humans want more… proof. This book does it. Using scientific, empirical, social-science research methods, the authors published a national survey of adult Americans and then chose a selected pool of respondents to interview in their homes for more in-depth discussions based on the national results.For the book, they defined generosity as the “virtue of giving good things to others freely and abundantly” as a learned character trait involving both attitudes and actions. They measured the usual topics of financial giving and volunteering, as well as the concepts of being generous with time and with emotions to family, friends, and neighbors. Their results? The more generous Americans are, the more happiness, health, and purpose in life they enjoy, and the results are consistent across all of the measured types of generous practices.As you would expect, they also found the reverse to be true: ungenerous Americans tend to be more unhealthy and less prosperous than their more generous counterparts.It is noteworthy that four areas of generosity actually did not result in more happiness and health: giving blood, organ donation, loaning someone something, and estate giving. I will let you read the book to get the details, but it could be summarized that their study was of generous practices, and by definition a practice involves doing something more than once and hints at commitment. In any case, it appears that the present is again strengthening the past and the illustrations found throughout the Bible were more than just a suggestion: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” -- 2 Corinthians 9:6.Let me know if you want to borrow our copy of the book.

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Civility https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/civility Mon, 12 Feb 2018 06:00:30 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/civility 1- We will greet and acknowledge each other2- We will say please and thank you3- We will treat each other equally and with respect4- We will be direct, sensitive and honest5- We will address incivility whenever it occursWhere would you expect to hear this list? This is what Bill Hybels calls his “Civility Code,” shared at the Global Leadership Summit 2017. While these were expectations years ago and were actions shared at home, work and in other social situations, one could argue that a lot of remedial teaching (and coaching) needs to be done to get these practices back into the functioning of our society.Post modern times dictate a need to define words and a functioning agreement on words and phrases. All too often, assumptions are made that certain words and phrases being used in conversations are using the same working definition by all parties involved.Even this notion of a “Civility Code” has other definitions. In California, a civility tool box is shared as part of the State Bar Association. It contains language and actions that are permissible and not permissible. Civility Code becomes more than manners- it’s the language of the Bar.In a sample veterinarians’ resource site, the question is posed, “Is your veterinary hospital certified civil?”One can conclude quickly that most of the code is nothing more than bygone manners. In other cases, codes are interpreted as divisive and inflammatory. In the fall of 2017, the Chancellor for Cal-Berkeley “was forced to backtrack and clarify his statement (on civility) after scholars and commentators raised concerns that civility would be used as an excuse to repress legitimate political debate.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-center-for-constitutional-rights/when-civility-is-code-for_b_6366362.html)In our world, every word needs defining, every action needs accountability, every thought is judged as being biased. Is there a “Professionally Speaking” application for civility? Consider these thoughts on civility within the activity of a school- Treatment of co-workers. As all within schools, pastors, administrators, teachers, office staff, kitchen staff, maintenance staff, pastors and aides perform their responsibilities to the glory of God, respect, truth and love can be expected attitudes that will permeate words and actions. Be it in the hallway, small groups, faculty meetings or in social gatherings, colleagues and co-workers can expect greetings, words of encouragement and honesty. “Truth had to be told?” Maybe- but where and when? “I’m just being honest?” Is “being honest” out of love or to expose? Silent treatment toward others? Read the Good Samaritan lately? Shunning is not a Christian action. Treatment of guests and implications of admissions. Stores like Walmart have greeters at their entrance for the main purpose of welcoming customers. The best greeters are attentive to every arriving customer, not glued to a cell phone or engaged in conversation with a fellow employee. Customers first, that’s the motto. Is an attentive greeter with a warm welcome the first impression of your school? Does the school’s administrative assistant understand this importance of first impressions? How does the facility itself lend itself to the community’s ability to be welcoming? Treatment within the classroom. Taking turns. Raising hands. No secrets. What else comes to mind as one thinks about classroom rules? Often classroom rules are about order but would the bigger priority be about learning to get along? Civility finds its roots in the second table of the 10 Commandments. The Fourth Commandment is about respect for authority. The Fifth Commandment is about physically caring for one another. The Sixth Commandment is about respect for God’s design for family and relationships with one another. The Eighth Commandment is about our words toward one another.The reality is care for our neighbor is not an easy thing for us to do. It’s not natural for us to look beyond ourselves, beyond our own needs and treat others with love and concern.However, our God has shown to us what it looks like to be self-less, to be humble, to care for those around us. In Jesus, we see selflessness for the good of mankind, even to the extent of death. In Jesus, we see humility as the Creator lives within a fallen creation and lives for others, not for himself. In Jesus, we see compassion for others, even for those who are difficult to care for.Thanks be to God that we are in Christ through faith. His life is the life we are connected to in the waters of baptism. Our sinful, selfish ways are daily drowned and to the glory of God and by his grace, we perform the works he has set in front of us, works that are witness to Christ.As we see over and over again, it’s still all about Jesus....including how we treat one another.

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Wikipedia, Fundraiser Extraordinaire https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/wikipedia-fundraiser-extraordinaire Thu, 08 Feb 2018 04:59:07 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/wikipedia-fundraiser-extraordinaire Definition: Fundraising or fund raising (also known as "development") is the process of gathering voluntary contributions of money or other resources, by requesting donations from individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or governmental agencies. -- Wikipedia entryHow many of you received fundraising solicitations in December? How many did you receive just in the month of December alone? As you can imagine, I have been added to many mailing lists. Some organizations I give to, others I enjoy receiving if for no other reason than to see their handiwork for future reference.There was one year-end request from Wikipedia (yes, they have a nonprofit foundation to help fund operations) that caught my attention not only to talk about it here, but to also donate for the first time to the Wikipedia Foundation. See the full text of their online appeal below: “Last chance: Readers in the U.S., we will get straight to the point: there are only a few hours left before midnight tonight to help Wikipedia. To maintain our independence, we will never run ads. We depend on donations averaging about $15. Only a tiny portion of our readers give.If everyone reading this donated $3, we could keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come. The price of a coffee is all we need. It’s a little awkward to be asking this on a Sunday, as we’re sure you are busy and we don’t want to interrupt you. But there’s never an easy time to remind people that giving to Wikipedia not only supports a service you frequently use, but it helps keep a neutral internet alive and thriving. We can’t afford to feel embarrassed, asking you to make a donation -- just like you should never feel embarrassed when you have to ask Wikipedia for information. We do it in the pursuit of open knowledge that’s always ad-free, never tracks your data, and is never sold off to corporate big-wigs. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about, if you ask us.When we made Wikipedia a non-profit, people warned us we’d regret it. But if Wikipedia became commercial, it’d be a great loss to the world. Wikipedia is a place for you to learn, not a place for advertising. It unites all of us who love knowledge: contributors, readers and the donors who keep us thriving. The heart and soul of Wikipedia is a community of people working to bring you unlimited access to reliable, neutral information.Please take one minute to help us keep Wikipedia growing. Thank you.”Genius, right?! Regardless of your opinion of Wikipedia, you have to admire how they:… gave the reader an average gift amount to help anchor the need.… gave the reader social proof, or the feeling of belonging to something bigger than oneself.… gave the reader reciprocity; you give, you get the free service of Wikipedia.… gave the reader the feeling of urgency, even a fear of missing out on the opportunity to “stick it to the man”, or in their words, corporate “big-wigs”.… helped frame the need to the reader, allowing them to feel part of the solution.… kept it light hearted, but sincere.I gave the “coffee amount”, or $3 plus another $1 to help cover my debit card processing. Perfect letter? Maybe not, but it was perfect for them. I may not have given much, but I guess it helped because I was able to search for the definition of “Fundraising” today. For free. And I will probably will again next year, too.

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2018 LSAA Basketball Championship Weekend https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2018-lsaa-basketball-championship-weekend Thu, 01 Feb 2018 06:15:42 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2018-lsaa-basketball-championship-weekend Concordia Lutheran High School was once again the site for the annual Lutheran Schools Athletic Association (LSAA) Basketball Championship Weekend. It was a fun-filled, exciting basketball weekend for both the Girls and Boys Final Four teams.The Girls Final Four started the weekend off on Saturday morning with the St John-Emmanuel Tigers holding off a late charge by the Woodburn Wildcats 27 – 24. That game was followed by the Wyneken Warriors battling from behind to defeat the Central Chargers 24 – 18.The Boys Final Four left no doubt that the North Division Champion Concordia Cubs and the South Division Champion St Paul’s Bears were the top teams in the LSAA this year, with the Cubs defeating the Lutheran South Unity Phoenix 57 – 30 and the Bears taking down the Emmanuel – St. Michael Eagles 40 – 14.Sunday afternoon was another great day of basketball which began with the Girls and Boys 3rd place games. On the Girls side, Central proved to be too much for Woodburn as the Chargers defeated the Wildcats 42 – 20. The Boys 3rd place game was a much closer game, with Emmanuel – St. Michael getting a 27 – 25 win over Lutheran South Unity.The Girls Championship Game will be remembered as a tough fought, defensive battle. St John – Emmanuel jumped out to a 10 – 2 first quarter lead, but could manage only 12 more points the rest of the game as the defense by Wyneken helped them to come out on top 23 – 22 in overtime.On the Boys side, St Paul’s jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as they defeated a Concordia team that gave it their all to the finish, 42 – 33.All eight of these teams, plus the Holy Cross Crusaders Boys, will represent the LSAA in the ILSAA State Basketball Tournament held in Fort Wayne on February 23– 25, 2018.You can keep up with all the Lutheran Schools Athletic Association (LSAA) Girls and Boys sports by visiting the league websiteYou can also follow the Indiana Lutheran Schools Athletic Association (ILSAA) State Basketball Tournament by visiting their website.

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Future Giving Video https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/future-giving-video Sun, 28 Jan 2018 14:05:39 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/future-giving-video As part of our ongoing efforts to support our Lutheran schools in Northeast Indiana, The Lutheran Schools Partnership recently worked with local production company Blue Pony to create a new video to explain Future Giving. You can view the video hereWhat is “Future Giving”? Some have called it “planned giving”, or “estate giving”, or “wills and bequests” but, we describe this way:Future Giving is IMPACT… the impact of your charitable support of Lutheran education now, and its impact on your assets, taxes, and income, and even your legacy in the future.Future Giving is Miss Grepke… who leaves a gift in her will now to impact Lutheran education in the future.Future Giving is Mr. Bultemeier… who makes his favorite Lutheran school a beneficiary of his retirement plan now to impact a building campaign in the future.Future Giving is the Goeglein's… who create a Charitable Gift Annuity to pay them income now to support scholarships in the future.It wasn’t easy to condense this complex topic into a 2:00 minute video, but our TLSP Advancement Committee worked hard to make the effort a reality.This video joins our growing list of illustrative video options for our partnering schools, including the SGO Video and the TLSP Endowment Match Video.As we look to start planning our next video, do you have any charitable topics for the committee to consider?

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Get Out the Word! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/get-out-the-word Mon, 22 Jan 2018 04:44:46 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/get-out-the-word https://www.facebook.com/TheLutheranSchools/videos/1765461290141297/Time to help others grow their God-given gifts! It’s time to let your friends and neighbors know that Lutheran schools are there for them. We are eager to share opportunities to grow their child's gifts, gifts that are given by our gracious God. We also are eager to remind parents that those kids of theirs are most precious in God’s sight and that He sent His very Son for each of them.The 18 elementary Lutheran Schools and Concordia Lutheran High School represent more than 4,000 students across northeast Indiana! With so many options available, there’s a right fit for most any child!If you’re talking about your Lutheran school, and money becomes a topic, remember to share the availability of tuition assistance, SGO grants, and Indiana Choice Scholarships to help make the Lutheran schools affordable.You know the commitment to Christian education that we have. Help others discover why Hoosier parents have been choosing Lutheran schools for more than 175 years!

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529 Program Changes for Our Lutheran Schools https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/529-program-changes-for-our-lutheran-schools Thu, 11 Jan 2018 21:49:11 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/529-program-changes-for-our-lutheran-schools If you haven’t heard, Congress recently made some big changes to various tax laws, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I will highlight most of these changes in an upcoming post, but today I was tasked with focusing on the new opportunities for our area Lutheran schools from the changes to 529 plans.As The Wall Street Journal noted recently, “529 College-Savings Plans Are Even Hotter After Tax Overhaul”, But what are 529 Plans? Named after a section of the tax code, 529s allow individuals to contribute after-tax dollars to a savings fund that is invested and grows tax-free. Withdraws are also tax-free if used to pay eligible college education expenses, including tuition, books, room, board, fees, books, etc. However, thanks to the new tax law changes, as of January 1 withdraws up to $10,000 per year are now also eligible for K-12 educational expenses at private and religious schools, including our area Lutheran schools and Concordia Lutheran High School. In addition to providing more options when it comes to saving for K-12 tuition, other key points making 529s worth a closer look include the following: Gifts to approved plans in Indiana are eligible for a 20% Indiana state tax credit, up to $5,000 that could result in a state tax credit up to $1,000. (State tax credits sound familiar? See here how this tax credit is similar and different than gifts to SGO Scholarships.) Contributions to 529s qualify for the gift-tax annual exclusion, currently at $15,000 per recipient ($30,000 for married contributors). Contributors may be able to even make five years’ worth of gifts in one lump sum ($75,000 single, $150,000 for those filing jointly). Contributors can be anyone… parents, grandparents, uncles, neighbors, former babysitters, anyone. This year total contributions cannot exceed $298,770 for all accounts for the same beneficiary in Indiana sponsored plans. Some families have utilized a plan similar to 529s, called Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. However, 529s may be more attractive because they do not have the income or contribution limits of Coverdells, nor do they have the contribution deadlines or account time limits of Coverdells. The new act can allow rollovers to 529s from Coverdells without tax consequences.So, how can K-12 schools promote and benefit from the enhanced 529 plans? 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 sending 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? If done right, perhaps schools can even reduce their reliance on School Choice Scholarships if more eligible students have 529 plans.As with anything new, please keep in mind the following: The dust is still settling on all of this; watch the news in the coming months for any clarifications or updates to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Make sure to continue to save for college… make K-12 education an addition to your plans. Indiana requires that you pick their approved plan in order to qualify for the deduction, as can be found here: CollegeChoice 529. You can only donate cash to Indiana’s plan; no stocks, bonds, credit cards, etc. Will Indiana’s approved plans have the best performance and fee structure? Maybe yes, maybe no. You should investigate all of the options, and funds are not guaranteed; values can go up and down with the financial markets. Verify how the potential tax credit will mesh with your other tax credit donations, such as the SGO tax credit. And of course, we strongly recommend discussing any and all options with a certified tax and financial professional to see if the 20% tax credit or annual/accelerated gift exclusion will work for you. At least now you have more options to consider and something to talk about with family, school leadership, and advisors.

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Feedback or Recognition? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/feedback-or-recognition Mon, 08 Jan 2018 06:15:57 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/feedback-or-recognition Marcus Buckingham is a British author, motivational speaker and business consultant. With past experience as a researcher for Gallup, he uses interviews from around the world to draw conclusions about employee performance and engagement. Many of his encouragements center around self-awareness and building on strengths. At the Global Leadership Summit 2017, Buckingham stated, “We don’t want feedback; we want attention.” Fascinating.In the world of education, feedback is an expectation- for students, for teachers and for administration. Feedback is encouraged for comprehension, for assessment of teaching tools and for engagement. For example, three popular classroom tools used for engagement include: Twitter- One can create a hashtag and then give students an opportunity for interaction on whatever topic the class covered or discovered. While Twitter certainly was not meant as a polling tool, it can work quite well. Google Forms- Free and simple to use. Google Forms has many templates and themes providing opportunities for shared information Kahoot- Kahoot is a web tool that delivers online quizzes and surveys. Simple to use, teachers can drag and drop to create all kinds of feedback opportunities. Frankly, Twitter and Google Forms work well for parent input as well.But this idea of feedback is not the idea of feedback that Buckingham is commenting on. His “feedback” idea is part of the whole idea of professional performance reviews. Often these reviews are based on collaborative professional development plans and the reaching of goals spelled out in these plans. “360 reviews” are quite popular, and are especially used in our world for administrative reviews so that multiple constituents can provide input on the leader. Buckingham debunks reviews that are using a numerical matrix. His research indicates that all input is skewed by the reviewer. One may be a “hard grader” and never give a top score. Or the person may be an easy scorer with an inability to give a low score. Simply stated, he argues that most of the total score of the reviews are user biased and are worthless.So what is valuable? Research says we want to be informed and affirmed of our strengths. We want to know how well we are using these skills. We also want to know purpose- the organization’s purpose and how we plug into the purpose. Does this sound like you? Are you more interested in a little recognition vs feedback? Years of experience says there is much fretting over having a performance review. Administrators find limited time to get these accomplished and teachers and staff see little connection with the process and actual personal growth. More often than not, reviews are “check offs” for board approval or for accreditation reports.The reality is that having some critical eyes in the classroom are valuable for the growth of a teacher. Hearing from teachers, students, parents and other leaders is helpful for the effectiveness of a principal. Students need to get information to improve their products- essays, projects, etc.But if Buckingham’s research is valid, might our review processes look different and become more effective if reviews are relational, intentional and ongoing or as Buckingham directs, we share purpose and we build on strengths? What are the implications of this research in the classroom, for ongoing teacher development and for supporting and encouraging administrators?Our culture places much emphasis on success or at being the best at something. Parents will spend hundreds of dollars on club sports or for personal trainers with the hope of a child being the best volleyball player, basketball player or musician. Much is discussed and encouraged from educational reforms that lean toward the exceptional. Educators are encouraged to be creative and avoid placing barriers so that the inner curiosity of the child can be fostered. The the child can find his/her strengths and grow those strengths to new impact into the world. One could argue that a classroom with few barriers for creativity might lose some direction and ..... purpose.What happens when purpose and and awareness of strengths are aligned with our theology? A gold mine of joy can occur!Purpose? There’s a lot of Law here but there is also clear direction from our God. We should use our talents to the best of our ability (1 Peter 4:10-11) We are encouraged to be faithful (Revelation 2:10). We are never directed to be successful We are witnesses of God’s grace and are salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16, Acts 1:8) Have children and be stewards of the world God has given us. (Genesis 1:28-30) Be patient and loving, ready to share the joy that we have (Ephesians 4:1-3)Knowing strengths? Self-awareness? We are a chosen people (1 Peter 2:9-10). We are Christ’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).What a gift to know and to be able to share these directions for life! These insights are especially helpful as we know the One who is the giver of the gifts, the One who knew his purpose. Jesus knew His purpose. He died for us so that heaven is ours. Life here has purpose. Our gifts are used for His glory. Our perspective on life and life eternal is still all about Jesus.

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Keeping the Brain in Mind https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/keeping-the-brain-in-mind Mon, 18 Dec 2017 07:01:34 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/keeping-the-brain-in-mind Last June, The Lutheran Schools Partnership hosted Ann Anzalone, a well-known educational speaker on brain development. This November, Emmaus Lutheran School brought Anzalone back to Fort Wayne to speak to teachers and parents. Anzalone demonstrates what she teaches - we all need to be active learners. Anzalone led her audience through exercises as she spoke about how the brain develops, and how we support brain development in our classrooms. Dr. Robert Sperry’s researchin the 1960’s began to shed light on the functions of the two hemispheres, or sides, of the brain. The right brain was believed to control imagination, intuition, rhythm, arts, and the like. The left brain was tied to linear thinking, mathematics, logic, and facts. Current research says that while certain parts of the brain do control certain functions, our brains are not set for us to be simply “right-brained” or “left-brained” people (Schmerling, 2017).This fits with what research tells us about neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to make connections throughout life. Research shows that brain development is not fixed in early childhood, as once believed (Merzenich, 2013). We now know that while a tremendous amount of development happens in early childhood, we can help our brains close developmental gaps later in life. Ann Anzalone’s presentations focused on activities that help the brain to close those gaps.One method for helping the two hemispheres of our brain to communicate and close gaps is by using cross lateral exercises. Cross lateral exercises are those in which parts of the body cross the midline. The midline is an imaginary line that travels down the middle of our bodies, from the top of the head to between the feet. Performing exercises that cause our body parts to cross that midline are important to helping the two hemispheres of our brain communicate with each other. This communication helps to coordinate our learning and movements by strengthening nerve cell pathways.All cross lateral exercises from toe touches to windmills are helpful. One specific exercise suggested by Ann Anzalone is the Cross Crawl. This is useful when you need to be alert and focused, such as before a test. Try doing following the steps below as quickly as you are able, while sitting down: Puppet movements-touch your left elbow to your left knee, then your right elbow to your right knee. Do 28 sets. Crossover movements-touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Do 28 sets. Do 14 sets of puppets. Do 14 sets of crossovers. Do 10 sets of puppets. Do 10 sets of crossovers.In addition to doing activities that force us to cross the midline, Anzalone also encourages frequent movement and activity of all kinds. She suggests regular “brain breaks” that allow students to move to get their blood flowing and reduces stress. Brain breaks that involve crossing the midline are ideal, but any exercise is helpful. She shares that one’s basic attention span is roughly equal to age plus 2, so movement is required more frequently for younger students.As we seek to help our students develop strong minds and bodies, we can use these ideas from Ann Anzalone to guide our activities. Remember, these things are not only good for students at school-they are useful for us as parents, helping our kids with homework. They also apply to us as adults. We need to get out of our chairs and move frequently, too!

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Distraction or Focused on Christ? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/distraction-or-focused-on-christ Mon, 11 Dec 2017 07:42:12 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/distraction-or-focused-on-christ The reason for the season.Christmas is all about Jesus. There’s no question about this. It might get a bit trivialized with catchphrases like this but it’s absolutely true. Christmas is about Jesus.Jesus’ birth is more than a warm story filled with joy and happiness.To celebrate Christmas, to witness to kids and families about the “reason for the season,” is to see the baby Jesus in the shadow of Calvary’s cross. The two cannot be separated. The true joy of Christmas is about prophecies foretold and the climax of the prophecies to be played out in 33 years.Why human? Why God? Why Mary? Why Bethlehem? Human, because Jesus needed to live and fulfill the Law....as a man. He needed to be a perfect man. He needed to be us to save us (Galatians 4:4-5). As man, for payment of sin, He died in payment for our sin (Hebrews 2:14).God, because his life and death needed to be God-sized to pay for humanity's sin (Mark 10:45). As God, He overcame death and the devil (Hebrews 2:14).Mary, because he was human and to fulfill prophecy (Is 7:14).Bethlehem, to fulfil prophecy (Micah 5:2)You know all this. These facts center our Christmas celebration. But consider everything else that has become part of the Christmas season. Gifts, cookies, parties, travel, family and so much more. If Jesus is the reason for the season and our schools are uniquely purposed for sharing Christ, why bother with so much of what often becomes burdensome and takes the joy away from the season? Consider then, what are the traditions that point us to Jesus? What do we do that help us celebrate Christ’s incarnation? Gift-giving- The materialism of Christmas marketing certainly is proof of the sinfulness of this world, but giving gifts is a wonderful way to point to Jesus. Jesus is THE gift of Christmas. Giving presents also remind us of the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus (which also foreshadow Jesus death). Giving gifts to show love for families and friends also reminds us of the gift of love in Christ. Gift-giving also encourages generosity in our kids.Christmas tree- A quick survey finds the Christmas tree having all sorts of possible pagan histories. However, German Lutherans like to connect Luther with the Christmas tree. Also, as recently as 2004, Pope John Paul called the Christmas tree a symbol of Christ. This very ancient custom, he said, exalts the value of life, as in winter what is evergreen becomes a sign of undying life, and it reminds Christians of the "tree of life" of Genesis 2:9, an image of Christ, the supreme gift of God to humanity. (Zenit News Agency. December 19, 2004).Lights- Clark Griswold (Christmas Vacation) may overdo it, but Christmas lights can be a striking way to demonstrate light’s overcoming of darkness, something the Gospel writer shares with such depth in John 1 in describing Christ’s entrance into the world and exposing the darkness of sin.Memorizing the Christmas story and Christmas hymns- Luke 2 and John 1. Micah 5:2. Isaiah 7:14, Galatian 4:4-5. These verses have been memorized and recited every Christmas program and service. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”, “Joy to the World”, and “Silent Night”- all songs that share the Gospel and the sheer joy of Jesus birth. Why memorize? Having God’s word quick to mind is invaluable; certainly God’s word is the Spirit’s means of growing faith. But doesn’t it make sense to fill our minds with the riches of the season rather than those things which can distract or deter us from Christ? Family gatherings- It wasn’t much of a family gathering for Jesus, was it? Step-dad, mom and cattle. However, the hosts of heaven did do a marvelous job of sharing the news and plenty of visitors did show up at Jesus’ birth....some later visitors even brought gifts. The focus was Jesus....and when families gather the focus is probably NOT on Jesus. We may find out quickly WHY Jesus came as bickering occurs, tempers flare and everything and anything squelches the joy of the season. But can those gatherings be about unconditional love? Can they share carols and devotions? Can the generosity of gifts be reflective of the greatest gift of all? Christmas really is not about feeling all warm inside (look what it did to Frosty the Snowman). Christmas is about Jesus redeeming a broken world. There are plenty of traditions that support a sense of the real meaning of Christmas and here’s to a festive Christmas celebration. Remember, when it comes to Christmas (and for our Lutheran schools), it’s still “all about Jesus.

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Fear Finished https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/fear-finished Mon, 04 Dec 2017 05:38:53 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/fear-finished Just over a year ago, a new president was elected. Fact: the election was impacted by fear- fear of future mortality, future security, future sustainability, future freedoms.Since then, more fear has been expressed with most fears under the subjects already mentioned. Warranted or not, fear has been expressed in continual communications.As teachers and other church professionals, what are your fears? A quarter of the year has gone by. Are your initial fears of the school year being demonstrated?Do you fear a termination of employment? Is your school lacking enrollment? Has the congregation’s resources been redirected from supporting the school? Has the overall financial resources of the school changed causing the fear of future employment?Do you fear ongoing culture changes? Do you fear the challenges from parents in the form of lack of support? Or is the challenge from parents a micromanaging of your classroom? Is there a lack of trust between the home and school?Do you fear your colleagues? Is there an uneasiness whenever the staff gathers together for meetings? Have visits with colleagues been confrontational instead of collegial? Do you fear the administration? Is the principal an encourager or discourager? Does the principal support a love for exploration or a love for complying? Does the risk of trying something new have you afraid of failing?Do you have fears about your health? Do you fear going to the doctor because of the discomfort experienced in the chest or the tingling in the feet?Do you fear loss in the family? Are Mom and Dad showing their age? Have the siblings grown far apart over time?Fear is an outcome of sin. It’s not until they eat from the Tree of Good and Evil that we see fear expressed in Adam and Eve. Fear made them hide. Fear made them lie. Fear made them tremble. God addresses fear over and over again in the Bible. A quick search of fear brings up over 70 references. That in itself demonstrates how God knows our needs and addresses each of them. Here are a few notable examples of God telling his people “Do not be afraid.”“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again” (Exodus 14:13). God gives us deliverance from our enemies. These enemies were out to work against the Israelites. We have our enemies today, and they are real. But we need not fear them. God’s promises in the past are certainties for us too.To Joshua as he is installed as leader of the Israelites upon the death of Moses- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9). As a new teacher or new principal, the responsibilities and tasks can be daunting. Certainly Joshua’s responsibilities and tasks were daunting. AND he also knew that his own people were a bit of a problem as well. God knows our needs, knows how he has equipped each of us for service and has called us into the teaching ministry. His words to Joshua are for us as well.To Abram, God said, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” Abram follows these words with his doubts about God’s promise of Abram being a great nation with many descendants. God knows our needs and supplies many tangible reassurances. In the case of Abram, it took a walk outside to see the stars in the sky as a remembrance and assurance of God’s covenant. For us, God gives us words of assurance...words like “Do not be afraid.” But he also gives us tangible gifts- His Baptism that reminds us whose we are, and His Supper to give us Himself for all the strength we need in these troubling times. Can we really need more than this?And in Isaiah 41, similarly to the chiding in Job, God reminds us of His power (2-4), His faithfulness (12-13) and his choosing to redeem each of us supplying us with his ongoing love and care (8-10). We really have a problem with God being God. We think we’re in control. We think we can make a difference for God. We think God needs our service and our praise. The reality is, as our confessions state, that God is the doer and we are the recipients. We are empty vessels; God uses us for His purpose. We fear because we think we’re God...but we’re not. Praise God that in Christ, “It is finished” and all is being prepared for us. Praise God that we need not be afraid, because when all is said and done “it’s still all about Jesus.”

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The Generous Samaritan https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-generous-samaritan Mon, 13 Nov 2017 04:57:40 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-generous-samaritan “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions. He had money as well." --Margaret ThatcherWhat do you think about this quote? Is it true?I have had this quote on my home office desk since ripping it off of my “Quote of the Day” calendar in 2006. I always thought of the quote as reflecting on money as the source of action. That is, you can have all the intent in the world, but without the means to fund your goals, you can’t get there. What better for a fundraiser to have on his desk? We need to ask for money to fund our mission!But in our Lutheran education world, how does this quote stand up? For nearly 200 years, Lutheran schools in Indiana were started by well-intentioned leaders, either to instruct the children of a congregation or reach out the community around the congregation. Members gave, buildings were built, teachers were hired, students were taught. But many time the act of giving is hushed and pushed aside until there is a dire need (“The roof is leaking!”), a capital campaign comes around, the dreaded “Stewardship Sunday” is scheduled, or a board member notes, “if everyone tithed we wouldn’t have these issues!”However, we are instructed by Paul in Romans 12 to use our gifts of giving: “if it is giving, then give generosity.” And I have always considered myself as an evangelist of the Cheerful Giver from 2nd Corinthians 9:7: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Ultimately, using the term my pastor uses every week, we got to own it; if you have the means, give. And give like you mean it. That is your gift.And if Google defines “generous” as “showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected”, then perhaps the Good Samaritan is in reality the Generous Samaritan: he certainly did more than what was expected, he did it cheerfully, and he owned it. It was his gift from God.Anyway, I think I will keep the quote in my stable of funny lines for future presentations, but thanks to my work with TLSP over the last 6 years, my perspective on it has forever been altered. For the good.P.S. And I would be remiss not to note that man, the big sack of maggots that we are, received the ultimate, undeserving generosity through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ. No money exchanged hands there (well, Judas might say otherwise, but you get the point), but oh, what an investment He made. Picture source: Time-Life

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It’s All about the Kids https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-all-about-the-kids Mon, 06 Nov 2017 04:19:25 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-all-about-the-kids In my role as administrator of The Lutheran SGO of Indiana, I get to report to everyone on the benefits of the program; the 50% credit, growth of funds raised by our schools to over $1.7 million since July 1, how we are nearing 50% of the credits gone, and how we think the credits will be out again before Christmas.And I also rave of the program’s secondary benefit to our schools: SGO fundraising has been the catalyst for many of our schools to begin a systematic plan for annual fundraising. They could see the benefit of mailing letters to alumni, inserting a bulletin insert of their scholarship need, and the eventual benefit of asking for estate gifts from those with a heart for educating kids in the love of Christ.But I was reminded a few months ago of what the SGO, and school choice is really all about: the kids.After a $50,000 stock gift was received by The Lutheran SGO to benefit one of our schools, I went to lunch with the donor to get their perspective on why they gave. This donor had lived a few blocks from the school for decades; they would have faced a huge capital gains tax had they not donated the stock; they were familiar with how other state tax credits worked in Indiana; and since any unused SGO tax credits can be rolled over up to nine years afterward, it was a no-brainer after their accountant told them about the options.But then came the final statement from across the table: “It's all about the kids, isn’t it?” $50,000 could mean up to 100 scholarships for families who want a quality, Christian education who might not otherwise have the opportunity.It is easy to forget why we are here. Thanks for reminding me.

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'Tis Harvest Time https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tis-harvest-time Fri, 03 Nov 2017 21:07:21 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tis-harvest-time I was reminded this week that it is near the end of harvest time in Indiana... the familiar sight of combines in the field, often-times using their nighttime lighting gear.What reminded me was a recent gift of crops, what we call "Gifts of Grain," that resulted in a five-figure gift to one of our schools in our family of schools. We have a presentation on our website that was created by an accountant who works often with farmers and knows their financial and tax situations that outlines our Gifts of Grain program (... gifts of soybeans, wheat, cattle…) and how it can help donors who are part of a farming family and have a heart for Lutheran education.Need more information? Contact Jon at 260-203-4509 or info@lutheransgo.org, or see the presentation for yourself here: https://www.lutheransgo.org/downloads/sgo_gog_presentation.pdf.

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Repeating the Issues of the Founders https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/repeating-the-issues-of-the-founders Mon, 30 Oct 2017 03:56:34 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/repeating-the-issues-of-the-founders Discipleship school.Missional school.Outreach school.Member school.Lutheran schools are all about Christ. Somehow over the years, some Lutheran school communities have struggled with whom is welcomed into it. Congregational members? Daughter/sister congregations’ families? Other Christian families? Faith seekers? And how do these decisions impact the overall community and program of the school?It’s fair to say that for most folks in Lutheran circles, it’s been understood that the traditional purpose of Lutheran schools is to train the church’s young. It’s only been in recent decades as there have been fewer little Lutherans and declining Lutheran congregational membership throughout the US that schools widely opened their doors to non-members. Our country has a desperate need to know its history and to know history based on historical documents and not on reconstructed notions of how the world used to be. Edmund Burke said, “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” The Old Testament writer penned, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Eccl 1:9). Lutherans need to know their history, too. Many churches and schools are desperately seeking the novel and innovative in an attempt to reach out with the Gospel. Yet one may reference Burke and Solomon and choose to look to the past for guidance for the future. A reacquaintance with our roots might be the greatest gift that the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation could bring. Consider the following items that come from writings at the dawn of the LCMS in the 1800s. “Pastor O.H.Walther had already set the precedent of accepting children of non-members. For the opening of the new school term on October 1, 1840, O.H. Walther had announced from the pulpit that the school would accept the children of non-members “at a nominal fee for the teacher. Students who were not members of the congregation paid 50 cents a month in tuition” (Schools of The Lutheran Church —Missouri Synod. 84-85.)1840? Accepting non-members into the school? Tuition? There’s more....“...an official school enrollment policy was passed in the 1850 Synodical Convention which allowed nonmember children to enroll in parish schools and in confirmation instruction even if their parents refused to become members of the congregation. The Synod declared,“It is to be deplored that alas! it has occurred in certain congregations that children of other denominations were either not accepted at all or only reluctantly. It is our obligation to follow the commands of the Lord Jesus, ‘Feed My lambs and suffer the little children to come unto Me.’ A congregation which turns away the children of other confessions may bar them from coming to Jesus and will have it upon its conscience if the little ones are taught false doctrine and are lost.” (Svnodal-Bericht. (1850). 139: trans. Stellhom. Schools of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. 75)What do these quotes imply? First, the LCMS has always understood the power of the Gospel and the Church’s need to boldly proclaim it. Walther and company understood that the true work and blessings of Lutheran churches and schools do not come from our effort. Rather, we hold to Luther’s confession in the 3rd Article, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.” Those words are personal but also provide the depth of understanding of the mission and operations for churches and schools. Hold fast to sound doctrine, get out of the way and let God take care of the rest.Secondly, it’s also a good practice for families to directly invest in the operations of the school. Member or non-member (or to quote Walther- “strangers”), support of the salary of the teachers is good and right. The aforementioned quote continues by saying that at times, tuition was discontinued. The point is that situations dictate varying degrees of support from those who were directly utilizing the educational services of the school.Two more quotes- “Makeshift arrangements had to be made, because there was such a shortage of teachers. The congregation minutes of April 27,1840, revealed, ‘A Schullehrer (teacher) Helbig, or Hellwig and his wife were named; apparently he never held a teaching position in America. (Minutes of Trinity Congregation of April 27.1840; trans. Stellhom, “The Period of Organization.” 1838-1847", ed. Repp, 100 Years of Christian Education.) Also, “Since the teacher shortage was a perpetual problem, Trinity Congregation called Buenger’s younger brother, Theodore, to be the teacher at the “St. Louis Gardens” school. Buenger and Walther had to tutor him and give him a special examination first, because he only had a Gymnasium education. (Stellhom, Schools of The Lutheran Church —Missouri Synod.)Teacher shortages? Tutoring for teachers? Just as today, the availability of teachers was at a premium. And just like today, the Church did what it needed to do to put teachers in schools. So today, we need to emphasize recruiting of teachers and discounting Lutheran college teacher training, promote the colloquy program as a means of theologically educating non-synodically trained teachers and recognize more and more pastors initiating direct tutelage of teachers in his school.As was the case in the 1840s and is the case here in 2017, we have issues to address, challenges to overcome. But when all's said and done, our schools are still “all about Jesus.”

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Mindset, part 2 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/mindset-part-2 Fri, 27 Oct 2017 03:53:42 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/mindset-part-2 This is part 2 of a 2 part series on Carol Dweck's "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success-How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential". Part one can be found here“I’m just not good at math.” “This is too hard for me, and I’m never going to get it.” “School work is just not my thing.” These statements are difficult for parents and teachers to hear, and clearly demonstrate frustration on the part of students. How do we help students stuck in the “I can’t,” “I’m no good at this,” and “I’m not meant to do this,” fixed mindset?Thankfully, there is current research on mindset that guides us to effective ways to promote the growth mindset with our children and students. Dr. David Yeager is a researcher who has worked with Carol Dweck and others, and looks at not only what growth mindset is, but also effective ways to develop it.Here are some suggestions from Dr. Yeager on proven way to promote growth mindset in the classroom, and in our homes:1.Raise the expectations. Students will rise to what they believe we think they can do. 2.Promote reflection. Student who intentionally reflect upon their experiences show more growth than those who do not. After a challenging situation or assignment, have students talk or write about what they did and what they learned, and how it will help them in the future.3. Believe in your students, and let them know you believe in them. 4.Talk the talk of shared responsibility. You are in this together: We will keep finding a way that works for you. I will work together with you to figure this out. Let’s look at what is wrong with this process and see if we can fix it. Let’s figure out together where the confusion is, and see if we can fix it. Maybe we can figure out another way for you to look at the problem that might work better for you. Focus on improvements in behavior, too. Remind students of how far they have come over time. Research also shows us things that can discourage a growth mindset. The goal of learning is not for it to be easy, so stay away from phrases such as: "That was so easy for you!" "You are a natural!" "You got that so quickly."These phrases can lead to the assumption that students are liked for their speed and ability. Instead, place the focus on the achievement of learning. Finally, keep their eyes fixed on Jesus! Remind them again and again of the hope that is found in Christ alone. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13.

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Mindset, part 1 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/mindset-part-1 Mon, 23 Oct 2017 03:46:32 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/mindset-part-1 Since the 2006 release of the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success-How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential” by Carol Dweck, the term ‘mindset’ has become a popular buzzword in the education world, and with good reason. The research on achievement and success by Dweck and others has shown that our intelligence, and other human traits, are not all fixed. One key to developing those qualities is our mindset. Carol Dweck shares the two basic mindsets, fixed and growth, in her book and on her website, www.mindsetonline.com. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence and talent, are simply fixed traits. A student is demonstrating a fixed mindset when they say things like: “I’m just not good at math.” “I’m never going to make the cheerleading team, so I’m not going to bother trying.” “I’ll never be as good at Science as Susie.” In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work-brains and talent are just the starting point. Some phrases that exhibit the growth mindset are: “I made a mistake this time, but I am not giving up.” “I can’t do this...yet.” “I am going to watch what she is doing and try it.”It seems obvious that we would want our children and students to have a growth mindset. The belief that one can learn and achieve is essential to helping them reach their potential. To help them develop growth mindset, we examine our own mindsets. Do we believe that all our children and students can achieve? Do we let them know that? Do we use language that promotes that idea? The example we set makes a difference.As Christians, we find our perfect examples of the growth mindset in Scripture. David was just a shepherd boy, but God chose him. He empowered David to defeat Goliath, something that seemed impossible. David exhibited a growth mindset when he said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Perhaps the clearest example of growth mindset in Scripture is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all thing through Him who strengthens me.” Oh, that this would be a verse that is etched on the hearts us all! Next time, we will look at Dr. David Yeager’s research into effective ways to model and promote the growth mindset.

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Halfway There… Living on Prayer! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/halfway-there-living-on-prayer Fri, 20 Oct 2017 03:59:52 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/halfway-there-living-on-prayer My apologies to Bon Jovi (and now that song will be stuck in your head for the next hour), but the SGO credits are now ½ gone… … or for those “the glass is ½ full people” out there, we still have ½ of the SGO credits available…... When the available set of SGO credits were increased to $12.5 million this July, we wondered if the credits would stick around longer. Now we have the answer: last year on October 17 the credits were 1/2 depleted. How does this translate for this year? Last year on October 17 $4.75 million in credits were gone This year on October 18 $6.25 million in credits are gone $1.5 million more credits gone at the same time of the year equals either more donors are participating, or existing donors are donating more, or a combination of both.When will the credits run out? With these current stats, we again say, "it depends... but probably by December 15." The end result? Don't delay: if you plan to support SGO scholarships we suggest not waiting until after Thanksgiving.And regarding the "Living on Prayer" part of the title, that is ultimately why we do what we do; providing quality, Christian education where the Word of God is taught and families are prayed for daily... daily for nearly 180 years in Indiana since the founding of St. Paul's Lutheran School in Fort Wayne through today with new school starts like Ascension Lutheran School in Gary.Yes, we are living on Prayer. And with your prayers and support, our schools will have the scholarship funds needed to meet the need for families that might otherwise not be able to attend their schools.P.S. We received a gift of stock back in August without any donor information… if you donated stock but never received your official letter from us, contact Jon or Lynn at info@lutheransgo.org / 260-203-4509 so that we can capture those credits for you before they are gone. Picture credit: Google Images

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2017 Indiana Lutheran Schools State Volleyball Tournament https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2017-indiana-lutheran-schools-state-volleyball-tournament Mon, 16 Oct 2017 03:54:29 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2017-indiana-lutheran-schools-state-volleyball-tournament Last weekend, the 2nd Annual Indiana Lutheran Schools Athletic Association (ILSAA) State Volleyball Tournament was held in Indianapolis. ILSAA is a non-profit organization that sponsors annual Christian based sports competitions for Indiana Lutheran middle schools. Ten grade schools were invited to the State Tournament and five of those teams were from the Fort Wayne area. The five Fort Wayne schools included Ascension, Central, Holy Cross, St. John-Emanuel, and Wyneken. Pool play began on Friday, October 7 and continued the next morning. Saturday afternoon saw cross over pool play, and the tournament concluded on Sunday with teams competing in Gold, Silver, or Bronze bracket play. Three of our Fort Wayne area schools competed in the Gold Bracket: Central Lutheran, St. John-Emanuel, and Wyneken. Wyneken finished the tournament in 3rd place. The Championship game saw the Central Lutheran Charges against the St. John-Emanuel Tigers. This was the third time this season that Central and St. John-Emanuel played each other. St. John-Emanuel won the match in two games and was crowned the state champion.All five Fort Wayne area schools had at least one player nominated to the All-Tournament team. This honor was voted on by coaches, athletic directors, and tournament directors. A special congratulations goes to Ascension for winning the tournament Sportsmanship Award.[caption id="attachment_2313" align="aligncenter" width="316"] Ascension, Central, St. John-Emanuel, and Wyneken take a group picture after the Championship game.[/caption]

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School Choice Myth: Vouchers Cause Discrimination and Segregation. https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-vouchers-cause-discrimination-and-segregation Thu, 12 Oct 2017 03:59:14 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-vouchers-cause-discrimination-and-segregation This year more than 30,000 students will again head to their school of choice, made possible by the Indiana School Choice Scholarship. With more students than ever participating in the voucher program, and 81 percent of parents saying they’re “overwhelmingly satisfied_” with their school of choice, there’s plenty of evidence this program is benefitting children across the state. Judging by consumer satisfaction, school choice is a clear winner in Indiana.Opponents, however, don’t agree. They believe school choice is causing discrimination and segregation. For example, in previous op-eds in the Journal Gazette, two public-school advocates argued against vouchers by pointing out that private schools are not as diverse as public schools. One went so far as to deny that vouchers are enabling thousands of minority students to attend the school of their choice. Another incredibly suggested that vouchers are enabling “white flight.” To support these positions, however, these “friends of public education” must ignore the increasingly diverse student populations of Indiana private schools since the School Choice Program began in 2011. Using stats from last year, according to data from the Indiana Department of Education, Bishop Dwenger High School had quadrupled its Hispanic population in the first five years of the choice scholarship program. Bishop Luers, one of the most diverse private high schools in Fort Wayne, experienced a similar increase in Hispanic students in the same period, and the number of African-American students grew by 50 percent. Since the 2012-13 school year, Concordia Lutheran High School’s racial diversity has increased from 17.83% to 21.48% (2017-18). Their largest increase is in Hispanic students. Overall, these schools are now more diverse because Choice Scholarships have made it possible for more students to attend. Using this year’s input from Lutheran elementary schools, Concordia (30% non-white), Holy Cross (27.7%), and Lutheran South Unity (88% non-white) demonstrate diversity- diversity that is embraced and encouraged. This is also diversity that represents the school’s neighborhood.It’s undeniable that Choice Scholarships have opened doors of opportunity to thousands of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. According to Indiana Department of Education data, the number of African-American students participating in the Choice Scholarships program grew from 943 to 4,252 over the past six years. Similarly, in the same period, the number of multiracial students grew from 287 to 2,081, and the number of Hispanic students grew from 794 to 6,644.Statewide, 12.4 percent of Choice Scholarship recipients are African-American (compared with 9 percent of all Hoosiers) and 19.4 percent of Choice Scholarship recipients are Hispanic or Latino (compared with 6 percent of all Hoosiers). In total, the percentage of Choice Scholarship recipients who are non-white is 39.7. When given the choice, these Indiana families are opting in to the Choice Scholarship Program. image: bipps

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State Representative Bob Behning Visits Fort Wayne https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/state-representative-bob-behning-visits-fort-wayne Mon, 09 Oct 2017 03:36:06 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/state-representative-bob-behning-visits-fort-wayne The Lutheran Schools are grateful for State Representative Bob Behning’s (R-Indianapolis) visit to Fort Wayne on Wednesday, September 27.Rep. Behning toured Concordia Lutheran High School in the morning, Lutheran South Unity School in the afternoon, and led a lunch presentation. In addition to visit included spending time with students and community leaders discussing school choice. Behning said school choice has been growing in popularity on the national level with many states looking to Indiana as a model for future programs.“There’s a lot to learn from being inside Hoosier classrooms, and I always enjoy spending time with students and educators at their schools,” said Behning, chair of the House Committee on Education. “Some of our best education policies stem from conversations that happen in the classroom. Seeing kids and teachers interacting and learning together offers insight on how our innovative education programs are performing.” The lunch presentation was attended by local principals, clergy, school board members, and fellow State Representative Dave Heine (R-district 85) and State Senators Dennis Kruse (R-district 14) and Liz Brown (R-district 15).Rep. Behning has been a state representative since 1992, is considered one of the fathers of school choice in Indiana. and is a member of Calvary Lutheran Church, Indianapolis. We thank Rep Behning for his strong leadership and pray God continues to keep him strong in faith.

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Our Great Defenders https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/our-great-defenders Mon, 09 Oct 2017 03:26:37 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/our-great-defenders The lessons and hymns for the Festival of St Michael and All Angels (September 30, celebrated October 1) voice for us reminders of the power, role and protection that angels have in our lives. While we may not have announcements from heaven when a baby arrives (only Jesus gets a heavenly host showing up for his birth), we can be sure that the angels celebrate when a baby is joined to the family of God in the waters of baptism. While we may not have angels putting burning coals on our lips or knocking us down on roads to ready us for sharing the message of Jesus, God does provide his messengers (pastors and teachers) to announce God’s grace to us and gives us the very Word for us to read and meditate upon. And let’s not forget that we sing with the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven “Holy, Holy, Holy” as Holy Communion is set before us in Divine Service. Yes, God’s angels are with us, just as Jesus promised.But the lessons also connected to many issues of the day (Wow, what a surprise. God’s word tending to our lives)- From Daniel 12:30, “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” It seems society more and more marks Christian as the ill-informed, the unintelligent, the foolish. The learned says we are foolish for believing in Jesus, for believing in a young earth, for believing that God created man and woman for each other and that all live is a gift from God (in the womb or even at death’s door). We Christians do stick out from the crowd...and that’s just what is expected. We are lights that show the way as we share Jesus. In a dark world of sin, our words and actions, reflecting the grace that have been enlightened to us, brings light to the need of Christ. From Matthew 18:4, 10, “Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven...and see that you do not despise one of these little ones” Isn’t interesting having these verses that do not explicitly talk about angels? Yet here Jesus highlights the humility and dependence of children; just as angels perform their humble service for God Almighty. Children are dependent on parents; we are dependent on the God of all creation. Humility is a product of faith. Sadly, we distorted God’s order and done a disservice to children by making them number 1, catering to their every need, ensuring they have all the comforts of this world, protecting them from pain and uncertainty and allow them to be decisionmakers (displacing the role of a parent). From Lutheran Service Book Hymn 521- The ancient Dragon is their foe; His envy and his wrath they know.It always is his aim and pride Thy Christian people to divide.As he of old deceived the world And into sin and death was hurled,So now he subtly lies in wait To ruin school and Church and state.Prowling lion, dragon, serpent, foe, deceiver. The Bible has no complimentary words for Satan. He’s our enemy and he’s out to get us...and we forget this. The hymn writer (the reformer, Phil­ipp Me­lanch­thon) reminds us of one of his favorite tactics- divide and conquer. “It always is his aim and pride thy Christian people to divide.” Infighting. Quarreling. This divisiveness is not always explicit. The devil also uses divide and conquer by siloing our ideas and our opinions apart from community and from the Church.Thank God for His angels and their defending of us. Image: Gods Grace Faces Us

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2017-2018 Enrollment News https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2017-2018-enrollment-news Mon, 02 Oct 2017 04:26:50 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2017-2018-enrollment-news 2017/2018 enrollment for Lutheran schools in Northeast Indiana shows a slight drop this year. Last year’s reported enrollment for our 18 schools was 4096. This year, 3983. While disappointing to report (we always would like to see increases!), we rejoice in the nearly 4000 Kindergarten through grade 12 students that will be impacted by the Gospel during this school year.Here are some breakdowns of the numbers- Schools outside of Fort Wayne and New Haven were able to maintain enrollment this year. Considering the realities of the demographics of these areas, this is good news. Can we improve? We will do our best to get admissions’ encouragements out into the communities. Emmanuel-St Michael had the only significant enrollment increase, that of 10 students from 1617. The number of choice scholarship students is up from 1973 recipients in 1617 to over 2000 full or partial school choice scholarship recipients this year. While kindergarten enrollments were down as a region last year, this year’s kindergarten enrollment is up 17. However, 9 of our 17 elementary schools have lower kindergarten enrollment this year.Here are some reflections on our enrollment numbers-1- We all need to encourage legislators to affirm the state’s school choice legislation. Students are getting an opportunity to be in our schools at a time when they otherwise would not have considered it. This is a great opportunity that has eternal ramifications. As a school and as individuals, be sure to email or call your legislator and thank them for school choice.2- We live in an ever-increasing secular society, and most people are unaware of the effects of this change. Children need to know their Savior and the perspective on life Jesus brings. Lutheran schools have as their top priority sharing the Gospel. The ramifications of nearly 7 daily hours of a child being in a Christian environment are fundamental for their eternal care. For some of our schools, a middle school drift occurred. We must prioritize the need for Christian education for equipping adolescents for the bombardment of non-Christian values in society.3- Ongoing PR and marketing efforts from TLSP and from individual school efforts are needed to counteract other voices out there; our story needs to continue to be told and told well.4- All of us who share the passion for Lutheran education can help slam the backdoor and assure stronger retention numbers. Teachers who are timely in their reporting to parents, who understand and respond accordingly to the individual needs of his/her student and who go the extra mile for their kids are needed in our schools. Parents need to be strong ambassadors of the school speaking the truth in love of the great things going on at the school. Kids have great opportunities to tell the good news about our schools- and they’re quick to do so. All of these things will help increase our retention numbers.5- Pray! We say this a lot but it’s our most important activity as a Christian. Pray for our nation. Pray for our leaders. Pray for families. Pray for administrators and teachers. Pray for pastors.

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TLSP Building Projects https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tlsp-building-projects Mon, 02 Oct 2017 04:07:26 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tlsp-building-projects “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them.” Mark 10:14Our Lutheran schools are certainly places where children are pointed to Jesus every single day. An important aspect of school ministry is the physical building where students are served. The facilities of our Lutheran schools must be able to provide both space for the capacity of our schools and the flexibility to enhance and increase programming.Three area Lutheran schools are in various stages of the building process: Ascension, Central, and Suburban Bethlehem. Each school is answering the call to point children to Jesus the very best way they know how. Although the scope of each project varies, each of the three schools utilized matching grants and held pledge campaigns to finance the new facilities. Ascension held their Service of Dedication for the new addition on Sunday, August, 27, 2017 after breaking ground in April 2017. Ascension added four new classrooms and doubled the size of their kitchen. Principal Mary Eifert explained, “This year we split apart grade 5 from grade 6 and had no other place to put the new group. In two years we plan to split 7 from 8 and again, no space. Two years ago we gave up a music room so that we could house a larger group of 7/8 students. So frankly, we were out of space.” Ascension added four classrooms with an eye to the future. The fourth new room not currently being used as a classroom is being used by tutoring, math classes, extended care, Girl Scouts, Trail Life, Mom's Bible class, and youth group. “All of the space was very much needed” observes Eifert. The larger kitchen will also serve students well with room for equipment to keep lunches and milks cool, plus a serving window that faces into the lunch room. This latest project--Ascension’s fifth since being chartered in 1978-- is dedicated in memory of Rev. Prof. Richard & Kay Muller for their support of Christian education.Central Lutheran School in New Haven will hold a Service of Dedication for their new facilities on October 8 at 2pm. Central Lutheran School opened its doors in 1952 with eight classrooms, an auditorium-gymnasium, kitchen, and cafeteria. Since then, Central has completed three building projects. The most recent addition includes an early childhood center with eight classrooms. Principal Kevin Creutz says of the addition, “We are very excited to have more space for our growing preschool, and that they’ve joined the elementary school under one roof.” Central also gained a new school office, including an updated, more secure front entrance, and added a new gymnasium with stage and bleacher seating for over 400. “Central has been talking about a new gymnasium for decades,” explains Creutz, “Our new gym will allow Central flexible schedules for practices and games, more seating for drama production, allow us to hold our Christmas concert on site, and give us the potential to host tournaments, just to name a few possibilities.” Suburban Bethlehem recently broke ground on their project, which will connect the church building and school building. Suburban Bethlehem’s school is adding three classrooms. The church is getting new offices, a fellowship hall, a youth room, numerous meeting rooms, and a new large narthex. The project, which has been in active planning stages for over two years, is projected to take 10-12 months to complete. Principal Rich Brune is looking forward to the new addition’s impact on ministry explaining, “We anticipate that this project will allow us room to grow our school as well as give us the ability to reach out to the surrounding community through expanded church activities.”

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It's Still All About Jesus: Three Solas https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-still-all-about-jesus-three-solas Tue, 26 Sep 2017 03:46:30 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-still-all-about-jesus-three-solas The Reformation is centered on the three Solas- Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), Sola Gratia (grace alone) and Sola Fide (faith alone). These three direct focus to Christ- His fulfilling of all Scripture and the faith He gives us through the Spirit. Together, the Solas focus our attention on that which is solely needed- Jesus.Centering on the three Solas and their encompassment in Christ is paramount for our schools. In these Solas, we find identification of what makes us unique- not a style of teaching, not a choice versus public school, not just a special community. It’s Christ and Christ alone that makes each of us as Christians who we are and it is in Christ that we live out our lives.In Standard 1, National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA) emphasizes the need for careful review and utilization of mission statements and purpose. It encourages the conversation that facilitates unity and direction. It’s a process that is not an exercise for the sake of checking off a box for accreditation process. As it is positioned as the number one standard, it also acts as the central directive for a school’s programs.But in this postmodern world, words and ideas are often individually defined. As these words and ideas are used, assumptions are made on their understanding and their execution. This is the case for us in Lutheran schools. Words mean something but need consistent understanding. For example, the NLSA self-study asks for proof of Lutheran identity within Standard 1, but what does this mean? Because of governing practices, most ministries included a mission and vision statement. Most also include guiding principles or some similar term.Do the three Solas lead the conversation on Lutheran identity? Might one consider taking the challenge of using the three Solas for identifying these principles?Sola Scriptura- Lutherans confess that The Word of God is and should remain the sole rule and norm of all doctrine" (FC SD, Rule and Norm, 9). So where does this lead us as a school?Guiding principle #1- Everything at ABC Lutheran School must be subjected to the Word of God" (http://bookofconcord.org/confessionsandbible.php)Curriculum? Discipline practices? Communication practices? Are these and other policies and procedures subjected to Scripture? Does our communication demonstrate love for one another? Does our communication demonstrate an understanding of the authority and role of parents described in the meaning of the Fourth Commandment?For years, science books have been tools for contrary teaching of Scripture. But what can be done to deal with this?Sola Gratia- Ephesians 2:8-10 is commonly memorized by most Christians but it’s a rallying verse for us as Lutherans. We humbly accept the undeserving love given to us through faith in Jesus- his death and resurrection. We know we don’t have any ability to come to him or to do what is good (Third Article) but we do celebrate how God uses his humble servants to be of witness to this grace. Where does this lead as a school?Guiding principle #2- As recipients of God’s grace, ABC Lutheran school will boldly share Christ with its community.Discipline practices often are steeped in the Law but how does the Gospel demonstrate its power...and how do we make sure that the two don’t blur into a murky mess? Do our practices share a Father’s firm love or do they lead more from a secular authoritative mode? Do our discipline practices mirror our model of confession and absolution language within Divine Service? What happens when we as a community acknowledge our own wretchedness and fall before our God in true humility and ask for his forgiveness? Does this express vulnerability or does it express confidence in the life that we have in Christ?How does this guiding principle find its way into admission policies? Do PR and marketing efforts ooze love and compassion? What are the risks of open doors?What does the program of the school- extracurriculars, worship, and service- declare to the community about God’s grace to us?Sola Fide- Faith alone. "That is why faith alone makes someone just and fulfills the law," said Luther. Faith liberates because in Christ, all is good with God. So how does faith impact a Lutheran school? How does Sola Fide direct a school to new guiding principles?Guiding Principle #3- ABC Lutheran School impacts living one’s vocation.Faith in Christ paints perspective. Is an eternal perspective, colored by the redeeming blood of Christ, an expected outlook for those hired as staff of the school? This perspective gives hope to a seemingly hopeless situation (e.g.- cancer, death) when the world sees devastation. This perspective sees hope and value in every child entrusted to his care. This perspective paints relationships with compassion. Knowing Luther’s teaching on vocation redirects one’s self-sustaining interests to activities that serve others- classmates, colleagues, community, church. Can the three Solas guide our schools? Absolutely! Because when it comes right down to it, the three Solas are still all about Jesus.

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School Choice Myth: Vouchers Are Too Expensive For Taxpayers https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-vouchers-are-too-expensive-for-taxpayers Mon, 18 Sep 2017 04:06:58 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-vouchers-are-too-expensive-for-taxpayers Choice scholarships (vouchers) are a good deal for Indiana taxpayers.Opponents of school choice argue that choice scholarships are too expensive for taxpayers. But the fact is public schools use more tax dollars per student than private schools, making the School Choice Scholarship a better use of taxpayer money.Public-school costs are on the rise, increasing from an average of $10,969 per student in 2011 to $11,843 per student in 2016. Because the average cost to educate a child in a private school in Indiana is around $6,600, and because choice scholarships never pay that full cost, school choice saves tax dollars.Each Indiana Choice Scholarships covers only 50 to 90 percent of the average cost of private school tuition in Indiana, costing much less per student than public schools.The average Choice Scholarship value in 2016–17 for 90 percent was $5,618 and for 50 percent was $3,032, far less than the $11,843_ average cost per student in our public schools.The math still works even when a student receives the maximum choice scholarship amount. Students from lower-income families—those who are eligible for 100 percent free or reduced lunches—can receive a choice scholarship for no more than 90 percent of their public school’s per-pupil funding. Indiana Choice Scholarships are always less than public-school costs. Choice scholarships return high value for the taxpayer’s dollar. Studies in other states have also shown that vouchers save money when compared with costs to educate the same child in a public school. In the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, Robert Costrell studied the financial results of using Choice Scholarships and found that in 2008, vouchers are providing an estimated benefit of $32 million.To this equation, we must also add the value of giving parents a choice. Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program lets parents decide where their child will attend school—and where the child’s educational dollars go.Without choice scholarships, low-income families wouldn’t have any other choice than their assigned public school. Indiana’s School Choice Program offers these families an opportunity once available only to wealthy households. School choice empowers lower-income families to have a voice and make a decision about where their children attend school. For parents, that option is priceless. For our state, it’s a matter of social justice.Shouldn’t all Hoosier families, including the most needy, have the opportunity to choose the school that best fits their child’s needs—whether it’s a public school, charter school, or private school? School choice levels the playing field by making educational choice available to all parents, regardless of income.There are some special interests that want to take away that choice, and turn back the clock on Indiana’s voter-approved and court-tested choice scholarhip program. We must not let that happen. Indiana voters must zealously guard the freedom of parents to direct the education of their children.Let’s keep a level playing field for all families. The Indiana Choice Scholarship Program benefits students because they give all families, regardless of ZIP code or income level, the opportunity to choose their school.

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Proximity https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/proximity Mon, 11 Sep 2017 04:42:59 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/proximity Proximity- (noun) nearness in place, time, order, occurrence, or relation.At the Global Leadership Summit 2017, Bryan Stevenson (founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative- https://eji.org/bryan-stevenson) spoke on the “power of proximity.” His message was especially related to the need of helping the poor and incarcerated- not with money- but with a visible, active presence in the community. His stories were impressive as they reminded of the need to demonstrate care for all.It’s a good message, this idea of proximity. Jesus life is all about proximity. Instead of a god out of touch, just throwing blessings down from on high, our God sent his Son to be as close as one can be- born of Mary, living in our world, changing the world with his words and actions, dying and rising. Right there- right by us. Immanuel. That is proximity.Thinking about life as a Christian and the impact of Lutheran schools, this notion of the “power of proximity” is integral. In a world where there seems to be a greater disconnect with reality and more and more demonstrations of an inability to communicate with one another, the “ministry of proximity” bears greater influence.Consider this list of examples of proximity in ministry...and then feel free to share your additions-*Parents’ presence. Kids need their parents- both parents- in their lives, participating in their lives, engaged in their lives. It’s God’s idea. Research also supports that it is holistically healthy for kids to have both parents in their lives.*Presence of Christ in communion. We believe in his REAL presence, right there, for us. The God who is Immanuel and lived with us continues to be here, in bread and wine, with us and in us. *Pastors’ presence in our schools. By being there, it shows pastors care and provide opportunities to connect with kids. Pastors’ presence builds relationships with staff, too. *Proximity in the classroom. Teachers next to kids, not walled behind their desks. Teachers at eye level with kids, getting their attention, showing their care for the kids. Teachers who show up for events and are seen in church. Teachers can do SO much by just consistently being there for their students.*Proximity in the community- Rural or city, small town or Fort Wayne, residential or near businesses, Lutheran schools are nearby, affecting their community. Does the nearby community know the school (and church) are there? If not, it might be time to make the school (and church) actively part of the neighborhood.*Showing mercy. It might be “churchy” language but it’s a call from God to us (Luke 6:36). Perspective is affected by proximity and that perspective will have bearing on a response. It’s compassion and patience and those happen when we are living as a community, living with one another. How is proximity affecting your reactions to your life’s opportunities?We look forward to the sharing.

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Memory Work: Homework for a Lifetime, part II https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/memory-work-homework-for-a-lifetime-part-ii Fri, 08 Sep 2017 03:57:08 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/memory-work-homework-for-a-lifetime-part-ii As we examined last time in Part I,there are excellent reasons why memory work is a part of the curriculum in our Lutheran schools. However, it isn’t always easy for children to learn their memory work. Many children and parents experience a weekly struggle with memory work that may attempt to steal the joy of sharing that time in God’s Word together as a family.One of our local schools has developed an exemplary memory curriculum that provides useful ideas on making memory work meaningful and effective. Pastor John Stube of Ascension Lutheran Church and School developed the memory program “Learn by Heart.” He used Lutheran Catechesis by Rev. Peter Bender as a model and starting point, customizing it to fit Ascension’s needs. Students at Ascension Lutheran School worship together 4 days per week, usually led by Pastor Stube. During chapel, they recite their shared memory passages for the week. Weekly memory work includes a Bible verse, a passage from Luther’s Small Catechism, and a hymn verse. The daily repetition provided is a proven method for memorization. Students are also graded in their classrooms on the memory work, with increasing requirements for older students. The “Learn By Heart” program follows a three-year cycle, meaning students come back to memory assignments, further cementing them in their long-term memory.Good old repetition, repetition, repetition, is a very effective way to memorize. However, repetition can get tedious, especially at home. Research suggests there are other ways! As with all learning, knowing and using our multiple intelligences (as identified by Howard Gardner in Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences) is effective in helping students memorize with lasting results. Below are those intelligences, with a brief description in parentheses, and an idea or two for helping that learner with memory work. You can likely identify multiple areas that your child will be drawn to, but focus on their areas of strength for best results. Visual/Spatial (think in terms of physical space): have him or her illustrate the memory work. Keep those illustrations and make a book that you can enjoy together as a family! Bodily/Kinesthetic (use the body effectively): have your child physically write the memory work on an index card, and hold the card while reciting the memory work - no peeking! The act of holding and feeling the card can help kinesthetic learners. Again, save the cards, and put them on a ring. Students can go back to those words again and again. Musical (sensitive to rhythm and sound): sing it! There are common tunes that can be used as a setting for many memory work passages. Try “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and “Jesus Loves Me,” or have your musical child make up their own tunes! Interpersonal (understanding, interacting with others): have a conversation about the memory work. Talk about what it means to each of you. Note: this conversation benefits all types of learners as we build our families of faith. Make it a weekly dinner table ritual! Intrapersonal (understanding one’s own interests and goals/independent): have your child research and explore the words in the memory work, or have him or her put the memory work in his or her own words. Linguistic (uses words effectively): ask your child to write or tell you about the memory work, or tie it to a story. Logical/Mathematical (good at reasoning/calculating): make a puzzle of the memory work. Write the memory work down, cut the pieces apart, and have the student put them in the correct order. You could also write the verse, leaving some key words blank, and have the student fill in the blanks. No matter the method used, time spent studying God’s Word and committing it to memory is valuable. What a blessing that, along with our schools, we work together to follow God’s directive to us in Deuteronomy 6:6–7, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

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Memory Work: Homework for a Lifetime, part I https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/memory-work-homework-for-a-lifetime-part-i Tue, 05 Sep 2017 04:10:46 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/memory-work-homework-for-a-lifetime-part-i The tradition of memory work has long been a part of Lutheran education. Bible verses, Luther’s Small Catechism, and hymns are part of the memory curriculum at most Lutheran schools. Memory work is, for many, hard work. So why do we persist at this? We have been commanded to learn God’s Word. In Deuteronomy 11:18a, God says, “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul.” This command is enough. However, research also shows that doing regular memory work is a proven method for helping children and adults strengthen their working memory, and it may increase crystallized intelligence, which is the ability to use skills, knowledge, and experience.First, we know as God’s dearly loved people, God’s Word is for us. It is His gift to us. In Romans 10:17 we read, “So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ,” and in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Memorizing Scripture provides us with the tools we need in life, both for ourselves and to share with others. Luther’s Small Catechism is used for memory work because it provides us with explanations - simple words we can understand and use as tools to help others understand, as well. Hymns are a part of many memory curriculums, as well. Music has been shown to make things easier to memorize, and helps us to retain them in memory longer. Songs seems to get “stuck in our heads,” which leaves them often on our hearts, as well.Research now supports what Lutheran school teachers have long known - memory work doesn’t onlyincrease our Biblical knowledge and help to strengthen our faith, it also serves an academic purpose. Multiple recent studies have shown that practice on the working memory is effective not only in increasing the abilities of the working memory, but in some cases also in increasing IQ. Yes, memory work can actually make you smarter! When students work to memorize through methods such as repetition, recitation, writing, and singing, they may be increasing their overall IQ, as well. The ability of students to memorize helps them in other subject areas and with overall study skills. The long-term effects of memory work might best be supported by the stories of our loved ones. Ask a grandparent who did memory work in Lutheran schools as a child. Can they still recall many of those pieces of Scripture now? Think back for yourself. If you were blessed to have memory work as a child, can you go back to that when you need it? There are numerous anecdotes of people who, as they lay dying, recited Scripture they learned in childhood, sang hymns they sang while young, and found comfort in prayers that they were taught in early childhood.The spiritual benefits of memory work are clear to us as God’s people. We also find great value in the brain development that occurs when we memorize. Next time, we will take a look at an exemplary memory work program in one of our TLSP schools, and share some tips for helping your child with memory work at home. Image:biblicalspirituality.org

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School Choice Myth: Vouchers Hurt Public School Budgets https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-vouchers-hurt-public-school-budgets Thu, 24 Aug 2017 21:11:31 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-vouchers-hurt-public-school-budgets With Choice Scholarships, public-school funding has gone up.One of the myths of school choice is that Choice Scholarships, or “vouchers,” hurt public-school budgets by unfairly channeling money away from public schools. But in fact, since Choice Scholarships were first introduced in Indiana in 2011, most public schools have received funding increase.Between 2011 and 2016, Indiana’s public schools received an 8 percent boost in per-pupil funding. Per student funding increased from $10,969 per student in 2011 to $11,843 in 2016. While some school corporations have experienced budget fluctuations, most of these challenges are due to funding-formula changes having nothing to do with school choice. (2017 data not available until April 2018)The average cost to educate a child in a private school in Indiana is about $6,600. Under state law, Choice Scholarships, or vouchers, can cover 50 to 90 percent of that amount, depending on the household income of the participating child. The average Choice Scholarship value in 2016–17 for 90 percent was $5,618 and for 50 percent was $3,032 (this number is an average based on elementary schools and high schools), far less than the cost per pupil in a public school. It’s easy to see why Indiana taxpayers see value in choice scholarships. (2017 data not available until April 2018)In all the public debate over these programs, it’s important to remember that children are more than line items in government budgets. First and foremost, they are students who deserve the best education possible. Indiana’s choice scholarship program empowers low- and middle-income parents to make choices about where their children are educated—and how some of their state education dollars are spent. We can all agree that the real argument isn’t about budgets and buildings. Hoosier kids deserve the best education possible. Parents deserve the opportunity to choose the best schools for their kids—public or private.

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Thieves of Productivity https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thieves-of-productivity Mon, 14 Aug 2017 04:34:03 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thieves-of-productivity Information overloadPerfectionOver-driveNo timeThese are all signs of what Juliet Funt (http://www.whitespaceatwork.com/speaking/) calls the “hedonic treadmill.” Speaking at the Global Leadership Summit 2017, she addressed these “Thieves of Productivity.” While information is needed to live our life, we live in a time where we can easily succumb to information overload. While we should strive to do our best, our desire to be the best can move us to needing perfection. It’s good to be self-motivated, to be a self-starter. It’s harmful to be in an overdrive state where you just go, go, go. And while there are plenty of activities that can be helpful for balance in our lives, we can also be too busy and feel there is no time for family and faith.Funt’s presentation included questions to evaluate one’s own productivity issues. One may suggest that these questions could be posed against any of the vocations a person is connected to but certainly should be addressed in our occupation. The questions include:What can I get rid of?What do I need to know?What deserves my attention?When is good enough good enough?Getting rid of something doesn’t mean shirking away from responsibilities or trying to cut corners. It DOES mean a consideration of pruning away unnecessary tasks, especially as the tasks measure against job descriptions. Needing to know reminds us that we may have a tendency toward being nosey or trying to micromanage. Attention is precious, not in an arrogant opinion of self but rather in being good stewards of time and talent. Good enough doesn’t need to mean mediocrity. What the question cautions against is a lack of productivity because of constant insistence on perfection.While individuals wrestle with these thieves and assess life through these questions, one may wonder what can Lutheran schools and The Lutheran Schools Partnership do to address these thieves? Might Lutheran schools contribute to such thievery? What are the culprits that contribute to problems? What solutions do we suggest to combat the problems?As we share concerns with many local ministries on the stress, frailty and dysfunctional aspects of today’s family, the “Thieves of Productivity” might be contributors against basic purposes of family-life and God’s design for family. “Busyness” is always at the top of the stressors of families today. What are the forces that are making families busy? Do our schools have acceptable expectations for families or do our schools contribute to the stress? Does the organizational efforts of the school support family? How could organized, systematic planning of board and faculty meetings support time issues? Does the school board agenda and reports come out a week ahead of time? Do athletic schedules come out in a timely fashion and do the athletic schedules support family time?Questions, questions, questions. But these and more are necessary for ongoing assessment of productivity issues and even more, for the support of the greatest and most important element of God’s creation- family.What questions will you pose for your family and for your school?

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Teachers Spend Summer Learning https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teachers-spend-summer-learning Fri, 11 Aug 2017 04:58:16 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teachers-spend-summer-learning What do Lutheran School teachers do with their last days of summer vacation? Go to school and learn, of course! Over fifty Science teachers from several schools in The Lutheran Schools Partnership (TLSP) gathered at Holy Cross Lutheran School on July 31 and August 1 to learn more about the implementation of materials from ISI, the Indiana Science Initiative.ISI is the signature program of I-STEM, or Indiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Along with the Indiana Department of Education, Eli Lilly and Company, and the Lilly Foundation, I-STEM is working to systematically reform K-8 science education in Indiana using research-based science curricular materials that are implemented with literacy-enriched strategies through ISI. Teachers from across the state who are experienced in teaching ISI came to TLSP’s host school, Holy Cross, to explain the program, demonstrate lessons, and give TLSP teachers the same hands-on experiences their students will have in the classroom.Stephen Bornheimer, Science teacher at Emmanuel-St. Michael Lutheran School says, “For over five decades research has continually shown that investigation based science instruction is the best way for students to truly learn science. However, the difficulty has always been storage, continued funding for supplies, and managing the many materials that it takes to teach investigation and hands on curriculums. Inevitably what has happened even a couple of years into any kit program is that it is just too overwhelming to manage. I-STEM is all about taking care of teachers so that they can facilitate and teach great science! Purdue University staff in conjunction with the Indiana Science Initiative, manage, replenish and store the kits. What’s more, they have had experts in science education evaluate the best investigation based science kit curriculums, and have chosen only the very best for use in our classrooms. I-STEM is not about the money, or even any one curriculum company. It is about delivering the best science to teachers and taking care of the nuts and bolts so that teachers can do what they do best, teach!”Laura Renzelmann, 4th grade teacher at Central Lutheran School adds, “After seeing this program in action at another school, I was sold on the quality of this curriculum. The students were using Science vocabulary in their group discussions, and using it correctly! They were thinking like scientists, and it was awesome. This curriculum is going to be so much more hands-on, which is exactly what Science should be. I mean, how many Space Shuttles were built by people reading a passage and answering questions? Science is a subject you have to do and experience, and I think ISTEM will give our kids more of that than we've ever had before!”With teachers trained and enthusiastic about what they are teaching, this is sure to be an exciting year for Science education in our Lutheran Schools!

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School Choice Myth: Non-public schools are not held accountable. https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-non-public-schools-are-not-held-accountable Mon, 07 Aug 2017 04:25:31 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-non-public-schools-are-not-held-accountable Non-Public schools are accountable for Choice Scholarships dollars.Opponents of Indiana’s Choice Scholarships often argue that Choice Scholarships are unfair because Non-Public schools are not held accountable to the same standards as public schools. However, one may argue that Non-Public schools are actually held to a higher standard of accountability than public schools. Non-public schools that accept Choice Scholarships and receive a letter grade of D or F for two consecutive years must face immediate consequences. By contrast, public schools only receive consequences after four years of an F grade. In other words, state rules for private schools in the Choice program are stricter than for public schools when it comes to a school’s letter grade. Non-public schools are held to a higher standard of accountability. But opponents of school choice would have you believe that private schools are not as trustworthy as public schools because of differences in accreditation. The reality is that most non-public schools are accredited by the State of Indiana, using the traditional or Freeway model. Others are accredited by a variety of regional and national accrediting bodies, including but not limited to, AdvancED (North Central), ISACS, ACSI, NLSA, and CSI. Many non-public schools hold multiple accreditations. Accountability and accreditation are important factors to consider when selecting a school. The Indiana Non-Public Education Association (INPEA) encourages parents to research each school’s academic performance including accreditation status, test scores, and graduation rates. These facts can help parents make informed decisions regarding the education of their children. Parents’ opportunity to make such decisions should not be limited to the wealthy few. Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program empowers families of limited means to exercise real choices about the education of their children. All families should have the opportunity to choose their children’s education. School choice puts opportunity and responsibility into parents’ hands—parents who best know the educational needs of their children, and who are best able to hold schools accountable.

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Happy New (School) Year! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/happy-new-school-year Mon, 31 Jul 2017 05:40:36 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/happy-new-school-year It’s July 30th, right? Surely the beginning of the school year can’t be 10 days away for some, no more than 17 days away for all of our region’s Lutheran schools. Seriously? Seriously!Registration is nearly complete at Concordia Lutheran High School. Fall sports (or should it be summer sports!) are kicking off (yes- soccer AND football....and volleyball). Classrooms are prepped. Staffs are complete. Here we go...the school year has arrived.For us at The Lutheran Schools Partnership, we are excited about a new year. New school years always bring about anticipation and excitement. Here is our list that connects with your school in one way or another- Support of the statewide tax credit program. With the bump to $12.5 million of credits, one would guess that there will be plenty of credits to go around. If you’ve been keeping track (http://thelutheranschools.org/2017/07/24/the-sgo-credit-race-is-on-and-its-fast-and-furious/), you know the credits are being used in record numbers. What does this mean? Make your donation now! (https://www.lutheransgo.org/donate/) (for the record, I made my gift the first week of July) Welcome with good old fashioned Hoosier hospitality (and a bit of Lutheran love) the new folks in your school. TLSP and the Indiana District will welcome new teachers and principals later this week as we share all the great supports that are part of this region. Be it a principal, teacher, pastor, student or family, be sure to let them know they are appreciated and you are happy they are part of your community. What does that mean? A handshake, a casserole, the extra-face-to-face visits, and prayers are all ways to welcome our newcomers into the fold. Alicia Levitt, newly installed as TLSP’s academic excellence coordinator, has been busy with teachers being trained with a new science curriculum (stay tuned for a newsletter from Alicia on this), working with our curriculum maps and acclimating herself to her new digs in the ACE Classroom. What does this mean? Along with each staff, we are striving to look for ways to improve our curriculum and help students learn. TLSP is working through an RFP for marketing and PR. While we have been quite satisfied and greatly appreciate the work of The Nichols Company (contracted with them since December of 2009), the RFP will allow for a constructive process of determining ongoing marketing and communication needs for the broader Lutheran school community and in support of admission counselors. A committee of TLSP BOD members, TLSP principals, and TLSP admission counselors will serve as the review committee. A decision will be made by December. (Yes, The Nichols Company will be an anticipated participant in the RFP) A task force will work through adopting a manual for serving students with special needs. Some of the same task force members from last year will participate in this project. What does this mean? We trust that this resource will be used by all of our schools and will be bring about an energized look at serving a broader group of students in need of hearing the Gospel. TLSP and it’s school leadership will continue it’s planning with Cross Connections (https://www.crossconnectionscounseling.com/) to provide needed support for teachers, students and families. Life challenges are aplenty and classrooms are experiencing the effects of these challenges. For academic success to occur, a readiness is needed. We continue to strive to serve our families the best we can and Cross Connections will assist us in this issue. What does mean? We expect a concept paper to be delivered to The Lutheran Foundation on September 1. While there is plenty of vocal opposition to it in our community, we at TLSP will continue to support all who have put into place and continue to support School Choice in Indiana. We are thankful that parents are given opportunities to make a choice with this program to place their kids in our Choice schools. What does this mean for us? We thank our legislators for this program and we encourage each of you as well to tell your Indiana legislators thank you for their support of School Choice. It is indeed a parent’s right to choose the best situation for their kids.Oh, there will be and there is more on the TLSP docket but this hits the high points.Thank you for your prayers.

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9 Ways a Triathlon is like Lutheran School Fundraising https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/9-ways-a-triathlon-is-like-lutheran-school-fundraising Thu, 27 Jul 2017 05:52:33 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/9-ways-a-triathlon-is-like-lutheran-school-fundraising

Those who follow my personal communications may have noticed that I recently completed my first Sprint Triathlon… a race where participants swim, bike, and run a series of distances in succession. While I didn’t finish anywhere close in the upper ranks of finishers (third place in my age division… out of 3), I did reach my goal of A) not drowning, B) not falling, and C) not stopping…

As I was running I started crafting the following analogy of how triathlons compare to Lutheran school fundraising (like I said, I wasn’t too far up front in the pack here, folks.) Here it goes: You gotta start sometime: I have been wanting to run a triathlon for 25 years, but “life” got in the way… many of our Lutheran schools want to start fundraising, or want to be more successful in their fundraising, but just have never made that next step. The plan keeps getting shelved until the next principal arrives. Triathlons involves three distinct disciplines: I had to train in the basic movement exercises of swimming, biking, and running… for most of our partnership schools, the trifecta of fundraising includes SGO/annual giving, endowment giving, and estate giving, and these basic efforts form a strong foundation to build a fundraising program. You need modest goals to start: as stated above, my goal was not to be the best, it was to simply succeed by finishing… no one expects our partnership schools to be the best the first go-round, they just need to try, see what happens, adjust for the future, try again, and keep improving. With time comes improvement: 12 months ago I couldn’t even run a mile without stopping… we have 5 schools with paid staff responsible for fundraising and schools together raising millions in SGO dollars; who would have thought that possible 5 years ago? It is easy to get sidetracked; jobs, marriages, and families all help distract... how many of our principals and school boards don’t have fires to extinguish every day? Hence why we advocate for paid fundraising staff with a dedicated focus on fundraising. Drafting is bad: following behind someone too close on the biking section would result in penalties… our schools certainly should never embark on their fundraising efforts half-heartedly and simply mimic what other do. Instead they should take the best practices and apply it to their own, unique situation. The event was going to happen, come rain or shine: you should have seen the dark green for the race area on my weather app… Lutheran schools need to understand that fundraising is no longer an option. It takes a change in culture to succeed… I lost 30 pounds in the 12 months leading up to the triathlon by changing my habits of little exercise and poor diet… our schools need to consider themselves nonprofit organizations that need a dedicated, directed, and intentional fundraising plan. The rewards abound: while exhausting, I can’t wait to do it again… with fundraising success comes more success.

Perhaps you can list even more comparisons.

Anyway, I always wondered what I would think about during my race, and aside from a few training songs, recent selections performed by the Promise Lutheran Church praise band, and oddly enough the lyrics from the Battle Hymn of the Republic, what filled my head was mostly drafting this article… yep, I was working. That is perhaps a final bonus comparison: our schools should never stops looking for fundraising opportunities… they tend to pop up in the strangest places.

Perhaps I should talk to Mark about expensing my race costs.

--JD

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The SGO Credit Race is On… and its Fast and Furious https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-sgo-credit-race-is-on-and-its-fast-and-furious Mon, 24 Jul 2017 06:10:24 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-sgo-credit-race-is-on-and-its-fast-and-furious

I’m sure I’ll get an email… the title today is a mix of movies and metaphors…

However, this title best describes how the SGO program is moving along in only 19 days of the current fiscal year...

The race is definitely on! This graph highlights donations to The Lutheran SGO of Indiana from July 1 to July 19 in each of the fiscal years 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, with our current period on the right. Donors have supported over $780,000 in scholarships in 19 days… our best ever! And our schools are definitely getting the word out quicker this and last year.

And the SGO program is also definitely moving fast and furious… statewide we have already used over $3.1 million in credits… 25% of the total $12.5 million available this year in only 19 days! (we even had donors using our online donation system at midnight on July 1.)

Let us put this in perspective: last year at this time we had only raised $1.3 million last year the state hit the $3.1 million mark in September last year we hit the 25% mark in mid August

… however you measure it, while last year we thought the program was growing, this year is even faster… and furious-er…

What does this mean? Perhaps more of our family of schools are promoting the program sooner and more determined… perhaps donors are looking at their entire financial needs and increasing their support.. perhaps donors are telling their friends about the progream…

In any case, if you plan to participate, we suggest NOT waiting too long… this race could run out of gas just as quick as it did last year.

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Alicia Levitt Installed as Academic Excellence Coordinator https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alicia-levitt-installed-as-academic-excellence-coordinator Tue, 18 Jul 2017 21:24:44 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alicia-levitt-installed-as-academic-excellence-coordinator Mrs. Alicia Levitt was installed as the Academic Excellence Coordinator for The Lutheran Schools Partnership on Sunday, July 16, 2017, at St. Michael Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, by Pastor Reed Lessing. Mr. Mark Muehl, Director of The Lutheran Schools Partnership, read scripture and took part in the installation. Muehl says of Levitt: “We are very excited about what the future holds for TLSP with Mrs. Levitt’s direction. She’s a talented educator with a unique perspective for Lutheran education. She will be a great blessing for our partnership of schools. We look forward to her leadership and teamwork!”Levitt is a lifelong Lutheran and gained her BA from Concordia University-Chicago and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University- Irvine. Her experience as teacher and administrator of Lutheran schools will provide insights for the planning and execution of academic initiatives and efforts.“I have a passion for Lutheran education, and believe that the Lord will allow me to support and advocate for our Lutheran school in a new way.” said Levitt.Levitt began her duties with TLSP on July 1, 2017.

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School Choice Myth: Vouchers are Unconstitutional https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-vouchers-are-unconstitutional Mon, 17 Jul 2017 05:40:52 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-choice-myth-vouchers-are-unconstitutional The law is settled. Choice Scholarships (Vouchers) are constitutional.Opponents of school choice see no public good coming from private schools. They’d have you believe that there’s something downright un-American about Indiana’s Choice Scholarships program, which allows tax dollars to follow students to non-public schools—including religious schools. But these opponents of school choice have already had their day in court, and lost. In 2013, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Choice Scholarships are constitutional, and that Indiana tax dollars can be used to fund students’ education at private schools. In their 5-0 decision, the justices wrote, "We hold that the Indiana school voucher program, the Choice Scholarship program, is within the legislature's powerunder Article 8, Section 1, and that the enacted program does not violate either Section 4 or Section 6 of Article 1 of the Indiana Constitution." This ruling ended the legal challenge by opponents of the School Choice Program. The Indiana high court’s ruling echoed a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a similar program in Ohio.The Indiana Supreme Court recognized what school choice opponents would rather forget: Parents should have the power to decide where their child attend school, and where a portion of that child’s state education dollars should go—whether to a public, private, or charter school. Opponents of school choice believe that the Choice Scholarships program gives tax money to families who would have paid for private school anyway. That’s certainly not true for families living in poverty. Indiana’s School Choice Program has opened doors of educational opportunity to all Hoosier families—opportunities once available only to the rich. Some say students should be forced to attend a public school first, before having the option of a School Choice Scholarship. But how much practical sense does that really make, especially for families with several children? Should younger children be denied the opportunities of their older siblings, merely because of their age or birth order? Do parents have a duty to send their children to a public school first—even a failing public school—before taking advantage of Indiana’s voter-approved and court-tested voucher program? Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program boasts a high rate of participation because it is less restrictive than other states’ voucher programs. It offers more parents the opportunity to choose their child’s school. Any family who meets the income guidelines can participate. As the Indiana Supreme Court has held, the primary beneficiaries of the Choice Scholarship program are not private schools, but Hoosier families and children. That is exactly how it should be.

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Non-Public Schools are accountable for Choice Scholarships Dollars https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/non-public-schools-are-accountable-for-choice-scholarships-dollars Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:23:58 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/non-public-schools-are-accountable-for-choice-scholarships-dollars Opponents of Indiana’s Choice Scholarships often argue that Choice Scholarships are unfair because Non-Public schools are not held accountable to the same standards as public schools. What the public may not realize is that Non-Public schools are actually held to a higher standard of accountability than public schools. Non-public schools that accept Choice Scholarships and receive a letter grade of D or F for two consecutive years must face immediate consequences. By contrast, public schools only receive consequences after four years of an F grade. In other words, state rules for private schools are stricter than for public schools when it comes to a school’s letter grade. non-public schools are held to a higher standard of accountability. Keep in mind, of course, that most non-public schools score high in Indiana’s school grading system, with nearly 90 percent of state-accredited non-public schools scoring an A or a B. Students in these schools frequently outperform their public-school neighbors on standardized tests. But opponents of school choice would have you believe that private schools are not as trustworthy as public schools because of differences in accreditation. The reality is that most non-public schools are accredited by the State of Indiana, using the traditional or Freeway model. Others are accredited by a variety of regional and national accrediting bodies, including but not limited to, AdvancED (North Central), ISACS, ACSI, NLSA, and CSI. Many non-public schools hold multiple accreditations. Accountability and accreditation are important factors to consider when selecting a school. The Indiana Non-Public Education Association encourages parents to research each school’s academic performance including accreditation status, test scores, and graduation rates. These facts can help parents make informed decisions regarding the education of their children. Parents’ opportunity to make such decisions should not be limited to the wealthy few. Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program empowers families of limited means to exercise real choices about the education of their children. All families should have the opportunity to choose their children’s education. School choice puts opportunity and responsibility into parents’ hands—parents who best know the educational needs of their children, and who are best able to hold schools accountable.

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Class Assignment Inspires Students to Help Homeless https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/class-assignment-inspires-students-to-help-homeless Thu, 22 Jun 2017 21:41:32 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/class-assignment-inspires-students-to-help-homeless What started out as a reading assignment at Lutheran South Unity School ended up inspiring a student-led service project helping the homeless in Fort Wayne. It’s an example of how academics go hand-in-hand with character education and generosity at LSUS, impacting both the students and the broader community.After seventh graders read the book The Watsons Go to Birmingham (1963), they were inspired to make a difference in their community while promoting tolerance among people groups. The students studied resources supplied by Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center and were encouraged to create class goals and brainstorm ways to assist those often devalued in the community. Their plan included crocheting portable mats from plastic yarn made from shopping bags to give to the homeless. Because the mats are made of plastic and easy to clean, they will be shared with those in need through the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission.Lutheran South Unity School serves an ethnically diverse group of students who are excited to give back to the local community.“We remind them, no matter how limited your resources, we can all help someone else,” says Maurice King, director of development. “You have the capacity to give of your time and talent.”Encouraged by their middle-school teacher, Mrs. Schwantz, the students organized a campaign to help the homeless. They started a letter-writing campaign, sending notes to local businesses requesting donated supplies such as crochet hooks, safety pins, scissors and plastic bags. Walmart donated gift cards. Volunteers taught students how to crochet plastic strips from shopping bags into 3x6 sleeping mats.“It started off as little project. Then Walmart called the second week of the project and decided to help,” Mrs. Schwantz said. “The project expanded and got bigger, involving more people. The goal was ten mats, but we’ll have fourteen completed.”The project continued to grow with hands-on learning. Sixth graders learned about economics by setting up and running simulations of cottage industries and factory production. LSUS students also taught older students from neighboring Bishop Luers High School how to make “plarn” (plastic-bag yarn) for their own service projects in Haiti.LSUS students partnered with organizations including the Franciscan Center and Bethlehem Food Bank by donating flattened grocery bags. Those agencies reciprocated by sending LSUS bags that had imperfections but were useful for the mat project.Beyond the impact the project will have on the homeless, it’s also teaching kids valuable lessons about working together and giving back to the community.“It did tremendous things for students on a personal level,” Schwantz added.That’s a lesson everyone can agree on.

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Schools Join Together to Support Lutheran South Unity School https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/schools-join-together-to-support-lutheran-south-unity-school Mon, 19 Jun 2017 04:23:46 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/schools-join-together-to-support-lutheran-south-unity-school At Lutheran South Unity School, the school mascot is the phoenix, a mythical creature who rises from the ashes to soar again. It is a fitting emblem for a school that is reviving private, Christian education on the south side of Fort Wayne.Eleven Lutheran schools in the area have pledged help to Lutheran South Unity, committing financial resources to a sister school.“The idea that eleven Lutheran schools decided to donate to our school—that’s phenomenal,” said Maurice King, director of development. “They stepped up to the plate and saw the need.”In the past, Lutheran schools have joined forces to work on service projects such as Kids Against Hunger and Phil’s Friends. This year, the principal of another Lutheran school suggested supporting Lutheran South Unity as a joint project. Donations from the schools have ranged from a few hundred dollars to three thousand dollars, with many of those donations coming from students’ chapel offerings.“Lutherans see the need for having a school on the south side,” Mr. King added. “There’s just not enough space at the other Lutheran schools to absorb all our students. Someone would be left on the outside looking in. If we develop a connection in sharing a need, then we can count on each other. That all ties into what we’re trying to teach the kids. No matter how limited your resources, you need to help someone else.”Jon Dize, director of advancement for The Lutheran Schools Partnership said, “It has been inspiring for me to see our schools’ leadership recognize the need with a fellow school and be willing to fill it. That is true philanthropy.”Lutheran South Unity School serves an ethnically diverse group of students of all achievement levels. Though students have in the past sometimes struggled with standardized testing, in 2016, students demonstrated remarkable academic growth and proficiency on the ISTEP test — enough to earn the school a “B” from the State of Indiana.By joining forces and pooling resources, eleven peer schools are helping Lutheran South Unity continue to serve families in the community. Like the phoenix, the school is rising above its circumstances, continuing to provide a stimulating learning environment that fosters academic growth in all students.

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Church Work & Elijah: God's Prescription for R&R (part II) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/church-work-elijah-gods-prescription-for-r-r-part-ii Mon, 12 Jun 2017 00:30:30 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/church-work-elijah-gods-prescription-for-r-r-part-ii This article is part 2 of a 2-part series. For part 1, click HERERemember Elijah and the exhaustion he was experiencing? It’s something we all experience. How about considering God’s prescription for Elijah’s R&R...and think about it for you as summer has arrived.#1- The whisper of God. Elijah may have wanted a light show and a powerful emotional experience. Instead, God showed himself in a simple whisper, and the prophet was back to listening and talking with God. God still whispers today. Our culture demands a worship experience of high emotion and impactful messaging. But let’s get to the basics of how God speaks to us- His written Word, His gifts of Baptism and His Supper. Those whispers remind us of the repentant life we need and how God feeds that life with his very self.Does your summer include reading a good book? How about a book of the Bible? Psalms? A Gospel? Let God’s whisper ring in your ear. And make sure worship is a priority for your R&R. God’s service to us is essential for daily life, let alone for monumental healing.#2- Look and listen for seeing all that God has put in our lives to fulfill His will. It’s not about our will being pursued and being accomplished. It’s about God’s will and His accomplishments. Go to him in prayer and get out of His way. See the opportunities He has placed in your life to fulfill your call to your church and school. Paul also reminds us to not be concerned about product- God takes care of that. “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.” (1 Corinthian 3:5). As you get away a bit this summer, consider the parents, the colleagues and other partners in the Gospel that God has placed in ministry with you and ponder how together God’s will be done in school year 1718.Enjoy your summer and our prayer is that as August arrives, you are refreshed and strengthened to continue service in God’s call for you.

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Church Work and Elijah: God's Prescription for R&R (part I) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/church-work-and-elijah-gods-prescription-for-r-r-part-i Mon, 05 Jun 2017 05:24:44 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/church-work-and-elijah-gods-prescription-for-r-r-part-i The end of the school year is cause for celebration. Students have succeeded in learning their assigned courses and will be headed on to the next level of study. Teaching anniversaries are recognized- God’s gifts of teachers and their care for kids are celebrated. Retirements will occur and many will reflect on the impact of those special teachers.But the end of the school year can also be cause for a giant sigh and maybe even some expressions of “I can’t take this much longer.” Tough classes have worn some of the teachers down. Too many “irons in the fire” may have caused a principal or two into thinking that it’s time to look for some other vocation. It might be that there’s a bit of Elijah creeping in with the exhaustion and a consideration of oh woe is me (I Kings 19).Fatigue can be the outcome from many areas of our life. Consider these 4 and see if these resonate right now- Disappointment. Nothing can be a better set up for undue fatigue than working hard, being tirelessly diligent (or “zealous” as Elijah said) and not meeting personal, unattainable expectations. Are you punishing yourself for too many shortcomings? Are you frustrated with colleagues not matching your energy and drive? Are you frustrated with the unforeseen happenings that just seem to be constantly in the way of your success? The disappointment may be more self-imposed than reality. An unhealthy self-concept. Church professionals often live the “poor wretched sinner” part of our theology to the pinnacle of pietism. Might some unresolved guilt be living out its suffering in you?. Because of this harboring guilt, is the overflowing joy of forgiveness not being allowed to kick up its heels in a perception of “God’s own child” instead? Covetousness. We know the commandments. As good Lutheran professionals, we have Luther’s meanings nailed down too. But how about their meanings practically in our lives...especially in our vocation as teacher and principal? Happiness and security should not come from performance in our jobs. When this happens, it’s easy to be “wowed” by a position, power, prestige, and possessions. Being a teacher in small town Iowa is God-pleasing- just as much as that triple graded school in the south. The brand new gym and auditorium are wonderful gifts from a gracious God but so is the packed gym that has decades of memories. Rejection by Others. Unfortunately, we fall to this one way too much and it has crippling effects. Colleagues don’t appreciate our insights. Administrators sense the loneliness of the principal’s office. Health textbooks talk about someone to love, something to do and something to hope for, but due to our own security, church professionals often feel exhaustion from being rejected, unloved, being challenged for our decisions. There is a root issue here and it’s about misplaced affirmations. Are there lessons of real life church workers and their own exhaustion? Exhibit #1- Elijah.1 Kings 17-19 gives us an account of God’s mighty prophet as he dealt with Jezebel and Ahab. Might it be that we experience much of the same in our vocation as did Elijah? 17:1-7- Elijah declared what he was commanded of God to Ahab. It was bad news- a famine to end all famines. Elijah did as he was commanded....and then was told to head to the river and enjoy God’s promises of food and drink- the promise of daily bread. There was no concern from Elijah at this point about perception from others, about exhaustion, about approval from a superior. God commanded according to his good and perfect will; Elijah lived it out and was taken care of by God.17:8-16- Elijah shared God’s promises with the poor widow and her son that God would provide for THEIR daily bread, even as they had next to nothing and Elijah had welcomed himself into their home. What did Elijah see? God’s grace, not just to himself in the hospitality of the widow, but also in God’s generosity to the widow’s needs as well.17:17-24, God uses Elijah to show that God has power over all things- including life itself. Chapter 17 is pretty intense. As God’s prophet, Elijah had the task of being God’s mouthpiece, His hands and feet, and Elijah was faithful. Praise God for this faith! His eyes must have been awed by God’s grace.In Chapter 19, Elijah’s faith and discipleship to God were challenged with the anger of Ahab and Jezebel. In Chapter 18, God showed through his chosen prophet that He was all powerful and demonstrated his acceptance of Elijah’s offering and in the slaughtering of the prophets of Baal. Evil doesn’t like to be exposed and when it is, it comes with vengeance. This evil was voiced from Jezebel and Ahab. “Confident and obedient Elijah” was now “targeted and exhausted Elijah.” This time on his own, as opposed to the blessing of God seen in chapter 17, Elijah hides and retreats from God’s mission for him.And there we are, with Elijah. Faithful, sure of God’s promises, we often prayerfully go on in our vocation, knowing that we are in step with the One who is in control. But just like Elijah, we get exhausted and, at this time of year, we are ready to run and hide a while.What is God’s prescription for help? Look for the next article post for the answer.

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Providing the Seed & Water of Faith part II https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/providing-the-seed-water-of-faith-part-ii Mon, 29 May 2017 04:36:00 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/providing-the-seed-water-of-faith-part-ii This article is part 2 of a 2-part series. For part 1, click HERE.Consider that teachers are in contact with their families on a regular basis (for sure in direct contact with kids every day). What would it be like if the pastor used the “elder” model of the church with the teachers of the school? This wouldn’t take more time on the teacher’s part (at least it shouldn’t) if the schedule of faculty meetings simply includes the pastor intentionally meeting with the faculty. Assuming a once a week faculty meeting every month, one of these weekly meetings is set aside for the discipleship and evangelism portion of the school’s work. Pastor leads Bible study and then teachers share their notes on the students of their classrooms. This will come in a form that includes news and notes, concerns and happenings that inform the pastor. In team ministry, with the pastor leading the charge, mini-action plans are created for each family of the school. Teachers are utilized as the first stop for understanding the families of the school. This knowledge will feed baptisms, confirmation instruction, discipline and celebrations. These meetings close with prayer- for the ministry and for the families.While this looks time consuming, it should be noted that if a church is investing in the church’s kids or the neighborhood’s kids, it makes sense to complete the investment by tying the church into the school with deliberate action. Pastors and schools’ staff owe it to those who have called them to work together in this effort.It’s critical that the pastor is caring for his flock. It’s especially critical for those he is entrusting to support the work of the church (Lutheran teachers) that they are spiritually fit. The “have tos” for Lutheran school teachers are weekly worship and regular communion attendance. Beyond that, it would be wise for a school’s pastor to have dialog with each teacher at least once a school year. With the insights of the principal, more care may be advised for a teacher in need.Are there obstacles? Time, confidentiality, more responsibilities all could be deemed as obstacles. But the benefits outweigh the obstacles. Through collegial efforts, obstacles will be overcome and benefits will be seen over and over again. What benefits?*Stronger relationships between the school and church which bring about better understanding of why church’s operate schools*Stronger relationships between the pastor and teaching staff which build each other up. *Purposeful faculty meetings with a goal in mind instead of meetings that could be done via an email*Collaborative use of resources by all involved.Is there more responsibility laid on the teacher? It’s part of the fabric of Lutheran schools that the teacher has care for the entire child- including faith in Christ. Lutheran school teachers know that having more than just an acquaintance with a family is not good enough- strong relationships are integral to a good school year. These relationships bring about strong academic success. However, these relationships should be used for a higher good as well.Is there more responsibility placed on the Pastor? Is the school his responsibility? Some pastors sense that the school is not a welcome environment. It’s sad when this occurs. Perceived or real, tension or apathy between the church and school is not good for ministry. The reality is that the school isn’t the pastor’s direct responsibility. The administration of the school falls in the hands of the principal. But the proclamation of the Gospel is the pastor’s responsibility. This idea of a closer working of school staff and pastor is not for the pastor to be superintendent. It’s simply using the time and talents of those called to serve to better utilize all that is available for reaching families with the Gospel. It’s interesting that NLSA Standards 1 & 2 either assume or imply the pastor’s role in the school as spiritual head. While narratives and observations often support a healthy relationship of the pastor and the school, formalizing opportunities such as this proposed monthly meeting with a faith RTI make these efforts stronger. The laity should be desiring of a strong pastor/principal, church/school relationship. If this is an issue, this activity could prove to be a wonderful way to break down walls and produce more effective ministry- one modeled by a pastor working with the staff. I look forward to hearing more about how schools and churches are working together to share Christ.

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Providing The Seed & Water of Faith part I https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/providing-the-seed-water-of-faith-part-i Mon, 22 May 2017 04:41:17 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/providing-the-seed-water-of-faith-part-i Our schools have changed. Old assumptions about Lutheran schools can’t be assumed any longer. Financial and philosophical support of a church towards its school is not a given. Some seasoned Lutheran teachers don’t share enthusiasm for the call of teacher, even discouraging students and their own family from going into professional church work. Schools have changed in culture, in expectations, in clientele. Schools are expected to be self-sufficient which carries a different expectation for administrators and boards. Our culture has changed to follow the impact of progressive thought. Standards (and I’m not talking academic standards) are whatever is followed by the majority....and sometimes it’s hard to define the standards!Lutheran schools remain a rich treasure for the church, for local communities and for the individuals impacted by them. Lutheran schools hold opportunities to share Jesus uniquely and effectively.One important way in which church and school ministry need to consistently and be better bound to focused efforts are the opportunities for teachers and pastors to work together to evangelize and disciple students and their families. The days are gone when everyone knew each other and assumptions about parents, colleagues, the church and other constituents were on the same page. Today fiercely independent theologies, philosophies and cultures conflict with community...and community is a key part of the blessings of Lutheran schools.So consider that teachers are sharing the Gospel every day. They have unique opportunities to share Christ from morning through the afternoon and throughout the curriculum. These opportunities grow out of science lessons, from correction of careless actions and words and from an implementation of a rule or procedure. Oh yes, and there are devotions, prayer and catechesis too!Consider also that school mission statements include some reference or implication of the Great Commission. Doesn’t it make it essential that Lutheran schools exist for much more than academics? If not, we’re just a public school.So how can we all work better together to provide the “seed and water” of faith so that God’s will be done in our students and schools? We’re intentional with lesson plans, with schedules and with so much more. How about a sort of “RTI process” for faith formation and for guarding what we teach and confess?Lutheran schools are challenging places to operate. They cease to exist if their academic product is not strong. We owe our families the best of practices so their children can be productive citizens. But Lutheran schools also need not exist if we don’t intentionally, and effectively share Christ.In my next article, I’ll share a picture for organizing staff meetings and staff relationships around this all important mission of our schools.

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Learn & Lead Series 2017 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/learn-lead-series-2017 Mon, 15 May 2017 06:26:31 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/learn-lead-series-2017

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Endowment Giving: Why? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/endowment-giving-why Mon, 08 May 2017 03:41:15 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/endowment-giving-why “Most religious institutions would go bankrupt, but for the benevolence of a few major donors.”-- Laurence IannocconeLess than three months to go!This is the cheer or cry (depending on what school office you visit) of many of our Partner schools in April… by June 1 they must have raised their designated endowment match challenge so that they can receive a $1-for-$1 match from The Lutheran Foundation, as well as be eligible for an equally-sized grant from the foundation for the school’s operational needs in the next school year.But really, why bother? Yes, it is “free money” from The Lutheran Foundation (thanks again, TLF board!)... Yes, we are talking about matching money that could range between $25,000 to $100,000 depending on the school enrollment… and Yes, how much is raised for the endowment match directly affects -- up and down -- how much the school can apply for in an operational grant…Here’s a few answers to “Why”: Reduce the Valleys: endowments can smooth out cash flow and donations between the good years and the bad years… and reduce a school’s dependance on those few major donors that have “saved” many a budget or capital project in the past. We still want those major donors, mind you, but endowments can help keep the treasurer sane each spring. Forever Friend: endowments are the “gifts that keeps on giving.” Simply speaking, a $20,000 gift to a school endowment could provide a $1,000 payout every year, forever! Eighth Wonder of the World: Albert Einstein also labeled compound interest as “the most powerful force in the universe.” But our schools can’t compound their interest and growth their endowments without your donations to their endowments that grows their endowments with the TLF match to their endowments. Vicious circle, I know.According to the Lake Institute, the average donor supports religious institutions with gifts totaling $1,803… what could your $1,803 gift to a school’s endowment benefit today and tomorrow? Photo Credit: Rich Uncle Pennybags, (c) Hasbro

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Called to Faith; Called to Act; Called to Public Ministry https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/called-to-faith-called-to-act-called-to-public-ministry Mon, 01 May 2017 04:25:50 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/called-to-faith-called-to-act-called-to-public-ministry Called. It’s a term that has varying meanings in the Church...and all are true in their context.As processes are in full speed for many of our churches and schools in the TLSP region calling pastors and teachers, here is a version of “Cliff Notes” of “called.”*Called to faith- The call to faith comes from God by His grace. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go andbear fruit and that your fruit should abide …” (John 15:16). St. Peter says that you are a chosen race, and that you have been called by Christ “out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). It is all God’s doing as St. Paul affirms, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Martin Luther also reflects on this call in his explanation of the Third article of the Apostles’ Creed reminding that faith is all God’s work: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.”*Called to act- Those called to faith are called to act. St. Peter says more in the verse quoted above. He says, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Christians are called to a holy priesthood, living lives of sacrifice, offering up our “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1) and our lips in “a sacrifice of praise to God” (Hebrews 13:15). The writer to the Hebrews goes on to say, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16). Christian service reflects the diverse gifts of the members of the body of Christ and the diverse situations we find ourselves in. St. Paul teaches: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). *Called to The Office of the Public Ministry- The office of the public ministry is unique within the church and was established by God that the Holy Spirit might “call, gather, enlighten, and sanctify the whole Christian church on earth and keep it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith” (Luther, Explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed). Incumbents of the office of the public ministry been given the additional calling as servants who publicly preach and teach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments through which the Holy Spirit “works faith, when and where it pleases God [John 3:8], in those who hear the good news” (Augsburg Confession, Article V:2).There is one such divinely-instituted office within the church: “the ministry of the Word.” “Every other public office in the church is part of the ministry of the Word or an auxiliary office that supports the ministry …. Therefore, the offices of Christian day school teachers …” are “to be regarded as ecclesiastical and sacred, for they take over a part of the one ministry of the Word and support the pastoral office” (Walther, Church and Ministry: Concerning the Holy Ministry, Thesis VIII, section 1).This ministerial office, as distinguished from the priestly office, is entered into by the call of God through the church (Acts 20:28). A congregation or a calling body (E.g., a Recognized Service Organization, RSO) issues a call to ministry to a qualified person and asks that person to perform functions of ministry that God has commanded the Church to do. St. Paul says, “And [Jesus] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13). In Lutheran circles, calls are issued to pastors for the office of the public ministry. Teachers, directors of Christian education, music ministers, deaconesses and other synodically-trained people are called in support of the office of the public ministry (auxiliary offices; see above). Lutheran teachers and administrators historically have been “called” positions. The primary reason our churches have established schools has been to teach Christ and Him crucified, so having called men and women for these positions has been essential.Unfortunately in recent years, for some Lutheran schools, calls to these auxiliary positions of the office of the public ministry have morphed into no more than a tenured contract filled with teachers unqualified to teach pure Christian doctrine. It’s a damning statement that our schools are following the course of many institutions of higher education that have abandoned their Christian foundations in pursuit of being the best academic institution rather than remaining outposts of the ministry of the church. The call has divine qualifications (see 1 Timothy 3:8-12); it’s quite a responsibility. Our schools’ administrators and teachers are well aware of the tasks at hand. Pray for our calling bodies and those who are issued calls that they find peace in decisions that God leads.

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Maimonides Laws Concerning Gifts to the Poor https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/maimonides-laws-concerning-gifts-to-the-poor Mon, 24 Apr 2017 04:28:58 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/maimonides-laws-concerning-gifts-to-the-poor In November I had the opportunity to attend a conference on Religious Fundraising presented by the Lake Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. This article is one in a periodic series of articles highlighting the historical foundation of faith and fundraising throughout the ages.Spanish-born philosopher Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), was one of Judaism's most revered rabbis in the Middle Ages. Excerpted from the final chapter of his “Laws Concerning Gifts to the Poor”, Maimonides speaks of eight levels of “tzedakah”, often translated as “charity”. He used the term “levels” to equate to “degrees”, suggesting that the levels progressed in order of desirability. Below are his eight levels of charity, in order of best to least: The 1st or best level is Partnership; where one with the means takes the hand of another in need and either provides a loan, makes a partnership, or finds employment, to strengthen the person until they no longer need help. The 2nd level just below partnership is anonymous support; that is, the donor does not know who is receiving the help and the beneficiary does not know who is providing the support. The 3rd level is where the donor knows who the beneficiary is, but the receiver does not know who the donor is; in the past sages would toss coins in the door openings of the poor. The 4th level is opposite of the third, where the beneficiary knows who the donor is, but the donor is unaware who is benefitting from their generosity. This was supposed to allow the recipient to keep their pride or not feel shame. The 5th level is where a donor puts a gift in the hand of those in need before they are asked to help; this could be akin to the more modern “random acts of kindness” or “pay it forward” efforts. The 6th level is where a donor gives after being asked; this could be similar to what was considered “begging”. The 7th level is where a donor is asked, and gives, maybe not quite enough, but in a pleasant manner. The 8th level, and the level least desireable by Maimonides, is giving begrudgingly, or sorrowfully. What do you think about these levels? Where do your own giving habits fall on the list? Where does the Biblical “Cheerful Giver” as described in 2 Corinthians 9:7 fall? Where would the Good Samaritan’s actions fall?“Faith can exist without money, but religious organizations cannot.” -- GW Bowersock Picture credit: Pexels.com

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First Citywide Middle School Musical a Success https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/first-citywide-middle-school-musical-a-success Mon, 17 Apr 2017 04:18:53 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/first-citywide-middle-school-musical-a-success About a year ago, Concordia Lutheran High School’s drama director, Chris Murphy, had a vision to give students the opportunity to be involved in a drama production at an earlier age, and to be an intricate part of a production beyond being merely a support to the high school shows. That dream came to fruition in the form of our first citywide middle school musical, “Annie, Jr.” So, the call went out for guys and girls in grades 6-8 to be part of the show. Recalls Murphy, “We invited students to audition particularly from our Lutheran schools, but also students who attended Concordia [High School’s] summer drama camp, and others who heard about the show.” Auditions were held last September, and practices began mid-September on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. “Annie, Jr.” was performed on March 17 and March 18, 2017 at Concordia Elementary.The cast of “Annie, Jr.” was made entirely of middle school students from 12 different schools around Fort Wayne, with 9 of the 12 being Lutheran Schools: Central, Concordia Elementary, Emanuel-St. Michael, Holy Cross, Lutheran South Unity, St. Paul's, St. Peters, Suburban Bethlehem, and Woodburn Lutheran. “We have a lot of talent in the area, and this [production] was a great chance to showcase that talent.” says Murphy. First the students became castmates, and then they became friends. “They really enjoyed each other and were making great efforts to find ways to keep in touch with each other after the show was over,” observed Murphy.The collaboration of schools did not stop with the students. Murphy, an 8th grade teacher at Emanuel-St. Michael, called upon Concordia Elementary’s 5th grade teacher, Angie Owen, to be the assistant director. Owen also designed and built the set of “Annie, Jr.” as well as organized the light and sound crew for the production. Choreography was done by fellow Concordia Elementary teacher, Erin Mickelini and Lutheran South Unity music teacher, Natalie Reynolds, worked with the singing.Murphy is already looking at shows for next year. “It really has been an awesome experience and I would really encourage kids in next year's 6th-8th grades to consider auditioning and telling their friends about the opportunity as well!”

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What Crowd am I In? (A reflection of the Passion Narrative of John) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/what-crowd-am-i-in-a-reflection-of-the-passion-narrative-of-john Fri, 14 Apr 2017 04:39:09 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/what-crowd-am-i-in-a-reflection-of-the-passion-narrative-of-john What crowd am I in this week? Holy Week shares Jesus’ march to His ultimate goal- redeeming the world through His death. It’s right to focus on Jesus, His passion, for you, for me. While considering the crowds of Holy Week, I think they help us see our sin and draw us ever closer to our need for a Savior.The crowds that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem shouted “Hosanna!” Messiah. King. Time to restore Jewish reign. No more Romans. Most who witnessed Jesus’ triumphal entry missed the real Jesus. They didn’t see a Redeemer who was there to “save now” from sin because they missed that it was the promised one who was coming to save. I hope I see Jesus for who He is and don’t make Him something less than He is. He’s more than protector and king. He is God alone who died for lowly me.How am I part of the group that questioned the woman who anointed Jesus? Do I miss that worship is about Jesus and not me? Oh that I can see with the same faith as the woman and see promises fulfilled through Jesus, that His death is what I need for life now and eternity! Her anointing of Jesus was a faith-filled confidence that Jesus was the Savior promised for us. As the disciples were gathered for Passover, they wondered, “Is it I?” when Jesus announced that a disciple would betray him. Can I see my own sin and realize that it IS I? I sent Jesus to the cross. I have betrayed him, too. I’ve hidden from opportunities to stand strong in faith. I’ve had my price as I’ve “given Jesus up” and it wasn’t thirty pieces of silver. What is my paltry price? Appreciation? Acceptance? Avoidance of ridicule? Lord have mercy on me, a poor miserable sinner. Am I part of the crowd yelling “Crucify!” sending my own versions of insults and jeers? Surely not! How could I be so blatant in my opposition to Christ? Death to Christ?! Selfishness. Defensiveness. Self-justification. Oh, yes! I had a role in sending Jesus to the cross and hammering those nails. How am I hiding in fear as the disciples did after Jesus death? While it’s obvious that Jesus is a man of His word and fulfilled the words of the prophets, His absence for three days left the disciples feeling alone, seemingly a target for opposition and trembling in fear. Am I fearful? Do I have confidence in the promises- I will not leave you, I will send the comforter? Do I understand that God’s “little while” may often seem like a dark, long period of time but His “little while” is a blink in the vision of eternity? Am I thrilled beyond belief? The disciples started hearing stories- stories of an empty tomb, of angels, of Jesus appearances. Do I hear the stories? Do I share the wonder of “Can it be?” Am I seeing with eyes wide open my crucified and risen Lord?This week, I DO have my eyes wide open! I see my sin, I see my desperation, I see I’m chief of sinners. But I will hear Jesus. His words will be remembered and I will taste and see that He is good!Christ’s death and punishment are for me…and I am forgivenI will “take and eat” and at the very gate of heaven and be with the crowd of angels and all the company of heaven in sharing our Hosannas and Hallelujahs!I’ll be reminded that God’s will is not done apart from Jesus. It’s done without my prayer, but it is surely done. Jesus has sealed my future. He left guilt and death in the grave. Thy will be done? Absolutely.In Christ, I’m going to “feed His lambs” with knowledge to share about Jesus, the bread of life, the paschal lamb, the one who sustains.I hope you’re part of a visible crowd this weekend…and that crowd being in church. God’s gifts are waiting there “for you.”A blessed Holy Week everyone!

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Can Fundraising be a Calling? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/can-fundraising-be-a-calling Mon, 10 Apr 2017 03:51:22 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/can-fundraising-be-a-calling “Faith-Based Fundraisers: Can Fundraising be a Calling?” This was the title of a recent article by David King, Ph.D. at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Lake Institute based in Indianapolis. The Lake Institute develops research designed to explore the broad context of religious giving and recently partnered with the Association of Lutheran Development Executives (ALDE) to investigate the subject of fundraising as a calling.And since religious giving is on my mind for much of my work with The Lutheran Schools Partnership (coaching 18 Lutheran schools on fundraising will do that to a person), and since I recently joined the national board of ALDE, and since I am surrounded every day by hundreds of wonderful called principals, teachers, pastors, and other leaders in Indiana, I felt, er, “called” to read the article.While you can read the full article HERE, the study focused on who faith based fundraisers are, why they are motivated to work in the field, and how their faith informs their fundraising practice. Some of the key discussion points are listed below: 90% of ALDE fundraisers see their work as an expression of a calling or vocation rooted in faith. 88% connect fundraising to their faith. 91% of ALDE members believe that working for a religious organization is important 72% respond that working alongside individuals with shared values is a significant factor in their professional identity. Faith-based fundraisers find the language of vocation, calling, and ministry significant in describing their work. Many ALDE members report a specific calling to fundraising, sensing that they are gifted by God to fulfill a particular purpose. Many of the respondents describe the process of working with donors as “pastoral” and speak of their service as a public witness for the mission of God. ALDE members highlight that fundraising is always more than the money raised. Faith-based fundraising necessitates celebrating and nurturing the joy of giving within donors. Others point to the tensions present while nurturing donor relations: relating to donors as spiritual advisors and asking for financial gifts.As more and more of our 18 schools hire part-time or full-time fundraising staff, I look forward to exploring their views on faith and fundraising, as well as the continued relationship between ALDE and the Lake Institute.What do you think? Is faith-based fundraising a true calling?Picture: Time Life, February, 1947, Illinois. Anniversary

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Alicia Levitt joins The Lutheran Schools Partnership https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alicia-levitt-joins-the-lutheran-schools-partnership Mon, 27 Mar 2017 03:49:27 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/alicia-levitt-joins-the-lutheran-schools-partnership The Lutheran Schools Partnership (TLSP) is pleased to share that Alicia Levitt has accepted the call to serve as its Academic Excellence Coordinator effective July 1. Levitt will be leaving her call as Assistant Principal of Emmanuel-St Michael Lutheran School, Fort Wayne to join the collaborative efforts of TLSP. The TLSP opening occurred as Cindy McKinney moved her talents to Region 8 Education Service Center.Mark Muehl, Executive Director of TLSP says of Levitt: “We are very excited about what the future holds for TLSP with Mrs. Levitt's direction. She’s a talented educator with a unique perspective for Lutheran education. She will be a great blessing for our partnership of schools. We look forward to her leadership and teamwork!"Levitt is a life long Lutheran and gained her BA from Concordia University-Chicago and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University- Irvine. Her experience as teacher and administrator of Lutheran schools will provide insights for the planning and execution of academic initiatives and efforts.“I have a passion for Lutheran education, and believe that the Lord will allow me to support and advocate for our Lutheran school in a new way.” said Levitt.

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Level the Playing Field by Protecting School Choice https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/level-the-playing-field-by-protecting-school-choice Mon, 20 Mar 2017 03:49:15 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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.

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2017 Indiana Lutheran Schools State Basketball Tournament https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2017-indiana-lutheran-schools-state-basketball-tournament Mon, 13 Mar 2017 03:14:16 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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.

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Be Ready to Speak https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/be-ready-to-speak Mon, 27 Feb 2017 05:39:27 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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.

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Committees and Endowments https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/committees-and-endowments Wed, 22 Feb 2017 05:28:21 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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 the1:40 minute video aboveand 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 41:47-56Picture credit: Life, December 1947

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Fundraising is... https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/fundraising-is Mon, 13 Feb 2017 05:53:16 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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 IannocconeTransformational fundraising takes a long time. Urgency is the enemy of fundraising.” --Eileen Savage, J Paul Getty TrustStart by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. --St. Francis Assisi

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Your Voice is Needed https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/your-voice-is-needed-2 Mon, 06 Feb 2017 07:17:35 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/your-voice-is-needed-2 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)- CurriculumSB 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. AdministrationHB 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. AdministrationHB 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-KindergartenSB 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

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You are Now Entering… the Auction Zone… https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/you-are-now-entering-the-auction-zone Fri, 03 Feb 2017 04:09:18 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/you-are-now-entering-the-auction-zone While December may be the season for charity and goodwill, around here February through May is the season for charitable events and auctions at our Lutheranschools! Most organizations avoid the summer (everyone goes to “the lake”... but they never seem to invite me there), so they either hold their dinner/auctions in the fall between Labor Day and early November, or they plan their activities February to May.While most raise funds for a specific need, such as scholarships or new computers, more are starting to raise funds to meet the endowment match challenge from The Lutheran Foundation (more on that next week).As we approach the auction season, please keep in mind the following helpful reminders: If your school’s event has a silent auction, don’t go with a garage sale mentality… this is an event to raise money, so you should plan to “purchase a $20 bill for $40”… Most dinner/auctions have a “paddle raise” or “cash auction” component where attendees simply raise their hand to support the need directly… bring your checkbook! While you should verify with your tax advisor, generally speaking, cash donations and auction items purchased above their retail value are eligible for tax advantages... Bring your friends! Events can be fun are are not necessarily just for parents, grandparents, and church members… everyone benefits by supporting Christian education...Below is a current list of events planned by our schools… contact them directly for more details. And, remember 2 Corinthians 9:7, “God loves a cheerful giver". Go the event with an open heart and open wallet (or debit card) and support Lutheran education! Concordia Lutheran: Thursday, February 16, 2017 St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran: Saturday, March 4, 2017 Wyneken Memorial Lutheran: Saturday, March 4, 2017 Holy Cross Lutheran: Friday, March 10, 2017 Suburban Bethlehem Lutheran: Saturday, March 11, 2017 St. Paul’s Lutheran: Saturday, March 18, 2017 Emmanuel-St. Michael Lutheran: Thursday, March 23, 2017 Concordia Lutheran High School: Saturday, April 22, 2017 Bethlehem Lutheran: Saturday, April 29, 2017 Central Lutheran: Saturday, April 29, 2017 Ascension Lutheran: Thursday, May 4, 2017 St. John Lutheran: Friday, May 5, 2017 St. Peter Lutheran, Saturday, May 6, 2017 Emmaus Lutheran: Saturday, May 19, 2017 Schools with events in Fall 2017: Lutheran South Unity Woodburn Lutheran

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One Thing's Needful https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/one-things-needful Mon, 30 Jan 2017 05:56:45 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/one-things-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 profferBut Your crimson-colored blood.Your death on the cross has death wholly defeatedAnd 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

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Rally, Rally, Rally! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rally-rally-rally Thu, 19 Jan 2017 05:25:50 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rally-rally-rally The Lutheran Schools Partnership schools along with schools from the Fort Wayne/South Bend Diocese and other area non-public schools are planning a school choice rally at Concordia Theological Seminary’s Sihler Auditorium on Tuesday, January 24 at 4:30 PM. This rally is a time to demonstrate support of the school choice initiatives here in Indiana.School Choice is a big deal as more than 34000 Hoosier students are receiving choice scholarships (vouchers), making it the largest and fastest growing program in the nation. What does that say about the program?#1- The program is doing exactly what it was set up to do- give families a choice in where their child is attending school. No rhetoric is needed to support that fact- families are making use of school choice and the numbers of choice scholarship recipients is likely to grow.The rally is a time for citizens of northeast Indiana to rally around school choice in a formal manner. While there have been frequent opposing views expressed here in NE IN against the program, school choice supporters and recipients have been relatively quiet. This will be a positive experience rallying supporters to be active supporters.This rally is a call to action and to thank legislators for their support of the programThe rally will be supported by the area nonpublic schools association, EdChoice (formally known as Friedman Foundation), Institute for Quality Education (IQE), the FW/South Bend Diocese and TLSP.All those reading this newsletter are encouraged to attend and support the rally.

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New Year’s Fundraising Resolutions https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/new-years-fundraising-resolutions Mon, 09 Jan 2017 03:51:44 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/new-years-fundraising-resolutions

I was going to write a “the best of 2016 in Fundraising” article, but decided to not dwell on the past (besides, I have already written about the success of the SGO program, among other highlights).

Instead, as we look to the new year, I challenge you to raise a glass with me and consider some of the following charitable topics that I will be detailing in future newsletters this year: Tax-planning with SGOs: while credits are gone now, they will be back starting July 1; as one donor who squeaked his donation in just under the wire this year, “I’m definitely donating earlier next year!” Take a gander at what your total state tax bill was for 2016 and consider how much you could save by supporting scholarships in 2017... Endowments: our 18 Partner schools have an endowment matching challenge from The Lutheran Foundation. Consider how your gift to the school’s endowment could be doubled or tripled, and live on forever. Speaking of forever, spring is always a great time to review your estate plans, the beneficiary designations for your retirement accounts and insurance, and other similar documents. Consider adding Lutheran education to those plans; Lutheran education in Indiana has been going strong for nearly 200 years, you can help it thrive for the next 200. Speaking of retirement accounts, if you are 70 ½ years old or older, and the government is telling you that you have to take a required amount from your retirement account, consider a possible tax-free distribution from those accounts to a charity like one of our schools or the SGO. As with any change, make sure you discuss any of these options with your family and financial advisors.

To take from one of the less-sang lines from “Auld Lang Syne”, make sure to “... tak' a cup o' kindness yet,” and support Lutheran education in 2017.

Photo Cred: Time-Life Archives, New Years Party Times Square

Photograph:

Walter Sanders

Date taken:

1956

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Christmas as a Lesson in Teaching https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/christmas-as-a-lesson-in-teaching Tue, 20 Dec 2016 21:31:55 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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 shepherdsworshipping 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!

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SGO Credits are Gone! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-credits-are-gone Mon, 19 Dec 2016 21:42:43 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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!

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Learning and Growing through Critical Friend Visits https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/learning-and-growing-through-critical-friend-visits Sat, 17 Dec 2016 03:52:27 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/learning-and-growing-through-critical-friend-visits Last school year, The Lutheran Schools Partnership (TLSP) lead an effort to establish a supportive network of schools and teachers. We adopted a process called Critical Friend Visits that focuses on what students are doing in classrooms. Six of our schools piloted the process and through those experiences and the feedback we received, we revised our visits. Four more schools signed on for visits this fall.Our goal is to give schools an honest, yet supportive picture of what we observed in their buildings over the course of a day. The schools then determine which areas of focus they want to work on with the support and assistance of TLSP. Here are some of the trends we have noticed so far.1- Our teachers manage their classrooms very well. In all ten schools we visited, this was an observed strength. If teachers cannot manage their classrooms, it becomes more challenging to instruct in engaging ways. This is a great foundation for strengthening other aspects of our instruction. 2- We provide very supportive learning environments. Students in our classrooms are provided with the supplies and tools they need to learn. Our teachers also create warm, caring, Christian environments in which students feel safe and supportive!3- Autonomy has its benefits and drawbacks. We are proud of our independent school thinking and our teachers enjoy being able to own their classroom curriculum. Yet too much autonomy can lead to isolation and disconnected experiences for our students as they move from grade level to grade level. Our schools are seeing the need to make some classroom practices consistent throughout the school. They are working hard to create common instructional elements while still giving teachers the flexibility they need to be effective teachers.Critical Friend Visits have provided TLSP and its member schools valuable data that is being examined and acted upon. As we continue to reflect on the protocol we are using, the experience is becoming even more focused and meaningful. Observers in the classroom make some teachers anxious. We are thankful to every teacher who opened their doors and sat a chair out for us in the back of the room. We hope that as more schools join our CFV network, the experience will continue to benefit schools, teachers and students.This is my last newsletter for TLSP. It has been such a pleasure and honor to serve our Lutheran schools. I am thankful to Mark and Jon for making the working environment so fun, yet productive. I admire our principals who are asked to do so much with few resources. And I love our teachers. They are the hearts and souls of our Lutheran schools. God speaks to our children through them, and I will truly miss the privilege of working with them. God Bless, Cindy

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Lutheran Schools Open House: January 22, 2017 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-schools-open-house-january-22-2017 Mon, 12 Dec 2016 07:00:15 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-schools-open-house-january-22-2017 On Sunday, January 22, 2017 from 12:00pm to 3:00pm,Lutheran schools across northeast Indiana will host open houses.To locate a nearby Lutheran school, visit thelutheranschools.org and click on “Find a School” at the top of the page.[video width="960" height="540" mp4="http://thelutheranschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/TLSP-Open-House-Video-2017.mp4" autoplay="true"][/video]

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Farewell, Cindy McKinney https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/farewell-cindy-mc-kinney Mon, 05 Dec 2016 05:15:29 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/farewell-cindy-mc-kinney “This is my last newsletter for TLSP. It has been such a pleasure and honor to serve our Lutheran schools. I am thankful to Mark (Mark Muehl) and Jon (Jon Dize) for making the working environment so fun, yet productive. I admire our principals who are asked to do so much with few resources. And I love our teachers. They are the hearts and souls of our Lutheran schools. God speaks to our children through them, and I will truly miss the privilege of working with them.” -Cindy McKinneyIt’s probably not a farewell that will go up there with Lou Gehrig’s, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech in Yankee stadium. However, when a farewell was requested from Cindy, this was her response- simple, heartfelt and recognizing of God’s work in her and our schools.Over Cindy’s tenure as academic excellence coordinator, new programs were started, a variety of educational resources were shared and data has been emphasized in forming education goals and objectives. From Critical Friends Visits to curriculum mapping, our schools have been challenged to make productive and important changes. But probably the most important progress made for our schools is the move to collaboration and the growth of leadership within our network of schools. Andy Gavrun, principal of Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School shares about Cindy, “Your time, dedication, and service having been an amazing testimony of the leadership and support you have provided over the years. I am especially thankful for all you have done with the target tech group, professional development, and your leadership in our administrative meetings.” Andy’s thanks are representative of our schools’ administrators and teachers as we all have recognized Cindy’s subtle but effective efforts in growing an atmosphere of cooperation in our region.Cindy’s greatest gift is one of humility. Heidi Adair, vice chairman of TLSP’s Board of Directors says, “Your love for education and your desire to see our Lutheran Schools move forward was evident. Your respect and enjoyment for the teachers in the Lutheran school system was also obvious. I never felt as though you viewed yourself as the ‘person with all the answers’ but rather as a colleague coming alongside to share thoughts and perspectives in a way that moved the education ball forward. You will be missed.”Peace and joy to you, Cindy. You have been blessed to be a blessing. God’s rich grace be evident to you in your new endeavors.

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Thankful for our Stewardship Award Nominees https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thankful-for-our-stewardship-award-nominees Mon, 28 Nov 2016 14:48:21 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thankful-for-our-stewardship-award-nominees

For the past 11 years, the Foellinger Foundation in Fort Wayne has encouraged nonprofits in Allen County to nominate an outstanding board member for an annual Stewardship Award. Nominations recognize local board members who exemplify the highest standards of board service and stewardship, as identified below by these Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards: Determine mission and purpose. Select the chief executive. Support and evaluate the chief executive. Ensure effective planning. Monitor and strengthen programs and services. Ensure adequate financial resources. Protect assets and provide financial oversight. Build a competent board. Ensure legal and ethical integrity. Enhance the organization’s public standing.

All nominees were recognized in various news media and at a special luncheon and awards ceremony in October.

TLSP

This year The Lutheran Schools Partnership nominated board member Beth Kitson. Beth, a Thrivent Financial representative, currently serves on the board of TLSP and is the TLSP representative to The Lutheran SGO of Indiana. Mark Muehl noted in his nomination of Beth that she is “a ‘quiet storm’: she has moved mountains to promote the organization to all schools within our influence, both urban and rural. Beth … has swayed local committees and boards to consider options they otherwise may never have considered.”

TLSGOI

In addition, The Lutheran SGO of Indiana nominated former board member Chris Goeglein as its 2016 Stewardship Award Nominee. Chris is a managing partner of True Noth Strategic Advisors. In addition to his leadership creating the SGO organization and setting procedures and policies, Chris “... has paved the way to substantial growth with a limited number of operational issues. … His vision on where he believed the growth of our organization should be focused helped us look to expand to additional sources of funding,” as stated in the nominating application.

Both organizations continue to benefit from strong, quality members of the community like Beth and Chris that dedicate their time, their talents, and their resources to help advance Lutheran education in Indiana. Read more about the award at http://www.foellinger.org/events/stewardship/.

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Thanksgiving: It's About Humility https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thanksgiving-its-about-humility Wed, 23 Nov 2016 22:45:34 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thanksgiving-its-about-humility Thanksgiving. Life of generosity. Blessed.Thanksgiving too often bring mandates. While the Church leads us to Jesus who healed the lepers (and only one returned to thank Jesus) who were given new life, many will spend time giving exhortations to give thanks, appreciate family and appreciate our abundance. I guess I’m going to do the same as I consider professional leadership and Lutheran schools. I hope that this article provides a bit more. It’s right to give thanks for our schools. It’s right to feel blessed....because we are. It’s right to live a life of thanks. And it’s right to direct Thanksgiving Day to our great God. Unfortunately, it’s also nearly a mandate to gorge ourselves with outstanding dinners and then sit down for some football, too.However, as a church professional in Lutheran schools, what does thanksgiving look like...every day, not just on the four day holiday. Is there a difference? Should there be a difference? Why the difference?Might we consider Pat Lencioni’s most recent book, The Ideal Team Player? In his book, Lencioni gives his ideas on the three indispensable virtues of an ideal team player. And as those virtues are considered, we may conclude that these three virtues are centered around a life of thanks. Lencioni’s indispensable virtues for team- humble, smart and hungry. Humble- “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people.” (Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary). The antithesis of humility is arrogance, condescension, or self-centeredness. Do you recognize humility in others? They have a gentle spirit and seem to understand who they are in relation to the world around them. They are generous and positive with others. That being said, humility need not be confused with a lack of self-confidence. C.S. Lewis addressed this misunderstanding about humility when he said “Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Humility is NOT insecurity. But insecurity CAN demonstrate itself as presenting with overconfidence; insecurity discounts one’s talents.Smart- Lencioni isn’t speaking about smart as IQ or cognitive ability and accumulation of knowledge. Rather, in this context, Lencioni is talking about awareness of the people around you and dealing with them in a positive, functional way. Being smart has everything to do with the ability to be interpersonally appropriate and aware. Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way. They ask good questions, listen to what others are saying, and use good communication skills (more listening than talking!). However, one who is heavily gifted and or misuses this virtue can twist it to be “a charmer.” The charmer is more concerned about self than about others or a project.Hungry- Lencioni is talking about working hard and being passionate about work. The hungry person is self-motivated and diligent. Hungry people are filled with energy; they are looking for answers; they’re eager to share ideas. Notice that I’m careful to not equate hungry with aggressive. Lencioni suggests that someone who is aggressively hungry could be described as a bulldozer. Bulldozers can do well in their vocations for long periods of time. Why? Because as we live in a world of results, “bulldozers” can make results happen one way or another. This isn’t to say that a bulldozer is unethical. Rather, bulldozers aren’t team players and are quite convinced that they need to get their agenda completed.It’s interesting with all the attention to personality tests and other psychological reviews that many ministries and many businesses use during the hiring process, here is a highly reputable speaker and CEO suggesting that one’s judgements of prospective employees based on conversations in reference checks, with past acquaintances and in interviews might carry the greatest value. All this being said, coming back to theme of this article, does it make sense that if these virtues are apparent (humble, hunger, smart), are we talking with someone who is squarely living out a life of thanksgiving, of generosity, of understanding one’s blessings? Are we indeed working with someone who by God’s grace has received God’s gifts of faith, joy and peace and is living out a life that exhibits that faith?Ego is dangerous thing. It rubs against the first commandment by placing yourself first. It rubs against the fourth commandment as order and authority are challenged by one’s own desires. It rubs against the 8th commandment as reputations are less important than results. If arrogance, self-centeredness, and laziness are visible, rather than dealing with character flaws or missing skill sets, maybe we need to address some faith issues.We are important because God loves and values us. Our worth comes from him. As we receive His love and find our true worth in Him, we can truly enjoy our purpose in life and live in contentment. In Jesus we see the One who has lived a life of true humility and service. Isaiah shares, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” Jesus “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.”Where in these verses do we see arrogance, self-centeredness, Machiavellian attitudes and actions? No where. In Jesus we see for our sake, the ultimate in selflessness, in understanding others, in being driven to a goal. For our sake, his goal was death, death we deserve because of our own ego, our own interest in being God. Since Adam and Eve , we have not been satisfied with letting be God be God. We want to instill our desires into the plan.Thanks be to God that through Jesus and through the life we share now in Him, others are served through us, others know the teamwork of Lutheran schools and we experience the urgency of sharing the Gospel.A blessed Thanksgiving to all of you.

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School Shepherd Award Nominations https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-shepherd-award-nominations Mon, 21 Nov 2016 04:14:53 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/school-shepherd-award-nominations National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA) encourages and recognizes Lutheran schools that provide quality Christian education and engage in continuous improvement. NLSA facilitates Lutheran schools in evaluating their academic quality and the spiritual dimension of the school. Academic quality is determined by the school doing a rigorous self-study in which the school measures itself against nearly two hundred standards covering all phases of a school’s operation. A team of educators from other schools visit the school to validate the self-study and create a report that includes the school’s strengths and also areas for improvement. All TLSP schools are accredited with NLSA.This year, for the first time, the visiting teams were asked to observe the pastor’s relationship with the school and consider if he should be nominated for The School Shepherd Award. In an interview for the Reporter online, Terry Schmidt, director of LCMS School Ministry explains, “The new School Shepherd Award--which will be given annually--’honors a faithful pastor who provides outstanding encouragement, support, and service to his school.” Eleven LCMS pastors across the country were nominated for this year’s inaugural award. “All are considered champions for their schools,” Schmidt says, because they “go beyond in supporting and caring for the school, its workers, and the whole school community.” Two of the elven pastors nominated for The School Shepherd Award are in The Lutheran Schools Partnership: Rev. John Stube serving Ascension Lutheran School and Rev. Thomas Eggold, serving Emmanuel-St. Michael (ESM) Lutheran School. Ascension Lutheran School is in 18th academic year, and Pastor Stube has been there since the beginning. He helped start the school and served as the first principal. Mary Eifert, principal of Ascension, offered, “Pastor Stube feels strongly that the ministry of the congregation is the school; our school is an arm of the church.” That belief is evident in Pastor Stube’s daily involvement in the school. He leads chapel, which meets four times a week, and teaches 7th-8th grade confirmation. “We are honored he was chosen for this award,” Eifert said, “Pastor definitely exemplifies the qualification of a School Shepherd.” Northeast Indiana’s second nomination, Pastor Eggold, is no stranger to the ministry at Emmanuel-St. Michael. He has served Emmanuel as the senior pastor for ten years, and before that, served as associate pastor. With a background as an English teacher at Concordia Lutheran High School, Pastor Eggold carries an understanding and knowledge as to the value of Christian education. Pastor Eggold is involved in the school by way of teaching religion class to 7th-8th grades, and leading devotions and Bible study for the faculty and staff. Jacob Pennekamp, principal at ESM, appreciates Pastor Eggold’s gift for “appropriately responding to the spiritual needs of families. Pastor is a generous leader with the way he cares for his people, and a great listener when it comes to concerns for our faculty.” The relationship between pastor and principal is vital to the health of the school, and Pennekamp adds he is extremely grateful for the team ministry he shares with Pastor. “I cannot overstate that having a partner in ministry in Pastor Eggold is something I value most here at ESM.”May God continue to strengthen the relationship between church and school. May He bless our Lutheran Schools with many men like Pastor Stube and Pastor Eggold as we all work to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ together.

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Boldness in Ministry https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/boldness-in-ministry Mon, 14 Nov 2016 05:43:57 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/boldness-in-ministry Numbers 1-3.Yeah, I’m pulling out the Old Testament for you this week. Numbers 1-3 is a section that, if you’re like me, you’ve skimmed through (at best) rather than ponder and meditate upon. These chapters share the instructions God gave for the Israelites in pitching their tents around the tabernacle. Three chapters of explicit details! At first glance, it might make your eyes glaze over and you may end up zipping carelessly through the chapters.Upon further review, and with your imagination, you can see the picture that Moses describes here. One can imagine Israel camped in the morning, the banners for each tribe flying in the dawning sun. The tabernacle in the middle of this army of tents–the cloud of God’s presence right there in the middle of the camp. Remember, this isn’t a small group of 10 to 15 tents. This picture is of thousands of tents; it takes a little imagination to consider what this looked like. No doubt, it had to be a strong and impressive sight for all who were part of these gatherings. When they camped, they had the power of knowing they were together as God’s chosen people and they knew that God was in the midst of their camp, taking care of them in every way. God has a way of taking something rather detailed and mundane and provide through it implicit and explicit strength.Throughout our country (and beyond), there also appear small armies of folks. They are people who are part of Lutheran schools, places where God also tabernacles (a word that means “dwell”). Those who are part of these schools often seem to be timid in their individual actions as they operate their schools, as they worry about enrollment, express concern about meeting budgets and are bothered by the politics of the secular world they live.But God is boldly reminding them of His promises. Just as He lived with the Israelites, God also lives with us now. We know this, not because of a cloud or pillar of fire but, because He promises such. “Lo I am with you always,” and “Where two or three are gathered in my name,” are promises that ring in our ears. We gather for worship, for Divine Service, and receive God’s gifts. Our schools are places where these promises ring clear and where we receive God’s gifts and so these little armies teach and serve throughout the world. But look outside of your tent and reflect on the collective impact Lutheran schools have in each of our little parts of the world and beyond. Let’s look beyond our church, our school and instead consider what it looks like for us to fly our banners together. There are 1,173 LCMS early-childhood preschools, 804 elementary schools, 91 domestic high schools and three international schools, with a total of some 200,000 students attending these schools (statistics as reported at convention this past summer). Hundreds of teachers, pastors and support staff serving Christ in their vocation. Lay leaders who serve on boards and committees that provide organizational support. Parents and grandparents who support and encourage students, teachers, administrators and boards with money, prayer and words of support. Seminaries and the CUIS that provide training for future pastors and other church workers for worldwide influence in Christ’s name. Worldwide effect of social media and other communicationAre you getting it? We’re not a ragtag, little group. While we may not have the numbers of our Catholic brethren in terms of schools and enrollment, the individual and corporate impact of Lutheran schools are far-reaching.When we get caught up in numbers games, we lose the perspective of Lutheran school ministry. Might we do well to look out of our tents and realize the full power of Christ’s work in Lutheran schools everywhere? It would help us gain back a perspective that God is in control and that we are humbly a small part of something so much bigger. While Lutheran schools and churches have a fierce individuality and unique cultures, I wonder if it might be wise for us to not just look at our own flying banners but rather consider the way in which we need to be sure of our oneness. I’m sure each of tribes of Israel had their own individuality. Yet God always reminded them of their certain identity- “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” God was constantly reminding the Israelites of who they were, the promises that had been fulfilled and the promises that were still to come to fruition. All those past experiences of God’s grace and providence still needed constant reminders. And now, God was positioning them so they would be reminders to one another of God’s grace and care.We have identity issues as well and forget who we are- even though we are children of Promise, too. It’s for this reason that Divine Service includes reminders. Our tribes are gathered together around God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament, His very presence in our life. And as we gather for these reminders, we commune and fellowship with one another, gathering the certainty that we are indeed a part of something bigger and that God has it under control. We leave with our banners flying and energized for another week of service.This article was published under the title of “Professionally Speaking.” What’s been shared may not seem directed toward our professional efforts as educators, it does speak directly to our vocation as church workers. Three areas of concern come to mind: Our ministry area may be big or small, placed in an urban setting or rural. However, it is gathered around Christ’s presence and we are need of regular, personal connection with Christ. The fact of a crucified and risen Lord who came to earth for you and me is cause for excitement. This is life changing news that affects beyond this time and space. It’s always been true but with the devil and the world around us causing us so much dismay, temptation and trials in ministry, we need to be encamped around Christ and be able to rally together as one. Look outside your tent and see the banners of your congregation, your daughter and sister congregations. We’re not alone. God’s promises are sure. He’s right here with us–Immanuel. This is no time to cower away from the opportunities that are in front of us as Lutheran schools. We will continue our challenges of funding and enrollment. We will continue to work to determine the addressing of the ever-changing world of education. It appears that the challenge of calling and staffing our schools with excellent teachers and administrators is going to grow. But just as God provided leaders throughout Old Testament history, we must trust the Lord of the church to continue to do the same. At the same time we need to encourage our students through word and action to consider Lutheran school ministry vocations. What’s the excitement look like in your place? Do we share an excitement for sharing Jesus with friends, family and neighbors? Isn’t Jesus a tad bit more important than population growth and economic growth? If you agree that the message of our crucified and risen Lord is worth some excitement, doesn’t it also make sense for us to be even bolder? After all, the impact of the Gospel goes beyond a couple of decades of growth. The impact of the Gospel goes into eternity! We may have a temptation to not fly our banner boldly due to the legal and cultural challenges of the day. However, we need to use the resources given to us, including Protecting Your Freedom (https://blogs.lcms.org/2016/synod-provides-legal-guide-amid-increased-intrusions), and be confident that Lutheran schools will continue to be blessed and be a blessing. Join me in being bold.

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Your Voice is Needed https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/your-voice-is-needed-1 Fri, 11 Nov 2016 05:05:39 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/your-voice-is-needed-1 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 HERENovember 17th, 2016 - Fort Wayne6:00-7:30pm LCMS Indiana District1145 S Barr St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802We 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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Your Voice Is Needed https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/your-voice-is-needed Thu, 10 Nov 2016 22:42:23 -0500 laurenc@tlspartnership.org (Lauren Creutz) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/your-voice-is-needed The Indiana Non-Public Education Association (INPEA) ishosting a legislative engagement training meeting at our 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 including but not limited to pastors, administrators, student council/board members, and parents.

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Enrollment News for The Lutheran Schools Partnership https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/enrollment-news-for-the-lutheran-schools-partnership Mon, 07 Nov 2016 05:49:00 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/enrollment-news-for-the-lutheran-schools-partnership Enrollment information is in for the 2016-2017 school year and we’re happy to report that enrollment across The Lutheran Schools Partnership (TLSP) remained about the same from last school year, increasing by 6 students Partnership wide. Enrollment for our region’s 18 schools now sits at 4117 which is the highest enrollment for this region since the 2002-2003 school year when 22 schools enrolled 4210 students. We rejoice in the opportunities God has given to our schools to share Jesus with the kids and families entrusted to our care.Here’s some additional breakdowns of the numbers- 9 schools are experiencing enrollment growth this year Emmaus is experiencing the largest growth with a 14% increase. Number of choice scholarship students- 1973 full or partial school choice scholarship recipients. This is a 5.5% increase from last year Kindergarten enrollment is smaller across the region this year. We’ll need to research this to be sure that this was just a small birth year and not a reflection of enrollment issues.Here are some reflections on our enrollment numbers-1- We all need to encourage legislators to affirm the state’s school choice legislation. Students are getting an opportunity to be in our schools at a time when they otherwise would not have considered it. This is a great opportunity that has eternal ramifications. 2- We live in an ever-increasing secular society, and most people are unaware of the effects of this change. Children need to know their Savior. Lutheran schools have as their top priority sharing the Gospel. The ramifications of nearly 7 daily hours of a child being in a Christian environment are fundamental for their eternal care. 3- Ongoing PR and marketing efforts from TLSP and from individual school efforts are helping us buck national trends of decreasing enrollments of non-public schools. There are plenty of other voices out there- our story needs to continue to be told and told well.4- All of us who share the passion for Lutheran education can help slam the backdoor and assure stronger retention numbers. Teachers who are timely in their reporting to parents, who understand and respond accordingly to the individual needs of his/her student and who go the extra mile for their kids are needed in our schools. Parents need to be strong ambassadors of the school speaking the truth in love of the great things going on at the school. Kids have great opportunities to tell the good news about our schools- and they’re quick to do so. All of these things will help increase our retention numbers.5- Pray! We say this a lot but it’s our most important activity as a Christian. Pray for our nation. Pray for our leaders. Pray for families. Pray for administrators and teachers. Pray for pastors.

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The Emotionally Safe Classroom https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-emotionally-safe-classroom Mon, 31 Oct 2016 05:09:55 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-emotionally-safe-classroom St. Paul’s Teachers Foster a Caring Learning EnvironmentJovita Nack, a fifth grade teacher at St. Paul’s Lutheran School, says that when a child does not feel safe, they cannot learn.“I came across a professor in college who understood classroom anxiety and said, ‘Think of me as someone who is like an editor and it won’t be as stressful.’ I flourished and came out of that experience and she helped me grow,” she adds.Brain research backs this up, highlighting how a child’s stress response system causes them to feel danger and impairs their ability to focus on anything else. Creating an emotionally safe classroom, where students can learn without having overwhelming stress, is the key to allowing students to flourish.

She says there are three things that will foster an emotionally safe learning environment: A caring relationship and community Music, humor and movement An environment of relaxed alertness“The biggest thing is establishing caring relationships. The one thing I do everyday is smile at my kids,” Mrs. Nack says. “You don’t know what kind of morning these kids have had. Smiling and laughing make them feel better.”She emphasizes that establishing a relationship of trust is foundational to lowering their stress response in class. “That relationship is so important,” she adds. “They need to know you’re not going to embarrass them. You’re not going to point them out. You can choose to berate them or you can talk to them about making better choices.”These techniques include using humor as well as movement to keep students engaged. “Movement is important for ADHD kids,” Mrs. Nack adds. “They have to be engaged. Take that five minute break to do a stretch exercise. I also take a softball, wind it up like a pitcher and then when they catch it, they decide on a physical motion for the whole class, like jumping jacks.”Reducing stress helps to balance the neurotransmitters that control things like stress, well-being and calmness. “This all involves the brain God gave us. He knew we’d need the fight or flight response. All these things are there for a reason. But it’s not good to be there all the time. When the students live with that, they can’t remember things. The limbic system hijacks it.”So what can teachers do to relieve some of the stress responses in their students? It starts with making some simple changes.“There are so many things you can do in the classroom. I allow students to grade a paper and it eliminates a stress. It’s a learning tool. It gives them responsibility. Students need some control.”She also uses humor as a way to connect with students. “There are so many ways to redirect a student by using humor and implementing it into teaching techniques. Any chance you have to put humor in, it breaks the ice.”Mrs. Nack says as a result of using these techniques, she’s become a more relaxed teacher and that makes for more relaxed students.“After all the research, I realized if we don’t get to something today, I can do it tomorrow. The kids won’t be stressed out and I won’t be stressed out. It made me more aware of why we’re doing things.”

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Half of SGO State Tax Credits Remain https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/half-of-sgo-state-tax-credits-remain Mon, 24 Oct 2016 05:07:37 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/half-of-sgo-state-tax-credits-remain The Lutheran Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) of Indiana raises funds from individuals and businesses to provide scholarship funds to all eligible students wanting to attend an Indiana Lutheran School. With a donation to the SGO of Indiana, donors can help fund scholarships—and receive a state tax benefit. The state of Indiana puts a cap on the amount of credits that can be applied each year. Once the cap amount is reached, no more credits are available until next July.

As of October 17, 2016, half the SGO tax credits have been "shaved off"! $4.8 million in credits have been used, with $4.6 million remaining. By comparison, last year the halfway point was reached in mid-December.The 51 schools participating in the SGO program have raised a collective $1.2 million as of October 17, 2016, with $80,000 in donations submitted in one day! Still wondering if donating to the Lutheran Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) is right for you?A. Do you have a heart for Lutheran education, and for providing scholarships for those wanting a Christian education from one of our schools?B. Are you interested in eliminating state taxes for yourself or your business?If you say “yes” to A and B, consider making that donation before Thanksgiving.Once again, the state of Indiana puts a limit on the state tax credits, and we fully expect the credits to be gone before Christmas! If you wait too long, you will miss out on the process for this tax year and you will need to wait until July 1, 2017 to once again be eligible for a state tax benefit.Please go towww.LutheranSGO.orgfor all the information you will need. Jon at 260-203-4509 can answer any questions you might have about this opportunity to invest in Lutheran education and our Lutheran schools. Image: Time-Life

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Bethlehem Lutheran: A Small School with a Big Heart https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/bethlehem-lutheran-a-small-school-with-a-big-heart Mon, 17 Oct 2016 06:15:58 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/bethlehem-lutheran-a-small-school-with-a-big-heart Lasting Friendships Highlight Layne Fisher’s ExperienceLayne Fisher doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that her family ended up at Bethlehem Lutheran School.“It was God’s plan,” she says. “I was getting my hair cut from a lady in Ossian. I was looking for a babysitter, so I talked to my hairdresser who recommended Susan Stoppenhagen. Susan recommended Bethlehem to us.”Aspen, now 15, joined a class of all boys when he was in kindergarten. That group bonded so well, they are still friends in high school. Besides the strong friendships, the kids who come out of Bethlehem are prepared for the rigors of the local high school.“My kids have a good foundation academically and spiritually. Five of the boys (from Bethlehem) made the distinction list this year in high school, which is having an A- or higher,” she adds.Even though the Fishers were not part of the church before coming to the school, they decided to try it and found the church to be a great fit for the family. Eventually Autumn and Aspen were baptized at Bethlehem.“I can’t imagine my kids being anywhere else,” Layne says. ”I know all the families of my kids’ friends. Aspen loves to go to youth group. I appreciate that sense of family. Those older kids have always had someone looking out for them.”Because Bethlehem is a small school, a big part of their success is parent volunteers. The board at the school recognized Layne’s gifts and outgoing personality were perfectly suited for the role of admissions. They asked her to host open houses, an important aspect for the school’s growth.Layne agreed to volunteer for the task and now works alongside Sheryl Bauermeister, coordinating the admissions process together. Connecting new families is an important part of her job and the family’s involvement is critical at a small school like Bethlehem.“This school runs on the parents. Our PTL tries to meet new families. When they come here as Kindergarten parents, we try to introduce the culture of our school, which is all hands on deck.”The relationships at Bethlehem often become long-lasting friendships, one of the most important aspects for the Fishers.“I love how deep my kid’s family has become,” Layne adds. “Any of the parents here would help my kids. They’re family.”

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Woodburn Lutheran Impacts Family of Seven https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/woodburn-lutheran-impacts-family-of-seven Mon, 10 Oct 2016 06:40:42 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/woodburn-lutheran-impacts-family-of-seven The Gentz Family Invests in Christian EducationJake and Jamie Gentz had a big decision when it came time for their oldest son, Jacob, to go to kindergarten. Parents to five kids, they knew that whatever school they chose, they would be making a decision that impacted their whole family.“I did a walk through of Woodburn Lutheran School,” Jake says. “The Christian education was important to us and we felt it was best for Jacob.”That was ten years ago. Their son, now 15, experienced such a good education at Woodburn that all four of his siblings have followed in his footsteps. Part of their positive experience can be credited to teachers who invested in their students’ lives and engaged with them personally.“There has been a lot of bonding with the teachers,” Jake adds. “It’s a tight knit group.”But it isn’t just the kids who are involved in the school. For the Gentz family, it’s a family affair. Jake coaches track and is the disc jockey for the school dances, while Jamie and Jake organized this year’s field day. The reason they volunteer isn’t just because the need is there, but the impact on students’ lives.“We see children as our mission and do it as the Lord’s work.” Jamie says. “Some people go oversees to serve, but this is in our backyard.”“You’re not going to find a better place for the kids to go--academically, athletically, or spiritually,” Jake says. “What they’re doing here is something special.”When their daughter Bekah experienced some health problems, the school stepped in to show they cared.“The school has always gone out of their way to help when things have come up,” Jake says. “When Bekah had some health issues, the school connected with her and comforted her when she was worried.”The Gentz family has seen the way Woodburn Lutheran School reaches out to students to give them a great education and a solid spiritual foundation.“It prepared Jacob to go into public high school and gave him a firm foundation of faith to grow upon,” Jamie says.“Every year that goes by, there is no question of where to send them,” Jake adds. “We just know it’s the right move.”

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A Change for The Lutheran Schools Partnership https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/a-change-for-the-lutheran-schools-partnership Fri, 07 Oct 2016 04:48:30 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/a-change-for-the-lutheran-schools-partnership Change is part of the world we live in. We can fight it, embrace it, create it and ignore it. This year, TLSP will experience a major change as our Academic Excellence coordinator moves on from TLSP to begin working for Region 8. Cindy McKinney has been a trusted colleague, a valued resource to teachers and administrators and a welcome friend to our schools. Her move to Region 8 is a great blessing for them and we wish God’s blessings to Cindy McKinney in her change in vocation.For TLSP, the transition is cause for assessment and evaluation. The Board of Directors for TLSP has created a task force with its purpose to assess the value of present services to schools in the area of academics and also seek input on the goals and needs for individual schools to see if there are areas of need that could be addressed by TLSP.The AE Task force consists of two TLSP board members (Axel Gruen, Heide Adair), two administrators (John Weber, Andy Gavrun), two teachers (Holly Ehle, Crystal Castleman), someone who has The Lutheran Foundation and multiple school leadership experiences (Carrie Gutman) and Mark Muehl (TLSP Executive Director). The task force represents the diversity of our region’s schools- rural and city, big and small, K-12 representation. All task force members are passionate about the Lutheran education community. Two meetings have occurred so far; the end date for our work is targeted for the end of October. This group will not be responsible for the staffing of this area of need. However, the work of this group will help TLSP guide the pursuit of staffing needs.The process for the group has included a review of guiding documents for the TLSP organization (mission, vision, guiding principles), guiding and formational statements for academic excellence strategic initiatives, and a review of recent efforts for an academic roadmap for TLSP schools. Next, principals and teachers were surveyed for input on two open ended questions- What can TLSP provide for the ongoing academic success of your school? What are the future strategic academic goals of your school?12 of 18 schools provided responses to these questions. These schools represented rural and city, big and small, K-12. The following were the top issues/topics of needs and future strategies shared in the responses- curriculum development (mapping, textbook studies, Response To Intervention, Project Based Learning), resource (academic coach, mentor), building community (grade level meetings, daylong PD days, councils), technology needs (integration to all school functions, curriculum, instruction), data (data gathering, data analysis), after school programming (for students [curriculum], for parents [parenting, support, money]), meet and exceed standards (ISTEP, maps), establish regionwide vocabulary, higher order thinking skills.As the task force reviewed this list, an interesting (and affirming) conclusion was made- the three major goals Cindy has targeted for TLSP were affirmed. Cindy has formed our region’s academic goals under the following- Pursuit of Academic Excellence, Developing 21st Century Skills, and Leading Edge Technology Tools. The input received from our schools affirm that the major goals of TLSP accurately reflect the needs of our schools. The strategies that are in use are all valued means for addressing these needs. It may be an overabundance of information but note the following strategy Cindy has in place for the 1617 school year- TLSP Strategic Imperative-Pursuit of Academic ExcellencePlan-TLSP schools have historically enjoyed strong academic reputations. To maintain this level of quality, our schools must constantly reflect on the rigor and relevance of our programs.Do-TLSP will continue to support two overarching processes that support the pursuit of academic excellence: establishing a guaranteed and viable curriculum (curriculum mapping) and making decisions based in data collection (lead teachers council, classroom walk throughs, Critical Friend Visits, accreditation team participation).Study-We will examine the advancement of our schools in their establishment and support of these two major undertakings by collecting data on curriculum mapping completion, standardized assessment results and professional growth plan development.Act-TLSP will use this data to determine if the current strategies are effective and need to continue or should be revised.TLSP Strategic Imperative-Developing 21st Century SkillsPlan-Preparing our students for life in the 21st century has proven to be our largest challenge by far. We continue to prepare our students for decades in the past and not the future.Do-TLSP will continue to offer growth opportunities that challenge our existing educators to create engaging learning opportunities through project and inquiry-based learning that shifts their role from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side” (IMPACT, Back to School Professional Development, foster collaboration [councils, grade level mtgs]).Study-We will survey teachers regarding implementation of project-based learning and workshop instructional format. We will also examine curriculum maps for evidence of higher order thinking skills and independent learning within our schools’ curriculum.Act-TLSP will use this data to determine if the current strategies are effective and need to continue or should be revised. TLSP Strategic Imperative- Leading Edge Technology ToolsPlan-TLSP must be an example for our schools to follow if we are going to success in this imperative. Our staff will continue to push ourselves to model effective uses of technology as we collaborate and offer professional growth opportunities.Do- As some of our schools begin to build momentum in this area, TLSP will provide opportunities for teachers to gather and share ideas and techniques. Eventually, these teachers will be models for all TLSP teachers to learn from as we organize observation opportunities in the high tech classrooms (tech target teachers, promote tech specialist.)Study-We will survey teachers on the amount of technology they use on a daily basis prior to and after offering observation opportunities. We will also use anecdotal data from our schools that have tech integration specialists to determine if this approach is effective.Act-TLSP will use this data to determine if the current strategies are effective and need to continue or should be revised. What’s next for the task force and for TLSP?The task force will discuss possible scenarios for addressing these needs. Does TLSP revamp its job description for academic excellence coordinator? Does TLSP seek to address these needs through a multi-staffed approach using staff and contracted services? One thing is for sure (and it's of great comfort as we move forward) that while the world seems to be in constant change, the One whom we serve does not change.The writer of Hebrews says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). We cannot see the future. Predictions based on history are our best guesses. We rely on our Lord for our individual futures and our collective future. Our task force will continue to remind ourselves, “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.” Ps 127:1. Your prayers are appreciated as we press on.

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Lego Robotics: An Adventure in Computer Programming https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lego-robotics-an-adventure-in-computer-programming Mon, 03 Oct 2016 06:30:22 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lego-robotics-an-adventure-in-computer-programming St. John-Emmanuel Completes in Lego Robotics CompetitionTinkering with Legos isn’t just for kids. Ask Randy Stinson, Lutheran school parent and one of the volunteer leaders for the Lego robotics club at St. John-Emmanuel Lutheran School.Lego robotics combines engineering and computer programming, allowing students to design, build, and program small-scale Lego robots. These robots can complete a variety of tasks depending on the style and attachments the students use.“I always liked Lego sets,” Mr. Stinson says. “I work at Yamaha robotics. I don’t do programming, but I like to tinker and to play. That’s what got me into it.”Last year wasthe first year for the club at St. John-Emmanuel. Randy learnedLego robotics alongside other parent leaders, Steve Inniger and Steve Hetler.Students competed against other Lego robotics clubs at team competitions pitting their robot against other robots designs. These competitions included three main judging criteria—the game (or robot design), the core values (sportsmanship and teamwork), and the research project. Students researched a real world problem based on a theme and designed a solution for it. Last year’s theme was “Trash Trek” and the St. John Emmanuel students came up with a solution to reduce the number of water bottles thrown into the trash each year.Randy explains, “They wanted to see more water refill stations and develop an app that gives you rewards for refilling your water bottle. People who refill get a tag or sticker that tracks their refills and you get points for filling up. They had to get quotes on the cost of water stations and app development.” The students then presented their solution at a Lego robotics competition.Besides coming up with a real world solution, the students also competed in robot design, which is where the students implement their knowledge of robotics and computer programming. Each school’s Lego robot design goes on a four by eight playing field where students complete a mission with their robot. During this timed challenge, students can change out attachments on their robot and try the mission again. Students work as a team and each mission has a point value.Since the Lego robots require different skills, from programming to presentation skills, the team needs a variety of people who participate. Randy explains, “It’s neat to see the kids want to try. There are different areas that kids can rise to the challenge on the presentation part. But others are quiet and they’re task-oriented. Programmers need thinking skills.”The diversity of team skills makes this a great opportunity for students to develop problem solving skills, teamwork, and troubleshooting skills.He adds, “It’s an awesome thing for kids to get involved in.”After their rookie year of Lego robotics club, Mr. Stinson has a better grasp on how the competitions work and is hoping to grow the St. John Emmanuel team and their skills. In the process, he gets to tinker around with Legos right alongside the students.

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Grit https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/grit Sun, 25 Sep 2016 23:56:08 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/grit This is the new buzzword in education, but unlike other trends, this idea may have staying power. Grit is a person's ability to carry through on particular long-term goals. Grit is a blending of perseverance and passion. There is a great Youtube video, called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance that I would recommend.The reason this idea is taking hold in our schools is because we find that many students give up too soon on challenges in learning. At some point in their years of schooling, they hit a wall and stop trying. But research tells us that if they possess grit, they push through and actually become better learners and stronger individuals. Think about it in your own life. Are your best learning experiences grounded in something you excelled at or something you had to work at? One way we can help our children develop grit is by sharing our own experiences with them. Kids really think they are alone in their struggles. Knowing that adults they love and respect have made it through similar times is tremendously comforting.In his article, 5 Steps to Foster Grit in the Classroom, Andrew Miller also suggests that teachers model grit in the classroom by demonstrating their own thinking process in tackling difficult reading or math story problems. He also recommends lots of formative assessments that are not graded. This allows for students to grow in the learning process instead of dwelling on an evaluation of their work. I also love the idea of asking students to reflect on what I like to call Biblical Grit. Which people in the Bible demonstrated grit? How did Jesus show His perseverance and passion? Everything we do should be preparing our students for their spiritual and academic futures. Let grit be a part of your conversations.

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Reading Partners Program Spurs Relationships https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/reading-partners-program-spurs-relationships Mon, 12 Sep 2016 00:00:59 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/reading-partners-program-spurs-relationships Volunteers and First Graders Connect through Reading and DogsIf dogs are man’s best friend, then it’s no wonder they make a great pal for early readers. In Amy Scott’s first grade class last year, children were paired with reading volunteers and later, therapy dogs, encouraging young readers with their literacy development.It all began when Mary Eifert, principal at Ascension Lutheran School, asked if Mrs. Scott would be interested in using church volunteers to help read with first graders. When Mrs. Scott said she was, they asked for help in the church bulletin. The response was positive, opening the door to a program that encouraged literacy and forged a stronger partnership between the church and school. But the real satisfaction was seeing the relationships that happened as a result of the program.“The kids got so excited,” Mrs. Scott says. “There were special bonds that happened between the reading partners and the kids. Some reading partners took kids under their wing and coached them.”The program not only allowed each child to read with a partner, it also freed up Mrs. Scott to work with other students on individual skills during the reading program.“Reading is something so important in first grade,” Mrs. Scott says. “The kids need a little extra support. One volunteer was a retired teacher and brought in her own supplies to help with concepts.”One of the reading partners, Lisa Yoqulet, took it a step further. She brought her dogs from the Three Rivers Visiting Dog Club. As “working” dogs they are used to being in public places and meeting new people, but did not have experience as “reading” dogs.“The dogs are used to working a room, but had to learn that they were just there to sit and listen,” Lisa adds. After adjusting to their new task, the dogs and the kids loved the experience.“The kids loved the excitement of getting to read to the dogs,” Lisa says. “They’d go to the library and think about what book they wanted to read to the dog. They would hurry in with big smiles on their faces. It was fun and we can’t wait to do it again next year.”The program was such a success that Mrs. Scott said they’re looking forward to next year.“It’s a chance for the students for sit down and read with adults one-on-one,” Mrs. Scott adds. “They’re building a relationship with each other.

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Concordia Elementary Highlights Character Education https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/concordia-elementary-highlights-character-education Mon, 29 Aug 2016 05:04:51 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/concordia-elementary-highlights-character-education Character Development Program Impacts StudentsMichael Rosin, principal at Concordia Elementary, saw the value in a tradition character education program, but wanted to meet the needs of a Lutheran school. He adapted a character education program to fit the school’s Christian focus.The program highlights seven character traits that include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, compassion, citizenship and reverence. The students also say a character pledge reminding them of how to respond to bullying and treating others as they would want to be treated.The program gives kids a common language and expectations for behavior because it focuses on what the student should have done, rather than what they shouldn’t have done.By centering on these seven traits, the program gives teachers and staff a focus for positive behaviors. Mr. Rosin adds, “It’s intentional--we make it a part of what we do. It’s a lifelong process of learning these things.”The character trait of reverence was added to help students build a deep spiritual respect for God through worship, study and a personal relationship. This aspect is lacking in most character education programs because they are designed for use in public schools.Middle school teacher Dan Bultemeyer says the program is a perfect fit for the Lutheran schools educational philosophy. “All Lutheran schools are designed for character education. I think that being Christian, we’re more concerned about the entire child.”Having had experience as both a principal and a teacher, he sees how this program affects students and teachers alike.“It’s a constant reminder that as Christians we fall short of displaying those character traits,” Mr. Bultemeyer explains. “It affords us the opportunity for God’s grace. We don’t fulfill the traits as well as we’d like. But forgiveness is there for each other.”As a teacher, he feels like he’s able to invest in the students in a different way and get to know them personally. “One of the joys of teaching is the personal relationship with the kids. As a teacher, I get to know them deeper. You can sense their ups and downs. We’re able to discuss our faith. We see the kids on Sunday at church. We get to know the total person.”By using the combination of relationships and character education, they are able to target the entire child. Mr. Rosin says that families who visit the school like the intentionality of the character education program.He adds, “This helps us build on the scriptural foundation that’s laid out for us. We hope these things have a lasting impact.”

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Music Program Thrives at St. John Lutheran https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/music-program-thrives-at-st-john-lutheran Mon, 22 Aug 2016 05:34:46 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/music-program-thrives-at-st-john-lutheran School Offers Keyboard, Guitar and StringsGerald Ford said, “Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them—a world of work, culture, activity and human involvement.”At St. John Lutheran School in Kendallville, the music program is preparing children for the future with a variety of opportunities, including strings, piano, and guitar. Ali Dencklau, the general music and keyboard instructor, agrees that music can have a huge impact on students in the long run. “Music enhances math and your brain--everything you do.”She teaches general music to kindergarten and first grade, incorporating chants, finger plays, small and large movement activities, rhythm games and music from different cultures. Once children get into the 2nd grade they can take keyboard lessons with her, which continue until the eighth grade.In second and third grades, the emphasis changes to note reading. “I use many methods to teach students to read notes. We’re calling out names by finger numbers and note names and singing the pitches at the same time. By third grade they’re finally seeing the note and saying it.”Training the kids to read notes eventually leads them to playing a wide variety of music in the upper grades, including boogies, Broadway tunes, classical music and hymns.“They have a method book and they love ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ and ‘Camptown Races,’” Ms. Dencklau says. “I let them choose or introduce something new everyday. They’ve learned almost all the hymns.”Because of the emphasis on music education at St. John, students also have the opportunity to learn other instruments. In third grade, they can begin the string program, band starts in fourth grade and guitar begins in sixth grade.“There has always been a lot of interest from the students to learn how to play a string instrument,” Mr. Eiler, string instructor, says. “The number of students involved in the string program at St. John is steadily increasing, which is very exciting!”There were 26 students in the string program this year, ranging from beginning to advanced students. Students have several opportunities throughout the year to showcase their talents in front of an audience including at the school’s talent show.But performance is not the only goal with the program. “I want them to be able to remember their time in music as a fun time,” Ms. Dencklau says. “Music is in our lives to inspire.”Mr. Eiler adds, “Playing in the string ensemble, the child experiences the pleasure and satisfaction of joining with other children as they create music for their own, as well as other people’s enjoyment. In addition, the child finds another avenue by which to serve and glorify our Lord and Savior.”Through music, the children at St. John are learning how to develop their creativity while gaining discipline, accuracy, concentration, and coordination.Music is making a difference in these students’ lives, one song at a time.

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Central Lutheran’s Preschool Gains Space https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/central-lutherans-preschool-gains-space Mon, 15 Aug 2016 05:42:28 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/central-lutherans-preschool-gains-space Building Expansion Links Preschool to Grade School“I always knew I wanted to do something with young kids,” Jenna Hicks, preschool director at Central Lutheran School, explains. Certified to teach children birth through third grade, she wanted to teach in an early education program and give students the best start in their educational journey. In the three years since Mrs. Hicks started at Central, they’ve tripled their staff size as their student population has grown.“I enjoy interacting with the kids at their level and enriching their learning through creative play. It’s fun to bring in academics and the biggest joy is when that light comes on for the little one. They’re so proud. It’s fun to be in that moment.”The future looks bright for Central as the school embarks on a building expansion that includes a new wing for early childhood education. The staff looks forward to growing their learning space in a new building, which will give them greater access to the facility and put them in closer proximity with the kindergarten and first grade.“We’ll be close together so we can work together,” Mrs. Hicks notes “We’ll have our own play area to play and create. This will allow us to expand and we’ll be able to grow the classes,” Mrs. Hicks says. “Right now, we’re very limited because our classrooms are small and we have to leave for snack or go to other rooms. We’ll be able to focus on an early childhood setting and it will link us to the grade school.”Central broke ground for the new building on August 12, 2016 and anticipate starting the 2017-2018 school year in their new classrooms. This will enhance their preschool program and give them more space to continue additional programs like Minds in Motion, a brain development program that enhances student learning and focus. Started this year by veteran teacher Miss James, this program has been a great addition to the preschool curriculum.But even though Central’s preschool is looking forward to the future building expansion, they haven’t forgotten a crucial aspect of what they’re doing in these children’s lives—laying a foundation of faith at an early age. Last school year when one of the preschoolers was diagnosed with leukemia in Mrs. Hick’s class, another student told her, “I pray for him every night.”“Our goal is to bring in many areas, but most importantly to continue to help them grow their faith,” Mrs. Hicks adds. “You want to see them sharing that with their families. We want them to know that Jesus loves them and to use the gifts he’s given them.”

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Wyneken’s Heritage of Faith and Family https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/wynekens-heritage-of-faith-and-family Fri, 12 Aug 2016 04:32:59 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/wynekens-heritage-of-faith-and-family A Rich History Defines SchoolWhen Marvin Drier arrived at Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School for his teaching interview, he knew it was a good fit after seeing two things: Mountain Dew and seed corn hats.“When I taught in Chicago I was an abnormality,” Mr. Drier says. “I have a rural heritage. I liked Mountain Dew and could hardly find that in Chicago back then. I came to interview at Wyneken and half the school board had a Mountain Dew in their hands and many had on seed corn hats.”Mr. Drier felt at home, but he was concerned that his wife would be known as the “teacher’s wife.”“It became a special church home for her,” he adds. “There’s a big part of the congregation she has more familiarity with than I have. When I’ve had calls to teach other places, one of the measuring sticks I’ve used is how my wife would fit in.”Now Mr. Drier recognizes the tradition of faith and family is what keeps him and many other staff here for a lifetime.“The traditional German heritage in the family, worship and way of life is something I appreciate,” he adds.This church’s support of Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School has been instrumental for the school’s growth.“When they built the 1.8 million expansion to the school, it was paid for,” Mr. Drier adds. “There’s a commitment to education.”That commitment shows up in the pastors’ support of the school as well. Pastor Daniel Brege, who has been at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Preble for 34 years, says his role in the school has changed since he started, but the theme has remained constant. “It’s always been to bring up God’s children in the way of the Lord.”In addition to their Wednesday chapel with Wyneken students and their kinderchapel for preschoolers, the pastors have added a Word and prayer time for students.“It’s a time every morning where the entire student body meets together andwe have morning prayer from the hymnal, a regular bible story, a catechism review and student prayer requests,” Pastor Brege adds. The pastors also facilitate faculty devotions and Bible studies.For Pastor Brege, the school is filled with family connections. After sending seven children to Wyneken, he now delights in watching several grandchildren attend the school. His daughter, Julie Smith, is an upper grade teacher for the school and appreciates the heritage of faith that her church and school have given to her.“When I decided I wanted to get into the teaching profession, I knew I wanted to be in a Lutheran school to teach about God and profess my faith. That was one of my big decisions,” Mrs. Smith says. “Families see the importance of raising their child in the Lutheran faith. A lot of them send their children to public high school, and they want them to develop their faith at a young age.”These faith and family connections keep people like Marvin Drier and Julie Smith at Wyneken. Along with the rest of the staff and pastors, they are working to pass on the legacy with the next generation, continuing a commitment to Christian education that will impact students for a lifetime.

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St. Paul’s Fosters Family Atmosphere https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-pauls-fosters-family-atmosphere Mon, 08 Aug 2016 07:37:28 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-pauls-fosters-family-atmosphere Rich Heritage Draws Alumni BackNot all schools can boast a rich heritage of 175 years. St. Paul’s Lutheran School is the oldest continually operating elementary school in Indiana. Because of their long history, there are family and church ties that go back several generations, even among today’s teachers and students.Carla Kleinschmidt’s family boasts four generations at the school, with Carla filling the position of admissions counselor and her daughter, Megan Koenemann, working as a second grade teacher.“When my daughter graduated, this was the only school she wanted to be at. She worked as an aide until it was the right time. We encouraged her to apply to different schools and different places. This is where she wanted to be.”Carla, who’s been working in admissions since 2012, says the teachers at St. Paul’s have left an impact on students and many have returned to work for the school.“I think we have such loving and caring teachers that leave such fond memories with us that we want to return that to students,” Carla says. “I really liked my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Kalbfleisch. He told me I had the best handwriting. For that one moment I was special and unique. We still have teachers like that today. I think we feel comfortable here, cared for and secure. It still happens.”Mary Hathaway, first grade teacher who retired this year, says she received such an excellent education that she wanted to create that same experience for students.“One reason I came back, I felt I was richly blessed with my own education here, she says. “I wanted my children to experience that and I wanted to formulate that for my own teaching too.”Part of the success is having a staff that works together well. Several of the teachers noted how much they appreciated their colleagues’ support.Jenny Wade, science and computer teacher says, “I love the community and support. On a daily basis there are things that come up and you can go to any teacher and ask for help.”Jenny notes that when she applied for the job, she already knew many of the staff and teachers from her experience here as a student.“St. Paul’s needed a seventh grade science teacher. I came in and dropped off a resume and it was the same secretary. It was definitely God’s way of saying ‘you need to be back here.’”St. Paul’s creates a family atmosphere in the school—a loving and supportive community where everyone is working to create an excellent education.“We still consider ourselves a family.” Carla says. “Our whole mission is to spread God’s word. If we bring new families from the outside, we are spreading it to new families. This is a good place for families.”But the location has appeal for the teachers and students alike. The downtown boasts rich learning opportunities, from museums to theatrical events.“It’s an urban location and a lot of people would say it’s not ideal.” Mary notes. “This really allows us to do a lot. We go to plays, the Tincaps, the downtown library, and swimming lessons at the YMCA. These are things other schools wouldn’t have access to without a drive.”But ultimately, it’s having the experience of a good education that brings each of these staff members back.

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Sisters Giving Back to Suburban Bethlehem https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sisters-giving-back-to-suburban-bethlehem Mon, 01 Aug 2016 05:21:06 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sisters-giving-back-to-suburban-bethlehem Kelsey and Kayli Greener Impact YouthKayli and Kelsey Greener, members of Suburban Bethlehem Church, decided to give back to the community that gave so much to them. As sisters who attended the school kindergarten through eighth grade, they are now youth group leaders trying to influence the next generation for Christ.“Suburban Bethlehem is so family oriented,” Kayli says. “That’s one of the biggest reasons we love it.”Kelsey and Kayli’s parents were longtime members and their dad served on the school board. Kayli says that being a part of the Suburban Bethlehem Church and School shaped her life and led her to become a teacher in NACS school district teaching second grade.“I loved school my whole life and now I’m a teacher,” Kayli says. “My second and third grade teacher Amy Greener was one of my big influences and I went into college wanting to teach second or third grade.”Both of the sisters said Suburban Bethlehem shaped their view of life. Extracurricular activities, like sports, taught them valuable lessons on character development.“We had good sportsmanship here and learned to respect the coaches,” Kelsey says.Her positive sports experiences led her to become Suburban Bethlehem’s 7th-8th grade volleyball coach and 5th-6th grade basketball coach. But the spiritual growth both girls had while attending Suburban Bethlehem has made the most impact.“We went to public school [in high school] where we couldn’t pray or study the Bible,” Kayli adds. “That day-to day scripture, prayer, and devotional study shaped us into the people we are today.”“We have a better understanding of the Bible and its meaning,” Kelsey says. “If I wouldn’t have had that basis, where would have my life have been? I feel solid in my faith and it was easier to go through high school. There will be those students that go to public school. The kids are well trained and prepared for that.”Their experiences led the sisters to start a middle school youth group at Suburban Bethlehem and meet the needs of their growing congregation.“We want to emphasize that personal relationship,” Kayli says. “We hope kids come to us with concerns and struggles. We want to set them up for wherever they go.”One of the most impacting events was the death of their father, who passed away a few days after Kelsey graduated from high school. Though it was a difficult time for the Greener family, the church and school reached out in their time of need.Kelsey says, “If anything shaped us, that would be the defining moment.”Because of the love and support they’ve received at Suburban Bethlehem, Kelsey and Kayli Greener are looking forward to impacting the next generation.

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And They’re Off! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/and-theyre-off Mon, 18 Jul 2016 05:38:15 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/and-theyre-off So, who’s tired of hearing about the SGO program yet? I’m not! I love Indiana’s premiere system (the envy of other states) that allows donors to school scholarships to receive a 50% tax credit on their Indiana state taxes. And more and more donors agree with me.The program has been accelerating over the past couple of years, to the point that Indiana donors ran out of available credits from the state in February and had to wait until July 1 to re-start their SGO support. And after 5 months of empty credit tanks, our schools are zooming ahead since July 1: Nearly $1,200,000 in credits, over 10% of what is available, have been taken in two weeks… this time last year, only $300,000 had been taken. Last year less than 200 donations had come in by 7/15; this year, over 400. For just the schools in the Lutheran SGO of Indiana family we have raised over $425,000, 30% of what we raised the entire year last year. In only two weeks.Quick Quiz: what does this all mean? Donors want their credit and are therefore making their gifts earlier to ensure they get the SGO tax credit. We will probably run out of credits before December 31. Donors are making larger gifts than last year. We most likely will run out of credits before December 31. Donors continue to enjoy supporting scholarship and providing the chance for a quality, Christian education for families. We will run out of credits before December 31.Answer: All of the above. Yes, we think the SGO Tax Credit program will run out of credits before December 31. We typically receive the bulk of our donations in December, and most of those gifts come in the last two weeks of December. If trends continue as we expect, we may be returning gifts received in December. And we hate doing that.

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SGO tax credits again available https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-tax-credits-again-available Fri, 01 Jul 2016 16:02:53 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-tax-credits-again-available Give kids the freedom to attend the school of their choice. Please generously support ourSGO scholarships.Donors will earn a 50% state tax credit on gifts made through the Lutheran Scholarship Granting Organization of Indiana—but only if they hurry. The State limits the total amount of tax credits awarded each year, and we expect that limit to be reached before December 2016.Donations from $5 to $5 million may qualify, so long as they are received before the tax credits run out.So act now! Raise a beacon of liberty, and give generously. Tax credits are available now!

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We're in the Endowment Home Stretch https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/were-in-the-endowment-home-stretch Mon, 27 Jun 2016 19:09:36 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/were-in-the-endowment-home-stretch

Summer. Baseball. And Endowments. When does $1 turn into $3? With the area Lutheran Schools’ endowment match challenge!

Now through June 30, if you support one of seventeen Northeast Indiana-area K-8 Lutheran schools with a gift to their endowment fund, The Lutheran Foundation will not only match that gift to the school’s endowment, it will also match that gift with a current year grant to the school. Yes, a single turns into a triple, and that’s a home run for the short- and long-term financial needs of the quality, Christian education that has been a grand slam in our area for over 175 years.

The seventh-inning stretch is over, so contact your school office today and ask how you can support the team with a tax-deductible endowment gift.

Don’t delay! Swing for the fences, watch for the signals, and help our Lutheran schools slide into home by June 30 when the match series ends.

Photo: “Maris Homerun Derby Mantle,” 1961, Francis Miller

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Holy Cross Emphasizes Technology https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/holy-cross-emphasizes-technology Mon, 20 Jun 2016 21:05:51 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/holy-cross-emphasizes-technology Teacher Encourages Students Through Projects and VideosAt Holy Cross, technology has grown leaps and bounds since Kevin Schroeder came on staff 32 years ago. From early computer games like The Oregon Trail to today’s coding apps, technology continues to evolve, keeping Mr. Schroeder on his toes so he can prepare students to be tech savvy.“I want students to get familiar with the tools they can use,” Mr. Schroeder says. “When they get older, they won’t have these tools. They’ll have something else that they’ll accept and use that.”Holy Cross has a technology class for each grade, kindergarten through eighth, and starts the youngest students with mastering Microsoft Word’s basic tools. Mr. Schroeder also coordinates grade-level projects so that students can use technology to enhance their assignment.“I coordinate it with what they’re doing in their classrooms. The social studies teacher has a project on the graveyard of American history. They do the project in iMovie and upload it to YouTube. If they’re studying Indiana history, then we work it out with what they’re doing in the classrooms.”By adapting technology to student ability, students are able to work at their own pace. “I steer them in the right direction as far as what they’re working on,” Mr. Schroeder says. “They help each other and do a lot of work in groups. My job is to facilitate. I try to make the projects so they can do it simply or integrate other things into it so they can make it more advanced.”Former student Joey Chandler flourished in the technology classes at Holy Cross. Now a freshman at Concordia Lutheran High School, Joey took a video production class and an advanced video class this year. He got his start doing videos at Holy Cross under Mr. Schroeder, using green screens to do video news segments. He appreciated how Mr. Schroeder taught him the basics of video production and then gave him the freedom to be creative. This was the foundation he needed for continuing his learning at Concordia High School.Mr. Schroeder also teaches students to use technology in a way that glorifies God. “Hopefully we can instill in them the values of the Christian education and using technology with the gifts we’re given and in a God-pleasing way.”

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Zion Alumnus Shares the Love of Christ in the Dominican https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/zion-alumnus-shares-the-love-of-christ-in-the-dominican Thu, 16 Jun 2016 21:15:03 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/zion-alumnus-shares-the-love-of-christ-in-the-dominican Teachers Influenced Rachel Powell’s Faith“Since I was a child, I thought it would be amazing for my job to essentially be telling people about Jesus,” missionary Rachel Powell says.She now lives that dream, serving in the Dominican Republic training deaconesses to share the love of Christ with others.Rachel, who attended Zion Lutheran School from kindergarten to the eighth grade, credits her time spent at Zion Lutheran church and school as instrumental in shaping her faith and giving her the building blocks for a life of ministry.“The faculty and staff were always encouraging and taught me to be creative and to appreciate who God made me,” Rachel says. “I received a Christ-centered education that was modeled not only in words, but also through the actions of my teachers. Everything I learned about Christ at home was reinforced at school and expounded upon. Without the mentorship and loving service of my teachers at Zion, I may not be serving the Lord in the same capacity today.”Rachel is currently assisting in the establishment of a deaconess training program for women in the Dominican Republic.“The main goal of my work is to teach, mentor, and raise up Dominican deaconesses who have a strong foundation of Biblical knowledge, confidently share God’s love through mercy projects in their congregations, and point others to God’s gifts in His Word and His Sacraments.”Rachel teaches practical theology classes, Bible studies and mentors the Dominican deaconesses as they serve their communities. Although the Lord paved the path to being a deaconess through college, conferences, and a short-term missionary internship in Peru, the foundation for her calling was spurred on by the investment of family, church, teachers, and mentors who shaped her life early on. Rachel credits two teachers who made an impact on her while at Zion Lutheran, Mr. Risch and Mrs. Salemink.“While I was blessed to study under many wonderful teachers, Mr. Carl Risch and Mrs. Heather Salemink stand out to me in particular,” she adds. “Mr. Risch’s enthusiasm for the gospel and for his students to learn to think for themselves left quite an impact. Mrs. Salemink invested the time and effort to talk to us seventh graders with Christian love, honesty, and always had an ear ready to listen. Especially at that formative age having a mentor like her, even for one short year, was an incredible blessing. In particular, she encouraged me to consider a vocation of full-time service in the church.”Rachel also has many fond memories at Zion, including sports opportunities and small class sizes. But ultimately it was the Christ-centered education that impacted her the most, increasing her faith and giving her the foundation she needed for ministry overseas.“I learned during my time at Zion what it means to be a Christian and to live that, even when it’s not easy. I learned to embrace who God has made me and to cling to my baptism. I gained confidence in my skills and in the gifts He’s given to me. A desire to serve sparked in my heart during my time at Zion.”Rachel looks back at her time at Zion and is thankful for the teachers who invested in her.“I praise God for the faithful Lutheran pastors, teachers, volunteers, and other staff who have poured Christ’s love into the lives of countless students like me,” she adds. “Your service in Jesus’ name is not in vain! It is a school that offers quality education while teaching its students about the greatest treasure of all—salvation in Christ.”

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St. John-Emmanuel Teacher Explores a Tech-Driven Approach to Learning https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-john-emmanuel-teacher-explores-a-tech-driven-approach-to-learning Thu, 09 Jun 2016 18:21:36 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-john-emmanuel-teacher-explores-a-tech-driven-approach-to-learning Mary Hines Engages First Grade Students with TechnologyTechnology is everywhere, touching every aspect of our lives from the way we organize our schedules to how we communicate with each other. Though many schools still lag behind integrating technology fully in the classroom, some teachers are exploring how to effectively integrate technology across the curriculum.Teacher Mary Hines is up to the challenge. “This is a visual generation,” she says. “They have been wired since they are two to do screen work. We need to teach them the way they learn.”In her first grade class at St. John-Emmanuel, she demonstrates on her smart board how to manipulate a block of ten squares so that it becomes a unit of ten. She touches the block of squares, dragging it into another column where it becomes a combined unit.She has discovered that teaching the math concept of tens is more effective when students can manipulate the objects on a screen, rather than doing a worksheet.“If I can take my tens and move them over here and it becomes a ten, it makes sense to them,” she says as she touches objects on the screen.Mrs. Hines engages students with technology using a variety of methods, including group work, learning centers, and individually. As a forty-year veteran teacher, she knows the power of using a hands-on approach to reach today’s generation.“It’s hard to get this generation’s attention,” Mrs. Hines states. “I have one boy who’s always putting his head down and doesn’t want to listen. When we got smart boards, he wanted to answer all the questions.”Students explore subjects ranging from language arts to math skills using the iPad. Mrs. Hines sees the progress students are making with one learning app called Code Blaster, which teaches pre-programming skills.“It is a game in which kids have to plan every move in advance to break it out of a maze. They then get to test their plan,” Mrs. Hines states. “The mazes get more complex as they go. I have found that they are more able to carry this over into math and science as they think about how they may arrive at an answer.”Mrs. Hines, who uses fewer worksheets in the classroom now that she has greater access to technology, thinks this approach to teaching is best for student engagement.Cindy McKinney, academic excellence coordinator for The Lutheran Schools Partnership, notes the importance of engaging students through technology to create experientially rich classrooms.“One of our strategies to enhance academic excellence is to support teachers in their use of technology in their classrooms,” she says. “This is a great way to keep students engaged in learning and make real world connections.”The Lutheran Schools Partnership provides a monthly tech meeting for teachers to learn about new tools or strategies for tech integration.A summer tech lab for teachers is also planned for Tuesday, June 14. The following classes will be offered starting at 9:00 AM:SeeSaw 9:00-10:00Google Classroom 10:15-11:15Lunch 11:30-12:15Twitter/Instagram 12:30-1:30Weebly 1:45-2:45Contact Cindy McKinney to signup for the tech lab at cindym@tlspartnership.org.Integrating technology and using a variety of strategies helps students succeed and provides them with the building blocks for success later on down the road.

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I Want You to Support Scholarships https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/i-want-you-to-support-scholarships Mon, 06 Jun 2016 22:41:05 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/i-want-you-to-support-scholarships

Give kids the freedom to attend the school of their choice. Please generously support our SGO scholarships.

Donors will earn a 50% state tax credit on gifts made through the Lutheran Scholarship Granting Organization of Indiana—but only if they hurry. The State limits the total amount of tax credits awarded each year, and we expect that limit to be reached before December 2016.

Donations from $5 to $5 million may qualify, so long as they are received before the tax credits run out.

So act now! Raise a beacon of liberty, and give generously. Tax credits will be available beginning July 1.

Learn more at LutheranSGO.org/donate or call (260) 203-4509

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Critical Friend Visits https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/critical-friend-visits Thu, 02 Jun 2016 09:00:44 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/critical-friend-visits A Valuable Resource for our SchoolsThis 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.

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Consensus Curriculum Mapping https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/consensus-curriculum-mapping Thu, 26 May 2016 09:00:07 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/consensus-curriculum-mapping Collaborative Mapping Process Supports Teachers and Strengthens SchoolsConsensus 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.

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Race Toward Your SGO Scholarship Goal https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/race-toward-your-sgo-scholarship-goal Mon, 23 May 2016 23:01:10 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/race-toward-your-sgo-scholarship-goal ]]> Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/professional-development-opportunities-for-teachers Thu, 19 May 2016 15:13:35 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/professional-development-opportunities-for-teachers Workshops Sharpen Teaching Skills in Math, Technology, Reading and WritingSummer is the perfect time for teachers to sharpen their skills and get fresh ideas for next year. Cindy McKinney, our academic excellence coordinator, is putting together this year’s IMPACT Conference, professional development workshops that offer educators the chance to expand their instructional techniques in math, technology, reading, and writing.Cindy McKinney says, “Our goal is to bring as many teachers together to collaborate on the best ways to teach critical thinking skills in the classroom.” Whether you’re looking for new math ideas or technology integration, these workshops offer something for every teacher. Math Mania will inspire teachers to use math stations and give them practical resources for next year’s classes. Teachers will also have the chance to examine their math curriculums and identify areas where they are and are not meeting current standards. Math Mania is offered on June 13. Tech Lab is an exciting way to expand your tech savvy skills. Teachers will learn how to use social media apps like Twitter and Instagram to enhance learning and engage students. In Google Classroom, instructors can set up a classroom and organize assignments. Seesaw empowers students to document what they’re learning through a digital portfolio of pictures and video. Weebly allows teachers to easily set up a classroom website. Tech lab will be offered on June 14 during two sessions at 8:30 or 10:30. You can pick which program interests you. Close Reading develops the ability to analyze a text critically. Reading expert Sandy Adams will offer techniques and a sample lesson plan on close reading activities for grades 3-12 on June 15-17. The workshop gives teachers the opportunity to plan activities that foster a critical analysis of the text. They will also have the chance to evaluate curriculum based on current standards so that students can gain the depth of knowledge they need when reading. The All Write Consortium provides professional development in literacy with emphasis on the interconnectedness of reading and writing instruction. This conference is offered on June 23-24 at Warsaw High School. The first 15 teachers to register will attend the conference and choose a specific reading and writing component to implement in their classroom. Regular dialogue between group members will create valuable support for developing new ideas in the classroom. Teachers who want to focus on curriculum mapping this summer will have several opportunities to gain feedback or spend time mapping. Stop in the ACE room any time from 9-3 on June 20, 27, July 18 and 25.These professional development workshops offer teachers the chance to enhance and sharpen their skills in the classroom. Cindy adds, “My hope is that teachers will take what they have learned back to their classrooms and create more engaging learning experiences for their students.”PGP’s are offered for all workshops and vary depending on the hours. For more information on workshop times or details, check out the schedule on the IMPACT overview.To register for a workshop, sign up online.

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Commissioning Service Held for Lutheran Schools Service Project https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/commissioning-service-held-for-lutheran-schools-service-project Wed, 18 May 2016 23:17:01 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/commissioning-service-held-for-lutheran-schools-service-project Lutheran Schools Send Off Shipping Container That Will Become A Library And Resource RoomOn 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 washeld 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.

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Announcing the TLSP Board of Directors for 16-17 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/announcing-the-tlsp-board-of-directors-for-16-17 Tue, 17 May 2016 21:24:26 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/announcing-the-tlsp-board-of-directors-for-16-17 Join us in Congratulating New Board Members for 16-17The 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 theChief 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 4thgrade, 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.”

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Overwhelmed with Gratitude https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/overwhelmed-with-gratitude Mon, 16 May 2016 09:00:42 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/overwhelmed-with-gratitude Bethlehem Lutheran School Helps a Family Facing CancerIn 2012, Angie Mishler got the devastating news that she had cancer. As a mother to four children, she wondered how she would manage this diagnosis and her children’s needs. She struggled with tough decisions, including whether their family could afford to send their oldest son, Greyson, back to a school he loved--Bethlehem Lutheran School in Ossian.The Mishlers discovered Bethlehem Lutheran only the year before, and found it was a perfect fit for their son, who struggled at his previous school. The story of how Greyson ended up at Bethlehem is a familiar one for parents who have sought better options for a frustrated learner.At his previous school, Greyson was a good student, so his parents were confused to see him placed in a fourth grade class with many students who struggled. Angie and husband, Greg, questioned the placement and found their son discouraged by the learning environment that didn’t seem to be a good fit. In sixth grade, Greyson was again placed in a lower level math class. The Mishlers were concerned their son was not being challenged and were told he would be moved to a more advanced math class in seventh grade. But when Angie received the class schedule, Greyson was again denied placement in a more challenging class. The Mishlers were frustrated by the lack of support. That’s when their neighbors stepped in for support.“We had neighbors who attended [Bethlehem] and they knew what had gone on with Greyson. They said, ‘Have you thought about sending him to Bethlehem? Call the school and meet with them. It can’t hurt.’”The Mishlers took a tour of the school and discovered Greyson had friends already attending Bethlehem. Angie adds, “It was like we were always meant to be here.”Seventh grade was so successful for Greyson, the family planned to send him back to Bethlehem the following year. But over the summer, Angie learned the devastating news—she had breast cancer. The family needed to make some sacrifices and agonized over the decision of sending Greyson back to his old school.“We couldn’t afford the school,” Angie says. “And to know we were going to send him back to public school—it was heartbreaking. I couldn’t bring myself to say it.”Not long afterward, the Mishlers received a surprise. Their neighbor approached Angie and asked, “Would Greyson be interested in coming to Bethlehem? I know school has already started, but we would like to extend an invitation to come to Bethlehem tuition-free.”The Mishler family was overwhelmed with gratitude. The school had agreed to make it possible for Greyson to attend Bethlehem.Since that experience, the Mishler family has come full circle. Angie is now in remission and uses her experience to encourage other women facing cancer. Their younger children now attend Bethlehem Lutheran, like big brother Greyson. Greg and Angie have also joined Bethlehem Lutheran Church as members and say the church’s generous support during their health crisis was instrumental in their decision to become part of the church family.Through their struggles, Angie sees how the school and church have changed their lives in a lot of ways.“People think cancer is so horrible, but there are blessings,” Angie says. “It makes you reassess what’s important. The people here exemplify that.”

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St. Peter’s Finds Success with Minds-in-Motion Program https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-peters-finds-success-with-minds-in-motion-program Fri, 13 May 2016 17:13:31 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-peters-finds-success-with-minds-in-motion-program Brain Development Program Helps Kids with Focus and LearningIf you walk into the gym at St. Peter’s Lutheran School in Fort Wayne, you might see kids tossing small beanbags into the air while counting. Others are skipping, jumping or using a balance board. A few students follow beads on a rope with their eyes.What at first glance might appear to be gym class, is actually brain development exercises that are part of a program steeped in brain science called Minds-in-Motion. The activities, which are set up in stations so students can quickly rotate through them, are sometimes called “yoga for the brain,” and range from eye exercises that focus on a moving object to full body exercises that involve balance and coordination.After some of the teachers attended training for the program, St. Peter’s began using Minds-in-Motion three times a week with their kindergarten and first grade students. Minds-in-Motion is inexpensive, only takes 15 minutes a day, and is steeped in research on inner ear functionality and the vestibular (balance) part of the brain.According to Candace Meyer, who founded Minds-in-Motion, the information behind the program is based off research from NASA. After NASA discovered that astronauts who returned to earth had trouble with balance and coordination, NASA developed a program that helped astronauts regain their coordination by exercising the vestibular part of the brain.The methods NASA used have been translated into research for children, along with exercises and activities to improve their vestibular system. According to kindergarten teacher Holly Ehle, kids aren’t getting vestibular stimulation due to increased screen time and lack of time playing outside.Through Minds-in-Motion, students participate in a variety of activities for 50 seconds including tossing a bean bag, using a balance board, skipping, crawling over and under small hurdles, walking up stairs backwards and doing a puppy crawl.These exercises force kids to use their brains in different ways, by crossing the midline of the brain and using different parts of the brain at one time.The program has been especially helpful for kids with sensory processing disorders.The program has appeal. Other schools visit St. Peter’s Lutheran School to observe how it works. Elkhart County, Indiana now has over 40 schools participating in Minds-in-Motion due to the program’s success.“I like we’re doing something on the cutting edge,” Mrs. Ehle adds. “I feel like the student are so focused. The wiggles are out. It takes care of all of that.”Brittany Brune, the first grade teacher at St. Peter’s, agrees. “The difference that I see is that they’re glued to me. They’re focused and ready to go. It makes my job easier.”But it isn’t just the research that convincing, it’s seeing the improvements in student focus and learning.“There’s a student who had huge sensory issues and it was really challenging for him to do certain things, including even wear socks,” Mrs. Ehle says. “It was painful to watch him do certain tasks when he began the Minds-in-Motion program. He couldn’t track past midline. But he’s been in it for two years and now he can skip, wear socks, and do other tasks he was unable to do before.”Students with sensory and processing disorders seem to especially benefit from the Minds-in-Motion program. The program, which uses mostly inexpensive equipment, can be started with a hundred dollars. Both teachers agree: the fifteen minutes they give to the program, they get back in more attentive students.Mrs. Ehle, who advises teachers to read the research behind the program says, “We would recommend it. All we know is we send kids through it and when they come back, they’re on top of it for math. It’s essential to get the research behind it. The impact is way more powerful than how it looks.”

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St. Peter-Immanuel’s Preschool Eases Transition to Kindergarten https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-peter-immanuels-preschool-eases-transition-to-kindergarten Mon, 09 May 2016 22:32:31 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-peter-immanuels-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 [extended care] 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.”

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Giving From The Heart https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-from-the-heart Thu, 05 May 2016 09:00:22 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/giving-from-the-heart Wyneken Students Learn the Value of Serving OthersWhen kids work together, they begin to change the world. That’s the spirit at Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School, where kids are not only taught to be good students, but also to develop generous hearts through service projects. Wyneken’s projects span the school year, showing students that giving isn’t just a seasonal opportunity, but is part of our call of living like Christ.Birthday Bags for Food BankThis year, fifth grade students donated over $800 worth of toys to Operation Help, a food bank in Decatur through their birthday bag fundraiser. The students raised funds for the toys by selling items at Wyneken’s craft fair. With the help of a Thrivent Action Team grant, students made bath products and ornaments and used their earnings to purchase toys for the food bank. A craft fair vendor gave the students additional toys for the cause. The students assembled the toys into 63 birthday bags for food bank clients and then delivered the bags to Operation Help in Decatur.Project LinusStudents also made 93 children’s blankets to donate to Project Linus, which provides homemade blankets to children in need. These blankets were donated to hospitals, shelters and other agencies for children going through illnesses or trauma. “It’s a big project of creating 93 blankets in a day,” teacher Pam Brewer explained. She heard about the project from her daughter in Wisconsin and discovered Project Linus had a chapter in Fort Wayne. She thought it would be a great way for students to give back to other children in need.Jump Rope for HeartFor students at Wyneken, jumping rope is not only a fun activity, it’s a way to raise money for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart event. Students rotated through six activity stations for the fundraiser. Teacher Julie Smith said, “We believed that this was a great way to serve the Lord in our community." Jump Rope for Heart empowers students to learn about their own health while helping others with heart-health issues.Lutheran Hospital Easter BasketsBefore Easter, Wyneken’s seventh and first graders partnered together making 36 Easter baskets for children at Lutheran Hospital. A Thrivent Action Team grant provided the seed money for the project, which benefited children who were hospitalized this spring. Students filled the baskets with gifts, as well as Easter Arch books explaining the true reason to celebrate Easter. This project was a way for students to share their love of Jesus during the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.Kids Against HungerThis spring, students from area Lutheran Schools packed meals for hungry children that were distributed locally and in Haiti through Kids Against Hunger, a humanitarian food-aid organization. Kids Against Hunger works towards reducing the number of hungry children in the U.S. and feeds starving children throughout the world. Students packed approximately 60,000 meals for hungry children, with 75% of the meals distributed locally and 25% of the meals shipped to Haiti. Eight area Lutheran schools participated in the event held at Wyneken.Angelman Syndrome AwarenessBeginning the fourth quarter, Wyneken students collected chapel offerings for Angelman Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing developmental delay and neurological problems. Eileen Braun, sister to 5th grade teacher Pam Brewer, is the national director for the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, a non-profit organization whose objectives are funding research for a cure and raising awareness for the disease, which has affected Eileen’s daughter, Kaitlin. Eileen visited Wyneken and gave a bold testimony to the sanctity and value of human life.Besides these 6 projects, Wyneken has helped Lutheran Disaster Relief, Operation Barnabus, Lutheran Social Services, Animal Care and Control and Lutheran Life Villages during the 2015-16 school year.Principal Andrew Gavrun hopes the lessons learned from these service projects make a difference in students’ lives. He adds, “It is my hope that by providing service opportunities like these, our students learn to serve Jesus Christ as faithful stewards with the gifts and talents our Lord and Creator has entrusted to each of them.”

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Emmaus Helps Family Afford Education https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/emmaus-helps-family-afford-education Mon, 02 May 2016 19:09:13 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/emmaus-helps-family-afford-education Family Connects Emmaus with Starbase IndianaIn 2011, Heather Dye was a single mom, homeschooling two children and struggling to make ends meet. She wondered how she was going to put food on the table. Heather needed some solutions and knew that sending her son, Lucas, to school would free her up to help her daughter, who was confined to a wheelchair due to a neuromuscular disorder. But how would she continue to foster Lucas’ love for learning in a Christian environment?Heather knew something had to change. She says, “While I enjoyed teaching my children,saw their obviousgrowth and success,I knew that with my daughter's growing health demands I needed extra help beyond our homeschool co-op.”That’s when the Dye family found Emmaus Lutheran School.“This new journey was a bit scary for our family, but everyone at Emmaus made it a joy. We were pleasantly surprised by Lucas's ease into school and happy to maintain schooling with a Christ-centered focus.”Emmaus was able to help the Dye family financially by providing a scholarship for her son, who was placed a grade ahead of his age. Because Lucas is a science nut, Heather nurtured her son’s love for learning through a science program called Starbase Indiana, a free STEM camp that is open to all area students.“As we struggled with new obstacles, Starbase was a delightfully welcomed, free schooling extensionoption in our lives,” she adds. After finding out about the program, Heather introduced Starbase Indiana to Emmaus Lutheran School.Starbase 1.0 is a five-day camp for fifth graders, while Starbase 2.0 is for sixth through eighth graders. The goal is to motivate students to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as they continue their education. The program engages students through an inquiry-based curriculum. Starbase has both a school-year program and a summer camp.Through Starbase 2.0, Emmaus middle schoolers were able to launch a weather balloon that went up almost 100,000 feet. They were the first school in the area to do it.Middle school science teacher, Jessica LaBrash, said the weather balloon allowed students to see the effects of altitude on objects they sent with the balloon, like eggs and water. With cameras, sensors and GPS, they were able to track the balloon’s location and answer questions like how pressure and temperature affect various objects. The weather balloon launch was a huge success, with students sharing their excitement on Twitter. “These pictures are blowing my mind,” one student shared. Another tweeted, “Can’t believe our balloon went 98,000 feet in the air. Absolutely incredible.”Through Emmaus’s partnership with Starbase Indiana, kids like Lucas are able to develop a love for STEM learning even more, both inside and outside the classroom.Since Lucas started at Emmaus, things in the Dye Family have changed for the better. Heather finished her bachelor’s degree, started working at Starbase Indiana and got married last year. She now acts as the strategic planning manager for Starbase and helps coordinate their summer camps. The program continues to grow with several Lutheran schools participating in the Starbase 1.0 and 2.0 program.Heather admits they couldn’t be more pleased with Emmaus Lutheran School’s investment in her son.“Lucas is without a doubt a shining example of how investing in kids like him who want educational growth in Lutheran schools, but may not quite be able to financially obtain [it], is paying big dividends,” she adds. “We are delighted to be looking to a future in which we can return the grace and favor the Lutheran Schools have shown to us, and help other families who may find themselves in similar situations.”

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The Power of Relationships https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-power-of-relationships Thu, 28 Apr 2016 21:54:50 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-power-of-relationships Concordia Lutheran School Emphasizes ‘Relationships Over Rules’Relationships matter at Concordia Lutheran School. Just ask fourth grade teacher Rich Schwantz. In his 25 years of teaching, he estimates he’s visited the homes of 400 students.“I am super old fashioned. Rich says. “I’m still that guy that gets in the car and visits every home of my students. It’s amazing to learn how pivotal it is to develop relationships with parents and children. It’s beneficial in so many ways.”One student, who was new and formerly attended public school, was skeptical Mr. Schwantz would visit his family at home.“I got there late and knocked on the door. Dad opened the door and said, ‘Teach, you came! You came!’ He couldn’t believe I kept my word. I was able to give CLS instant credibility,” Rich adds. “This is my way of letting them know that I will visit them on their turf, on their terms. It also lets the parents know I’m there and I’m willing to serve them throughout the year.”Home visits are one way that Mr. Schwantz builds a supportive network between parents and teachers at Concordia Lutheran School. It opens the door to better communication between teachers and parents and lets the students know how much the school cares.Sara Goeglein, a third grade teacher, has experienced that same care and support firsthand at Concordia Lutheran School. In October, her young son was at a routine doctor’s appointment when theyfound a heart murmur. He was taken to the hospital for further testing where they discovered a hole in the valve ofhis heart. The whole CLS community rallied in support.“The staff was so supportive. Each morning we have devotions together and pray. It was so nice knowing that I had a community of believers helping my family through this situation. They provided meals for my family when he had surgery.The kids would include him in the prayers in class and parents emailed to ask how he was doing. I don’t know how we would have made it without their support.”The CLS community cares for their families and staff, working hard to provide a great education while also encouraging a supportive network.“You don’t know how much people are there to help, until you need help,” Mrs. Goeglein adds. “It made me realize I want to know my families. I tell [them], ‘Let me know what’s happening, so I can pray.’”By focusing on relationships over rules, teachers, staff and parents create a compassionate school environment for students. Because of the Christ-centered focus, staff can pray with students and families, supporting their needs spiritually, physically, and emotionally.“I hope as a school we use communication that Christ has created in us—a love that can only come through him. Genuine care, love, empathy,” Mr. Schwantz says. “Many of us are parents too. We understand our wants and needs for our children. We wear our hearts on our sleeve.”Mrs. Goeglein adds, “I’ve never been anywhere where I’ve seen people so close. You all have to be on the same page.”It’s this commitment to relationships, whether working with parents or other teachers that unites the school into a caring community.“It starts with teachers, support staff and Lori Stout [admission counselor] at the door.” Mr. Schwantz says. “It’s building that bridge. It starts with that attitude of ‘We’re here to serve and what do you need?’”By fostering close relationships through home visits, prayer, and close relationships, Concordia Lutheran School creates a caring community that supports its families and staff, even after students have graduated.“I still have students from my very first year teaching and I still check in with them,” Mrs. Goeglein adds. “I have two kids at home, but I have 22 others. Those relationships are built in your classroom.”

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Students Work Together for Kids Love Liberia Project https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/students-work-together-for-kids-love-liberia-project Mon, 25 Apr 2016 21:46:59 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/students-work-together-for-kids-love-liberia-project Lutheran Schools Lend a Hand for Liberian School and LibraryThis month, students at eleven Lutheran schools are making an impact through a service project benefiting a community in Liberia. Through the Kids Love Liberia Lutheran school project, students are preparing a 40-foot shipping container that will be sent to Liberia in May. The container, which will be filled with school and medical supplies, will be converted into a community library space and resource room. Students are also raising $20,000 to build a school with six to eight classrooms in Liberia.Students from Emmanuel St. Michael, Holy Cross, Emmaus, Ascension, Lutheran South Unity, Concordia Elementary, Concordia Lutheran High School, St. Peter-Immanuel, St. Paul, Central, St. Peter’s Lutheran School and St. John Kendallville are lending a hand by donating supplies, painting the shipping container, sorting library books, constructing learning games, and fundraising for the cause. Other donated items include uniforms and medical supplies.Last week, students from Holy Cross packed boxes of library books from Bethlehem Lutheran Church (Fort Wayne) that will be sent in the container. Ascension and St. Peter-Immanuel constructed learning games and activity cards. Emmaus helped paint the container. Donations of caulk, paint, and supplies came in from Concordia Elementary, Emmanuel St. Michael, Emmaus, and Lutheran South Unity School. Thrivent Action Team Grants provided the seed money for some of the supplies. Students from Concordia Lutheran High School planned the design on the container. St. John Kendallville donated Bibles and wrote inscriptions and blessings in them.The container will be shipped to a Lutheran school in Liberia under the direction of Joe Boway, a Liberian-born Fort Wayne resident, 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 is also a Lutheran South Unity School parent and sees how this project will have a lasting impact on the community in Liberia. “Truly the students of TLSP schools are a blessing to the work of the Gospel!” Mr. Boway says. “My Liberian students will learn of Jesus for decades to come. Thousands of children will know Jesus.”This project isn’t new to the Lutheran community. Last year, Lutheran South Unity School partnered with area churches—Zion, Peace, Bethlehem, and Mt. Calvary—and local businesses to send a similar shipping container filled with medical supplies and equipment to Zorzor, Lofa County, Liberia, an area hit hardest by the current outbreak of Ebola.This year’s project is even bigger since it includes fundraising for building a school. The cost for the Kids Love Liberia project totals over $24,000.Lutheran South Unity School Principal Krista Nagy says, “Our kids are having an influence on an entire country since thousands of students will use the resources we are sending to learn.”In addition, Mrs. Nagy says that students are learning life skills, like painting and assembly, as well as the value of serving others and developing a heart of compassion for people on the other side of the world.“Students heard stories of civil war, slavery and liberty, hope and peace brought to this country through prayer,” Mrs. Nagy adds. “They were inspired by the story of my two former students who brought the first playground to Liberia...at age 10! They heard stories of social stigmatization in our own community and how we can be change agents in our schools and neighborhoods, in Jesus' Name.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—because of Jesus.”To hear more about our story from the Fox 55 team, Click Here.

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Shaking the Apple Tree https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/shaking-the-apple-tree Fri, 22 Apr 2016 23:16:38 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/shaking-the-apple-tree Creating a Successful Fundraising Program

“First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.” -- Martin LutherIf you have listened to me long enough, you will recognize this quote from Martin Luther as my favorite example of the successful fundraising process: schools have limited time, limited staffing, and limited resources; therefore, to help bake their fundraising pie they need to first approach their best donor prospects (the ripest apples) and after that list of prospects have been contacted, go to the next best group (each limb), and then the rest of their prospects (branches, twigs, and leaves).A school’s fundraising program can only be successful if someone actually shakes that tree; plenty of leadership boards and committees talk about the need for the apple tree to be shaken, or even talk about planting the tree in the first place, but to see donations someone has to do it. Branches do not shake themselves outside of a storm...Six of our area Lutheran schools took the step, and a few more are looking into the options, to hire a part-time or full-time advancement staffer to take control of that apple tree.And we couldn’t be happier.[caption id="attachment_1658" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo Credit: www.Keyhubs.com[/caption]Not only are current SGO scholarship balances and endowment matches growing for these schools, but their long-term success roots are growing in a promising pattern. One school reported that when their fundraising staff member recently reconnected with a lapsed major donor, the donor exclaimed, “I’ve been waiting for someone at [the school] to get going on this!” Another school reports raising the largest balance of SGO dollars ever, while another reached and surpassed its endowment match challenge for the first time in several years.What could make us happier? More schools with staff to shake the trees. Give us a call and we can explain the options, the opportunities, and provide a few suggestions on helping fund the startup of this position.

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Ascension Student to Compete in World Games https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/ascension-student-to-compete-in-world-games Mon, 18 Apr 2016 17:19:59 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/ascension-student-to-compete-in-world-games Spiritual Lessons Learned at Ascension Provide Strong FoundationTess Barlow, a seventh grader at Ascension Lutheran School, looks like a normal middle schooler, hanging out with friends and finishing homework. But what you don’t know about Tess might surprise you. Earlier this year, Tess was selected for the U.S. Martial Arts Team and will be competing at the World Martial Arts Games in South Africa.But the building blocks for her success at karate started long before her selection on the national team, when the Barlow family discovered Ascension and started their daughter in preschool.“I can’t say enough good things about Ascension,” her mom, Chris, says. “She was baptized here and what I have seen is a beautiful confidence in her faith.”Her mom says that Ascension’s “Learn by Heart” Bible memory program has made an impact on her daughter by helping students commit scripture to heart.“It’s one of the distinguishing things about Ascension,” Chris adds. “They learn a Bible verse, catechism, and the first verse of a hymn every week.” The program has a three-year curriculum that builds on itself. After three years, students repeat the program with longer verses.By providing a strong Christian foundation for the students at Ascension, students like Tess learn to tackle the hard questions in life.“Several years ago, a family lost their son to an accident,” Chris says. “The Sunday after their son was buried, I was sitting behind that family and Tess was next to me. Tears were falling down my face. While we were driving home Tess said, ‘Why were you crying? Their son is in heaven and he’s okay now.’ That’s just an example of her confidence in her faith.”As Tess has grown up, she continues to make new discoveries—the most recent being a talent in the martial arts. After asking her mom for years if she could take karate lessons, Tess approached her mom with a coupon from the newspaper for a free lesson. That first lesson led to a dream come true experience.“She had only been training for less than a year and was at a conference where one of the head coaches from the U.S. martial arts team was attending,” Chris explains. “They saw her working, and they recognized that even though she had been training for a short time, she had natural ability and [they] asked if she would join the U.S. martial arts team.”Tess accepted the invitation and will be traveling to the World Martial Arts Games in Johannesburg, South Africa this October. Her mom adds, “It’s been a great part of Tess’ life. [She’s] learned a lot about respect, hard work and humility.”But no matter how Tess performs at the World Martial Arts Games, the lessons she’s learned at Ascension are far more important. These lessons, especially about faith, are why the Barlow family can’t say enough good things about the school.“I always encourage people to consider Ascension,” Chris adds. “It’s a special place students get to grow academically, physically [and] spiritually.”

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Computer Students Explore Uses for Raspberry Pi https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/computer-students-explore-uses-for-raspberry-pi Mon, 11 Apr 2016 17:30:36 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/computer-students-explore-uses-for-raspberry-pi The Tiny Device Allows Students to Explore Their Creativity and IngenuityIn Scott Storm’s computer science class, students work in groups on projects using a credit card sized device called a Raspberry Pi. It’s a low-cost, tiny computer that can do most things your PC can do, from playing video games to browsing the Internet. But in addition, the Raspberry Pi can be used for a wide variety of digital maker projects, including tweeting birdhouses with cameras, to playing retro 80’s video games. The potential for this $35 dollar device is endless, as long as you have the time and know-how to do it.Mr. Storm’s students have both, which is why they’ve embarked on a journey to discover what they can accomplish with this device. The projects are simply amazing.After exploring Raspberry Pi ideas online, students presented their projects to the class and then voted on their favorites. Projects with the winning votes were given the green light and student groups were assembled.One of these ideas, called the Mirror, Mirror Project, involves using a two-way mirror, the kind usually seen on TV when criminals are brought to a lineup for identification. This mirror, however, works differently. With the help of a Raspberry Pi and a flat screen TV, the mirror becomes a computer screen and a mirror at the same time, projecting time, date, weather, and a real-time news feed across the mirror as you see your reflection.Katrina Brown, a senior at CLHS, works on the mirror project with three other students. “We’re working on a TV monitor and they have it hooked up to a Raspberry Pi. We’re programming it to display things and we’re going to put it behind two-way glass.”When students look in the mirror, they will see their image alongside a weather and time display, powered by the Raspberry Pi.Another project, called “Retro Pi,” allows users to play old video games from the 1980’s using a Raspberry Pi and a screen. This requires a few things, including ROM’s or copies of the game and an emulator, which is an application that plays the ROM. The final outcome will allow students to play games like Pac Man and Donkey Kong using the Raspberry Pi, a controller, and screen.Noah Snider, a freshman at CLHS, had no computer programming experience before coming to this class, but has been impressed by what the Raspberry Pi can do. “When it comes to the Raspberry Pi, it’s small--you can put anything on it. It’s almost limitless.”Other projects using the Raspberry Pi include attaching the device to a Sony PlayStation Portable to play games on a screen. Another project uses a Raspberry Pi to project a calendar and streamed music onto a screen.Teacher Mr. Storm doesn’t instruct the kids on how to do the projects, instead he lets the students work collaboratively to problem solve and figure things out on their own. When students get stuck, he steps in and troubleshoots.But the goal of the program isn’t to see what cool things students can build with this mini computer. It’s also teaching them life skills.“Technology is growing,” Mr. Storm adds. “You should have an understanding of how it works. It teaches you how to think.”Through his Disrupting the Pink Aisle program, Mr. Storm wants his computer science enrollment to be representative of the gender makeup of the school.“We started with 2 girls and 16 boys,” he says. “The first semester class had 14 girls and16 boys.”Katrina Brown was one student encouraged to take the class. “Mr. Storm invited me to help with some things and he was like, ‘You should take this class.’ He wants to get more girls involved in programming.”Previous to this she had no programming experience, but now is working on the two-way mirror project, building things she never imagined.“One of the goals is to give kids confidence when it comes to approaching technology,“ Mr. Storm says. “We want students to come in maybe apprehensive and leave not being afraid of technology. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

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St. John Kendallville Serves at Lutheran Life Villages https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-john-kendallville-serves-at-lutheran-life-villages Tue, 05 Apr 2016 17:32:49 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-john-kendallville-serves-at-lutheran-life-villages School Teaches Students the Value of GivingTwo girls from St. John Lutheran School in Kendallville sit at a table playing Yahtzee, rolling dice with a resident from Lutheran Life Villages.“I don’t know how to play,” the resident says smiling, while one of the girls helps tally her scorecard.Although this might seem like fun and games, what’s happening is something far more important. It’s a chance for students to interact with the residents of Lutheran Life Villages, learning the importance of serving others.St. John Lutheran School in Kendallville is dedicated to bringing hope to the residents at Lutheran Life Villages. By sending a class to volunteer every month, they teach students important interpersonal skills and the value of serving others. Past activities include a talent show for residents, a project that seniors and students work on together, and a story-sharing time.For the students, it’s a chance to serve others, but also an opportunity to learn something about relating to those who are different from them.Tacy Potts, a parent who has three children at St. John Lutheran schools, also serves as an occupational therapist at Lutheran Life Villages. She sees firsthand how the visits between St. John Lutheran School students and Lutheran Life residents is mutually beneficial.“Wheelchairs and walkers can be intimidating to kids because they don’t understand it. My kids are used to it and are not afraid of talking to the residents. The kids gain a lot from their visits to Lutheran Life Villages.”Because of her job as an occupational therapist, she knows how intimidating it can be for children to approach someone who is different.But the students aren’t the only ones who benefit from the visit. The residents look forward to the visits too, especially those residents who may not see their grandchildren or relatives“Kids are joyful and full of life,” Mrs. Potts adds. “It’s always very positive for the residents.”Third grade teacher, Peggy Schroeder organized a class talent show for residents, offering a variety of creative, and sometimes funny, demonstrations to delight residents.“Students read stories they had written. One clucked like a chicken. My husband played guitar so we could sing. It gets students out of their comfort zone.”Additionally, it also gives students the opportunity to talk about disabilities afterwards, which leads to a better understanding of sympathy and understanding for people who are different.“It still makes them nervous when residents can’t speak well.” Mrs. Schroeder adds. “We have conversations like, ‘Why does he talk like that?’ The students learn to have compassion for people.”During one visit, the Lutheran Life residents took front and center, telling stories about their lives and holding a question and answer session. Mrs. Schroeder says the experience teaches kids important life lessons.“It’s a good reminder to find joy in what you have, like giving a smile to someone.”It’s also a chance for students to serve others while sharing God’s love, highlighting the theme of Christ-centeredness that characterizes a Lutheran school education.“I want my children to be compassionate. This is a way for our students to demonstrate Christ’s love and to serve,” Mrs. Schroeder adds. “I don’t care what you do in life as long as you love Jesus and serve him. It’s really all that matters.”

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Lutheran South Unity School Encourages Young Authors https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-south-unity-school-encourages-young-authors Thu, 31 Mar 2016 23:46:34 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-south-unity-school-encourages-young-authors First Grade Teacher Inspires Students Through Writing WorkshopsIn 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.

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Emmanuel St. Michael Invests in Students https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/emmanuel-st-michael-invests-in-students Thu, 24 Mar 2016 16:06:24 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/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 [to].”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.”

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Welcome to Holy Week https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/welcome-to-holy-week Mon, 21 Mar 2016 23:21:29 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/welcome-to-holy-week They Wanted the Kingdom Without the CrossWelcome to Holy Week. With the celebration of Palm Sunday, we enter into the holiest of weeks. It's a week when we often talk about walking the steps of Christ to the cross, remembering his passion, remembering his death.Walk in his steps?The reality? We align better with the disciples during Holy Week. We scatter and hide, unable to be a witness. We scatter because this following Jesus stuff is not as terrific and filled with riches as perhaps we believed. Like the disciples, we find ourselves so tired, so burdened with our own lives that we miss the Life that is right in front of us (in His word, in His Sacrament, in the certainty of Heaven).Maybe we connect even better with the Palm Sunday crowd? Palm branches waving looking for peace and victory. Time for the world to change. No authoritarian oppression. No more looking over our shoulders to see if we will be judged for being a follower.The peace we seek is peace on earth, a worldly peace, a peace without wars and fighting, a peace that gives a quiet life. Victory? Yes, we want victory too. We love to win, we side with winners, we cheer on our winners. Those "Hosannas" of Palm Sunday includes anticipation of the winner's life. Losers? We don't want to admit we lose or even become acquainted with loss. Loss of anything... including self and our life... no way. Bring it on Jesus. We want all the good stuff... now.However, Passion Week, and its beginning with Palm Sunday, is the strong reminder that the kingdom doesn't come without the cross. In fact, the kingdom only comes through the cross.Jesus gives us the kingdom only through his cross.We see God's kingdom through the One who has lived life for us. Instead of embracing his fame, Jesus humbly came into Jerusalem on a donkey. No special steed, no special clothes, no famous entourage. Just Old Testament songs, palm branches and throngs of people to welcome this King. And though there were times in His life that he seemed cornered into certain death and walked away, in this appointed time he humbly took on all shame, pain and death by crucifixion.In a gory, messy, turn-your-head death that seemed like the end of a potential reign, Jesus died.He died for you; He died for me. Our sins. Our selfishness; our pride; our desire for glory. Our sins sent Him to the cross.This week, our students will hear of a Savior who loves them to death. They will hear of his passion for us; a passion that selflessly took him to the cross. Oh, we won't leave Him on the cross. The message has a glorious ending. But for this week of school, we will rightly look at his obedience, his humility, his death and thank God for the redemption Jesus won for us on Calvary."Thy Kingdom come."Indeed, through the cross.

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Creating Student Leaders https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/creating-student-leaders Fri, 11 Mar 2016 19:58:41 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/creating-student-leaders Leadership Development Impacts Students at St. Peter-Immanuel“When we go places, we get compliments from people because of how well [our students] behave,” says Sarah Weber, teacher at St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran School.On a recent field trip to the Embassy Theater, students represented their school with pride as middle school students guided younger grades through the theater.“It is amazing to watch the older students,” she adds. “They always step it up when we go out. One person commented on our students saying, ‘They’re so polite.’ It’s how it should be.”Eighth grader Corbin Springer agrees. “The little kids look up to us. If we’re quiet, they’re going to do the same. If we hold the doors open for them, they want to be like us. When they’re older, they’ll provide the same example.”Twice a month at St. Peter-Immanuel, middle school students assist their faith family with a game, activity or service project designed to give older students leadership experience.These service projects offer leadership opportunities and connection, with the middle school students playing a pivotal role in the success of the projects. This family concept has been so successful, they use it for field trips too.Around the holidays, students gathered around empty shoeboxes, picking out school supplies, toiletries, and small toys for a service project. When the shoeboxes were filled, they were shipped across the world to a child in need.“The younger kids like this project,” says middle school student, Logan McBarnes. “We’re such a small school and we don’t have a lot of people, but we get the job done.”At St. Peter-Immanuel, this is more than a lesson in giving. It’s a hands-on experience in student leadership development, as older students work with younger ones to complete a project.Principal Julie Kowalke explains that many ordinary tasks prepare middle school students for leadership and service, two necessary building blocks for adulthood.But leadership isn’t only about big projects, according to the principal, but rather how they serve people everyday.“It’s not some huge activity or falsely created opportunity. It’s those everyday situations to show leadership,” Ms. Kowalke adds. “It’s an opportunity to see themselves as leaders. We tell them, ‘You are a leader and the little boys are watching you. What are you portraying? What are you showing that little guy?’”St. Peter-Immanuel provides a number of leadership opportunities, including weekly responsibilities like changing the school sign, gathering and taking out the recycling, and reading to younger students.“When they get a chance to read with a buddy, they come back to me and say ‘Wow, they needed help,’” remarks Mrs. Weber. She sees firsthand how the students are impacted by their leadership roles with the younger students.It’s this example of service that gives students at St. Peter-Immanuel the opportunity to demonstrate servant leadership among their peers.Ms. Kowalke adds, “We are giving them the freedom to make those good decisions because if they’re always in our supervision, they don’t have the opportunity to make those choices.”Parent Jennie Springer agrees. “These are good skills for adulthood,” she adds. “Hopefully as they mature, they can make good choices.”By focusing on the whole person, St. Peter-Immanuel is preparing students for the future.“They’re not only learning academically, but socially too,” Mrs. Weber says.For Principal Kowalke, developing student leaders impacts the school atmosphere positively.“All of these little things create a culture of caring and community,” she adds. “It allows our kids to take ownership of their school.”

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Spring Operetta Lets Students Shine https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/spring-operetta-lets-students-shine Wed, 09 Mar 2016 22:52:30 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/spring-operetta-lets-students-shine Central Lutheran shares God’s Love Through Musical ProductionCentral Lutheran School students are taking the stage this week in a production that spans centuries, from Biblical times to the 1980’s, thanks to an abandoned time machine and some curious kids.Central Lutheran’s production of Back to the Cross, performed by the second and third graders, transports audiences to the 1920’s, 60’s, 80’s and the time of Christ, where students sing about Jesus’ love while enjoying cultural nods to various eras.The performances are held March 11 at 7:00 and March 13 at 2:00 in Central Lutheran’s gym.Central Lutheran School has a long tradition with their spring operetta, which started in 1978. This full musical production includes singing, acting, choreography and a full set. It’s an equal partnership between the second and third grade teachers who include Mary Potter, Anne Hess, James Aumick, and Phyllis Hockemeyer. While the operetta provides a valuable immersive arts experience, it also “teaches [students] to serve the Lord at a very young age,” says teacher, Mary Potter.But they couldn’t do it without the generous help of volunteers and parents, who provide the behind-the-scenes help for the production.“It’s a way of getting parents involved, [whether it’s] donating a prop, helping with cookies, painting the sets,” says Phyllis Hockemeyer. “One [volunteer] is a dance instructor who doesn’t have a child [at Central] and another has grown children. It makes it a community thing.”Back to the Cross opens in CW Worthington Park and Prayer Garden with Norman, his sister Ava, and her friend, Morgan.The kids stumble upon a time machine, which suddenly comes to life and transports them to a new decade in the same park. The time travelers jump through various eras, meeting the original C.W. Worthington, who donated the land for the prayer garden.But time travel has its downside when Morgan changes history and C.W. doesn't donate the land. Back in the future, they realize they need to return to the 1920's to fix history, but instead land in the 1960's, 1870's, and the Garden of Gethsemane.Seeing Jesus, Morgan realizes Christ's sacrifice was for her. Back to the Cross shows how Jesus’ death and resurrection are for everybody throughout history.With catchy music and lyrics, every student in the second and third grade participates in a role, whether it’s singing in the choir, acting on stage or performing choreography. The musical gives students confidence in front of an audience while immersing them in a full stage production.“One of the most fun things is that the fourth through eighth graders know how it feels and they wear their t-shirts from their show,” says Phyllis Hockemeyer. “[Because] the students are all given a part they can step into, they remember the history of being in the operetta.”While last year’s operetta focused on the theme of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, this year’s musical takes cultural references and popular eras to make a point about how Christ changed history.“Maybe [the message] will get through to one family,” Anne Hess says. “It’s a lot of fun and the core of everything we do. It’s about our salvation and sharing it with others.”Though the play is a fun musical experience for the students, the real point of Central’s spring operetta is teaching families about Christ’s sacrifice for us. Because of its message, the operetta has become a valuable school tradition for Central, impacting students and teachers alike.“By the time we’ve worked through this for six to seven weeks, you’re at your weakest moment,” adds Phyllis. “You’re tired. Then God’s Word hits you on your head. That’s what you want for the audience. All glory goes to God.”

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Suburban Bethlehem Provides Close Connections for Families https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/suburban-bethlehem-provides-close-connections-for-families Tue, 01 Mar 2016 16:49:28 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/suburban-bethlehem-provides-close-connections-for-families History runs deep at Suburban Bethlehem Lutheran School. Established in the late 1800’s, the school was created out of necessity. Fort Wayne was just too far to travel in a horse and buggy.For the Hoffman and Myers family, the history of the school is personal. Both Shannon Hoffman and Deb Myers boast four generations at the school.So when the Hoffmans discussed where to send their daughters to school, the choice seemed obvious to Shannon: Suburban Bethlehem provided her with a foundation for success in life. Her husband, however, had to experience it for himself.“I did not grow up in a private school, so I didn’t see the advantages of it,” Justin Hoffman admits. “But once my daughter Keira became school age, we decided there were more things a school could offer than just an education—a lot more important things.”Shannon knew firsthand how the close connections made at Suburban Bethlehem impacted her for a lifetime.“The friendships from this school were strong,” she says. “We became best friends. My graduating class was ten students and two of the students were in our wedding.”For the Myers family, the impact of Suburban Bethlehem was something they wanted to pass along to their own daughter.“Before we had Addison, Deb and I were members at the church and were ingrained in the church-school partnership,” Rob Myers explains. “So we didn’t even give our school decision a second thought. It was a no brainer.”Deb’s history at Suburban Bethlehem, like Shannon’s, is filled with positive experiences, long-lasting friendships, and top-notch academics. But when the Hoffman family experienced a family crisis, they found the school to be a lifesaver.“Keira was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a kindergartner,” Shannon explains. “It was a learning experience for all of us. But the principal and staff at Suburban Bethlehem were willing to help and they trained the teachers to assist with her shots. It’s truly been a blessing through the years.”Through Keira’s medical challenges, it became clear to the Hoffmans that Suburban Bethlehem was more than just a school. It is a supportive community, providing close relationships and a spiritual foundation while challenging their daughters academically.“We’ve heard from a local high school that they know which kids come from Suburban Bethlehem,” Shannon adds. “It’s not only their academic performance, but their spiritual attitudes as well.”Mr. Myers echoes Mrs. Hoffman’s thoughts, adding, “They’re really preparing our daughter for high school and college. Seeing Addison grow leaps and bounds, there’s a marked, tangible difference.”This impact is why the Hoffman and Myers family have found ways to give back to the school that invested so much in them.Deb and Rob Myers are involved in championing a family friendly initiative at the church. Both men serve on the school board. Shannon volunteers as a coach for the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams.“Sports is my passion and I love the character it builds in the kids,” Shannon says. “So it’s great to see the kids say ‘Hi Coach!’ It says something that the kids are excited to see you.”It’s this kind of community support that defines Suburban Bethlehem, making it a great place to call home.Shannon adds, “They are friendships for a lifetime.”

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Come Support Your Team! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/come-support-your-team Fri, 26 Feb 2016 18:41:23 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/come-support-your-team Schools Compete in Lutheran State Basketball TournamentFort Wayne, IN- Several Lutheran school basketball teams are gearing up for the Lutheran State Basketball Tournament, held on Friday, February 26 through Sunday, February 28th in Fort Wayne. Both boys and girls basketball teams will compete for the state championship title with the winner advancing to the Lutheran National Tournament, held at Valparaiso University. Below is a list of the participating schools for both boys and girls.Boys Tournament St. John-Emmanuel (Monroeville) St. Paul (Fort Wayne) Holy Cross (Fort Wayne) Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School (Decatur).Girls Tournament Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School (Decatur) St. Paul (Fort Wayne) Emmanuel-St. Michael (Fort Wayne) St. Peter (Fort Wayne)Schools playing in the tournament had to apply and be accepted in the Lutheran State Basketball Tournament, meeting all ILSAA rules. Along with this, the first and second places of both the boys and girls tournaments receive automatic bids for their respective national tournament as well.Last year's winner of the boys tournament was repeat champion St. Paul, who went on to win back-to-back titles in the Lutheran National Tournament.The basketball action begins Friday at 6:00 pm and will be held at Concordia High School, Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School, St. Peter's, and Concordia Elementary School. Saturday's action starts at 9:15 am and continues throughout the day. Sunday's games begin at 12:15 pm, concluding with the girls championship at 2:45 pm and the boys basketball final at 4:15 pm. Both championship games will be held at Concordia Lutheran High School's main gym.Come out and support your team!

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Resource Room Meets Needs at Ascension https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/resource-room-meets-needs-at-ascension Mon, 22 Feb 2016 19:47:15 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/resource-room-meets-needs-at-ascension Tiffany Herman loves creating a place where kids feel safe and supported. It's this underlying desire that drives Mrs. Herman to make the resource room at Ascension into a supportive environment, where she serves kids of all ability levels.She works at the school partially through the Lutheran Special Education Ministries, an organization designed to support children who have a variety of learning challenges. Her past experience, which includes working as a general education teacher, taught her that collaboration with classroom teachers is crucial for student success."I will sit down with the classroom teacher and pinpoint exactly what's happening and plan what's realistic for the classroom. Then I'll check-in to see that we're reaching our goals," she explains. Her individualized approach includes using new methods of teaching, ideal for those students who don't learn from conventional techniques. Testing reveals whether the student is progressing with these methods.To measure a student's reading progress, students at Ascension take a test called the STAR assessment, which measures their reading level according to grade. Mrs. Herman designed a concentrated novel unit to help improve one student's reading ability by focusing on vocabulary, comprehension and visual comprehension methods.After taking the STAR reading test before and after the novel unit, the student progressed from a reading level of 5.4 (fifth grade, fourth month) to 9.2 (ninth grade, second month) over the time period of one month. Mrs. Herman admits that although not all students are able to improve that much in a short period, most can make incremental improvements over time.Mrs. Herman has also implemented whole school activities, like a literacy night, where local author Helen Frost was featured as speaker."This year we're trying to get a grasp on each student's level and goals and writing a plan for each student. My big push is literacy."By creating literacy goals for students and offering special opportunities to encourage reading, all students are encouraged to improve their literacy skills. Teachers follow up on student goals by tracking reading scores so students can be fully prepared for IREAD, the state's standardized testing program for 3rd graders."Each year we do an intensive focus session with third graders. I teach lessons based on skills they need for the test," she adds, noting that all students without an ISP have passed the test at Ascension.For teachers like Mrs. Herman, the real goal is creating an environment where she can reach students, no matter what the learning challenges. As a mom, she understands firsthand how advocating for your child's needs can make a difference in their education."Seeing how my kids learn, they're night and day different. My son gets bored very easily. My daughter, who was adopted from China, needs support because of some bilateral hearing loss and a cleft palate," she explains. "Being a parent of a special needs child taught me to advocate for my kids and helps me really understand the process."Mrs. Herman also recognizes that providing a safe place for students to express their emotions is critical in helping students overcome their problems."This room is the safe place for kids," she explains. "One student had a terrible home situation and came to my room and shared how he felt. There's a lot of hurting kids and I want to tell them they're appreciated and loved."It's this approach to caring for students at Ascension that makes it a place where kids can thrive."When they're here, regardless of what happens in the home, this is their place where they can share how they're doing."This is part of Ascension's success. They care for each student personally while providing them the best learning experience possible.

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More than an Education: Family Benefits from Supportive Community at St. Peter's Lutheran School https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/more-than-an-education-family-benefits-from-supportive-community-at-st-peters-lutheran-school Fri, 19 Feb 2016 09:00:10 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/more-than-an-education-family-benefits-from-supportive-community-at-st-peters-lutheran-school Erica Everett knows her son is in good hands at St. Peter's Lutheran School."When I moved to Fort Wayne, I knew I wanted him to be in a Lutheran school and I wanted God instilled in his life. I wanted it talked about everyday."After growing up in a Lutheran school in Decatur, she wanted the same great educational experience for her son. Erica chose St. Peter's Lutheran School in Fort Wayne, where her son, Rashon, is now a first grader.But the family was looking for more than just an education. As a single parent, she wanted a spiritual community where consistent and loving adults would invest in Rashon.When Erica met with the pastor at St. Peter's, she explained her son's need for a father figure. "The pastor told me, ‘Then we will guide him and give our love to him,'" she adds. "They know my son's background and they give him extra guidance."This extra care means families like the Everetts have a supportive community where teachers follow up with parents and student interaction is positive."The staff communication is phenomenal," Erica says. "I never have to guess, ‘Is he doing well? Is he not doing well?' The biggest thing for me is that I love the way the teachers make the kids feel special."She marvels at how the children benefit from a well-organized learning environment. At St. Peter's, the Everett family benefits from experienced teachers who have made Rashon's education a positive one."One day I had some extra time before we left on a school field trip. I got to watch their daily routine—counting numbers and doing the pledges. It amazed me," Erica says. "At the beginning of first grade, he wasn't a big fan of reading. The teacher told me, ‘With boys, once they get it, they really want to start reading.'"After a week or two, Erica noticed an improvement in her son, with increased motivation and an improved ability to sound out words.But Erica admits it's not just the excellent education that makes St. Peter's special, it's also the strong spiritual foundation they provide."The number one advantage is that they are being taught God's word and it's molding them into wonderful individuals," she says. "The missing piece in public schools is that God is not in the school. That's something I want him to be exposed to day in and day out."Since Erica grew up in a Lutheran school, she sees the positive impact it had on her life."It instilled so many wonderful things," she adds. "I wouldn't have gotten through events in my life otherwise."In this way, St. Peter's is impacting families both academically and spiritually, providing the love and support all children need to grow and thrive.

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Zion Lutheran Remembers Reverend Carr https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/zion-lutheran-remembers-reverend-carr Mon, 15 Feb 2016 19:23:16 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/zion-lutheran-remembers-reverend-carr School Shows Support During Cancer BattleEven though it's Catherine Carr's second year teaching fifth and sixth grade at Zion Lutheran School, she's been impacted for a lifetime.That's because Zion Lutheran Church and School have provided incredible support while her husband, Reverend Timothy Carr, battled stage four cancer. He passed away on December 21, 2015 with his wife at his side.Even though the Carrs were new to Zion, the family has deep roots in the Lutheran community. Reverend Carr was a retired pastor who served in churches in Texas, Ohio, Arizona, California, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, while Catherine taught in Lutheran schools in California, Texas, Indiana, and Ohio.After he was diagnosed in 2013, the Carrs decided to move back to Northeast Indiana to live closer to family. They moved in with their daughter and son-in-law, who was studying at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, while Catherine was hired to teach at Zion Lutheran School in Decatur. Timothy's cancer forced him to retire from full-time ministry."I always said that Tim did the work of three people. Even sick, he still worked more than most people I know," Catherine explains. "He resigned his call at his last church so that he could continue the fight against the cancer."But after moving to Indiana, a new opportunity opened up for him. Zion experienced a pastoral vacancy and the retired pastor felt good enough to volunteer at the church until the position could be filled."Leaving the full-time ministry was very difficult for Timothy," Catherine says. "This was a wonderful way to serve the Lord and help a congregation. We were still able to work together. It is amazing how God helped us though all of this.As Catherine and Timothy served the Zion community, they had no idea how the same community would provide the help they needed through their hardest year yet.First, the Zion community pulled together a secret fundraiser that would help the family offset some of their medical expenses. By raising funds without the Carr's knowledge, the school and church were able to give the family a big surprise."We were handed a check from the fundraiser. We didn't know anything about it," Catherine says. "They are an amazing congregation. Everyone has rallied around and pulled for our support."In October, the school secretary thought of another idea—let students at Zion make cards for the Carrs, a project impleented by the art teacher. Even their needs at home were met, with the Zion community providing three meals a week. For the families at Zion Lutheran, this was a way to reach out and show how a caring community can rally together through difficult circumstances.Because he had touched so many lives, the funeral was filled with people from Zion and the community, including 30 Lutheran pastors and three dogs from the Comfort Dog Ministry, an organization that Reverend Carr supported. Mrs. Carr described it as a wonderful outpouring.As she talked with people at the funeral, she was reminded of her husband's instructions for the visitation."My husband was a hugger. He told me before he died, ‘You have to hug everybody.' He made everyone feel important."Not only will Zion Lutheran miss Reverend Carr's hugs, but his impact on the community will not be forgotten either."We loved all of our churches, but Zion has touched our lives in a very special way," Catherine says. "It's been a tremendous blessing."

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Overcoming Challenges https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/overcoming-challenges Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:26:48 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/overcoming-challenges Student with cerebral palsy succeeds at St. John EmmanuelAt St. John Emmanuel Lutheran School, Nathan Wilhoff is a typical fourth grader. He climbs to the top of the playground equipment at recess. He shoots baskets and plays on the school team. What makes this story unique is that Nathan has cerebral palsy. For parents Steve and Heidi Wilhoff, the basketball team is just one example of how St. John Emmanuel Lutheran School goes out of their way for their son."This school has been so accommodating," Steve remarks. "Teachers coordinate care in a manner that's the best possible thing for him. Every time we come here, we're in awe."Although Nathan has made huge strides over the years, his life began with multiple complications compounded by a premature birth three and half months early.As an infant, Nathan was hooked up to machines and needed intense care everyday. Through therapies and medical interventions, Nathan's health slowly improved. However, when he was old enough to attend school, Steve and Heidi weren't sure how he'd manage things like the stairs or an intense schedule."We were concerned about whether he could handle school and wanted something one-on-one and Christian," Heidi adds.Because Nathan deals with cerebral palsy, hearing loss, and ADD, they knew that he would need additional help. The Wilhoff family found that St. John Emmanuel not only provided additional assistance for Nathan, but went above and beyond in assisting him."There's never been a concern that we haven't had addressed," Steve adds. "The school listens and you know they care. There's a relationship here."This relationship shows up in multiple ways, including the staff's commitment to Nathan's success. Because he wears a hearing aid, his teachers wear a special modulator so Nathan can hear them. Nathan has also been assigned a special assistant who helps him in the classroom. According to his parents, the school has made accommodation after accommodation for their son.It's this small, caring environment at St. John Emmanuel that prepares Nathan for success, despite the challenges he faces."He's not just a number and face. We've never had the feeling that someone is just doing their job. The people here invest in him," Heidi adds.Even his classmates rally around him, helping him with simple tasks throughout the day. So when Nathan decided to play basketball this year, his parents supported his decision."The coach knew about Nathan's hearing issue and cerebral palsy," his mom adds. "He's so patient with him. It's the perfect environment."Despite his limitations on the court, Nathan is accepted as one of the team, shooting hoops alongside the other boys in his class."He's just included, "Steve says. "He's made to feel like any other kid."Because St. John Emmanuel provides a caring environment for students, families like the Wilhoffs can't say enough good things about the school. It's this atmosphere of compassion and acceptance that have helped Nathan thrive."As a Christian school, they live out what they believe," Heidi adds. "It's manifest in what they teach my son. It shows in his peers around him. There are certain things you see here that can't be taught. There's a sincerity."For St. John Emmanuel, this caring, Christ-centered environment seems part of the school's DNA, making a difference for students like Nathan."This foundation here at St. John Emmanuel will reap eternal dividends," Heidi adds. "They're investing gold in my son."

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Stop Sending https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/stop-sending Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:15:40 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/stop-sending That is what the email from the Indiana Department of Revenue said this week: “Stop Sending”. While most people dread an email from the DOR, we get them regularly at The Lutheran SGO of Indiana as we secure SGO Tax Credit certificates for donors to the 48 schools in our SGO family.Unfortunately, this email told us what we already knew was coming: no more credits available. Return to sender, no one home.While last year we ran out of $7.5 million in credits in the middle of June, having to wait only a couple of weeks to have credits available again, this year across the state the SGO program went through $8.5 million in about seven months. Yes, we’re addressing these numbers correctly: even with an extra million of credits, donors zipped through the benefits of supporting scholarships coupled with a 50% state tax credit in record delivery time.First to good news: thanks to the SGO program, $15 million dollars were donated by individuals, couples, and businesses to support scholarships for families wanting a quality, non-public education in Indiana. $17 million; talk about a seal of approval!Unfortunately, on the flip side: there are now 5 months of no donations, 5 months of donors not giving, and 5 months of potential scholarship money that will either not be donated, or will be delayed until the fall.And with a potential backlog of 5 months of demand, no telling how quick the credits will run out this fall. The Indiana legislature did give us another million in credits for the 2016-17 school year, but judging by the handwriting on wall, we may be receiving next year's“Stop Sending” email even sooner. even BEFORE the calendar year-end.What does this mean for you? Better get your stamps and envelopes ready to go sooner than later this fall and not wait until December 15 to make that SGO gift, just to be safe. (Or, consider monthly automatic giving. Or better yet, use our online giving option! Don’t forget about donations of stocks and mutual funds, too...)P.S., please note that if you do not want or need the SGO tax credit, you can continue to support scholarships and continue to send those donations to us we’ll keep checking the mailbox and will open all emails, no matter what.

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Setting an Example of Service https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/setting-an-example-of-service Mon, 08 Feb 2016 19:59:36 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/setting-an-example-of-service Bethlehem Lutheran alumnus recognizes school’s role in shaping future Lindsay Wright spent the last three and a half years serving our country in an unusual way—by working with the four-legged creatures called military dogs in the Army. But Lindsay’s story begins long before she became a veterinarian.Her story starts at Bethlehem Lutheran School in Ossian, a small school located in the middle of cornfields and quiet country roads. Lindsay attended kindergarten through 8th grade gaining the building blocks she needed to be successful in veterinary school and the Army.Lindsay’s class only had five students who not only grew close, but became like family. Because of the small school atmosphere, the teachers were able to invest personally in Lindsay, pushing her to reach her potential.“My experience here at Bethlehem Lutheran helped prepare me for the future,” she says. “The teachers knew how to push me to be the best I could be.”Since they place high value on personal attention, teachers adapt their techniques based on students' learning styles. The results were impressive: Lindsay graduated with honors from high school and earned a full ride scholarship to Purdue.“The teachers here are phenomenal,” she states. “And they’re going to do everything in their power to make sure your child succeeds. They care about each of the students who walk through the door. They have a lot of pride seeing children going from kindergarten through eighth grade.”It’s this pride that motivates the community of parents, staff, and church members to support Bethlehem Lutheran School students.Two of Lindsay’s former teachers, Rich Brinkley and Judy Moehring, have fond memories of this star student.“She was a great student who worked hard at school work,” Mr. Brinkley notes. “I’m extremely proud of her.”Mrs. Moehring, Lindsay’s 2nd grade teacher, remembers how Lindsay’s mom was concerned that she was having trouble with reading. Through hard work and the help of a caring teacher, Lindsay made big improvements that year.Through close connections between staff and parents, the school creates an environment where student needs are well supported. It’s this individualized approach that helps students succeed in the classroom and in life.“That’s what’s nice about a school like this,” Mrs. Moehring notes. “When a school is small, teachers can get to know parents well. You hear what their children are doing after they leave here. I get invitations to their weddings or when they have a baby. My former students ask, ‘Are you going to be here when my baby starts school?’”Lindsay finds the supportive community one of the things she misses most. After serving in places like Afghanistan and South Korea, the welcome she receives when she returns home is a testament to the supportive community of Bethlehem Lutheran.“I went to church this Sunday and met people who don’t know me, but took the time to send me things,” she adds. “It’s one of the things that makes Bethlehem Lutheran so special.”On one brief visit, Lindsay volunteered at Bethlehem Lutheran School by doing a program on service dogs and bite awareness. By bringing her own four-legged pal, Lindsay taught students how to approach and care for dogs, as well as avoid getting hurt around unfamiliar animals.Although she enjoys sharing her love for animals, the real joy is serving a community who invested so much in her.“I think of nothing but fond memories at Bethlehem Lutheran. That’s part of what makes it special. I loved it here.”

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Renewed Arts Focus at Concordia Lutheran School https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/renewed-arts-focus-at-concordia-lutheran-school Sat, 06 Feb 2016 02:01:29 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/renewed-arts-focus-at-concordia-lutheran-school New Performance Space Gives Students the Opportunity to ShineConcordia Lutheran School has experienced a renewed arts focus due to the completion of Wolf Arena, a multipurpose space that serves as a theatre, worship space, and gym. For the school, the arena is the catalyst behind a revitalized arts focus—with students gaining more opportunities to perform, make art, and experience integrative lessons that combine the arts into everyday learning experiences.Angie Owen, an art and 5th grade teacher, has been at Concordia Elementary for 29 years and has seen firsthand how the arts are experiencing a resurgence at the school.“The arts focus is something we had and lost, and now we’re getting it back,” Mrs. Owen notes.With the addition of a new multipurpose space and more staffing, including one art and two music teachers, the arts at Concordia are flourishing.Mrs. Owen brings a wealth of creativity and teaching experience to her classes by collaborating with history and language arts teachers for an interdisciplinary approach to art. Students studying ancient Egyptian mummies in 6th grade create a sarcophagus and burial treasures out of clay and paint.Seventh graders write fairy tales in language arts class and then create a movie using iMotion. Around Christmas, students paint sets for the school musical, learning the basics of set design. This collaborative approach allows students to immerse themselves in learning about a topic while exploring their creative side, which has the benefit of helping students think differently about life.“The arts are important because it gives kids time to creatively think, which is another focus of growth,” Mrs. Owen adds. “If we’re getting rid of the arts, we’re not developing that.”For Concordia’s music teachers, Rachael Hartmann and Becky Rohde, music is a way to include all kids and help them find their strengths.“The arts give self esteem and confidence,” Miss Hartmann, the 5th-8th grade music teacher notes. “It’s important to make students feel important and included.”Mrs. Rohde, who teaches K-4th grade music adds, “Music brings out their creativity. They have a triumphant sense of accomplishing something. I want them to feel the joy of what they’re singing.”The K-4th grade choral music program teaches students through natural speech and movement exercises, including playing Orff instruments and learning poems.Miss Hartmann also directs the musical theatre productions, including a Christmas musical and middle school spring musical.“Middle school is such a tough age,” Miss Hartmann says. “Theatre opens up a whole new world to them. They can be onstage and part of something, even if they’re not good at sports. No one sits on the bench in theatre.”These experiences impact students positively, helping them learn self-confidence and poise in front of others, while giving them opportunities for self-expression and other brain benefits. A recent article noted how musical training provides advantages for children's emotional and behavioral maturation, providing more evidence of the importance of art and music in our schools.With the addition of Wolf Arena, there is more room for seating at performances and a large stage for productions.“We’re blessed to have the arena and the opportunity to perform in there,” Miss Hartmann concludes.But the real winners are the students impacted for a lifetime by the arts experiences at Concordia Lutheran School, where the renewed arts focus is opening the door to new opportunities.

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Open Houses planned for January 24, 2016 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/open-houses-planned-for-january-24-2016 Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:28:58 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/open-houses-planned-for-january-24-2016 Lutheran schools across northeast Indiana will host open houses from noon until 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 24."During our annual open houses, families can see firsthand what an attractive opportunity our schools provide,” said Mark Muehl, executive director of The Lutheran Schools Partnership.While most Lutheran schools have scheduled open houses on January 24, Bethlehem Lutheran School in Ossian will host its open house on Sunday, February 14, from noon until 3 p.m. In addition, St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran School in Decatur will hold a second open house on Thursday, March 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.“The Lutheran Schools are 18 distinctive and vibrant learning communities. While each campus is unique, they all share a common goal of providing children with a high-quality, Christ-centered education,” Muehl says. "And our schools are close to just about everyone—in small communities, in the suburbs, and in urban areas.”Muehl notes that several Lutheran schools participate in Indiana’s Choice Scholarship program. “With the growing popularity of Choice Scholarships, more low- and middle-income parents can now consider the option of enrolling their children in Lutheran schools,” Muehl said.To locate nearby Lutheran schools, visit thelutheranschools.org and click on “Find a School” at the top of the page.Promotional ResourcesPoster Download the PDF file. (General version. Print 11 x 17.) Download the complete set of PDFs. (All school locations and dates.)Postcard Download the PDF file. (Print 2-up on 8.5 x 11 paper. May be customized for each school.)Facebook Facebook Event (Please share on your own Facebook page.) Facebook Event header graphic (To use on your own Facebook event.)Email Invitation Download the PDF file.Radio Spots Featuring Marcia Haaff Featuring Chris Goeglien Featuring Rev. Dan MayVideo Share on Facebook Download from Vimeo

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National Lutheran School Week https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/national-lutheran-school-week Tue, 02 Feb 2016 22:29:09 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/national-lutheran-school-week Many of our schools celebrated Spirit Week last week as they fired up for local tournament action. This week, area Lutheran schools join their brothers and sisters throughout the nation in celebrating National Lutheran School Week (NLSW). Special dress days and pep assemblies are expected parts of these observances. NLSW is a week many Lutheran grads look back with fondness. It's a break from the norm while the kids (and teachers) enjoy many fun activities.Earlier this week, I surveyed the teachers and administrators of our schools on how they uniquely celebrate NLSW beyond the prerequisite special dress days. Here is a compiled, representative list of area Lutheran school NLSW activities (thanks to the many school personnel that responded)-Ascension- Multi-grade level groups of students meet together to make cards for shut-ins, have devotions and brainstorm how to help Liberia which was inspired by a visit from missionary Joe Boway!Emmaus- Made decorations for the containers that Lutheran Schools Partnership schools are sending to Liberia this Spring (you will soon hear even more about this project). They made decorations for the container that will be used in classrooms upon arrival.ESM- Participated in the online mission trip created by Lutheran Hour Ministries for Guatemala. For a glimpse of this project, check it out here- https://www.youtube.com SJE- Baptismal birthdays were celebrated as part of chapel.St. Paul's- Congregation members randomly selected students and were asked to pray for that specific student and family daily throughout the week. Monday, St. Paul's held a Prayer Vigil from 8am-5pm, with the church open for all congregation members, as well as every class in the school, with the invitation for members to come at any time during the vigil, and pray for school ministry, students, and families. Each class scheduled a 20 minute prayer time in the church during the school day.St Peter- Each day of the week has a spiritual focus. Monday was pray together including making prayer hands and had prayer blizzards with our mission teams. Tuesday was Learn Together as they dropped everything and read (DEAR). Wednesday, cards were made for shut-ins. Thursday, we served together and learned about the 127 missionaries of the LCMS.Suburban Bethlehem- The week is all about serving our community. Some of the younger kids sang at a nursing home. Grades 2-8 all spent a morning serving at the Community Harvest Food Bank. All students did a collection for the Paws & Effects, a Lutheran organization that trains and donates comfort dogs to returning service folks.Wyneken Memorial- Completed a mission project making blankets for Project Linus, including the use of funds from Thrivent Action Teams. They also are collecting money for Lutheran Disaster Relief by having a penny war. They call it Jar Wars and play Star Wars music throughout the building as students are given time to place money in other classroom's jars.My conclusion from this list? NLSW seems more like Spirit Week- Holy Spirit Week. As one response to my survey said, "These activities are examples of our giving spirit, our desire to help others, to fill a need where we see one; that is what sets us apart. The Lutheran Schools are not just about passing a test or helping those within our buildings, we are about so much more than just 'me'."The Good News of Jesus compels us to share and witness. None of our schools HAVE to do these activities. As one of our area teachers said in his email to me, "We (teachers) can both 'show and TELL' our students that we love them because this is what Jesus says and shows us every single day. Our kids shouldn't think twice about us saying such a thing out loud because it is exactly what Jesus would do non-stop if He were here physically. When we say something like this to our students, I hope and pray that their reaction is, 'Yup, that's what Jesus would do!'. That is what NLSW is all about in my opinion. It is simply a week to celebrate who we are and what we try to do the other 175 days of school."Happy National Lutheran Schools Week!

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Central Lutheran Expands: Kickoff Event Unveils New Building Project https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/central-lutheran-expands-kickoff-event-unveils-new-building-project Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:44:37 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/central-lutheran-expands-kickoff-event-unveils-new-building-project Central Lutheran School in New Haven is busting at the seams. With a student population hovering just over 400, Central Lutheran has decided to embark on a building expansion that will include a new gymnasium, administrative space, and much needed classrooms.Based on a study done by Design Collaborative on behalf of The Lutheran Schools Partnership, the study showed a strong need for additional space.According to John Weber, Director of Advancement for Central Lutheran,“The study showed us that we have the smallest classroom square footage per student of all area Lutheran schools. As our enrollment continues to grow, our need for more space grows as well.”For Mr. Weber, who is responsible for fundraising and curriculum development at Central Lutheran, the impact of this building project is more than just professional, it’s personal. Two of his children attend Central and a third will be joining the school in the kindergarten prep program next year.Mr. Weber notes that this project will have a positive impact on students in several ways. First, the design of the classroom spaces will allow for flexibility with furniture that can be moved for active lessons and quick transitions. Younger students will have classrooms designed for smaller bodies. Older students will have spaces designed for collaboration. These classrooms will facilitate better learning experiences for teachers and students.The building expansion also impacts the youngest students, whose current location is in the church building across the parking lot. After the expansion, the preschool will finally get their own space in the school building, connecting all age groups under one roof.The building expansion also includes another gymnasium, allowing Central to host larger athletic tournaments, sports events and possibly even summer camps.“Currently, we are unable to hold our Christmas concert at Central,” Mr. Weber adds. “Our hope is to build a gym that will be large enough to host all of our events on site.” Having a large, multipurpose space will benefit the athletic and music departments in big ways, by allowing Central to expand their reach by offering events they could not host before.The expansion will also include a new music space for vocal and instrumental practice. Additional music opportunities give students more access to the arts.Currently in the silent phase of their campaign, to accomplish their goals the school is hosting a building campaign kickoff event on January 9 that includes a free cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception for adults. With the theme, Thankful for our Heritage, Committed to our Future, the event will unveil the building project, as well as the total dollars pledged to this historic campaign. No pledges will be solicited at the event and all friends and supporters of the Central Community are invited to attend.Through this building expansion, Central will be able to continue their commitment to academic excellence, while providing an environment that fosters the intellectual, social, and spiritual growth of students.

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Teacher Inspires Students at Woodburn Lutheran School https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teacher-inspires-students-at-woodburn-lutheran-school Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:42:51 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teacher-inspires-students-at-woodburn-lutheran-school Kindergarten Teacher Fosters Love for LearningSarah Fleek, a teacher at Woodburn Lutheran School, used to say she’d never teach kindergarten. But once she tried it, she fell in love with the younger students.That’s why Mrs. Fleek, who has been the kindergarten teacher for five years at Woodburn, works toward creating an atmosphere of curiosity and hands-on exploration.“My goal is to create an environment that fosters a love for learning,” she explains. “Everyday something great happens and the kids say, ‘This is the best day ever!’”Mrs. Fleek is no stranger to Woodburn Lutheran School. Part of a second generation Woodburn Lutheran family, she is also the third alumni who returned to work at the school. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and didn’t intend to come back here, but I’ve never regretted it. The small setting is like a family,” she says.Mrs. Fleek’s enthusiasm extends into her classroom, where she creates kinesthetic experiences that teach the foundational skills students need for first grade.Students participate in an alphabet fashion show, where each child wears clothing beginning with a letter. Alphabet cooking lessons allow children to explore recipes and numbers as students make food in the classroom.In Mrs. Fleek’s class, learning is active and fun—a place where students are encouraged to be curious and explore thematic ideas. During a pumpkin-themed day in the fall, students cook with pumpkins, explore whether pumpkins float in science, and do math with pumpkins. Her kinesthetic approach means the kids are rarely sitting still.“I like to spark an idea and let the kids explore things,” she says. “Anything I can do to make the lessons stick.”With a class full of varying skill levels, Mrs. Fleek finds ways to reach the kids who need extra help. Her small class of eleven students means she is able to devote extra time to their needs, giving them more one-on-one attention.“One of the neatest things to see is a struggling student who comes to me at the end of the year and can read a book,” she says, noting the focus is on individual improvement.“I want them to leave knowing they’ve done their best and I want them to enjoy school,” she adds. “I want them to be proud to say they go to Woodburn Lutheran School.”This approach is not only evident in Mrs. Fleek’s class, but in other grades as well.“With the smaller class size, you know who’s struggling and those who can go above and beyond,” she explains. “Because we are a small school, teachers can devote extra time to the kids that need it. We have a staff of teachers who will go the extra mile for our students.”It’s this personal approach that allows students to flourish at Woodburn Lutheran School and be prepared for the future.“We’ve had multiple people tell us that we’re a hidden gem here,” she adds. “There are some great things happening at Woodburn Lutheran School.”

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Congratulations, Mark Muehl! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/congratulations-mark-muehl Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:42:14 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/congratulations-mark-muehl He is very reluctant for us to share this, but it's wonderful news! Today at the Partnership office, we received the following press release from the Lutheran Education Association.FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJanuary 22, 2016

LEA 2016 Christus Magister

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Family Impacted by Wyneken https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/family-impacted-by-wyneken Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:41:43 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/family-impacted-by-wyneken The Melton Family Discovers Academic and Spiritual Community“There’s not a person who works at Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School that doesn’t know who my daughter is. Not one person,” says parent, Jim Melton.It’s this close knit environment that made it a perfect fit for Delainey Melton, a sixth grader who ended up at the school by chance almost seven years ago.But the groundwork for Delainey’s education at Wyneken was laid long before Jim and Dawn Melton visited the school, including a devastating tragedy in 2002 that forced Mr. Melton to search for answers.“I wasn’t a Christian and was one of those people who thought I did enough good things and could go to heaven,” Mr. Melton explains.He sought out a friend who happened to be a pastor. Through that experience he came to faith, but had never been part of a Christian school like Wyneken.It was only after Delainey couldn’t get into the public school they wanted that Jim and Dawn considered other options, including a school they passed everyday on the way to work: Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School.“We lived on the north side of Decatur and worked in Fort Wayne. My wife said she was going to check out Wyneken. I told her we couldn’t afford it,” Mr. Melton explains.But after visiting Wyneken and working through the financial details, the family discovered they could afford it after all.“Don’t look at cost,” Mr. Melton says. “Wyneken has ways to help you pay for it. You will not find a better group of people to teach your child.”Jim and Dawn weren’t disappointed—the progress Delainey made in kindergarten convinced them that this was the best fit for their daughter after all, despite their initial plan to send her to a different school.“This was where Delainey was supposed to be,” Mr. Melton admits. “Before she got out of kindergarten, she was doing things first and second graders couldn’t do.”Now that their daughter is in middle school, Mr. Melton continues to be impressed by the way she is challenged academically at Wyneken.“This school has a harder grading scale—B’s at other schools are C’s here,” he says. “They have a higher standard in their curriculum.”A staff that devotes extra time to help students balances that higher standard.“The teachers are always willing to help,” Mr. Melton explains. “They will stay after school and work with your child if they’re having trouble.”Not only is Mr. Melton impressed by what the school does academically, but also the family environment that defines the school.“It takes a village to raise a child,” he explains. “There’s not a person that works at this school that doesn’t know who my daughter is. Not one person. Everybody in the school knows who we are. It’s truly like a family.”The Melton family not only found a school community for their family, they also found a spiritual community. After sending their daughter to Wyneken, they decided to try St. Paul Preble Lutheran Church, one of the congregations that supports Wyneken. St. Paul was a good fit for their family spiritually.It was that combination of a Christ-centered environment with a strong academic foundation that sold the Melton family on Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School. “I would say that if having a Christ-centered education is important for you and you want the best education, you can’t afford not to send your child to Wyneken,” Mr. Melton adds. “It’s a great place.”

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Building expansion benefits St. John Kendallville: New Classrooms Are Better Equipped for Student Learning https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/building-expansion-benefits-st-john-kendallville-new-classrooms-are-better-equipped-for-student-learning Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:40:35 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/building-expansion-benefits-st-john-kendallville-new-classrooms-are-better-equipped-for-student-learning St. John Lutheran School in Kendallville is undergoing a building expansion that means big changes for students.With the addition of new classrooms, a cafeteria, library, and bigger bathrooms, teachers Alexandra Klaehn and Linda Atz are seeing the effects of these changes firsthand.“We needed space. We had a portable classroom for many years. It’s just wonderful,” says Linda Atz, a first grade teacher at St. John.Both teachers moved into new classrooms this year and noted that the rooms are both quieter and better equipped for students’ learning needs.“The kids have more room to spread out and it makes the atmosphere more conducive for the students,” Mrs. Atz adds.Since starting at St. John in 1983, Mrs. Atz knows firsthand the challenges the school faced before they expanded.“We used to eat in the gym and it got in the way of physical fitness,” she says.Other problems like small classrooms and a growing student body made it necessary to add a portable classroom. Then there was the problem of the bathrooms—with only three stalls in each for the entire school.New second grade teacher, Alexandra Klaehn, agrees that the additional space is an asset for the students.“If we were in an old classroom, there’s barely enough room for desks,” she says. “We can move around more and do more kinesthetic and independent work. It definitely has a positive impact.”She notes that for students who have special learning needs, the added space is a big plus.“One of my students doesn’t do well with others and gets frustrated. In this classroom, kids have room to work in their own space,” she says. “They can focus.”Ms. Klaehn’s new classroom also boasts an interactive projector that turns a plain white wall into a computer screen controlled by a pen, not a computer. This allows the teacher and students to write on and control the projected image, without the teacher traveling back and forth to a computer.Besides the more spacious classrooms, the school also has the added benefit of a new library with more room for books, a cafeteria for lunch, and a contemporary worship space for chapel. Even the wider hallways provide better access for students with disabilities.The cost of the 1.4 million dollar building program is funded through church donations, capital campaign pledge drives, a grant from The Lutheran Foundation, and the sale of property. A grant from the Dekko Foundation provided experienced support to plan and carry out the capital campaign. St. John has raised enough money through these sources to cover new construction and capital improvements on the expansion.But the reason teachers like Linda Atz have stayed at St. John go beyond the physical building. It’s the caring family atmosphere, she notes, where everybody supports one another.“This last February, I had major surgery,” she says. “My family didn’t have to cook a meal because people just helped. We’re like a family.”Ms. Klaehn has also noticed the supportive atmosphere at St. John, remarking that the teachers “do everything they can to help students across grades.”Besides academic growth, St. John also focuses on spiritual growth as well.“We pray for every student. We pray for the families,” Mrs. Atz says. “Learning about Jesus--that’s our main goal.”Although the building adds to the student learning experience in valuable ways, it’s the caring, Christ-centered approach that helps children succeed at St. John Lutheran School.

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Teacher Returns to Emmanuel St. Michael: Paul Buuck Gives Back to the Next Generation https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teacher-returns-to-emmanuel-st-michael-paul-buuck-gives-back-to-the-next-generation Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:38:59 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/teacher-returns-to-emmanuel-st-michael-paul-buuck-gives-back-to-the-next-generation Paul Buuck, an alumnus of Emmanuel St. Michael, went to college with the goal of becoming a pastor. But all that changed when he met his wife and felt led to pursue teaching instead.“In the end, it was God’s place to put me where I needed to be: in education,” Mr. Buuck says.Paul Buuck grew up in Fort Wayne, but taught in Lutheran schools in Nebraska and Kendallville, Indiana, before returning to Emmanuel St. Michael in Fort Wayne this summer. Having taught third grade for 26 years, Paul was thrilled to have the opportunity to teach the same grade.“I’m back at Emmanuel St. Michael,” he adds. “But on the other side of the desk.”This transition allowed Mr. Buuck to come full circle in his life, impacting children the same way he was influenced as a student at Emmanuel St. Michael.His robust experience gives students the opportunity to learn under a seasoned teacher, adding that his favorite subject to teach is Bible.“Christ is the center of everything we do. I like that time spent with kids talking about the Bible and asking, ‘What does that mean for us?’”Mr. Buuck’s enthusiasm for teaching spills over into other areas, including math and technology. He incorporates this love of learning into hands-on projects, including a third grade computer project where students research healthy snacks, then add the information to a wiki page. The culmination of the project includes students presenting the research using laptops at the school’s learning fair.The project not only provides students with practical life application, but also gives them experience working in small groups.He notes that the team approach gives kids the chance to ask real life questions like, “How do I work with others to accomplish a goal, [including] someone I don’t agree with?”It’s these experiences that teach kids how to solve real world problems, preparing students for the future.In this way Mr. Buuck is fulfilling his role not only academically, but also spiritually, teaching students how to deal with their problems in Christlike ways. When he sees a student struggling with an issue, his goal is to help them make good choices.“I see students who struggle with a particular issue and then later see them handle it in a better way,” Mr. Buuck explains. “Maybe they get upset and instead of arguing, they talk to me about it.”These are the building blocks that prepare students for real life problems.“It’s our job to teach math, but it’s also our job to teach them to be grown-ups in this world. So whatever social skills I teach, it will give them support no matter what they do. I want them to get to that point—[using] skills that help them succeed.”It’s this approach to education that gives students at Emmanuel St. Michael the building blocks for life, preparing them academically, spiritually, and relationally, just like when Mr. Buuck was a student.“Emmanuel St. Michael Lutheran School offers parents a loving, Christ-centered atmosphere for their child to grow, thrive and learn,” he says.It’s this reason that Paul Buuck’s story has come full circle, investing in the same school where others invested in him, influencing the next generation for Christ.

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Project-Based Learning: Student-Led Projects at Emmaus Produce Hands-On Lessons https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/project-based-learning-student-led-projects-at-emmaus-produce-hands-on-lessons Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:38:21 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/project-based-learning-student-led-projects-at-emmaus-produce-hands-on-lessons After winter break ends, the students at Emmaus Lutheran School come back excited to learn.That’s because Emmaus embarks upon a two-week project based learning unit (PBL), where all grades, K-8th, work on a thematic project the last two hours of the school day.Project based learning’s goal is to actively engage students in a hands-on study by promoting creative thinking and problem solving. Students gain knowledge and enhance their skills by finding new ways to respond to in-depth questions, chosen by each teacher.The students lead the projects and give each other feedback in order to revise their projects. At the end of the two weeks, students present their projects to others at an event known as “Winterim.”For Megan McGehee, fourth grade teacher at Emmaus, project based learning is an exciting way to immerse students in a unit of study. Her class has completed projects on the 50 states, candy experiments, and the Underground Railroad. This year, Mrs. McGehee is tackling another project that will immerse students in math concepts: learning to use fractions and percentages in a pretend business.“The students absolutely love project based learning, she says. “They get incredibly excited when they come back from break knowing they will be completing their two-week projects.”She explains that the impact is longer than the unit, with students mentioning their learning months later.“In fourth grade social studies we briefly discuss the Underground Railroad towards the spring. Students always bring up things they learned during PBL and want to discuss them during our classroom discussions.”It’s student-led learning at its finest, with students seeking answers for questions and taking ownership of what they learn.“PBL impacts students positively by giving them pride and entitlement for the work they are completing,” Mrs. McGehee adds. “The students are able to control the direction of their project, which creates a lot of excitement for the project and for learning overall. Students take pride in their project because they created it from scratch.”Project based learning units change the way teaching happens in the classroom, with students taking the lead and finding their own answers. “For two weeks, students have full control of the project they are completing. The students do have guidelines and a driving question to follow, but the students are the ones who critique their work, give feedback for improvements, and make changes when necessary.”Students take ownership over the project by choosing the means they use to complete the projects, as well as the way they will present their work at the end.Mrs. McGehee’s favorite thing about the project is being able to watch students lead one another through the learning process.“It is wonderful to see how well the students work together when they are the ones that are in control,” she says. “The students manage to divide the work with one another and they all take an active role in completing the tasks. There is not one student that isn’t excited about their project and active in the work.”Students present their projects at the end, showing parents the results of their concentrated study. By giving them ownership and pride over their work, Emmaus is an example of how student-led learning can generate excitement for education in powerful ways.

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Rally for School Choice planned for January 26, 2016 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rally-for-school-choice-planned-for-january-26-2016 Sun, 03 Jan 2016 00:26:16 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rally-for-school-choice-planned-for-january-26-2016 Join us to voice your support for Indiana's school-choice programs.

Download the School Choice Rally Poster

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St. Paul’s Lutheran School Continues Christmas Tradition https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-pauls-lutheran-school-continues-christmas-tradition Wed, 23 Dec 2015 00:14:34 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-pauls-lutheran-school-continues-christmas-tradition The Christmas Eve service at St. Paul’s Lutheran School and Church remains a favorite celebration among families and has been a holiday tradition for generations.With K-8th grade students participating in the children’s musical service at 7 p.m., the hallmark is “The Ungemach,” named after a teacher who wrote the cornerstone piece over 135 years ago in German. Under the direction of Ann Fritz, St. Paul’s music teacher, it is a liturgical selection that has become a tradition for St. Paul’s Lutheran School.“It’s delight and strength are the parts that are done by children alone and parts that are [sung by] the pastor,” Ann Fritz says. It’s this combination of singing responsively between the students and the pastor that makes “The Ungemach” a memorable part of the service.The service also includes student instrumentalists playing handbells, trumpets, flutes, and Orff instruments, adding to the musical variety.“The kids ask, ‘Aren’t we going to do what we did last year?’ And they’re disappointed if we’re not and that means they loved it,” Ann Fritz adds. “They’ve embraced what they’ve done.”But it’s more than just tradition that spurs St. Paul’s to repeat this holiday celebration. There’s also a message behind what they do.“It’s not enough to have a pretty song or cute kids,” Fritz says. ““But strong words, meaty words, that let us know Christ loves us. The words have to have meaning.”The meaning behind the children’s Christmas Eve tradition at St. Paul’s is one reason why it’s become one of the most cherished celebrations of the year.Mrs. Fritz also sees the musical preparation as a key building block for the students’ music education. Practices for the children’s service begin six weeks early. By rehearsing the same music every year, the music program becomes a continuum of learning experiences, starting with kindergartners who learn what a singing voice is and leading up to middle school, where they practice singing parts in the choir.But the learning process is more than just music, notes Mrs. Fritz, “It’s all scripture. It’s wonderful, select prophesies about his birth that are sung. It’s wonderful to have those things in their brain. If they stay here, K-8, they’ll know those things in their mind.”Because of this combination of scripture memorization and music education, students are given an immersive educational experience that impacts those attending the service.Carla Kleinschmidt, admissions counselor at St. Paul’s Lutheran School, adds, “The whole thing about Jesus’ birth is the start of everything for us and our life. It hits us that night. There is a feeling that comes over you.”Mrs. Fritz continues, “We’re not just 1200 people in the building, but we’re part of the communion of saints. When you think of it being done all those years, Christmas Eve is a foretaste of heaven–the joy of receiving God’s gifts and his Word.”For St. Paul’s Lutheran School, it’s this tradition that brings together the church, school, and local community, celebrating Christ’s birth in a holiday tradition that has impacted generations of families.

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Holy Cross Lutheran School makes education dream a reality. https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/holy-cross-lutheran-school-makes-education-dream-a-reality Wed, 23 Dec 2015 00:13:09 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/holy-cross-lutheran-school-makes-education-dream-a-reality When Tim Sutton drove by Holy Cross Lutheran School, he didn’t realize what the future held for his daughter, Violet. All he knew was that something told him to stop at Holy Cross that day.“I see this place all the time,” Mr. Sutton says. “Really it was just coincidence and proximity.”But whether it was coincidence or something more, the outcome of that visit would have a lifelong impact as he met people from Holy Cross Lutheran School.A single dad, Mr. Sutton knew he wanted his daughter in a private school but didn’t think it was possible.“The enrollments were closed,” he explains. “It was halfway through the year. I came down here and within a day they had her enrolled.”This is just one example of how Lutheran Schools go the extra mile to make an education possible for families like the Suttons.Violet’s experience in the prekindergarten program at Holy Cross was positive, giving her the building blocks she needed for school.But when kindergarten enrollment arrived, Mr. Sutton didn’t think he could afford private school. He decided to enroll his daughter in a local school instead, but after a few days he found it wasn’t a good fit for Violet.That was when Shelly Ladwig, Holy Cross preschool director, sprang into action to make sure that Violet could return to school.“She took an active interest and went out of her way,” Mr. Sutton says, noting that she found him at a bus stop. “She asked me, ‘How much would you like [Violet] to come to Holy Cross? I think there’s something we could do.’”This is the one of the ways that the school cares for its students, by making sure students have access to quality education, despite financial obstacles. With the help of the school, they were able to work out the payments and make Lutheran school a reality for Violet. That was the beginning of Holy Cross’s influence on the Sutton family.“In kindergarten we would read a passage out of the Bible every night,” Mr. Sutton explains. “[The Bible] came to my house through her.”That’s when Mr. Sutton, who describes himself as “hesitant to accept religion,” began to notice some changes not only in Violet, but in himself.“It started to slowly change my life,” he explains. “Small things, like taking care of my body, being prompt on my bills, changing my eating. I was in bad shape before.”Later in the school year, Violet talked about her desire to be baptized and Tim decided to do the same. “They asked if I was serious about doing this. I said, yeah, and was baptized with her.” In order to show support for the Suttons, classmates and staff attended the event, celebrating with the family.Janne Ross, admissions counselor at Holy Cross, adds, “It was a real treat to go. All the younger kids stood and sang. It was priceless. This is what Holy Cross is about.”Mr. Sutton adds, “I like the friendships she’s developed here. The staff is always close knit. It’s like a family.”It’s that close community that makes Holy Cross a special place for the Sutton family. Being part of the Holy Cross community provided not only a high quality education for Violet, but something of even greater value as well: the chance to be part of a community that supports families spiritually and relationally.Although the family’s introduction to Holy Cross felt coincidental, some might say it was the plan all along.Even Mr. Sutton admits, “It was dumb luck that we ended up here. It almost seems like it was meant to be.”

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Gifts of Grain https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/gifts-of-grain Tue, 08 Dec 2015 00:54:20 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/gifts-of-grain Maximizing Support of Area Schools with Farming AssetsFor generations, Lutheran schools in our area have been blessed with the support of hardworking Hoosier farmers. The Lutheran Schools, in partnership with Perkins & Kirkman CPAs and Kline's CPA Group, are hosting four lunch presentations to reach our five-county area to illustrate the unique opportunities available to our farming families.All presentations are open to anyone wanting to attend. Find a date that works best for you! Sessions start at 11:30 a.m. with complimentary lunch and end promptly by 1:00 p.m. The dates are below, or click the image to download our flier. 12/7/2015: Zianos Italian Eatery, 10520 Maysville Road, Fort Wayne12/9/2015: St. James Restaurant, 204 E Albion St, Avila12/10/2015: The Galley, 622 N 13th St, Decatur12/14/2015: Sweetwater, Conference Hall 2A, 5501 U.S. 30, Fort Wayne While they say, "there is no such thing as a free lunch", lunch is provided for free and there will not be a request for money. We want to educate area farming families about the opportunities on using portions of a harvest to support schools, both direct gifts and SGO gifts.Plant the seed, hear the pros and cons, spread the word. We would appreciate RSVPs for our food counts by calling me at 260-203-4510or emailing me at jond@tlspartnership.org.

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Critical Friends Can Help Us All https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/critical-friends-can-help-us-all Tue, 01 Dec 2015 17:01:21 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/critical-friends-can-help-us-all Friends care about and want to help each other. Critical friends want the same things but are not afraid to say what needs to be said to help. The Critical Friend Visit process is designed to support both of these objectives in an educational setting.October was very busy for us at TLSP as we began piloting Critical Friend Visits in our schools. Basically, we train principals and teachers from our schools in how to use a specific classroom observation tool, conduct focus groups with teachers and students and determine findings to answer three questions: Do classroom interactions and organization ensure a classroom climate conducive to learning? Is classroom instruction intentional, engaging and challenging for all students? Do teachers regularly assess students' progress toward mastery of key skills and concepts?Sometimes the findings are painful to examine, sometimes they are affirming or encouraging. Yet, all of the findings are discussed and reflected upon. Once priorities are determined, action plans are created that clearly stated the next steps needed to achieve a short-term goal to address a finding from the Critical Friends Visit.We see this process benefiting our schools in three major ways: Building ownership in continuous improvement-- Our schools understand that we should always be trying to get better. Although, it has been difficult to know where to start and how to create manageable goals. Critical Friend Visits provide a structure to establish short-term goals for long-term benefits. Focusing on the art and science of teaching-- When teachers gain experience, they learn the art behind teaching: building relationships with students, making material interesting, knowing when and when not to push students. However, researchers have also discovered universal engagement strategies that all teachers can include when designed their lessons. The science of lesson design is carefully considered during the analysis phase of Critical Friend Visits. Help us develop a shared language-- We have discovered during our initial CFV's that several common education terms have been the focus of debate among our participants. What do we mean when we say cognitive engagement? What would students be doing in a classroom in which differentiation was occurring? What are critical thinking skills? These questions will be answered collectively among our TLSP schools when they choose to participate in Critical Friend Visits. As we develop a common language, we share common experiences and strategies, and truly become a collaborative network.Please pray for us as we expand our list of participating schools. We are beginning with six schools this year, four have already had visits and two more will welcome us in the spring. In the following years, our plan is to add four to six more schools until all have participated in a Critical Friends Visit. We will also continue to support the improvement efforts in schools already engaging in the process.These are challenging times for our students and teachers; yet critical friends visits can provide us with a process and support system to keep our schools academic programs strong and vibrant.God bless,Cindy McKinneyDirector of Academic ExcellenceThe Lutheran Schools Partnershipcindym@tlspartnership.org

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Be Bold! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/be-bold Tue, 24 Nov 2015 19:34:00 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/be-bold Numbers 1-3.

Yeah, I'm pulling out the Old Testament for you today--a section that, if you're like me, you've skimmed through (at best) rather than ponder and meditate upon.

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SGO Tax Credits: Racing Toward the Finish https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-tax-credits-racing-toward-the-finish Thu, 19 Nov 2015 21:30:25 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/sgo-tax-credits-racing-toward-the-finish Last legislative session, the SGO program was given an extra $1 million in tax credits, moving our cap from $7.5 to $8.5 million. That's $2 million more donations in the race. Sounds good, right? We won't run out of credits before the finish line?Well, we are monitoring this race closely. We keep track how the SGO tax credits are used month to month, and recently found something interesting: As of earlier this week, we have about $5.7 million in credits remaining for the current tax year. Seems like plenty of gas to get us through calendar year-end, right? When you look at mid-November last year, we had about $5.7 million remaining then, too. What does this mean? Where did the extra million go? It appears that donors and donations have accelerated to the point of absorbing that extra $1 million in tax credits.If we keep at this pace, we can only guess that credits will run out, and run out sooner than they did last year. Perhaps some donors started the race sooner than last year. Time will tell. It may be a photo finish.We will keep you updated as we race through the year. For the latest information, follow us on Twitter @LutheranSGO and like our Facebook page.

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Meeting specialized needs https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/meeting-specialized-needs Fri, 13 Nov 2015 22:55:00 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/meeting-specialized-needs Lutheran South Unity School Meets Student Needs Through Enrichment Room Triston Richards, a fourth grader at Lutheran South Unity School, is a kid who loves bugs, animals and science. His mom, Debbie, couldn't believe his ability to identify dinosaurs at a young age. But school hasn't always been easy for Triston.In kindergarten and first grade, his teachers noticed he lagged behind other students in reading and began making accommodations for his learning needs. But in third grade, Triston was still struggling and tested at only a first grade reading level.Triston needed specialized help and the enrichment room at Lutheran South Unity School provided the support for Triston's abilities to soar. With a focus on students who have gaps in learning or other deficiencies, including reading, math, or learning disabilities, the enrichment room builds student confidence and makes learning more enjoyable.Lutheran South Unity's enrichment room staffs four teachers to help students with various learning and behavioral needs."We have a full special-education program," teacher Malissa Desormeaux notes. "We have two Title I teachers, one full-time teacher to work with the school's [enrichment program], and others who work with kids with disabilities."This support gives kids like Triston the help they need to gain learning success.Last year Mrs. Desormeaux served as Triston's third-grade teacher before moving into her current role as enrichment room coordinator. She said she noticed Triston's discouragement with learning. "Last year he was down on himself. He felt bad that he was way different than others."The teachers in the enrichment room sprang into action, focusing on Triston's learning deficits in reading, spelling and writing. Carmen Cleaveland, an enrichment room teacher with 18 years of teaching experience, started using new techniques to help the third grader.She tried the Orton-Gillingham teaching method, a multi-sensory approach to improve reading deficiencies. For spelling, she found Triston could successfully spell a word when he finger tapped the letters. Since Triston struggled with the process of getting words into written form, his classroom teachers adapted spelling tests, allowing him to close his eyes, visualize the word, and then spell it audibly to a teacher. Now Tristan's spelling scores have jumped using these new techniques. Mrs. Desormeaux notes, "He's even gotten perfect spelling tests."Once the enrichment room teachers were able to understand Triston's learning needs, they were able to customize their teaching techniques. They also collaborated with his classroom teachers so they could continue the same techniques in class. Volunteers tutored him, reading with him for an additional hour everyday to improve his reading proficiency. Because of the efforts of teachers and staff at LSUS, Triston jumped from a first grade to third grade reading level in one year.This improvement in reading scores has also helped Triston's confidence to soar. He's not embarrassed about his reading anymore."This year his confidence level increased," Mrs. Cleaveland notes. "He enjoys what we're doing more. He is enjoying greater success. His fluency is even better than a month ago. I say, 'Triston do you hear how well you're reading?'That has been so cool to see."Now that Mrs. Desormeaux also works as a full-time enrichment room teacher, she is using techniques like Feuerstein's Instrumental Enrichment method, where students do activities involving dotted lines that they connect into shapes and overlapping patterns. The purpose of these types of activities is intentionally allowing kids to practice certain "brain games" that will build cognitive development. He has found great success with the specialized methods used in the enrichment room.Triston's mom, Debbie, acknowledges that the teachers at Lutheran South Unity have been instrumental to her son's success. They have even taught her ways to help Triston complete homework."The teachers are working with him, for his success," Debbie adds.Triston's success has continued into his fourth grade year, with additional improvements in reading and spelling. Now that he is reading grade-level books, he no longer feels embarrassed about his learning challenges. In fact, he's proud of how far he's come. Lutheran South Unity School has made Triston's learning achievements possible.Mrs. Cleaveland adds, "You can tell he knows that he's improving. His confidence is growing each week."This is the difference that Lutheran South Unity School provides for their students. They meet the needs of students by providing them with the best in enrichment roomresources.But Triston, an avid bug collector, doesn't have to explain that to anyone. You can see it in his smile when he tells you about the latest book he's reading.

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Reformation: All about Jesus! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/reformation-all-about-jesus Thu, 29 Oct 2015 20:12:29 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/reformation-all-about-jesus Christmas and Easter. For many, those are the favorite Christian celebrations. Frankly for some, those two days may be the only times when there is an intentional look at needing Christ.As for the Muehl family, while we enjoy our Christmas and Easter celebrations, we boldly and enthusiastically celebrate the Reformation, too. Why? All three festivals have one thing in common -- they're all about Jesus.At Christmas, we celebrate Jesus' birth. At Easter, we celebrate His redeeming work. Pull out Jesus and what do you have? Jolly elves and candy-totin' bunnies.While Reformation sounds so political, especially in our 2015 world, the Reformation was (and Reformation celebrations are today) all about Jesus. It's about grace, it's about love, it's about forgiveness -- it's about Jesus.For a quick but thoughtful look at Reformation, go to this blog and read!http://blogs.lcms.org/2014/we-are-lutherans-what-does-this-meanLutheran schools are, well, Lutheran. Celebrating Reformation and knowing its history, its cast of characters, its impact on the Church and its ongoing emphasis on the saving work of Jesus are necessary elements of knowing who we are and why we do what we do. No doubt our schools are about academics, about learning social skills and about holistic growing up. But ultimately, we're about Jesus.Lutheran or not, I encourage you to dive in to the Reformation this week. It just might change, uh, reform you.Peace and joy,Mark Muehl, Director

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Download our Annual Report https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/download-our-annual-report Fri, 23 Oct 2015 22:08:36 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/download-our-annual-report Did you know? Hundreds of teachers, students, administrators and parents participated in leadership-development workshops led by Tim Elmore (www.growingleaders.com). 90 Lutheran teachers participated in an engaging week of IMPACT activities. New three-day seminars have been developed to promote best practices in teaching. Schools were assisted in selecting math and social studies curricula. 100% of our Board of Directors financially contributed to the Partnership of the Lutheran SGO of Indiana. Advancement staff from our member schools now regularly meet for collaboration and encouragement. In the past year, gifts to the Lutheran SGO of Indiana totaled $2.6 million. The Admissions Toolkit was updated for admissions professionals, with expanded sections on public relations, school choice, and social media. Four skills-based workshops were presented to admissions counselors and principals. Enrollment is at its highest since 2004!Download our 2014-2015 Annual Report to learn more about what The Lutheran Schools Partnership is doing to strengthen Lutheran education across our region, and get a preview of what's to come in 2015-2016.

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Lutherans Nominated for Foellinger Foundation Stewardship Award https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutherans-nominated-for-foellinger-foundation-stewardship-award Mon, 19 Oct 2015 19:42:10 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutherans-nominated-for-foellinger-foundation-stewardship-award For the past 9 years, the Foellinger Foundation has encouraged nonprofits in Allen County to nominate an outstanding board member for the annual Stewardship Award.All nominees are recognized in various news media and at a special luncheon and awards ceremony in October. The Foundation will then chose one winner from the dozens of nominees, with the recipient's organization will receive a Foellinger Foundation grant of $15,000 for operating support and up to $10,000 for special board development training.This year The Lutheran Schools Partnership nominated board member John Weber. John, currently serves as the Director of Advancement for Central Lutheran School, is nearing the end of his second term at TLSP and has promoted us through his utilization of the services of the organization, his dedication to the organization in time and talents, and in his public support of the organization. His shared vision of TLSP with the executive director is a treasured encouragement for the growth of the organization.In addition, The Lutheran SGO of Indiana was eligible for the first time to nominate a board member and chose Eric Trauner, its Secretary/Treasurer. Eric is valued for his ability to succinctly state the obvious while also expressing candor toward worrisome situations. Some of his favorite phrases heard around the board table are: "Let's address the elephant in the room...", "... to avoid the Johnny-come-lately...", "Don't want to be front-page news", among others. The Lutheran SGO board values his objective and open review of operational activities.Please join me in congratulating these two distinguished leaders. Our Lutheran nominees exemplify the highest standards of board service and stewardship, as identified by BoardSource's Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards: Determine mission and purpose. Select the chief executive. Support and evaluate the chief executive. Ensure effective planning. Monitor and strengthen programs and services. Ensure adequate financial resources. Protect assets and provide financial oversight. Build a competent board. Ensure legal and ethical integrity. Enhance the organization's public standing.Read more about the award and see the list of past winners, at http://www.foellinger.org/events/stewardship. We encourage your school or nonprofit to nominate an outstanding board member next year.Helping advance Lutheran education,Jon Dize

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The 7 Rs of Successful Fundraising https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-7-rs-of-successful-fundraising Mon, 12 Oct 2015 19:55:42 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-7-rs-of-successful-fundraising Fundraising is a process; it takes planning.Perhaps I should add, successful fundraising is a process. Sure, you can "hope for the best", "just put it out there", "hey, let's tell the congregation that if everyone donated $100..."The shotgun approach does hit something; heck, even I was successful at my first time skeet shooting with a shotgun. It does not mean I will ever hit a duck this season.Below are the "7-Rs" of any successful fundraising process.Read along with me: "It takes the... Right Person(Principal? Fundraising staff? Board chair?) ...asking the Right Person(How are they linked to you?) ...for the Right Amount(Ask too much and they shoo you away; ask too little, and that is what you get!) ...at the Right Time(Year-end? After April 15? They will tell you. Make sure you listen!) ...for the Right Reason(Do they like scholarships? New computers? What's it for?) ...in the Right Way(Does a letter work? Should you ask in person? is Giving Tuesday "for them"?) ...with the Right Vehicle(Do they understand endowments? Do they need the income from a charitable gift annuity? Is a capital campaign in your future?)BONUS-R: ... Right Now. (You can't receive if you don't ask. Period.)Everything with successful fundraising hinges on these Rs. Miss your mark on one or more of them, and your gift may not happen, or may not happen at the level you need.On the other hand, if you plan your fundraising efforts with these principles in mind, your success is much more likely. Want to talk it through? Give me a call or send me a quick email to schedule a time to talk about your school's fundraising initiatives.Helping advance Lutheran education,Jon Dize

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Monday means good news for Lutheran schools! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/monday-means-good-news-for-lutheran-schools Tue, 06 Oct 2015 05:39:31 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/monday-means-good-news-for-lutheran-schools Monday has arrived. The weekend is over and the reality of a new work week ahead has hit.Are you primed for a great week, or are you going to let Monday get you down?How about some good news to get your Monday rolling?Enrollment for our region's 18 Lutheran schools (17 elementary schools, plus Concordia Lutheran High School) has reached its highest enrollment since 2003-2004!Enrollment is now at 4,117, an increase of 69 students over last year's increased enrollment (4,048). This is the highest enrollment since the 2003-2004 school year, when there were 23 area Lutheran schools compared to our 18 schools of today.Compared to last year, eight schools have increased enrollment (CLHS, Emmaus and Concordia having the biggest increases), two schools have exactly the same enrollment, and eight schools saw a drop in enrollment.Looking into the numbers, there are 196 more Indiana Choice Scholarship students this year in our schools, bringing the total to nearly 1,900 total voucher recipients.Outside Fort Wayne, only two of our seven schools experienced an enrollment increase, and only one of these had a significant increase (St. John-Kendallville).Why celebrate increasing enrollment? More kids attending Lutheran schools means... Sharing Christ to students and families. What does this look like? Compassionate care at the death of loved ones. Baptisms of kids from the schools. Worship and prayer. Reaching out to the community--near and far--with mission projects. Increasing awareness of the value of Lutheran education for Indiana kids, Lutheran and non-Lutheran alike. Mike Rosin, principal of Concordia on Lake said, "Word gets around. What I've heard from parents of new students is that they heard about us from others who have their children here." Translation: The best advertising for our schools is those families who have children in our schools. Opportunities to expand. Many of our schools are considering expansion, or are in process of renovating or building. What thoughts have been given to expanding capacity so to reach more kids with our schools? What about starting a new Lutheran school?!What else comes to mind? Share your thoughts with me.Let's be sure we are doing all we can to care for all in our schools, provide a strong education, and be bold in sharing Christ in and out of the classroom.Mr. Rosin went on to say, "I believe that if you stay faithful to what the Lord asks, then you will have a place where parents want their kids to be."That's Lutheran education. Faithful to Christ. Focused on the needs of kids and families. For you.Peace and joy,Mark MuehlDirector

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Rah Rah Re... Kick 'em in the Knee! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rah-rah-re-kick-em-in-the-knee Wed, 30 Sep 2015 21:53:31 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rah-rah-re-kick-em-in-the-knee It's the time of year again when I expect to find a flyer in my mailbox for the Hillsdale College Homecoming weekend... the annual invitation to come watch the Chargers play football, join the tailgate beforehand, enjoy the tent party after, attend the class celebrations, etc.Seems universities have the system down; they had us for 4+ years, and then they try and keep us connected via mailings and engage us with returns to campus, news on current students, articles from favorite profs, etc. I always joke that our alma maters have our social security numbers and therefore can find us when they want to.I still believe today as I did in 2013 when I shouted from the top of the bleachers that our K-12 schools could be just as successful engaging their own alumni. With many of our schools averaging 100+ years of continuous operation, one can imagine the possible roster.Who do we ask to join the team? I presented a webinar for the Lutheran Education Association in 2014 on the Xs and Os of engaging your alumni. Below are a few highlight reels from the presentation: Alumni represent your past and should be the foundation of your school's future. Don't forget the "& Friends" in "Alumni & Friends." Include parents, grandparents, etc. It's not easy. It takes time, it takes a plan, it takes someone to own the process, and it takes a database, or you never make it to the end zone before the game ends. You must connect first and ask for money later; try a fleaflicker, and you are asking for a personal foul! Here's a Fight Song to help remember the process: You should not Ask if you have not Engaged. You cannot Engage if you have not Connected. You cannot Connect if you do not have a Database. You cannot have the Database if you have not done the work to Collect names, addresses, etc. You cannot Collect the names, addresses, etc. if you do not Start.Think your school is dropping the pass by not starting now to engage alumni? Let me know. There are a few of our Partner schools doing a great job running up the middle and finding those alumni. I would be glad to share their game day strategies.Helping advance Lutheran education,Jon Dize

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Tootin' the Horn https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tootin-the-horn Mon, 21 Sep 2015 21:33:56 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tootin-the-horn I have never been one to like center stage. I enjoy my role as the "man behind the curtain", planning the event, orchestrating movements, and scripting the songs for school leaders to take the limelight. (At the Partnership, we like the bass rather than the lead, the off-beats rather than the downbeats.)[caption id="attachment_1042" align="alignright" width="150"] Time Life photo[/caption]Periodically, however, we like to illuminate recent successes where our advancement services helped one of our Partner schools. Recently Emmaus Lutheran was revising their fundraising needs. Not planning more bake sales mind you, but assessing how they should jazz-up their advancement work to help meet their 2015-16 financial goals. We met with their financial committee to sound out ideas and concerns, then began to compose a systematic advancement plan designed for success.As we crafted the best arrangement, there was an important stanza missing from the score: outside grant funding to kick-start the plan. Using the Partnership's experience and connections, we worked with key staff, researched options, met with gatekeepers, applied, and eventually received over $60,000 in funding! The grant will help underwrite a plan that now includes a database consultant and a Director of Major and Planned Giving -- two key positions to set the stage for a successful future.Have we worked with your school leadership yet? Send me a note. Mark likes to ensure that my bookings stay full and steady.Helping advance Lutheran education,Jon Dize

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Secret Shoppers for Schools? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/secret-shoppers-for-schools Wed, 16 Sep 2015 14:43:46 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/secret-shoppers-for-schools Over the years, you have seen my posts about the importance of meeting the Endowment Match Challenge available from The Lutheran Foundation. You have also heard my spiel on the importance of donor relations, proper and prompt gift acknowledgements, following donor intent, etc.Last February, The Lutheran Schools Partnership initiated a "Secret Shopper" experiment and donated $20 each to our 17 elementary Partner schools. Our "donor" was an alumnus with a fictitious name but a real Fort Wayne address.Our goals were to track the following results: Did schools send a gift acknowledgement? How quickly schools responded with an acknowledgement? What sort of acknowledgement was sent? Was the gift was added to their school endowment match?We found the results very interesting: 12 of the 17 schools (70%) sent us an acknowledgement. Of those thank you letters/cards (some were hand-written by staff!), most were received within two weeks, with six of them received within a week. A response time between two days and two weeks would receive an "A" in my grade book! Donors want to know that their gift was received, appreciated, and used for the purpose intended, and a speedy reply is always noticed.In addition to the gift details, the receipts and thank-you letters should also have certain language that the donor's accountant would appreciate, as well. For school leaders wanting to ensure their gift policies and procedures are up-to-date, give me a call or send a quick email. You can also view this Charitable Deduction Primer from our friends at Baden Gage & Schroeder LLC:P.S. Will we continue our Secret Shopper effort? What do you think?

Photo credit: United States Library of Congress,NAVY DEPARTMENT, U.S. BINOCULARS

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Words: A blessing and a curse https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/words-a-blessing-and-a-curse Tue, 15 Sep 2015 18:37:15 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/words-a-blessing-and-a-curse "[The tongue] is a restless evil, full of deadly poison...from the same mouth come blessing and cursing." (James 3)Guilty as charged? James's words are a harsh reality. This verse is also similar to Paul's fret, "I can will what is right but I cannot do it, for the evil I do not want is what I do."Last week, I heard colleagues' concern about my attitude and outlook. They had read in last week's newsletter about my worries over state politics, including Indiana's ability (or inability) to stand strong for religious liberty and the lives of the unborn. They heard more woe than peace when I talked about Jeremiah last week. My statements of concern about the morals and ethics of the day seemed to outweigh the hopeful promise of God expressed through Jeremiah: "I know the plans I have for you..." Even though I wanted my words to be of caution and action, the words came out as gloomy and hopeless.There you go. Words can be blessings and curses.So here are my thoughts this week after worshiping Sunday morning, after being at a strong Indiana Non-Public School Association Administrators' conference, and after a weekend of reflection and renewal. These words are meant to be hopeful, but also express our need for reflection and action. Lutheran schools must be uniquely Lutheran. Can YOU define that principle? It was quite obvious this week when our Lutheran baptismal theology rang loud and clear through the tragedies of CLHS. While sin shows it's ugly head with death and hardships, the peace that Jesus' redemptive work gives to His people lift them and carry them through the valleys of life. Jesus' needs to be the focus of all we do. Not feeling good, not pats on the back, not a community of care. It's about Christ and how life in Christ affects all we do. Lutheran schools must be filled with rich learning experiences: Christmas services, mission trips, off-campus study. Experiences that leverage technology (even robots!), teacher collaboration, and best practices. Experiences that include what it means to be a community of believers that encourages CLHS, or that faithfully and joyously supports Woodburn Lutheran School's Blue and White Banquet. Lutheran Schools must be places of safety and nurture. Christ must show in our actions and words of love. His love should ensure that kids in our schools will know the loving arms of our Savior through rules and procedures that support safe and secure learning environments. This includes our words; words of nurture and not words of harm. This includes standards of conduct that demonstrate respect for the teaching/learning process, for adults and classmates, and even for the facility.Blessings to you as support Lutheran education.Peace and joy,Mark MuehlDirector

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Can you hear Jeremiah calling? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/can-you-hear-jeremiah-calling Tue, 08 Sep 2015 10:39:06 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/can-you-hear-jeremiah-calling I talked to a modern "Jeremiah" today. (Okay, that's not this real name, but humor me!) He may not be the Jeremiah of the Old Testament, but he sure spoke like him. He's not quite as young as that Old Testament prophet was, but his exuberance is just as strong.The Jeremiah of the Bible prophesied with certainty; his words were delivered to him by God. My modern "Jeremiah"? He's connected to God by the very water and Word that connects each of the redeemed to Christ. My listening ear heard echoes of the haunting caution that God delivered through Jeremiah to Judah (though they did not listen). Like the Old Testament prophet, my "Jeremiah" has no doubt been inspired to speak the truth with conviction.When I talked to "Jeremiah" today, we talked life. This wasn't "How are the kids?", "How's your work?" kind of life talk. This was LIFE talk -- deep conversation about life lived in the shadow of the cross, life lived in opposition to the decaying culture around us, life that moves God's people to acts of courage and conviction.When the Old Testament Jeremiah spoke, it wasn't pleasant talk. The prophet spoke about repentance -- real life-changing, turn-around-living repentance, not just a sheepish "I'm sorry." The Bible's Jeremiah talked about the power of God, the Creator of all things. He talked about the pending destruction of Judah if they would not repent. Such harsh proclamations and stern warnings marked Jeremiah as a prophet of doom.One could think the same about my "Jeremiah" today. He spoke of how American society is beginning to equate Christianity with hate speech and discrimination. He described how, in a very short time, traditional marriage has been framed as old fashioned and impractical -- certainly no better than other kinds of "love." Religious liberty? Beliefs might be practiced in private, but there's no longer a place for faith in public life. Life in the womb? Not valued. Protecting others? Even our policemen are targeted while serving us.This modern "Jeremiah" and I talked about strategies for believers in such times. What should we do? What should we say? How should we live? Should we give in to the prevailing culture that's increasingly hostile to our faith? After all, there's nothing we can do, right? There's no hope. My Jeremiah confidently answered, "No. There is hope."As we talked, I heard echoes of the Old Testament Jeremiah's words of confident hope spoken at many confirmation rites: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11-13).My contemporary "Jeremiah" said it is time for us to repent. It's time for us to seek God with all our hearts.We are all guilty of apathy. Too few of us have spoken up to protest the killing of tens of millions of pre-born children by abortion, even after recent videos documented the barbaric harvesting of their organs for financial gain. Too few of us have spoken up in defense of religious liberty, even in the face of real and present threats acknowledged by the U.S. Solicitor General and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. We must repent.As believers in Jesus Christ, we can no longer ignore the signs of the times. It is time to repent, to pray, and to act. For starters, I suggest the following: Immerse yourself and your family in the resources God gives to each of us. Go to church every weekend and bring your family. This is no simple request. Worship is needed -- it's where God's gifts are -- His Word and the Sacraments. Don't neglect them. "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12). We need something more than our mortal selves in this battle. Share the faith with your family, and go beyond "Jesus loves me." Share the substance and power of the Gospel. Teach them a mature faith. Show them how to live life as a sacrifice of love in His name. Make your voice heard. Last year, state legislators told me that they were beat up by opponents of school choice, but rarely heard from us. We will not let that happen again, will we? In the weeks to come, we will deliver content that you can share. I hope you will share boldly and speak up with confidence. Partner with groups who advocate for what is right and good and just. For instance, join me in supporting Lutherans for Life.Build up your Lutheran school leaders with words of support. Our Lutheran teachers and school administrators are vital allies in raising up the next generation of believers. Encourage them. Talk to your pastor. Ask for information about being a strong Christian at home, at work, and in the community. Dust off your copy of Luther's Small Catechism. Luther wrote it for you.I hope you hear Jeremiah calling out to you. It's a call for action.Peace and joy,Mark MuehlDirector

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Everyone calls him Maurice https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/everyone-calls-him-maurice Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:19:18 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/everyone-calls-him-maurice Not long ago, The Lutheran Schools Partnership started advocating for our Partner schools to hire Enrollment Coordinators to help boost community connections, marketing, and enrollment. And it worked. A majority of our schools now have at least a part-time staffer dedicated to these tasks, and the total enrollment for our 18 schools have increased year-over-year.And now we are also advocating the hiring of Advancement Coordinators. While a staple at universities, hospitals, other established non-profits, paid fundraising staff are still rare at our K-8 schools; however, this new concept is catching on, the hiring someone to provide the leadership, and success, for fundraising that our Partner schools will need today and tomorrow. We are not talking about bake sales here, folks, but someone to own the philanthropic activities and lead a dedicated, systematic fundraising program.And Lutheran South Unity School joins the growing list of schools with fundraising staff. As of last Monday, thanks to a grant from The Lutheran Foundation, LSUS hired Pastor Maurice King, Sr.As the new Lead Executive for Advancement, Maurice will eventually be responsible for all-things advancement, including strategic planning, annual giving, SGO giving, planned giving, endowment giving, database management, etc. Having served previously as a police officer in Mississippi, a Special Agent for the Department of Justice, and most recently as pastor of Promise Land Church in the Hanna-Creighton neighborhood, these life experiences coupled with his degree in Journalism has given him a love and passion for working with and for children.In my role at TLSP, I look forward to working with Maurice, partnering with him as he grows in his role at LSUS and augmenting his skill set with advancement processes and techniques.Will hiring paid fundraising staff increase success at your school? It has worked for Emmaus and Central Lutheran schools, and LSUS can give us a report card this time next year.To be continued...

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Focus on fundamentals https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/focus-on-fundamentals Fri, 21 Aug 2015 20:54:32 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/focus-on-fundamentals While the greatest game ever devised by man continues to offer excitement into October (uh, yeah ... that's baseball), football is also knocking on the door of my attention.So, I make my daily contact with Packers.com and peruse the latest PR from the greatest sports team on earth, the Green Bay Packers. This week, reading through the daily "Ask Vic" column, I read this:"If you focus your team on fundamentals early in the season, you can open the playbook late in the season and go to a higher level. Blocking and tackling first, scheme second. That's how you peak a team."Ah yes, Vince Lombardi would have loved that quote!Does the notion of focusing on fundamentals resonate with your school? What are the fundamentals that are part and parcel of the halls and classrooms of your school? Selfless love for one another? Respect for adults and classmates? Hard work that creates strong character?What about your home? What are the fundamentals of your parenting? Similar to the list above?Last year when Tim Elmore was here, he cautioned adults about various pitfalls in parenting, and many of the same pitfalls might be encountered at school. Summarized, his warning was to avoid making kids the center of attention. Take some time to read his blog on this. It's not the heresy that you may think!So what are your fundamentals? If we define fundamentals as something essential for life, may I suggest the following? Life in Christ has a reality and impact that permeates all that one does and thinks. What God has shared in the Bible provides peace and understanding in a confused, sin-sick world. Always wear "eternal perspective" glasses. Christ's love for me, demonstrated on the cross, calls me to love my neighbor in both word and action. If I am to be the "temple" that is described in the Bible, I need to stay connected to Christ through His Word, His Sacraments and prayer. I need to take care of myself: body, mind and spirit.What do your fundamentals look like? Does your school share similar fundamentals? How do your actions reflect these fundamentals?I look forward to your responses!

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That's enough https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thats-enough Fri, 14 Aug 2015 04:49:07 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thats-enough Have you ever uttered that phrase? It usually comes after a litany of troublesome issues -- knees that just can't seem to go on. Weight that goes on to one's body; well, because the knees just seem to hurt too much. The politics of the workplace start overriding the joy of the tasks at hand. Your good name, your name as Christian, gets thrown through the mud. Relationships seem stressed, and distance makes it more difficult to cure those ills. Then there's the realities of a culture that works antagonistically against longtime, tried-and-true morals and values of respect and protecting life and responsible contributions to one's neighbor. There are so many burdens in this life -- sometimes we just say, "That's enough."So what does a Christian do? You heed the Savior's plea and come to Him being "weak and heavy laden." You come to church to be fed on the very Bread of Life, seeking to be strengthened by Christ, who is the Bread of Heaven, who gives us all we need. Oh the frustration when instead of hearing that "the journey is too great for you (1 Kings 19)" and God providing the food needed to strengthen you, you instead hear about your responsibilities to the team, how the team will pick you up and how your contribution to the team will be a legacy maker. Ugh -- if enough wasn't enough, here comes more!I'm so thankful for this past Lord's Day and being given the very Bread of Heaven to strengthen and sustain me. God's words to Elijah are the needed "pick me up" -- not just words of comfort ("the journey is too great for you" so He fed me with His Word), but also gave me His very Body in Holy Communion. God's food, His very Son, sustains for life here and life eternal.Will this make the journey easier? I doubt it. On this side of heaven, I expect challenges from the world and that old Adam inside of me. I expect new problems to come up this year. But just as Elijah "went in the strength of that food for 40 nights," so I trust that this food from heaven will sustain me beyond kind words and pats on the back. His Word is a blessing to me and a blessing to others.Here comes a new school year! Students will deal with new content to grasp, changes in relationships, and just trying to grow into those ever changing bodies. School board members will deal with finances, policies, and staff changes. Teachers will learn 25 (or more) new students' learning styles and characteristics and deal with the ever-changing world of education. And principals -- well, they'll deal with all of it!Our friends, family, and team are gifts God gives to us. But don't look to them for your strength. They're needing to look for the same strength as you are. Look forward to this school year while "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus is what we share in our schools. Not doing the right thing or making a difference in the world. Those will come. Those will come as our kids and families hear about Jesus -- our Savior, our Redeemer, our bread of Heaven.

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And so goes the SGO https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/and-so-goes-the-sgo Wed, 15 Jul 2015 21:31:53 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/and-so-goes-the-sgo All of last year, we were warning our member schools of the impending snowball: as more schools joined our SGO, as more donors supported the program, and as existing donors increased their gifts, SGO support would grow exponentially.And it did so. We closed the year with more than $2.6 million in SGO donations, well over the $1.4 million raised in the previous school year.Working with the Institute for Quality Education in Indianapolis and the Indiana Non-Public Education Association, and working with our member schools to get the word out to parents, we made our case to Indiana legislators that the SGO program needed more credits, for we knew we would run out.And we did so. By mid-June, we were returning SGO gifts, encouraging donors to resend them after July 1.Now, only two weeks into the new fiscal year, more than $300,000 in credits across the state are already gone. This pace is over a month ahead of schedule as compared with last year's gifts. What does this mean? Even with $8.5 million in available credits this year, nearly 4 percent have been taken in two weeks. That snowball is picking up speed again. Even with the bump in credits, will we run out again this year?We think so. School, church, and lay leaders: start planning your SGO fundraising efforts. Donors: consider when you'll support the program sooner rather than later. We thank our 49 member schools that trust us to manage their SGO programs, and we thank the hundreds of donors who make a quality, Christian education possible for thousands of students.

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Join us for a cracker jack night https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/join-us-for-a-cracker-jack-night Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:53:23 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/join-us-for-a-cracker-jack-night Put it on your calendar: This year's Lutheran Night at the TinCaps is set for Saturday, August 29. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. You won't want to miss the fireworks, ZOOperstars, and more!Like last season, the Tin Caps will donate $1 from each ticket sold in advance (no later than July 17) to a worthy cause. This year's recipient is Lutheran Social Services of Indiana's Cup of Kindness program. Cup of Kindness provides case management, financial assistance such as help with heating costs during cold winter months, help with budgeting, and prayer.New to this year, we're also teaming up with Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County to conduct a food drive during Lutheran Night at the TinCaps. Please bring some nonperishable food items to the game to donate to the Associated Churches Neighborhood Food Network. Because of drives such as the one we're planning, the Neighborhood Food Network was able to serve 1,629,105 meals in 2014 alone!Your help could have a large impact on the success of this Lutheran Night at the TinCaps. Attached is a flyer with the information for this season's event. Last season, you helped raise more than $2,000 for the Lutheran SGO of Indiana. We hope to top that amount this year, but we can't do it without your helpPlease remember that you must order your tickets by July 17 to generate the donation from the TinCaps. Advance orders will also be entered in the early-bird drawing for chances at autographed team apparel, $50 gift certificates, and the opportunity to throw out a first pitch.If you have any questions or need more information, don't hesitate to call Justin Schurley at (260) 407-2808. Additional flyers, posters, and bulletin inserts will be available upon request. If possible, please add Lutheran Night at the TinCaps to your church's event calendar. Feel free to make copies of the order form to distribute to your congregation.Thanks to the members of our Lutheran impact group for sponsoring this Lutheran Night at the Tin Caps: Lutheran Social Services of Indiana, Lutheran Life Villages, Concordia Theological Seminary, Concordia Lutheran High School, Cross Connections, The Lutheran Schools Partnership, the Indiana District-LCMS, and The Lutheran Foundation.

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Focusing on 'the main thing' https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/focusing-on-the-main-thing Fri, 26 Jun 2015 15:28:06 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/focusing-on-the-main-thing My last e-newsletter contained three reflections of the 2014-15 school year and took a glimpse at the 2015-16 school year. For this e-newsletter, I asked our principals for their reflections on the 2014-15 school year. Here are some of the responses: We're blessed by the atmosphere of a close Christian family of folks who love each other and take care of each other. We had seven baptisms this past year (school children and families), continued growing enrollment, the blessings of new staff, and enjoy a talented and caring pastoral leadership. Growing "team." Experienced the richness of forgiveness as we continue to learn to live with each other coming from our diverse backgrounds as sinners and saints, baptisms taking place because children and their families hear the Good News of this forgiveness, and the forgiveness we share as staff with each other as we serve together to bless families by being and becoming the best school we can be for our families. Blessings of growth-we've increased by just over 100 students in the last eight years. The blessings of almost $500,000 raised in pledges for our building expansion, our school auction raising $40,000 for technology (more than double last year's return), and the joy that with enrollment growth comes more students and families to share Christ with. Wonderful, dedicated, and caring teachers and great students who, combined, make the school a special place to be. We're young and growing, the experience of chapel four days a week, "Learn by Heart" memory program, and a faculty that works as a team and understands ministry. The students and the partnership with the parents.Why share this? Why should the 1,200 people on our email list, our friends on Facebook, our Twitter followers, and visitors to our website be witness to this list?TLSP has thrown a lot at our schools in the past six years. Advancement issues, curriculum mapping, social media presence, and so much more have been shared as initiatives and best practices for schools to adopt. On more than one occasion, frustration has been shared. And when there's so much to consider and it seems burdensome, it's easy to be stuck in the trap of inadequacy and failure.What's quite striking about this list is the emphasis on ministry. Our connection with state accreditation and state accountability may so overcome our concerns that in the day-to-day efforts of school ministry, we forget to remember our uniqueness-sharing the Gospel with our students, families, church, and community.Our principals rightly list baptisms, forgiveness, and "blessings" as the key celebrations of the year. The uniqueness of our schools is sharing faith in Jesus. With eyes focused on mission, sharing that message of a loving God who died for all our failures is the motivator for our schools, the message that we share, and the healing power for kids and families in our care.2015-16 is going to be a challenging year. But with eyes focused on the cross, we'll keep the main thing the main thing, and at year's end, we'll celebrate all of God's blessings again.

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Curriculum mapping is taking root https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/curriculum-mapping-is-taking-root Thu, 18 Jun 2015 21:53:22 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/curriculum-mapping-is-taking-root Almost five years ago, TLSP determined it was necessary for our schools to begin the curriculum-mapping process. National Lutheran School Accreditation (NLSA) was going to include this as a requirement for accreditation, and since all our schools were NLSA members, this was a proactive move. An online curriculum-management system was purchased for all our schools, and each school sent two faculty members to a daylong training on how to begin entering information into the program. After training, those faculty members were then responsible for leading the process back in their own buildings.Several months into the process, our schools kind of stalled. They wondered about the value of spending so much time entering this data and felt as if they were just reinventing the wheel since their textbooks already provided a scope and sequence. They spoke with colleagues working in public-school settings who told them "this, too, shall pass" as they mapped once and never got back to it. Some schools halted the process, others pressed on, but all were questioning the value of curriculum mapping in general.Fast-forward, and the differences are truly notable. Here are three observations I've made in the past five years that demonstrate how far our schools have come:We're trying to find ways to integrate mapping into our daily routines. During a recent lead-teacher meeting (these are the teachers who were trained initially and lead mapping in their schools), one teacher talked about keeping her maps open on a tab in her browser every day as a way to remind her to keep referencing them. It was encouraging to hear of her commitment, but exciting to hear other lead teachers talk about what else can be done to make mapping more important to us daily.We're beginning to see it as a process instead of a product. As schools have plugged away at entering curriculum information into their maps, I have heard many say, "We don't what to map our books," or "We want to map our curriculum first, then choose the resources we want." These are true indicators that our teachers are beginning to see that their maps are living documents that can be used to make their curricula even stronger. And they also understand that they're never really done mapping.Since many of our schools are in the second phase of mapping, which is about refining the quality of the maps, we're asking for time to talk about our maps with each other. This is the core of the mapping cycle. Teachers map, then talk, then map, then talk. As they talk, they begin to see what they can change or add to their own maps. Or, the entire staff makes a commitment to focus on one area of content or instruction.So much progress in five years! I want to extend a special thanks to all our lead teachers, who have worked hard to help mapping take root in our schools. These teachers are true blessings in their schools and should be applauded for their commitment and dedication. Thank you, teachers!Ascension Lutheran School-Katie ErvinBethlehem Lutheran School-Amy KoppCentral Lutheran School-Danielle White, Elizabeth RenwaltConcordia Lutheran School-Angie Owen, Shelly DavisEmmanuel-St. Michael-Alicia LevittEmmaus Lutheran School-Stacey DurlacherHoly Cross Lutheran School-Becky SchroederLutheran South Unity School-Sheila Nehrenz, Susan MittelstaedtSt. John-Emmanuel Lutheran School-Heidi Dancy, Sharon WhiteSt. John Lutheran-Melissa Monn, Linda AtzSt. Paul's Lutheran School-Adrianne Mannigel, Jennifer KriegSt. Peter's Lutheran School-Holly EhleSt. Peter-Immanuel-Sarah WeberSuburban Bethlehem School-Rachael Johnson, Amy GreenerWoodburn Lutheran School-Sarah FleekWyneken Memorial Lutheran School-Amber Franz, Mickey MartinZion Lutheran School-Anna Selzer

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Seven percent makes the donor happy https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/seven-percent-makes-the-donor-happy Thu, 18 Jun 2015 00:09:30 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/seven-percent-makes-the-donor-happy I started to title this article, "The Credits are Gone!" By the time you read this, we should be out of SGO credits. Think about that for a moment ... $7.5 million in SGO credits has been awarded in less than 12 months. That translates to $15 million in scholarship donations for nonpublic schools in Indiana. Starting July 1, thanks to our Indiana legislators, we'll have an increase to $8.5 million in SGO credits available for distribution.I changed the title after finishing a phone call with one of our faithful donors to the Lutheran SGO of Indiana's general funds. He has been making online monthly donations for several years to help students enjoy a quality, Christian education in Indiana. I suggested that he wait until July 1 for his usual donation; he attended parochial school as a child, and while he enjoys helping to provide the same opportunity for Indiana families, he also greatly appreciates the tax credit.After sharing his appreciation of the advance notice, he hesitated and then asked another question: "Hey, Jon, can you tell me how much of my donation goes to salaries, fees, and other costs?" He said he'd read in the news about agencies that charge excessive fees for fundraising. "I certainly trust you guys," he continued, "but, well, can you give me a rough number?"We always appreciate questions such as this one; not only does it indicate a certain level of trust and respect, but it also indicates that donors want to ensure their support has the the greatest impact for students. "Why, yes, I can tell you exactly how much our fees are ... 7 percent!" I responded.I went on to explain that while Indiana places a limit of 10 percent on administration fees, The Lutheran SGO has operated on less than 7 percent since it opened its doors in 2012. "Ninety-three percent of every gift is available as scholarships for students!" I told him."Wonderful!" the donor replied, "that's exactly what I wanted to hear. I will double-up my donation on July 1."That's exactly what we wanted to hear, too.

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Welcome Aboard! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/welcome-aboard Thu, 28 May 2015 16:19:36 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/welcome-aboard During our 2015 delegate meeting on May 11, we welcomed a new member to the TLSP board, Mark Roemke. Here's an introduction to Mark and a bit about our eight returning board members.Mark Roemke is a farmer and an active member of Zion Lutheran Church in Woodburn. Mark's family has deep roots in Lutheran schools. "My grandchildren are the fifth generation to attend Woodburn Lutheran School. I feel it is the utmost importance that we promote and continue to support our schools. I believe that TLSP is a gift, as well as a tool, for our schools to use for spreading the Word and creating excellent academics."Returning board members include:Stephanie Paradine works for the development office at Concordia Lutheran High School and is a member of Concordia on Lake. "I know firsthand The Lutheran Schools Partnership's resources and find them extremely valuable to the future success of our area schools," Stephanie says.Beth Kitson is a financial associate with Thrivent Financial and a member of Zion-Friedheim Lutheran Church in Decatur. Reflecting on her family's involvement with Lutheran schools and the benefits derived, Beth says, "Lutheran Schools continue to keep Christ at the center of it all. Now it is my generation's turn. I'm excited to promote our Lutheran Schools and advance the learning opportunities for our children."Zach Hayden is a small-business owner and member of St. John in Kendallville. Zach is a product of Lutheran schools and finds them even more vital to the Church than ever before. "The world is getting more and more hostile to Christianity, and that is going to make the work Lutheran schools do even more important and more difficult. It's at these times we need to make sure we're standing firm and preparing the next generation of Christian soldiers!"John Weber is assistant principal and director of advancement for Central Lutheran School in New Haven. Lutheran education is in his DNA. He considers Lutheran education to be "vital in our mission to share the Gospel to all" and TLSP "will enhance our ability to fulfill the Great Commission."Heidi Adair is an attorney for Beers Mallers Backs & Salin and an active member of Emmanuel Lutheran in Fort Wayne. Lutheran education, elementary and high school, is "one of the biggest blessings and sources of support to our family," Heidi says.Axel Gruen is principal of St. John-Emmanuel Lutheran School and a member of St. John Lutheran Church (Flatrock). TLSP was part of the draw that brought Axel from the West Coast to rural Indiana. "The added value that TLSP provides to all the Lutheran schools in northeast Indiana is enormous, and I make sure to tell everyone the benefits both the school and I receive from the partnership."Karl Davis is a Navy veteran and formerly worked in various capacities for Raytheon. He's a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne and has been serving as chair of the TLSP board. His fondness for Lutheran schools is centered around those who gained his respect as pastors and teachers: "Men and women like Pastor Edwin Nerger, Gene and Marty Burger, Neil Reincke, Art Pinnow, Linda Knopf ... to name just a few of the many who blessed my life through their devotion to Christ and to Lutheran education," he says.Rev. Douglas Punke is pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne and a strong supporter of Lutheran South Unity School. A U.S. Air Force vet and former college professor of mathematics and computer science at Lyon College in Batesville, Arizona, Douglas didn't have the benefit of a Lutheran education, but learned that a good education is a main ingredient in the recipe for success. More importantly, he says, "I've discovered that good education, coupled with growth 'in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,' is what makes a Lutheran education something of infinite worth."You can see that we have a board that's invested in Lutheran schools in many ways. You can be sure that their efforts will continue the good work that's led TLSP in its endeavors since it was established six years ago.

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YouTube's Hidden Gems https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/you-tubes-hidden-gems Thu, 21 May 2015 16:51:38 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/you-tubes-hidden-gems Many fans of YouTube enjoy the comedy skits or song clips on a daily basis. Teachers have been using this site for great classroom purposes, too. I thought I'd share a few of my favorite educational channels that don't really feel like you're being educated, but you really are!Reading RainbowAny fan of the old PBS series will immediately love the videos that build background knowledge. I especially like the video field trips and book reviews by kids.TINGOEDThis site features challenging vocabulary words-such as paradox,brawny and supercilious--and explains them using visuals and video clips. It's a quick and fun way to introduce students to amazing words.Math AnticsI really like the way this guy explains intermediate and middle school math concepts such as fractions, factoring and percentages. He has a video for almost anything, and the graphics really help illustrate each concept. He also adds humor--which can't hurt in math class!Smarter Every DayScience concepts can be the most difficult to grasp at young ages. This channel gets you hooked right away with titles such as "How Houdini Died" and "Slow Motion Flipping Cat." I can always find something interesting to learn!Mr. Beat's Social Studies ChannelI just found this one, and it's a great way to share captivating stories from history. They're working on a whole series on the presidents. Mr. Beat offers important civics taught in a fun and engaging way.I hope you'll try out some of these channels and share some of your favorites with me.

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Where did the Interest Go? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/where-did-the-interest-go Mon, 18 May 2015 17:00:52 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/where-did-the-interest-go When I grew up in the late 1970s and early 1980s, savings accounts were where the action was. My father worked at Magnavox, so I was able to become a member at his credit union. I deposited my mowing money and watched my money grow. I even had the opportunity to purchase CDs, and if I worked hard, I could even hope to purchase stocks and receive dividend checks. (I never made it that far ... cars, clothes, and girls got in the way.)Fast forward to the last decade when I worked at a long-term care campus where I would talk with residents who had to trade in maturing CDs of 5, 8, even 10 percent and instead hope to get 1 percent rates. Savings accounts were no longer a source of income, but instead considered "safer than my mattress." And these wonderful people had well-planned financial goals that included income from dividends from their investments that quickly disappeared.Did you know that The Lutheran Schools Partnership has introduced a way to generate guaranteed, stable income that can also fulfill charitable plans? Sound too good to be true?Well, guaranteed income coupled with charitable support has actually been around since before the Great Depression. Called "Charitable Gift Annuities" or "CGAs," most universities and larger nonprofits have been providing these for decades, and now they're available for those wanting to support our area Lutheran Schools, but still need the income.Without getting into all of the financial jargon, CGAs are best explained in this graphic:Based upon your age and when you want to start your payments, your annuity payments could be between 5 percent and 9 percent! More important, you can choose the school or schools to benefit from your eventual support.The Lutheran Schools Partnership is happy to introduce and oversee the promotion of this program for our 18 schools. By combining our resources, we can help lead the charge to help secure the future of our schools and provide another choice for those wanting to support quality, Christian education.Want to learn more? You can visit our website to see examples of the payment available for your age and expected start at any time. You can also call us at (260) 203-4510 and we will provide all of the information you need.P.S. Don't forget the endowment! The Lutheran Foundation's matching challenge for our schools ends on June 30!

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2015 Legislative Round-up https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2015-legislative-round-up Fri, 08 May 2015 16:20:33 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/2015-legislative-round-up Partners in advocacy advance our missionIt was a strong legislative session in support of Hoosier kids this year, and we're thrilled that our representatives and senators listened--and responded--to nonpublic school concerns. Here's a check list of accomplishments this year: Removed artificial cap of $4,800 on Choice Scholarships for elementary students (there remains a cap of 90 percent of the per-student state funding for the student's school corporation of residence). √ Scholarship-granting organization (SGO) tax credits bumped to $8.5 million next year, and $9.5 million the next. √ Grants for nonpublic schools to pay for formative assessments such as the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) and Dibels (ask your kindergarten teacher about Dibels). √ Increased funding for special-education Choice Scholarships. √ A committee to study state reporting on schools. √ A study group to look at alternatives to ISTEP testing, √ In addition, The Lutheran Schools Partnership was commended by the Friedman Foundation, not only for the success of our first School Choice Rally, but also for our overall efforts to voice the needs and opinions of our school families (not an easy task for us quiet Lutherans). Jon Dize and I even enjoyed face-to-face visits with key legislators. But much of the thanks for this year's successes go out for the continued support we've received from the Indiana Non-Public School Association (INPEA).INPEA, established in 1974, serves more than 400 nonpublic schools in the state of Indiana through advocacy, professional development, and consultation. INPEA serves on the front lines in the public-policy arena and has been at the forefront in the establishment and implementation of Indiana's Choice programs.A key goal of INPEA has been to engage nonpublic school communities in a grassroots effort to provide a nonpublic school voice at the Statehouse. Indiana has been blessed by legislation that has enabled more than 30,000 students to attend the private school of their choice. To maintain and protect these programs, all those who believe that families should be able to choose a school that's best for their children must engage by contacting their elected representatives.TLSP has been a strong and committed INPEA partner on a variety of fronts. Joshua Sommermeyer (Concordia Lutheran High School assistant principal), Jon Dize (director of advancement for TLSP), Dr. Jon Mielke (an executive for the Indiana District of the LCMS), and I (I'll be chair of the INPEA starting in July) all serve on the INPEA board."To our many TLSP friends ... thank you!" says John Elcessor, INPEA's executive director. John has over 30 years of experience in private-school administration and works with the General Assembly, Indiana Department of Education, and the Indiana State Board of Education on our behalf. We're thankful for his leadership and the many ways he works to help our nonpublic schools grow in Indiana. John and his wife, Jill, live in Indianapolis. They have two children. Anna attends Miami of Ohio University, and Zach is a freshman at Bishop Chatard High School.Thanks to everyone--our partnering organizations, our schools and churches, our state legislators, and our families--for their efforts to further School Choice and Lutheran education.

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Meet another faithful ally in our efforts https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/meet-another-faithful-ally-in-our-efforts Fri, 01 May 2015 19:37:34 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/meet-another-faithful-ally-in-our-efforts "Please join me in this conversation, how we can move people and further our mission in sharing Christ's Love with the World." Those are the words from Matthew Leighty's "about me" website as in many ways he invites people to join him in sharing Christ with those with whom he's in contact.Who is Matthew Leighty? He's executive director of Lutheran Ministries Media here in Fort Wayne. In his short 30-something life, he has served in Lutheran ministries such as Concordia University Chicago (admissions), Holy Cross Lutheran School (board), and Concordia Theological Seminary (advancement). Now, he has the privilege of leading an organization that's sharing the Gospel directly to folks throughout the United States--and even worldwide.Lutheran Ministries Media was started in Toledo, Ohio, in 1965 by the Rev. Oswald Henry Bertram. After he died in 1979, the program was restarted at Holy Cross Lutheran Church by Lutheran Ministries Media Inc., best known for Worship for Shut-Ins. Worship for Shut-Ins reaches people across the nation and around the world on more than 100 television stations, the Reach and Preach DVD subscription program, as well as by making the program available online.Technology is an important aspect of the school environment. It's also true for Lutheran Ministries Media. Worship for Shut-Ins started locally in Fort Wayne, but expanded through the TCT Network. Who would have ever thought that here in Fort Wayne, a ministry would be serving the world through high-definition media, through older means such as DVDs, and through Vimeo and streaming online through its website. Lutheran Ministries Media has seen challenges similar to what our Lutheran schools have experienced--many technological advances have occurred over the years that challenges the ministry to keep up. For the sake of those being served, Worship for Shut Ins uses means that are comfortable for their present clientele, and those who are served are thankful for this program.Matthew embraces his roots here in Fort Wayne. He and his wife, Kelli, moved back to the city in 2006 with intentions of starting their family. They're the proud parents of three (with number four on the way), and they're thankful for The Lutheran Schools of northeast Indiana. Their memories growing up are of strong Lutheran schools and a strong Lutheran presence in the area. Those impressions are still real today. Lutheran schools are an important ministry, one which Matthew supports by being on the board of Holy Cross. The care and quality promoted, and the priorities set, by Lutheran churches to advance Christian education are apparent, and Matthew is actively supporting that."I praise God for the opportunity I had to attend Lutheran schools growing up," Matthew says. "And now, I know with confidence that my own children will have a premier education, centered on God's Word. I've been moved by how The Lutheran Schools Partnership is allowing our Lutheran schools to reach new heights and meet a level of excellence that's unprecedented. As we seek to pass along the faith to the next generation, nothing is more important than ensuring our children are surrounded in an environment that will grow their faith and prepare them for their eventual calling in service to others and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."Good thoughts, Matthew. Thanks for being a solid supporter of our mission.

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IMPACT 2015 is almost here! https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/impact-2015-is-almost-here Mon, 27 Apr 2015 18:31:24 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/impact-2015-is-almost-here Every June, TLSP invites teachers and administrators to attend a series of professional-development activities focused on the craft of fostering critical-thinking skills. We call this week "IMPACT: Involving Minds in Problem Analysis and Critical Thinking." This year, I've chosen quotes from fellow educators that sum up what each experience is about:"Technology won't replace teachers, but teachers who use technology will probably replace teachers who don't," says Dr. Ray Clifford. Our tech target teachers who are leading the way in tech integration in our schools will lead day one. They'll demonstrate some of the most effective ways to use apps and web programs as tools for learning. Participants will be able to test these tools and discuss the best ways to engage students."Learners need endless feedback more than they need endless teaching," says Grant Wiggins. We offer teachers a different way to monitor student learning on day two with our session titled "Less Grading, More Assessing." Teachers will learn how to provide different types of feedback that students take pride and ownership in. Student data notebooks, standards-based assessments and student-led conferences will all be explored and discussed."Don't be afraid to use big words with little kids, if they can say Tyrannosaurus Rex, they can say anything!" states Cinnamon's Synonyms Blog. One of the most important steps in understanding is being able to master the language and vocabulary of a concept. And each subject has its own critical vocabulary. We're pleased to be joined by Dr. Lorinda Sankey from Concordia University Chicago on day three as she shares research-based instructional strategies that can be used with any vocabulary at any grade level. Many of our Concordia Chicago alumni are excited about seeing Dr. Sankey again!"There is no procedure for learning to write. What you must do is learn to think," says S. Leonard Rubenstein. We actually do have procedures for teaching writing, but nothing that makes writing interesting and insightful. That's the goal of the final days of IMPACT 2015 as we send teachers to the All Write Summer Conference in Warsaw to listen to some of the top experts in the nation speak and share ideas on writer's workshop strategies. Writer's workshop asked students to write and teachers to coach in a more individual way, through conversation. And the conversations are revolved around getting kids to see themselves as writers. It's a wonderful two days that our teachers rated highly last year.We're excited about this year's lineup of learning and collaboration. IMPACT has been around for many years, yet the need to support our teachers in their work is timeless. Keep us in your prayers as we gather together again this June for IMPACT 2015.

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The urgency to make a difference https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-urgency-to-make-a-difference Sat, 11 Apr 2015 06:59:31 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-urgency-to-make-a-difference Can you put into words the basics of what drives your Lutheran school (or any school)? Recently, I visited a school that's prayerfully searching for a principal. I was amazed by how well the students, teachers, parents, and leaders expressed many of the same characteristics of their school--caring, trustworthy, dedicated. They talked consistently about ministry and mission. There wasn't just a recitation of a mission statement. There were no scripts. However, the language was similar, and the individual stories supported the general picture of one mission.The visit gave me pause to consider The Lutheran Schools Partnership, its mission, and its principles. I doubt many in our community can recite TLSP's mission, which is to "serve The Lutheran Schools and to glorify Jesus Christ with vital services that promote enrollment growth, secure third-source funding, achieve academic excellence, and develop teachers and administrators." But I wonder if our principles and actions are so clear that they make our mission apparent. I hope they do.Consider these three of the eight principles.

Christ-Centered Education: We affirm and stress that the impact of Christ in individual lives in our church and school communities permeates all that we do, teach, and say. Books that speak to a theology different from ours aren't necessarily tossed aside, but are used to help students see the uniqueness of the education they receive in a Lutheran school (e.g., we certainly don't affirm evolution, but we do indeed speak to it as we instill in our students the miracle of creation by our teaching of Genesis and Genesis' impact on a Christian view of the world.) Our schedules are impacted by religion class, prayer, and worship and mission projects abound. But these examples aren't separate from the rest of the day--our curriculum, teaching, and discipline plans are also impacted by Christ.

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A week for fools https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/a-week-for-fools Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:50:55 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/a-week-for-fools "Area Lutheran Teachers vote to cancel spring break to end the school year in May."There may be some of you who don't find that line very foolish (and we're the ones not vacationing in Florida right now). Bucking what has become a national institution would be deemed doomed to failure. Who would want to swap the warmth and sun of the white sands of Panama City versus the gloom and cold winds of a March day in the Fort?April Fools Day in the middle of Holy Week reminds each of us that we're celebrating foolishness this week--the foolishness of God. Paul writes," For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."A King riding into the capital city. A King washing his followers' feet. The Priest acting like a wrecking ball in his own church. Knowingly walking into a betrayer's plans. No defense in front of those who accuse. No retaliation for bullying beyond measure. The King held high on a tree of death.Sure sounds like foolishness ... to all who don't believe. This foolishness is often seen as failure, as weakness. But we, Jesus' followers, treasure the power that is ours through all this foolishness, this weakness. It's because of this foolishness that we're free--free of the guilt of sin, free to live life eternally, free to share this foolishness with friends and families.I hope you're enjoying your spring break. Or I hope you're enjoying your work day, thanking God for the ability to contribute to our community. I also pray that the week exhibits other foolish behavior--time to worship the Lord of Holy Week. Our King arrived this past Sunday and is en route to the cross. I trust you'll travel to worship and receive His gifts--wherever you may be.

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Looking for Alignment https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/looking-for-alignment Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:57:17 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/looking-for-alignment It's that time of year when driving down the road you realize that the car is pulling to the left. Those direct hits to the famous Fort Wayne potholes have affected more than just a few cars. My guess is there are many cars in the shop, getting needed repairs to stay straight on the road.Our schools are addressing alignment as well. With the newly adopted state standards, our schools are working to ensure that instruction is matching the standards and that assessments are aligned to such instruction. It's awareness that has to be addressed. With guidance from TLSP's Cindy McKinney and each school's instructional leaders, our students can be certain to get the best of an education in our schools.Recently, colleagues from Lutheran South Unity School shared this story:"We were reading a nonfiction book, Giraffes of the Savanna, which discusses a giraffe's life-span, which is 20-30 years. I asked the second-grade boys if that was a long time. They said 'no,' I asked them how long humans live. Josh said, 'Forever.' He went on to share that God gives us 'life forever.'"Josh is a kiddo who doesn't always pay attention to his fabulously engaging teacher, but he did hear the teacher, yes?"This is an alignment that is of utmost importance. It's so refreshing to hear that through all the expectations from the state and the federal government, from accreditation needs to the expectations of our own community, our kids are hearing the Gospel and gaining alignment in their life--alignment with a God who sent His Son to fulfill the expectations of perfection and died for us so we will live forever.TLSP is self-assessing and evaluating. Annually in the spring, the staff is evaluated to determine continuing effectiveness and alignment with TLSP's mission and vision. This year, the TLSP Board of Directors is including its own time of review and assessment to determine its next steps and strategies for serving the schools of northeast Indiana. Vision 2020, delivered from True North and sponsored by The Lutheran Foundation, includes 20 recommendations for TLSP to consider for ongoing work with our schools. Are we serving effectively? Is TLSP effectively staffed? Are there services we should provide that are not presently part of our organization?In its few years of existence, TLSP has already accomplished so much. Dynamic instruction is taking place every day in our classrooms. Partner organizations such as Cross Connections and Lutheran Social Services are helping kids become better equipped to learn in the classroom. Collaboration between school leaders is more than a talking point--it's become a daily reality. We are now seeing a need to build greater school capacity to serve even more families. I'm so pleased with what TLSP efforts have accomplished, and I'm eager to see our schools take their next steps forward.While the future is filled with uncertainties, I am certain of this--the same God who has blessed Lutheran education in northeast Indiana for 175 years won't be bailing out on His gifts anytime soon. I am also certain of the urgency of sharing the Gospel and pursuing academic excellence. Our work needs to be continued... and strengthened.

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Thanks, Tim Elmore https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thanks-tim-elmore Fri, 20 Mar 2015 23:10:56 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thanks-tim-elmore Speed, convenience, entertainment, nurture and entitlement are the focus of our young people ... and many reading this post!Microwaves seem slow. Everything seems to be available anytime and anywhere. We entertain and love being entertained. We coddle ourselves and our kids, and we are convinced we deserve nothing but the best.And while "every good and perfect gift comes from above ... ," sinful man is able to turn these gifts into harmful things for ourselves and for our kids. While it may seem odd that nurturing can turn bad, an overly nurtured child (can you say "overprotected"?) may be one of many reasons that young people today are just a bit too into themselves.We enjoyed having Tim Elmore here in Fort Wayne over the past few days. His knowledge and experience are a great blessing, and I am pleased that hundreds attended Tim's presentations for teachers, staff, and the community.Tim's message was sobering: kids today are not being prepared for adulthood. Business leaders and many others are turning to Tim for help in understanding this new generation of young people. Even professional baseball teams and college basketball teams are using Tim's knowledge to help the upcoming generation of players, coaches, and supporters.I hope you dig in a bit deeper to Tim's information. From his books and from his website, you'll find plenty of information that will challenge the way you think about parenting, teaching, and relationships.However, let me pose two thoughts for The Lutheran Schools Partnership that Tim's presentations have moved me to consider: How do we as the members of The Lutheran Schools work together to buck the culture? We as Christians know we should prepare our kids not just for adulthood, but also for life eternal. What opportunities can we provide to support the challenges kids (and parents) face? Are our schools encouraging healthy risk-taking by students, teachers, and leaders? How do we demonstrate a trust in Jesus that moves us to unique, dynamic teaching and learning? When so much of the education establishment is limiting creativity and risk-taking, how do we use the freedom that is ours through Christ to live out something different?Let the conversations begin! And please feel free to share your thoughts with me.

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Fundraising & the Bible Top 9 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/fundraising-the-bible-top-9 Thu, 19 Mar 2015 18:20:40 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/fundraising-the-bible-top-9 In late February I attended the annual conference for ALDE, the Association of Lutheran Development Executives. As always, the educational sessions were compelling and the fellowship with peers across the country fantastic (and they have a new brand... see below!)One session that stuck with me was Fundraising for Church and Schools by Mike Ward. As a national fundraising consultant and former Lutheran pastor, he had some interesting insights on Advancement from a pastoral perspective.As often it does, my mind then turned to finding additional Biblical references of various Advancement and Fundraising techniques in God's Word.Here are some of my favorites, loosely listed as my Top 9: Exodus 35: Gifts of Time, Talent, and Treasure! 2 Corinthians 9:7: There's that "Cheerful Giver" I always talk about. 1 Chronicles 29 & Psalms 132: Capital Campaign best practices! 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 Paul: one of the first Stewardship advocates. 2 Kings 20:1 & Isaiah 38:1: Better start planning your will... Matthew 6:21: Treasure = Heart Phil 4: 10-19: Support your missionaries, field workers, and teachers, for goodness sake! Romans 12:8: How to choose the best board members. (Personal favorite): Luke 7: 1-6 Perhaps the first special favor requested for a major donor!This is by no means an exhaustive list, but always good to review Best Practices from the Best.

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St. Peter's does the heart good https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-peters-does-the-heart-good Sun, 01 Mar 2015 21:46:48 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-peters-does-the-heart-good In February, students at St. Peter's Lutheran School raised $7,850 for the American Heart Association during the school's Hoops for Heart and Jump Rope for Heart events, part of a national effort to fight cardiovascular disease and promote fitness.Students began seeking donations and participating in event-related activities early in the month. Kindergarteners through fourth-graders focused on jumping rope and hula hoop activities, while students in grades five through eight participated in both jumping rope and basketball. On February 13, students were visited by Fort Wayne's Jumping Jax jump rope team.As an incentive for gaining donations, students earned prizes, including rubber ducks on keychains. There were six ducks available, so students worked even harder to secure donations so they could earn all the ducks. Any student in grades five through eight who raised $50 or more was eligible to play in the staff versus students basketball game.The Hoops for Heart and Jump Rope for Heart fundraisers culminated on Friday, February 27, with a visit from the Mad Ant, mascot of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and the staff-student basketball game."Our goal was to raise $2,500, so I was clearly blown away," says Krystal Sorg, who teaches physical education and spearheaded the American Heart Association events at St. Peter's. "We were told this was one of the highest amounts raised in Allen County. We're so happy to be able to donate this money to those in need and to spread God's love to others."Click here to view 21 Alive's coverage of the fundraiser.

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Parents: Don't miss this opportunity https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/parents-dont-miss-this-opportunity Sat, 21 Feb 2015 01:28:10 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/parents-dont-miss-this-opportunity I'm more than pleased to announce that Dr. Tim Elmore has accepted our invitation to speak in Fort Wayne next month.Tim, a best-selling author, international speaker-and leading authority on how to understand the next generation and prepare tomorrow's leaders today-will present "Leading Your Kids to Succeed in Life: Twelve Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid" at Concordia Lutheran High School on Thursday, March 19. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., this workshop is free and open to the public.Today, we not only have a new generation of kids on our hands-growing up in a world of mobile devices-we have a new generation of parents. In our desire to protect kids, we often end up preparing the path for the child instead of the child for the path. The result? Young people leave home unready for the world that awaits them as adults.During this unique event for parents, Tim will share his thoughts on avoiding the most common mistake parents make-and offer a game plan to raise healthy, future adults. The workshop will discuss precisely how parents can be responsive to their children while still challenging them to develop self-discipline, ambition, and strong interpersonal skills.This is an opportunity not to be missed by parents who want to learn more about raising their children and developing their children's leadership qualities in an increasingly complex world. For more than three decades, Tim has made it his mission to promote the development of leadership qualities in young people. He believes that every child can be a leader because leadership is about influence. He shows young people how they can lead and serve others at school, work, home, and in the community.During his time in Fort Wayne, Tim, who lives in Atlanta, will lead three additional sessions at CLHS.At 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, Elmore will present "Aftershock: Understanding and Connecting with Generation Y," to school and church teachers and staff. This session will be a look at the most recent research on Generation iY (students born since 1990) and how their style is shaping the school campus as well as corporate America to school and church teachers and staff.At 9 a.m. and at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 20, Elmore will provide two presentations of "Habitudes: Images That Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes" to high school and middle school students.More about TimTim has written more than 25 books, including the best-selling "Habitudes: Images that Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes".He's the founder and president of Growing Leaders, a nonprofit that helps develop emerging leaders under the philosophy that each child is born with leadership qualities.Tim and his team provide public and private schools, universities, civic organizations, and corporations with resources that foster the growth of young leaders who can transform society. For more than 30 years, Elmore has taught leadership through the power of images and stories that enables young adults to influence others in a positive way.Since founding Growing Leaders, Tim has spoken to more than 350,000 students and staff on hundreds of campuses across the country, including Stanford University, Duke University, Purdue, Auburn University, University of North Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Baylor University. He has also taught courses on leadership and mentoring at nine universities and graduate schools across the United States and provided leadership training and resources for the National FFA Organization and major athletic programs, including the University of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Texas, Virginia Tech, and the San Francisco Giants.Additionally, Tim has taught leadership courses at corporations, such as Chick-fil-A, The Home Depot, American Eagle Outfitters, and Cox Communications. He has also presented in more than 40 countries, including India, Russia, China, and India.Tim's expertise on emerging generations and generational diversity in the workplace has led to media coverage by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, Investor's Business Daily, Huffington Post,MSNBC.com, The Washington Post, WorkingMother.com, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, and Portfolio.com. He has also appeared on CNN's Headline News and FOX & Friends, discussing parenting trends and advice.Those are some solid credentials. So don't forget to tell your friends and family about this outstanding event that's being sponsored by the Lutheran Schools Partnership. I know we'll all learn a lot.

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Would you turn down a $5,000 donation? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/would-you-turn-down-a-5-000-donation Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:03:53 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/would-you-turn-down-a-5-000-donation Ask yourself, and your board, this question: Would you turn down $5,000 a year, forever? How about $10,000? How about $100,000 a year?I hate to say this, but many of our area Lutheran schools are doing just that: turning down "free" money. Money that could provide significant support for now and into the future."Dize is crazy," you're probably muttering while you sip your coffee. "We'd never turn down money, at any level." Sure, assuming there's nothing illegal or illicit with the source of this money, we'd all welcome that annual support, and maybe even dedicate the ongoing gifts to support a specific program or new effort at your church or school.However, if your school isn't taking full advantage of the Endowment Match Challenge available through The Lutheran Foundation, then you're doing just that: throwing away support for your future.Since the 2009 school year, The Lutheran Foundation has provided a matching challenge--based on factors such as enrollment size--to endowment funds of schools every year. Since inception, only three schools have met their match every year: Ascension, Bethlehem, and St. Paul's. By meeting the match, they now have thousands of dollars available to them every year--forever. Funds to upgrade technology, funds to support a classroom aide, funds to pay the heat bill.Last school year, seven schools met their match, and five schools partially met their match, but five schools didn't provide one dollar of matching funds. In total, more than $200,000 of free matching money available from The Lutheran Foundation disappeared after June 30. Since the inception of the Endowment Match Challenge, nearly $900,000 has gone unmatched.How did your favorite school do with its matching opportunity? How long will The Lutheran Foundation provide this opportunity? I suggest that you place these and similar questions at the top of your list at the next school board meeting, congregational meeting, PTL meeting--and consider making your own gift to help set the future for your school.

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St. John–Emmanuel's Stellwagen to enter his alma mater's hall of fame https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-john-emmanuels-stellwagen-to-enter-his-alma-maters-hall-of-fame Wed, 11 Feb 2015 16:38:17 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-john-emmanuels-stellwagen-to-enter-his-alma-maters-hall-of-fame St. John–Emmanuel Lutheran School teacher David Stellwagen was inducted into the Concordia University Chicago Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 11.David was a four-year letterman in basketball and tennis at Concordia University Chicago. He finished his basketball career with 1,246 points, placing him fifth on the university's current all-time scoring list. His 355 assists puts him second on the all-time list for the Cougars through 2013. David was a member of Concordia Invitational Tournament (CIT) champion teams in 1982 and 1985, and was honored as the CIT Most Valuable Player in 1985. He was named to All-Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference (NIIC) teams in 1984 and 1985.David’s tennis achievements include a 43-14 career singles record, currently fourth best on the Cougar men’s all-time list. He led the 1984 team with a 15-2 mark and earned the NIIC’s fourth singles title. David also won conference championships as part of the Cougars’ second doubles team in 1984 and 1985. As a team, the Cougars went 40-16 during his four-year tennis career and won the 1984 NIIC title.David grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where his father was a Lutheran pastor. David earned a bachelor's degree in education at Concordia University Chicago in 1985, and a master's degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1992. He began his teaching career at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Farmington Hills, Michigan, before teaching at St. John’s Lutheran School in Racine, Wisconsin. He joined St. John–Emmanuel Lutheran School in 2008.David and his wife, Debby, have three daughters: Abigail, Kayla, and Alaina.

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Thanks for your support https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thanks-for-your-support Fri, 06 Feb 2015 17:36:10 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thanks-for-your-support Thanks to the more than 350 parents, students, administrators, board members, pastors, and other interested parties who filled the International Ballroom at IPFW on January 27 for the Allen County School Choice Rally. I hope you were one of the attendees shouting "Good Choice!" in response to "School Choice!"From the "School Choice Dance" led by students from Lutheran South Unity School, to the National Anthem performed by the Bishop Luers Chamber Choir, to Emmaus Lutheran's Pastor Roy Olsen leading us in "God Bless America," everyone in attendance enjoyed the sense of camaraderie--knowing they were not alone in supporting School Choice. Choice is making a significant difference for families, and that's to be supported.We were thrilled with the media coverage. WANE-TV and the Journal Gazette gave fair and rather unbiased coverage of the rally and of the issues surrounding School Choice in Indiana.The rally was one opportunity for the Lutheran community to demonstrate its support of Choice legislation in our state. However, there were noticeable absences. Each of our schools, even those not participating in Choice Scholarships, is still benefiting from the efforts in our state to further School Choice. All our schools are benefiting from SGOs. State tax credits of $1,000 are available to all who have kids in nonpublic schools. Dollars in our pockets--dollars that are at risk without our individual and corporate support.Please take time to share your support of School Choice with your state legislators. Their ongoing work for us in Indianapolis is a challenging effort. Share the high expectations that Lutheran schools provide for our students.Thank them for their efforts to make a high-quality education available for all kids in the state through Choice Scholarships. Feel free to use this link to make the needed connection with your representative or senator. They'll be happy to hear from you.Finally, a School Choice rally will occur at the Statehouse on Thursday, February 19. All Indiana fourth-graders have been invited to attend (travel costs to be reimbursed by the Institute for Quality Education). Having been there for this rally in the past, I hope our schools will be well-represented.

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Friends giving friends hope https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/friends-giving-friends-hope Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:42:29 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/friends-giving-friends-hope On January 13, 14, and 15, The Lutheran Schools and The Lutheran Schools Partnership had the opportunity to welcome Phil Zielke, executive director of "Phil's Friends," an organization whose mission is to provide Christ-centered support and comfort to those who are fighting cancer.Phil is a 33-year-old former Lutheran school teacher and two-time cancer survivor. He battled stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 22 and again at 24. The Phil's Friends website says, "God transformed Phil's life during his fight with cancer. He wants all cancer patients and their families to have God's Word to comfort them and the peace of Jesus Christ as their Savior like he has."Phil spent time at 13 of our schools, speaking to students during chapel services or special assemblies. He told his story, explained how each of our students can be involved with Phil's Friends, and provided an example of a care package that a cancer patient would receive.Phil's Friends supports those affected by cancer in a variety of ways, including prayer, personal relationships, care packages, and cards of encouragement. The schools within The Lutheran Schools Partnership have committed to supporting Phil's Friends as their annual collaborative service project. Schools will be collecting chapel offerings to support the ministry of Phil's Friends.In addition, our students will create cards and collect items that can be used for the care packages. Many of our schools are creating the cards and holding their care package item collections during the annual National Lutheran Schools Week (this week, January 25-30).TLSP's annual service project is another way our students are learning to serve Christ through service to others. This year, we serve Christ by serving Phil's Friends, and bringing hope to those who are affected by cancer.To learn more, watch the video about Phil's Friends or about Phil's Story.

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With a little help from my friends https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/with-a-little-help-from-my-friends Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:28:34 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/with-a-little-help-from-my-friends I've always loved the sound of the Beatles song "With a Little Help from My friends." Not to say I don't love the sound of the Joe Cocker Woodstock version, but the Beatles' version was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon specifically for Ringo to sing; still very "Beatles," but customized for his unique singing range. Those who've listened to my "song" over the years can recite one of my favorite stanzas: "Who Owns Your Fundraising Process?" I've developed a new list of friends who are helping our schools do just that: the TLSP Advancement Cohort. These six members from five of The Lutheran Schools are paid staff with a full or partial responsibility for their school's fundraising activities. They can take the fundraising ideas presented by The Lutheran Schools Partnership and customize them to fit the needs and resources available for their schools. With Cohort members, we can discuss advanced fundraising techniques, bounce future ideas around, and serve as a test market of sorts before expansion of new, TLSP-wide activities. Look for upcoming information on such topics as the ALDE Collaborative Partnership, Partnership Charitable Gift Annuities, and #GivingTuesday 2015.I thank John Schoedel and Stephanie Paradine for Concordia Lutheran High School, Greg Rehberg for Emmaus Lutheran, John Weber for Central Lutheran, Julie Turney for Lutheran South Unity, and Mark Lange for Holy Cross Lutheran for serving on this important committee. We hope every school can eventually add advancement staff and lend a little help to their principals. Until that time, if your school has a school board member responsible for fundraising, or even a third-source funding committee, make sure they contact me to get involved with the Cohort. No funny uniforms required--just a willingness to help and share with friends.

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Open Houses scheduled for January 25, 2015 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/open-houses-scheduled-for-january-25-2015 Sat, 10 Jan 2015 01:24:47 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/open-houses-scheduled-for-january-25-2015 Seventeen northeast Indiana Lutheran schools will host open houses from noon until 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 25."During our annual open houses, families can see firsthand what an attractive opportunity our schools provide,” said Mark Muehl, executive director of The Lutheran Schools Partnership.While most Lutheran schools have scheduled open houses on January 25, Bethlehem Lutheran School in Ossian will host its open house on Sunday, February 15, from noon until 3 p.m.In addition, St. John–Emmanuel Lutheran School will hold a second open house focused on early-childhood education on Thursday, March 26, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.“The Lutheran Schools are 18 distinctive and vibrant learning communities. While each campus is unique, they all share a common goal of providing children with a high-quality, Christ-centered education,” Muehl says. "And our schools are close to just about everyone—in small communities, in the suburbs, and in urban areas.”Muehl notes that several Lutheran schools participate in Indiana’s Choice Scholarship program. “With the growing popularity of Choice Scholarships, more low- and middle-income parents can now consider the option of enrolling their children in Lutheran schools,” Muehl said.To locate nearby Lutheran schools, visit thelutheranschools.org and click on “Find a School” at the top of the page. Promotional ResourcesPoster Download the PDF file. (Includes all poster versions. Print 11 x 17.) Postcard Download the PDF file. (Print 2-up on 8.5 x 11 paper. May be customized for each school.)Facebook Facebook Event (Please share on your own Facebook page.) Banner Graphic (To create your own Facebook event.)Email Invitation View Email Graphic Forward to Friends Video mentioning the Open House date Download (Click "Download" button > Save as MOV file, 188mb) Facebook Share Embed Code:<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/116382620?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0" width="500" height="375" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen>/iframe>Video without the Open House date Download (Click "Download" button > Save as MOV file, 199mb) Facebook Share Embed Code:<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/84043389?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0" mce_src="//player.vimeo.com/video/84043389?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0" width="590" height="332" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

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Unique, yet unified https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/unique-yet-unified Sat, 20 Dec 2014 00:39:00 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/unique-yet-unified We're so blessed to have 17 unique, yet unified schools. Sharing the love of Jesus is a true privilege for our principals and teachers; yet each of our schools has its own way of doing this. I'd love to share a few highlights from our year in academic excellence. Engaging technology: Schools continue to add more technology to their resources. From creating books and classroom blogs, to live Twitter feeds from trips to D.C., teachers are continuing to utilize these tools in engaging ways. Genuine collaboration: We can't improve in isolation. Our teachers and principals have truly benefited from working together on larger projects and exchanging ideas. They've requested even more collaboration opportunities for next year, and we're excited about this. Exploring 21st century learning: Project-based learning and creative use of space are two important components of 21st century learning. This year, we've seen schools begin to explore school-wide project-based learning celebrations and brainstorm idea learning environments.Coming in 2015 Tech observations: Our terrific group of tech target teachers are opening up their classrooms to their colleagues as a way to share integration ideas. We have 15 requests already from teachers for early 2015! Academic roadmap: Change is hard, especially in institutions such as schools. The Lutheran Schools Partnership wants to support our schools in their efforts to maintain academic excellence. We're in the beginning stages of establishing an academic roadmap that clearly sets a path of improvement for our schools.I can't express how much of an honor it is to be allowed to work with our teachers and in our buildings. Our teachers share the Gospel story in a multitude of ways, and we rejoice in their faith and dedication.Merry Christmas!

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Visions of His glory https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/visions-of-his-glory Fri, 12 Dec 2014 00:39:53 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/visions-of-his-glory 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? 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 (last weekend) and Christmas at the Embassy, which is presented by the Concordia Lutheran High School music department. (It's this Sunday at 4 p.m.--do you have your tickets?) 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? We seem to connect with this message. 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.But I also wonder if the love for Christmas is also a matter of our using the full wealth of human senses to share the story--and do it better at Christmas than any other event of the Church.Consider the fact that most people are visual learners, and 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 a 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 at home, church, 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.As Christmas nears and you enjoy the events and activities, the staff of TLSP encourages you to "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).

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Where is your heart? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/where-is-your-heart Fri, 05 Dec 2014 23:52:24 -0500 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/where-is-your-heart Like many of you, I held off until Thanksgiving night to start listening to Christmas music, and I haven't turned off Bing Crosby since. One of the songs in my iTunes account is the Harry Connick Jr. song "When My Heart Finds Christmas." One line in particular causes me to pause: "In my eyes are valentines/And Easter eggs and new year's wine/But when my heart finds Christmas/My eyes will shine like new."During this time of year, where is your heart? Matthew 6:21 notes that "Where your treasure is, your heart will be also."In the past few months, we here at The Lutheran Schools Partnership have had the pleasure of witnessing and participating in some wonderful things. We celebrated with Pastor Doug Punke as he was nominated for a Rolfsen Award from the Foellinger Foundation. We were moved by the passion that Krista Nagy, principal of Lutheran South Unity school, has for her students during their annual Let the Children Come fundraiser. We hosted Robert Enlow of the renowned Friedman Foundation and 120 SGO supporters during the annual SGO celebration. And we celebrated with Concordia Lutheran High School as the school's first efforts with #GivingTuesday well exceeded the goal of $20,000 in one-day fundraising. We wear our hearts on our sleeves; when The Lutheran Schools have success, we share in that success "like a proud grandpa at the school play."How about you? Where is your heart and your treasure? We've been told that members sitting in our pews are evenly divided between those wanting to support operations, those wanting to be a part of projects and campaigns, and those wanting to place their treasure with endowments, allowing their hearts to live on into the future.The weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year's traditionally are when donors move their treasure to the churches and schools that hold their hearts. Love scholarships? The school funds held at The Lutheran SGO of Indiana started filling up in November, and continue to grow. Capital projects? We see buildings going up at Concordia Lutheran Elementary and plans being developed at Central Lutheran. Endowments? Every Lutheran elementary school in northeast Indiana has a $1-to-$1 match available from The Lutheran Foundation, just waiting for hearts to fill the need and double the treasure.Not sure where the direct your hearts this year-end? Give your principal a call; odds are they have a list and have been checking it twice.

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Thankful hearts raised to God https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thankful-hearts-raised-to-god Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:38:17 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/thankful-hearts-raised-to-god Kids today are rarely taught gratitude. In fact, Tim Elmore notes five ways in which the opposite is taught; Tim says an internal focus is fostered for our kids: Culture pushes us to focus more on our appearance than our reality. Culture cultivates a paradigm that's about "me" more than "we." Culture celebrates IQ more than EQ (emotional intelligence). Culture fosters addiction rather than moderation. Culture ambushes kids, moving them from "awesome" to "awful." (Read more about Tim's thoughts.)Do you agree? Is gratitude a matter of "teaching"?Consider this quote from CS Lewis: "I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed." (CS Lewis' Reflections on the Psalms)"We praise what we enjoy ... " Isn't self-praise what we're teaching if Elmore's list is correct? Yet most people would say that the positive reinforcement of "awesome" kids, highly intelligent kids, and goal-driven kids are needed for kids to have success.Dr. Robert Emmons, from the University of California Davis, thinks that a fulfilled life is more about gratitude. Emmons' team discovered that those who have an "attitude of gratitude" experience multiple advantages. Gratitude improves emotional and physical health, and can strengthen relationships and communities. "Without gratitude, life can be lonely, depressing, and impoverished," said Emmons. (Read more at gratitudepower.net.)This past week's Gospel lesson (Matthew 25:31-46) struck me in a new way. When God addresses those who were being cast to the eternal fires of hell, God doesn't mention their sins of theft, adultery, or slander. Rather, they are damned for what they didn't do. Their lives certainly didn't exhibit a life of gratitude.An ungrateful heart is a sin-filled heart--and we're all guilty of that. We all tend to be more concerned about ourselves rather than others. We mask it with concern for our family, our job, security for our family. But each of these, by themselves, are internally focused.The Gospel lesson for Thanksgiving Day is the healing of the 10 lepers (Luke 17:11-19). I can't imagine that all 10 lepers were not rather giddy about their new-found lease on life. Yet only one of them expressed gratitude for healing. One of them recognized his unworthiness--and with it found complete healing--physically, but also the healing of forgiveness.As Thanksgiving approaches, praise God for the many gifts he showers on you. Be it "food and drink, clothing and shoes" and all the rest mentioned by Martin Luther in the Small Catechism, take time to thank God for his grace to you.Then when it is time to dig into the turkey, be sure to give everyone an opportunity to share a prayer of thanks for the blessings they see in their lives. Maybe this Thanksgiving can be a time when each of us can foster a thankful heart, "an attitude of gratitude," a joyous response in life of God's love for us.Happy Thanksgiving!

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Quiet Learners https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/quiet-learners Sat, 22 Nov 2014 00:15:21 -0500 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/quiet-learners I just read a terrific article on characteristics of introverted learners that I felt I had to share with you. If you want to read the full article, please do--it's terrific! One reason I love this article is that after reading it, I think I might be the mother of two introverted learners. It's comforting to know that there's a recognition that these students are out there, even though they may be very quiet in their learning process. I'll try to provide some highlights here.Introversion and shyness aren't the same thing. Shyness is about being fearful of embarrassment or humiliation. Shy people can be either introverted or extroverted. Introverts need to re-energize themselves in a quiet place and by themselves. Extroverts need to be around others to re-energize. The key is to know which one a student is. If they're shy, we want to minimize their pain and discomfort by not singling them out or putting them on the spot. If they're introverted, we want to be respectful of the slower nature through which they process information.Introverts need time. The brain chemistry in introverts is markedly different. "Processing pathways in introverts are longer and more complex than pathways found in extroverts." Yet in the classroom, we tend to focus on filling up days with work that keeps high-energy extroverts busy. This causes introverts to easily become overwhelmed and possibly shut down.Introverts need space. Since introverts re-energize through solitude, it's important to provide a quiet space or two in your room for them to retreat to when they can. They may also benefit from being seated on the outside of the room rather than in the middle of all the action. One other way teachers can help introverted students is by providing them with a set of headphones to use when the room noise is distracting.So now that you've gotten a taste of quiet learners, let me ask you this. Do you know any quiet learners? Were you a quiet learner? If you're a teacher or anyone who works with kids, how can you use this to acknowledge and respect the quiet learners of the world?God bless,Cindy McKinneyDirector of Academic ExcellenceThe Lutheran Schools Partnership

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It's a family affair https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-a-family-affair Sat, 08 Nov 2014 00:50:07 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-a-family-affair Enrollment season has begun (CLHS has its Concordia Day on Friday, and FWCS will present its school showcase soon). Be it a move from one school to another or the enrollment into school for the first time, parents will be determining the best fit for their children.It makes me reflect upon discussions we've had with TLSP admissions counselors over the years. These dedicated people are integral to the enrollment growth of TLSP schools. Our admissions counselors passionately talk about their school, demonstrate a care and concern for those inquiring about their school, and provide the needed efforts for a family to join the school.What's interesting is that to a person, the one common message new families and re-enrolling families speak to regarding their attraction to Lutheran schools is a sense of family, a sense of community. But is it more than a feeling that they sense? What could it be that parents are drawn to regarding this seemingly non-educational element?Let's dig in a bit, drawing from a post from Tim Elmore: Statistics show that more and more Americans now eat most of their meals alone. Families find it more difficult to find time to eat together as family time has been replaced with activities. There is a dramatic increase in the number of single-person households. Single-person households jumped from 17 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Technology has created a "life on the screen" social interaction--one that is less taxing and borders more on entertainment and escape rather than engagement.Is it fair to say that relationships today are treated as consumables? Do we treat them like we deal with purchases of food and other home products? Where electronics used to be purchased as a long-term product, now the new phone or the new television is rather temporary (shouldn't there be a new iPhone coming out again?).Contact lenses that used to be purchased one pair at a time, cleaned and cared for use for at least a year (remember hard contact lenses?) are now replaced with daily-use lenses. Rather than taking a half-hour to prepare and bake some chicken strips, we lazily pop some chicken tenders into the microwave.Temporary, disposable, lazy--it's similar to how we treat relationships. Commitments to friendships are short-lived, there's little effort in making them work, and they're easily replaced with whomever will give us what we want.However, deep down inside, we long for strong relationships and a sense of community. We were built to be part of something--part of a family, part of a community, part of a something more than just being by ourselves. While we may tire of the same old same old from those around us, and may not like the effort it takes to maintain them, those relationships fill our hearts and fulfill our need to contribute in a community.So along comes a Lutheran school. Families join our schools, and we get into their lives. We express concern for little guys' lack of energy and inability to concentrate. We ask questions about a child, parents and home life. We seem to be a tad nosey. We act, oh, a bit like a brother or sister, someone who cares and assumes you need us. In school, we have small groups that help teach lessons--small groups within the classroom and small groups at chapel, small groups on the basketball court, and small groups that perform. We celebrate birthdays and baptism birthdays; we celebrate accomplishments. All of these things are what family do.But what may set us apart and put us at risk more than anything within our schools is why we have an expectation of transparency, and, more often than not, show our own warts and weaknesses. We know who we are--Christians saved by Jesus Christ. We know that we're no different from one another--we all need a Savior and the Savior of the World is indeed the Savior for all. We know who the new families belong to--and that's what we're eager to share. We want more folks to be part of our family, and it's that eagerness that's shared when one walks through the halls of a Lutheran school.Here's your call to action: Invite your friends, invite your colleagues. It's time to share the news about Lutheran schools. Are we perfect? No. Do we try to improve? Yes. It's about family, and our family needs to grow. Do your part.

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Happy Reformation Day https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/happy-reformation-day Sat, 01 Nov 2014 00:58:15 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/happy-reformation-day Recently, I read a scathing letter from a public-school principal voicing his anger over the various reforms that have occurred here in Indiana. His arguments centered around outcomes and strategies he called "agenda" education. He views the educational reforms of Indiana (which elsewhere are seen as the nation's best) as nothing more than thievery and deceit.To him, public education is the only way to address diversity, to teach collaboration and cooperation, and to create a better world. In his eyes, public education is the only way to address the needs of Hoosier kids, and the only way to make our state strong. In his view, private education is just "agenda" education, filled with bias and partiality.Frankly, the assertion that the public-education lobby has no agenda is absurd -- deception of oneself and others. As the principal's letter demonstrated, there's plenty of bias and partiality to go around. And some special-interest groups have bigger pocketbooks than others.Strong teachers can be found throughout Indiana's public schools. However, special-interest influence on policy and practices in Indiana public schools trickles into the classroom and hamstrings great teachers. Maybe the best reform in Indiana would best be done in the model of parochial schools, which are locally owned, locally governed, and locally operated.Local public schools have boasted that they were in front of education reforms happening at the state level. Good for them. That's a great model--as long as the reforms prove successful. But it also would behoove public schools to consider a less combative and more collaborative posture toward their private-school neighbors. Catholics and Lutherans founded the first schools in his region; those schools still deliver quality education, and they are trusted and loved. Making them out to be "enemies" through attack ads and opinion pieces doesn't make sense. That strategy will only alienate and separate our community--and that's not good politics.A public-school monopoly on education will not save the day for Indiana. School reform, including Indiana's groundbreaking school-choice legislation, has made its mark. Hoosier school kids are the beneficiaries. Many public schools have experienced an uptick in ISTEP scores. (It's amazing what a little competition can do!) The benefits of school reform should be celebrated, not condemned.Nearly 500 years ago today, the sound of a reformer's hammer rang out at the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Martin Luther's nailing of the 95 theses signaled a transformation in the institutionalized Church that had not occurred since the first century. His bold action would challenge the status quo for years to come.Educational reform is doing the same today in Indiana--and nationwide. The status quo is being challenged with whys and hows.While we as a Lutheran-school community do not and will not promote one political candidate over another, we do advocate for principles that need to be part of our schools. If those principles can be served through a state or federal program, we will cautiously use those resources. However, when state or federal programs jeopardize principles of the faith, our schools will part company.As election day approaches, consider the benefits that school-choice legislation has brought to the families of Indiana, and vote appropriately. Your vote counts, and is needed.Happy Reformation Day.

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The textbook will not be our magic bullet https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-textbook-will-not-be-our-magic-bullet Wed, 22 Oct 2014 22:33:52 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-textbook-will-not-be-our-magic-bullet I have the pleasure of meeting monthly with a smart and insightful group of math teachers from The Lutheran Schools. We have several objectives, but one outcome from this group will be to provide as much guidance as we can on the selection of new math curriculum, which has historically translated into the purchase of new textbooks. Yet, as we analyze the new Indiana math standards and discuss our own observations, we find ourselves in a challenging position. We've come to realize that no textbook will meet all of the needs we have.Now, this idea isn't new, and if you ask the average teacher, he or she will tell you they supplement the book all the time to fill in gaps, and that's true. However, most teachers also tend to use a book to determine the content and pace the timing of curriculum delivery. But what happens when the book doesn't really match the standards? Or what if the book does address a standard, but not in the depth or detail that's necessary for mastery? And some books contain more information than is needed, or unnecessarily repetitive content. And we still have the dilemma that textbooks are primarily about content delivery instead of process understanding. Here is a screenshot of a recent Indiana Department of Education video that clearly explains the four components.Textbooks don't teach our kids how to read, write, and think. Teachers do that. And teachers today are required to use engaging instructional strategies to help students stay interested in the tasks at hand. So that brings us back to our dilemma of helping schools select support materials that help them address all of the above concepts. We don't have any answers yet, but we're searching and learning together--much like what we hope our own students are doing in our classrooms. Keep us in your prayers as we move forward.

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What's in your wallet? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/whats-in-your-wallet Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:25:43 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/whats-in-your-wallet No, I'm not asking you to empty the contents of your wallet for an SGO gift (unless you want to!).The once-popular TV credit card commercial would run through all the wonderful things that the person or family could do with just the right piece of plastic in their grasp.I'd like to challenge every school principal, board chair, and finance staff member with the following question: If someone were to walk into your building today and say, "I have $100,000 to give. What do you need?" Would you have an answer?"Sure, I would," you quickly reply, but do you really? Given 30 minutes, you could think up all kinds of wants and needs, but if put on the spot, could you whip out a piece of paper (or bring up that PDF on your iPad) to show this dream donor just what projects, programs, dreams, etc., where his or her money could make a noticeable impact? Could you produce that piece of paper that could help you do all of the wonderful things you talk about in those late-night board meetings?I challenge you to write that list now. Type it into an email on your iPhone. Or ink up the napkin in front of you. Now.To help get the thought process going, think of the following: Capital campaign needs (these items are probably the first pictures to enter your head). Other capital needs (the preschool director does keep mentioning they need new carpeting). Endowment needs (maybe you can finally match The Lutheran Foundation's challenge match this year!). Technology needs (the Windows XP computers are a bit slow in the library nowadays ... ). New program ideas (new bells for the eighth-grade bell choir? Language instruction? Wunderbar!). Student needs (matching basketball uniforms!). Outreach needs (the carnival will be a blast next year!). Staffing needs (now we can hire that advancement guy Dize keeps talking about!).Go ahead and write down the pie-in-the-sky ideas as well as the $500 bench in the children's garden; you never know what will ring true with that Cheerful Giver sitting in your office waiting for your list.Make sure to also place a good "guestimate" on the cost of the items on your list, and even rank them in order of cost and what you would want first.Did I mention that you should make this list now? You never know when God will present the opportunity. Heck, you could even keep your list in your wallet.And for what it's worth, you can be that wonderful donor who gets to bring a smile to your church and school-leadership faces. Be a Cheerful Giver and have your own set of wish-list items! Maybe the two lists will match.

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Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts. https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/just-the-facts-maam-just-the-facts Wed, 15 Oct 2014 21:00:31 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/just-the-facts-maam-just-the-facts Enrollment info is in for the 2014-15 school year, and we're happy to report that enrollment across The Lutheran Schools increased for the fourth straight year (just under 1 percent for this year). We rejoice in the opportunities God has given to our schools to share Jesus with the kids and families entrusted to our care. We rejoice that the number of children enjoying this message has increased for this year.Here's an additional breakdown of the numbers: The present enrollment of 4,050 is the highest since 2003-2004, and that was at 21 schools instead of our present 18. Nine schools are experiencing enrollment growth, while nine schools have a decrease in enrollment. The highest enrollment increase by number: 34 at CLHS. The highest increase by percentage: 10 percent at Emmaus and Woodburn. The number of choice scholarship students: 1,647 (nearly doubled from last year's totals). Number of choice scholarship students new to a school: 371 Retention rates ranged from 84 to 96 percent (the two 84-percent schools experienced administrative changes from 2013-14 to 2014-15).What does this mean?First, all of us need to encourage legislators to affirm the state's school-choice legislation. Students are getting an opportunity to be in our schools at a time when they otherwise would not have considered it. This is a great opportunity that has eternal ramifications.Second, ongoing public-relations and marketing efforts by The Lutheran Schools Partnership and from local efforts are helping us buck national trends of decreasing enrollments of non-public schools. There are plenty of other voices out there--our story needs to continue to be told and told well.Third, all of us who share the passion for Lutheran education can help slam the backdoor and ensure stronger retention numbers. Teachers who are timely in their reporting to parents, who understand and respond accordingly to the individual needs of his or her students, and who go the extra mile for their kids are needed in our schools. Parents need to be strong ambassadors of their children's school, speaking the truth in love of the great things going on at the school. Kids have great opportunities to tell the good news about our schools-- and they're quick to do so. All of these things will help increase our retention numbers.It's great to report the increased enrollment of our schools--again.

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Faith in reading https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/faith-in-reading Mon, 06 Oct 2014 22:58:25 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/faith-in-reading Memories of reading to our kids are just that--memories. Our kids are in college or into the work world; we haven't read to our kids in years. However, Dana and I read to our kids a lot when they were young. From Bible story books to animal books to various authors and interests, we read to them and they became good readers. Picture books were favorites on our shelves.Educators and parents know the importance of reading. While the vehicles may have changed (ebooks versus paper books), reading and being a good reader open the doors for success throughout life and support a world of thought and creativity.As we started our lives as parents, books and reading were key parts of parenting. Sure, having teachers for our own parents probably prioritized reading in our home. However, knowing the impact of being good lifelong readers created an emphasis in our home.It's time to get those little ones on your lap and to read to them--and use picture books. Picture books are key elements in a child's reading growth. Consider the following: Illustrations help comprehension. Words gain meaning, and pictures help the reader determine previously unknown words. Pictures trigger other parts of the brain. Reading is a complex process with the brain needing to be highly engaged. Pictures help this process. Many picture books (like Dr. Seuss) help children learn new words through rhymes and other prose. (The prose of hymns also leads children to new words and stronger vocabulary.) Repetition of the use of picture books of all kinds fosters the love of reading as reading aloud grows comprehension and fluency. More practice + familiar words + greater success in reading = growing a love of reading. And how about reading as an opportunity for parent-child bonding? Rather than life revolving around one commitment or another, why not consider revolving around something that will have lifelong effects?When all is said and done, reading really has eternal ramifications. Seriously. We teach and confess that God works his miracle of faith through His Word. What greater need do we have for reading than to be close to Jesus' words as shared through Scripture?Enjoy your reading time at home. Enjoy those picture books. Dig into the precious words of our Savior.

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Communities of hope and healing https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/communities-of-hope-and-healing Thu, 02 Oct 2014 23:35:43 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/communities-of-hope-and-healing In our hyper-connected, digital age, Earth really has become a "small, small world." But despite all our gadgets and "always on" connectivity, the world can still be a cold and lonely place.In two separate, tragic incidents in Indianapolis, high-school youth committed suicide. Kids are more "social" than ever before yet talk about being lonely. It's not just a kid issue. Elderly people also find themselves longing for companionship and sensing a lack of belonging. A recent study completed for The Lutheran Foundation reported alarming rates of anxiety, depression, and worthlessness in our population.Our churches and schools are responding to mental-health needs by providing Christian counseling services. Healing can only occur with a combination of skilled, professional counselors and the balm of Christ's forgiveness.Thank God for Cross Connections! Cross Connections provides professional, Christ-centered counseling and training for church ministry in northeast Indiana. Fifty-seven congregations look to Cross Connections for a variety of individual and group counseling needs. Since 2009, Cross Connections' number of monthly counseling sessions have increased from 120 to 249, the number of professional counselors have increased, administrative staff have been added, and the amount of network members has nearly doubled.Matt Konow, CEO for Cross Connections, sees the strong resource Cross Connections is for Lutheran ministry in northeast Indiana, including schools. "The Church is under attack ... and schools have assumed more social ministry needs and are being affected by a damaged family structure."Matt has seen individuals and families healed through the Gospel shared in biblical counseling. He looks forward to Cross Connection's growing impact.Ultimately, Cross Connections, and our Lutheran schools share the most important truth: Jesus died for all of us and that fact is healing for all of our worries and cares. Matt says, "It's all about a life of repentance. Live life in humility and in generosity to others due to the gift God has given to us in His Son."Matt is a strong supporter of Lutheran schools, from preschool all the way through the university level. He appreciates the way The Lutheran Schools Partnership has connected school communities with Christ-centered mental-health resources. Lutheran Social Services of Indiana, Cross Connections and others have been connecting with our 18 schools and helping our valuable people to see their value within our community.Northeast Indiana is greatly blessed with strong resources to support families. We rejoice to see communities strengthened though Lutheran ministries working together.

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Embracing Accountability in School Choice https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/embracing-accountability-in-school-choice Mon, 29 Sep 2014 17:08:20 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/embracing-accountability-in-school-choice Indiana's nationally acclaimed School Choice legislation has brought our Lutheran schools greater public attention.That's remarkable, because the Lutheran schools have a longer history here in northeast Indiana than the public schools. (Did you know that St Paul's Lutheran School downtown is the oldest continually operating elementary school, public or private, in the state?)And yet, School Choice has put us on the radar for some people. It's time for us to embrace that additional exposure and help families better understand the benefits of Lutheran education. School Choice offers us an opportunity to impact kids and families that we otherwise could not reach.School Choice brings both opportunities and responsibilities. Lutheran schools that choose to participate in Indiana Choice Scholarships (commonly called vouchers) must continually measure their educational effectiveness, maintain financial integrity, and meet high standards of excellence.Of course, our schools remain accountable, first and foremost, to their Lutheran church or school association. That relationship ensures that our schools remain faithful to their Christ-centered missions.Yet, by voluntarily entering into Indiana's School Choice program, Lutheran schools gain additional lenses with which to examine their academic performance, financial integrity, and school effectiveness. That can be positive.It's good to see our Lutheran schools examining their curricula, instructional resources, and teaching methods in collaboration with one another to determine best practices in our classrooms. Those internal conversations strengthen an approach to education that has eternal impact.Did you know that our schools must meet higher expectations than the public schools? It is true. Public schools can receive an F grade from the state for five consecutive years before they face penalties. In contrast, a non-public school participating in School Choice will be penalized after only 2 years with a D or F grade. While the inequity is quite apparent, the more stringent standard is not a problem for our Lutheran schools. Our schools are meeting the needs of the kids entrusted to our care.School Choice also requires that our schools meet high standards of financial integrity and accountability. Our schools self-police their financial practices to demonstrate good-faith, maintain operational excellence, and appropriately use the funds that come from Indiana Choice Scholarships. Lutheran schools are faithful stewards of those resources.Opponents of Indiana's School Choice legislation are aggressively working to end Choice Scholarships. It's disappointing that so much effort and money is going into this fight. Our Lutheran schools are meeting expectations, delivering high-quality education, and benefiting both kids and communities.This fall, as that political battle heats up, I invite you to join me in speaking up for School Choice. Together, let's make the public debate an opportunity to introduce more people to the outstanding work being done by our Lutheran schools.

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Three minutes add up https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/three-minutes-add-up Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:47:20 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/three-minutes-add-up What can you see in a three-minute visit to a classroom? You might say not too much. But teachers and students speak volumes in other ways, and that's why The Lutheran Schools Partnership supports classroom walk-throughs, or CWTs, for short. The purpose of CWTs is to collect information on the environment and instructional strategies in a classroom. This information is shared with the teacher and stored in a larger database. One CWT doesn't provide a teacher or school with much significant information. But over the course of a school year, an observer can conduct 10 to 15 CWTs on each teacher in a building. As the amount of data increases, so does the likelihood that this information is truly reflective.So what kind of data can a person collect in a few minutes? We document what the teacher and students are doing. We determine what kinds of instructional strategies and tools the teacher is using. We observe the type of work students are engaging in. We listen to the tone of both teachers and students. The data should never be used in a punitive way, and only to support teacher efforts in ongoing improvement.Teachers use this information to determine personal- and professional-growth goals. Administrators examine trends and set overall school-improvement goals. TLSP currently assists with classroom walk-throughs in five of our buildings. We look forward to partnering with additional schools in the future if they determine this would be helpful to them. And we commend all our schools as they strive for better ways to witness and share the Gospel.

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What's old is new again https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/whats-old-is-new-again Sat, 13 Sep 2014 01:29:21 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/whats-old-is-new-again In the fundraising world, we're often encouraged to "try something new," to "keep it fresh," or "don't do it like we've always done it." While these are great concepts to keep in mind, in many instances, we're finding that the "tried-and-true methods" are called that for a reason: They work!For instance ...1. Millennials: They were the future of giving! The "future" part appears to be correct, but as in "their future," or "when they get older." Reality shows us that those 55 and older have the greatest proportion of available assets to donate, and are still our prime constituency for long-term, Cheerful Giver support for organizations with limited resources to devote to fundraising. Not to discount the abilities of the Millennials' impact on the future, but not until the house is paid for, the cars are paid for, the kids are out of college, and there's more available time to devote to their causes will the impact truly be known.2. Text giving: Seems like only yesterday that donations by text was going to change everything! Do you know of anyone that's still giving to his or her favorite organizations by text? I don't. Online giving is certainly increasing, but so are credit- and debit-card donations (I don't carry a checkbook except to buy scrip), and online giving is a natural progression of this change, but donations the ol' fashion way with checks still dominate the options.3. How about the "death of the mailer"? When was the last time you received a newsletter, request letter, or save-the-date postcard? Yesterday, today, and most likely tomorrow! While our email inboxes are certainly populated with more e-newsletters than ever (like this one!), studies are showing that the tried-and-true method of mailing requests and information are still the most effective way to gain a donor's attention.Extra: Speaking of "going old-school," one of our Partnership schools, Emmaus Lutheran School and Church on the southwest side of Fort Wayne, recently finished the first phase of another "old" effort: the brick walk. They provided donors with a way to honor or memorialize loved ones with engraved pavers. Along with names of the school's current families and congregational members, they connected their future with their past by also installing one of the bells from their old bell tower at their previous address on Broadway. They'll be holding a dedication service on Sunday, October 5, at 9 a.m. Stop by and show your support. And if you want a paver of your own, they'll be collecting new orders for Phase II!

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Love watching them play https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/love-watching-them-play Thu, 04 Sep 2014 22:49:22 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/love-watching-them-play I love baseball. Once February rolls around, it's baseball season. Spring training, regular season, postseason--I love baseball. I collect baseball cards, and I've visited 18 major league cities, enjoying 22 ballparks. From crab cakes to Dodger Dogs and old Milwaukee County Stadium's brats with Secret Stadium Sauce, I've enjoyed plenty of concessions. But when it's all said and done, it's about the game: baseball. Pure, tradition-ladened, stats-driven baseball.I have fond memories of watching my three kids play baseball and softball. The weather may not have always been the best (spring in the Midwest), the state trooper west on 24 near Huntington may have missed my urgency in getting to the game on time, and the coaches may not have always recognized the extraordinary talent my kids had, but I enjoyed traveling to the games and watching. I loved watching my kids play.It's that message that I share with you, and it's emphasized by Tim Elmore in his Growing Leaders blog. According to Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller, the words that kids and student athletes want to hear from their supportive parents (and this includes NCAA student athletes) are "I love to see you play."No coaching from the stands. No nasty phone calls to the coach. No browbeating of the athlete when the third strike was called. No riding the refs on their one-sided calls. Those are all rather embarrassing for the vast majority of student athletes."I love to see you play." Seems so much simpler, and so much more affirming!Lutheran school parents have great passion for their kids and for their sports. Lutheran schools in our area provide seasonal competition in extracurricular athletics that includes soccer, volleyball, basketball, track, and wrestling. During this time of year, Holy Cross Lutheran School fields a cooperative youth-football team, and Concordia Lutheran High School is represented by teams in every IHSAA sport. Our elementary-school students enjoy a sports offering that's not supplied in public schools. These sports are an added advantage of being a student at one of The Lutheran Schools in our area.Sports are a wonderful way to help kids grow. Life lessons are learned on the court and on the field. Horizons are broadened, friendships are strengthened, and a healthy sense of competition is nurtured. Character and integrity are learned in hands-on experiences. Because of the relatively small sizes of our schools, more students are able to experience competitive sports and gain a lifetime of memories.Enjoy the sports seasons this year as you sit at Zollner Stadium, the fields at Kreager Park, or whatever gym you may be visiting. Enjoy the gifts God has given in these student athletes. Thank God for those gifts. And for sure, love watching the kids play!

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Rice cakes or filet mignon? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rice-cakes-or-filet-mignon Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:53:57 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/rice-cakes-or-filet-mignon In early August, our schools were invited to hear about the work of a college professor and researcher named Cathy Vatterott. Cathy came to speak to us about rethinking homework. She wanted to challenge some of our traditional notions about the age-old practice, and perhaps rattle our cages a bit. Here's a short quiz based on her work.

True or false? Homework teaches responsibility.

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TLSP and LSEM: a successful partnership https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tlsp-and-lsem-a-successful-partnership Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:20:31 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/tlsp-and-lsem-a-successful-partnership It's the most important part of education: reading.Last week, resource-room teachers from The Lutheran Schools were trained in the Orton Gillingham system. Not a curriculum per se, the Orton Gillingham instructional program provides the needed resources for students of all abilities and ages to gain needed strategies for reading. Orton Gillingham is seen by many as the premier methodology for reading instruction ... and our resource-room teachers have the skills now to use it.How did this happen? Our resource-room teachers were aware of money available from Fort Wayne Community Schools for APC (annual pupil count) of Individual Education Program students. Our teachers chose to use this money for Orton Gillingham training, and thanks to the partnership between The Lutheran Schools Partnership (TLSP) and Lutheran Special Education Ministry (LSEM), training was set up and delivered in the TLSP offices.Many of our schools have had a relationship with LSEM for years. LSEM has a long history of serving children and families. It began as the Lutheran School for the Deaf back in 1873, and for more than a century, LSEM served as a residential school for children who were deaf. But when needs changed, LSEM changed. Renamed Lutheran Special Education Ministries in 1990, LSEM now provides program and services for Lutheran and other Christian-denomination churches and schools throughout the United States.Kara Bratton is one of two national directors from LSEM. Some of you may know her as Kara Frincke, daughter of retired pastor of Concordia on Lake, Karl Frincke. Kara is a graduate of Concordia Lutheran High School and Valparaiso University, and she has 13 years of experience as a Lutheran educator. LSEM has provided an opportunity for Kara to serve the church and help children as a teacher, and now as a resource for teachers. LSEM has provided opportunities for her to grow, and for her resource teachers to grow.Kara enjoys the relationship with our Lutheran schools and is quick to share the TLSP advantage. Besides the networking opportunities that TLSP provides for staff of area Lutheran schools, Kara sees the value of TLSP as it utilizes national expertise, making Lutheran schools stronger and raising awareness of the strength of Lutheran schools.An example of this is Zion Lutheran Church and LSEM's recent endeavor of providing support to the students and families of the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy. Starting on August 25, the collaboration of LSEM's ICAN program, new staff, and Zion Lutheran Church members is providing reading and math instruction for students and reaching out to the families with education and Christian nurture. This is just another example of the ministry supported by TLSP, a ministry that is helping Lutheran school ministry strive for excellence in the 21st century.To learn more about LSEM, check out its website athttp://www.luthsped.org/.

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Reaching for awesome https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/reaching-for-awesome Fri, 15 Aug 2014 18:34:43 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/reaching-for-awesome I recently took a trip to Chicago with nine other Lutheran school educators to something called an iPad Summit. The trip was great; we learned so much and had a lot of fun, too! One of the keynote speakers was Will Richardson. He's a former teacher who now speaks across the country about educational technology trends and issues. He wrote the bookWhy School? How Education Must Change When Information and Learning Are Everywhere, and he had some terrific quotes I want to share with you.Quote No. 1: "The fundamental reasons why we created schools are being challenged." Once our students pass the primary grades (where they learn how to read and write), we start loading their minds with facts and content that we believe will prepare them for the next level of facts and content and that will eventually lead them to become "educated." Today, kids can Google almost any fact they want and then some. So what does that leave us to teaching them?Quote No. 2: "We did not sign up for this type of teaching!" Permission to feel anxious and overwhelmed: granted.Quote No. 3: "The change we are in the middle of is not optional." Permission to put the new iPads in the closet and ignore them: denied.Quote No. 4: "School should be the best 7 hours of the day." I really think we can make this happen, even in the age of accountability and standards. The challenge is in creating classrooms that encourage discovery while offering abundant opportunities for students to build necessary skills. Curriculum mapping can help us do that, so can using games like Mindcraft in which students create their own communities. Martin Luther translated the Bible into German because he wanted everyone to be able to search and discover the awesome word of God for themselves. We want the very same thing for our students, but we lose too many of them when we don't adapt and embrace change.Quote No. 5: "What does awesome look like?" Instead of imagining our dream lesson or perfect student, let's think about it this way: What can I do to inspire awesome in my classroom this year?

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New leadership for a new year https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/new-leadership-for-a-new-year Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:34:39 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/new-leadership-for-a-new-year As the new school year gets started at The Lutheran Schools, we celebrate the new leaders God has brought to northeast Indiana to serve as principals. The following are brief introductions of these new leaders.Mary Eifert (Ascension)Originally from Detroit, Mary attended Concordia University Chicago for her undergraduate degree and Concordia Wisconsin for her master's degree. She has taught in Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Texas, serving the last seven years as principal of St. Paul Lutheran School in Austin, Texas. Mary and her husband, Jon, are delighted to be back in the Midwest and are looking forward to cooler temps, green grass, tall trees, and being closer to family. Mary's daughter Rebecca has completed her studies at Concordia Chicago and will student teach in music at Valley Lutheran High School in Saginaw, Michigan, this fall. Her son Matt will resume studies in math and sports management this fall at Valparaiso University.Jon Eifert (St. Peter-Immanuel)Jon is serving as interim principal at St. Peter-Immanuel. A Detroit native and a product of Lutheran elementary and high schools, he has taught at the elementary, secondary, and university levels, as well as serving as parish music director. Past calls have taken him to Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Texas prior to arriving in Indiana. A graduate of Concordia River Forest, he has earned advanced degrees in choral conducting and organ. He's the proud husband of Mary and father of two: daughter Rebecca and son Matt. Yes, Jon and, Mary, the new principal at Ascension, are husband and wife.Mark Schallhorn (Bethlehem)Mark was born in Milwaukee and lived in Alaska, California, and Colorado during his youth. He attended Concordia Ann Arbor and Concordia River Forest. Mark is in his 37th year of teaching, having served in Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Indiana. Mark and his wife, Vicki, have two daughters and one granddaughter. His daughter Jessica and her husband, Andrew, serve at Wyneken. His daughter Angela teaches at Wyneken, and her husband is the family life director at St. John Lutheran Church-Bingen. Mark is an avid fan of the Denver Broncos.Carl Risch (Zion)Carl, the interim principal at Zion Lutheran School in Decatur, was born in Chicago and has lived in the suburbs of Chicago for a number of years. However, he calls Seymour, Indiana, his hometown, having lived there during his high school and college years. He's single and has a brother on the staff at Concordia Chicago. Carl graduated from Concordia University Nebraska in Seward in 1980. Interestingly, he completed his student teaching in Fort Wayne. He began his Lutheran teaching ministry at Immanuel in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, from 1980 to 1984. While there, he taught and was the minister of music. In 1984, he moved to Decatur and has served Zion as a teacher, musician, and twice as interim principal. He also has done quite a bit of coaching at the elementary and high school levels."How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7

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Four ways that SGOs skyrocketed in 2013-14 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/four-ways-that-sg-os-skyrocketed-in-2013-14 Tue, 05 Aug 2014 14:50:32 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/four-ways-that-sg-os-skyrocketed-in-2013-14 The SGO program in Indiana, a.k.a. the School Tax Credit Program, blew off the charts in 2013-14, nearly running out of available credits. Students all over Indiana benefited from charitable giving to scholarships that was encouraged by a generous 50-percent state tax credit. What were the results for The Lutheran SGO of Indiana?1. Total donationsNearly $1,500,000 was donated to the funds of schools participating in our SGO program, 475 percent more than the previous year.2. Total donationsYep, we meant to use the same title. Last year, 1,000 donations were received, a nearly 350-percent increase over 2012-13.3. Total scholarshipsThis is the reason we're here! More than 1,300 students received SGO scholarships during 2013-14, over 300 percent more than the previous year.4. Total scholarshipsYou're catching on now! While in 2012-13 more than $200,000 was distributed in scholarships, in 2013-14 more than $1 million was distributed to students wanting to attend one of our schools, a 400-percent increase.Where do we go from here? Upward, of course! We're already receiving twice as many donations in the "usually slow" month of July as compared with last July, so the race is on to claim those credits! Cheerful Givers are increasingly experiencing the joy of giving, of supporting education, and of making a quality, Christian education a reality for students everywhere.Have questions? Visit www.LutheranSGO.org, email us atinfo@LutheranSGO.org, or call us at (260) 203-4509.

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Lutheran Schools Night at the TinCaps is August 16. https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-schools-night-at-the-tin-caps-is-august-16 Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:11:54 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/lutheran-schools-night-at-the-tin-caps-is-august-16 We need your help filling Parkview Field on Saturday, August 16, as we celebrate the unique resources we have in northeast Indiana-18 Lutheran schools-with The Lutheran Schools Partnership's Fourth Annual Lutheran Schools Night at the TinCaps.

This event is one of the largest gatherings of Lutheran-friendly families in the region. For $7 a ticket, you can enjoy a great game, watch fireworks, run the bases, and reconnect with old friends.

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No arguments here https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/no-arguments-here Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:24:11 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/no-arguments-here Although Chuck Weisenbach and I may not see eye-to-eye on all matters theological, I have to say I concur wholeheartedly with the points he made in his letter published in the Indianapolis Star on June 27. Weisenbach is the principal at Roncalli High School, a very well-regarded Catholic institution in the state capital. Of course, he's "preaching to the choir" when it comes to trying to convince those of us who already recognize the value of Indiana's Choice Scholarships, or vouchers.Just like our Lutheran schools, Roncalli is a market-driven school, and schools such as ours have to offer something that public schools don't. That's why we set high standards and promote excellence among our students, educators, and administrators. Our goal isn't to make money. Our mission is to prepare students to achieve in life as they choose a faith-based path. However, we must continue to outperform or perish. There's a lot of competition among ours and other high-quality schools available to discerning families.In his letter to the editor, Weisenbach begins with the fact that there's a lot of misinformation, and even disinformation, out there about the voucher system. Weisenbach also agrees, as I do, with Star columnist Matthew Tully's recent assessment that families, especially lower- and middle-income families, want and deserve the educational options provided by the voucher system. That parents want these options is a growing movement across the country.Weisenbach also praises the state of Indiana for its efforts to make these options available with Choice Scholarships. The voucher system has also given notice to public schools, and many of them have responded to the competition by making themselves better.The goal of all our schools, Weisenbach writes, should be to educate students so that they're prepared to "lead our country and the world in bold, visionary ways." Competition among all schools to be the best they can be is the way to achieve that goal.It's time, Weisenbach concludes, to end the politically charged conversation about the value of the voucher system. And, again, I couldn't agree more. The voucher system has shown its merit by providing families with more choices, and it's sparked competition among schools if they want to attract families looking for the best for their children.But despite the ongoing debate about vouchers, our Lutheran Schools will continue to provide the highest-quality education in a Christ-centered environment. That's not part of any competition. That's just what we do so well.

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IMPACT 2014 Highlights https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/impact-2014-highlights Fri, 27 Jun 2014 18:29:24 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/impact-2014-highlights When teachers are given the time to come together; terrific things are possible. This year, for the first time, we offered a variety of professional growth experiences for our teachers in several different areas. IMPACT 2014 still focused on developing critical thinking skills in our teachers and students, but we did not limit the number of participants or ask them to commit to an entire week of training. Over 60 teachers participated! Here are highlights from the week:Reading Street Ed Camp. This was a new concept for us. Teachers came with one idea, resource or method they used this year while implementing the new reading curriculum. They also came with one question, request or need they have as they think ahead to next year. We recorded all of our discussions on a shared Google Doc and left the session feeling affirmed and refreshed. Great job everyone!Creating PBL Units. This group was great! Teachers developed some incredible units that will bring real-world experiences to our students. I look forward to seeing them in action. I want to extend a special thank you to Emmaus Lutheran School and my facilitators: Stacey, Kristen, Jessica, Mike and Christina. They were able to share terrific insights and examples that benefited the whole group.Integrating Tech Tools. Another stellar group of teachers. The word of the day for this group was most certainly patience. Patience with technology challenges and too many video clips and their own challenges with integrating tech. Many thanks to Wyneken for hosting us, and to Andy and Pam who made the experience engaging and meaningful!Reading and Writing Best Practices. Teachers loved the breakout sessions featuring nationally known experts in reading, writing, and math (bonus event). It was a great opportunity to network with fellow educators from the area.MS Science Symposium. We are looking forward to this session in August. The science department at Concordia High School is creating a day of learning and experimenting that will support our middle-school teachers in new and exciting ways.IMPACT 2014 was a resounding success, but as with any new approach, it wasn’t perfect. We ask teachers to take risks in the classroom and try new things, and of course, I must do the same. I will use the feedback and comments I received to make IMPACT 2015 even better.

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Vouchers versus SGOs: the facts https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/vouchers-versus-sg-os-the-facts Thu, 26 Jun 2014 21:30:18 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/vouchers-versus-sg-os-the-facts See those storm clouds? No, those clouds aren't going to bring a storm. At least not the clouds I'm looking at. The clouds I'm seeing are directed at recent school-choice legislation in Indiana. While the program is a model for any state looking at choice as an option for its schools (words used by researchers at a school-choice conference earlier this month at Notre Dame), those opposed to school choice are rallying their troops to attack the policies and the school-choice schools with their messaging of the evils of vouchers and scholarship granting organizations (SGOs). School-choice advocates have been relatively silent on the negative information being shared. However, please accept the following as information gathered about the funding and accountability of choice legislation. One thing you may have heard: SGO scholarships are the same as choice scholarships (vouchers). That's wrong. SGOs are funded by private donors; no state dollars are used to fund these scholarships. The funding of these scholarships is the major legal and practical difference between SGOs and vouchers. Also, eligible students get funding only if there are sufficient donations to provide the scholarships, which are provided by SGOs such as our Lutheran SGO of Indiana, and not through the state of Indiana. (As an aside, if you're not using the benefits of donating to our Lutheran SGO, please contact Jon Dize at info@lutheransgo.org.) So what about choice scholarships (vouchers)? Where does the money come from for choice scholarships (vouchers)? Technically, the voucher money comes from the State General Fund. Collections from a wide array of taxes flow into the State General Fund, but the big three are sales tax (48 percent), individual income tax (35 percent), and corporate income tax (7 percent). Numerous other taxes (e.g., gaming taxes, inheritance tax; etc.) account for the remaining 10 percent. Gas tax and vehicle license fees revenues (along with numerous other taxes and fees) are not deposited in the State General Fund. These revenues flow into other, dedicated funds that aren't used to fund the voucher program. The only public-school funding "bucket" substantially affected by school choice is the School General Fund. This is the bucket from which classroom instruction costs are paid. The primary revenue source for each public school's general fund is the State General Fund. The amount of State General Fund monies that go to each public school district are determined by the State School Funding Formula. Local property taxes for public schools now primarily support public-school building costs and student transportation costs ... not classroom instruction costs. Participation in the voucher program is estimated in essentially the same manner as enrollment in each public school district is estimated. Using these estimates, the General Assembly then appropriates enough funds to cover: a) the cost of the voucher program; along with b) all of the distributions to public school districts required through the State School Funding Formula (which is defined in law). How does the choice scholarship (voucher) program affect public-school funding? The voucher program does not change how public schools are funded. All public school districts continue to be funded based on enrollment. If a district's enrollment grows, its funding increases; if enrollment declines, funding decreases. If school choice causes more K-12 students to enroll in private schools than would have otherwise, then the public school will get less funding overall ... because they will have fewer students. Furthermore, Indiana law requires that any savings from vouchers, in excess of what was initially estimated, must be allocated back to the public schools. By law, a calculation is done annually to compute if any excess savings have accrued, and then a redistribution of these excess savings is made. In the first year of the voucher program, over $4 million of excess saving was redistributed back to the public schools. In the second year, nearly $5 million of excess savings was redistributed. For the third year, there will be no redistribution. This isn't because there were no savings, but because there were no "excess" savings. That was due primarily to the fact that budget estimates of voucher participation have improved. All the voucher savings were captured in the initial School Funding Formula projections, so no excess saving distribution was triggered. One more note: It's true that voucher schools have a different set of standards than their public school counterparts. However, the standards for a voucher school are, in fact, higher than they are for public schools. If a voucher school receives a grade of D or F for two consecutive years, they can no longer accept students using a voucher. Public schools can receive a grade for F for six consecutive years before the state board of education steps in.

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It's your choice: make yourself heard https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-your-choice-make-yourself-heard Thu, 26 Jun 2014 21:27:52 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/its-your-choice-make-yourself-heard The Golden Dome of Notre Dame was the setting for this week's conference on the outcomes of school choice in Indiana. Researchers from coast to coast (Stanford to Duke) presented their findings on various aspects of school choice and how these findings describe the "Indiana School Choice Ecosystem." Researchers looked at various research and its corresponding programs and policies to share a picture of the impact of school choice not just here in Indiana, but also throughout the United States. Since I really hope you'll take a couple minutes to read this, I won't (and until all the research is publicly shared, I can't) share all the details of the studies. However, the researchers seemed to agree: Indiana has the model for school choice. For those who want a system that opens the door for any student from a means-tested group (low-economic status) or from those who want all students to be measured against the same testing tool (ISTEP is administered in all voucher schools), Indiana has the choice options that are desired by opposing sides of the pro-school choice environment. Although the data in the past year are clouded by a wide-open door for involvement in choice scholarships, choice scholarships and overall choice legislation is making a difference for Hoosier students. The research will be ongoing on the success of school choice. Part of the ongoing research will be the determination of what makes success. Test scores are the typical way of measuring success and making comparisons between programs. Test scores, specifically ISTEP, provide one resource for all students to be compared with. I agree that test scores are one way to measure success and compare schools. However, nowhere in a good educational system will one set of criteria determine the success or growth of a child. Good teachers use a wide variety of data to determine progress, formative and summative assessments. At some point, Indiana will need to create a set of criteria that looks with broad strokes at the success of students. Parents know what they want, and they're the consumers making the school decisions. In one of the pieces of research, parents were surveyed to name how they determine their child's success in school. Not one of the surveys listed test scores as the way in which they determined success, even though it was given as an option for answers to the question. Rather, parents determined success by student motivation, student grades, student attitudes, student behaviors, feedback from teachers, and student study habits. Seems parents are looking for long-term characteristics of success, not the snapshot picture of a standardized test (standardized being a very questionable term when it comes to the past two years of ISTEP testing). It might be wise for evaluators of our Indiana schools to make sure their interests match the interests of those who are paying their salaries. It's also the continued good practice of our Lutheran schools to listen carefully to the interests of the parents sending their children to our schools. While professionals in the field of education must continue to assess recent research to determine changes and implementation in curriculum and practice, it's important for strong communication to occur between home and school. It's one of the reasons that surveying is so important in the National Lutheran School Accreditation process. I'll share more from the research in the months to come (e.g., the fact that Indiana's choice programs are the second-most regulated in the country). But in the days to come, our state legislators need to hear from you on the value of school choice. Plenty of naysayers are approaching (bombarding?) our elected leaders about how public schools are being pilfered of needed dollars to support nonpublic schools and that ISTEP scores demonstrate that nonpublic schools aren't being successful. Legislators needs to hear the good stories: the improvements that have occurred for choice students in work habits, behavior, and achievement. Phone call, email or letter, let your voice be heard.

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A time of transition https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/a-time-of-transition Tue, 03 Jun 2014 23:57:50 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/a-time-of-transition "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" (Isaiah 52:7)As the 2013-14 school year comes to a close, transitions are obvious. From graduations to moves to a new grade level, students will experience a variety of change from this year to the next.Another kind of change will be transitions for some of the familiar faces at our schools and churches as those folks will soon be experiencing their retirements. Pastors, teachers, and various staff people are the blessings that God uses at our schools to help children learn about their Lord and the world He created. Those talented people have dedicated their lives to service in our churches and schools, and we thank God for the impact they've made on children and families in our church and school communities.God does remarkable things through His people, no matter what their frailty may be. After all, the work that we do is not our ministry, but Christ’s ministry. He brings about the results that He himself designs. Through it all, we step back and praise Him because He performs His miracles every day.This letter is meant to cause thanks to our God for His many gifts. Today we thank Him for these gifts, people gifts, as they retire from their present service to the Church and look forward to how God will continue to use each of them.Tommy Franke, Principal, AscensionThe Rev. William Brege, Pastor, BethlehemDan Buchinger, Principal, BethlehemPat James, Teacher, CentralThe Rev. Denny Borchers, Teacher, CLHSJoan Nixon, Third-grade Teacher, ConcordiaBarb Johnson, Music Teacher, ConcordiaJudy May, Assistant Principal, Emmanuel-St. MichaelJudi Parrot, Secretary, St. Paul'sJan Hieber, Teacher, St. Peter’sThank you all for your dedicated service.

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Living in the past, or looking to the future? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/living-in-the-past-or-looking-to-the-future Tue, 27 May 2014 20:13:44 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/living-in-the-past-or-looking-to-the-future When I started teaching back in the late 1980s, we were just beginning to learn more about how kids learn. I remember being trained in college in a program called TESA (Teacher Expectation Student Achievement). At that time, it was believed that if teachers engaged in certain types of behaviors, students would get the message that they were capable of learning.There are many of us out there who've been around for a long time, and we begin to think that every new idea is just a recycled version of an older idea. It's how the brain works, tying new information to existing knowledge. Although I was relieved to see that the foundations of the TESA program are still valid today, I realize that a lot has happened in the areas of brain and learning research in the past 20 years. Twitter and Pinterest have become the new ways to stay informed and get new ideas. Old-timers like me can feel threatened and want to hold on to what we know, and this is usually drawn from our time in the classroom.There is an art and science to teaching. We do understand more about relating to students and parents as our experience grows. And we develop our content knowledge expertise as we teach the same concepts year after year. The art comes with time. Yet, advances in brain-scan technology and years of research on learning environments have brought us some very specific recommendations. It's time to acknowledge that experience alone doesn't make an effective teacher. We must all stay current and be willing to let go of old practices that aren't effective. We must also be willing to take some risks in our classrooms and try something new, knowing that we may need more practice before we get it down. These are the marks of a true professional.As The Lutheran Schools Partnership plans for next year, we'll be inviting experts to answer this very essential question: "What does current research tell us about how students learn?" We'll be addressing a variety of topics, including the science behind learning, re-examining homework, and scaffolding our instruction so all students in our room are working on grade-level materials. Teachers, administrators, parents, and community members will be able to come and learn together.To prepare for this, I have a challenge for all of our veteran teachers. I want you to clean out your file cabinets and get rid of anything that is more than five years old. Really get rid of it; don't just stick it in a box labeled "just in case"! Can you do it? How much will you have left? The art of teaching is grounded in our experiences and memories of watching students learn (the past). The science of teaching is grounded in what we learn today and what we'll discover tomorrow (the future). OK, I'll let you save one box.

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The HOW of Endowments https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-how-of-endowments Fri, 23 May 2014 20:38:05 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-how-of-endowments In February, I wrote about endowments, The Lutheran Foundation's ongoing efforts to match endowment funds for our area Lutheran schools, and why every school and every school board should be focused on raising these needed funds.Now that I have convinced you why to support an endowment, I suppose you would like to know how to move forward...First and foremost, you need a plan. I love plans. You can't get where you want to go without a plan to get there. Below are some basic pieces we suggest for your plan:Begin with a GOAL. Below are some useful guidelines: Start with The Lutheran Foundation's goal for your school. Their match is $1-to-$1, so your minimum goal should be their challenge match amount in order to maximize the potential return. If you do not know the Foundation's goal for your school, shoot me an email. Start with a program's funding as your goal. Want to provide for $50,000 in scholarships every year? $1,000,000 is your goal (rule of 5%). Want to pay for that new Enrollment Coordinator position that The Lutheran Schools Partnership is talking about? Maybe $250,000 is right. Want to make sure $5,000 goes to Costa Rica missions every year? $100,000 will do it. Start with a minimum in mind. Maximum? The skys the limit with this fundraising system! Do not limit yourself.Next, you must PROMOTE the endowment: Promote the endowment in general. Previous eNewsletters have highlighted the "why" of endowments. Promote the impact that endowments can provide. Promote what you will use the funds for. Talk about your goals. Promote past gifts to your endowment, who made the gift, the impact it made, etc. Promote how to give to the endowment. Add it to the offering envelope, have brochures in the narthex, list it on your website, etc. Need more promotional ideas? Ask away!Last, (arguably, first!), you need MANAGEMENT of the process: Management should come from an endowment committee. Manage the process with an Endowment Policy. I love helping creating policies for endowments, gift acceptance, distribution, investing, and segregated funds. Manage the investment. We suggest partnering with the The Lutheran Foundation. Can't beat their expertise and economies of scale. Manage the promotion as listed above. Fundraising staff, fundraising committees, board members, called staff, etc. Keep it in front of everyone.As always, I am here to help with any and all of these areas. Contact me atjond@tlspartnership.org or 260-203-4510.

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Can I have that in a sentence, please? https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/can-i-have-that-in-a-sentence-please Thu, 22 May 2014 16:02:22 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/can-i-have-that-in-a-sentence-please Achievement. OK, it's supposed to be I before E except after C. So ...Achievement. A-C-H-I-E-V-E-M-E-N-T. Achievement. Whew. I got that right, and I'm still in the competition.But like most of us who've found spellcheck to be a true blessing, I'm no competition for Lutheran South Unity School seventh-grader Lwin Moe Aung, who's off to the 87th Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., next week.Lwin Moe Aung (pronounced Leh WIN Mo Awng) won the Journal Gazette's annual Allen County Spelling Bee for the second straight year in February and earned a spot in the national competition by winning the regional spelling bee at IPFW in March. The regional competition included winners from 15 counties in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.Lwin Moe has the ability to spell words correctly-and under pressure-that aren't often used in everyday language. "Fatuity," for example, is the word that won him the regional bee. Otherwise, he's just a regular kid. A very bright kid, that is. He plays soccer at LSUS and likes action movies (Rush Hour with Jackie Chan is his favorite). This won't be his first visit to Washington, D.C., but he hopes to take in the Washington Monument this time around. He also has an avid interest in Chinese culture and history.Lwin Moe is a first-generation American. His parents are refugees who emigrated from Burma, by way of Thailand, to escape the ongoing turmoil in Burma. It's estimated that more than 200 proud Burmese immigrants and their families and friends will be in Washington to show their support for Lwin Moe. His story is also being covered by several news agencies, including BBC Asia and IPS News, Asia."We're rather proud of this unassuming, bright, soccer-playing student," says Krista Nagy, principal at LSUS, where Lwin Moe has been a student since kindergarten. "His father told us that some of his friends finally saw Lwin Moe, not just on Facebook, but on television in Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. His father said they're proud of their son no matter how far he goes in the bee."Let's all be proud of this outstanding Lutheran school student. There's going to be a big send-off celebration for Lwin Moe at LSUS at 2:45 p.m. on Friday. I'd also like to send out an "attagirl" to Sophia Whitsitt of St. Paul's Lutheran School, who took fifth place in the 2014 Journal Gazette Allen County Spelling Bee.The 2014 National Spelling Bee preliminaries begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, and some of the competition will be aired by ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3. You can check out the ongoing results anytime at spellingbee.com.In the meantime, here are some fun facts about the 2014 National Spelling Bee: Competing will be 281 spellers from the 50 U.S. states, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Department of Defense schools in Europe, the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, and South Korea. The spellers range in age from 8 to 15, but more than 86 percent are between 12 and 14. Two of this year's spellers have siblings who've previously won the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 138 spellers speak more than one language. This year's group of competitors is made up of 51 percent girls and 49 percent boys. The spellers' favorite words include bibliophile, effervescent, gestalt, kerfuffle, schottische, and snickersnee.

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Concordia fifth-graders help IPFW celebrate https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/concordia-fifth-graders-help-ipfw-celebrate Thu, 08 May 2014 21:50:20 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/concordia-fifth-graders-help-ipfw-celebrate Fifth-grade students at Concordia Lutheran Elementary School in Fort Wayne are doing their part in Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne's signature 50th anniversary project, Sculpture with Purpose. The Concordia Lutheran School fifth-graders have decorated a bicycle that will be featured in artist Suzy Hendrix's "A Time for You," one of the 50 Sculpture with Purpose bike racks that will provide form and function on the IPFW campus and around Fort Wayne. The fifth-graders' bike will be attached to Hendrix's sculpture near Neff Hall when all the bike racks are officially unveiled during a celebration on campus on Saturday, May 17. All 34 fifth-graders at Concordia Lutheran School, led by teachers Angie Owen and Melanie Walter, participated in the bike project. Owen and Walter learned of the opportunity for their students to participate through FAME, the Foundation for Art and Music in Education. Both Angie and Melanie are active members of FAME. "Melanie and I thought this was a good way to engage our students in art, reach out into the community, and raise awareness of our school," Angie says. Although the design of the bike is based on the children's book "The Imaginary Garden", the nature of the decorations were left to the students, who created insects, flowers, vines, and portions of a garden gate from a host of art supplies and recyclable materials. "We didn't show our students examples-we just gave them the idea, and then let their creativity take over," Angie says. "It was a great way for our students to work and learn together. They shared their ideas and then collaborated on the project. Our students are very excited to be part of this and really proud of their work. "Our students even talked with the artist, Suzy Hendrix, via Skype," Angie adds. "Suzy explained to them how she went about creating her sculpture. That was a wonderful experience for our students, too." The goal of Sculpture With Purpose is to celebrate IPFW's 50th anniversary during the 2013-2014 school year and to promote health and wellness by creating 50 bike racks that would serve as functional art. The sculptures were crafted by artists in seven states. Twelve of the sculptures will be located on the IPFW campus, while the rest are downtown and in other areas of the city.

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Put August 16 on your lineup card https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/put-august-16-on-your-lineup-card Thu, 01 May 2014 21:24:27 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/put-august-16-on-your-lineup-card We need your help filling Parkview Field on Saturday, August 16, as we celebrate the unique resources we have in northeast Indiana-18 Lutheran schools-with The Lutheran Schools Partnership's Fourth Annual Lutheran Schools Night at the TinCaps. This event is one of the largest gatherings of Lutheran-friendly families in the region. For $7 a ticket, you can enjoy a great game, watch fireworks, run the bases, and reconnect with old friends. Last year, over one-quarter of the stadium was filled with Lutheran school-friendly baseball fans, and our goal this year is to hit 50 percent of the stadium's capacity! To that effect, several Thrivent chapters are planning coordinating efforts at Parkview Field that night, and Concordia Lutheran High School is planning an alumni outing at the game. We've also reached out to other Lutheran higher-education institutions; more information is still to come from those groups. While a dollar from every ticket purchased through Justin at the TinCaps, (260) 407-2808 or shurley@tincaps.com, will go to The Lutheran Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) of Indiana's General Scholarship Fund, we really hope you and your church or school group will attend for the camaraderie and to enjoy being among such a large group of Lutheran-friendly families. And, yes, we'll have special drawings for gift certificates and autographed team items, and offer the chance to throw out the first pitch to the group with the largest number of tickets purchased by July 1. So, come one, come all. Get your tickets purchased, wear your favorite Lutheran-based school-spirit gear, and help fill the seats!

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An Ode to State Taxes: What I Could Have Done https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/an-ode-to-state-taxes-what-i-could-have-done Fri, 25 Apr 2014 22:57:09 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/an-ode-to-state-taxes-what-i-could-have-done April 15 has come and gone.And as usual, I was under the gun, To get my tax check written(Or at least the extensions done). I sit and ponder, "Is it possible, to makeThis whole exercise a bit more fun? "Do I try and work less,As I toil away under the Sun? No, that won't do!"That thought is done. "Could I have upped my charity,And make that state tax bill read 'none'"? Well, there was that Lutheran SGO Scholarship thing(The church and school sure promoted it a ton), Where I could support school scholarshipsAnd start building a State Tax Credit from day one. With these funds, the literature states,The schools can afford to teach more kids about the Son. I couldn't believe what I read,Eliminate my state taxes? Help students? How my mind spun. I pledge to call my adviser; write a check!Or online I will run, So that next April 15th,I can exclaim, "This year, we all won!" For more information on how gifts to The Lutheran SGO of Indiana can help fund scholarships and reduce or eliminate your state taxes, visit www.LutheranSGO.org, email info@LutheranSGO.org, or call (260) 203-4509.

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The most important phrase in the world https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-most-important-phrase-in-the-world Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:58:19 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/the-most-important-phrase-in-the-world "The most important phrase in the world is a mere two words: for you. That there is a God means little; that he is for you means everything. That Jesus was crucified is a tragedy; that he was crucified for you is the best news imaginable. The phrase 'for you' assumes the presence of a noun: love. And it is that divine love--a love for you--that makes all the difference in the world."-Chad Bird I saw this on Facebook this week. I see a lot on Facebook. You do, too. But this little post caught my eye and came when I needed this reminder, this personal reminder. It's personal in a way that's not in a trendy, Americanized Christian way. It's not a "I've come to know ... " personal kind of way. It's not my "authentic" experience with God. This week, Holy Week, is filled with "for you." I taste and see that the Lord is good as I join the redeemed in His Supper on Maundy Thursday. "For you" is personal, directed right at this hopeless sinner lifted from the mire to enjoy His presence and His forgiveness. This "for you" joins me with Peter, that even though I have denied my Lord more times than I am aware, Jesus' command to "feed my lambs" is also for me. That Good Friday cross is for me, but I don't like to look at it. I don't like to see the agony and the cruelty. But the "for you" I don't want to get too close to is the reality of how sin separates me from my God. Jesus was forsaken for me; I'm so indebted. But the biggest "for you?" Love to the fullest. His life, to give me life, here and in eternity. Easter joy, Easter peace. This week in our schools and in our churches, Holy Week is being celebrated. It's not a remembrance, or a series of ceremonies. This week is all "for you" coming from our Savior for us to share with a world that needs to know that God has done it all "for you." Through the retelling of the Gospel story, the Holy Week walk of our Savior, teachers and pastors directly share Jesus' passion in our schools. But our collective witness is important, too. Our individual witness through our statements of faith and our traveling to worship all say to our friends and neighbors that something special is going on "for you."

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Coaching Christian life: going into overtime https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/coaching-christian-life-going-into-overtime Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:26:38 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/coaching-christian-life-going-into-overtime "It's about the theology, saved by grace. I'm a poor miserable sinner saved by grace." Does the above sound like something said by a pastor? By a Lutheran school teacher? How about by a middle school basketball coach? If you guessed the basketball coach, you're correct. It was something Coach Jerry Ratzburg shared with me recently. Jerry's St. Paul's Lutheran School Bears just won the Lutheran Basketball Association of America's national tourney to complete a perfect 36-0 season. At first, Jerry will be very uncomfortable with this e-newsletter. His coaching and his life are really about the initial quote in this article. He's quick to be a witness of His Savior, and he's quick to serve as well. He's not interested in the limelight. Jerry's a gym rat whom kids know and gravitate toward. He has a heart as big as his shoe size, and that's good because Jerry isn't someone you'll miss. With a big smile, a big voice, and an equally big body, Jerry sets quite the imposing figure. But Jerry's not imposing anything on anyone. He's simply letting his faith lead his life and coaching. Jerry grew up in northern Wisconsin as one of six kids in his family. His parents were active members of the Lutheran Laymen's League and supporters of Concordia Mequon (now Concordia University-Wisconsin), and largely because of these relationships, Jerry went to college there. The biggest draw for Jerry was that he was allowed by the school to play two sports (not just one): football and baseball. Later, Jerry moved to Fort Wayne, and up until about two years ago, was a respiratory therapist. He'll tell you there have been some tense moments since being laid off, but "faith keeps me going." One of the other things that "keep going" is his commitment to kids and doing more than just coaching basketball. It really should be called a commitment to the classroom of the basketball court. Jerry has his method and his strategies for every basketball season, and most of them have nothing directly to do with basketball. His classroom of the basketball court includes dealing with adversity, showing empathy, consistency (discipline), routine for the sake of comfort, expectations (in life, from our God), and prayer. It's also witnessed by a St. Paul's jersey. As Jerry says, "Name of the school on the front and the cross on the back-always a witness-of your church, school, family." What are the effects of the classroom of the basketball court? What does this look like? How about a couple of stories to explain? One of Coach Ratzburg's out-of-town coaching rules is that the team will worship together on Sunday morning. Along with this rule is the accountability that each player has for one another. So when the boys sat down for church at Immanuel Seymour in February and one of the boys wasn't there, the guys began to be concerned that this young man was letting himself and the team down. That wasn't the case. In fact, the young man had taken a lot of the team's principles to heart in a short year at St. Paul's and not only did he show up for church, but so did his dad. Impact on the court? You bet. Impact in life with Christ. Absolutely. Sharing the faith just like coach. Undeniable. Another story. Two years ago, St. Paul's basketball team was making one of its first visits to Valpo for the national Lutheran basketball tourney. The team was undefeated and feeling pretty confident. Then came a Saturday night game when the Bears already had two wins in the bag. But after the final buzzer, they were dealing with the fact they just had lost. How did they handle it? At first, they waited patiently for the other team to dance for joy on their triumph. Then the St. Paul's players, calmly and with a certain confidence, shook hands with the opposing team, congratulating them on their win. When they got into the locker room, the tears started flowing, and there were plenty of upset boys. What was shared was typical Jerry. "Losing is painful, but the sun will come up tomorrow, and tomorrow is Palm Sunday. Tomorrow is the beginning of Holy Week. We're going to walk with Jesus into Jerusalem, see him beaten and crucified and then celebrate his resurrection next Sunday. Yeah we lost, but this is nothing compared with what faith in Jesus is all about." How about that for putting a game in perspective? Coaches and the many volunteers of our Lutheran schools are teachers of the faith, witnesses of the grace shown to them in Jesus. While the classroom experiences wrapped with a proclamation of the Gospel are central to the mission of our schools, board members, coaches, special event coordinators, and many more help make Lutheran schools unique venues for sharing the faith. Jerry is an example of what coaches are capable of and what our sports programs can do in teaching the faith and modeling Christian life. Want to know more about Jerry's coaching style and philosophies and share the faith with him? Take Jerry to Buffalo Wild Wings. He'll enjoy the conversation ... and the wings.

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St. Paul's boys take national tourney, finish 36-0 https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-pauls-boys-take-national-tourney-finish-36-0 Thu, 03 Apr 2014 22:50:23 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/st-pauls-boys-take-national-tourney-finish-36-0 Congratulations to the St. Paul's Lutheran School boys basketball team for winning the National Tournament of Champions in Valparaiso, March 28-30. St. Paul's defeated Garden Homes Lutheran School from Milwaukee to gain the championship and complete an undefeated 36-0 season. For the St. Paul's Bears and for the coaching staff, headed by Jerry Ratzburg, this was their first national championship, having participated in the tourney for the past four years. On top of the championship, two Bears also earned all-tournament honors: Keion Brooks Jr. and Jadon Hill. Also from the Fort Wayne area, Sylare Starks of Holy Cross Lutheran earned all-tourney honors in the girls portion of the tourney. A major part of the tournament is highlighting and emphasizing sportsmanship. The individual sportsmanship award is awarded based on the input of the tournament's referees. Colton Grahovac of St. Paul's earned the individual sportsmanship award, the Jack Fordyce Award. Last year, St. Paul's earned the team sportsmanship award, the Mel Doering Sportsmanship Award. Andrew Whirret, athletic director, teacher, and a coach at St. Paul's, says the Bears have the right stuff. "I couldn't be more proud of how hard they've worked-not just on the court, but in the classroom. We have a group of kids who truly care about each other, and pick each other up. Even when one or two have the occasional struggles in the classroom, the others are willing to step up, help out, tutor, and hold each other accountable. They truly show what we've worked hard to instill in them, that these priorities matter, and in this order: God, family, school-and then comes basketball." Other area teams invited and participating in this year's Tournament of Champions included the boys squads from Emmanuel-St. Michael (1-2) and Lutheran South Unity (2-2) and the girls teams from Holy Cross (2-2) and Emmanuel-St. Michael (1-2). This national tournament began 68 years ago in Cleveland as the Midwest Lutheran Basketball Tournament. The tournament was named the Lutheran Basketball Association of America in 1970, and the tourney been held in Valparaiso since 1971.

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IMPACT is back https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/impact-is-back Thu, 27 Mar 2014 23:04:35 -0400 alicial@tlspartnership.org (Alicia Levitt) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/impact-is-back For over 20 years, our Lutheran schools have offered a weeklong professional-development experience designed to promote critical-thinking skills, and we've called it IMPACT (Involving Minds in Problem Analysis and Critical Thinking). There are two definitions of the word "impact." The first is to have a strong effect on someone. That's a good descriptor of what we want to accomplish. But I almost like the second definition of "impact" better: to come into forcible contact with another object. We certainly don't want our teachers to feel as if a Mack truck has hit them after a week with us! But we do want them to feel changed or altered in some way. IMPACT 2014 is set for June 16-20, and for the first time in recent years, teachers from our own schools will be co-facilitating! TLSP, in partnership with the schools mentioned below, is gearing up to offer a variety of "impactful" experiences this summer, including:Creating PBL Units: Project-based learning asks students to solve real-world problems or create projects that are meaningful and engaging. Our teachers will spend two days at Emmaus Lutheran School, learning about how they can incorporate PBL units into their curricula.Integrating Tech Tools: Technology must become a fundamental element in our classrooms. Wyneken Lutheran School has embraced this new reality and empowers its teachers to experiment and grow in this area. Our teachers will learn from them and share their own experiences as we prepare students for the 21st century.Reading and Writing Best Practice: Teaching is truly an art and a science. We'll learn about both as we gather together to share our own successes with a new reading curriculum. We're also excited to send our teachers to the All Write Conference, where they'll hear from some of the best teachers in the nation.MS Science Symposium: Middle school teachers-God bless them! The science department at Concordia Lutheran High School is creating a day of learning and experimenting that will support our middle school teachers in a new and exciting way.God has graced us with talented and dedicated teachers, and I can't wait to see them all in June.

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Welcome to the Lutheran Schools https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/welcome-to-the-lutheran-schools Tue, 25 Mar 2014 04:08:03 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/welcome-to-the-lutheran-schools We are 17 elementary and middle schools across northeast Indiana,plus Concordia Lutheran High School. Find a Lutheran School near you.

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Discover the Difference https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/discover-the-difference Mon, 24 Mar 2014 18:07:28 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/discover-the-difference Lutherans founded the first elementary school in Indiana, public or private.We're committed to educational excellence.

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Faithful. Focused. For You. https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/faithful-focused-for-you Mon, 24 Mar 2014 18:06:55 -0400 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/faithful-focused-for-you Your family will fit right in!Visit a Lutheran School today.

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Spring ... when your fancy turns to ... wills and bequests https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/spring-when-your-fancy-turns-to-wills-and-bequests Thu, 13 Mar 2014 22:04:12 -0400 jond@tlspartnership.org (Jon Dize) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/spring-when-your-fancy-turns-to-wills-and-bequests Spring ... Rebirth ... Renewal ... Spring Forward ... Looking Forward ... Planning Ahead ... Planned Giving. OK, maybe this is only how my mind works, but spring is an excellent time for you, your congregation, and your school to consider wills, bequests, and other planned giving efforts. The snow is melting, the future looks bright. There's more sun in the sky, and we celebrate the death of a Son. Planned giving should be as much a part of any church or school's calendar as the year-end mailing, the SGO brochure, the endowment report, etc. Below is a FAQ primer to get your leadership thinking: What exactly is a "planned giving effort?"In short, all organizations should be looking to promote ways to identify, plan, and execute wealth-transfer options, including wills and bequests, charitable trusts, etc., to benefit your mission. People call them "life gifts," with which you identify and support what was important to you in your life. Types of planned gifts include gifts through wills, trusts, charitable gift annuities, life insurance, IRAs, etc. Why should we have a planned giving effort?If you do not ask, you will not get. It truly is as simple as it sounds. When do we start a planned giving effort?Yesterday. Everyone can think of a time your school received a gift from someone's will at just the right time. "Wonderful! God is good! What a salvation to our project that was!" Well, someone did some work in the past to make that gift a reality now. If you'd like to receive more gifts in the future, it's time to get moving. Who should we approach in our planned giving effort?Everyone. While common logic may indicate that you should focus on those who are "nearing the end of their time here on earth," studies show that on average, families create wills when they're in their late 40s. Get in there now for the long haul. How about just focusing on the wealthy? As the local Leave A Legacy promotional effort would say, "You do not have to be wealthy; you just have to be willing." Would you rather receive one bequest for $50,000, or 10 gifts of $5,000 each? If someone usually gave $250 a year, they could leave $5,000 in his or her will for your school's endowment, providing that $250 a year, forever. (Remember that from my last e-newsletter on endowments? Ask me for a copy if you missed it.) All of these concepts can be summed very nicely by something a pastor recently told me: "I oversaw nearly a dozen funerals of long-term members last year. Not one of them included the church in their will. I guess we cannot just 'assume' it will happen anymore." Give me a call, and I can help you start your planned giving efforts, including creating a simple information sheet, a request packet, or even a bequest club. Spring into action, everyone!

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Students pitch in for Kids Against Hunger https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/students-pitch-in-for-kids-against-hunger Fri, 07 Mar 2014 21:42:37 -0500 markm@tlsparntership.org (Mark Muehl) https://www.thelutheranschools.org/posts/students-pitch-in-for-kids-against-hunger On February 21, students from Emmanuel–St. Michael Lutheran School visited Lutheran South Unity School, where students from both schools packaged more than 36,000 meals for hungry children in the Philippines. The event was in support of Kids Against Hunger, a national organization that has a local chapter in Fort Wayne. With donations from church congregations and individual donors and through special events, chapel offerings, and funds earmarked for service learning, the students raised more than $6,600 to support the effort. Special events at Lutheran South Unity School included the ongoing sale of hot chocolate and a "Hunger Games" lock-in event and subsequent pancake breakfast attended by parents and other congregation members. During the food-packaging event, the students worked at seven different stations during two shifts to meet their goal. Lutheran South Unity School students in kinder