Two Schools in the Indiana District Recognized as ‘Schools of Distinction’

Published on February 21st, 2020

Two schools in the Indiana District were recognized as Schools of Distinction for 2019 from the National Lutheran School Accreditation Commission (NLSA). Immanuel Lutheran School in Seymour, Indiana and Lutheran High School of Indianapolis were two of six schools given this special recognition. The award highlights the school’s outstanding commitment to a quality Lutheran education.

“Being chosen as a ‘School of Distinction’ is the highest honor given by National Lutheran School Accreditation, said Scott Schumacher, NLSA District Commissioner. “This honor is given to the top 5% of Lutheran schools going through accreditation on a given year. In 2018, six Lutheran schools in our country were given this honor. The Indiana District-LCMS is extremely excited that Immanuel Lutheran School in Seymour, Indiana and Lutheran High School Indianapolis were recipients of this honor this year. Both schools do an outstanding job teaching about Jesus, while at the same time, providing exceptional academic and extracurricular programs. Immanuel and Lu Hi are shining examples of what exemplary education looks like in our Lutheran schools.”

“This award is an exciting surprise to our community,” said Michael Brandt, head of Lutheran High School of Indianapolis. “Accreditation to us begins as an opportunity to highlight our strengths and identify our current position as a Lutheran High School for the families in central Indiana. But accreditation makes its lasting impression when it drives us to identify meaningful school improvements that elevate our ministry and mission. To say that we are distinguished is just a validation that all of our stakeholders get the importance of this ministry/mission and are available to help us always improve.”

The NLSA commission accredited 131 schools at its annual meeting this summer. A total of six schools were rated in the top five percent of overall school accreditation ratings by the validation teams and NLSA membership committee. The four other schools outside of the Indiana District that received this distinction include Trinity Lutheran School in Utica, Michigan, Orange Lutheran High School, in Orange County, California, St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Orange, California, and St. John Lutheran School in Seward, Nebraska.

“The students, staff, and families of Immanuel Lutheran School are honored and humbled to receive the School of Distinction award,” said Todd Behmlander, principal of Immanuel Lutheran School in Seymour. “It was an unexpected surprise as our faculty and staff work diligently to serve without expectations of rewards. At Immanuel, we see the School of Distinction award as a true affirmation of our ministry to families and a testimony of our mission to work with parents in providing a Christian education enabling students to live a life of service to God.”

The Schools of Distinction receive this recognition based on the evidence prepared by the schools for their accreditation process as well as the observations of the NLSA Validation Team during their school visit.

“The success of Immanuel Lutheran is grounded in a shared leadership approach of tapping each teacher’s talent and allowing that expertise to benefit our students and our school,” Mr. Behmlander said. “This was truly evident in the National Lutheran School accreditation (NLSA) process as faculty leaders organized diverse team members to research and reflect upon our current practice throughout all aspects of the school. The accreditation team noticed a professional and relational pastoral team, a highly knowledgeable special education teacher, a uniquely proficient Director of Instructional Technology, a dedicated steering committee, a service-oriented staff, and curriculum expert teachers who led the curriculum mapping process, which was identified by the NLSA visitation team as a powerful practice. Such beliefs were fully confirmed by the onsite visiting team as they noted ‘outstanding strengths’ of a ‘highly dedicated and qualified teaching staff, a close-knit, caring Christian community which is evident to parents and students, and supportive pastors.’ The family of Immanuel Lutheran School seeks to serve, to love, and to give all glory to God.”

The Indiana District is proud to lead the way in Lutheran education with all of the elementary schools in the Indiana District being accredited. We’re also grateful to have two schools who represent our district in the 2019 Schools of Distinction award.

Michael Brandt added, “The investment from our Indiana District, our churches, our families, and the teachers and staff has had a profound effect on the lives of our LHS students. Praise the Lord for the opportunity to grow our mission, for the saints of LHS, and for awards like this that represent the great work in all of our Lutheran schools across the country.”