2015-16 Annual Report

Dear Friends

Another year has passed here at Lutheran Special Education Ministries and yet again we find ourselves looking back at all the ways God has continued to bless us.  Even in the midst of some staff restructuring and procedural administrative changes we’ve never lost sight of the true vision of our ministry.  We’ve continued to REACH across the country to SERVE families and SUPPORT children with learning needs to know Jesus.  I am so excited to report that through the hard work of our teachers and staff and through your constant prayers and financial support we have been able to increase the number of children we serve by almost 30%! God keeps opening door after door for us to be able to share His love with people near and far!  Sometimes I am overwhelmed by how much He has placed before us and wonder if we can keep up with the amount of love He showers upon us.  That’s when I remind myself how unique we are – we are an organization that has continually evolved and adapted to meet the needs of the communities in which we serve.  One hundred and forty-three years later we are still committed to identifying the needs of students and meeting them where they are at, in schools where they are sheltered by the love of Jesus.  I know that as long as we focus on His good and perfect plan we can’t go wrong.

Now is a great time to take this journey with us.  We know you have a heart for kids, especially those with learning needs.  The need for specialized instruction is only going to grow in the years to come and we stand ready to serve as experts in this field.  We pray that you will continue to see the good work that God is doing through LSEM.  We know that we couldn’t do any of this without you, so thank you for another amazing year!  I can’t wait to see what He has waiting for us around the corner!





Stacy Hoeft

“Through the hard work of our teachers and staff and through your constant prayers and financial support we have been able to increase the number of children we serve by almost 30%!”




Resource Center Grows, Serves Over 3,000 Children

During the 2015-2016 school year, LSEM provided services to over 3,000 students across the county.  LSEM teachers provided direct instruction and intervention services to over 1,300 students, and provided assessment and screening services to an additional 1,800 students in our partnership schools.

Almost half of the students that were provided with direct services had not been formally identified with a learning need, but LSEM teachers were able to provide them with instruction based on areas of struggle in the classroom and to prevent them from encountering greater struggles in the future.

LSEM teachers also provided services to students identified with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, students on the autism spectrum, English language learners, students with developmental disabilities, hearing and visual impairments, and students who benefit from gifted and talented services.

God Has Blessed Our Ministry Immeasurably Over the Past 12 Months

2016 has been a year of tremendous growth for LSEM.  Over the past year God has blessed our ministry by increasing our number of partner ministries from 39 to 47.  The amount of time our teachers spend working with students across our partnership schools has increased by just under 30%.  Our growth has expanded the reach of our ministry into nine states: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

How have we accomplished this?  It’s simple really.  God has blessed our ministry immeasurably over the past twelve months, guiding us to seek His will in every situation.  We lift up each teacher, staff, and partner in prayer daily, asking for God to give us wisdom and energy to meet the growing needs of special education services in our partner schools.  By taking this stand we have been able to reach and serve more people in more places.  Our team has been stretched to meet the needs, but we continue to encourage each other in this work knowing that we are fulfilling both the mission of LSEM as well as the Great Commission given to us by Christ in Matthew 28.

Parents of students who require specialized learning approaches often face an unsettling decision.  They can either send their child to a school where Jesus Christ is the center of everything they do or they can send their child to a school that is equipped to meet their child’s unique learning needs.  LSEM strives to provide churches and schools with everything they need to allow parents and students to have both the high quality academic experience along with the life-changing opportunity of attending a Christian school.  So whether it is opening a new iCAN After School Program in a church on the south side of Chicago, leading a chapel service for school students in Jacksonville, co-sponsoring a conference for the Texas Lutheran Special Education teachers in Austin, or building a partnership with over two dozen churches and schools in the Great Lakes Bay Region of Michigan, the Programs & Services team at LSEM has traveled many miles to equip teachers, parents, and schools with resources to allow our partners to serve more students.

Hear What They’re Saying…

It has been quite a year for Lutheran Special Education Ministries! With a new CEO and leadership team, our ministry experienced an exciting and profound transformation in 2016.

Thanks to your generosity, we were able to make a difference in the lives of students in several new partner schools, including Immanuel Lutheran School in Frankentrost, Michigan.  Their principal, Jonathan Kamin, reports:

Like most schools, we had students who were struggling, but we felt lost. I didn’t know what else to do, so I reached out to LSEM. I felt the support system immediately during that phone call. Within days, an LSEM staff member was in our building and stayed for the entire day. She informally assessed our students, observed the modifications that one of our teachers had been making, and encouraged her that she had been doing the right things. Our kids just needed more help than a general education teacher could provide.

A few days later, we partnered with LSEM, and the impact was immediate. From the moment we met them, every LSEM staff member demonstrated that they love each of our kids and our teachers. Our students are excited to go for their one-on-one time with our LSEM teacher, and their confidence shines through when they return to class. We saw the results in class after just a few months, and when our next standardized test scores came back, we had numbers that showed our students had grown. LSEM has been an answer to many prayers! We are excited that we can continue helping our children grow through our partnership with LSEM.

God is always good, and He shows himself daily in our church-based iCAN programs.  iCAN programs help LSEM reach children who may attend a public or charter school during the day, but need extra help in math and literacy.  We recently produced a short video where parents, pastors, and teachers talk about how iCAN is changing the lives of these children.  You may view it on the home page of our web site at www.luthsped.org.

Cindy Roy, LSEM teacher and site coordinator for the iCAN program at Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, recently shared the following insights from a parent:

A parent came in last week to thank us. Her son had taken home his ‘resurrection eggs’ and used them to share the events of Holy Week and Easter with her. She said that it had been years since she had really thought about what Easter was ­— so much more than bunnies and candy — and that it was the most meaningful Easter she has had in a long, long time. Praise God!