2016-17 Annual Report

Dear Friends

This past year, 2017, was one that will not be soon forgotten for many reasons.  LSEM saw another year of tremendous growth in programs!  God is using us as His instruments each and every day as He continues to bless our efforts in working with children in Christian schools all over the country.  On the pages that follow you will read many stories of the children we have the privilege of serving. Those same children would not receive the services they so desperately need if not for the many wise and courageous leaders who have come before me. Sadly, on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017 we had to say goodbye to one of those wise leaders – our beloved former President/CEO, Roger DeMeyere.

For 23-years (1987-2010) Roger DeMeyere served as President/CEO at LSEM. One could say his calling to LSEM was a miracle. A calling that ultimately paved the way for the future. A future for the children he so dearly loved. A future that filled the hearts of many children with the hope of God’s unending love.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

With roots in the deaf community (both of Roger’s parents were deaf), God used Roger to expand what had been started by his predecessor Reverend Dr. Rodney Rynearson; namely, a vision for LSEM to reach across the United States to also provide hearing children with specialized learning needs the opportunity to learn and to grow to their full potential.

During his 23-year tenure at LSEM he witnessed the transformation of the ministry from a residential school in Detroit to a national organization that continues to serve as a special education resource for Christian schools and congregations across the United States.

I have often said that Roger had a larger than life presence and had the ability to make everyone in the room feel special, which is exactly what we strive to do for each of our students on a daily basis. After his retirement Roger would check in at LSEM to make sure all was well. He would say, “I know Jesus is smiling because LSEM is in good hands.”

We pray that God continues to bless us in ways that will honor Roger’s legacy long into the future. To say he’ll be missed by many is an understatement, but we find comfort in the words that Roger used to share, “Believing in Jesus means you never have to say good-bye – just say… see you later!”





Stacy J. Hoeft


WOW! Stories…from across the country

Learn how new technologies in the classrooms have been blessings to students and teachers

Elijah S. is the third grade student at Immanuel Lutheran school in Elmhurst, Illinois. He is diagnosed with dyslexia. Elijah finds it hard to get his thoughts down on paper accurately and efficiently. He works on his writing skills, however, some assignments are better executed by using his LSEM iPad and the “SNAP TYPE” app. For example, Elijah is able to take a picture of a workbook Page and then type text into the corresponding answer space. He can email a copy of the completed workbook page to his classroom teacher, as well as to his LSEM teacher. This allows Elijah to show how well he understood the concepts presented in the text without having to worry about his specific difficulty with writing. The iPad and app allow Elijah to get the information that is in his head down on paper accurately and efficiently. This has made all the difference in the world in Elijah’s spelling and in reading. Wow!!

Erin Raniere, Immanuel Lutheran School, Elmhurst, IL

A 2nd grader with severe Autism is now succeeding in the classroom. I work with him as an Instructional Assistant in the morning. He is now reading at grade level. He is acting more appropriate socially as the other students model how to behave. He loves Lexia so much that we now use it as a reward. He “demonstrates Jesus” as he really pays attention during Bible lessons.

Deanie Dankenbring, Christ’s Greenfield Lutheran School, Gilbert, AZ

Thanks to a women’s group in northern Illinois, we were able to purchase technology which benefitted two schools and countless children.  The technology included a new HP desk top computer, five iPads, two Chromebooks, and a new printer. An eighth grade student and I used Chromebooks to share and edit his written report, which was huge for this student. He also used the “Read & Write” app, which allows a student with a learning disability to formulate sentences into a microphone which were then typed for him. Many students struggling in reading are using the iPads to access the Lexia Core 5 Reading program and the Moby Max programs. The Moby Max program covers learning across the curriculum. Because the app can be downloaded on devices at home, parents are enjoying using it at home with their kids.

Having the technology available to our students has made for less tears and opens many avenues of learning which were often a struggle and a source of frustration for our students with learning differences. We are very thankful.

Arlene Lapsansky, Trinity Lutheran School, Tinley Park, IL

The Texas/Florida LSEM group is made up of professionals with expertise in special education, counseling, autism, dyslexia, and occupational therapy. It is a privilege to be in a collegial relationship and learn from one another to better serve the precious children at our schools.

In January, several teachers from our group will attend a workshop that Crown of Life Lutheran School is hosting that will feature Dr. Ned Hallowell, well-known speaker and author of the book, Driven to Distraction. We appreciate the investment of resources for professional development.

Sharon Messman, Texas/Florida Coordinator for LSEM Teachers

A.T. came to our school as a 4th grader from public school, where he struggled with academics, bullying, and on occasion fighting.  He told me he wants to be in a gang but not do any of the bad stuff that gang members do.

When I look at A.T. I see a remarkable person with a kind and impressionable heart.  A.T. asks many questions about death, jail, faith, the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, God, Jesus, and forgiveness.  Here at Zion Lutheran School we can address not only A.T.’s struggles with his academics but also his struggles with his faith and encourage his desire to understand.  A.T. says he likes coming to “God School.”

I hope A.T. will increase in his knowledge and understanding in academics.  But I know that God brought A.T. to our school for even more.  God is using LSEM and Zion Lutheran School to touch a child’s heart and to change his life.

Becky Warnasch, Zion Lutheran School, Walburg, TX

Report from Programs & Services

It was another year of God blessing LSEM with growth. In 2017, LSEM added fifteen programs to increase our number of ministry partners to 59 in eleven states. We also started two unique partnerships. One with the Michigan District-LCMS that provides Lutheran Schools in Michigan access to professional development, consultation, and support services. The second is the “Let it Shine Enrichment Academy” in Austin, Texas where LSEM is helping educate preschool students with special needs. We’ve grown in our knowledge as well, offering our teachers training and resources in math instruction. We give thanks to God for the role we play in building His kingdom through education.

News from Development

In 2017, LSEM enjoyed several opportunities to hit a golf ball, break bread, and most importantly, thank its supporters and share ministry news.

In May, we held our 13th annual golf outing at Cherry Creek Golf Course in Shelby Township, Michigan. Despite the chilly weather, golfers enjoyed a day at the beautiful course and the opportunity to take home great prizes, including tickets to a Detroit Red Wings hockey game at the new Little Caesars Arena! In August, we were pleased to be a featured recipient of the “Food Trucks for a Cause” event at The Villages of Rochester Hills, an event combining delicious food, shopping, and fun. LSEM wrapped up the year on December

Special Events in 2018

LSEM has been selected as the recipient of four LCMS district Hearts for Jesus programs. Hearts for Jesus is a Lutheran school-based program allowing organizations to highlight how children can make a difference in their community through their chapel offerings. In 2018, LSEM will be the recipients of this program in the Michigan, Minnesota South, North Wisconsin, and Pacific Southwest LCMS districts. To learn more about this and how you can also get involved, visit www.luthsped.org/heartsforjesus.

14th ANNUAL GOLF OUTING: Friday, June 29, at Cherry Creek Golf Course, Shelby Township, Michigan

CHRISTMAS TEA: December 6 at Cross of Christ Church, Bloomfield, Michigan

Stay Tuned for additional dates and events