Master of Education in Initial Licensure LEAPs (Lutheran Education Alliance with Parochial Schools)
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Please inquire if you are interested in enrolling for a future term.

This program provides talented adults the opportunity to explore teaching as a lifelong vocation while serving as apprentice teachers in urban and rural parochial schools. This program has three components: academic and teacher education course work, living in community with other LEAPS teachers while serving the teaching needs of parochial schools, and continued exploration and growth in spirituality and faith in the context of service and developing vocation.

LEAPS is a two-year program that prepares persons holding baccalaureate degrees in areas other than education (e.g., math, biology) to teach in elementary and secondary parochial schools. Applicants for this degree must have an undergraduate major that is "licensable". Transcript evaluations will be conducted on all applicants. Applicants for the elementary teacher education program must submit passing scores on the Indiana CASA I (Core Academic Skills Assessment). Applicants for the secondary teacher preparation programs must submit passing scores on both the Indiana CASA I and the Indiana Core Assessment in their content area as part of the admission process.

Teacher candidate placement is in Lutheran, Catholic, and occasionally other Christian schools in urban and rural communities in Northern Indiana and Illinois. The program includes:

  1. Intensive graduate course work during the two-year period leading to qualification for initial Indiana certification as a teacher and a Master of Education degree from Valparaiso University
  2. Full-time teaching experience for two years with living stipend and onsite mentoring by parochial school educators
  3. Community living experiences with other LEAPS teachers
  4. Opportunity for spiritual growth through shared prayer and involvement in local church communities
  5. Benefits that include educational costs and summer housing at Valparaiso University during the two-year program

Students in the program integrate graduate level course work with full- time teaching experiences. For each of the two summers, candidates live and study together at Valparaiso University. At the completion of each summer's training component, students serve as full-time teachers within a parochial school setting under the guidance of a local mentor. Teacher interns receive internship credits each fall and spring semester of their two year teaching placement. In addition, they take course work (may be online or live) during each of these semesters. During the school year, teacher interns live together in community, sharing the challenges and rewards of their beginning teaching experiences. Safe, low-cost, community housing is provided in the vicinity of the teaching sites in Northern Indiana and Illinois.

As models within the elementary and secondary parochial systems, teacher interns are encouraged to develop their own personal spirituality and faith in the context of community. This important dimension of the program is facilitated through periodic retreats and contact with local church members from the various communities.

Because a significant component of this academic program involves two years of service as an apprentice teacher, costs are minimal to the student. Students earn a stipend during their two years of teaching, and from this they assume their living and transportation costs. Because teachers share housing, living expenses are generally modest. In addition, Valparaiso University provides educational benefits as well as housing during summer study on campus. Students assume incidental costs, including such things as textbook purchases, travel to and from campus, entrance and licensing examination fees, graduate activity fee ($146.00/semester), and applicable graduation fees.

This program encourages talented seniors and college graduates from any field to apply for admission. Such graduates, however, should be interested in exploring teaching as a lifelong vocation and should be motivated by the desire to serve the teaching needs of church and society. Students with a background in the sciences, mathematics, and foreign languages are often in particular demand.



The program consists of a 33-credit sequence of required courses that includes 10 credits of internship teaching experiences plus either an elementary licensure concentration (15 credits) or a secondary licensure concentration (11 credits).

Three checkpoints must also be successfully completed in this program. Checkpoint 1 is completed through submission of all materials required for admission to the program (see admission requirements described below). Checkpoint 2 must be successfully completed during the summer between years one and two of the program. At Checkpoint 2, each LEAPS teacher must successfully complete performance assessments designed to measure attainment of InTASC and Indiana teaching standards. Checkpoint 3 is completed at the end of the second year of the program. This checkpoint involves successful completion of additional performance assessments beyond those completed in Checkpoint 2 that are designed to measure attainment of InTASC and Indiana teaching standards, PRAXIS II licensure tests, and completion of all other licensing and degree requirements.



Applicants are expected to meet the following entrance requirements:

  1. Minimum 3.0 grade point average in completed undergraduate degree/program of study
  2. Personal essay that articulates reasons for wanting to enter the LEAPS program including how goals are consistent with living in community, continued spiritual development, and the department's conceptual framework
  3. Three letters of reference addressing academic ability, spirituality, and ability to live in community
  4. Applicants for admission to teacher education must demonstrate competency in basic skills through submission of passing scores on ONE of the following standardized tests:
  5. ACT with a score of at least 24 based on Math, Reading, Grammar, and Science
  6. SAT with a score of at least 1100 based on Critical Reading and Math
  7. GRE with a score of at least 1100 based on Verbal and Quantitative
  8. CASA I (Core Academic Skills Assessment) exam with a score of 220 ( Evidence of passing scores must be submitted at the time of application. Anyone with a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is exempt from this requirement. Secondary education candidates must also present passing scores on the content area by passing the Pearson Content Knowledge exams at the time of application for admission to the M.Ed. (Initial Licensure) LEAPS program.
    1. Completion of the Graduate School and LEAPs application forms and payment of application fees
    2. Completion of an interview with LEAPS Admissions Committee

Although students professing any faith are invited to apply, those having familiarity with Lutheran or Catholic faith traditions are likely to realize the greatest benefits as most teaching placements are in Lutheran or Catholic schools. By accepting a position in the program, students are committing themselves to two years of teaching in a parochial school system as well as to the overall goals of the program. Upon completion of the program with the master's degree, no further professional/teaching activities are formally required, although graduates are strongly encouraged to continue their vocation as teachers and leaders within the parochial school systems.

Persons interested in this program should contact the Graduate School in Kretzmann Hall or the academic adviser in the Education Department for additional information.

Required Core Courses


Professional Studies

33 Cr.

  ED 504

  Educational Psychology

        3 Cr.

  ED 506

  School and Society

2 Cr.

  ED 508

  Technology as Pedagogy

2 Cr.

  ED 617

  Assessment and Management of the Learning Environment

3 Cr.

  ED 618

  Curriculum Design and Differentiation

2 Cr.

  ED 621

  Teaching of Religion

1 Cr.

  ED 622

  Living and Learning in Community

1 Cr.

  ED 623

  Mentoring I

0.5 Cr.

  ED 624

  Living and Learning in Community

1 Cr.

  ED 625

  Mentoring II

0.5 Cr.

  ED 626

  Internship in Education I

2.5 Cr.

  ED 627

  Internship in Education II

2.5 Cr.

  ED 628

  Internship in Education III

2.5 Cr.

  ED 629

  Internship in Education IV

2.5 Cr.

  ED 651

  Seminar: Efficacy in Professional Practice

0 Cr.

  ED 652

  Seminar: Research

1 Cr.

  ED 670

  Home, School, and Community Relationships

3 Cr.

  SPED 540

  Learning Exceptionalities

3 Cr.




Students complete additional course work for a concentration in either elementary
or secondary education depending on the grade level at which they will teach.

Elementary Concentration (Grades P-6)

   15 Cr.

  ED 510

  Foundations in Emergent and Early Literacy

   3 Cr.

  ED 524

  Methods of Teaching Mathematics in the Elementary School

   3 Cr.

  ED 529

  Literacy in the Elementary School

   3 Cr.

  ED 530

  Methods of Teaching Science and Social Studies in the Elementary School

   3 Cr.

  ED 565

  Literacy in Socio-Cultural Contexts

   3 Cr.

Secondary Concentration (Grades 5-12)

   11 Cr.

  ED 507

  Media Education

   3 Cr.

  ED 560

  Literacies in the Content Areas

   3 Cr.

  ED 575

  Principles of Middle Level Education

   2 Cr.

  ED 589

  Content Area Curriculum and Instructional Methods

   3 Cr.


Are you interested in learning more? 

Contact the Graduate School in Kretzmann Hall by clicking here or contact the academic adviser in the Education Department for additional information. (