Q. Big Picture
A: Yes! The concept of released time religious instruction has been upheld multiple times at the U.S. Supreme Court. Released time guidelines both guard against government establishment of any one religion and allow expression of the right to the “free exercise of religion,” also protected by the First Amendment.
A: No, LifeWise is not affiliated with or supportive of any particular political party or figure. LifeWise is for all families regardless of political persuasion.
A: LifeWise Academy recognizes that the Bible was foundational to the forming of our society. We believe all students, regardless of religious background, can benefit from a greater understanding of such an influential book.
A: LifeWise Academy was founded in 2018 as a division of Stand For Truth, an event-based nonprofit ministry with a mission to reach public school students. The creation of LifeWise was inspired by a released time program in Van Wert, OH, which boasts a 95% participation rate among public elementary school students. Stand For Truth and the Van Wert released time program teamed up to create LifeWise Academy, launching the first two LifeWise programs in the fall of 2019. In September 2022, Stand For Truth was renamed as LifeWise, Inc. LifeWise Academy now serves more than five dozen school districts.
A: LifeWise is complementary to existing before- and after-school programs. The primary distinctive feature of LifeWise is that it operates during the school day, thereby engaging the students who are most unlikely to attend before- and after-school programs due to transportation, extracurricular and other issues.
A: LifeWise offers a structured, “plug-n-play” model which provides communities all the tools to launch and maintain an effective program while limiting administrative duties. The proven model also lends credibility to school administrators, parents, donors and volunteers.
Q. Curriculum, Schedule and Classroom
A: No, while classes are held during the school day, they do not interfere with children’s mandatory courses or extracurricular activities. The class schedule is set by school personnel in consultation with LifeWise representatives. Usually, LifeWise classes are scheduled as part of the “specials” rotation or during times when other elective courses are offered.
A: The LifeWise curriculum is designed to take students through the entire Bible, beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation, over the course of five years. Each lesson reviews a Bible passage as well as a “Living LifeWise” character trait. The lessons’ order and activities are flexible and can be modified as the teacher finds necessary. Download a sample of the curriculum here.
A: Typically, students attend LifeWise once per week for a class lasting between 45 minutes and one hour.
A: LifeWise classes are usually the size of normal school classes, between 15 and 25 students.
A: Each LifeWise class should have two adult volunteers to aid teachers with behavioral issues as necessary. The default procedure for poor behavior is to escort the child back to the school through a process agreed upon by the LifeWise location and public school.
A: A local Steering Committee first coordinates program details with school officials and then identifies a local Program Director and Board to lead the program long-term using resources and coaching from the LifeWise Support Center.
A: Local LifeWise leaders recruit and hire qualified teachers using the resources and coaching from the LifeWise Support Center.
A: Volunteers are needed to walk the students to and from the school and assist in the classroom and help as needed.
Q. Church and Community
A: The LifeWise Statement of Faith, Philosophy of Ministry and Team Member Conduct are designed to focus on the core tenets of the Christian faith, particularly the gospel. A special effort is made to avoid teaching an official position on secondary issues.
A: The very rare and minimal opposition we’ve seen has been based on misconceptions, misunderstanding and false information regarding the legality of released time and LifeWise. The most effective strategy in dealing with local opposition is to direct people to lifewise.org and encourage them to explore the site and watch the video.
A: Parents complete a LifeWise permission slip that is registered with the school office before their child may attend.
A: LifeWise is completely voluntary, and parents have the right to withdraw their child at any time for any reason.
A: Students either walk under the supervision of volunteer chaperones or be driven by bus or van to the off-site location.
A: Communities collaborate with LifeWise staff on a three-phase launch process. Learn more about the process here.
A: A variety of solutions have been used for LifeWise facilities. Four primary types of released time facilities:
Existing Space – Rental or donated use of a church or other business
Renovation – Purchase existing property, like a home, and remodel as necessary
New Build – Construction using a LifeWise model design or unique local design
Modular – Using a LifeWise semi-permanent modular building or unique local design
A: Local real estate is always owned locally. If necessary, the LifeWise Support Center can help a local program with the process of creating a local nonprofit for the purposes of owning real estate.
A: LifeWise assumes liability for students the moment they exit the school. LifeWise carries liability insurance and enforces extensive safety and security protocols.
A: No, each local program is covered under the LifeWise, Inc. insurance policy paid for by the LifeWise Support Center.
NOTE: The cost of the following coverage for all local programs is paid by the LifeWise Support Center: Directors and Officers, Religious Freedom, Sexual Acts, Employment Practices, Property, Media Fallout, Medical Coverage, Income and Extra Expense and Donations. Building and Personal Property coverage, if applicable, is managed by the LifeWise Support Center, but the cost is passed along to the local program.
A: Yes, all local leaders, teachers and volunteers are required to complete a background screening to ensure the safety of the students and the program. Child safety video training is also provided.
A: No, each local program has 501c3 tax exempt status under the LifeWise umbrella.
A: No, each program uses the name “LifeWise Academy” with a school district or geographical surname, whichever is most appropriate (e.g., “LifeWise River View”).
A: The cost varies from location to location. Some of the most significant costs include:
Director/Teacher(s) – Local programs are encouraged, though not required, to hire a part-time paid Director and paid Teachers.
Facility/Transportation – These costs can vary greatly depending on whether a facility is donated, rented, purchased or built, and whether transportation to the off-site location is required.
Membership Fee – Curriculum, technological systems, liability insurance, background screenings, training, coaching, donation systems and receipting, etc. based on the number of students enrolled.
Miscellaneous – Classroom supplies; printing and postage for promotional materials, permission slips, thank-you notes, initial launch and training fees ($3,000), endowment contributions, etc.
NOTE: Our numbers indicate a program can operate within the cost range of $100-$300 per student per year depending mainly on local decisions regarding paid staff, facility and transportation.
A: Each LifeWise program is funded by private donations through local fundraising efforts. There is no cost to schools or participating families.
A: The LifeWise Support Center provides proven strategies, training and materials to local LifeWise leaders to effectively raise the necessary funds.
A: Local programs can receive donations via check or online through their dedicated donation page at lifewise.org/donate.
A: The donations will remain earmarked for the local area for one year from the date the launch is officially put on hold. If no additional donations for the local area are made after the one-year mark, funds raised will be redirected to the national launch fund. Additional donations will extend the one-year hold from the date of deposit.
LifeWise Academy | PO Box 1179 Hilliard, OH 43026 | Copyright 2023