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Local school with Bible-based character education

LIMA – LifeWise Academy started in 2018 in Van Wert, Ohio. It was there that the “Liberated Time Religious Guidance” was reinvented.

Seventy years ago, the US Supreme Court decision Zorach v. Clauson ruled that the practice of “Released Time Religious Instruction” is constitutional and therefore legal in all states. Justice William O. Douglas wrote on behalf of the majority in his 6 to 3 judgment of Zorak v. Clawson in 1952:

“The state follows the best of our traditions when it encourages religious instruction and works with religious authorities to tailor public event schedules to sectarian needs.”

More than half of the states in the US now have release time laws. Specific state policies vary. For example, the Ohio Free Time Act (ORC 3313.6022), passed by the Ohio Legislature and signed into law by Governor John Kasich in 2014, states that public school students are entitled to the following conditions: Selective religious instruction is available during the day. School property, private expense, parental permission.

It was legal for decades, but liberated time remained almost completely ignored by the Church of Christ. I’m doing it. LifeWise has spent her three years building and refining its model to take advantage of this opportunity.

In 2019, five schools joined LifeWise Academy. 2020 saw the addition of academies to Payne, Gloverhill and Pandora. A goal was set to establish 25 academies by 2025, while in 2021 there were 36 of his LifeWise academies. LifeWise Academies are in the planning stages in Ottawa, Shawnee, Allen East, Spencerville and Bath.

Lifewise Academy is the foundation of the Gospel Project, a curriculum created for Sunday School and small group applications that has been sanctioned by Lifewise and restructured to meet the needs of liberated hour religious instruction programs. It utilizes good structure and focus. LifeWise’s curriculum is designed for him to study the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, over five years. Each lesson reviews Bible verses and Living LifeWise personality traits. Twenty-five personality traits are taught, including responsibility, respect, gratitude, and obedience. The order of lessons and activities is flexible and can be changed by teachers as needed.

LifeWise does not interfere with school daytime lessons. It does not interfere with your child’s required courses or extracurricular activities. Class schedules are set by school representatives in consultation with her LifeWise representatives. LifeWise classes are typically scheduled as part of a “special” rotation or at times when other elective courses are offered.

The local steering committee will first coordinate the details of the program with school officials and then identify a program director and board of directors to lead the program over the long term. The Director and Board recruit and hire qualified teachers using resources and coaching from the LifeWise Support Center. Many volunteers are also involved to help move students around and help in the classroom. The student walks under the supervision of a volunteer parent or travels by bus or van to her LifeWise classroom offsite. Costs vary by program based on paid staff, facilities, transportation, curriculum/due fees, supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses. Our numbers show that the program can operate within a cost range of $100 to $300 per student per year, depending primarily on local decisions regarding paid staff, facilities, and transportation. The LifeWise Support Center provides proven strategies, training, and materials to her LifeWise leaders in her community to effectively raise the necessary funds to keep the schools and participating families at no cost.

Schools in some areas are beginning to incorporate “free time religious instruction,” which allows students and parents to voluntarily choose an off-site, privately-funded, Bible-based curriculum.