Launch plan accepted by school board
During the Monday, May 8, Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education (BOE) meeting, the LifeWise Academy launch plan was brought to the board’s attention to potentially start at the Sabetha Elementary School (SES) during the 2023-24 school year.
According to the LifeWise Academy website (https://lifewise.org), LifeWise is a Released Time Religious Instruction (RTRI) program, which provides Bible-based character education to public school students.
Under RTRI laws, students can be released from public school during the school day to attend religious classes, provided the program is off school property, privately-funded and parent-permitted.
This program was introduced to the USD 113 BOE during their July 11, 2022, meeting. During the Aug. 8, 2022, BOE meeting, the board approved the motion, with all in favor, to allow LifeWise Academy members to work with school officials to work through the details of the program and possibly offer a LifeWise pilot to SES in 2023.
Since then, the Sabetha LifeWise group purchased the house at 106 Oregon Street, located across the street from the Sabetha Elementary School, to potentially hold their lessons.
During the May 8 meeting, Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Gatz explained the proposed schedule she created to allow students to attend LifeWise during school hours without any disruptions of their normal schedule. She was able to schedule LifeWise for the fifth day of Reading Intervention for first through fourth grade students, and for a portion of the fifth grade students’ CAP time.
LifeWise classes will take place once a week for each grade, for 11 weeks during the first semester of the 2023-24 school year as well as 12 weeks during the second semester, starting the week of Aug. 28.
The scheduled times are as such — first grade: Thursdays 12:05-12:45 p.m.; second grade: Tuesdays 12:50-1:30 p.m.; third grade: Tuesdays 2:30-3:05 p.m.; fourth grade: Thursdays 2:35-3:10 p.m.; and fifth grade: Tuesdays 8-8:40 a.m.
Instruction will last for 30 minutes with 10 minutes in total to travel to/from the Sabetha LifeWise destination.
Four teachers have been hired to teach the LifeWise lessons — Wanda Menold, Randi Schmid, Maria Eisenbise Edelman and Lori Baumgartner. According to Baumgartner, as of May 8, 21 students have already been enrolled in the classes, and that number may grow.
The USD 113 BOE members accepted, with all in favor, the LifeWise Academy launch plan to begin in the fall of 2023 for Sabetha Elementary School first through fifth grade students.