A Day At LIFE
Each day starts at 8:15 am with all students and staff (and sometimes parents!) gathering in our main common area where we engage in staff-led stretching for 10 minutes. We have incorporated a unique program called Masgutova Neurosensory Reflex Integration (MNRI). This well-researched and documented series of exercises is similar to yoga and stimulates the body to engage the senses and focus the mind.
Next, we hold a 15-minute devotion led by students or staff. With the devotion fresh in our minds, we spend the next 10 minutes in quiet reflection. During this time students are encouraged to journal, read scripture, or quietly reflect on the scriptural lesson.
With this solid foundation of engaging mind, body, and spirit, our students are ready to face the challenges and lessons of the day!
Elementary students gather in their homeroom with their teacher to go over their day. Middle and high school meet with their respective teachers to wrap up thoughts on the devotion and then focus on the day’s tasks ahead.
At 10:30 am, everyone gets a “Brain Break.” This involves a healthy snack and some moving around—outside and in the fresh air if possible! Then back to work until everyone breaks for lunch.
The first part of the afternoon is spent on lessons. This is followed by something different: recess, gym class, a special study, or Climb60 project. The afternoon ends with everyone participating in their assigned cleanup chore. No exceptions to this!
Wednesday’s provide more time for special studies and Climb60 projects as well as a full-school chapel service.
Staff and students alike have found this balanced mixture of lessons, study, group discussion, devotional time, and stretching and exercise to significantly improve productivity and engagement throughout the day.
Our elementary program is divided into lower elementary (K–2nd grade) and upper elementary (3rd–5th grade).
The myriad advantages that small classroom sizes offer are well known. But did you know that in our elementary program we offer a student-to-teach ratio of about four students per teacher? This allows for individual attention right from the start of a student’s educational experience.
Our elementary program is organized on a block schedule for all students in K-5th grade. This allows students to rotate between three different classrooms and three different teachers four days a week. In turn, this allows our elementary teachers to teach classes in their particular area of expertise. This has been an extremely successful model the students, staff, and parents love.
Block scheduling and small class sizes allow us to challenge students ahead of their grade level if they are excelling in a subject.
Wednesday is set aside for a full chapel and for “specials”—opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom, participate in field trips, and engage in a program unique to LIFE called “Climb60”. For Climb60, students spend one hour a week in a carefully structured class that allows each student to research and complete a project on any subject of their choice. We have seen students pursue building projects, cooking, drama, learning to play an instrument, and much more.
With our low student-to-teacher ratio and our excellent staff and facility, we find that students prefer, and even soar at LIFE, in comparison to a large, traditionally structured environment.
Our middle school serves students in 6th–8th grade.
Our small class sizes continue into middle school—approximately three students per teacher. One teacher is their primary homeroom, ELA, and social studies teacher, while another teaches math and another science. Middle school students move around the school throughout the day as they transition between subjects and special projects.
Something you may not recognize from other schools is the very neat and individualized environment we designed for our middle schoolers. Students receive their own study pod that resembles a more open office cubicle. This is their space for which they are responsible to keep clean and organized but can also personalize.
At a time in a student’s life that is so transitional and when other schools are letting this age group slip through the cracks, LIFE has been deliberate in establishing a unique program with a special culture that the students love and respect. We are able to give individual focus and support to our middle school students, balancing growing responsibilities with encouragement and support. Students are allowed to work at their own pace with teacher guidance, and they use a curriculum that was designed and is continually refined at LIFE.
As these 6th–8th graders are preparing for high school, we are deliberate in making sure they have the opportunities and tools to prepare them for the big change of entering high school and taking on more personal responsibility. We allow more hands-on projects that work to build confidence and the desire to explore our world. Because of our cooperative, engaging culture and our strong emphasis on respect at all levels, our middle school students remain conscience about their actions within the community while pursuing personal success.
Our high school serves students in 9th–12th grade.
Continuing on from its use in our middle school program, the individual pod system is also used in our high school as part of our next-gen classrooms. These personal, rather large workspaces are where students do the vast majority of their work.
The pods are designed to come together in semicircles with a large round table in the center of each pod cluster. This allows students to turn around in their chairs and work collaboratively with the other students in their cluster. This, along with the small class sizes, facilitates a level of cooperation and student-to-student mentoring not seen in many other schools.
We are currently using an online curriculum for high schoolers, which has many advantages, including the ability for students to log on 24/7 and work on assignments from anywhere with internet access. Students also have regular access to their online teachers, and we reinforce this support with upper level teachers here on staff. This online system allows for a breadth of subject and class level options, including many AP options.
LIFE is dedicated to graduating students who are well rounded and ready for the next stage in life, be that a traditional college or apprenticeship/trade program. We know that all too often a main focus of students and their parents is to make sure they have a high GPA and they know how to take a standardized test. LIFE is so much more that that, and we want all students to realize that we are not just preparing them for the college of their choice—we are preparing them for LIFE!
Weekly Enrichment @ LIFE
Health & Wellness
LIFE students engage in physical activity that develops and improves their balance, coordination, and strength. Through this process students also learn concepts and tools for living a healthy lifestyle.
HS students will view and discuss selected TED-Talks during lunch once a week. Critical thinking skills and analysis will be cultivated on the various topics as we process out loud what the group has seen and heard in the presentation.
CONNECT Small Group
The MS and HS students meet once a week to engage in Biblical study, sharing life happenings with one another, praying for one another, and seeking opportunities to serve others.
MS & HS students are presented with various hands-on learning opportunities in this once a week class that offers practical, useful, and valuable life skills.
Elementary students will experience worship, Biblical stories, and prayer together, and be encouraged to connect with God freely on their own to commune with Him in an ongoing way.
Student LED Devotions
HS students are given the opportunity on a rolling schedule to present each Monday the “verse of the week” in our morning devotion. They are challenged to share from their heart meaningful thoughts in a 6-10 minute presentation that will also strengthen their public speaking skills.
Nature is the Art of God
Elementary students meet once a week to learn about the beauty and wonder of God’s creation in “Nature is the Art of God” class. They explore in fun and hands-on ways the amazing world God has created and are able to express some of their own learning and creativity in fun projects.
Field Trips & Service Projects
Our school community will at various times of the year experience adventures and learning out and about. We tailor these outings with learning components, fun, and community.
HS students work with LIFE coaches to identify various career interests, and together, pursue some possible experiences that can be structured to discover more about those options. This is not a regularly scheduled “class” but is a component of regular one-on-one meetings with students throughout the year.