Life School is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with the opening of a new high school at its Red Oak campus and a new elementary campus in Lancaster.

School officials said they are dedicated to training leaders with life skills for the 21st century by establishing strong academics, character training and a parenting program.

Life School was established in 1998 with 226 students and has grown in nine years to a population of 2,800. School officials said they are committed to doing the basics well, and excellence and integrity.

“Life School is a school of leadership and we expect to see students who are academically challenged with strong character and moral training,” director of public relations Susanne Garner said. “Teachers are held to the same high standards that are required of students.”

Life School Red Oak officially welcomed its first high school students Aug. 20.

“We received tremendous community responses on the first day of school,” Garner said. “Our telephones are still ringing with parents seeking an opportunity to enroll their children in Life School. There are many good schools in the area but we have grateful parents who have chosen to make Life School their school of choice.”

Life School Red Oak is a new facility complete with decking and an outside atrium, along with a new computer lab and new science lab.

Athletic fields for football and softball are also new additions to the school as well as other sports including basketball, football, volleyball, track, cross-country and golf for students.

This year, the upper school campus at Red Oak will include grades 7-9, where enrollment has grown to 1,100 students. The school will add a grade level each year until grade 12.

The Oak Cliff campus has 1,239 students in grades K-12. The Lancaster campus has 492 students in grades K-5.

Fifty-five instructors teach at the Red Oak campus; 66 instructors teach at the Oak Cliff campus; and 25 instructors teach at the Lancaster campus.

New to the coaching staff are Jeff Smith, who will head the football coaching staff, and Andy Chester, who will serve as head basketball coach and campus athletic coordinator. Smith brings 15 years of coaching experience, with Chester bringing 19.

School officials recently announced that Life School Red Oak received a recognized rating under the state accountability system and “Meets Adequately Yearly Progress (AYP)” under the federal No Child Left Behind accountability system. The campus also was recognized in 2003-2004, 2005-2006 and 2006-2007.

This year’s parent orientation was divided into four evenings at the campuses in Red Oak, Oak Cliff and Lancaster.

“The parent orientation was held to acclimate parents to the school system,” Garner said. “Life School has strict parent guidelines that include attendance at parent seminars, observation of students in the classroom and monthly update meetings with the teachers. Parents are true partners with the teachers and administrators of the school.”

Garner said Superintendent Dr. Tom Wilson addressed guests at the different locations and reminded parents of their role as the primary educators of their students.

“Dr. Wilson delivered a stirring challenge to the parents to develop the students in every area: physical, emotional, moral and social intelligence,” she said.

According to a press release, Life School parents agreed to attend parent orientation and other events throughout the school year.

“Parenting nights and seminars are held monthly on various dates for each campus to provide a time for teachers to give parents an overview of the academic progress of the classroom for the coming month,” Garner said. “Any additional supplies, library research, additional homework or testing schedules are discussed.

“Parent seminars range in information from discipline to finances, marriage and family relations to single parenting, time management to challenging teenagers,” she said. “Gifted, qualified guest speakers offer a wide range of topics to appeal to many different interest groups.”

E-mail Chicarra at chicarra.dense@waxahachiedailylight.com