Lift For Life Academy was founded in 2000 as a charter school for middle school students in the city of St. Louis based on the concept that a high-quality education can provide children a path out of poverty. By first extending its academic reach into high school, and later establishing an elementary school, LFLA has worked to provide opportunities for students to receive a purposeful, high-quality education throughout their academic career. LFLA celebrated the opening of its 5th and 6th Grade Center at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. In doing so, the charter school achieved a long-time goal: to become a “complete” Academy that serves students from the time they start kindergarten until they graduate from high school.
LFLA now enrolls almost 900 students in grades K-12. Nearly 100% of students come from households that qualify for the free- and reduced-price lunch program, a key indicator of poverty. More than 95% of the Academy’s students are African-American. Due to poverty and other adverse circumstances, a vast majority of LFLA’s students are considered academically at-risk, and students often enroll at LFLA two or three years behind grade-level expectations. LFLA aims to provide a high-quality educational experience similar to that at a private school by creating a nurturing atmosphere for its students and by providing students with resources above and beyond what state and federal funding can support.
The overarching goal at Lift For Life Academy is to provide a rigorous and relevant curriculum for students throughout their elementary, middle, and high school education. LFLA has established itself as a challenging learning community where all students are empowered to maximize their full potential as students and citizens, and where students, staff and families work together so that every student soars to lifelong excellence in academics and character. The Academy supports student success by providing individualized services, interventions and resources to engage at-risk students from underserved families, and to get them on track to graduate, prepared for college, career and civic life. As we seek to change students' lives for the better, we work with them to develop strong self-esteem, and to set and achieve high personal expectations.
LFLA’s targeted approach has worked for our students: the high school has maintained a graduation rate above 90% since its first graduating class in 2012. In addition, test scores show that LFLA’s African-American students, who make up 95% of the Academy’s enrollment, outperform their African-American peers from both St. Louis Public Schools and the state of Missouri in most core content categories. LFLA’s ongoing progress is tracked via the Missouri Annual Performance Report (APR), which judges a broad cross-section of criteria about student performance, from standardized test scores to attendance and graduation rates. LFLA’s 2023 APR was higher than St. Louis Public Schools and most other city charter schools.
LFLA also benefits from the leadership of a strong and stable administrative team and Board of Directors, as well as a 23-year relationship with our charter sponsor, Southeast Missouri State University. SEMO recently committed to continue its sponsorship for the next five years, and the state of Missouri has renewed our charter for the same period of time.