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The LEAP Way

The Opportunity

There is strong evidence that the arts help young people to develop the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century, yet many communities suffer from a lack of arts access.

  • Many New York City schools have limited arts programming

  • Underrepresented populations are not afforded the same opportunities to develop 21st-century skills through programs in the arts

  • The traditional school model and core curriculum is not always engaging to youth and does not access all types of learners

  • The creative sector and information workforce are not sufficiently represented by diverse communities


Enter LEAP

We teach programs across a wide variety of mediums that integrate the arts with what we believe are essential skills for success in the 21st century: creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. We call those skills the 4Cs, and they're a part of every one of our programs in both the afterschool space and during the school day.

The LEAP Way is our unique educational approach to all our programs. At LEAP, we...

  • Prioritize Youth - We are a student-centered community of educators that prioritizes youth voices, ideas, and interests. 

  • Engage Peer to Peer - We know that when collaborating, solving problems, learning from and with their peers, young people are more engaged in their own learning. 

  • Achieve Goals - We provide structure and support for our students to carry out their own plans and support young people in overcoming hurdles and building their resilience. 

  • Foster Safe Space - We understand that to create authentically, we must feel free to experiment, explore, and make mistakes. 

  • Support Community and Culture - We share the responsibility of supporting each student by building relationships and connections to the communities we serve.

  • Reflect - Experiential learning requires a routine of thoughtful reflection in order to guarantee learners have opportunities to make meaning of their experiences and connect to their own feelings, their community, and to the world.

As we teach...

  • Creativity - The ability to think and work with others in a way that activates the imagination and expands thinking, leading to new ideas

  • Critical Thinking - The ability to reason, make judgments, and solve problems

  • Communication - The ability to express oneself clearly with oral, written, and nonverbal skills

  • Collaboration - The ability to work effectively and respectfully with a diverse group of individuals as a team toward a common goal, while valuing the contributions of others


LEAP has instituted an in-house Professional Learning Community to provide ongoing professional development and training to our teaching artist network. These trainings - referred to as Learning Labs - cover topics such as program quality, experiential learning, access and equity, classroom behavior, and management of student portfolios.

We're building the next generation of life long learners and innovative problem-solvers. Supported by adults who they trust and opportunities to express themselves, youth will grow to become confident and successful leaders. The LEAP instructional model is focused on high-quality educational arts programs with intentional strategies to foster this change.

Last year, 80% of LEAP youth advanced in one or more of our social and emotional learning outcomes through our programs.

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