LEAP Academy strives to fund innovative programs that teach students to believe and act on a set of guiding principles similar to those advocated by LEAP.
Every school funded by the LEAP Academy is encouraged to find new ways to achieve these goals.
We summarize the first Horizon Elementary LEAP Program proposal here and look forward to new ideas in the future.
The program started with an intensive two week summer session for about 35 students who were nominated by their teachers. Each day of the session the students focused on speaking and acting on each of the 10 principles that form the core of the program. The selected students put into practice what they learned through creative student leadership opportunities and projects. In addition to teaching the 10 principles, the summer program was used to build meaningful relationships between students and teachers that will continue throughout the students' enrollment in the program and beyond. We believe these bonds will lead to perseverance under adversity as well as academic growth for every child.
Community leaders play an important role during the summer session when they visit to speak to the students about the principle of the day. Leaders are selected based on their position and experience in the community and their ability to engage our students in discussions. Recognized leaders incuding the Mayor, Fire Chief, District Superintendent, as well as business leaders, athletes, and artists. In addition, it is stressed that leaders are more than what the students might be accustomed to thinking. People are included who have made a contribution in our community, but who the students may not have thought of as leaders. These people serve as examples to demonstrate to the students that they too can step up and make a difference.
The selected Horizon students participated in at least one service project during the summer program. The students participate in a campus service project that they have discussed and voted upon. The contribution is recognized by a LEAP marker placed near the area of service with the names of the students who participated. The students also visit a location where they participate and engage in a community project. Locations are selected where the students can complete a task for a non-profit organization or visit a facility where they can engage and uplift the needy in our community.
• Huddle-Ups - Huddle-ups are designed to not only maintain but enrich the relationship that was built with each student through the summer program. The Huddle-Ups will be a team meeting led by the teacher. Students will review their Leadership Notebooks thus creating a follow-up/accountability relationship that carries on through the school year.• Lunch Bunch - Lunch bunch sessions are done by grade level with no more than 5 students in each session. The students will eat lunch with the counselor and engage in time connecting and discussing the importance of relationships, respect, integrity and good decision-making skills.
Throughout the school year students are offered at least 3 excursions to explore their interests. Students are encouraged to take an off campus, deep-dive into some of the things they are passionate about. Teachers will hopefully connect with them on this level.
Upon successful completion of the summer session, each student automatically becomes a LEAP Ambassador. This will allow them to show off their leadership talents to the community and be able to serve their school in this way. All teachers receive a program that contains a student picture, brief profile with student interests and their hopes for the future. Most importantly, the program details ways in which teachers can best help serve and support our LEAP Ambassadors throughout the year.The LEAP Ambassadors have many opportunities throughout the school year to be leaders and hosts for events held in our school. These include hosting the State and District Superintendents along with many local dignitaries when Ambassadors serve as greeters and give tours around the school campus. Each year Horizon hosts a community International Night where all the classrooms are magically transformed into different countries and the Ambassadors have many leadership and public speaking opportunities for this event. The Leadership Team gives LEAP Ambassadors many opportunities to lead and learn about how best to represent our community.
We believe that the LEAP Academy supported program is responsible for educating and preparing students for their post-secondary future and defining their life goals. Part of our program consists of exposing students to a variety of careers in an effort to help them focus on a particular direction to pursue when the time is right. We focus on both futures that require college degrees and those that require vocational or technical degree options. It is our hope that this exposure will ignite a passion to look beyond today and set goals to pursue a chosen post-secondary career.