Learning through an Expanded Arts Program, Inc. (LEAP)
Annual Report 2013-2014

Mission Statement
Learning through an Expanded Arts Program, (LEAP) Inc. is an arts-in-education nonprofit committed to improving the quality of public education through its hands-on, arts-based approaches to teaching the academic curriculum in order to empower all students to reach their full potential.
Overview of LEAP Services
LEAP is a leading innovator in educational programs and services and one of the premiere arts-in-education programs in New York City. We tailor our unique teaching approach to the varied learning needs of at-risk, underserved students to ensure that students not only perform above their peers but continue to excel after the program.
LEAP primarily worked with disadvantaged students in pre-K to 12th grade. In 2013-2014, LEAP provided a wide variety of programs and services to over 200 schools and PTA’s, 10 cultural institutions, parks and libraries, community organizations, hospitals, and shelters. In addition, LEAP created educational models, and educational materials and books for schools, school districts, teachers, students, and parents. The duration of the programs ranged from single workshops to year-long in-school residencies. LEAP’s proven effective educational model is nationally recognized for its unique programs and educational initiatives. Overall, LEAP has been a great success once again in 2013-2014 and worked with approximately 75,000 students, teachers, and parents. LEAP was able to reach out to many networks such as N511, N608, and N532 in order to serve even more students. Several networks, including Children’s First Network, directed their schools to LEAP. 
Population served
As mentioned, LEAP works with predominately underserved, minority students, as we have done throughout our 36 year history. Data collected directly from the schools that we work with showed that our students were at a greater disadvantage than the average students attending a New York City School. 83% of the students LEAP worked with lived in poverty, 13.4% were English Language Learners (ELLs), and 14.6% received special education services. Demographically, 51% of the students were Hispanic, 36% African American, 6% Asian, 6% White, and 1% multiracial. About 100% of students attended Title I-eligible schools[1], more than 50% came from single-parent families, and almost 70% tested below grade level in reading and writing. Throughout the year, LEAP works to address this discrepancy–which can have dire future outcomes for students –through its hands-on, arts-based approach to learning.
Services Provided in 2013-2014
Student Programs
Despite continued budget cuts at the city and state level, LEAP was able to conduct residencies in nearly 200 New York City public schools. As in previous years, our services range from single session workshops to long-term residencies of 40 sessions or more. LEAP tailored every program to the specific needs of the school, individual classrooms, and students –including ELL/bilingual students, special education students, students living in temporary shelter, or gifted and talented students.
LEAP’s approach to education is unique and really makes a difference in learning. Schools recognize this and despite budget cuts, many schools contacted LEAP for its many programs. Every child is entitled to a rich and effective education that helps them reach their full potential.
Services provided in 2013-2014 include:
  • Arts In Education
  • Literacy Programs
  • LEAP’s Model After School Program
  • STEM Initiative Programs
  • Theatre Programs
  • Arts-in-Education
Our visual arts residencies introduced students to a variety of arts activities and projects that integrated the academic curriculum while providing an opportunity for self-expression. This year, teaching artists focused on various forms of visual arts such as photography, puppet-making, cartooning, 3-D Murals, and pop-up books using well-known artists, such as Mondrian as models. Through the program, students learned to be self-confident in their artistic ability and other aspects of their lives.
 LEAP’s Public Art Program is a unique program that empowers students to have a voice in their communities    through the creation and exhibition of large-scale artworks that express their thoughts, ideas and solutions to  critical community issues.
  • Literacy Programs
Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) is LEAP’s nationally recognized, proven-effective early childhood literacy program. Due to its enormous success, LEAP has launched an adapted literacy program for 3rd to 5th grades and 6th to 8th grade. ALLL uses all of the arts disciplines to teach writing and reading comprehension of disadvantaged students. With our proven effective methods, ALLL builds strong literacy skills, ensures academic success and the meeting of the Common Core Curriculum, and fosters a love of learning in students. Through this program, students learn decoding and writing skills, increase their vocabulary, enhance their language fluency, and build a strong foundation for future academic success. An ongoing longitudinal study conducted by professors at New York University (NYU) showed that ALLL K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 continues to increase students’ literacy skills and standardized testing scores.
  • LEAP’s Model After School Program
LEAP provided enriching afterschool programs in over 100 schools citywide. With a focus on academic development, the inventive, engaging activities become an extension of the school day. Residencies reinforce what students learn during the school day. In 2013-2014, LEAP was able to work at PS163M (K-5 students) in Manhattan funded by TASC- The After School Corporation, MS279X (3rd to 8th grade classes) and MS5X (6th to 8th grade students) in the Bronx, as well as MS22 (6th to 8th grade), which was funded by the DYCD.
  • STEM Initiatives
LEAP uses its arts-based, hands-on teaching methods that motivate the students and help them learn in a way to which they can relate. Through LEAP's many STEM programs, the students build their math and science, critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills. It gives students the skills they need to master the Core Curriculum and national STEM initiatives, and teachers the strategies they need to inspire students to love science and math. This year LEAP applied for a STEM contract with the NYC DOE that will be active for the 2014-2015 school year. LEAP was one of only a few nonprofit organizations that was able to take advantage of this grant so that more schools can benefit as schools have allocated funded directly linked to STEM.
Clean Water- Healthy Environments (CW-HE) is LEAP’s hands-on environmental education program for middle school students and professional development opportunity for their teachers. Students are given the opportunity to design and conduct their own scientific research which inspires them to take a greater interest in science.
Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs (TE) provides underprivileged students in grades 3-6 with an opportunity to become entrepreneurs and help them turn an innovative idea into a successful product or business venture. In light of the new heightened STEM initiatives, LEAP's TE program gives students the ability to solve problems, design their own inventions, apps, computer, video games, and small innovative business ventures, and create marketing plans
  • Theatre Programs
LEAP’s theatre program was once again a success this year. Students have been admitted to prestigous theatre programs including the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and Brooklyn College theatre program. The programs expose students to arts and theatre opportunties, help them to develop their artistic voices, and improve their academic performance.
LEAP OnStage is our comprehensive theatre program that introduces middle and high school students from 10 schools to playwriting, play production, and the world of theatre.
August Wilson Program helps students gain an appreciation of the English language and improve their public speaking abilities and literary interpretation skills while keeping Wilson's unique and powerful literary legacy alive.
Teacher Training/PD
An important aspect of LEAP programs is the Professional Development opportunity for classroom teachers to ensure they understand and can implement our strategies on their own after the program has ended. These range from single workshops to in-class modeling, team-teaching to afterschool workshops. This year, LEAP trained over 4,000 teachers by modeling the most successful practices in classrooms. Over 200 teachers benefited from LEAP’s monthly workshops and single sessions on specific topics. Additionally, 45 teachers participated in a 5 day summer seminar which provided additional effective arts-based, hands-on strategies to teach the Common Core Curriculum.
Parent Services
LEAP also offers parent workshops in schools and shelters so that they can learn to help their children develop strong academic skills during out-of-school time. In addition to providing parents strategies and activity booklets to help their children learn more effectively, LEAP also conducts workshops for interested parents to get them more involved in their children’s education.
LEAP’s innovative shelter program works with shelter mothers and their children residing in family shelters in New York City. The parent portion of the program is designed directly for shelter mothers to regain their confidence and assimilate into a long-term working environment. The women learn essential leadership and life skills such as money management, and become self-sufficient.
LEAP’s Educational Materials
In 2013-2014, LEAP continued to develop educational materials for students and teachers in grades K-12, the ALLL program, and fieldtrip materials for cultural institutions and parks. Classroom teachers received LEAP teaching kits, which included a book of ideas on effective instruction strategies for failing students and CD-ROM containing lesson plans. Teachers also receive LEAP training videos showing the ‘best practices’ to share with their peers so that more students can benefit. Parents attending workshops were given materials designed to guide them through effective strategies to support their child’s out-of-school time learning.
Evaluations Show LEAP’s Success
LEAP measures the success of all our programs in 3 ways; LEAP’s Standardized Evaluation Form and Rubric, observations by NYU evaluators, and hard data based on test scores and improvement in reading levels. Data from all 3 methods are analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively to access the impact of each LEAP program. These evaluations once again proved, in 2013-2014, that the programs clearly improved academic performance, higher attendance rates, reduced absenteeism, and overall decreased classroom management problems. Evaluations also measured the impact of LEAP programs on classroom teachers and the percentage of teachers who replicated our hands-on, arts-based techniques after our teaching artists completed their residencies. Replication of LEAP methods after the artists leave indicates that our strategies are embedded in the classroom and the school – this leads to future success for additional students.
In 2013-2014, our overall Evaluations showed that:
  • 99% of teachers rated their LEAP residencies as excellent, very good, or good.
  • 98% cited LEAP’s programs to be academically motivating
  • 99% noted increased student engagement during LEAP residencies
  • 98% observed a decrease in classroom management problems
Classroom teachers assessed that:
  • 97% of students gained greater understanding of subject
  • 96% acquired new vocabulary
  • 96% obtained problem solving skills
  • 96% cultivated organizational skills
  • 96% increased their ability to follow directions
  • 96% nurtured their ability to focus and concentrate
  • 99% gained artistic skills
  • 99% attained aesthetic appreciation
  • 98% developed creative thinking skills
  • 98% fostered their listening skills
  • 98% improved their ability to work with others
  • 98% developed pride in the work and themselves
Our rubric evaluations showed that a majority of the teachers and students completed all or most of the skills intended through our programs. Below is a table showing the exact percentages of teachers and students that completed all or most of the arts, academic, and social skills through the program.
Teachers also completed the Standardized Teacher Evaluations to assess the effectiveness of Professional Development workshops. This year, participating teachers felt that LEAP workshops at NYU were positive, knowledge-building experiences. Evaluations indicated that:
  • 98% gained new approaches to teaching literacy skills
  • 98% felt they effectively learned new ways to integrate arts into teaching
  • 97% gained new approaches to teaching high-level thinking skills
  • 99% developed new approaches to teaching basic skills
  • 97% developed new art skills
  • 99% developed new ideas and information
  • 99% found the workshops relevant to students
  • 97% were confident to repeat the project
  • 96% felt materials were readily available
  • 99% found the teaching artists organized and prepared
  • 99% found workshops interesting  
“I discovered that I can make things happen if I believe in myself and have confidence.” – 4th grade student in Brooklyn for Tomorrow’s Entrepreneur
“The students are expressing themselves through art, and using scientific methods to think and plan their projects!” – 3rd grade teacher for Tomorrow’s Entrepreneur
“The program was like a family. We were safe to be ourselves and let loose by acting.” – 6th grade students in Brooklyn for Arts in Education
“The best thing about the workshops was being with my son and learning arts and crafts. There should be more programs like this.” – Parent in Brooklyn for Arts in Education Parent Workshops
“This was a very good idea, and it brings parents and teachers closer together, not to mention the new knowledge for the young ones.” – Parent in Bronx for Arts in Education Parent Workshops
“All the experiments were hands-on! I love that! No other programs have as many hands-on experiments as this one!” – 6th grade student in Queens for Clean Water- Healthy Environments
“The ELLs in the class were motivated and encouraged to develop their language skills throughout the program. Also, the hands-on activities were effective for the students to learn in an inclusive environment. Many students enjoyed the opportunity to have new materials (puppets) for art projects. The text selected allowed the artist many social studies teaching points (i.e. map skills, the Revolution, and gender roles) which we addressed in an age-appropriate manner. A pleasure to have! Thank you!” – 3rd grade teacher in Bronx for Arts in Education
“The program helped students with learning disabilities become better thinkers and apply what they learned to their daily classroom experience.” – 3rd grade teacher in Brooklyn for Arts in Education
“Struggling students received the support to be productive in class” – 9th grade teacher in Bronx for STEM Program
“The program was very versatile for large and small groups of kids and was very effective at keeping them engaged.” – Parent in Bronx for Library Program
“The strength of this program is that it serves as a gateway to further the education of students outside the traditional classroom setting.” – Teacher in Brooklyn for Arts-in-Education
“This competition is very motivating for students who participated. It’s a great opportunity for them to open their eyes to new possibilities” – Teacher for August Wilson
In 2013-2014, LEAP employed 13 full time staff, approximately 120 part-time staff, and over 200 teaching artists who work as consultants. Additionally, members of our Board of Directors volunteer their time and expertise to give advice and assistance, especially in areas such as reinvestment, branding, fundraising, and legal issues such as copyrights for LEAP publications. Members of our Advisory Board, many of whom are past Board members, also contribute their time, providing support with fundraising and legal issues. Finally, high school and college students volunteer as interns during the summer months and worked on tasks such as data entry and analysis for our program evaluations.
LEAP’s success in large is due to our talented, dynamic, and dedicated teaching artists. Many of our teaching artists have worked with LEAP for more than 3 years; some have partnered with LEAP for 20 years or more. All teaching artists are professionals in their fields and have backgrounds in education. They include members of esteemed performance ensembles, published authors and illustrators, as well as winners of a wide variety of awards and accolades.
LEAP’s annual budget for 2013-2014 was $3,581,140. Although this was less than previous years, LEAP was still able to increase our services to more people.
For the past 36 years, LEAP has served over 2 million K-12 students, teachers, and parents through its effective arts-based residencies, projects, and workshops. LEAP helps students reach their full potential academically, artistically, and socially. We believe that the most effective way of teaching the core curriculum is through strategies that stimulate every student’s natural curiosity, imagination, and creativity. LEAP helps teachers transform conventional academic curricula into engaging, hands-on activities that enable students to retain basic concepts and inspire them to further explore academic topics. Through this process of using the arts to teach academics, students retain what they learn more than their peer and as a result improve their scores on standardized tests. LEAP enables the students to discover talent that they never knew they had, build their self-esteem, while learning basic skills. Students are provided with the opportunity to experiment and explore which nurtures a sincere lifelong love of learning.
LEAP’s programs promote cognitive, social, and emotional development in students of all ages and abilities. The results from our federally funded studies have proven the effectiveness of LEAP strategies. Students in our programs continue to perform at a higher level than their peers, even in the years after LEAP residencies have ended. Our goal for the upcoming year is to serve even more students, empowering them to reach their full potential.
Board of Directors 2013-2014
David Good
Ila Lane Gross
Alice Krieger
Richard Lanning
John Singh
Vincent McGee
Joan Katsky
Joan Spivak
Bonnie Osinski
Sassy Kohlmeyer
Julia Pei
Funders 2013-2014

[1] Title I schools have large concentrations of low-income students and receive supplemental funding from the federal government to meet these students’ needs.
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