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In partnership with PS 5X in the Bronx, LeAp was one of only two arts organizations selected for the New York City Summer Quest, a pilot program aimed at preventing summer learning loss.

Now in its second year, the five week theme-based program uses LeAp’s active, arts-based model to teach ELA, math, science, and social studies, to rising first through rising seventh graders this summer. An additional afterschool component has reinforced topics learned during the day through hands-on visual arts, music, dance, drama, and sports activities. Each Friday, a student art show and performance is held for parents. The final day of the program will incorporate a performance where students will showcase what they’ve learned through the entirety of the program.

Around 85% of the students LeAp works with are English Language Learners (ELL) and this additional summer focus on literacy will continue the momentum towards their English language fluency. Of the 45 applicants to the NYC Summer Quest, 11 partnerships between schools and community-based organizations were selected to comprise the pilot program located in three school districts in the South Bronx. Each partnership hopes to narrow the achievement gap, a problem often exacerbated in the summer months when students are out of school. The NYC Summer Quest is sponsored by the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department of Youth and Cultural Development, and the Fund for Public Schools.

Students have also have the opportunity to visit several city sites, including the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, The NY Hall of Science, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The American Museum of Natural History and The Cloisters. These interactive experiences have directly related to the curriculum and have allowed students to make connections between the classroom and the outside world.
In LeAp’s partnership, teaching artists worked with students during the day using the school’s curriculum. In ELA, students explored plant diversity by creating fact books that built vocabulary and reinforced science concepts and experiments. This has also tied to math projects, as students developed an understanding of the concept of zero and learned number families by adding and subtracting using plants and animals as their unit of measurement.

LeAp is excited for the opportunity to showcase its unique approach to teaching academic subjects. An evaluation of the program will be conducted by the NYC DOE and successful models of the program will be replicated in future years. LeAp is honored to have been chosen as a model program in the most recent NYSAN guidebook; this guidebook provides principals of priority schools with recommendations on how to expand learning time.

“We are honored to have been selected as a model program to help NYC’s children make great strides this summer, strengthening their base knowledge and excelling academically while engaging in fun, hands-on activities,” said Ila Lane Gross, LeAp Executive Director.



LeAp’s Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs, a unique entrepreneurial program serving up to 1,600 disadvantaged, at-risk, 3rd though 6th graders in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx, will celebrate the with students with winning inventions, apps and innovative business venture ideas at a culminating luncheon. Selected students from each 12 school gather to share their completed projects with professional entrepreneurs.  The students will present their projects to invited industry professionals, receive feedback, and learn about what the next steps in their business plan should be.


Tuesday, June 18


Loeb Boathouse in Central Park


LeAp’ Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs Program, funded by Blackstone Charitable Foundation, gives underserved students an understanding of the business world and shows them how an innovative idea can be developed into a successful business venture. Through in-school residencies with LeAp Teaching Artists and visits from inventors and professional entrepreneurs, students are inspired to develop innovative service ideas and products.

“These students need to know that, regardless of resources and socio-economic background, they can rise to the top. Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs was developed to target this population and inspire them to realize their potential,” said Ila Lane Gross, LeAp Executive Director.

Blackstone Charitable Foundation the funder of this program and its mission is to connect with innovative, early stage programs that directly support entrepreneurs globally and help these selected organizations pilot, expand or replicate projects or programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries, and communities.



Students from 10 NYC public schools, whose plays will be published by renowned publisher Samuel French, will showcase their original plays and perform them at the Rose Nagelberg Theatre at the Baruch Center for the Performing Arts as part of the LeAp OnStage program. LeAp OnStage, created by Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp), provides the opportunity for over 500 underserved and culturally isolated public school students to participate in an engaging and comprehensive theater program. Since 2006, LeAp OnStage has transformed the lives of over 4,000 inner-city middle school and high school students, by inspiring youth to actively engage with the arts and opening up college and career opportunities in theater.

Over the past few months, LeAp OnStage has worked with students in 10 schools citywide, who would not otherwise have access to educational arts programs or the opportunity to participate in a high-profile and culturally eye-opening theater production. The students participated in intensive classroom workshops led by LeAp theater teachers and artistic directors, learning skills that include playwriting, acting and directing, as well as production and design techniques. They also had the unique opportunity to attend a roundtable discussion hosted by renowned playwright, Kristoffer Diaz, and attend several Broadway shows, including Matilda and Trip to Bountiful. Students wrote moving, original plays—both comedies and dramas—which spoke to issues that the students considered personally important. Then, one play from each school was selected by Broadway professionals to be developed into a full production. In addition, an Emerging Playwriting Achievement award honored one student whose play will be performed on June 5th.

Tuesday, June 4 at 7:00pm

Student plays from the following schools will be performed:

Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts (Manhattan)

Health Opportunities High School (Bronx)

Lower Manhattan Arts Academy (Manhattan)

Gramercy Arts High School (Manhattan)

Fordham High School for the Arts (Bronx)


Wednesday, June 5 at 7:00pm

Student plays from the following schools will be performed:

Philippa Schuyler Middle School IS 383 (Brooklyn)

Salk School of Science (Manhattan)

High School for Public Service: Heroes of Tomorrow (Brooklyn)

Hillcrest High School (Queens)

Medgar Evers College Preparatory School (Brooklyn)


“A program like this inspires our students to achieve their goals, find their voices, and gain an insider’s look into the world of Broadway—opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to experience,” said Alice Krieger, Director of LeAp OnStage.

LeAp OnStage is a comprehensive theater program for economically disadvantaged New York City public school students. Each year, Leap OnStage partners with the theater community to serve students in New York City public schools, providing them with a high-quality educational arts program and teaching playwriting, performing, directing, and theater appreciation.  During the program, students write and perform plays, visit with Broadway luminaries—including playwrights, dramaturges, directors, and actors, which have included Scarlett Johansson, Live Schreiber and Kerry Washington—and attend Tony-Award winning Broadway productions. The collaboration between LeAp and the Broadway community inspires talented and motivated young people to use their creativity, develop their talents as young artists, and open their eyes to the opportunities LeAp provides in the world of theater.

Click here to learn more about LeAp OnStage!



LeAp Public Art Union Square 2013

Students in 10 New York City public schools from all five boroughs will present their public art works—school lunchroom tables transformed into colorful works of art that address major social issues in their communities and the world (including gun violence, bullying, Hurricane Sandy, teen pregnancy, child abuse, environment/climate change, among others)—at the kick-off for the largest student art exhibition in the history of NYC parks and the first to span the five boroughs, created by Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp) in cooperation with NYC Parks & Recreation.

SPEAKERS INCLUDE: NYC School Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, Manhattan Parks Commissioner William Castro, LeAp Guest Artist Federico Solmi and others. LeAp Guest Artist Christo will be in attendance.

The citywide kick-off event will showcase the exhibition “A View from the Lunchroom: Students Bringing Issues to the Table,” and the 10 large-scale artworks will then be installed in 10 community parks citywide (two in each boroughs) and will be on display from June through August, 2013. Developed by LeAp’s Public Art Program, this sixth-annual citywide exhibition empowers young people to have a voice in their communities to speak out on issues of relevance to them and become catalysts for social change through their art. Lunchroom tables are used as a canvas for this project as a symbol of student ideas and conversations.

“LeAp’s Public Art Program gives our students a citywide platform to showcase their artistic talents and generate awareness for important issues facing their communities,” said NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott. “We are thrilled to have LeAp as a partner in our efforts to enhance arts education in the schools.”

“We are pleased to welcome the next generation of public artists as New York City’s schoolchildren display their creations this summer at ten city parks,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “Thanks to the efforts of LeAp, we are proud to host the largest student exhibition in the history of NYC parks and the first to span all five boroughs.  The students’ thought-provoking artwork will enliven our parks while raising awareness of important social issues.”

“Kids are part of our communities and experience all the same things we do but don’t have a voice. LeAp’s Public Art Program gives them a citywide platform to express themselves on issues that matter most to them. We are so proud of our students who have taken on such major issues in thoughtful, creative and powerful ways and we are sure that the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who see these beautiful and meaningful tables citywide this summer will be enlightened and inspired,” said Creator and Director of LeAp’s Public Art Program Alexandra Leff.

LeAp teaching artists worked with students in 10 schools to explore community issues, study the history and practice of public art, and ultimately create beautiful works of art on the surfaces of the lunchroom tables for public display. In addition, internationally-renowned Guest Artists Christo, Lorna Simpson, Mel Kendrick, Daze, George Boorujy, Emma Amos, Federico Solmi, Thomas Nozkowski, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Phyllis Galembo met with students at their studios, galleries or at the schools to discuss their work and the power and impact of public art.

Students from the schools listed below created beautiful and highly meaningful works of art that address a wide range of community issues. For example, Queens students at Walter Reed School 9Q and Brooklyn students at Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented tackled the issue of gun violence while Manhattan students at Robert F. Kennedy School 169M addressed the issue of bullying. In addition, Brooklyn students at PS 53K and Staten Island students of PS/IS 25R tackled the issues relating to Hurricane Sandy and the environment. These are only some of the topics covered in this year’s program.

Participating students are from the following schools:

Walter Reed School 9Q
Robert E. Peary School 75Q
Edwin Markham School 51R
Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented 239K
Robert F. Kennedy School 169M
Stars Prep Academy 45M New Venture Academy 219X
International School for Liberal Arts 342X




On March 6 2013, LeAp students participated in the citywide August Wilson Monologue Competition, a continuation of a nationwide initiative, which introduces new generations of high school students to the works of renowned playwright August Wilson, while exploring African-American history. The competition started with six in-school contests, and the students who moved on to the March 6th event represented the following schools:

  • Fordham High School for the Arts
  • Hillcrest High School
  • Repertory Company High School for the Arts
  • Edward R. Murrow High School
  • Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School
  • Marta Valle High School

The three finalists, Zhane Ligon, Justin Withers, and Reginald Wilson Jr., attend schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and will advance to the national competition with students from six other cities, which will take place on:

May 6, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
August Wilson Monologue Competition
August Wilson Theater
245 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019


Students will perform two- to three-minute monologues of their choosing from the Century Cycle series of plays by the internationally renowned African-American playwright August Wilson. Judges will rank them based on energy and physical presentation, lines and memorization, characterization and emotional connectedness, vocal presentation and projection, and understanding of the text.

Read more about LeAp's August Wilson Program here.


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