Students from across the city presented their original 10-minute plays at the LEAP OnStage Playwright’s Celebration on May 31st and June 1st hosted by TV, Film, and Broadway Actor Tanesha Gary. The two-day event took place at The Pearl Theatre on 42nd Street and all works touched on the theme of “Reflections on Courage and Confidence.” The plays, written by middle and high school students from 10 schools, marked the final component the year-long LEAP OnStage program. 
This program immerses students in a series of intensive classroom workshops that explores topics such as playwriting, acting, directing, and stage managing. During the program, students meet with Broadway professionals. This year’s Guest Artists included Tony nominee John Cariani ("Fiddler on the Roof" and "Something Rotten"), Q Smith (star of this year's Tony-nominated musical "Come From Away"), Tony Chiroldes (original cast member, "In the Heights"), Terry Berliner (director, writer, and former resident director of "The Lion King") and Brad Bass (original cast member of "Memphis," as well as cast of "Wicked" and "Jersey Boys"). In addition, Samuel French, Inc. continued its partnership with LEAP and printed the 10 student works in a anthology and hosted a Playwright’s Roundtable with playwright Crystal Skillman.


LEAP’s Bronx afterschool students from five schools came together on June 6th to present a multidisciplinary performance that highlighted the stories of women of color in the Women’s Suffrage Movement.  The full-length, student-led work, entitled 
“The Case of the Missing Suffragist,” combined dramatic narrative, cultural dance, spoken word, interpretive dance, and live music to educate, inform, and inspire the student audience of over 250 Bronx middle school students. Eighth-grade student performer Nariana R. from Jordan L. Mott J.H.S 22X said, “Something I want the audience to learn from our show is that women’s suffrage wasn’t just one person. The movement was a variety of tons and tons of women from the North, the South, and the East.”

After the performance, Michelle Duster, great-granddaughter of suffragette Ida B. Wells, spoke to the students about the importance of telling their own stories and standing up for what they believe in. Charissa Townsend, Policy Advisor in the NYC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives, and Maria Quinn, Gender Equity Liaison at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, also spoke to the importance of illuminating stories of all women and praised the students for their work and participation in the Women’s Voices: Untold Stories program.
This event was part of LEAP’s Women’s Voices: Untold Stories program in which students interviewed prominent and diverse women about how suffrage frames their experiences and hosted a youth-led panel event where students discussed the challenges, experiences, and achievements diverse women gained throughout history. The multidisciplinary performance was the major women of color who were instrumental leaders in the Women’s Suffrage Movement.


On May 12th, elementary school students presented their inventions and business ideas at LEAP’s Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs Fair held at Google’s NYC Campus. Fourth and fifth graders from Horace E. Greene P.S. 45K and Bensonhurst School P.S. 128K in Brooklyn, and Merrick Academy 704Q in Queens brought prototypes, displays, 
marketing materials, business cards, and developed elevator pitches for their products--- all which were marketed as unique solutions to community problems. This event was a culmination of LEAP’s year-long Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs program, a STEAM program for 4th and 5th graders.

Projects at the Fair included the “Safe Gate,” a pedestrian safety venture that prevents jaywalking by providing walkers with fun games to play while waiting for the light to change; the “Pet Roley Rollers,” a pet carrying case that is controlled by a wireless remote; and the “The Mood Changer,” an invention that gauges the user’s mood and provides a tailored toy to brighten their day.

The Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs Fair included a short program, emceed by NBC Anchor Michael Gargiulo, that highlighted student work and awarded certificates and prizes to the “Most Persuasive” and “Most Innovative” projects, as well as the project with the “Best Brand.” Winners were chosen by a ballot vote completed by both the corporate attendees and the students, and each winner received a one-month subscription to Kiwi Crate, a service that delivers “fun, hands-on STEAM projects” to students’ homes. The event was hosted by Google, Black Rock, and Digital Reality.


Thank you to all who came out and supported NYC students at the kick-off of the largest student art exhibition in NYC parks history! The Public Art Student Kick-off Event at Union Square Park (south plaza along 14th Street) happened on Tuesday, May 16th at 11:30 AM, and brought together students from 10 schools citywide who unveiled their large scale issue-based artworks (cafeteria table murals) that addressed a wide range of social issues---from gender inequality and child abuse, 
to cyberbullying and animal endangerment. 

This student exhibition was developed in cooperation with NYC Parks, and is entitled “A View From the Lunchroom: Students Bringing Issues to the Table.” Starting in June, the 10 art tables will be installed in NYC parks citywide near each participating school for a three month summer exhibition (June-August 2017).

Now in its 10th year, LEAP’s Public Art Program empowers students to have a voice in their communities and speak out on critical community issues through the creation and public exhibition of art in NYC parks. 

During this year-long program, students from 10 schools met with distinguished artists to learn about their life and work. This year’s guest artists included Christo, Daze, Nancy Chunn, Federico Solmi, Stephen Powers, Julie Heffernan, George Boorujy, Maia Cruz Palileo, Risa Puno, and Andre Rubin.

This year's tables address issues such as animal endangerment (I.S. 51R), gang violence (I.S. 75Q), anti-bullying (332M), child abuse and cyberbullying (I.S. 77Q), stopping violence and abuse (P.S. / M.S. 165M), loving one another (219X), pollution (I.S. 318K), diversity (I.S. 281K), gender equality (211X), and water sustainability (25R).


On May 1, LEAP theater student Sarah Rodriguez (pictured far right), a high school senior at Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, won first place in the National August Wilson Monologue Competition!  

Sarah is part of LEAP’s August Wilson Program which serves over 500 high school students and introduces them to the life and work of renowned 
playwright August Wilson.

The year-long program is facilitated by LEAP teaching artists and theater professionals who help students develop acting skills and performance techniques while exploring Wilson’s Century Cycle, a series of plays that chronicle the African-American experience in the 20th Century. Sarah came in first place at LEAP’s NYC August Wilson Competition in March and went on to compete against students from eight other cities at the national competition at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.

Sarah performed a monologue as the character Rose from Wilson’s award-winning play and movie Fences. After graduating high school, Sarah plans to go on to college and work towards a BFA in Acting.
The National August Wilson Monologue Competition was produced by Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters.

To read more about the August Wilson Progam, click here .


LEAP students are working hard to repair the earth! At this year’s "Car Free Earth Day," an Earth Day inspired event where New Yorkers are encouraged to live green and learn about their role in environmental sustainability, LEAP students shared their love of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) with the public at their youth-led interactive booth.

The booth highlights student work from LEAP's Afterschool Program that marries   
technology and creativity to problem solve the unique ecological challenges of the 21st    
Century. Students studied surface rainwater runoff created by urbanization and created interactive 3-D green rooftop designs to solve the problem.

LEAP Afterschool students were able to build these green rooftop prototypes through collaboration with the New York City Department of Design and Construction Engineering Instructors.

The LEAP booth was featured in Manhattan’s Car Free Day Uptown on 38th Street. During the day, Broadway was closed from 14th Street to 42nd street for biking, skating, walking, and other environmentally-friendly transit. At the booth, current LEAP students and LEAP High School Mentors spoke to the public about STEAM learning, environmental consciousness, and how much they loved LEAP!


On Thursday, March 30, LEAP's Bronx afterschool students moderated “Women’s Suffrage Forum,” a panel discussion with prominent women leaders and social activists to illuminate the women's suffrage movement and the struggle within the struggle for women of color. This event is part of LEAP's Women's Voices: Untold Stories program.

Six student moderators led a three-part program that covered topics including women’s suffrage history, women and activism, and intersectionality with a focus on the unique struggle of women of color. Deirdre Cooper-Owens, PhD

 (Assistant Professor of History, Queens College, CUNY), Laura Richmond (member of the socially-conscious theater group Girl Be Heard), Jessica Peñaranda (women's rights activist) and Tamara Fleming (Founder of Expoz(HER) and Co-Founder of FEMWORKS) served as panelists and discussed issues ranging from Ida B. Wells’ fight for equality to colorism to how the power of art can affect social change.

In addition, there were artistic performances at the event including a touching poetry reading, a compelling step team presentation, the debut of an original song about women’s suffrage and an emotive interpretive dance piece performed by a professional ensemble. Members of LEAP's cheerleading team also engaged in a silent protest where they stood in solidarity for women's rights. The combination of artistic performances and intellectual discussion created a unique and community-oriented atmosphere throughout the event that left the audience feeling inspired to engage with these issues in their own lives. The evening concluded with Laura Richmond reciting a moving, original spoken word piece.
Student Daishia M. said that after attending the event she learned that “women are as strong as men…and every woman has the right to vote.”
The “Women’s Suffrage Forum,” and the entire Women’s Voices: Untold Stories event series, is sponsored by a major grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. In addition, Bronx Arts Space generously hosted the event at their Annex Venue.


As part of the LEAP OnStage program, student playwrights from 10 New York City public middle and high schools had the opportunity to participate in a Playwright's Roundtable at the iconic theatrical publishing company Samuel French, Inc. LEAP students met with Crystal Skillman, author of Geek, Cut and King Kirby and engaged in a discussion about playwriting, character development and various aspects of the publishing process.

LEAP OnStage is a comprehensive playwriting residency that immerses young people in the immediacy of storytelling, linear thinking and creative expression. Each year, more than 600 students in 10 schools participate in this year-long playwriting, play production and performance program. Students write 10-minute plays and one student finalist from each school is selected to participate in the Playwrights’ Roundtable. The 10 finalists also have their plays fully staged and performed by their peers on a professional stage at a two-day LEAP OnStage Playwrights' Celebration and their work is published in an anthology by Samuel French, Inc.
Through this program, students improve literacy, communication and collaboration skills, gain an understanding of all aspects of theater and hone their artistic talents on multiple levels. Furthermore, students are introduced to the impact of theater as an art form and the thrill of live performance. The plays written by students address issues that are important to them, their communities and the world, and they learn how acting, writing or directing can be a vehicle for expression and social action. This year’s student plays span a variety of topics and genres as evident in the titles- There’s Always Another Chance, My Own Skin and Rainbow Love.
LEAP OnStage will premiere the 10 plays during the two-night Playwrights' Celebration on May 31 and June 1 at Off-Broadway’s The Pearl Theatre.


LEAP’s K-2 students in the Bronx showcased vibrant, creative works that connected art with academics as part of LEAP’s Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) program. To prepare for the K-2 art show, these students explored the continents and perspective drawing while building vocabulary and strengthening critical thinking skills. The art exhibit featured a wide range of work including self-portraits and renditions of museum paintings to personal interpretations of the Statue of Liberty.
LEAP's ALLL program is nationally recognized and uses drama, visual art, music, creative movement, games and storytelling to improve literacy skills of K-8 students. This program has been proven to help 87% of K-2 participants outperform their peers on over 23 tested literacy skills. This year, the ALLL program is being conducted in 10 schools citywide serving 1,300 students. LEAP teaching artist Suzanne Demarco described the ALLL program as a great way to “see the progressions of student work and to see the students grow.” Through projects such as creating a "voting game to show how choice matters," or making Mayan masks,” ALLL’s multisensory arts-based teaching strategies help students explore literacy skills while engaging in the academic curriculum and being creative.
As part of the program, students visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they can sit and sketch popular paintings from artists they learned about such as Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock or Pablo Picasso. After the sketching process, students practice their writing and reading skills by crafting captions for their works.


Congratulations to all of the talented LEAP students for their outstanding performances in our 9th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition! Each student actor shined on stage by demonstrating their ability to seamlessly inhabit August Wilson's diverse and complex characters shown throughout his Century Cycle works.
After months of preparation, 18 LEAP theater students from nine participating schools delivered outstanding performances that were incredibly well received by the audience of teaching artists, friends, family, and of course, LEAP staff and students at the MMAC Theater. Performances were judged on the basis of a variety of criteria such as energy, physical presentation and emotional connectedness. Student winners were selected by celebrity judges Jolie Garrett, Jamil A.C Mangan, Terry Berliner, Rosalyn Coleman Williams, Gary John LaRosa, and Jessica Frances Dukes. The first and second place winners, as well as an alternate, will go on to the National August Wilson Monologue Competition in May.

Student monologues were punctuated by special guest appearances and performances by Broadway and off-Broadway stars. Notably, Michael Potts of “Jitney” opened the evening and host, Monica Montgomery, the Founder of Museum Hue and the Museum of Impact, led the evening with enthusiasm and grace. Two Broadway stars, Aurelia Williams from "In Transit" and Tony Chiroldes from "In The Heights," both graced the stage while performing with the aide of pianist Frank Spitznagel. In addition to those amazing performances, audience members also had the opportunity to witness judge Jessica Frances Dukes perform her own version of an August Wilson Monologue to great acclaim. To end the evening, LEAP showed a video highlighting the student artist process and all of the hard work students did to truly understand August Wilson's representation of the human experience.

More than anything, LEAP is so proud of all of the student artists who showcased both their talent and their hearts by learning about the works of August Wilson, the artistic process, and their own theatrical power. The entire evening truly honored the legacy of August Wilson and his enormously influential works, all while highlighting the African-American experience throughout the 20th century.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support our amazing student performers! And best of luck to our students who will be representing NYC at the National Competition in May!


LEAP is pleased to present its 15th Annual Student Art Show at the Citigroup Building Atrium in Long Island City, Queens. The exhibition showcases work by LEAP students in grades K-8 citywide. From African-inspired artworks and issue-based murals, to photo portraits of loved ones and Modigliani-inspired drawings, to 3-D birds and multicultural masks with a contemporary spin,
students explored a variety of art disciplines and techniques while learning core academic subjects.  

The exhibit runs through March 2017 and features work by students of LEAP's Afterschool Program at Teller Avenue Educational CampusX (Bronx), M.S. 51K (Brooklyn), M.S. 228X (Bronx) and M.S. 88K (Brooklyn), Robert E. Simon School 165M (Manhattan), New Venture Academy 219X (Bronx), University Neighborhood Middle School 332M (Manhattan) and I.S. 77Q (Queens), and includes work from LEAP’s Public Art Program and LEAP’s Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) Program.


As we mark the start of Women's History Month this March, we are proud to announce that LEAP has been named the recipient of a major award from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). With this grant, LEAP is implementing a new initiative that targets middle school students and focuses on the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New York, illuminating the
complexities of the movement and exploring the struggle within the struggle through experiences and major contributions of women of color.  Women's Voices: Untold Stories, will expose students to the historical experiences of women of color having to break through interlocking systems of oppression to achieve basic human rights and pursue successful careers. Students will partake in innovative events, such as the Storybooth Project in which students will interview and collect the views and life stories of highly accomplished women of diverse backgrounds and fields, with a focus on how they see their lives shaped by Women's Suffrage. The project will also include a student-led panel that will allow students the opportunity to shift the power of dialogue and conversation to a youth-centered space and further connect life stories that stem from the seminal event of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

This initiative will culminate in a final event at which students will perform a history-based theater production that they create, highlighting the untold stories from women today that connect to the Women's Suffrage movement. This multi-disciplinary narrative piece will merge monologues, music and movement to entertain and educate audiences.


LEAP is bringing dynamic new programs and collaborations to public school students throughout New York City. Check out our latest newsletter!


Using the Metropolitan Museum of Art as their classroom, PreK-8 teachers from across the city, alongside LEAP teaching artists, learned how to use paintings to spark dialogue, build vocabulary, and strengthen comprehension, listening, speaking, and overall literacy skills. This workshop used inquiry-based learning techniques and explored visual thinking strategies as a way to engage students in the ELA curriculum.

LEAP's Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) Program uses drama, visual arts, music, creative movement, cooking, games, and storytelling to improve young and emerging readers’ decoding skills, vocabulary, language fluency, reading comprehension, and writing skills.


This year marks the start of a historic collaboration between M.S. 323X Bronx Writing Academy and J.H.S. 22X Jordan L. Mott in partnership with LEAP. Over the years, young people have been divided by tensions in the community and the LEAP Afterschool Program is working to bring students from 323X and 22X together, empowering them to address differences and come together on
common ground in creative and constructive ways. LEAP’s Afterschool programming in both schools is helping to bring the community together and foster relationships that go beyond the school walls.

I'm moved to tears every day when I look out my window around 4:30 and watch kids of 22 and 323X interacting positively together. I don't know if anyone would have imagined that possible just two years ago. We're on the cusp of something amazing and the work that LEAP and its staff does is imperative to that happening,” said Edgar Lin, Principal of J.H.S. 22X.

The success of this partnership was showcased in a collaborative performance on October 20th as part of the Lights On Afterschool national celebration. After research and writing on the topic, students performed a musical chronicling the history of afterschool programs in America. The show incorporated LEAP’s afterschool activities --- STEP, hip-hop, TAP, song, horn section, percussion, guitar, African dance, visual arts and modern dance. Read more about LEAP’s Afterschool Programs.


LEAP's Teaching artists have been hard at work attending and facilitating a series of workshops to help enhance and support LEAP's work with students and school partners this year. Workshops include sessions on social and emotional learning, visual thinking strategies, the Socratic method, collaboration and team teaching, and new ways to integrate academics with the arts.


LEAP has been preparing all summer for a successful 2016-17 school year. From creating new models and programs to hiring new staff and developing training initiatives, LEAP is gearing up to bring a wide range of music, dance, theater, visual art and film programs to thousands of NYC students this year. All arts programming addresses the core curriculum and strengthens social emotional learning skills.


This year, LEAP is expanding its Afterschool Programming to reach 300 new students at two Bronx schools---Bronx Writing Academy and Teller Avenue Campus. LEAP's Teller Avenue Campus’ young engineers are already diving into the challenges of tower construction and environmental design concepts in their STEAM programs. These two new schools join seven others to comprise LEAP's Afterschool Program: J.H.S. 22X, J.H.S. 125X, P.S. 129X, P.S. 228X, M.S. 51K, J.H.S. 88K, and P.S. 163M.


Bronx Middle School Students Come Together This summer, more than 130 students from 15 Bronx middle schools participated in LEAP’S DISTRICT 9 SUMMER STEAM ACADEMY, a collaborative partnership between LEAP, DYCD, and DDC STEAM Initiatives, and recognized by the Bronx Borough President’s Office. Students engaged in a rigorous curriculum of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math and were transformed into young engineers, architects, and scientists.    
DDC Young Engineers explored design and construction through the lens of built environment and unveiled their scaled model city at the Engineering Showcase. Pre-Med students from Mentoring in Medicine led campers through a compelling study of the human respiratory system, studying dissected pigs and finally, making a model human lung. VidCode interlocked videography and coding to research improving school climate. ScholarSTEM delved into problem-solving emerging environmental challenges through game and app creation. Health and Nutrition bridged a study of the human musculature system with high energy student athlete workouts. Virtual Reality constructed google headsets and used 360 cameras as a means of brainstorming anti-bullying solutions. Minecraft read about ancient aqueduct systems and then coded them into their sustainable cities.

Students from the program will continue their STEAM learning in the coming school year at three LEAP Afterschool Programs in the Bronx!   Please see WNYC feature. 


LEAP’s citywide public art exhibition is going strong with student issue-based artworks painted on the surfaces of cafeteria tables placed in parks citywide. From gun violence, healthcare accessibility, racism, and gender equality to child abuse, bullying, drug abuse, animal rights, and immigration, students have created beautiful and highly meaningful works of art on view through August. Click here for a map of the exhibition sites and click here for more info on LEAP’s Public Art Program.     


The LEAP program team is spending the summer preparing for the 2016-2017 school year incorporating new preK-12 educational strategies that successfully connect the arts with the academic curriculum and social and emotional learning.  In addition to expanding our program team, LEAP is increasing its staff of Teaching Artists to reflect a diverse range of expertise and talent, and creating a year-long professional development series of workshops. These workshops will target best practices, program design, and scholarly research    
and will ensure an even higher quality of LEAP programming that meets the specific arts, academic and SEL needs of each classroom and school community. 


On June 13th, students from across the city pitched their entrepreneurial projects to industry professionals and received advice on next steps for their business ventures. From the "Handi-Um" phone and cup holder (an umbrella with a phone and cup holder), to a stuffed animal alarm clock, to expandable shoes (shoes with both skate and cleat attachments), students presented their inspiring, useful and inventive products, apps and business concepts.
LEAP’s Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs Program gives students an understanding of entrepreneurship and shows them how an innovative idea can be developed into a successful business. Students are inspired through in-school residencies and visits with guest entrepreneurs and ultimately develop innovative inventions, apps, and commercial ventures.

This year's schools included: Horace E. Greene School 45K, The Gravesend 95K, William H. Prescott 93K, Samuel Huntington 40Q, Journey Prep School 69X, New Millennium Business Academy Middle School 328X, Icahn Charter School 4 496X


LEAP students will be showcasing 10 original new works at the Pearl Theatre on June 1st and 2nd, as part of the LEAP OnStage program. The program provides over 500 students citywide with an interactive and comprehensive theater program. Students work with teacher teachers and guest artist to gain an admiration for theater, develop their artistic talents, and sharpen their playwriting skills. Renowned publisher Samuel French will publish an 
​anthology of the students' plays in recognition of their work. For more info on LEAP OnStage, click here.​


Thousands came out to support NYC students as they spoke out on discrimination, immigration, gun violence, animal abuse, health care, gender equality and bullying at the May 24th kick off of the largest student exhibition in NYC parks history (summer June-August)---part of LEAP's Public Art Program.

Students unveiled their beautiful and highly meaningful issue-based artworks and were honored by NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, Deputy Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kristin Sakoda were there to honor the students. The 10 large-scale artworks will be installed in 10 community parks citywide (two in each borough - see map here) and will be on display from June through August, 2016.  For more info on LEAP's Public Art Program, click here.


Please join us on May 24th to support LEAP students as they speak out on major issues in their communities --- racism, discrimination, gun violence, immigration, and more --- and unveil their large-scale, issue-based works of art at the kick off for LEAP's citywide summer exhibit---the largest student exhibition in NYC Parks history and the first to span the five boroughs (developed in cooperation with NYC Parks). Following the event, the student artworks (murals on cafeteria tables) will be on display in 10 parks citywide. ​ For more info on LEAP's Public Art Program, click here.


Students throughout New York City are diving into LEAP's STEAM programs. From Architecture, to Photography & Technology, to Science through Dance, students are engaged in creative ways to learn science, technology, engineering, and math. In Young Scientists, Pre-K students are introduced to scientific methods and procedures. Our Forensic Science program provides students with a hands-on exploration of the criminal evidence during the 
​course of an investigation. In Building Bridges, students learn what causes structures to stand or collapse by building suspension, beam, and arch bridges. ​

To learn more about our STEAM programs, click here! 


LEAP's Public Art Program is in full swing! This month, Public Art students are visiting with renowned visual artists to learn about their life and work. Guest Artist visits are taking place at artists’ studios, museum and gallery exhibitions, schools, and public art sites---and students will gain inspiration as well as insight into the artistic process. LEAP is grateful to the following 2016 Guest Artists for their generosity:
​​Christo (pictured above with students), Lorna Simpson, Mel Kendrick, Daze, Stephen Powers, Federico Solmi, Bradley Hart, Sebastian Blanck, Chat Travieso, and Orlando Richards.
To read more about LEAP’s Public Art Program please click here.


On Thursday, March 3, 2016, seventeen LEAP students from nine New York City high schools participated in LEAP's 8th Annual NYC August Wilson Monologue Competition. Students brought August Wilson’s characters to life by performing one to three minute monologues from Wilson’s Century Cycle, ten plays chronicling the African-American experience in the twentieth century. A panel of celebrity judges ranked the performers based on a variety
of criteria—from energy and physical presentation to emotional connectedness.​

LEAP’s August Wilson Program introduces new generations of high school students to the works of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. In this program, students explore Wilson’s life, influences, and work, and examine relevant important social issues and historical events.

Yancy Perez, of Repertory Company High School for Theare Arts (12th grade) was awarded 1st place for his portrayal of Becker, from Jitney. Benne McCants, of Hillcrest High School (12th grade) was awarded 2nd Place for her performance as Vera from Seven Guitars. Sarah Rodriguez, of Edward R. Murrow High School (11th grade) presented a monologue as Rena from Jitney, and was awarded an Alternate position.

Pictured above left to right: Yancy Perez, Benne McCants, Sarah Rodriguez

LeAp’s NYC August Wilson Competition is part of nationwide initiative, and LEAP’s 1st and 2nd Place winners of will advance to the National August Wilson Monologue Competition to compete against students from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Seattle on Monday, May 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.


LEAP is thrilled to be welcoming Rich Souto as Executive Director. Rich has 14 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, serving youth and families in NYC’s most underserved communities with high quality education and enrichment programs.  Throughout his career, Rich has managed all aspects of operations including programs, finance, and infrastructure departments, and has held leadership roles 
during various stages of organizational development including start up, transition, growth and new site expansion.

Prior to joining LEAP, Rich was the Chief Operating Officer of Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School, a community-based organization and school serving over 2,000 young people from pre-k to college. Rich was also previously Executive Director of New Heights Youth, an organization that offers year-round educational and sports programs to young people in New York City. 
“I am inspired by the extraordinary achievements of co-founders Ila Lane Gross and Alice Krieger, and am excited to build on their accomplishments to advance the organization’s mission, deliver great programs, and lead LEAP into its next phase of impact.” To read more, check out our Staff Page.


citywide. Their vision and leadership has resulted in diverse and rich arts-based academic programs that continue to touch the lives of students, teacher and parents each year.  
After 38 years, Co-Founders Ila Lane Gross and Alice Krieger have stepped down from their posts as Executive DirectorS of LEAP, passing the torch of leadership on to LEAP’s new Executive Director Richard Souto. They will continue to work with LeAp as program consultants.
Over the years, Ila and Alice grew LEAP from a small nonprofit working in four schools in 1977 to today’s nationally recognized arts education nonprofit that has served over two million NYC public school students 


LEAP’s professional development initiatives are underway with classroom teachers citywide in our ALLL Literacy program.
Not only are teachers learning to implement arts-based, hands-on strategies in their classrooms (through modeling and team teaching), but they are attending comprehensive workshops at New York University to learn new ways to teach reading comprehension, build 
vocabulary, and master grammatical structure. 

From “Adverb Charades” and "Alphabet Hopscotch” to “Website Design” and “Doughnut Hole Objectives”, teachers are discovering innovative techniques in music, dance, theater, visual art, and cooking to literacy.

Besides the ALLL Literacy program, LEAP works with teachers citywide, offering hundreds of professional development workshops that address the math, science, social studies and ELA curricula using arts-based strategies.

To view about the quantitative data on the effectiveness of our ALLL programs, click here


LEAP's 14th Annual Student Art show, hosted by CITI, featured works by students in kindergarten through 6th grade who participated in LEAP’s Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) program, LEAP’s Summer Quest program (a model initiative selected by the NYCDOE that uses the arts to teach the academics and address summer learning loss) and LEAP Arts Residencies citywide. Ila Lane Gross, LEAP Co-Founder, said of the show, “This show demonstrates how much children can learn when taught through hands-on, arts-based 
strategies. This approach to education captivates, engages, and effectively imparts academic skills and knowledge. I am so proud of our students. They have really become fine artists and academic scholars.” Students from all over New York City were featured in the show: Queens 209Q Clearview Gardens; Bronx 229X Dr. Roland N. Patterson School, 69X The Journey Prep School, 218X The Rafael Hernandez Dual Language, Magnet School, 132X Garret A. Morgan, 14X Senator John Calandra 
The show runs through January at the Citigroup Building Atrium in Long Island City, Queens.
Check out the gallery from the show!


LEAP works in schools in all five boroughs of NYC. LEAP adapts its hands-on, arts-based activities to the specific learning style of every student. 
LEAP's Public Art Program
The August Wilson Program
Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs
LEAP Onstage

ALLL (Active Learning Leads to Literacy). ALLL K-2, ALLL 3-5, ALLL6-8 

Click here to see our video gallery. 


LEAP has hundreds of programs with music, dance, visual arts, drama, and film. In this video, made by our creative LEAP intern, you can see the extensive list of subjects students can learn through LEAP's creative teaching methods. 
From teaching Ancient Egypt to Orinthology to Zoology, our programs help students reach their full potential. 
Click here to see the full list of programs in our catalog.


LEAP at M.S. 22 continues to provide award-winning programming to youth living in the South Bronx. 


This summer, residents all over NYC headed to the parks to support NYC students as they spoke out on police brutality, gun violence, gay rights, child neglect, racism, animal abuse, environment, family, and health through a citywide 10-park exhibition.
In the Public Art Program, students transform cafeteria tables into 
beautiful, meaningful and powerful issue-based works of art on display through the five boroughs from May to August.


LEAP's fourth year of its model Summer Quest Program was a great success! This NYCDOE-funded initiative utilizes innovate learning strategies and projects in order to prevent summer learning loss. Once again this summer, students were engaged in activities including exploring forests and looking for wild food sources, and learning about immigrants in Jackson Heights, Chinatown, and Ellis Island, to visiting 
the Dyckman Farmouse to look for ghosts. All activities addressed the academic curriculum in math, science, history, reading and writing. 
Click here for our Photo Gallery


On Monday, May 2015, three LEAP students in LEAP’s August Wilson program participated in the National August Wilson Monologue Competition held at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway. Jonathan German (12th grader) from Repertory Company High School for the 
Theatre Arts placed third out of 18 competitors in the nationals, winning a scholarship to Point Park University and $1,000 from the August Wilson Monologue Competition and Delta Air Lines. Darleny Suriel(12th grader) of Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts and Mario Escobar (9th grader) of Marta Valle High School also competed in the competition.
Students from eight cities across the nation presented monologues before a panel of distinguished judges, including Crystal Dickinson, Brandon Dirden, David Gallo, and Pauletta Washington.

Click here for more information on the August Wilson Program


Students from 10 NYC public schools, whose plays will be published by renowned publisher Samuel French, showcased their original plays and performed them at the Pearl Theatre as part of the LEAP OnStage program. LEAP OnStage, created by Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LEAP), immerses 500 underserved and culturally isolated public school students in an interactive 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.
Click here to read more about the LEAP OnStage Program.


LEAP’s Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs program is a unique entrepreneurial program serving up to 1,500 elementary and middle school students in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx---inspiring students to dream big and create innovative, products, apps and business 
concepts.  This event was the culmination of the program and featured selected students from each of 12 schools who pitched their entrepreneurial projects to industry professional and potential investors and received advice on next steps for their business ventures. From “safe cups” (a cup with a temperature sensor to warn if liquid is too hot) to a “counting purse” (purse that counts how much money is in it), students presented their inspiring, useful and imaginative inventions.
Click here to learn more about our Tomorrow's Entrepreneur's Program


On October 16th, 2014, Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LEAP) and Citi honored the young artists whose works are currently on display in LEAP’s 13th Annual Student Art Exhibition with certificates and a Milk & Cookies Opening Reception. The exhibition is hosted by Citi and will run through early January. The exhibition is free and open to the public weekdays from 7am to 7pm.
The exhibition features works by students in kindergarten through 6th grade who participated in LEAP’s Active Learning Leads to Literacy (ALLL) program and in LEAP’s Summer Quest program—a model initiative selected by the NYCDOE that uses the arts to teach the academics and address summer learning loss.


Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the expansion of afterschool programs to include all middle schools citywide. As part of this initiative, the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development has awarded major grants to LEAP to expand programming to four additional school sites to run major afterschool programs. LEAP will be reaching students in the Bronx at J.H.S. 125 and M.S. 129, along with students at M.S. 51 
and M.S. 88 in Brooklyn. We look forward to meeting our new students at the start of the new school year this September!

For over 30 years, LEAP has been providing afterschool programs to NYC public school students. LEAP’s afterschool programs have been recognized locally and nationally, and all classes include arts and educational hands-on activities for students.


Since 1977, LEAP  has served over two million students and is excited to begin its 38th year partnering with NYC public schools. Now with hundreds of music, dance, film, theater and visual arts programs that all address the academic curriculum and align with the Common Core Curriculum and STEM initiatives. LEAP's seasoned Teaching Artists will be preparing to work with thousands of NYC public students, teachers, and parents throughout the five boroughs.

Please click here to view our 2014-2015 program catalogue.  


First-grade students from PS 1X in the Bronx are heading off to Central Park to go birding on May 20 as part of LEAP’s Active Learning Leads to Literacy program for kindergarten to second grade (ALLL K-2), a proven, effective, hands-on approach to teaching literacy through the arts.
This nature adventure seeks to help students advance their literacy  
skills, including science skills such as observation and classification and social studies skills such as understanding geography. The ALLL K-2 birds unit incorporates hands-on strategies which further reinforce phonics, vocabulary development, reading comprehension and writing skills.
Click here to read more about the ALLL K-2 Program.

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