So what exactly is LEAP you may ask? Well, we act as a school within a school, a piece of Green School that shares the vision and mission of the school, and are integrated fully into the faculty and student body. However, we employ some key differences. LEAP students are freed of the timetable, meaning that they are responsible to decide how to best use their time throughout the school week. We also do not have a set of curricula we address, rather approach all subjects as needed in the projects that the students take on. To that note, we are project focused. Students in LEAP are complicit in determining what projects they wish to undertake, and the educators who work alongside them provide them with tools and guidance on how to best do this.
The name LEAP is an acryonym, standing for Lean, Entrepreneurial, Action Based, Product Oriented:
Our goal is to foster a sense of sustainability in the projects that the students undertake. While we may provide the students with seed money, they are responsible for determining how these projects can grow and add value to both the students’ experience as well as the community’s.
That said, LEAP currently runs with a higher than average teacher-student ratio. As we build a culture of project management and leadership across our school, we hope that we can slowly remove the teachers entirely from the equation, allowing students to take full control of their projects.
While many of our projects have nothing to do with making money, we consider all our students entrepreneurs. We place high value on the skills associated with the mentality behind an entrepreneur: self motivated and driven, capable of learning as needed, and able to cooperate with a wide range of people.
Some projects can be seen as explicitly in the realm of enterprise, while others have broadened the definition so that rather than being exclusively about capital, it is about adding value. The value can be seen in the community, the environment, or even within the individual people involved.
LEAP students are attracted to the program because they like to do things. We strive to create a space where the application of ideas holds parity with the research and knowledge behind those concepts. We like our students to live by the expression “Say Yes and figure it out later”, whereby they use the tools we provide to break down problems into manageable, actionable chunks.
LEAP understands that the process is where the learning happens, but without goals to be met that process can slow down or become obscured. In this way we request our projects all have products that we can evaluate and assess upon completion. In creating goals, our students learn how to build milestones towards those goals, and overcome the unseen challenges that are sure to lie around every corner.