Mayor Bloomberg proclaimed Feb. 29 "LeAp Day" in honor of Learning Through an Expanded Arts Program, which provides arts-based after-school programs to NYC public schools.
On Feb. 29, Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp) was honored for its 34 years of service to students in grades K-12 in New York City public schools. The hands-on, arts-based program celebrated “LeAp Day,” proclaimed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, at PS 15 in Manhattan with presentations, performances, and speakers that demonstrated how LeAp uses the arts to empower students to learn more about their core academic subjects.
Left to right: Kyelah Jahng, Noelle Tinker, Megan Norat, Jessica Garcia, Deborah Ige, Danielle Urena, Rebecca Mayfield, and Maya Nicklas, students in third through fifth grade at PS 163, performed a musical cross-cultural comparison for LeAp Day.
LeAp is an after-school program that uses the arts, including music, dance, theater, and visual arts, to help students achieve their academic goals.“Our goal is to have every student at a high achievement level—academically, socially, and artistically,” says Alice Krieger, associate executive director and co-founder of the program.
Throughout the event, several performances demonstrated how the arts and hands-on teaching are useful in teaching the core academic subjects. LeAp’s after-school program demonstrated how you can learn literacy through dancing, while students in LeAp’s ALLL (Active Learning Leads to Literacy) program learned dinosaur paleontology through cooking. “We used different foods to make stuff for dinosaurs and then we got to eat it!” said Alex Ashmall-Liversidge, 6, a student at PS 34. “We make pizza at school; we get to eat that too.”
Kiera Ford, 17, a student at Fordham High School in the Bronx, performed a monologue by August Wilson, moving the audience with her theater skills. “I want to be an actress. I love acting and I love performing,” Ford said. Ford was preparing to compete in the national August Wilson Monologue Competition, in which students perform for theater celebrities. LeAp’s August Wilson Program educates students on social issues and historical events of the 20th century African-American experience while strengthening their acting skills and performance techniques.
“I think one of the biggest things that it does is open up doors,” says Irene Sanchez, principal of PS 15, of the LeAp program. “I think that sometimes when you first look at a lesson it could be intimidating, but when it comes through the arts in a non-threatening way, where you’re just having fun and enjoying the arts, you tend to forget that you’re actually learning; and so [the students] open up.”
To learn more about LeAp’s programs, visit leapnyc.org.