Lakeside Educational Enrichment Program (LEEP)
Lakeside Educational Enrichment Program (LEEP) is designed for students entering 9th grade at Seattle-area public schools. It aims to stimulate students’ intellectual curiosity and to support them in gaining new knowledge, skills, and attitudes as they transition into high school. LEEP’s goal is to create excitement around learning and support students’ academic achievement.
The LEEP experience begins in the summer. During an intensive six-week summer session, students learn to take risks, actively participate, and practice respect for each other and themselves. Students receive individualized instruction while being a part of a community of learners.
LEEP continues for all four years of high school. During school-year sessions (meeting approximately six to 10 Saturdays from October to May), students receive regular academic support, practice self-advocacy skills, and participate in enrichment activities that speak to the needs and interests of the students.
The summer session is the core LEEP experience. It is an intensive, dynamic enrichment program, focused on creating a more well-rounded, self-aware, whole student. Days are full: from academic instruction in English and math, to conversations and projects on identity and community, to lunch and field games, to crew practice on Lake Washington or service projects across the city. Students, teachers, and counselors establish connection, work hard, and have fun. LEEP students leave the summer program realizing they have value, their opinion matters, they are stronger than they previously thought, and they are better-prepared for high school.
LEEP helps prepare students for high-school level academic classes. Summer classes are small, with approximately 18 students led by an experienced teacher and two college-aged counselors.
Students take daily classes integrating English, math, and technology. In English class, students read, analyze, and discuss short stories from around the world, and practice persuasive, narrative, creative, and expository writing forms. Math classes are divided by ability level, allowing students who have struggled in the subject to build skills, and challenging those students with strong math abilities. Employing a global sustainability framework, students examine the interconnectedness among environmental, social, and economic issues. Students can expect a small amount of homework, which typically can be completed during the daily study hall.
Students who successfully complete all components (summer and school year) of the LEEP academic program receive 0.5 elective credit to apply towards their Seattle Public Schools’ graduation requirement.
During the summer, students participate in sports for at least one hour a day. The program focuses on participation, teamwork, sportsmanship, and learning LEEP values through athletics. A highlight of the program is crew, where students learn to row on Lake Washington. At the end of the summer, families are invited to celebrate students at a rowing competition.
The summer session concludes with a week-long service-learning experience, intended to develop an appreciation for and personal connection to our local community. LEEP partners with nonprofit organizations engaging in issues around the environment and ending hunger and poverty. Students finish the summer with approximately 12 hours of service learning they can apply to the Seattle Public Schools’ 60-hour graduation requirement.
Stand and Deliver
Stand and Deliver presentations are a hallmark of the program. All members of the LEEP community, staff and students, make a three- to five-minute presentation before the entire group. These can take the form of poetry, stories, speeches, or playing a musical instrument. Stand and Deliver can be intensely personal and challenging, but it remains an important LEEP experience and a bonding activity.
LEEP continues during the school year to help students build skills and access support in meeting their high school’s academic requirements. Students attend six to 10 Saturday sessions from October to May. Sessions are mandatory and have two formats: activity days or class days. Activity days offer an assortment of social activities, service learning, and/or college and career preparation. Class days are modified academic days that mirror aspects of a LEEP summer day. Each spring, LEEP staff members also take high school juniors on a tour of colleges and universities in the Seattle area to assist them in learning about different college environments.