Community members and supporters recently stopped in to see Allendale Columbia School’s Summer LEAP program in action! After a brief introduction by Head of School Mick Gee and Executive Director of AC’s program, Lindsey Brown, guests toured campus, visited in classrooms, and spoke with faculty and parents to see first-hand the impact of Summer LEAP.
Summer LEAP is a six-week summer enrichment program that seeks to close our community’s opportunity gap by offering high-quality summer learning experiences to low-income children from the Rochester City School District. Studies show that low-income students can lose up to three months of academic gains when they are out of school for the summer, which by 5th grade, can account for a 2.5-3 year achievement difference between low-and middle-income students. AC Summer LEAP is here to help fill that gap!
Throughout the day, it was clear that AC Summer LEAP is a vital program targeting the area of greatest need in the Rochester City School District. AC partners with a community school, Enrico Fermi School No. 17 and its principal Caterina Leone-Mannino, helping to lift it out of receivership. School 17 and AC’s LEAP program serve a high proportion of Spanish-dominant Latino students, including some who arrived in Rochester post hurricane Maria.
AC’s Summer LEAP program is unique in many ways. It features bilingual balanced literacy, a comprehensive restorative justice program that helps students develop positive conflict resolution skills and maximizes academic time for all students, a wellness program in partnership with the JCC, and family-style lunches with locally-sourced food.
This year, LEAP is using the theme “Wonders of Wakanda”, based on the recent popularity ofMarvel’s Black Panther movie and comics, to emphasize culturally relevant instruction. An amazing 84% of faculty are teachers of color, more closely matching the student population than any other school in the city. Students are choosing projects related to innovation, the arts, and leadership. AC Summer LEAP’s 5th graders are reading the Black Panther graphic novel and writing their own graphic novel origin stories that emphasize self-awareness, cultural pride, and themes of leadership.
VIPs in attendance included: Jan August of the Office of Major Gifts at the United Way; Jerome Underwood, CEO of Action for a Better Community; Simeon Bannister, Interim Vice President of Community Programs at the Rochester Area Community Foundation. Several members of AC’s Summer LEAP Advisory Committee participated, including Jori Cincotta, Ebets Judson, and Jill Wynn.