Final papers submitted, tests completed, outdoor games and lots of sweet treats. All the signs of the closing of another school year and the start of another summer, right?
For the growing LEAP Academy community in North Fairmount, students, families and teachers weren’t just celebrating a job well done in the classroom and the start of summer at their end-of-year party. In fact, they were celebrating all the things that made their first school year special: increased enrollment, a blending and sharing of cultures and an excitement for what’s to come.
Since opening its doors in August 2017, LEAP’s enrollment nearly tripled throughout the course of the school year, and it’s adding a fourth grade for the 2018-19 school year.
“Back in August, all of this may have seemed a long way off,” said LEAP Academy principal Priya Sonty. “We had less than 100 students enrolled at the very beginning of the school year; now we have 250.”
Sonty credits the expansion to be a result of authentic word-of-mouth among families in the community.
“This school and community has grown to become so much more than I imagined,” said Sonty. “We aren’t just an elementary school with daily Spanish instruction, we’re a community where everyone is equally represented.”
Making up the LEAP Academy community are families that are both native Spanish and native English speakers. Some parents even attended the school back when it was North Fairmount Elementary. Newer families have been embraced, and it shows in the simplest ways, such as students swapping English and Spanish vocabulary words over lunch in the cafeteria.
“It has been amazing to see the students help and support each other,” said Sonty. “They were all so excited to share their cultures, and that’s what makes this school special.”
Even sweeter for the end-of-year celebration, Kroger presented a check worth $10,000 to the school. Kroger employees have been involved with the school since day one—from helping with landscaping back in August to partnering with Le Soupe to help supplement family groceries throughout the year.
The $10,0000 donation will support LEAP’s family literacy initiative.
“We have very involved parents, and we want to provide the resources and opportunities for children and parents to regularly read together,” said Sonty.
Keep up with LEAP Academy at cps-k12.org/schools/new-2017-18/LEAP-academy.