LEAP Academy

POSTPONED: Spring 2019

More details coming soon.

Leading Educational Access Project

LEAP was created in response to research showing that low-income students are far more likely to be found eligible for special education services than other students. Additionally, low-income students who are identified as eligible are more likely to be educated in substantially separate settings. There is evidence that the best outcomes occur for students with disabilities who are most included with their non-disabled peers in school classes and activities. Therefore, both higher identification of low-income students and subsequent separation from the inclusive educational environment is concerning.

LEAP has robust connections to other school improvement initiatives such as Culturally Responsive Teaching and Trauma-Informed Schools.

LEAP is based on a commitment to promote educational access and equity which means that:

  • All students, and especially our most vulnerable students — inclusive of low-income students, ELL students, students of color, and students with disabilities — will have access to high-quality educational opportunities and will experience high academic expectations to ensure greater equity in outcomes;
  • All educators are culturally proficient and honor as well as leverage diversity in their educational practices;
  • All families and caregivers are valuable partners and help to create a rich educational experience for students; and
  • The Department, districts, agencies, and community partners work collaboratively to eliminate explicit and implicit bias, to dismantle racism and to promote social justice within districts and schools.

The key focus areas for this project are:

  1. Improving understanding of and teaching with poverty, race and culture in mind
  2. Improving resources for educators and student support teams
  3. Improving services and placements for high mobility students
  4. Decreasing inappropriate eligibility determinations for special education
  5. Increasing identification of special education placements in the least restrictive environment

LEAP Academy Content Summary

“Brain, Memory, Learning”

  1. Basic brain and learning principles
  2. Working memory
  3. Executive functions
  4. Semantic memory
  5. Episodic memory


Understanding of the impact of poverty: Implications and strategies for Special Education and Regular Education

  1. Disproportionality
  2. Identification and assessments
  3. Student Support team
  4. Placement and least restrictive environment


Impact on other student populations

  1. High mobility
  2. ELL
  3. Key strategies and resources


Intersection of race, ethnicity and poverty on student learning

  1. Cultural competence
  2. Culturally responsive teaching
  3. Implicit bias
  4. Race and racism
  5. Achieving equity


Implications and strategies in the inclusive classroom

  1. Improving student engagement
  2. Higher order thinking
  3. Locus (perception) of control
  4. Communication (pragmatic language and vocabulary)
  5. Self-regulation
  6. Organization
  7. Study skills
  8. Task persistence and performance
  9. Key strategies and resources


SEL and the impacts of poverty

  1. CASEL definition of SEL + 5 competencies
  2. SEL and the brain and learning
  3. Key strategies and resources


School and classroom culture and learning

  1. Key elements that make up a school and classroom culture conducive to learning for all students, with emphasis on students living in poverty
  2. Practices that promote safe and supportive schools
  3. Addressing disproportionality issues in student attendance, disciplinary actions, drop-out rate


Family and community supports and engagement


More information about LEAP is available here.