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Sea Mar CHC - Latino/a Educational Achievement Project
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The Latino/a Educational Achievement Project (LEAP) was established in 1998 as a non-profit organization. In 2010, LEAP became a program of Sea Mar Community Health Centers, a multi-service non-profit organization established in 1978.

LEAP was formed by a group of educators and community leaders who began examining how students fared academically in the K-12 public schools. In brief, in the mid-90s, Latino students, when compared to their peers statewide, scored last in nearly all subject areas at all grade levels assessed by the state (grades 4, 7 and 10). The results are nearly as dire in 2010, based on state WASL scores.

LEAP leaders noted, too, the dramatic growth rates of Latino students. See demographic trends for growth rates of Latino students, 1986-2008 in selected school districts.

Student demographic and academic trends led to formation of LEAP. With no funding, LEAP leaders determined that they could not run programs, but they could bring together educators from across the state to use their collective experience to find out why Latinos scored poorly on state-administered tests. They ruled out entirely, that Latino students are less capable than others.

It was their intent in 1998, and it continues today, to identify, propose and advocate for public policies that could improve academic achievement of Latino students. What they found as an example of one barrier, is that when large numbers of students whose first language is not English, are tested in English, they may not score well for several years.

LEAP considers these and other factors as it develops policy priorities annually. The policy proposals are forwarded to national and state elected officials and educational institutions, e.g., governor and state legislature, State Board of Education, U.S. Congress.

Eventually, LEAP enlisted educational institutions, K-12, colleges and universities, to become LEAP K-20 Educational Partners. The partners support LEAP financially, and representatives participate on LEAP’s state advisory board that determines it’s educational priorities.

LEAP held its first state conference in 2000 at a small hotel in Tacoma where there were almost 100 participants. In 2010, the 10th annual LEAP Education Conference was held with nearly 800 in attendance, with 600+ being middle school, high school and college students.

 

 

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