The Rutgers-Camden Community Leadership Center (CLC) is responsible for developing and sustaining LEAP Academy University Charter School, which currently serves 1,700 students in grades K-12, and operating an infant/toddler and pre-school program for 300 children in the Early Learning Research Academy (ELRA). ELRA is one of five Centers of Excellence that the CLC manages to connect university faculty, students, and resources to support LEAP teaching and learning. The others include a Fabrication Laboratory that provides resources for math and science instruction and is operated by university faculty working in partnership with LEAP faculty; a Health and Wellness Center, with both medical and mental health services, led by certified pediatricians and social workers; a Parent Center, which operates academies for parents to receive credits towards a bachelor’s degree; and the Center for College Access, which prepares students to enroll in college and has boosted a track record of 100% high school graduation and college placement. LEAP and ELRA are located throughout five buildings along Cooper Street in downtown Camden, solidifying a true educational corridor and pipeline for students to begin their education as infants and proceed all the way to college within just a couple of blocks. Rutgers University is integral in overseeing LEAP’s operations and curriculum, with a strong presence on the LEAP Board of Trustees.
LEAP alumni are integral to the operations, growth, and success of the CLC and LEAP Academy. LEAP has graduated almost 1,000 students since its first graduating class in 2005. Alumni have attended prestigious universities, including Berklee College of Music, Brown, Cabrini, Cornell, Drexel, Howard, Parsons School of Design, Princeton, Rowan, Rutgers, Swarthmore, Temple, the University of Pennsylvania, Villanova, and Widener. They have gone on to obtain Masters and Law Degrees and been hired at national companies, including TD Bank, PwC, Wells Fargo, Citizens Bank, J.P. Morgan & Chase, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the Philadelphia 76ers. A distinct group of alumni have even returned to LEAP to teach, be administrators, and support students on their path to graduation and college placement.
LEAP and the Rutgers-Camden Community Leadership Center (CLC) coordinate events, programs, communications, and resources to keep alumni connected with each other and the school to network, grow, and give back. The LEAP Board of Trustees has seats dedicated specifically for alumni to ensure the governance of the school is represented by this important constituency.