LEAP Program Expansion at MOESC a Success
The LEAP program provides instruction and related services to students from individual school districts who require a more specialized educational setting than is available in the public school. LEAP has 8 total locations servicing much of northern Ohio, including one at Crestview Local Schools. Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center assisted in opening a new location in Mansfield at the ESC for the start of the 2021/2022 school year.
LEAP helps students both from general education and those assessed to have Learning or Developmental Disabilities, Traumatic Brain Injury, Pervasive Developmental Disorders (i.e., Asperger's Syndrome, higher functioning Autism), ADHD, Oppositional/Defiant Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, all Personality Disorders and many others not listed. They provide students, their families, as well as the placing school districts effective, innovative, and evidence-based alternative education and psychoeducational services. They work to provide hope and motivation to emotionally and behaviorally challenged children grades K through 12 to reach their maximum potential academically, emotionally, and socially.
Kathleen Frazier was previously the program director for the Crestview branch and now serves in the same role for the new Mid-Ohio branch. “We were so glad to open up the doors closer to kids that really need help. For some students in Mid-Ohio’s districts, it was just too far from Crestview to be a feasible option. Being in Mansfield means we have been able to be a better branch of support that makes it easier to carry the lessons learned into their everyday lives.”
Currently, the program is running between 40 to 50 students from 9 to 10 districts depending on enrollment, and the reception has been positive. Frazier said parents have expressed their enthusiasm for the program. “Many have shared that they enjoy the support that the school gives them for structure within the home as well,” she said. “Families of the younger students are excited to support the program as they have seen huge changes in their kids at home as well. A few of the kids will comment that they don't want to go back to their home schools simply because they like the smaller groups and the consistency they have here.”
Frazier said there is a great need for mental health care, and the end goal of the LEAP program is to work with students when they have social and emotional problems and turn them into productive students for when they return to their home district. Every student receives full academic services, as regulated by the State of Ohio, including up-to-date curriculum for all age and grade levels, based on adopted State Standards & Proficiency expectations.
“Having the LEAP program as a resource for our students in Mid-Ohio ESC member districts has been a valuable tool for when a student’s needs are more specialized than their home district can accommodate,” said Kevin D. Kimmel, Superintendent of Mid-Ohio ESC. “Plus, this new location has allowed all Mid-Ohio districts to have equal access without the obstacle of distance.”