School Profile

  • LEAP High School

    LEAP High School is an Alternative Learning Center(ALC) high school and part of the St. Paul Public Schools. LEAP currently serves 425 English language learner immigrant and refugee students. We are a school that exemplifies the American dream. Coming from over 25 countries beset with poverty, war, oppression, and forced migration, our students find LEAP to be a welcoming, safe, and nurturing community. Whether having previous school experience, or having never been in school before, LEAP students embark on a carefully tailored journey into learning the English language and state required high school academic content. In four years, LEAP High School students accomplish what researchers (Collier and Thomas, 1988; Cummins, 1981) say should take seven to ten years: becoming academically proficient in English and, in turn, earning a high school diploma.

    During their time at LEAP High School, students take career exploration and advanced writing classes that prepare them for entry into two-year and four-year college programs. At LEAP High School, students not only achieve a high school diploma, they gain the skills to continue in the American dream of going to college. Over 80% of all graduates successfully enroll in post-secondary education programs. LEAP High School students, inthe words of a Karen parent, “[Are] the future leaders of our country. Our hope. They will go back and lead us to real democracy.”

    Please visit the State of the School page for more information about LEAP in 2011-2012 school year.

    To learn how all of this started read the following articles.


    "LEAP" builds on and expands a program started in 1994, "LEAP English Academy". The articles below provide background of our school including research, methodology, and program description.

    Mainstreaming LEP Students: The Case of the Hmong

    MinneTESOL Journal, Vol. 11, 1993.

    By Jeff Dufresne, Saint Paul Public Schools

    Focusing on Hmong refugees in St. Paul, MNschools, this article considers the difficulties faced byrecently-arrived refugee and immigrant students and their families,including cultural-generational conflicts as well as academic difficulties. In addition to reviewing important language research, the study presents new data. The author has compiled SRA test statistics for Hmong 10th-graders at a high school in St. Paul who fit into particular "time-in-country" categories. These statistics illustrate instructional and programming dilemmas faced by students and teachers at the secondary level.  Implications for programming include bilingual classes, "sheltered" content-area classes, partnerships with outside organizations to offer instructional and cultural support, vocational education, and classes in native language literacy and culture.

                Click on the Journal icon in right side bar for full article.

    LEAP English Academy – An Alternative High School for Newcomers to the United States.

    MinneTESOL/WITESOL Journal, Vol. 14, 1997.

    By Jeff Dufresne and Sandra Hall, Saint Paul Public Schools


    LEAP English Academy was started in the fall of 1994 as a school completely dedicated to LEP newcomers aged 16 to 26, students whose needs often do not match the offerings provided in traditional high schools. LEAP provides ESL, and adaptive content classes while offering a high school diploma as well as supported transition to the workplace and post-secondary training. LEAP incorporates tutoring and structured interaction with American high school students and other volunteers. This article provides the background of, rationale for, and description of Saint Paul, Minnesota's LEAP English Academy, and explores the possibilities offered by this model.

                Click on the LEAP English Academy icon in right side bar for full article.

LEAP High School

  • LEAP

LEAP English Academy

  • LEAP



  • LEAP