LEAPing into learning

Author: Patrick Baker  • 

Last year we began an awesome week of opportunity for our middle and upper school students called LEAP week.  The acronym stands for Learn, Explore, Adapt, and Play, but it also acts as a springboard for students to take a week, free from the normal academic routine, and immerse themselves in topics and areas where they may have either a passion or interest.  It also is the perfect time right before we leap into Spring Break.

This year, we have more than 23 offerings during each session from which students can choose.  Moreover, there are several students who are engaging in all-day internships at local businesses (fashion and automobile), with a wedding planner, and even in Austin with the House of Representatives.  Friday offers excursion experiences, as well as marks the day 30+ students will travel to Europe for the annual spring break trip we offer.

In the end, this is about our students.  The ultimate “proof in the pudding” is when a great student and long-time Allen student writes to the administration upon the release of the signup process.

“Thank you so much for facilitating LEAP Week. I can’t decide what courses I want to take – there are way, way too many good ones. Philosophy, Slam Poetry, Structured Academic Controversy, Calculus, Theory of Knowledge – I’m astounded at the depth of classes that are offered this year. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to explore things that I’m passionate about.”

No – THANK YOU, Allen student for encouraging us to do what’s best for you.

My best,


2017 LEAP Week Course Offerings

Session A (3 Hours)

Theory of Knowledge- how do you know that you really know anything?

Baseball and Literature

BC Calculus

Glass Working (Stained Glass/Glass Fusion)

Upper School Art Jam (Portfolio Building Time)

Diversity and Social Justice

Programming – Advanced

Meal Prep and Cooking from Scratch

Jewelry Making/T-shirt Painting

Guaranglish (Guarani Camp)

Peace Corps Allen Style – Project Development

Shooting Sports/Firearm Safety

Life Skills (How to Survive in College and Beyond)

Structured Academic Controversies (Discussion/Debate) (US)

Annie Character Development/Vocal/Choreography Work (cast of Annie)

Bocón! – Drama Production

Leadership Training (8th-12th grade)

Script Writing and 24 Hour Plays

Writing a Novel or Memoir

Sustainable Food and Farming

Introduction to Basketball Offensive and Defensive Theory

Analyzing Musicals Like Literature

Session B (2 Hours)

Chinese Characters- learn more than 100 in four days!

Allen History

World Religions (Upper School)

AB Calculus

Intro to Psychology (MS)

Happy (Upper School)

Beginning Programming

Recycled Art Projects

Plant Germination/Container Gardening

Animal Dissection (pig or cat)

Drone Racing


Mozart and His Music

Tools of Titans: Tips and Tools Practiced by Successful People

Fiber Arts – Crochet and More

Choose Your Own Adventure – Creative Writing and Performance

Annie Set Building/Construction/Painting

Machine Sewing 101

Performance (given to group by Script Writing daily – performed on Friday)

SAT Practice

Escape Room Puzzles (play and create)

A Well-Balanced Life (Girls Only)

Child Development

Art as Therapy

Beginning Handbells

Session C (1 Hour)

Stock Market Challenge- invest $1 Million in Four Days and watch your money grow (or not)!

Productivity Hacks – S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting, getting/staying organized, productivity tips, life hacks, etc.

Intro to World Religions (MS)

Illustrated Journaling

Writing the Wrongs: Creating Space for Important Conversations through Slam Poetry

Mindfulness Meditation (US)

The Art of Manliness – What it means to be a successful and fulfilled man in the 21st century. (US Young Men)

Intro to Cross Cultural Living

AP Euro Prep

Neruda Rules! (Spanish Poetry)

Coloring as a Meditation

Augmented Reality

Wood Carving

Art as Therapy

Mozart and His Music

Chakra and Inner Energy (US)

Color Guard

Piano Basics and Music Theory


Spikeball- learn to play, build skills for culminating tournament

Flag Football



Typing Extravaganza!

Europe Trip Prep

Triseum Art History or Calculus Game

Friday Field Trips (All Day)

Triseum (Gaming for Math and Art)

Fredericksburg – National Museum of the Pacific War

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Houston Museum of Natural Science

NASA space center in Houston

OmGrown Yoga – Downtown Bryan

Earth Galley Farms (hydroponic farm) & Ronin Farms (farm to table)

Escape the Room

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