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    Tom Rosenthal
    Richard Vespucci
    Jon Zlock

    609-292-1126

For Release: April 25, 2003


Celebrating a Success Story: Commissioner Librera Lauds the LEAP University Charter School in Camden for Timely Instruction and New Cross-curricula Project

Commissioner of Education William L. Librera this week praised the educators and students at the LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden for their recent classroom lessons on the Iraq War - lessons that integrated each subject with the Iraq conflict as the one common theme.

"This type of initiative is a prime example of what many of our schools already do and what all should definitely aspire to address," Commissioner Librera said. "The faculty and students at LEAP Charter School should be commended for incorporating such a sensitive - and 'Real World' - issue into their classrooms."

"This is just one example of the many fine programs we have throughout the state of New Jersey," Librera continued. "I'm sure that the students who took part in the curricula came away with a more diverse and worldly perspective - an essential ingredient for future success."

The Academy has additionally been recognized for two awards, both to be announced by the Department of Education (DOE) on May 1: the Pioneer Award and an Exemplary School Award. The recognition will be during the first-ever New Jersey Charter Schools Recognition Ceremony, which is sponsored by the DOE's Office of Innovative Programs. More information about the program can be found here: http://www.state.nj.us/njded/news/0424cha.htm.

School officials at the LEAP Charter Academy submitted their program to the Department of Education as a "Success Stories" news brief. Success Stories, launched by the DOE in November, is a timely compilation of the good news occurring throughout New Jersey. The Success Stories Web Site is found at: http://www.state.nj.us/njded/success/.

The LEAP information, submitted in March, caught the eye of DOE officials both because of its timeliness and because it is a prime example of the DOE's mission statement by using multiple and diverse paths to success for all children in New Jersey. The program also allows the DOE to continue to share best practices in schools statewide.

The integrated lesson, entitled, "War and Peace, How Should We Address Iraq?" was addressed at the school throughout the month of March. The following subject areas were addressed: Social Studies, English, Math, Technology, Science, the Visual and Performing Arts, World Languages and Physical Education and Health.

The Social Studies component, for example, consisted of the following: students answered opinion questionnaires discussing their feelings on going to war with Iraq. Students were then given the option of participating in a debate or creating a persuasive poster displaying several reasons why the United States should or should not go to war with Iraq.

For more information about the program, please contact Nimita Patel, the school's Social Studies Department Chair, at (856) 614-0400, or the Department of Education Public Information Office at (609) 292-1126.