Learn • Engage • Apply • Perform
At Northwood, students learn by doing – that’s the guiding principle for the school's L.E.A.P. Program, an experiential learning curriculum launched in 2017. Northwood faculty leverage individual expertise to craft week-long courses which immerse students in unique subjects. Students choose their L.E.A.P courses in the first trimester and then meet periodically throughout the year in preparation for L.E.A.P week in May.
L.E.A.P. courses take students and faculty out of the classroom for collaborative, first-hand experiences. Students work with experts in the field and are provided opportunities to explore compelling environments and complete ambitious projects resulting in skill development and confidence for future real-world challenges. The L.E.A.P. Showcase that caps the week allows students to share their adventures in learning with the school and local community.
Ready, Set, LEAP!
Each L.E.A.P. course propels students from theory to practice. Teachers guide participants through disciplines as diverse as fly fishing, circus arts, and geothermal energy. These courses give students the opportunity to take on projects and challenges in new settings, and use the information and skills provided by experts to achieve new objectives. The fresh learning perspective encourages student ownership and initiative. Ultimately, L.E.A.P. equips students to navigate complex subjects and tasks independently and successfully.
L.E.A.P. is a place to explore a passion or discover a new interest. View images from Northwood's most recent L.E.A.P. courses.
This course will give students the hands-on opportunity to learn about and experience the value of the Farm to Table movement. Students will explore life on a local organic dairy farm and creamery, learn the art of making cheese, cook with professional chefs in a culinary school lab kitchen and restaurant kitchen, learn techniques for preparing delicious wholesome foods with fresh ingredients and appreciate the fruits of their labor in the company of the others in the group. Students will also visit another local private school to learn about their edible schoolyard and incredible composting system, they will learn about making maple syrup at a local sugarhouse and honey beekeeping through the Adirondack Pollinator Project, and they will enjoy food preparation demonstrations and meals at several local restaurants. The course will culminate with students sharing their newly formed culinary skills with the Northwood School community by preparing and serving a nutritious and tasty meal for other LEAP groups and appetizers during the school’s LEAP showcase. Note: no prior cooking experience is required for this course. Bring a good attitude and the desire to have fun, participate, learn and EAT! Led by Mrs. Wint and Ms. Carter.
This course will focus on the modern circus as a means to study movement, balance, artistry and biomechanics. Montreal's position as the world capital of the modern circus and the home of Canada's National Circus School will serve as a base for this course. Students will explore elements of the circus such as tightrope walking, trapeze, juggling, acrobatics, trampoline, unicycle, etc. Students must be ready for a physically demanding week with three hours of circus training each day. Some activities will take place high off the ground but with all safety measures in place. Every student must also have the necessary Visa/passport to travel to Canada. Led by Ms. Agnew and Mr. Dolan.
Experience a spectacular Caribbean island while staying with a local Northwood family. Hike, rappel into a waterfall, kayak, snorkel on pristine beaches and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere of St. Lucian culture. Highlights include climbing to the top of Gros Piton, spending a day at sea whale-watching and snorkeling, and exploring one of St. Lucia’s hidden waterfalls with local guides. In the evening, try some fresh fish at the Friday night street party or sip fresh guava juice. Everyone will enjoy the delicious cuisine cooked at home by our private chef, Miss Julia.
· Approximate cost – $1,000 per student. Led by Mr. Spear and Ms. Fagan
This course provides students the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in one of the most premier cities in the world for visual and performing arts. In the heart of New York City, they will use all their senses to see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and then most importantly, participate in a variety of art forms such as theater, music, art, and dance. We will visit art museums, see musical theater on Broadway, watch dancers onstage, and hear music in the streets. We will go behind the scenes of the theater, dance , and art worlds by speaking to real live working artists. We will learn how these people make a living doing what they do. We will broaden our horizons with the beauty and culture of the city and its people while sightseeing and tasting food along the way. Students will have the opportunity to further academic growth by trying in-person experiences in both art and dance.*Note: No art or dance experience is required, only a good attitude and a desire to participate
· Approximate cost – $750 per student. Led by Ms. Maiore and Mrs. Van Slyke
The course provides a survey of Adirondack experiences. Students will network with local organizations such as the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST), the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), and the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society. For one night, students will camp at Heart Lake which is the access point to the High Peaks region and is run by the Adirondack Mountain Club (AMC). The group will then hike to Avalanche Lake between Algonquin and Colden Mountains (~8 miles round trip). On another day, the group will drive to Indian Lake and raft 17 miles on the Hudson River through class III-IV whitewater. Ziplining, a boat ride on Lake Placid, and a local dinner at a modern Adirondack Great Camp is also planned. Basic outdoor living skills, ecology, history, Adirondack literature, and lore will be presented. The outcome of the course will provide students with a better understanding of the Adirondack Park and the ability to pass on this information to others. Led by Mr. Nemec and Mr. Miller.
Itinerary in progress, approximate cost - $2,000 per student. Led by Mr. O’Connor and Ms. Carmichael
Have you ever wondered how the wonderful antiques you see in museums or perhaps in your grandparents homes were made? If you have, you probably know that they were built without the benefit of today’s machinery. This course is a hands-on learning experience using tools of the past. Students will use planes, hand saws, chisels and squares to build a candlebox (about 10” wide, 6”deep and 5”high) with a hinged lid and a foot stool with four legs. Students will make hand-cut dovetails and install an inset hinge. Students will make a free standing simple mortise and tenon joint. Dovetails and mortise and tenon joints are the foundation of traditional furniture. Also important are the woods you will be exposed to—pine, maple, cherry and walnut. One week of working with wood may be your first step on a journey as a maker of tables, chairs, dressers, clocks and more. Led by Mr. Weaver, Mr. Jeon and Mr. Green ‘55
This week-long training session culminates with a student-led, hands-on rescue scenario. It will not be a rock-climbing experience. Instead, it will attempt to duplicate real-life methods of professional rope rescuers. Participants may or may not have previous experience – it won't make any difference to this project. Each day will add another layer to the necessary skills set – from basic rope work to lowering and raising systems to first aid and litter packaging. Day five will be the culmination: a real rescue in technical terrain, run by students. Led by Mr. Mellor and Mr. H Runyon.
This exciting and non-traditional LEAP offering takes place from January 12th to January 23rd of 2023 in Lake Placid, NY. Students will work with Catherine Leist, the FISU World Games volunteer organizer, to find volunteer placements and will receive all the benefits and FISU games swag that the other volunteers receive. Due to non-existent accommodations in and around Lake Placid during the games, students that select this LEAP will be responsible for finding a host family that will provide lodging, transportation, and some meals for the student during their LEAP experience. This LEAP requires that students be extremely self-directed and self-sufficient. Students will learn valuable skills while supporting one of the most important athletic events in the world.
· Cost $0. Coordinated by Tara Wright
You are what you eat - If you are looking for ways to improve your athletic performance through better nutrition, this course is made for you. Join registered dietitian nutritionist, Hannah Feinberg ‘13 and Olympic medalist, Andrea Burke, to understand how nutrition affects athletic performance. Throughout the week, students will develop a foundational knowledge of nutritional science and understand how it applies to sport performance. Through the Aeroscan® test, you will see your exact numbers on fat and carbohydrate burn during exercising, and you will learn to use those numbers for efficient and effective training. You will learn about critical nutrition components for overall health, which is the foundation for athletic performance, in addition to your body's physiological processes to better understand the need for proper nutrition. To understand the integration of nutrition and exercise, over the course of the week you will: develop a foundational knowledge of nutritional science; understand the application of nutritional science in sport performance; assess individual fueling and hydration needs before, during, and after exercise. Led by Ms. Odell and Ms. Fagan.
Experience first-hand one of the most beautiful places in the world! Exploring glaciers, volcanoes, lava tubes, geothermal pools, geysers, and the rift valley are just a few of the highlights of this course. Students will learn about plate tectonics, climate change and the significance of geothermal activity in Iceland, while using a variety of media to thoroughly document their experience. Students will work and stay at GeoCamp Iceland (http://www.geocamp.is/). This is an educational project dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of natural sciences with practical and active learning. This is a course for those with a spirit for the natural world! Led by Mr. Eaton and Mr. B Runyon
Would you like to travel to spectacular Vietnam for a once in a lifetime adventure? This course will focus on how tourism has shaped modern Vietnam. Throughout the journey, we will explore several coastal cities including Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. Beaches, caves, islands, national parks and Vietnamese cuisine will be some of the highlights as well as an overnight stay in gorgeous Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Come experience the rich culture within this beautiful country.
· Approximate Cost – $3,000 per student. Led by Ms. Fagan and Mr. Spear
Starting in the late 19th century, the Adirondack Mountains became a popular retreat for wealthy Eastern Seaboard and Canadian families. The game of golf came with them. It was a natural adjunct to the “improving” regime of physical activities pursued by these families, such as hiking, fishing, and canoeing. But it was strictly small-scale. Most of the courses — 59 were built in the Adirondack Park region between 1890 and 1932, about half of which remain open — were started as nine-holers. The plan is to learn the history of the 120-year-old courses and play most of the ones still open. Ausable Club, Thendara Golf Club, Cobble Hill Golf Course, Westport Country Club, Lake Placid Club, and the Saranac Inn Golf Course. We will meet and hear a lecture from Peter Martin, author of the definitive “Adirondack Golf Courses … Past and Present.” The golf courses are short and quirky, which should be equally challenging and fun! Must have your OWN set of golf clubs and have experience playing the game.
· Approximate Cost – $350 per student. Led by Mr. Donatello, Mr. Riffle and Mr. Gilligan
This course is an introductory class in sea kayaking. Reflective journaling will be embedded into the daily activities to deepen the learning experience. Students will learn the skills needed to maneuver safely and comfortably on open water. Course topics include the history of sea kayaking, kayak and paddle designs, paddling techniques, water hazards, attire to paddle safely, basic open water navigation, and simple rescues. The on-water component will consist of paddling the length of Lake Champlain and Lake George within the LEAP weeklong timeframe.
These sessions will provide students with opportunities to observe, discuss, and develop basic sea kayaking and outdoor living skills while critically thinking about the challenges inherent in safely paddling and navigating a sea kayak on open water. These experiences will also provide students with opportunities to develop relevant decision-making skills and judgment as leaders-in-training. Leave No Trace (LNT) Practices will be a focus of the outdoor camping component. *No prior paddling or camping experience needed.
· Approximate Cost – $150. Led by Mr. O’Connor and Ms. Carmichael
Set forth on an adventure to hunt for muskie, the top predator fish in the Northeast! Base Camp will be set in Canton, NY and surrounding communities in St. Lawrence County. The course will entail days on the Grasse and Little River hunting for giant Muskellunge. Students will learn the skills and techniques required to catch one of these razor sharp tooth giants. Casting will be done from canoes, an all Muskies caught will be returned to the river unharmed. Throughout the week we will be learning the history of the fish of 10,000 casts. Nights will be spent camping along the river, cooking food over an open fire, and reflecting on experiences from earlier that day. A professional Muskie guide and fisherman will join for part of the week. This guide will provide us the opportunity to ask questions and encourage conversation. The week will close out with a family dinner and pool party (weather permitting) at Mr. Durocher’s family home. Impromptu pickleball tournaments are encouraged. If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure and fun LEAP week, please come join us on the muskie madness fishing trip!
· Approximate Cost – $350.00 (includes all necessary gear and equipment). Led by Mr. Durocher and Mr. Felhaber
You are what you eat – If you are looking for ways to improve your athletic performance through better nutrition, this course is made for you. Join registered dietitian nutritionist, Hannah Feinberg ‘13 and Olympic medalist, Andrea Burke, to understand how nutrition affects athletic performance. Throughout the week, students will develop a foundational knowledge of nutritional science and understand how it applies to sport performance. Through the Aeroscan® test, you will see your exact numbers on fat and carbohydrate burn during exercising, and you will learn to use those numbers for efficient and effective training. You will learn about critical nutrition components for overall health, which is the foundation for athletic performance, in addition to your body’s physiological processes to better understand the need for proper nutrition. To understand the integration of nutrition and exercise, over the course of the week you will: develop a foundational knowledge of nutritional science; understand the application of nutritional science in sport performance; assess individual fueling and hydration needs before, during, and after exercise.
· Approximate Cost – $350 per student. Led by Ms. Odell and Mr. Biesemeyer
What better way to learn about the world than to travel? In this course, Northwood students will embark on a six-day journey to France for a total French immersion experience. “Le Centre Méditerranéen d’Études Françaises” (CMEF) is a school located on the French Riviera in a magical setting overlooking the Mediterranean. The CMEF welcomes international students of French year-round. French lessons with emphasis on speaking will be given each morning at the school, while afternoons will be dedicated to discovering the many beautiful sites near the CMEF. Students will be provided with short, informative readings prior to each excursion; they will be required to document those experiences through blogging (written journals, photographs and videos). Note: A basic understanding of French is preferred. Led by Madame Schachenmayr.
Scramble up an Adirondack slide, boat to a wilderness campsite and spend the night, rock climb, zip line, and take a scenic flight around the park to check out all the places you just explored. This course will have a cross-section of outdoor activities offered in the Adirondacks. The exact itinerary and activities will be largely driven by student interest and desires in the pre-trip planning process. The course will provide students with a better sense of the Park’s many user groups and what drives the land use and local decision-making processes while being chock full of adventure every day.
· Approximate cost – $350 per student. Led by: Mr. Emery and Smokey the Bear
This course will give students the hands-on opportunity to learn in depth about dog training. Participants will spend a week learning the tricks of the trade from Kristian Hammermueller, owner/founder and lead trainer of Miracle Dog. Our dog trainers in training will be paired with faculty dogs for the week and will train and take care of them. Throughout the week our trainees will also get an in depth look at how to train service dogs, play with the local puppy play group, visit the local animal shelter, learn about pet nutrition, breeding, genetics, and general care, as well as host a Pup Trot fundraiser in support of our local animal shelter. The week will end with a Dog Show where we will crown the week’s “Best Dog”, followed by Dog Training Graduation.
· Approximate Cost – $175 per student. Led by Mrs. Riffle and Mr. Mallaro
In this epic new LEAP offering, students will spend an intensive week at Northwood School’s Innovation Hub designing, playtesting, and iterating on an original game of their making. Leading up to the LEAP week, participants will take an online course called, “Board Game Design 101,” and will explore various types of board games. Participants will learn about game mechanics, world building, user experience design, character design, and more. During the intensive LEAP week at the Hub, students will be focused on transforming their game design concept into a game design prototype. Participants will create the game board, rules booklet, and/or card decks with an easy-to-use graphic design software and poster printer and will design and print their game pieces using the 3D printer and/or muse laser cutter. The week will wrap up with playtesting the new games and discussing ways to position, pitch, and publish a game. No experience or art/design skills necessary, open to all levels.
Approximate Cost – $350 per student. Led by Ms. Prime and Mr. LeBlanc
Work with local elementary schools and kindergartens to explore the challenging, rewarding, enjoyable and memorable world of working with young people. The program will include day visits to local schools to watch and observe expert teachers, opportunities to help and assist in the classroom before culminating in a sports event designed and run entirely by you at Northwood School for the children you have been working with. This is a unique chance to give back to the local community we are all lucky to be a part of, experience education from ‘the other side of the desk’, and positively influence the lives of children in the North Country. We look forward to you joining us for a great way to end the year at Northwood School. (Not open to international students due to visa restrictions)
· Cost – $0. Led by Mr. Shergold
The Adirondack mountains offer a variety of fly fishing opportunities ranging from small creek fishing for quarter pound wild brook trout to larger lake fishing for 30+ pound lake trout, and many options in between. In this LEAP offering, students will have the opportunity to learn how to fly fish for Trout, Bass, and other species of local freshwater fish. The students will begin by learning how to cast and will quickly move on to the basics of fly fishing including finding fish, understanding the different flies and tactics used for different species, and learning how to hook, play, land, and release fish. Time will be spent understanding what a “fly” is, what they imitate, and how to tie them. Students will also be introduced to the biology and ecology of cold-water fisheries. The LEAP course will culminate with a 5-day fishing trip in the Adirondack mountains on a private preserve. The students will have the opportunity to experience river, lake, and pond fishing. In addition, they will have class and field time with members of the Cornell fisheries and wildlife department to learn about the various fisheries they will be exploring, and the variety of scientific work being done on them.
Cost – $0 per student (funded by private donors). Led by Mr. Garvey and Mr. Stewart