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.
This LEAP Course will give students a hands-on experience building their very own instrument. The goal is to make an instrument that is of good quality and playable so they can enjoy it for years to come. Students will be introduced to the parts of their instruments using basic instrument kits. They will learn how to finish the wood, install all the parts, solder the electronics, and have a working instrument to enjoy.The group will also visit a shop in Wippleville, NY called Custom Pearl Inlay. The shop does incredible top-level inlay work, all types of instrument repairs, and also builds acoustic guitars and offers classes on both inlay work and building acoustic guitars. Led by Mr. Portal.
Northwood students will have the unique opportunity to experience Cuba first-hand in this structured secondary education program. Only approximately 90 miles off the coast of Florida, Cuba is a Caribbean island nation that is rich in history and a true melting pot of cultures from different continents. Students will not need to travel far to step into a world that visibly resembles the past yet demonstrates a unique political, social, and economic system unlike any other. Staying in the capital city of Havana, students will be engaged in a variety of activities - from academic visits to local museums, historical sites, and public institutions of health and education, to culturally immersive activities such as cooking and cuisine and Afro-Cuban music and dancing workshops. Students will connect with Cubans throughout these activities, thus being able to interpret cultural, social, political, and environmental questions from more than one cultural perspective. Prominent themes throughout the program include Cuban history, public health and education, race and society, and arts and culture. Led by Mr. Martinez and Mr. Dingle
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.
The goal of this program is to educate the students on the history of the Great Camps of the Adirondacks. Students spend the entire week at a Great Camp on Upper Saranac Lake, NY. The use of Camp Sandanona as home for the week allows each student to fully embrace what it felt like to live and play in the wilderness many years ago. Some highlights of the course are tours of Camp Pine Knot, Great Camp Sagamore, and St. Hubert’s Isle on Raquette Lake. The students will experience an educational tour of a guideboat makers shop, talk about local freshwater invasive species, build birdhouses and take a trip to the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. At camp, activities include paddle boarding, campfire instruction, cooking, rope swinging, rock jumping, fishing and much more. Come visit Camp Sandanona! Led by by Mr. Donatello and Mr. Riffle.
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.
Did you know Saranac Lake has 6 mountain peaks with challenging ascents that lead to outstanding views of mountains and water? Once you’ve climbed all six, you’ve earned bragging rights — and a 6er patch! During this physically challenging week, you will learn about trail maintenance, sustainable tourism, and how hiking has affected the economy in the Adirondacks. Throughout the week, we will explore Saranac Lake’s restaurants, shops and historic spots. One afternoon and evening will be spent on Upper Saranac Lake where we will enjoy a barbeque and a boat ride. Some brave souls might even jump in the chilly water! If you love the outdoors and want to have a fun week centered around mountains and water, this course is for you. Led by Mr. DelliQuadri and Mrs. Wardlaw.
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
Students will investigate the modern Olympic movement by touring Lake Placid’s venues, interviewing Olympic athletes, officials, volunteers, and venue managers, as well as participating in many of the Olympic sports. Students will look at current issues including Olympic tourism, Olympic legacy, Fair Sport, and corruption. With recent and projected international events including Winter Olympic Games as models, students will develop and present a Lake Placid Olympic bid. Led by Mr. Roy and Mrs. Walker
In this workshop students will investigate their experience as athletes through the lens of contemporary dance, ultimately creating an original work for performance. Seeking to bridge the divide that often exists between athletics and the arts, student-athletes will receive instruction in various dance styles in daily group classes, mine their own athletic experience for original movement material, watch videos and live performances of dance artists with athletic aesthetics and ultimately collaborate in the creation of an original work of dance. Their athletic experience, combined with the technical and choreographic instruction of teachers, will lend itself to the creation of a truly unique final performance. Participants will also attend live sporting and arts events for research purposes. Through this workshop we will demystify the seemingly inaccessible world of dance by offering relatable access points for athletes who already have strong physical command of their bodies and curiosity about the arts and performance. The workshop will culminate in a presentation of an original work of athletic dance. Note: No formal dance training is required of participants. However, this is primarily a physical workshop. Students should come dressed for movement, bring water and nutritious snacks and be prepared to physically engage all day. The label of “athlete” can be self-applied by all those who wish to participate in the workshop, the only requirement being an ability and willingness to support one's choice to identify as “athlete”. Led by Ms. Carmichael and Mr. Thomas-Train (nordic skier/professional dancer)
The tragedies and triumphs that took place in Alabama during the civil rights movement awakened an entire nation to the reality of racial injustice African-Americans faced nationwide. During the 1950s and 1960s, African-Americans fought peacefully to gain equal rights in the United States and were met with resistance and violence. In this course, students will have the opportunity to explore historical sites, learn about key moments and walk in the footsteps of the inspiring leaders who helped change the trajectory of the American story. Students will learn about the history of racism and white supremacy in the region, the importance of tolerance and awareness, and grasp the relevance of the civil rights movement today. An emotional and eye-opening experience, this course is best suited for mature students willing to face a difficult history. Led by Mr. Spear and Mr. Hilaire
Cobble Mt. is now one of the most popular short hikes in the greater Lake Placid region. Thousands of visitors hike the trail each year. While it is great that so many can take advantage of Northwood’s unique property, the impact on the trail and mountain is starting to take a toll on the property and the ecosystem. Students who join this challenging program will learn first-hand about the global tourism trade and its impact on the High Peaks of the Adirondacks. Experts in forestry, trail maintenance/construction, forest ecology and other speakers will explain the issues confronting the Cobble Mt. ecosystem. Students will then work as a team to repair damaged trails, open new trails that will prevent erosion and create a way to properly assess the number of visitors Cobble has each year. Students will stay on campus during LEAP week and can expect daily physical exertion that will include felling trees, moving rocks, building bridges and shaping trails. Led by Mr. Broderick.
Join the dedicated staff at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation Center for a hands-on week of learning, hard work and fun. Participate in the daily care and feeding of animals, the renovation of animal enclosures, and assist in daily operations. Learn about the environmental, political and social aspects of human life that impact animal communities and what you can do to help. Gain a deeper understanding of the life cycles and habitats of the refuge animals and share your knowledge as you guide visitors through the refuge. This special opportunity provides students a unique connection to our local community and the people who work so hard to conserve our natural environment.This is a campus-based program with daily travel to the refuge in Wilmington NY. Led by Mr. Martin and Mrs. Martin.
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.