Request No. 2: $2.5 million in continued funding for the expansion of Kennedy Krieger’s LEAP special education school and programs.
- In the FY 2023 budget, Maryland allocated $2.5 million to begin needs assessment and architectural planning for the LEAP renovation. THANK YOU!
- We respectfully request an additional $2.5 million to continue this work to completion.
- Kennedy Krieger will contribute $10 million to the project.
A Unique Educational Program
Kennedy Krieger’s LEAP Program, one of our five special education schools, serves students 5 to 21 years old from across Maryland. Each student has a severe designated educational disability and has been referred to Kennedy Krieger School Programs by their local school system. (LEAP stands for Lifeskills and Education for Students with Autism and Other Pervasive Behavioral Challenges.)
Before LEAP was established, Maryland’s students with complex disabilities were often separated from their families and sent out of state to residential facilities, at great expense to Maryland, and distress to their families. LEAP was established to allow these students to continue living with their families while attending school.
Publicly funded and privately run, LEAP is accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education.
Each LEAP student requires a highly structured environment that meets their academic, communication, social, behavioral and medical needs, with designated areas for individual and therapeutic instruction as well as sensory and behavioral breaks.
LEAP’s students also need a high level of individual instruction, and therefore a high staff-to-student ratio. A typical LEAP classroom serves only five to seven students, with just as many—if not more—adult staff members in the room.
LEAP’s buildings weren’t designed for students with complex disabilities. The current LEAP space can be an obstacle to effective instruction and behavioral support.
Many students were referred to the LEAP Program because of their challenging behaviors, including aggression and self injury. The facility needs to be improved to better meet the unique needs of these students.
Please provide continued funding for this initiative so we can complete work to effectively serve more students with special needs..