iLEAD Exploration Remains Open Virtually for Learners

iLEAD Exploration continues to operate its independent study model in an entirely virtual format. Click here for resources.

Aug 23, 2020 @ 01:00

Educational Resources

Our News & Events

Spring Webinars

Fall Webinars

We are excited to share our upcoming webinars for 2021. On February 10 at 12 pm, we are exploring different hands-on science kits. Please register here to learn more about our Spotlighting Science Kits webinar. Then on February 12 at 10 am, we are introducing you to our high school team. If you are entering high school or just want to know more, we hope you will join us for this informational webinar. Please register here for the High School Overview for New Families and Incoming 9th graders webinar.

Webinars 2021

Summer Pre-College Programs

HS Dec5

Summer programs offer learners the opportunity to experience campus life while engaged in academic or extracurricular activities. Many applications are available now, so don’t wait to check deadlines and begin the application process. These programs may look different this summer, but whether in-person or online, they offer great opportunities. There are a wide variety of programs and financial aid may be available.

Programs can be divided into several categories including academic, college preparatory, artistic, and athletic. Below is a small sampling of available summer programs. Learners are encouraged to do their own searching, focusing on specific areas of interest or colleges and universities.

Summer Programs and Admissions

Some competitive summer programs that offer in-depth experience in a specific academic or artistic field will help with college admissions. These programs are often free or low cost and they stand out on a college application because they are competitive and the learner gains valuable advanced experience. Non-competitive summer programs show a dedication to an area of interest, something that helps admission officers know more about who you are and what you value. Programs at specific college campuses do not necessarily help a learner gain admission to that college.

If you need help or wish to discuss summer options, feel free to set up an appointment to meet with our College Advisor, Laura Kazan.

Navigating the Challenges of Online Learning

HS Dec4

In these unprecedented times, we have all seen drastic changes in the ways in which we live our daily lives. This especially applies to how learners have been accessing their classes. While we are an independent study school, many of our learners take classes at in-person learning centers or on campus at their local community college. Going online for the first time or in a new system can be very intimidating. We have seen an uptick in learner anxiety and academic struggles during this time, and our school is not unique to experiencing this challenge.

It is important to remain mindful of how you are handling these new situations. You may not be able to handle as rigorous of a load as planned or need to drop classes entirely, and that is okay. Rest assured, one class or even one semester will not ruin the rest of your life! EFs and counselors are here to help if you find yourself stuck, so please be honest with yourself and the adults who are here to support you.

If you are working through an online class with a vendor or at the community college, here are some proactive steps you can take to support your own success:

  • Reach out for assistance to navigate deadlines and assignments

  • Look up and share all important due dates with your EF and/or parent and set reminders on your phone if necessary

  • Find out if tutoring is available

  • If necessary, use instructional funds for tutoring

  • Come up with a study plan at the beginning of the semester (your EF can help)

  • Turn in essays EARLY for teacher/professor feedback and revise if necessary BEFORE the final deadline

  • Communicate with the teacher/professor throughout the semester

If you feel you need added support, contact your EF or high school counselor right away.

Last names A-K – Bethany Maddox

Last names L-Z – Heather Fecarotta

Barnabas Robotics Robot Innovations

Barnabus Robotics final

Join Barnabas Robotics and explore the awesome intersection of engineering, art and creativity while building a one-of-a-kind robot! In this workshop, learners will discover how real-world engineers use electricity, mechanical parts and design to invent things that we use in everyday life and build their own robot creation! Registration is now open. Please see the flier for details.

LINKED Final_robot_2_(2)

Kindness Rocks!

Kindness Rocks

Join Exploration families and spread a little kindness, good will, and gratitude around our communities. Please take a look at the flier below for more details on how to register.

Kindness Rocks! (no date)

SLO: Self-Control

5352641 Self control concept. Hand with yellow marker writing se

This month, iLEAD is focusing on the monthly Schoolwide Learner Outcome (SLO) of self-control. Are you able to control your emotions and impulses in order to achieve a greater goal? Don’t be too hard on yourself if the answer is no, because studies have shown that self-control is not a stagnant trait and it can be improved with practice over time.

As you watch this video, you may want to reflect on the following questions:

1. Do you come prepared to events and activities that you are attending?

2. Do you avoid distractions and get to work?

3. Do you remain calm in stressful situations?

4. Do you have the willpower to resist the “marshmallow”?



College is expensive, so it is worth taking the time to look for scholarship opportunities. While the best aid comes from the college you attend, a second option is looking for outside scholarships.

Local Scholarships: Local scholarships are easier to win because the applicant pool is smaller. Often city organizations will offer scholarships to residents. Search local community organizations and city websites. For example, Kiwanis, Soroptimist, Elks Lodge, or your local newspaper.

National Scholarships: Use websites such as JLV College Counseling, which tracks awards by deadline and places opportunities in multiple categories. Other scholarship websites might be a way to filter scholarships, but it is wise to create an email address just for scholarship searches.

Searching for Scholarships: Try some interesting search terms like weird scholarships or unusual scholarships. You can use specific terms such as disability scholarship, ADHD, autism, or bipolar disorder and schizophrenia to find a variety of scholarships online. If you are from a low-income family, check out the scholarships listed here. First-generation and underrepresented students should check out College Greenlight.

Full-Ride Scholarships: If you are looking for large scholarships, start early as most are very competitive and often have several rounds of applications. For most, you must start the process in your junior year. These scholarships are extremely competitive and include:

If you would like to discuss searching for colleges with financial aid in mind, please reach out to Laura Kazan who can help you sort through the process. Happy scholarship hunting!

High School Clubs

High School Clubs iLEAD Exploration

As the semester is coming to an end, iLEAD’s Associated Student Body (ASB) would like to make a very important announcement about next semester. For the first time in school history, we are launching two ASB-sponsored clubs: The Gaming Club and The Creative Writing Club. By joining an iLEAD club, you will have the opportunity to meet other iLEAD learners and build long-lasting friendships. You will also be able to work with other learners and plan out club meetings and events. Since this will be the first time that they will launch, you will have a chance to work with your fellow students to really shape these clubs the way that you picture them to be. Besides being able to learn about gaming or creative writing, you will also learn to work with a team, be responsible for your duties as a member, learn to compromise with others, and much more. We hope to see you in our first club meeting which is tentatively scheduled for January. We can’t wait to meet you and get to know you better! To join, RSVP here.
-Ariella Clarino, iLEAD ASB Regional President

ELPAC Summative Test

ELPAC Summative Test

Beginning in February, English language learners will take the summative ELPAC. The English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) is California’s assessment system that is used to determine the English language proficiency of learners whose primary language is not English. The ELPAC assesses four domains: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The summative ELPAC measures how well a learner is progressing with English development in each of the four domains. To support these domains, the EL team has added some family activities to this newsletter. Additionally, the iLEAD Exploration website has a database of activities to support each of these domains. Simply click on this link, log into the Hub, and search the EL resource database.

The summative assessment is given to learners in grades TK–12 who have been identified as English learners. These learners continue to take the assessment annually until they are reclassified as fluent English proficient. In order to be considered proficient in English and reclassify, a learner must score a 4 on each of the four domains AND score a “meets or exceeds” standard on the ELA portion of the SBAC or “meets or exceeds” the grade level norm on MWEA MAP.

Parents/guardians cannot opt their child out of the ELPAC. State law (California Education Code section 313 and California Education Code section 60810 ) and Federal Law Titles I and Ill of the Every Student Succeeds Act require that all students whose primary language is other than English be assessed for English language proficiency.

This year, our EL team will be providing a webinar for learners to join and learn test-taking strategies and tips to be successful on the summative ELPAC. This will be coming in early February. We hope you will join us!

Family Activities to Support Listening


  1. Telephone: This is a classic game for working on listening. Start with one sentence, and whisper it to the person next to you. That person will whisper what they heard to the next person. The final person says the sentence they heard out loud. This kind of game works especially well with larger groups. You can also use this game to demonstrate how stories change as rumors spread.
  2. Freeze Dance: This game requires children to listen for the music stopping AND to stop their bodies. This is a good way to work on impulse control as well. Pick a fun song, stopping it occasionally and seeing who freezes their bodies. Try to hide the music source so no one can see when you are about to stop the music.
  3. Mother, May I? The person who is the “mother” stands on one end of a space/room, while the other players line up at the other end. Each player takes a turn asking if they can move (for example, “Mother, may I take three giant steps forward?”). There is a lot of fun listening here! This game is also great for following directions and taking turns being the leader.
  4. Simon Says: This game requires listening for a certain phrase and then moving only when the leader includes “Simon says” (for example, “Simon says place your hands on your head.”) This is another game that works on controlling impulses, and players can take turns being the leader.
  5. Tell a Group Story: The first person starts a story with one sentence. Then the next person adds onto the story, and it continues until everyone has contributed at least one sentence to the story. (For smaller groups, you can go around two or three times.) This requires listening to what has already been said and making connections, as well as working together as a group.
  6. Online Listening Activities: In the Hub section of iLEAD Exploration’s website, there are many recommended listening activities to support EL learners. Simply click on this link, log into the Hub, and search the EL resources by category (domain).

Family Activities to Support Reading

TK-1 Read Aloud

  1. Tall Tales: The Game of Infinite Storytelling: There are several ways to play this storytelling game. One is the tell-a-group-story method, where players randomly select a few of the playing pieces and then one scene card is turned over. Each player takes a turn adding to the story, integrating one of their playing pieces into the story each time. The stories get very creative and silly.
  2. Boggle: If your kids like word searches, then Boggle is their game. Shake the letters and see how many words can be found in a short amount of time. The real challenge is finding words that other players do not spot. Shake and repeat.
  3. Apples to Apples Junior: In this game, there are two stacks of cards. The green set contains descriptive words, such as kind, cool, and bold. The red set contains people, places, things, and events. In each round, players choose the best red card from their hand to complement the green card word. The judge selects the favorite played card as the winner of the round.
  4. Bananagrams: In this addictive word game, speed wins, not points. Participants race to build joined-up words using all of their tiles. When any player uses all of their letters, they shout “Peel!” and every player takes on a new tile, meaning everyone has to quickly rebuild their word grid!
  5. Scrabble Game: Scrabble, the classic crossword game, is loads of fun for friends and family. You can feel the excitement begin as soon as you rack up your letters, choose a great word, and hope to land on a triple-word score. Play the popular Scrabble game the classic way as you take on opponents for a challenging and fun time, whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
  6. Online Reading Activities: In the Hub section of iLEAD Exploration’s website, there are many recommended reading activities to support EL learners. Simply click on this link, log into the Hub, and search the EL resources by category (domain).

Family Activities to Support Writing


  1. Storytelling: In this game, you need only paper and pencils so that everyone can write a story together. On a board, write the first sentence of the tale. Then, over the next two minutes, the participants will write down the next step of the story. After two minutes, the paper is passed to someone else, who will continue the story. These papers circulate a few times until the story is completed. Enjoy sharing the different and funny stories that were created.
  2. Birthday Cards: Every time there is a family birthday or special event, have your children write a birthday or holiday card. This will make them speak their thoughts about their family members as well as encourage them to write.
  3. Comic Strip Fun: This activity is better for older children who already know how to read and write, especially if they like storytelling. Collect some comic strips for your children and ask them to fill out the dialogue bubbles (which should be blank to begin with). Then challenge them to make it more exciting. They can also draw with crayons to make more colors and liven up the comic strip.
  4. Write Until Wrong: Players start writing a list of words. They may write any words they choose but must stop when they misspell a word. If in doubt whether a player has made a spelling error, consult a dictionary. Count the number of words spelled correctly before the first mistake. That is the player’s score. When everyone is ready, start a new round and have players write new lists. Players could try to beat their previous best scores or win the game by achieving a higher score than the other players. Alternatives include choosing categories of words that may be on lists, such as five-letter words, items you could buy in a store, colors, adjectives, verbs, etc. The same basic game could be played by having participants write stories until they make their first spelling mistake and then counting the words successfully written.
  5. Write What You Want: Each morning, have your child write a list of things he or she wants to do that day. The list should be in sentences. Examples: “After breakfast I want to go to Billy’s house!” or “This afternoon I want to go swimming.” Help your child spell any words as needed. When finished, have the child read the list to you.
  6. Online Writing Activities: In the Hub section of iLEAD Exploration’s website, there are many recommended listening activities to support EL learners. Simply click on this link, log into the Hub, and search the EL resources by category (domain).

School-Wide Learner Outcome: Social Intelligence

Social Intelligence

Social intelligence is an important life skill that helps to build healthy relationships. It is one’s ability to interact well with others. Often called people skills, it is a learned ability involving situational awareness, understanding how to act within different social environments, and communicating easily with people from all walks of life. Someone who has high social intelligence (SI) is gifted at understanding others, making friends, and handling new situations. Social intelligence looks different across various cultures and demographics, as every group values different social skills.

Social intelligence continually develops throughout one’s life. It’s never too late to sharpen it and children are especially easy to teach. Educating children on healthy communication helps them to be a friend who is empathetic, generous, kind, and a good listener. There are four main characteristics of social intelligence.

Empathy: Empathy determines how well one relates to other people’s thoughts and emotions. Empathetic people consider and understand diverse perspectives, even if they don’t share the same ideas. They can pick up on a person’s mood and adjust their reactions accordingly.

Respect: Many cultures value esteem between children and adults as well as between spouses. Respecting others can mean adapting your communication style to fit their needs or coming to a compromise. Mutual understanding calls for a degree of respect.

Behavior: This component concerns how people carry themselves in social situations. Are their actions appropriate for the setting? Do they make others feel relaxed or uncomfortable? A person must be able to change their behavior when necessary while still maintaining their core attributes.

Self-Efficacy: This characteristic refers to how a person judges themselves on their capacity to perform particular tasks. If someone has a stable sense of self-efficacy concerning social intelligence, they’re confident in their social abilities. They experience little stress or worry over interacting with others.

CLICK HERE for some fun ways to encourage and develop social intelligence in your child.

The Virtual Science Fair: Explore your Questions!


Children are such natural scientists, constantly asking questions and wanting to know more about their topics of interest! Last week we introduced the first step in the Scientific Method: Making Observations.

After making great observations, you are ready for the next steps of questions and research! Now it is time to explore those questions and begin to research to see what others have discovered about your questions. Take some time with your learner this week to press into those inquiring minds.

Here are some helpful tips for capturing those great questions that just might lead to the next world-changing invention!

Asking Good Questions

Elementary Research Template

We hope to inspire your scientific research as you begin to prepare for the upcoming iLEAD Science Fair (to be held virtually). Please register here if you would like to be a part of this fun experience! All submissions will need to be turned in by January 15, 2021.

Newbery Film Festival


The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is an annual video contest in which young filmmakers create weird short movies that tell the entire stories of Newbery-winning books in about a minute and a half.

Please take a look at this site for more information and deadlines to enter.


College Application

Last week, an invitation to Scoir was sent to all iLEAD-issued high school email addresses. Scoir is a college search tool that helps you search for colleges in greater depth. You can take an interactive tour of the college’s campus, watch student videos describing student life, and visit a school’s social media wall to learn about campus clubs and activities. Scoir provides an overview of important college information, such as admission stats, costs, and application deadlines. There is so much to learn about a college and Scoir can help!
Through Scoir, all iLEAD high school learners have access to YouScience. YouScience is a comprehensive career assessment program that combines aptitudes, interests, and 21st-century careers to make career and educational recommendations. Through the use of 5-8-minute performance-based exercises, YouScience captures a learner’s true areas of highest potential. Once logged into Scoir, you will click on “My Profile” and then “Career Profile” on the left-side bar. Then select “YouScience” to get started. It will redirect you to their outside website, but saved careers will sync back to your Scoir account.

Virtual Wax Museum

Virtual Wax Museum

We are very excited to share this Virtual Wax Museum tour. Our very own iLEAD learners researched historical figures from the past and created amazing presentations to share with. We hope that you enjoy learning and exploring the past. Please take a look at the link below to start exploring!

Virtual Was Museum



Career and Technical Education

Your local community college has a lot more to offer than just an associate’s degree. The Career Technical Education (CTE) courses available through our community college system can serve as a gateway into further study in a particular area or provide certification to immediately enter the workforce. Whether you’re looking to get started on career-focused classes while still in high school or planning your next steps after graduation, CTE certificates can be a great place to start. Here are some interesting certificates available through the community college system that do not involve any of the core courses required for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Many certificates can be completed in a year or less of full-time enrollment.

  • Automotive Technology – These programs are designed to prepare learners for employment as automotive technicians. Students will receive training for skills in the operation, maintenance, and repair of all automotive systems. Approximately 30 units to complete.
  • Cosmetology – These programs will prepare learners for California State Board Exams in cosmetology and/or esthetician skills to receive a license. Courses through the community college can be significantly cheaper than going through a private school. Approximately 45 units to complete.
  • Graphic Design – These programs will prepare learners for certificates in various graphic fields, such as computer graphics, graphic communications, graphic design, and illustration/animation. Approximately 20-30 units each to complete.
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) – These programs prepare learners to repair, install, service, and maintain heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. Approximately six semester courses to complete.
  • Medical Assistant – These programs prepare learners for employment as a medical assistant in a physician’s office. Certificates are available in both administrative (front office) and/or clinical (back office) medical assisting skills. Approximately 30 units to complete.
  • Microcomputer Technician – These programs will prepare learners for the A+ Certification and Cisco Certified Networking Associate exams. Can range from 20-40 units depending on the program.
  • Real Estate – These programs will prepare learners for careers in real estate sales whether it be as a real estate broker, appraiser, property manager, mortgage broker, mortgage banker, underwriter, mortgage loan processor, escrow agent, or title representative. Approximately 12-18 units to complete depending on area of focus.
  • Welding – These programs prepare learners for entry-level employment in industries such as steel construction, maintenance and repair, and general fabrication. Can range from 20-40 units depending on the program.
Search the CTE offerings at your local college to see which certificate programs are available. If you need extra guidance, reach out to or your academic counselor.

Do You Have Senioritis?


Every year, like clockwork, hordes of stressed-out students succumb to an epidemic during their last year of school. They call their affliction senioritis.

How Do You Prevent or Cure Senioritis?

  • Acknowledge the Problem—Don’t ignore your feelings. If you begin to feel apathetic or less motivated, find people who will listen and help you understand why you’re feeling that way. By talking about your feelings and admitting they exist, you’ll gain greater self-awareness, which will put you on a more stable footing.
  • Move Forward With Gratitude—You probably have several people in your life who have provided support during your high school years. Why not thank them for being there for you? Gratitude is a natural energy booster. It can make you feel more confident, hopeful, and motivated.
  • Do Some “Spring Cleaning”—After a few years of school, many students accumulate tons of clutter—both in their physical spaces and in their minds. But having too much clutter in your life can make you feel overwhelmed, weighed down, and lazy. So when you start feeling that way, it’s a good idea to start getting rid of the stuff that’s no longer useful. Then, simplify and re-organize everything.
  • Make Time For Relaxation and Self-Reflection—When you’re a student, it’s easy to get so lost in everything you have to do that you no longer take moments to just breathe, let alone get to know yourself better. But being constantly busy can lead to exhaustion, fear, and a sense of disconnection. Think about how much you’ve already accomplished, imagine the future you want, and breathe deeply while appreciating the here and now.
  • Persist—Always remember to pace yourself. Your final weeks of school don’t have to be a sprint to the finish line. However, by applying a consistent amount of effort, you’ll start developing the kind of resilience that can pay off now and in the future. When you graduate, you’ll feel proud knowing that you pushed through.

(adapted from an article by Luke Redd, January 30, 2020)

ASB Happenings

ASB iLEAD Exploration

ASB is super excited to be hosting a Ratatouille Movie Watch Party!! Make some popcorn, get cozy, and join us on Friday, December 11 at 1:00 pm. Please RSVP HERE.

ASB is also thrilled to be launching two clubs for our high schoolers this year:

  • The Gaming Club will meet monthly online and will be a great place to connect with like-minded gamers to share ideas and discuss gaming options.
  • The Creative Writing Club will meet monthly online and will provide opportunities for learners to discuss their favorite works as well as share some of their own original stories, poetry, or screenplays.
Please fill out THIS FORM RSVP for one or both clubs. For more information on clubs, email

Upcoming Educational Events

Fall 2020 Virtual Events

If your learner is in TK-3 and enjoys sharing, then you won’t want to miss our TK-3 Show and Tell that is happening on November 17 at 11:00 a.m. Register here to sign up for this fun event.

You can also register by clicking on any upcoming events on the flier.


Fall Webinars

Fall Webinars

On Wednesday, November 18 at 12 PM, please join us for a webinar where we will be sharing ideas for how to supplement core social studies curriculum with learning kits. Register HERE.

Updated Webinars flyer with links

2021 Virtual Science Fair


iLEAD Exploration invites you to participate in our 2021 Virtual Science Fair. In the upcoming weeks, we will be highlighting resources and ideas that will help you complete a science project from start to finish. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the scientific process while developing a deeper understanding of a scientific concept that fascinates your learner. We look forward to seeing all of your wonderful experiments!


Habit 4: Think Win-Win


At iLEAD, we believe development and growth are vital to one’s well-being and to our community. Over the years, our staff has been collectively studying and implementing the philosophies put forth by Stephen Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The concepts explored are useful for people of all ages. We will continue summarizing each habit monthly in the Monday Message, and we hope it will encourage you to explore the habits at a deeper level by practicing them in your own environment.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win!
When developing habits that lead you to personal victory, you are creating a winning situation for yourself. You find methods by which you can win, and you follow them up with action. These same skills can be used to translate that “win” into a multi-person victory. Creating a winning scenario in a setting that involves more than one person is a “win-win.”

A win-win perspective views life as cooperative rather than competitive. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks to benefit all human interactions.

Stephen Covey suggests that there are three vital traits to a person who approaches conflicts with a win-win attitude:

1. Integrity: Holding steadfast to your true feelings, values, and commitments.

2. Maturity: Expressing your ideas or feelings with both courage and consideration at the same time.

3. Abundance Mentality: Believing there is enough (success, benefit, etc.) for everyone.

Try approaching decisions by creating an opportunity for both sides to win. It may not always be possible to come up with a deal in which every single party wins; however, at the very least, you can create a deal that shows your teammates that you are looking out for everyone’s interests equally.

Translate »