iLEAD Exploration Remains Open Virtually for Learners

iLEAD Exploration continues to operate its independent study model in an entirely virtual format.

Feb 1, 2021 @ 18:00

Exploration News

Our News & Events

Mental Health Awareness: Supporting Your Teenagers

mental health

This month we are celebrating Mental Health Awareness month. During these unprecedented times, it is important that we are aware of mental health issues. Some common mental health conditions include the following:

1. Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating)

2. Personality disorders (antisocial, paranoia, borderline personality disorder)

3. Addiction (alcohol, opioids, tobacco)

4. Mood disorders (major depressive disorder, bipolar disorders, cyclothymia)

5. Thought disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional)

6. Anxiety disorders (social anxiety, phobias, generalized anxiety)

7. Developmental differences (autism, ADHD)

Please take a look at the video below regarding what mental health and well-being look like in high school learners:

2021 Virtual Talent Showcase

talent show

The 2021 Virtual Talent Showcase was a huge success! A big thank-you to all our learners who participated this year. Please click here and you will be able to view our talented learners in our 2021 Virtual Talent Showcase based on the theme “Together We Can.” Enjoy!

MAP Testing Window Open

Testing For Parents

webinars

Three cheers for Measured Academic Progress!!! We are very excited about the recent approval from the US Department of Ed to use our MAP assessments in lieu of CAASPP testing this spring. This is great news, as learners are already comfortable with this testing format and will be able to test in a familiar learning environment. The official testing window will open May 2, 2021. Your educational facilitator will coordinate a time for you to take this assessment during this last full month of school. For more information, watch this introduction video to learn about MAP testing (PowerPoint here). You can also visit NWEA.org/Parent-Toolkit.

California Alternative Education College Fair

cal

On May 12, from 6-8 pm, iLEAD Exploration will be participating in our first-ever virtual college fair with over 50 colleges participating from across the states and around the world! We have partnered with several other charter schools to form an organization called CAL ALT (California Alternative Education) that is hosting the event. This will be the perfect opportunity to speak directly to college representatives, learn about a wide variety of colleges, and discover what makes each college unique. Friends and family are welcome to attend!

The list of colleges attending is growing, but to preview the schools participating so far, take a look at the CAL ALT College Fair website. Since this is a virtual fair, the team has created a CAL ALT College Fair Information Video with tips and information about the event and how to “visit” the representatives from the colleges you want to explore. Start investigating each college now and come to the fair prepared with a list of questions. While you are at the fair, you can also visit the iLEAD Exploration room where the high school team will be on hand to help you navigate the fair and answer questions.

To attend the CAL ALT College Fair and to receive the links that will go live at the start of the event, please complete this RSVP.

Contact collegefairs@ileadexploration.org if you have additional questions.

See you at the fair!

Graduation 2021

hats

We are looking forward to a special in-person ceremony to honor our 2021 graduates! iLEAD Exploration’s graduation ceremony will be held on June 3 at 4:00 pm. The current location is The Grand in Long Beach but if restrictions impact our location, we will notify families right away about any changes. To present diplomas and plan our ceremony, we are asking ALL graduates to complete the Diploma Name and Graduation Participation Form by April 30. In addition, please complete the graduation tasks below that apply to you no later than the deadlines listed.

Immediate Action Needed: If you have not ordered your cap and gown, please email highschool@ileadexploration.org for ordering instructions.

April 30: Speech or Performance Audition Video Due – All graduates are invited to submit a speech or performance audition video to highschool@ileadexploration.org. See the Speech and Performance Information for video submission requirements.

May 14: Graduates participating in the ceremony must complete the Graduate Achievements and Goals which will be shared as each graduate receives their diploma.

National Honor Society

nhs

Hi, this is Kelly Henley, a student officer for NHS. While NHS is the nation’s premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students, it’s more than just an honor roll. We meet virtually monthly and grow as a community together while we work to complete five volunteer hours for our community and five volunteer hours for our school each semester. NHS has become like a second school family to me and we would love for you to be able to join us. Learners need to be in grades 10-12th next year (which means that current 9th, 10th, and 11th graders can apply). Also, learners need to have been enrolled with iLEAD a minimum of one full semester and have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to apply. The application period is open until Friday, 5/14/21. Meetings will begin at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year! We can’t wait for you to join us and make memories with your fellow members! 2021-22 NHS Application Form

2021 Virtual Talent Showcase

talent show

The 2021 Virtual Talent Showcase was a huge success! A big thank you to all of our learners who participated this year. Please click here, and you will be able to view our talented learners in our 2021 Virtual Talent Showcase based on the theme “Together We Can.” Enjoy!

 

MAP Testing Window Opens Soon

Testing For Parents

Three cheers for Measured Academic Progress!!! We are very excited about the recent approval from the US Department of Ed to use our MAP assessments in lieu of CAASPP testing this spring. This is great news as learners are already comfortable with this testing format and will be able to test in a familiar learning environment. The official testing window will open May 2, 2021. Your educational facilitator will coordinate a time for you to take this assessment during this last full month of school. For more information, watch this introduction video to learn about MAP testing (PowerPoint here). You can also visit NWEA.org/Parent-Toolkit.

CAASPP/MAP Testing Updates

ELPAC Summative Test

This past week, iLEAD received confirmation that the federal government approved California’s waiver request to allow districts to use nationally normed testing data like NWEA MAP in lieu of CAASPP testing for the 2020-2021 school year. This means we will move forward in administering end of the year MAP testing in both reading and math in place of CAASPP testing. While this allows flexibility and familiarity for our learners, this also means we must ensure every learner in grades K-11 takes the MAP Growth test this year in both subjects.

This decision will require the following:

  • All learners in grades K-11 will take the MAP Growth test in both reading and math. MAP Growth tests are approximately 50 questions and generally take about 60-90 minutes to complete per test. This can be done in multiple sessions to reduce the testing time and to be developmentally appropriate.

  • In order for learners to demonstrate the maximum amount of growth, MAP testing will take place in May.

  • Please do not assist learners on the test. We want to be able to gather accurate data and know how to best support each learner.

  • CAST science testing has been waived for this year. Both the NWEA MAP science and language tests are still optional if a learner would like to take them.

  • There is not an opt out option for internal benchmark testing because it is a program expectation.

  • Learners who qualify to take the CAA (California Alternate Assessment) will still take the CAA with someone from the iLEAD Student Support Team and will not need to MAP test.

  • If you have a child with an IEP or 504 with testing accommodations outlined on their IEP, these testing accommodations will be made available with MAP testing.

College and Career Advising for All iLEAD Exploration Learners

college students

High school counselors work tirelessly to support their students’ efforts to attend the colleges and universities of their choice. And although these efforts produce tremendous results for some, iLEAD Exploration’s College and Career Advisor Laura Kazan is not satisfied with the status quo.

Redefining the Mission

Kazan is not just focused on getting learners into college. She’s focused on the systemic factors that keep some learners out of college or from seeking opportunities in higher education at all.

In her work as a university researcher, Kazan studied how social capital and networks influence learners’ post-high school choices and success.

“The truth is that my dissertation work came to life,” Kazan said. “I began to see in real time how parent networks push learners up or down when it comes to college.”

Creating the Infrastructure

Kazan’s initial call to action crystallized with the formation of College Seekers, a nonprofit organization aimed at educating parents and communities.

“I had to choose between helping individuals and making a broader contribution,” Kazan said.

She began doing workshops focused on educating parents and gaining a better understanding of their networks.

Three years ago, Kazan’s workshops began to attract larger groups and led to the formation of the Facebook Group CA Homeschool College Seekers.

She knew that homeschool families faced unique pressures. “When you homeschool your child, you feel the responsibility for your child’s education at a greater level,” Kazan said.

Her ongoing mission now is focused on sharing accurate information and relieving unnecessary anxiety. “We try to be the face of choice and success,” Kazan said.

The Current Effort

Two years ago, Kazan was approached by iLEAD Exploration’s Codirector Heather Ferenc about supporting their learners. Kazan saw this as an ideal opportunity to work for an organization that would embrace her philosophies and dramatically impact the entire college mystique for a large homeschool community.

Along with iLEAD Exploration parents, facilitators and leaders, Kazan works closely with lead counselor Bethany Maddox and her team. Together, they embrace the vision that every learner has the potential to go to college.

“We challenge the assumption that college is for certain learners only,” Kazan said. “Some of the work is just about providing the right information.”

Myths, Misinformation

One common area of misinformation, according to Kazan, is revealed in the A-G course list, the high school courses that the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems require of applicants.

Kazan said that although this is the standard system that high schools and their counselors have adopted, it’s also at odds with much of what the homeschooling community is all about.

“Parents and families come to us and others like us for educational freedom,” Kazan said. “A-G is at odds with this.”

This is where information and education are important, according to Kazan.

“The first thing is that this list only matters if you’re going to attend a UC or CSU school,” Kazan said. “And although these are fine options, they represent only a small fraction of available options.”

While California’s UC and CSUs accept only particular chemistry courses that have met the A-G requirement, Kazan points out that 4,000 other institutions across the country don’t have that same requirement.

Additionally, Kazan pointed out that a high schooler can meet A-G requirements by taking college courses concurrently. “One can, in theory, meet all of the A-G requirements by successfully completing nine community college courses,” she said.

Dual enrollment programs have now made this possible for many learners.

Finally, Kazan points out that another obstacle she’s helping families overcome is misperceptions about educational costs. Across the country, she said, the average tuition discount is 52 percent. Additionally, Kazan said there are about 70 colleges that fill the gap between cost and what one can afford.

Proper Advising

Kazan said that good information and personalized college advising are now more important than ever before.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Kazan said. “Once I explain how it works, it makes sense. There are always alternative pathways.”

Ultimately, Kazan said she and the team at iLEAD Exploration are helping all learners and their families to be aware of all their options and ultimately make the right choices for them.

“If you understand your learner’s needs and financial ability, we can help you find the right path. My goal is to guide learners to the most appropriate postsecondary pathway, whether that’s a four-year school, a community college, a technical school, or a military certificate program,” Kazan said. “But I do want them to know their options and plan out before they leave. They need to know what to ask.”

To help guide learners’ college and career journeys, Kazan facilitates an elective course called College Explorations, and her team uses such resources as SCOIR and You Science.

Customer Feedback / Learner Experiences

iLEAD Exploration senior Skye Popov has been accepted to over a dozen colleges and universities, including CalArts, San Diego State University, UC Santa Cruz and University of San Francisco. However, Popov said initially she was terrified and skeptical of not only applying to colleges but attending them as well. Popov said Kazan has supported her every step of the way in the long journey to higher education.

“In addition to always providing timely and valuable information, [Kazan] showed me kindness and patience throughout this entire process,” Popov said. “Even in the dark months of waiting for decisions, she was there, always a helpful hand.”

Popov said that many of her peers are often overwhelmed and intimated by the college admissions process and that she believes it’s vital for all learners to have a professional advocate like Kazan in their corner.

“I cannot express how grateful I am to have had Ms. Kazan helping me through it all,” Popov said. “My family considers her a friend for life.”

Onward and Upward

Kazan is driven by a unique passion to educate families on the plethora of postsecondary options and opportunities, according to Lara Durrell, iLEAD Exploration’s Director of Communications and Operations.

“Through her tireless efforts, she develops creative solutions and unique pathways, making it possible for all learners to attend a college or university,” Durrell said. “She is an inspiring influencer of families and educators alike, always emphasizing the importance of a high school portfolio that showcases rigorous academics with intentional activities and service.”

Kazan feels that she and iLEAD Exploration are at the beginning of this journey. She said that she and her team are working to provide a culture in which learners aim high.

“We want to be the homeschool destination for those who want to go to college,” Kazan said.

2021 Virtual Talent Showcase

talent show

Each year, we celebrate our skillful learners at the iLEAD Exploration talent show. This year, we are excited to bring you our presentation virtually through the 2021 Virtual Talent Showcase. We invite all learners to participate and submit original work based on the theme “Together We Can” in one of six areas: dance choreography, literature, photography, film production, music composition, and visual arts. Please see below for more details and to learn how to register.

together we can - talent show 2021

2021 Virtual Talent Showcase

talent show

Each year, we celebrate our skillful learners at the iLEAD Exploration talent show. This year, we are excited to bring you our presentation virtually through the 2021 Virtual Talent Showcase. We invite all learners to participate and submit original work based on the theme “Together We Can” in one of six areas: dance choreography, literature, photography, film production, music composition, and visual arts. Please see below for more details and to learn how to register.

together we can - talent show 2021

National Honor Society: Application for 2021-22

National Honor Society

The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation’s premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school learners. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to recognize those learners who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. iLEAD Exploration is excited to invite all iLEAD Exploration learners who will be in 10th-12th grade during the 2021-22 school year, have been enrolled with iLEAD a minimum of one full semester, and have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to apply. The application period is open from now until Friday, May 14th. If you applied last fall and received an acceptance letter then there is no need to apply again. Meetings will begin in October. Click HERE to apply.

2021 Virtual Talent Showcase

talent show

Each year, we celebrate our skillful learners at the iLEAD Exploration talent show. This year, we are excited to bring you our presentation virtually through the 2021 Virtual Talent Showcase. We invite all learners to participate and submit original work based on the theme “Together We Can” in one of six areas: dance choreography, literature, photography, film production, music composition, and visual arts. Please see below for more details and to learn how to register.

together we can - talent show 2021

March Field Studies and Webinars

Field studies

Our team is working hard to bring you interesting webinars and field study experiences. The month of March is packed with events that you won’t want to miss. Please take a look below to view upcoming events. Also, don’t forget about our Virtual Talent Show. Submissions are due by April 14, 2021.

Please check out the fliers below for more fun events:

VirtualEvents_Spring2021
Webinars 2021

March Field Studies and Webinars

Field studies

Our team is working hard to bring you interesting webinars and field studies experiences. The month of March is packed with events that you won’t want to miss. Please take a look below to view upcoming events. Also, don’t forget about our Virtual Talent Show. Submissions are due by April 14, 2021.

Please check out the fliers below for more fun events:

VirtualEvents_Spring2021
Webinars 2021

2021 Virtual Talent Showcase

talent show

Each year, we celebrate our skillful learners at the iLEAD Exploration talent show. This year, we are excited to bring you our presentation virtually through the 2021 Virtual Talent Showcase. We invite all learners to participate and submit original work based on the theme “Together We Can” in one of six areas: dance choreography, literature, photography, film production, music composition, and visual arts. Please see below for more details and to learn how to register.

together we can - talent show 2021

Scoir and YouScience

Virtual Meet and Greet iLEAD Exploration

Scoir is an important communication hub for our high school learners provided at no cost. This amazing resource gives access to a college search tool, interactive tours of college campuses, student videos, and individual college social media walls. Scoir provides an overview of important college information, such as admission stats, costs, and application deadlines. Scoir’s mobile app is interactive and user-friendly, providing learners and their parents with their own individual account access.

 

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”, 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.

If you need access to your Scoir/YouScience account, reach out to your EF for the necessary steps to activate.

 

Upcoming College Fairs and Events

College Feb

On May 12, iLEAD and fellow California independent study charter schools will be hosting our own virtual event, so be sure to save the date!

WACAC and NACAC fairs feature a full array of international and national colleges. These events include both college presentations as well as subject information sessions on specialty topics. National Portfolio Day offers you the opportunity to upload your art portfolio and receive advice from a variety of art schools and art departments.

More fairs will be added as we move into the spring and summer. Scoir, iLEAD’s college planning tool, gives up-to-date information on college fairs.

Below you will find a list of virtual college fairs:

February

March

April

May

2021 Virtual Talent Showcase

talent show

Each year, we celebrate our skillful learners at the iLEAD Exploration talent show. This year, we are excited to bring you our presentation virtually through the 2021 Virtual Talent Showcase. We invite all learners to participate and submit original work based on the theme “Together We Can,” in one of six areas: dance choreography, literature, photography, film production, music composition, and visual arts.

together we can - talent show 2021

Learner University

LU

Learner University is excited to share their new and updated schedule for the spring semester. They are offering small group lessons to learners struggling in language arts and math. They will provide everything learners need during the sessions. Each session will have two parts to support the learner:

Part 1: Learners will be taught a specific concept from one of our wonderful educational facilitators. Homework will be emailed after the session.

Part 2: Learners bring completed homework to review with the educational facilitator along with additional practice, if needed.

Please see the fliers below for specific topics and details on how to register.

Learner University

LU

Learner University is excited to share their new and updated schedule for the spring semester. They are offering small group lessons to our learners struggling in language arts and math. They will provide everything learners need during the sessions. Each session will have two parts to support the learner:

Part 1: Learners will be taught a specific concept from one of our wonderful educational facilitators. Homework will be emailed after the session.

Part 2: Learners bring completed homework to review with the educational facilitator along with additional practice, if needed.

Please see the fliers below for specific topics and details on how to register.

ASB Clubs

HS Dec2

Your ASB is excited to announce the launch of two high school clubs that are open to all iLEAD high school learners: The Gaming Club and a Creative Writing Club. By joining one of these clubs, you will have the opportunity to meet other iLEAD learners, have a great time, and build long-lasting friendships. To join one or both clubs, RSVP here.

If you have any questions, please email our ASB Coordinator at: karen.askenaze@ileadexploration.org

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