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

High School Highlights

Our News & Events

Summer School Options

Summer1

Summer is a good time to catch up or get ahead on credits toward graduation. Community college classes may be a good fit, but be aware that for this summer, courses are being offered only in an online format. Until June 12, you may submit paperwork to your EF. Requests for dual enrollment signatures after that must be sent to highschool@ileadexploration.org. Colleges permit a maximum of five units during the summer. Another option for summer credit is to take free classes through iLEAD Online. Their summer program starts on July 1, and enrollment information can be found on the iLEAD Online website.

Dual Enrollment Reminders

Dual

Spring 2020
Remember to request a transcript to be sent to iLEAD Exploration/Hybrid when your community college course is complete. E-script (Electronic Transcript) is the quickest and best way to send transcripts. Click HERE for a list of participating schools. If your college is not participating in e-script, the hard-copy original transcripts will need to be either hand-delivered (keep envelope sealed) or mailed to:
iLEAD Hybrid/Exploration Registrar
3843 S. Bristol St. #616
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Summer and Fall
Due to changes with Covid-19, enrolling in a dual enrollment course may look different than it has in the past. Please refer to the individual college for specific directions on how to submit the signed dual enrollment form, and keep in contact with your EF. Please note that due to summer break, if a form is submitted for signature after June 12, there may be a delay in getting a signature, but paperwork will continue to be signed over summer.

Planning For College

College

Jobs, Internships, Community Service, and Caring

For colleges using a holistic approach to admissions (not just grades and test scores), work and community service can be important ways to bolster your application.

Paid Work Experience

Summers, weekends, or anytime, employment is considered a solid extracurricular activity. Employment shows you are dependable, hardworking, and independent. With many opportunities to work on campus, admission officers will know you’ll be a solid member of the community and fill needed roles. Work can take many forms: McDonald’s, babysitting, and lifeguarding are all great choices. It’s also a perfect way to save up money for college!

Unpaid Work Experience

From internships to caring for younger siblings, it is all important. While some may be able to access exciting internships, learners who take care of younger siblings, grandparents, or help family friends and neighbors are just as important, and their unpaid work will be seen with value. Learners who wish to step into more of a traditional internship experience will have to do a bit of work. Reach out to individuals who work in fields in which you may be interested, or speak with facilitators or professors to explore opportunities. Internships and networking are part of the process. In fact, you may be able to get a great recommendation letter for college if you do well in your internship.

Community Service

Authentic community service that matters to you is what’s important. Look into your community and see what is needed, what is missing, and where you can help. Look to your place of worship, your local food banks, and your local political campaigns. What organizations or activities matter to you? You shouldn’t be thinking about what college admission officers want to see. You should be thinking about what is important to you.

Caring

In 2016, Harvard, along with a coalition of 50 colleges, created a guide to cultivating concern for others through the college admission process. Check out the summary for a better understanding of meaningful service:

Turning the Tide

In a second report, Harvard created a guide to services and caring for parents and schools. Parents, this guide can assist you in helping your college-bound learner reduce stress and encourage meaningful engagement during high school:

Turning the Tide 2

Student Spotlight: Sydney Shepherd

HS LS1 copy

Sydney is the definition of a hardworking person. Not only did she begin her first iLEAD semester six weeks late, but she also completed the semester early with straight As, including a college-level English course! Sydney seems to effortlessly balance her academics and her professional career as a series regular on the Emmy-winning series General Hospital and the new Netflix animation series Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. She has entered multiple dance competitions, often placing first in her category. In addition to being a full-time learner and a working actress, Sydney gives back to her community by volunteering over seven hours a week at a local elementary school. She says, “I’m so glad to give back to the community. It feels good to help others!” Sydney’s determined spirit, passion, and humility will lead her on a road to success.

Sydney has been able to balance her busy schedule and maintain a 4.1 GPA by using the flexibility of the iLEAD program to her advantage. She states, “After attending public school for two years, I can confidently say that iLEAD has tremendously helped me maintain my work life, education, and mental health.” Even her mother agrees that when the pandemic hit, Sydney realized how grateful she was to already be part of such a flexible program. With the help of iLEAD’s course pacing, Sydney is also able to find time to study for SATs and prepare for college. She says she might want to go to a Historically Black College or University, such as Howard or Spelman, or she might stay in California so that she can continue working and attend one of California’s prestigious universities. Either way, we know that with all of her hard work and dedication, her future will be bright!

iLEAD Exploration ASB

ASB post final

We are excited to announce that iLEAD is now accepting Associated Student Body (ASB) applications for the 2020-21 school year. ASB is a leadership team comprised of learners who will represent the entire student body of high schoolers. The main objective of ASB is to help learners feel more connected to school and each other through involvement in ASB-organized activities.

We are looking for current 8th-11th grade learners who desire to connect with other high school learners and to help facilitate connections among their fellow learners. Team players and those who possess strong leadership skills are encouraged to apply!

Learners who are selected for ASB will be expected to attend monthly virtual meetings as well as help plan/attend a few social events throughout the year. If you are interested in joining the team, please fill out this ASB Application by May 15, 2020.

Social and Emotional Well-Being

Lunch bunch title

n an effort to address the emotional tension we are all experiencing during this season, the high school team would like to share some brief videos created by youth mentors who offer some solid words of advice for teenagers. Josten’s has made these inspirational videos available for free during this crisis. Please select any topics of interest to and spend some time talking about them together as a family. The topics include: our response to Covid-19, judgment, choices, changing my world, pressure, insecurities, failure, mental health, health and wellness, self-confidence, and self-reflection. We hope that your teenager feels encouraged, valued, and inspired as a result!

In addition, each Tuesday from April 14 through May 12, iLEAD’s student support team will host a virtual lunch bunch for learners by grade level groupings so that they can have an informal time to connect with support facilitators and other learners. This might be a great way for all Exploration learners to make new friends and talk through some of the questions and concerns going on in the world around us. Here is a flyer with those weekly times and links.

To join the High School Lunch Bunch on Tuesdays from 12:30-1:00 click here.

Advanced Courses For College Success

Advanced Courses for College Success

Taking advanced courses while in high school will prepare you for greater success in college. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are the typical high school standard for learners at brick and mortar schools, but access to AP tests can be a challenge for our independent study learners. Dual Enrollment (DE) courses also provide rigorous coursework with the additional advantage of granting access to a greater variety of courses (that are in most cases for free).

Writing
The single most important skill you will need in college is writing, regardless of your chosen major. Building those skills in high school will help you take those first writing-intensive college courses with confidence. Learners who hope to attend the most rigorous colleges should plan to take more than one DE or AP course with intensive writing during high school. Writing is not only part of an AP English course but also can be part of AP social science and history. A dual enrollment course in English composition will greatly increase writing skills which will benefit learners in all areas. Seek out courses that require essays and research papers and not just multiple-choice tests.

Math
All learners should have a strong math background and those who are entering the arts, humanities, or social sciences should aim for at least pre-calculus or statistics. However, learners entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) should take a minimum of calculus while in high school. Community college or AP calculus will give a STEM learner a strong starting point. Classes that go beyond will help you enter college ahead of the rest!

Science
Just about every college learner will find themselves in a science lab, so taking several lab sciences in high school is a necessity. An AP or DE science class can help prepare all learners for the rigors of college, but those entering STEM should plan to take more than one community college or AP lab science.

Language Other Than English
Some colleges require all learners to take a language while others require only those entering the humanities, arts, social sciences, and business to obtain a specific level of fluency. One way to get ahead is through a community college course in a foreign language or American sign language (ASL). At community colleges, a single semester of DE will count as 1-2 years of high school credit. Why not take advantage of this option now and knock out significant high school AND college credit?

Social Sciences and Electives
Don’t forget to take some fun advanced classes of interest such as anthropology, zoology, or psychology. These classes will help build college readiness skills and allow you to explore fields to which most high school learners do not have access.

Every learner should plan to meet with Bethany Maddox, our academic counselor, at least once a year to plan courses that will prepare for the next step–college! Sign up for an appointment here.

Covid-19 College Updates

College Post

Changes to the University of California Requirements for the Class of 2021

The UCs are relaxing testing requirements and will no longer require ACT or SAT for the class of 2021 ONLY. They are also accepting pass/fail grades for the classes taken in the spring of 2020 for all students. Students may still submit test scores but are not required to and the lack of testing will not hurt their applications.

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-eases-admissions-requirements-help-students-families-wake-covid-19

Changes to the California State University System

The CSUs are accepting pass/fail grades for classes taken in spring 2020. There is no decision on testing requirements at this time.

https://www2.calstate.edu/apply/freshman/Pages/first-time-freshman-guidance.aspx

Changes to Test-Optional Policies

Multiple colleges that are not typically test-optional have allowed the class of 2021 to apply without SAT or ACTs. Test-optional colleges can be tracked on the FairTest website. Newly added colleges may not be included.

https://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/Optional-Growth-Chronology.pdf

Learner Spotlight: Ariella Clarino

LS Title

Ariella has been homeschooled for the past nine years, and this is her second year with iLEAD Exploration. She is currently in 10th grade and already has an impressive high school career! Ariella not only takes classes at a local community college, but she also participates in a homeschool co-op and takes classes through iLEAD Online. Even though her academic classes keep her busy, she finds time to volunteer in her local community and church for such events as Relay for Life.

For the past two years, Ariella has been very involved in the Navy Sea Cadets, a non-profit, youth organization supported by the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, and the Navy League of the United States. Cadets receive instruction in marching, drills, CPR, and classroom content on United States military and seamanship. Ariella endures rigorous physical training and drills and also has the opportunity to move up in rank. She was honored with the Daughters of the American Revolution award for outstanding leadership, honor, service, courage, and patriotism. This award is given to only one person per year in the unit and is a great honor among the cadets. Way to go, Ariella!

In addition to being an active Navy Cadet, Ariella enjoys crocheting, bullet journaling, singing, and drawing. She also entered a youth cyber-security competition with some of her peers. This was an amazing learning experience for her. For Ariella, one of the main benefits of homeschooling has been all of the wonderful travel experiences she has had. Her travels have included going to both Canada and Mexico once, China five times, Korea six times, and the Philippines nine times. All of this travel has not impacted Ariella’s academic career as she maintains well above a 4.0 GPA taking A-G courses, and she also faithfully serves on iLEAD’s ASB.

Ariella loves homeschooling because it does not limit her but rather allows her to pursue her interests. One of Ariella’s favorite US Navy cadet mottos is “Chart Your Course.” Ariella certainly has charted her course in her homeschooling career and we at iLEAD celebrate her success!

Learner Spotlight: Grace Gilroy

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When you think of a learner who exemplifies the notion of what a homeschooled 10th grader might look like, you think of Grace. She thrives in this environment and strives for excellence in all that she does! Not only is she a talented dancer, spending countless hours in the ballet studio, but she also loves to perform on stage and beams in front of an audience. Grace has performed in the Nutcracker, Hansel and Gretel, and will be in Cinderella this Spring. Dancing fills Grace’s heart with so much joy! Not only does Grace thrive in the dance studio, but she is also an amazing scholar! She puts forth so much effort in both areas, proving that hard work pays off.

Grace would love to attend the University of Nebraska when she graduates in 2022. We have no doubt that Grace will continue to find success in all that she does. It is part of her character and embodies who she is to the core.

“I know the price of success: Dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright

National Honor Society (NHS) Application for 2020-21

National Honor Society Img

More than just an honor roll, the National Honor Society (NHS) recognizes high schoolers who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. The NHS’s primary goal is not only to prepare students for university, but also for life. It engages learners in service projects, leadership development, scholarship searches, and career exploration.

The following is a note from our current iLEAD Exploration’s NHS president, Mary Miller:

“NHS is one of the most amazing groups you can join in high school. Every year we get the opportunity to complete 10 school service hours and 10 independent hours. This gives us a chance to meet students throughout the school and serve your communities. In NHS, we learn how to successfully serve our school, meet other high school students, and become tech-savvy. Personally, I joined the NHS because I was super excited to meet other high school students. It has taught me time management, helped me brainstorm service projects, and even helped me apply for college! If you meet the requirements, I highly encourage you to apply for the NHS.”

Learners may apply if:

  1. They are currently in 9th, 10th or 11th grade;

  2. They have been enrolled with iLEAD for at least one FULL semester;

  3. They have a minimum GPA of 3.0;

  4. They can commit to five hours of individual service projects in their community and five hours of school service projects (volunteering at school events, two hours of ASB, helping EF at park days, curriculum library and so on) for each semester; a total of 20 hours per school year;

  5. They are able to meet virtually once every month with the NHS team.

Applications for next year’s NHS membership are now being accepted until April 15th. To apply, click here. For any questions, please contact your EF or email us at highschool@ileadexploration.org.

National Honor Society (NHS) Application for 2020-21

National Honor Society Img

More than just an honor roll, National Honor Society (NHS) serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. NHS’s primary goal is not only to prepare students for the university but for life. It engages students in service projects, leadership development, scholarship searches, and career exploration.

The following is a note from our current iLEAD Exploration’s NHS president, Mary Miller:

“NHS is one of the most amazing groups you can join in high school. Every year we get the opportunity to complete 10 school service hours and 10 independent hours. This gives us a chance to meet students throughout the school and serve your communities. In NHS, we learn how to successfully serve our school, meet other high school students, and become tech-savvy. Personally, I joined the NHS because I was super excited to meet other high school students. It has taught me time management, helped me brainstorm service projects, and even helped me apply for college! If you meet the requirements, I highly encourage you to apply for the NHS.”

Learners may apply if:

  1. They are currently in 9th, 10th or 11th grade;

  2. They have been enrolled with iLEAD for at least one FULL semester;

  3. They have a minimum GPA of 3.0;

  4. They can commit to five hours of individual service projects in their community and five hours of school service projects (volunteering at school events, two hours of ASB, helping EF in park days, curriculum library and so on) for each semester; a total of 20 hours per school year;

  5. They are able to meet virtually once every month with the NHS team.

Applications for next year’s NHS membership are now being accepted until April 15th. To apply, click here. For any questions, please contact your EF or email us at highschool@ileadexploration.org.

Career Technical Education (CTE)

Career Technical Education

Career Technical Education (CTE)

Career Technical Education (CTE) is a program of study that involves a multi-year sequence of courses covering technical and occupational knowledge. The goal is to provide learners with a pathway to postsecondary education and/or career. You can think of this as a way for learners to “major” while in high school and focus on elective courses of specific occupational interest. iLEAD Exploration began our CTE program this school year with the following career pathways:

cte pathways image

To complete a CTE Pathway, learners need to choose a pathway, identify a career within that pathway, and then complete a two-year sequence of courses. Speak with your EF about adding a CTE pathway to your courses for the next school year.

Don’t see a career of interest above? That’s okay! There are many CTE opportunities available through your local community college. These programs offer state-of-the-art equipment and accredited certificates that can lead directly to a career. As an added bonus, you can also earn college units while working towards your career of interest! A simple search for CTE + the college name will bring up a listing of all their CTE Pathways. If you are interested, contact the Strong Workforce Counselor at your local community college.

For more information or assistance, view our CTE Webinar or reach out to us directly at cte@ileadexploration.org.

What Do Colleges Want to See in an Applicant?

college admissions

What do colleges really want to see in an applicant? Which boxes should I check to get into my dream school? The answer is there are no boxes, and there is no magic formula. Whether you are heading to your local community college, a California university, or if you want to attend an out of state liberal arts college, the answer is going to look a little different for everyone.

Chris Peterson from MIT offers an interesting perspective that can be applied to all learners. In his article, Applying Sideways, he goes beyond grades and SAT scores to emphasize three very important reminders:

Do well in school – Find things that excite and interest you and go beyond to the next class, level, or learning opportunity. The flexibility of home study allows you to advance and specialize your academic pursuits in unique ways.

Be nice Look at your local community or your homeschool community and ask what you can do to help. Volunteer where you see a need to enrich your own life and the lives of others.

Pursue your passions – Independent study allows you more flexibility to spend time cultivating your unique interests and passions. We encourage you to pursue new avenues of interest as well as develop your current hobbies and passions.

This is what colleges want to see in an applicant; a love of learning, kindness, and passion. While these will look different for each learner, the options available to you are endless. We encourage you to be proactive in pursuing your own unique path to college!

Joining the Military

flag

Joining the Military

Joining the military after high school can bring many benefits. In addition to serving your country and learning important life skills, you can receive housing, subsidized food, health care, and an education. Opportunities are available to pursue undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees through the military. There are many different programs and ways to serve depending on your short term and long term career goals. To learn more about the different branches of the military, follow the links below.

. . . .

High School Spotlight: Grace Gilroy

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When you think of a learner who exemplifies the notion of what a homeschooled 10th grader might look like, you think of Grace. She thrives in this environment and strives for excellence in all that she does! Not only is she a talented dancer, spending countless hours in the ballet studio, but she also loves to perform on stage and beams in front of an audience. Grace has performed in the Nutcracker, Hansel and Gretel, and will be in Cinderella this Spring. Dancing fills Grace’s heart with so much joy! Not only does Grace thrive in the dance studio, but she is also an amazing scholar! She puts forth so much effort in both areas, proving that hard work pays off.

Grace would love to attend the University of Nebraska when she graduates in 2022. We have no doubt that Grace will continue to find success in all that she does. It is part of her character and embodies who she is to the core.

“I know the price of success: Dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright

FREE ONLINE RESOURCES FOR HIGH SCHOOL LEARNERS

Free Online Resources for High School Learners

At iLEAD Exploration, we are happy to provide learners with high school curriculum and online vendor suggestions, both of which can be purchased using instructional funds. We also have a variety of free resource suggestions for our high school families. While this list is non-exhaustive, we hope you find it helpful. These resources are available through the Hub on our website when you log into your account. The results can be narrowed down by subject and grade level. A few of our favorites are MITOpenCourseware, KhanAcademy, and Coursera. We hope you enjoy exploring these free resources!

High School Clubs & Organizations

Hight School Clubs and Organizations

Are you interested in getting involved in an extra-curricular group or organization? Here are a few opportunities that are available to you.

Young America’s Foundation
Young America’s Foundation (YAF) is a conservative youth organization, founded in 1969, whose stated mission is “ensuring that increasing numbers of young Americans understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values.”

High School Democrats of America
High School Democrats of America (HSDA) is a national political organization that serves as an entry point to Democratic politics for youth activists from across the country.

Model United Nations
Model United Nations (MUN) introduces learners to the field of international affairs. Learners act as ambassadors as they simulate the actual United Nations in debate. Here are some MUN opportunities for homeschoolers:

US Naval Sea Cadet Corp
USNSCC is a national youth leadership development organization that promotes interest and skill in naval disciplines while instilling strong moral character and life skills through leadership and technical programs modeled after the Navy’s professional development system.

Newport Sea Base
An iLEAD Exploration vendor, Newport Sea Base, offers a variety of maritime classes in sailing and rowing.

Speakers League
The Socal Speech and Debate team is great for learners interested in increasing their public speaking, leadership, and organizational skills. With chapters in both Orange County and Los Angeles, they are the largest youth public speaking club in Southern California.

High School Hangouts

High School Hangouts

In January, high school learners had an opportunity to get together for a game day. It was a great time to get to know one another and a great time was had by all. One learner, Kniyah, said, “It was a fun experience because I got to socialize with other homeschoolers and I got to play games and just be around other kids. The food was great and so were the games. I can’t wait for the next game day!” We hope you can join us at our next event, our high school hike and hangout! See below for details.

hangout

FREE ONLINE RESOURCES FOR HIGH SCHOOL LEARNERS

Free Online Resources for High School Learners

At iLEAD Exploration, we are happy to provide learners with high school curriculum and online vendor suggestions, both of which can be purchased using instructional funds. We also have a variety of free resource suggestions for our high school families. While this list is non-exhaustive, we hope you find it helpful. These resources are available through the Hub on our website when you log into your account. The results can be narrowed down by subject and grade level. A few of our favorites are MITOpenCourseware, KhanAcademy, and Coursera. We hope you enjoy exploring these free resources!

What’s Next? Gap Year

Gap Year

February is Gap Year Exploration Month! A gap year is a purposeful break between high school and college. There is often an emphasis on experiential learning and pushing beyond one’s comfort zones. Learners return from gaps years with a better understanding of future college goals and a clearer sense of purpose. Gap years can be structured or unstructured. The Gap Year Association offers advice on how to plan a gap year.

Learners can approach gap years in two ways: They can wait to apply to college or they can ask the college to defer their start date. Not all colleges will allow a student to take a gap year, so find out the college’s policy before you apply. Some colleges will require a student to apply again the following year while others will allow the break.

If you are interested in looking at the gap year option, the Gap Year Association has information on accredited gap year programs as well as scholarships. Students can search by interest and timing, or they can look at a full list of opportunities including alumni reviews.

Here is some additional reading on gap years. One of the first books written about gap years is The Gap-Year Advantage.

High School Spotlight: Hayden Crawford

HS LS1

Hayden joined iLEAD Exploration in 2019 and exemplifies the definition of true grit! In order to pursue his acting career, he chose the homeschool path which fits his lifestyle perfectly. Juggling homeschool, courses at the local college, piano lessons and time on set, this learner knows how to get the job(s) done. Hayden works hard in all he does and sets his goals high.

Hayden began acting at the age of 10, in a church production of Newsies. By the age of 13, he was traveling between his home in Dallas, TX and Los Angeles to film for Nickelodeon’s Nicky Ricky Dicky and Dawn (you may know him as Dooley). He and his family moved to LA full time in 2017. He has been in other feature films and shows including Disney’s Magic Camp, Schooled on ABC, Adam Ruins Everything and more.

This learner has an incredible attitude, a smile that brightens any room he enters, and is a perfect gentleman. He sets a perfect example of one who excels because of the dedication he puts into his daily routine.

High School Hike and Hangout

hiking

The Trails Cafe in Los Angeles
Friday, February 28 from 10:30 am-1:30 pm
This event is for high school learners only.
10:30 am – 11:30 am
Hike on one of the nearby trails
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Hang out in the picnic table area at the cafe to play cards, board games and chill! Learners can bring a sack lunch or can purchase lunch at the cafe. Water, snacks, and cookies will be provided.
Click here to RSVP! We look forward to seeing you there!

Summer Programs for High School

summer

If you’re looking for a productive way to spend your summer and are interested in greater college preparedness, consider attending a pre-college summer program. These programs can be a great opportunity to experience life on a college campus, earn advanced college credit, build relationships, and increase your admission chances. Summer programs are available locally, with commuter or on-campus options, and across the country. They can cover general college readiness and subjects or focus on specific areas of study. Is there a specific college you are interested in attending? Apply to their summer program! Don’t delay! Most programs have application deadlines in March and April and many offer financial aid for those who qualify. Here are a few suggestions, but you can do your own research as well:

General Studies:

Specific Subjects:

This list is in no way exhaustive but should get you started in the right direction. If summer programs like these are out of your reach, acquiring a summer job or taking a course at the community college can also add depth to your admissions profile.

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