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.

Jul 27, 2020 @ 01:00

Monday Message

Our News & Events

iLEAD Exploration Family Survey

iLEAD Exploration Family Survey

The iLEAD Exploration family survey is coming soon to gain insight into your perception of our school’s effectiveness! You may complete the survey online between March 2 and March 27 using a computer, tablet, or smartphone by clicking on the link that will be sent to the email address we have on file for your family.

To conduct our family survey, we have partnered with Panorama Education, who safeguard your privacy, keeping your responses confidential. The survey shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete and will be a valuable source of information for us as we work to make iLEAD Exploration as effective as it can be in our mission to prepare each child to be a lifelong learner and leader in the 21st century.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful responses. If you have any questions about the survey administration, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@ileadexploration.org.

Diving Deeper with Thinking Maps

Thinking Maps

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Learner Spotlight: Ivan Baney

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iLEAD Exploration learner Ivan Baney is an ideal candidate to demonstrate self-control, this month’s SLO. He keeps a daily calendar to stay on track with goals and responsibilities. He chooses to finish his work, whether at home or at school, before doing extracurricular activities. The ninth grader cheerfully takes recommendations and constructive criticism and uses it to make better choices in future situations. And although he wants to relax and have fun, like all teens, he has set high goals for himself and is willing to work hard and then enjoy time off.

One of those high goals is to become an Eagle Scout. Ivan has been a scout since he was six years old and has moved from being a Cub Scout to a Boy Scout. He attends scout meetings weekly, participates in summer and winter camp, and also is striving to earn merit badges along the way to the prestigious distinction of Eagle Scout. Scouting is a big part of Ivan’s life and also keeps him involved in many service projects in the community as well as fun, team-building activities like a Dungeons and Dragons gaming group that many of his fellow scouts participate in.

Ivan wants to be an engineer when he grows up, so he is always learning new technology skills. This year he is learning how to build a computer from scratch and also dove into learning coding and basic programming. He has taken an intense interest in growing his math skills, as he knows this will be invaluable to his career. In middle school, Ivan struggled with math, but once he learned that he needs strong math skills for his dream job, he had a change of mind and activated his self-control. With daily work, tutoring when needed, and a dramatic shift in his attitude toward mathematics, Ivan is now seeing the fruits of his hard work in a high score in algebra!

Ivan is a work-hard, play-hard kind of guy. He has many hobbies, including playing complex board games with friends and family. His favorites are war games based on historical events. He also plays the piano daily both for school and for pleasure; he greatly enjoys the process of creating music. In the warm months he enjoys tennis, rebounding, and biking in the mountains.

Volunteer Opportunities

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Orange County: Friendship Circle Home Visitor

Friendship Circle is looking for fun-loving teens who would like to donate their time once a week for one hour at-home visits with a child with special needs in their area. Friendship Circle enhances family dynamics and builds friendships through a wide variety of fun-filled recreational programs, sports leagues, support groups, and social opportunities. In addition to helping those in need, the Friendship Circle empowers teens to reap the rewards of selfless giving.

San Bernardino: Help build a playground with KaBOOM!

On Friday, April 10, dedicated volunteers from the Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Galaxy, San Manuel Casino have sponsored the build of an accessible playground at Hudson Park in partnership with KaBOOM! The new playground will be an inclusive structure that will allow children of all abilities to engage in play. The new design will enable individuals with developmental disabilities to access the play equipment and engage in inclusive play with their peers.

Los Angeles County: Saffyre Sanctuary

Saffyre Sanctuary can use your help! This is a rescue and rehabilitation program that cares for horses that have been abandoned, abused, or neglected. Whether you are a novice or have experience caring for horses, they can use your help! You will learn firsthand about the best holistic care, feeding, and handling of horses, some with very special needs.

iLEAD Culture: Habit 5 of the 7 Habits

iLEAD Exploration

Editor’s Note: This article is one in a series on the pillars of iLEAD’s educational philosophy and approach.

They say communication is key, but if we lack understanding in our relationships and interactions, how can we ever hope to truly, clearly communicate?

This week, we’re examining Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.

Many of us often seek first to be understood; we want to get our point across. But in doing so, it’s easy to ignore the other person completely, pretend that we’re listening, selectively listen to certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. And so, what happens is that we filter everything through our life experiences and decide what someone means before they’ve even finished.

But is that the most effective communication?

Our listening tends to fall into four categories:

  1. Ignoring: We’re not listening at all.
  2. Pretending: We may say “uh-huh, right,” but we’re not really tuned in.
  3. Selective listening: We hear part of what the person says, but the rest of the time we’re distracted.
  4. Attentive listening: We’re actively listening, paying attention but not taking our listening to the ultimate level — empathetic listening.

Dr. Stephen Covey defined empathetic listening as listening with the intent to truly understand. To really understand, we need to get inside another person’s frame of reference, and see the world from their point of view. Our listening also needs to be driven by an authentic desire to understand the other person and to build trust with them.

As part of the iLEAD educational model, we encourage learners to incorporate the following practices into their communication:

  • I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings.
  • I try to see things from their viewpoints.
  • I listen to others without interrupting.
  • I am confident in voicing my ideas.
  • I look people in the eyes when talking.

When we listen with the intent to understand others, instead of simply with the intent to reply, we begin true communication and relationship-building. Seeking to understand takes kindness; seeking to be understood takes courage. Effectiveness in our communication thrives in a balance of the two.

Join us next week as we explore Habit #6: Synergize.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

iLEAD Exploration Investment Teams

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iLEAD Schools are always proud that the “i” in iLEAD represents “International, highlighting the commitment to developing global citizens. Well, that same commitment, complete with the requisite compassion and community, can be found in yet another great “i” word at iLEAD. There is also the “i” in the Investment Teams of iLEAD Exploration.

These unique teams, according to iLEAD Exploration Investment Teams Coordinator Amber Musick, are a vehicle for all the facilitators to invest in their families and communities in a focused, meaningful way. “Facilitators choose an area to concentrate on based on their interests, passions and skills,” said Musick.

Currently, iLEAD Exploration has 14 investment teams supporting the needs of their 3,000+ learners and their families. Although more teams are in development, all the facilitators at iLEAD Exploration focus on one area, such as Educator University, compliance, curriculum, field trips, high school, training, resources, testing, subscriptions, subject expert teachers, English learners, MAP assessments, communication and enrichment.

Each of these teams produces a multitude of services, events and products that encompass a diverse set of learner, family and community needs. For example, Educator University provides workshops and webinars for all iLEAD Exploration families in various regions as part of an extended community beyond their facilitator and assigned location. They host unique learner experiences, such as Touch Math. And then there is the Enrichment Team, which produces such important projects as the Parent Roundtable and the three-city Talent Show. The vital Monday Message is produced by the Communications Team.

In addition to meeting the needs of their communities, iLEAD Exploration also believes that the investment teams accomplish a great deal more.

“They are an avenue for our facilitators to connect and collaborate with one another,” said Musick. “They also create opportunities to collaborate with other learners and families.”

Musick suggested that these teams allow for facilitators to have a larger reach, ultimately creating more opportunities for all learners and the community. “Teams are focused, passionate and experienced, so that allows them to quickly respond to learner and family interests,” said Musick.

“Many times, learners and their families will share a need with a facilitator and the facilitator will say, ‘I know a team that can take that on,’” said Musick.

Ultimately, like all things iLEAD, this is really about learning. In their investment teams, facilitators are modeling for our learners and others the authentic and powerful benefits of shared leadership, collaboration and ownership.

“We are always reflecting and adapting,” said Musick. “These teams make all of us better and ultimately serve our learners and their families at a higher level.”

Social-Emotional Learning

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Challenge of the Week

Challenge of the Week

Scratch paper is your friend!

This week’s challenge involves the habit of using scratch paper on a regular basis while working through your learning process! Scratch paper is so helpful, not just for figuring out math problems (a must!) but also for creating a “rough draft” in language arts. If a learner is taking a test and accidentally erases their answer on the computer (happens every year!), they have not lost their brainchild! If they use paper and pencil to first draft their response, they can type it again from the answer they wrote on scratch paper. To practice this skill, encourage this habit on a daily basis leading up to the test.

Learner Spotlight: Ivy Roth

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iLEAD Exploration learner Ivy Roth is a stellar example of self-control. It takes a good bit of self-mastery to manage all her hobbies, interests, and activities, all the while excelling in school. A second-generation homeschooler, Ivy learns at home with her mother, Jyoti, a practicing lawyer and former homeschooler who has chosen to work from home so she can pass on the homeschool legacy to her daughter.

This kindergartener credits her ability to manage her actions, emotions, and impulses to her daily practice of yoga and meditation, which help her to ground herself and breathe. These mindfulness practices help set the stage for good decision-making and help her weather difficult situations and stress.

Ivy has many passions that she is able to pursue along with her independent study. She likes to garden and is currently growing soybeans. An animal lover, Ivy has three bunnies that she calls “bun buns.” She takes excellent care of Chai, Pudding, and Peanut and enjoys spending time with them but also is committed to doing the less glamorous chores, such as cleaning their cages and feeding and watering them. Ivy has caught the travel bug and enjoys taking trips with her family. She’s been to Virginia and Indiana and recently spent four weeks in Alaska.

Camping, art, violin, choir, and ballet round out Ivy’s extensive list of interests. She is also a bit of a fashionista and is currently learning to sew so she can make her own clothes. Ivy enjoys meeting with her co-op friends for weekly activities and monthly field trips.

Ivy tries to live by her motto: “If you choose to change the world, leave it better than when you found it,” and clearly this bright, active learner does just that.

Science Fair 2020: Deadline to Enter 2/24

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High School Hike and Hangout

iLEAD Exploration

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Young Filmmakers Challenge

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The Young Filmmakers Challenge invites young people to produce and submit a short film based on the theme “What if school as we know it didn’t exist?”

Winning submissions will be screened and an awards ceremony will be held in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2020. The screening will be the culminating event of a three-day, city-wide celebration of unleashing the power of young people. The producer of the best overall film will receive $250 and, along with one guest, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC.

This nationwide challenge is open to anyone 18, and under and submissions will be accepted February 15-April 1. Winners will be announced on April 15.

Check out Education Reimagined for more details.

Challenge of the Week

Challenge of the Week

To help your child feel more at ease with testing, try a practice test this week! Some may find it challenging (most do)! Use that feeling of being challenged to help them try tactics like “best guessing” and “deep breaths.”

Practice Tests

The practice tests available online will greatly assist in preparation for these tests. They will allow learners to clearly understand the types of questions they will see on the test and will help them better navigate the online test. We appreciate your efforts to help your child prepare for these statewide assessments by using the practice tests available. Below are the steps to access them.

  1. Click the practice test link. Take the Practice or Training Test.

  2. Make sure the guest user and guest session boxes are set to “ON” and click the green “Sign In” box.

  3. Select your child’s grade.

  4. The pink and purple boxes are for the language arts and math practice tests. If available, the orange is for the science practice test.

  5. If your child has an IEP with testing accommodations, you now have a chance to select any accommodations that you would like to have included in the practice tests. Scroll to the bottom and click the green “Select” box to move to the next page.

  6. Make sure you can hear sound with the sound check.

  7. Click “Continue” and then click “Begin Test.”

  8. Language arts and math practice test answers may be manually checked at this link: Go to the Guides!

  9. A scoring guide for the CAST training test can be found at this link: Scoring Guides. The guide provides information on alignment with the California Next Generation Science Standards, correct answers, and sample responses for constructed response items.

Summer Camp in Hawaii Now Enrolling!

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Aloha!

We’re excited to share an incredible learning opportunity for summer break!

Learners who will be entering 7th-12th grade in the fall of 2020 are invited to travel to the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kaua’i this summer for Camp Kahili! There are four weeks available to campers (June 21-July 18), and you can opt to stay for one, two, three…or all four weeks!

Community. Culture. Adventure.

Campers will be immersed in multicultural learning, adventure, and service through a multitude of activities, such as the following:

  • Hike Kaua’i Mountain
  • Zipline
  • Learn to Hula
  • Beach Cleanup
  • Attend a Traditional Hawaiian Luau
  • And Many More!

Click here for more info on dates and the cost of tuition!

Learner Spotlight: Rasha Willes Samaha

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This week’s spolighted learner is Rasha Willes Samaha, an iLEAD Exploration high school freshman and a professional dancer. Calm, poised, and polite, she maintains a positive attitude and always wears a smile. Rasha is a great example of this month’s Schoolwide Learning Outcome (SLO): self control. Since beginning her homeschooling journey, she has worked to develop self-control by focusing on hard work and effort in her academic and professional pursuits.

Rasha spends over 30 hours a week training and student teaching various styles of dances. These styles include ballet, tap, jazz, and musical theater. The flexibility provided by iLEAD’s independent study setting enables her to spend a lot of time at her dance studio in San Fernando Valley. Her professional dance career includes performing at some major and well-known platforms: World of Dance Live, The Oscars Gala, Professional Dancers Society Tribute to Carol Channing and Tremaine Performance Company. All of these achievements require her to be disciplined and focused in all her endeavors. Her family is a big support in keeping her motivated to achieve her dreams.

Juggling high school classes and a dance career can be daunting, but Rasha has been handling both very gracefully since she joined iLEAD Exploration. She is currently taking classes from a local community college and iLEAD Online to stay on the a-g high school graduation path and build an impressive GPA.

Rasha believes that giving back to the community through her passion for art is equally important. She sets aside some time to teach dance for the Ishan Foundation, a non-profit organization. This organization offers special needs dance classes for all kids and young adults with neurological disorders. Rasha thoroughly enjoys spending time with the younger kids every week.

Rasha’s dream is to be a Radio City Rockette and get a medical degree as a doctor. She says, her family has taught her that anything in life can be accomplished through discipline, balance and creativity. She is well on her way!

Challenge of the Week

Challenge of the Week

Before taking the real or practice tests, please have your kids watch this short video, and remind kids that every child tests at their OWN PACE. Encourage them to tune out those around them by creating their own BUBBLE OF PEACE and work in that, paying no mind to what is happening around them.
Additionally, hard questions on the MAP test can actually mean strong test performance. To learn more, visit here: WHAT IS ADAPTIVE TESTING?

Black History Month

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February is Black History Month. We are honored to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African American culture. There are many ways to learn more about this rich history and its societal impacts. Below are some events and resources that you may want to investigate:

Aquarium of the Pacific’s African-American Festival

California African American Museum

African American Firefighter Museum

The Museum of African American Art

The San Bernardino County Museum

On Sunday, February 23, the streets in South LA will be open for a six mile route connecting South Central, Florence-Firestone and Watts. Bike, skate, run, walk, skateboard, and enjoy the route however you want. People of all ages and abilities are welcome! To learn more, visit their website!

Lastly, there are several lessons you can incorporate into your studies.

Self-Control: The Marshmallow Test

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This month, iLEAD is focusing on the monthly SLO: 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 get to work and avoid distractions?
  3. Do you remain calm in stressful situations?
  4. Do you have the willpower to resist the “marshmallow”?

Science Fair 2020

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Field Trip Review

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iLEAD Exploration learners had the opportunity to participate in a variety of field trips. Here are a few that were enjoyed by our learners and their families.

Queen Mary Ellis Island Experience

This field trip was a re-enactment of the immigrant experience entering the United States through Ellis Island. The trip started with a thoughtfully done video about the journey from Europe to New York and then learners were directed to an “inspection room” where they gently experienced having to submit their passport for approval. Learners had to wait to be “inspected” by a doctor and to answer questions to confirm their mental and physical health. Some learners were quarantined if their responses were questionable. Others were approved and sent to another waiting area to get final approval and had to communicate with an “immigration officer” to verify where they would be living and who would be picking them up from Ellis Island. Following this experiential learning, there was an opportunity to debrief collectively and share reflections. The people leading the experience stayed in character in order to help learners get a sense of what it would have felt like to immigrate through Ellis Island 100 years ago.

Flowbox Desert Rocks

The kids learned circus arts and climbed the rock wall. They all had such a blast!

LEGOLAND
iLEAD Exploration learners attended a physical forces workshop at LEGOLAND where they learned about gravity. inertia, and friction. After the lesson, they got into teams where they designed their own LEGO car. Teams raced their cars in various heats and had the opportunity to go back and redesign their car to make it even better. Our iLEAD Exploration learners loved this hands-on approach to LEGO learning!

Learner Spotlight: Zachary Kennison

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Boredom is never a word you would associate with iLEAD Exploration learner, Zachary Kennison, as he is constantly busy using his creativity. It takes a lot of this month’s student learning outcome (self control) to finish so many projects and to stick with the many activities that Zack participates in.

Most weeks, you will find this busy fifth grader reading, playing catch with his brother in the backyard, completing projects incorporating recent field trips or experiences, and enjoying multi-subject art classes with friends. Zack appreciates managing his own schedule to comfortably fit in plenty of fun science experiments, math, fiction writing, art, coding, and organized team sports like water polo in the fall and little league baseball in the spring. Between all his activities, Zack enjoys playing with friends, interacting with the family pet chameleon, learning chess strategies, creating his own board games, following SpaceX current events, dreaming up new inventions, and baking big cakes (the bigger the better).

Some of his friends say homeschoolers are lucky because they never have to do homework. Zack says “I actually do much more, because I am able to work all day long if I want to.” And he likes it that way.

It doesn’t take long to realize Zack is a critical thinker, always making interesting connections between the patterns of nature, animals, machines, art, words, and human needs. He is always thinking of new inventions to help solve both minor and major problems in the world. His critical thinking is evident from his original board game creations to his multi-faceted project presentations.

Zack possesses an intellectual curiosity that cannot be contained. He likes to explore new concepts and cultures through activities, travel, and food. For the last five years, he has participated in an annual Japanese culture program to appreciate part of his heritage. For those two weeks each year, he is known only by his Japanese name, Hikaru. The experience opened his eyes to the many cultures of the world as well. He enjoys thinking up cool hands-on projects and messy experiments. Frequently, his ideas begin with, “what if…”.

Zack also enjoys entrepreneurial ventures like selling products at craft fairs and helping to run the book fair at his brother’s school. He is learning first-hand all about product management, business financials, marketing strategies, and supply and demand.

Some of Zack’s personal achievements include writing a chapter book based on his favorite novel series, building up his math endurance, and contributing, both mentally and physically, to his sports teams. He was granted a scholarship to attend a waterman’s program in Hawaii where he continued to hone his skills paddling surf ski kayaks and 2-person and 8-person outrigger canoes.

But Zack’s main accomplishment over the last few years of learning with iLEAD Exploration is his ability to manage his own time, set his own pace for academics, and prioritize his time so he can do what’s important to him. He is an independent, forward-thinking learner who likes to learn from new experiences or by solving problems. He exhibits confidence to try new things, meet new people, and learn new concepts. iLEAD is the perfect match to walk beside Zack on his life-long path of learning.

Schoolwide Learner Outcome: Self-Control

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This month’s schoolwide learner outcome (SLO) is self-control, the thinking skill that helps children learn to control their feelings and behaviors in order to make good decisions while helping to reduce impulsive actions, and dealing effectively with frustration. As an example, a person may exhibit self-control when encountering a difficult problem on a test. Rather than impulsively writing down an answer, they are able to control their anxiety and figure out the answer. We will continue to explore the concept of self-control in upcoming Monday Messages!

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Volunteer Opportunities

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“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” — Author Unknown

One of the greatest gifts you can give is your time. Below are some opportunities to serve as individuals and/or as a family.

Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry (Santa Clarita)

The Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry prides themselves on serving those in need with dignity, compassion and respect. They are looking for volunteers ages 12 and up to sort, organize and serve food for the needy.

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank (Los Angeles)
The vision of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is that nobody in Los Angeles County goes hungry. Volunteers are needed to box, sort and glean food, which is then distributed to area food banks that need resources. The minimum age to volunteer is 14 years old.
West Side Food Bank (Santa Monica)
The West Side Food Bank provides food to social service agencies that help to feed those in need. Volunteers are needed for food sorting. All ages welcome.
Orange County Food Bank (Garden Grove)
The OC Food Bank works with nearly 400 local charities, soup kitchens, and community organizations to end hunger and malnutrition. Families, groups and individuals are welcome to volunteer to pack food boxes that are distributed to hungry people in Orange County and surrounding areas.

Webinar: Problem Solving Strategies

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