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

Monday Message

Our News & Events

Learner Spotlight: Ackah-Miezah Family

Ackah Miezah Family

The Ackah-Miezah family are longtime successful homeschoolers starting their 12th year learning from home and their fourth year with iLEAD. Lena Ruisseau (grade 12), Oliver, (grade 10), and Edward Winston, (grade 6) have all made the best of their time with iLEAD Exploration.

These learners are incredibly proactive about social justice, their education, and their extracurricular activities. Over the summer, the Ackah-Miezah learners invested time in reading books that focus on social justice issues, having lots of family conversations about social justice, and initiating talks with peers and adults about their views on how we can create a more just and equitable world, as well as attending rallies around social justice causes. Ruisseau has created a “social justice” club with a group of friends who will gather monthly over the next school year to discuss and participate in activities, which they hope will proactively create change. Some of the events on the schedule include feeding the homeless in downtown LA, attending marches, raising money for causes they are passionate about, and volunteering at an urban garden.

These learners have also all been proactive about the kinds of topics they want to study this year. Even though the curriculum is aimed at Winston, the whole family is super excited to dive into a decolonized history curriculum called Woke Homeschooling. They are looking forward to all the beautiful and educational books it covers. Winston had his passion for African American History piqued this past year when he did a unit for Black History Month featuring important events and people in the Civil Rights Movement.

In addition to their foresight and preparation, the Ackah-Miezahs also live with purpose: acting as youth mentors to younger children and always representing their biracial family with pride. These learners work hard in all they do, including supporting the family business, Cafe Ruisseau in Playa Vista. They spend all day on Saturday and many days during the summer at the cafe talking with customers, wiping down tables, running errands, and organizing the stockroom. The entire family has set out to be purposeful about creating a safe coffee community where all people can come and enjoy coffee, community, and conversation. Even though their outdoor cafe has taken a big hit because of COVID 19, the Ackah-Miezah family is committed to working as a family in their black-owned-and-operated business to best serve their customers.

Overall the Ackah-Miezah learners are self-motivated to finish their school work at a high level, and their mom sees herself as more of a coach and a cheerleader than the motivator. They bring this dedication to being the best they can be to track (Ruisseau), basketball and football (Oliver) and basketball (Winston).

Ruisseau is back at iLEAD Exploration after two years of private high school. She was awarded with the junior year English award and has been an honor roll student all her high school years. She enjoys running track and jumping long jump and triple jump. She has been mentoring youth in her community since the age of 13. This year she is volunteering as a youth mentor at a local urban garden called “Black Thumb Garden.” She is also going to take an iLEAD Online acting class for the first time this semester. She enjoys swimming, surfing, skiing, hiking, watching movies, reading, eating out, spinning, workout classes, spending time with friends, traveling, church, and horseback riding. Oliver enjoys basketball, football, surfing, skiing, traveling, swimming, eating out, hiking, video games, Magic the Gathering, science, earning money, church, and riding quads. Winston plays hours of basketball every day. He enjoys being the baby of the family and all the perks that come with it. His best friends are his older siblings, and he loves playing piano with the Burbank Music Academy. He also enjoys video games, traveling, riding quads, swimming, surfing, skiing, and watching movies with his family.

The Ackah-Miezahs really enjoy traveling together and went on some adventures this summer to the Yuba River in Northern California, where they cliff jumped into the river, inner tubed, and hiked to majestic waterfalls. They also took a surfing trip to Santa Cruz, California, because they love to surf together and with friends. They took another jaunt to the San Juan Islands in Washington state for ten days of island fun on the beaches, swimming in the lakes, hiking, and lots and lots of family tennis.

Overall, the family appreciates the time homeschool affords them to invest in their children and their education, which is equipping them to be kind, successful, emotionally intelligent, and fulfilled adults.

Virtual Field Trip

Virtual Field Trip iLEAD Exploration

We invite you to embark on a virtual field trip to the United States capital! This four-day adventure takes you inside Washington DC’s most popular attractions. Mix and match activities or explore the entire city. There is so much to see! Access the tour here.

Meet and Greet

iLEAD Exploration Meet and Greet

Don’t miss our online Meet & Greet, where we will introduce our high school team. We will break out into smaller groups to explain our high school program and answer your questions directly. We have added a second session in the afternoon to accommodate more families. Please select the session that works best for you.

  • Session 1: September 11, 10:00 a.m. High School Team Meet and Greet #1
  • Session 2: September 11, 1:00 p.m. High School Team Meet and Greet #2

Career & Technical Education

Career and Technical Education

Career & Technical Education 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 is offering the following career pathways:

  • Patient Care
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Public Service
  • Childhood Development
  • Performing Arts
  • Game Design
  • Animation
  • Photography

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. Talk with your EF (educational facilitator) about adding a CTE pathway to your courses for this 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 a bonus, you can also earn college units while working toward 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 informational video and PowerPoint (also located here on the Hub) or reach out to us directly at


Brain Pop

This year, we are excited to offer all our learners a complimentary subscription to BrainPOP. This comprehensive program offers hundreds of movies on various topics and subjects for grades K-12. Please click here for more information on this valuable resource.


Schoolwide Learner Outcome: Purpose

MM Purpose

This year, we will continue to present the Schoolwide Learner Outcomes (SLOs). The SLOs that you will be seeing throughout the year address social emotional learning that directly impact academics and the success of our learners. Schoolwide Learner Outcomes help to create socially responsible, mentally healthy, innovative problem solvers.

This month we will be focusing on purpose. This is the perfect time of year to get organized. Do you set goals for yourself and map out ways to accomplish those goals?

Below are some goal setting worksheets that will help you determine your purpose both personally and academically this year.


Purpose Poster

Fall MAP Testing

Fall MAP Testing iLEAD Exploration

We are excited to announce that the fall MAP testing window is now open. This assessment is conveniently taken in the comfort of your home and is a great way to start off the year. Results are quickly generated and will help target your learner’s specific areas of need. Please contact your educational facilitator for more information.


Virtual High School Meet & Greet

Virtual High School Meet and Greet

Don’t miss the online High School Meet & Greet where we will introduce iLEAD’s high school team and break into smaller groups to explain our high school program and answer your questions directly. We have added a second session in the afternoon to accommodate more families. Please select the session that works best for you.
Session 1: September 11, 10:00 a.m. High School Team Meet and Greet #1
Session 2: September 11, 1:00 p.m. High School Team Meet and Greet #2

2020-21 ASB

Unit Logs

We have reopened 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. If you have a high school learner who would be a good candidate for ASB, please encourage them to apply! This year, we are planning on launching new virtual clubs as well as planning several fun virtual events! Please apply HERE by September 30 if you are interested.

National Honor Society


The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation’s premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. iLEAD Exploration is excited to invite all iLEAD Exploration learners who are currently in 10-12th grade and who 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 September 30th at midnight. If you applied last fall and received an acceptance letter, there is no need to apply again. Meetings will begin in October. Click HERE to apply.

Welcome Back!


Welcome Back, Families!

We hope you had a wonderful summer! We are looking forward to another great year working alongside your family. At iLEAD, we believe consistent development and growth are vital to one’s well-being and to our community as a whole! Over the course of this year, we will be highlighting the ideas developed by Stephen Covey in his widely renowned book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The concepts explored in this book are useful for people of all ages and from all walks of life! We will continue summarizing each habit in the Monday Message, and we hope it will encourage you to explore the habits at a deeper level by demonstrating and practicing them in your own environment. To start this year off, we are going to introduce you to Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind.

In the second chapter of his book, Covey states that decisions must be made strategically. The author literally begins with the end when he asks the reader to imagine his/her funeral and what others might be saying and thinking. What do you want them to say? What do you want them to think? These are the real core values that you probably care about most and that should, therefore, be the ones on which you focus your life’s work, both personally and professionally. As you lead yourself towards goals from the beginning and plan strategically, you will find that you can anticipate obstacles and distractions.

Today is the first day of school, and your educational facilitators are excited to support your learners along their individual learning paths. We are so grateful for you and the many hours (and years) you are devoting to the growth of your children! You are truly beginning with the end in mind! Have a wonderful first week of school!

Learner Spotlight: DeCoursey Family

DeCoursey Family

Meet Ruth, the newest — and eleventh — member of the DeCoursey family!

This past June, baby Ruth had the good fortune to join this large, loving iLEAD Exploration family who enjoy music, reading, and science. This active and accomplished family is animated by purpose — a purpose that leads them to serve and love one another and their community. Together, they make it a habit to participate in service projects with iLEAD Exploration, their church, and other organizations.

The DeCourseys: Sarah (12th), Ben (10th), Rebekah (8th), Daniel (6th), Lydia (4th), Hannah (3rd) and Josiah (1st) are also proactive and forward-thinking and, after four years of homeschooling, they have gotten homeschooling down, with everyone working together to prepare for what comes next.

The DeCourseys start out the year by writing down goals, both personal and academic — and even the little ones participate. When something occurs in the world that concerns them, the DeCourseys take action and employ their highly valued and well-honed writing skills to contact local elected officials to express their concerns.

The family’s two high schoolers showcase the family’s values. Twelfth grader Sarah has taken many community college courses to prepare for a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and, ultimately, law school. She has also planned high school electives for herself in jewelry design and fashion design. She enjoys party planning and even organized a baby shower for her mom to welcome baby Ruth. Ben, 10th grade, wants to be a neurologist when he grows up. In a purposeful and proactive move, this young man designed a neurology elective for himself in 9th grade.

This family loves to sing and make music together, and all take lessons through a community music school, Harmony Project. Some of you might remember the DeCourseys singing and playing instruments together in the iLEAD Exploration talent show in 2018. They all love to stay active and through PE, with Ben and Daniel especially excelling at basketball. The DeCourseys are all readers and love doing science experiments together, with the older ones helping to teach the younger.

Hats off to the DeCoursey family!


Career and Technical Education Pathways

CTE Pathways iLEAD Exploration


The OC Studio

Around the World at the OC Learning Studio


Mental Health Support

Mental Health Support

iLEAD’s Governing Board recognizes that suicide is a major cause of death among youth and should be taken seriously. In order to reduce suicidal behavior and its impact on learners and families, the director(s) or designee shall develop preventive strategies, intervention and postvention procedures. The purpose of this policy is to protect the health and well-being of all district students by having procedures in place to prevent, assess the risk of, intervene in, and respond to suicide.

In developing measures and strategies for use by the school, the school director or designee may consult with school health professionals, school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, administrators, other staff, parents/guardians, students, local health agencies, mental health professionals, and community organizations. For more information, please email

In order to initiate access to available pupil mental health services, you may contact the school counselor Kathy Tempco at or visit our Mental Health web page for more information.

Congratulations, 2020 Graduates!

iLEAD Exploration Class of 2020

We are so proud of our 2020 graduates. During a time of uncertainty, these learners persevered and were able to complete their high school journey. They embody all that is iLEAD, and we would like to recognize each and every one of them. As C.S. Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” From all of us here at iLEAD, we wish them luck in their future endeavors. Congratulations!


Learner Spotlight: Layla Solano

Layla skateboard

iLEAD Exploration 8th grader Layla Solano is new to homeschooling this year, but you would not know it with how creative and connected she has been with so much of what she has studied this year. Her enthusiasm for what she has learned is palpable when you hear her speak about the historical figures, literature, and cultures she has studied. Layla has been taking classes with a co-op and has been homeschooling with her mom, and she often has beautiful poems, stories, or artwork to accompany her assignments. She has the ability to build a connection and feel a relationship not only with her studies but with people too.

Layla is part of a close church community, a small group of people who are like family and have helped to shape so much of who she is. She has been fortunate to have many people of all ages, races, and cultures invest in her and love her, and these relationships have helped her understand how to interact with so many people. It has become natural for her to be able to socialize and have conversations many people, young and old. Her family has tried to instill in her an outward focus on life. Who can she encourage? Whose day can she brighten by being kind and giving? She has a way of thinking of others while being aware and grateful for all she is lucky to have. Through the years, Layla’s parents have been open with her and willing to engage in whatever discussions she’s interested in. It is this that has made her confident in who she is and secure in knowing that she will always be supported and loved.

Layla has many interests: music, singing, acting, animals, and some pretty cool hobbies, like skateboarding! She comes from a huge music-loving family, so she has been exposed to music since she was little. Her singing talent and passion have blossomed and helped her learn how to persevere through those challenging times when things don’t come easy. In recent years, she has begun acting in movies and commercials, which has helped her develop the confidence to try new and scary things. Her involvement in auditions has taught her that she can focus only on doing her best and not on the outcome or opinions of others. She has learned that if something is meant for her, then it will happen. When things don’t work out as planned, she acknowledges the validity of her feelings and works to surrender the disappointment, so she can move forward with a peaceful, grateful heart. These are the experiences that also define Layla on her homeschooling path. She is grateful that being a learner with iLEAD has allowed her to do all the things she loves, while still being able to dig deep and get creative with all her subjects. She is excited to see where her journey with iLEAD takes her next year when she begins high school.

Calling All Super Parents!


Super Parents June 2020

Together Tuesdays


We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing our Together Tuesdays. We are so proud of all our learners and the work they have completed this year!

Summer Countdown!

summer learning

Summer is almost here! Looking for some innovative ways to keep your learners engaged during the months ahead? One fabulous way to launch into summer is to create a summer activity chain. Kids love to make countdown chains as much as they love tearing off the next loop. Here are some ideas for summer learning activities that would keep your primary crew excited about learning throughout the warm days ahead!

Upper grade learners might enjoy creating a summer scrapbook or a video/slideshow with pictures, quotes, and journal entries about their favorite moments during summer break. Some families also enjoy listing family activities on slips of paper and placing them in a jar, pulling out a couple each day for activities to complete. Whatever your style, enjoy the journey!

Learner Spotlight: Ayah and Nyla Dadsi


Look out, world! The Dadsi sisters are on the move! In their second year with iLEAD Exploration, Nyla and Ayah Dadsi are enjoying the opportunity that independent study provides to delve deep into subjects they are passionate about and to incorporate their love for art, music, politics, and languages into their daily studies. Because of their diverse interests, the girls have had ample opportunities to develop their social intelligence skills. Both are empathetic and good listeners. They respect others’ views and are open to having conversations with everyone regardless of whether they agree with them or not.

Ayah is a 3rd grader who loves playing soccer, roller skating, skateboarding, and riding her scooter. The quarantine hasn’t stopped her, as she can still be found pushing her little sisters (and big sister) up and down hallways on anything that has wheels! She loves math and science and has strong interests in politics and world events. She can be found helping her classmates, making sure everyone feels included and accepted, often going out of her way to speak up against any injustice she sees. Don’t be surprised if you see her on the front page of a newspaper one day, fighting for human rights or breaking some world record in athletics!

Nyla is a 6th grader and talented musician and artist. She can always be found singing or editing videos about her newest favorite musician and memorizing every song she sings. She played violin for three years, recently switched to ukulele and voice lessons, and is looking forward to performing in a virtual recital this month. Nyla loves science and social studies and has an affinity for languages, creative writing, and digital art. She enjoys rollerblading and helping take care of her two baby sisters, as well as cooking and baking new recipes while listening to her favorite music. She, too, is passionate about helping others and fighting for human rights and wants to change this world for the better!

Both Ayah and Nyla speak Arabic, Darija (the Moroccan dialect), and study French at home. They love to play with their baby sisters, play online games, go to the beach with their family, and travel. During the quarantine, they have been busy inventing a new board game, playing online with friends, and writing inspiring chalk messages on the sidewalk for others. They are anxious to see their grandparents, travel again with family, and see their friends at the OC Learning Studio. In the meantime, they are busy spreading positivity and empathy from home as much as possible.

Virtual Field Trips

virtual field trip

As we get closer to the end of the school year, you may be looking for some fun enrichment activities to engage your learners. We would like to introduce this website that offers you free virtual field trips by grade level. You can find everything from an M&M factory tour to live cams at the San Diego Zoo. Have fun exploring!

Social Intelligence

the right brain

Social intelligence is a person’s ability to interact well with others, often called people skills or tact. It is a learned ability involving situational awareness, understanding of social dynamics, and a decent amount of self-awareness.

These practices can help you develop social intelligence:
  1. Pay close attention to what (and who) is around you.
  2. Work on increasing your emotional intelligence.
  3. Respect cultural differences.
  4. Practice active listening.
  5. Appreciate the important people in your life.

Click here for some suggestions on ways to practice social intelligence this summer.

Calling All Super Parents!


Super Parents June 2020
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