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

ilead exploration

High School Clubs

High School Clubs iLEAD Exploration

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

Learner Spotlight: Priscilla Pope


My name is Priscilla Pope, and I am 17 years old. I have been dancing since I was just two! I grew up performing with the Santa Clarita Ballet Company and studied under the Royal Academy of Dance curriculum. I hold each of my examinations with distinction and have trained at numerous ballet intensives. After performing many lead roles with the Santa Clarita Ballet, I was accepted into the Colburn Dance Academy’s pre-professional program. I have received multiple scholarships for dance and have also placed and participated in numerous dance competitions. I am extremely grateful to be a brand ambassador for PerfectFitPointe and Zarely Dancewear. I am currently in the process of applying to ballet companies and colleges across the US, some of which include the University of Utah, Butler University, Marymount Manhattan University, Indiana University, and Texas Christian University. I plan to double major in both business and dance.

I joined the iLEAD family in my junior year of high school, after finding out about my acceptance to The Colburn School. Attending iLEAD has been a true blessing and has helped me balance both dance and school. Furthering my education is so important to me, so having the flexibility of online learning has helped me achieve my scholastic goals, all while keeping up with my rigorous dance schedule. It has also given me the availability to give back to my community as a volunteer and maintain a part-time job. I currently work as a waitress at Chi Chi’s Pizza in Santa Clarita and actively volunteer with The Red Cross, The Gentle Barn, and as a Real Life Church youth leader. I opened my own small business (Priscilla’s Shoe Sewing Service), where I sew pointe shoes and teach young dancers how to properly sew their own. All of these achievements would not be possible without the support and flexibility of iLEAD Exploration.

Since I was a young girl, I have always been independent and ambitious, wanting to explore the world on my own, in hopes to figure out who I want to be. Now, as a young adult, I see myself as a leader who inspires others to be the best version of themselves. I am an acute perfectionist and am always setting higher goals for myself. While I have major dreams, I always hope to be a source of kindness and compassion. My ultimate goal in life is to open my own studio one day so I can teach and inspire future generations of dancers. I want to help others find the same love of dance I have found over the years, and I want to create a space where dancers feel welcome, encouraged, and challenged. I am so incredibly grateful to my teachers/mentors at iLEAD and every dance teacher I’ve had thus far. Without them, I would not be where I am today!

Learner Spotlight: Everly Benning

Everly Benning 2

iLEAD Exploration learner Everly Benning started homeschooling last year in the extended-TK program. What drew her family to homeschooling was the time her mom got to spend with her. Everly’s dad is a military member, and homeschooling allows for them to work around his often-changing schedule. They love being able to spend more time with him when he has time off.

Since Everly was a little baby, she has always been a bit reserved, so seeking first to understand comes naturally to her. At first, she takes her time to observe what is around her. She often sits backs and watches before jumping in and playing. But once she understands the lay of the land, she jumps right into the action. When Everly encounters a new environment, she is quick to observe what is going on around her and is able to easily adapt appropriately. She is also very into details and fully understanding how something works.

An empathetic people-person, Everly is very communicative with her feelings and often encourages her friends to share their thoughts or feelings if conflicts or issues pop up while playing. Everly is very considerate of others and how they will feel in certain situations; she strives to take other people’s feelings into account.

Everly has started a new hobby this school year and is learning Spanish. She has done well and really enjoys talking with her Spanish teacher, who lives in Spain. Everly is very interested in traveling to different countries around the world.







The Virtual Science Fair – Next Steps!

science labs

Hello, scientific thinkers! You are now ready for the next steps in the process: Guess & Test. Think of it like a recipe, mixing together all the observations, questions, and wonder to form a “hypothesis” (your best guess about what you think is going to happen based on all that you know so far). Then, you will need to test your hypothesis to see if what you think will happen actually does! This is the exciting part of being a scientist: testing and exploring your ideas to see what more you can discover about your topic of interest.

Here are some helpful resources for recording your hypothesis and testing your theories.

Don’t forget to register here for the upcoming iLEAD Science Fair (to be held virtually). If you would like to be a part of this fun experience, all submissions will need to be turned in by January 15, 2021!

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood


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

Communication is key, but if we lack understanding in our relationships, how can we ever hope to clearly communicate?

This month we are examining Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.

Many of us seek first to be understood. We want to get our point across, and in doing so, it’s easy to ignore the other person completely. We might pretend that we’re listening, selectively listen to certain parts of the conversation, or attentively focus on only the words being said. Doing so may mean we miss the meaning entirely. In doing this, we filter everything through our own life experiences and decide what someone means before they’ve even finished speaking.

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 and 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. In order 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, instead of with only the intent to reply, we begin true communication and relationship-building. Seeking to understand takes kindness; seeking to be understood takes courage. Effective communication is a balance of the two.

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

Field Studies: Kelp Forest Virtual Tour

Kelp Forests Exploration

Please join us for a virtual tour of the Kelp Forests!
RSVP HERE by January 11, 2021

Learner Spotlight – Mya Felix

Learner Spotlight

Mya is a first grade learner who started homeschooling in March of last year. She likes homeschooling because she is able to do her school work in her pajamas. She also gets to go to the library whenever she wants. Her favorite part about learning from home is that she gets to spend time with her mommy and baby brother.

What languages do you speak?

I speak English and Spanish. I am also learning sign language.

What is your favorite saying in your native language?

“Panza llena corazón contento!” In English, this means, “Having a full stomach makes your heart happy!”

What is a family tradition that you enjoy?

Family game time and the altar for Day of the Dead.

What career would you like to have?

I want to be a firefighter and a painter.

What is your favorite subject?

Math is my favorite, and working on Explode the Code.

Has being multilingual allowed you any special opportunities?

Yes, it helps me talk to “Tita” (Grandma) and my cousins from Mexico.

What is your favorite hobby?

Painting and playing with my toys.

What advice would you give to someone trying to learn a new language?

Listen to music in the new language.

ELPAC Summative Test

ELPAC Summative Test

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

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

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

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

Family Activities to Support Listening


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

Family Activities to Support Reading

TK-1 Read Aloud

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

Family Activities to Support Writing


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

Family Activities to Support Speaking


1. Guess the Object: This is a fun game for kids to practice the power of description. Cut a hole in a box that is large enough for their hands. Make sure they understand that they are not allowed to peek into the hole. Place an object in the box. Have the child describe what the object feels like and guess what the object might be.

2. Picture Telling: Collect a variety of pictures. Give each participant a time limit and let them describe what they see in story form. During this exercise, they are processing visual cues and using their ability to speak about them to someone else. The other players practice their listening skills.

3. Guess Who: Each player chooses a secret character and takes turns asking each other yes/no questions about characteristics in order to narrow down the choices and guess the other person’s secret character first.

4. Headbanz: Kids love playing this game because everybody gets to look silly with a headband on their head. Each player draws a card with a food/person/animal/item and, without looking at it, places it on their headband so all other players can see it. Players must ask questions about the picture on their card, remember the answers, and use this knowledge to guess who/what they are.

5. Scattergories: In the original version of this game, a dice is rolled to reveal a letter of the alphabet. All players have a list of categories (food, famous person, movie title, etc.) and must try to write down something that starts with the letter to fit each category. The goal is to be as creative as possible. (If someone else wrote down the same word as you, both of you must cross it out!) The player with the highest number of original answers wins the round.

6. Online Speaking Activities: In the Hub section of iLEAD Exploration’s website, there are many recommended speaking activities to support EL learners. Simply click on this link, log into the Hub, and search the EL resources by category (domain).

Learner Spotlight: Karina, Victoria, Adrianna, and Samuel Ramirez


The Ramirez family is filled to the brim with creative, fun-loving learners who enjoy supporting each other in everything they do. Karina (9th grade), Victoria (6th grade), Adrianna (4th grade), and Samuel (1st grade) love spending time with their family and their dog, traveling in their RV and experiencing new places. They have been homeschooling since 2012 and have been with iLEAD Exploration for three years.

The quest for understanding before acting is something these learners hold dear. Karina (14) asks lots of questions to facilitate understanding. She strives to make connections with others and enjoys sharing ideas in general. She loves to communicate and to philosophize about morality. Victoria (11) tends to be more quiet and reserved. She sits back and listens, but her great sense of humor appears every once in a while, showing you that she’s been listening. Nine-year old Adrianna loves to tell you how she feels and is very kindhearted and compassionate. Samuel (age six) has lots of ideas he enjoys sharing with the group. He longs to have the whole family’s or group’s attention before he speaks and then the ideas flow, surprising others with his vocabulary and understanding.

An awareness about the people and communities surrounding them comes naturally to these learners. Karina, acting on her finely tuned sense of justice and compassion, wants to help others and dreams of helping homelessness in the future. Victoria strives to connect with others by asking questions and finding things in common with others. Adrianna loves to tell you how she feels and is also very kindhearted and compassionate. Samuel is very friendly and outgoing and loves to make friends at parks.

All four of the kids love anything LEGO. Their favorite subjects are history and science. They love doing anything that is hands-on. Karina, interested in a career in criminal justice, plays the guitar, swims competitively, and loves crafting, especially focusing on “upcycling” or repurposing discarded objects. All-star soccer player Victoria also loves to read and write and is currently reading Keeper of the Lost Cities. She enjoys writing books and is currently working on one she hopes to self-publish one day. Adrianna adores dinosaurs and ninjas and anything related to art. She is currently remaking My Little Ponies into other cartoon characters. Samuel is all about video games! But he has also just learned how to ride a bike without training wheels and wants to play baseball when in-person activities are once again allowed.

If you love dinosaurs, guitar-playing, soccer, video games, and DOGS, check out this fabulous iLEAD Exploration family.

School-Wide Learner Outcome: Social Intelligence

Social Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Virtual Science Fair: Explore your Questions!


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

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

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

Asking Good Questions

Elementary Research Template

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

Upcoming Events: Snowstorm in a Jar


Join us and learn how to make a snowstorm in a jar!

Let’s make it feel like winter right here in our homes! You will need to gather a few materials (see registration link for details) and get ready to have fun creating a snowstorm, a cool way to experiment with science! Please register here for this fun event.

VirtualEvents_Fall2020 (1)

Newbery Film Festival


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

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


College Application

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

Learner Spotlight: Grayson Ferrera-Schmidt


iLEAD Exploration kindergarten learner Grayson Ferrera-Schmidt has a joke for you!

Q: “What do you call a fly without wings?”
A: “A walk!”

Grayson will “bug” you with his jokes; he’s got a million of ’em! But, seriously, this learner and his family make a great learning-and-living-together team. When he finished kindergarten last year, he said he wanted his mom to be his teacher for every grade.

Way back when, homeschooling wasn’t something the Ferrera-Schmidt family considered. By the time Grayson turned two years old, however, his mom knew she wanted to teach him, instill him with critical-thinking skills, and challenge him to look at everything from different viewpoints. Homeschooling with iLEAD Exploration does that for them. It gives them a unique environment to make choices in Grayson’s education.

Seeking first to understand and then to be understood, Grayson is always applying this habit. Grayson always wants to fully understand anything he is talking about, no matter the subject, before he tries to weigh in on it himself. He wants to understand new information so that later he can use it himself. He is very inquisitive and blows his mom away by using what he learns correctly at a different time.

When others hear of Grayson homeschooling, they often ask, “What about his social skills? Aren’t you worried he will be socially awkward?” The answer is absolutely not! Grayson is an outgoing little boy with a great sense of humor who will talk to anyone willing to listen. People who speak with him often forget he’s only six years old. His vocabulary is beyond his years, and he easily makes friends and has great conversations with everyone.

Grayson’s hobbies and interests include all things dirty and gross! He wants to learn about every new bug he can find. He could spend hours capturing bugs, butterflies, dragonflies, and lizards to examine and watch them and then release them back into nature. He loves to study about animals and all the things they can and cannot do. He also likes to practice karate moves. Although he has never taken karate classes, that does not stop his imagination from running wild. When karate studios open again, Grayson is looking forward to taking classes.

Even though this is just their second year of homeschooling together, Grayson, his mom, and sometimes his little brother Levi make a pretty good team. They could not imagine life any other way.

Giant Stuffed Animal Club

Little teddy bear

Do you have a GIANT stuffed animal that you’d like to share with other iLEAD learners? Join the club! Share your giant stuffed friend, and see the giant stuffed friends of other learners during this fun virtual meet up!

LINKED Stuffed_animal (1)

Virtual Wax Museum

Virtual Wax Museum

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

Virtual Wax Museum


NASA’s Moon Pod Essay Contest


On September 15, 2020, NASA, in partnership with Future Engineers, launched the Artemis Moon Pod Essay Contest. The contest, which is open to all (public, private, and home school) in grades K-12, asks participants to imagine they are leading a one-week expedition to the Moon’s South Pole. In the essay, learners will need to describe to NASA what (and who) they would bring to help make their expedition a success.

The Moon Pod Essay Contest is presented in support of NASA’s Artemis program. The student challenge is part of NASA’s efforts to engage the public in its missions to the Moon and Mars. NASA is returning to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation. Working with its partners throughout the Artemis program, the agency will fine-tune precision landing technologies and develop new mobility capabilities that allow robots and crew to travel greater distances and explore new regions of the Moon.

Visit the Artemis Moon Pod Essay Contest page for important program dates.

The challenge will require students to imagine and share their thoughts on leading a one-week expedition at the Moon’s South Pole. Additionally, participants must include the types of skills, attributes, and/or personality traits they would want their Moon Pod crew to have and why. For a full description of the contest, including the requirements and who can enter, visit the Moon Pod Essay Contest website.

Every student who submits an entry will receive a certificate from NASA and be invited to a special NASA virtual event – with an astronaut!

Selected semifinalists will be invited to represent their state or territory in a series of Artemis Explorer sessions with NASA experts. In addition, nine finalists will travel with a parent to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 2021 to learn about lunar exploration, and the national winner in each grade division will win a family trip to see the first Artemis test launch to watch the most powerful rocket in the world launch from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Entries for the contest are due no later than 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on December 17, 2020. Children and students who live in the same household with NASA employees cannot enter. Read the full description of contest rules at Artemis Moon Pod Essay Contest (“The Challenge”) Rules.

High School Advisement


iLEAD Exploration is extremely pleased with the advisement and resources available through our high school advisors. We encourage you to take advantage of the many services they offer to assist you now and as you plan for the future.

Academic Counselors

Bethany Maddox (A-K)

Heather Fecarotta (L-Z)

Our academic counselors offer a number of important services for our high school learners. In addition to the advice they provide your amazing EFs, their virtual doors are always open to learners. Annual graduation plan meetings are a great way to help them get to know you better, personalize your high school experience around your goals, and receive suggestions for courses and electives of interest.

Our academic counselors also sign and approve all dual enrollment paperwork. If you’re interested in taking classes at the community college, they can assist with course selection and how to get started. Not sure what you want to do after high school? They can help you discover and narrow your options throughout high school so that you graduate prepared for whatever next steps you choose. They answer questions regarding classes, graduation requirements, and the academics required for college.

Our academic counselors have a wealth of experience working with college-bound learners and work in tandem with our college advisor to align your high school plan with your college goals. They will write your college letters of recommendation and look forward to framing you in the best possible context for admissions. Sign up to speak with them today!

Last Names A-K:

Last Names L-Z:

College Advisor

Laura Kazan

Laura Kazan is here for all of your college and post-secondary educational needs. For learners applying to four-year colleges, Laura can help you create a balanced college list, explain financial aid, assist with essays, and help with the completion of college applications. Juniors considering college should make an appointment as soon as possible. For learners interested in community colleges, trade schools, and careers, Laura can provide information on transfer options, associate degrees, certificates, and more. To take advantage of this amazing resource, you can make an appointment anytime.

The personalized attention provided by our academic counselors and college advisor is unique. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to chat with them this year.

Giving Tuesday Is December 1


#GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world on December 1, 2020, and every day. This #GivingTuesday, people around the world will be making online, year-end donations to causes and organizations they care about. We ask that you consider financially supporting iLEAD Exploration in that special and simple way on December 1.

If you’d like to contribute now, please click here to donate. Thank you for your support!

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