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

ilead exploration

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


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

Together Tuesdays


We love seeing the positive images submitted throughout LEAD Schools every week, joyful reminders that we are all in this together. Thank you to everyone who submitted this week! Click the image or link to view the video.

CTE Labs at Community Colleges

Career Technical Education

Career Technical Education is an exciting and ever-evolving frontier in California. Our community colleges started receiving grant funding to build out incredible labs for their CTE pathways, and they have created some wonderful hands-on opportunities, of which many of our learners can take advantage. Below are just some of the many offerings available. Reach out to your EF or for more information.

  • Aeronautical and Aviation Technology at Antelope Valley College has labs taught by industry professionals where learners can work on actual engines from aircraft. This program also boasts a 95% employment placement rate.
  • Athletic Training at Cerritos College gives learners the opportunity to practice movement as well as injury prevention and management with industry experts. Many of these courses also transfer to degrees in kinesiology.
  • Welding CTE at Orange Coast College has over nine available certifications. These hands-on courses enable learners to prepare for careers in the fields of welding inspectors, welding engineers, welding supervisors, and advanced welders.
  • Technical Theater at Pierce College offers a certificate that enables learners to work as lighting and stagecraft designers and builders. This program is hands-on, working with the performing arts pathways to design and build shows at the school’s theater.
  • Visual Display and Presentation at Saddleback College offers a certificate in which learners have the opportunity to design, prep, and shoot merchandise for advertisements as well as hands-on experience with creating window displays.

Please note that completing pathways does not guarantee certification. Most certifications require successful pathway completion and successfully passing the professional exam for that field.

Summer School Options


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 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


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


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.


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!

Translate »