Curriculum & Culture

April-Wells-at-the-SlamAt iLEAD North Hollywood, we believe that “progressive” and “rigorous” are not mutually exclusive concepts when it comes to education. At the core of our mission is finding the “right college fit” for every learner, regardless of their academic strengths and weaknesses. “College knowledge” informs all that we do, from the many academic electives and AP courses offered, to family workshops on financial aid and scholarships, and to our “HQ” advisory period that deliver important college information and builds a strong and connected community.We focus on the whole child, valuing not just academic success on the path to college, but also social and emotional growth. At iLEAD North Hollywood, we believe that learners who are known well, know well.

In order to serve our mission of finding the right college fit and connecting with learners on a deeply personal level, we include the following elements;

Extensive College Counseling

The focus of our college counseling program is finding the right fit for every single student. As part of this mission, we offer college information during our advisory periods to every grade level and specialized workshops on Fridays that coach students through every stage of the college application process. As learners get closer to graduating, individual and small group counseling appointments for juniors, seniors, and their families increases the level of personal handling. Finally, targeted financial aid and college information family evening workshops are offered for all grade levels.  As a result of this extensive process, our first graduating class of 59 students were accepted to 143 colleges in 30 different states, including schools like Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Oberlin, Wellesley, NYU, Bryn Mawr, Howard, Reed, Pomona, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and many others.

Individual Learning Plans

In order to serve our mission of right college fit, Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) personalize goals and instruction for each child. We believe that learning should be interest-driven, peer-supported and focused on powerful outcomes. In the ILP process, learners meet with their advisory facilitator three times a year to set and follow up on goals, review performance data on adaptive tests, and discuss future plans for college.

Social-Emotional Learning

Academic achievement is only one component of a learner’s education at iLEAD. We also support the learner’s development of emotional intelligence, life skills and community engagement. Mindfulness is incorporated into all courses and advisories, and our partnership with the Hawn Foundation has brought the MindUp curriculum to North Hollywood.

Project-Based Learning

Many of our courses offer a dynamic classroom approach in which learners actively explore real-world design challenges to acquire deeper knowledge. Research shows that learners’ retention of content and attitude toward and interest in learning increase when PBL is done well. From our Banned Book Trial to a Tsunami Simulation Project, learners at North Hollywood are engaged in curriculum that has real world connections.

Workshop Fridays

Under this program, regular courses do not meet on Fridays and learners can participate in a variety of on-site, non-credit bearing enrichment activities and acceleration/remediation in all core subject areas.  Conversely, learners can study independently, volunteer in the community, and pursue professional opportunities and internships.  This allows for us to provide curriculum that goes beyond the core and provide students with greater exposure to arts, leadership, and academic competitions like Science Olympiad.

What does it mean to be an “Independent Study Learning Studio?”

iLEAD North Hollywood is chartered as a hybrid independent study program. While being chartered this way provides more flexibility than a traditional site based school, it also means more responsibility for learners and families and requires learners to be highly motivated and committed to their education. Our learners participate in an 80/20 approach, where they receive core instruction in California A-G requirements Monday-Thursday and have the option to participate in on-site, non credit-bearing enrichment and remediation activities on Fridays.  Many of our learners take advantage of our flexible approach by pursuing internships and outside volunteering/professional opportunities.

We believe that our approach better prepares learners for college, as it requires students to learn the essential skills of self-regulation, self-awareness, and self-direction. We also believe the flexible attendance requirements of independent study programs more closely resemble a college campus, and helps students adjust to a level of independence before going off on their own.

Deeper Learning

Deeper learning is a core value of ours at iLEAD North Hollywood. In classrooms where deeper learning is the focus, you find learners who are motivated and challenged—who look forward to their next assignment. They apply what they have learned in one subject area to newly encountered situations in another. They can see how their classwork relates to real life. They are gaining indispensable knowledge, skills and beliefs, including:

Mastery of Core Academic Content: Learners build their academic foundation in subjects like reading, writing, math and science. They understand key principles and procedures, recall facts, use the correct language and draw on their knowledge to complete new tasks.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Learners think critically, analytically and creatively. They know how to find, evaluate and synthesize information to construct arguments. They can design their own solutions to complex problems.

Collaboration: Collaborative learners work well in teams. They communicate and understand multiple points of view, and they know how to cooperate to achieve a shared goal.

Effective Communication: Learners communicate effectively in writing and in oral presentations. They structure information in meaningful ways, listen to and give feedback and construct messages for particular audiences.

Self-Directed Learning: Learners develop an ability to direct their own learning. They set goals, monitor their own progress, and reflect on their own strengths and areas for improvement. They learn to see setbacks as opportunities for feedback and growth. Learners who learn through self-direction are more adapable than their peers.

A Growth Mind-set: Learners with a growth mind-set have a strong belief in themselves. They trust their own abilities and believe their hard work will pay off, so they persist to overcome obstacles. They also learn from and support each other. They see the relevance of their schoolwork to the real world and their own future success.

When learners are developing knowledge, skills and academic mind-sets simultaneously, they learn more efficiently.

They acquire and retain more academic knowledge when they are engaged, believe their studies are important and are able to apply what they are learning in complex and meaningful ways.

Mastery of academic content is critical to a learner’s future success in college, careers and life, so it is the foundation of—and never overlooked in—deeper learning classrooms.

Read more in-depth definitions of this set of knowledge, skills and beliefs.