In a recent “Eye on the Valley” interview, Sara McDaniels and Matt Watson of SCVi/iLEAD tuition free charter school in Santa Clarita discussed how they’re supporting parents who are homeschooling amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
“We all know about how schools have gone virtual,” Matt Watson, curriculum specialist at SCVi/iLEAD said. “We’ve talked with our educators (about) the amazing things they’re doing now at SCVi and iLEAD Schools to adapt.”
In an interview SCVi/iLEAD’s strategic arts coordinator Sara McDaniels, the two educators discussed how their homeschool program was developed to both help parents who wish to exclusively homeschool their children, as well as parents seeking later enrollment in the tuition free charter school system.
McDaniels remarked that when SCVi officials applied to open their homeschool program years ago, they were nervous that they wouldn’t attract enough interested parents. That fear was proven unfounded, as the homeschool program has become “probably even more popular” than their campus based problem.
In fact, McDaniels herself placed her oldest son in homeschooling in order to help him later gain admission to SCVi.
As a tuition free public charter school, SCVi/iLEAD allows parents to apply via a lottery system. However, parents who commit to homeschooling their child for at least one semester can gain priority admission status when applying to send their child to SCVi/iLEAD schools.
With COVID-19 related school closures, many parents are turning to resources offered by SCVi/iLEAD on their dedicated Homeschooling Answers website. Of these, some parents will undoubtedly embrace homeschooling as an option even after the coronavirus pandemic has ended and schools open normally.
When asked how her personal education background has helped her achieve success, both personally and in her role as the strategic arts coordinator for the tuition free charter school, Sara McDaniels discussed the importance of arts education.
“I, myself, had a fantastic public school arts education,” McDaniels said. “And then I went on to study theatre arts in college. I have to say, as a life skill, when it comes to studying the arts, especially production theater like I did, it’s the most amazing project management tool you can give somebody.”
As someone who currently develops art-based projects for SCVi/iLEAD, McDaniels says the skills she gained with her arts background have been immeasurably beneficial.
“When you’re developing a (theatrical) production, you start with a vision and you coordinate a lot of people to make it all come together,” McDaniels explained. This production cycle mirrors her work developing and funding projects for SCVi/iLEAD.
McDaniels currently works to help other educators at the tuition free charter school integrate arts education into the project based learning curriculum for all subjects, helping learners receive a balanced education which prepares them for success in later life.
Matt Watson explained that the creative thinking and project management skills taught in art-focused classes has been vital to the American spirit as we find solutions to challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We, as a species, but especially as Americans, we have this remarkable ability to innovate and adapt to what we’re going through,” Watson said. “Right now, we’re living through unprecedented times, and things can be really really challenging.”
Still, Watson noted, especially with the homeschool support programs offered by the tuition free charter school, he’s been “seeing higher quality education taking place at our iLEAD schools now than ever before.”
Ed. Note: This article is a KHTS Community Spotlight for SCVi/iLEAD Charter School in Santa Clarita.
SCVi/iLEAD is a tuition free charter school in Santa Clarita that uses project-based and social-emotional learning concepts to inspire and motivate lifelong learners with the skills they need to lead in the 21st century. Technology is incorporated into all components of the curriculum, and learners are given a firm grounding in the arts, humanities and sciences. School officials value and encourage development of leadership skills by inspiring character and confidence in learners. SCVi/iLEAD offers transitional kindergarten (TK) through 12th grade, providing a unique learning opportunity for those in need of a kindergarten in Santa Clarita, elementary school in Santa Clarita, jr high in Santa Clarita, middle school in Santa Clarita or high school in Santa Clarita.
28060 Hasley Canyon Rd.
Castaic, CA 91384
Lower School: (661) 705-4820
Upper School: (661) 705-8420
SCVi/iLEAD – Santa Clarita
SCVi/iLEAD, High School in Santa Clarita, Middle School in Santa Clarita, Jr High School in Santa Clarita, Elementary School in Santa Clarita, Kindergarten in Santa Clarita, Charter School in Santa Clarita, Tuition Free