Alina Simons Senior Shout Out

We have many outstanding Seniors this school year! Alina S., a Homeschool Academy Graduate, is no exception. Alina is a concurrent enrollment student who loves all things Visual and Performing Arts. She has really enjoyed her time at Elite, as it has allowed her to discover different hobbies and spend time with her family.

Alina has accomplished so many incredible things during her time here at Elite. We decided to ask her a few questions to help you learn more about her and all that she has achieved.

What are your plans after graduation?

I have been concurrently enrolled at Grossmont College and plan to continue my journey by completing an associate degree and transferring to San Diego State University. There are many subjects and fields that I am drawn to, but I am confident that I will always pursue my passion for creative endeavors through writing, art, and drama.

What are you most proud of from this school year, academic or non-academic?

I am most proud of the opportunity to be concurrently enrolled in community college as a high school student. I have made new friends through my online classes and learned that I can succeed in college.

What has been your favorite part of being a student here at Elite?

The most important part of my high school experience has been acquiring knowledge. I love learning, whether it be a new craft, talent, or something academic. Being homeschooled has allowed me to learn with my wonderful family and has given me great opportunities to learn from amazing experiences.

Students & Parents: Don't Miss Alina's Graduation Speech!

Alina will be the Homeschool Academy Speaker at our in-person graduation ceremony, happening June 14! For our Elite families and friends, or others interested in attending, the ceremony starts at 6 p.m. at Hawk Ranch in Temecula. All of our Elite Families will be able to view the ceremony virtually via Vimeo Livestream! The link is on ParentSquare, so please log into your account and grab the link. Congratulations to all of our Graduating Seniors!

Interested in learning more about our Homeschool Academy? You can learn more here.


Sage Shines - Virtual Academy 11th Grader Becomes San Diego Broadway Award Finalist

Meet Sage: A Virtual Academy 11th Grader who has absolutely soared this school year! Sage has been singing and performing for as long as she can remember, she has always had such passion for it. She met Mrs. Amy Ciceri here at Elite, when she started participating in our Visual and Performing Arts opportunities. Mrs. Ciceri encouraged her to pursue her craft and entered her into the Broadway San Diego Awards.

The Broadway San Diego Awards is a regional competition for high schoolers across San Diego County. The winners, top actor and top actress, go on to represent San Diego at the Jimmy Awards. It is a very thorough audition process, including virtual and in person auditions. This was Sage's first time entering and she did not shy away from the competition!

"I was nominated as top 10 best actress. At the event, each actress sings for a top 3 spot and then the winner goes on to the Jimmy Awards. I made it through to the top three!"

Sage decided to enroll with Elite this school year, as her dad is immunocompromised. She had her reservations at first, because she was really looking forward to the "traditional" high school experience.

"I realized that being homeschooled opens up so many doors for me artistically. It enables me to finish school earlier in the day, giving me the flexibility to hone in on a variety of different aspects and cultivate my craft".

Sage typically is able to finish her school work in the afternoon, so she has the rest of the day to practice the song or monologue she's working on at the time. Her mom is so proud and has enjoyed watching her thrive in this new schooling environment.

"At Elite, Sage is now able to balance school and her passion!" 

Sage would like to major in either musical theatre or acting in college. Due to her hard work as an Elite Eagle, her goals are definitely within reach. We look forward to everything she will be able to accomplish as a student, performer, and beyond!


Student Shout Out - Flex Academy Student Zeke B.

Zeke is a 2nd Grade Student in Elite's Flex Academy and has soared like an Eagle this school year! His Teacher, Mrs. Davis, wanted to give him a special shoutout for his progress and impact he has made on his schoolmates.

"Zeke has shown massive amounts of improvement in all academic areas this year. He shows up for small group sessions and has raving reviews from his tutors! His hard work shows in his iReady assessment, where he grew over 30 points in both ELA and Math!" 

Zeke's parents chose to enroll him in Elite and they are so proud of his progress. Zeke loves to play basketball and baseball. He really likes his teacher and the friends he has made this school year. He enjoys the interactive small group sessions, and it shows!

"Not only does he come to class prepared, he is eager to share out and show what he has learned. Zeke is a good friend who takes the time to get to know his peers. He will often ask about their day, something he sees in the background that they have in common, and he remembers those connections in other meetings and builds on them. Zeke is an all around example of what it means to #BeElite! He takes advantage of every available session, works hard off screen, and establishes great relationships with his peers."

Zeke wants to be a police officer when he grows up, and we know he can do anything that he works towards. We are so proud that he has chosen to Be Elite and has represented our school so well!

Elite Academic Academy is now enrolling for the 22/23 school year. Please visit our website to get started on your academic journey with Elite!


The Quest Crew's Adventure in Nature

Mr. Olson is our CTE Recreation Teacher and an extreme outdoor enthusiast. He uses his passion and wealth of knowledge about the outdoors to open the natural world up to our students. Recently, Elite partnered with Pali Institute to offer an awesome opportunity to experience nature first hand. From biology and ecology, to team building and problem solving, this is where textbooks come to life!

The Pali Institute is an innovative outdoor program offering educational experiences to schools and youth groups. Their campus is located on the crest of the San Bernardino mountains near California’s gorgeous Lake Arrowhead. During their field trip, students were able to experience learning from a whole new angle through a variety of courses and activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our students were separated into three different groups: the Young Explorers, Outdoor Experience, and Leadership Experience. The Young Explorers option was for our 3rd-5th grade students and included Art in Nature, a Forest Ecology hike, the Living Fossils lab, and "Animal Survivor" class. Students in this group enjoyed a slower pace of activities while their imaginations were able to run wild as they collected acorns and bright yellow willow leaves for their art creations.

The Outdoor Experience option was for our adventurous students. This action packed day had them shooting arrows, building shelters and identifying the plants of the San Bernardino Mountains. Classes during this program included Archery, Forest Ecology hike, Outdoor Skills & Survival Techniques. We had so many students signed up for these activities that two groups were formed; this gave students ample opportunity to practice their shot and build shelters!

The Leadership Experience was for the lionhearts and risk-takers in the group. They challenged their eye with archery; built camaraderie with classmates, and tested their nerves in an adrenaline-inducing high ropes course! This was a popular option for our high schoolers, and students appreciated the opportunity to connect with one another in a natural setting. We also had a group of young risk-takers who completely conquered the ropes course. Age is clearly not a sign of courage for our Elite students! 

Mr. Olson did not stop there - he also coordinated a hike for our Elite families in San Diego County at the Santa Margarita River Trail! Over 30 students, parents and staff joined the hike and had an absolute blast while taking in some knowledge from Mr. O along the way. The group identified several native plants, including a poison oak patch, caught a crawfish in the river and spotted a pumpkinseed fish between the rocks! Kingfishers and songbirds hopped between branches as the group made their way to the numerous beaches along the river.

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Thank you Mr. Olson and Pali Institute for being such gracious hosts and instilling an appreciation for Nature and a love of learning with our Elite Students! Mr. Olson will be back in action during January 2022 with skiing and snowboarding at Snow Valley, and Ice Skating in both Riverside and San Diego Counties. If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming recreation events or learning about our CTE Academic Courses, please visit our website's CTE Page.


Celebrating Veterans Day with Operation Gratitude

Mrs. Michelle Hilton is one of our fantastic Homeschool Educators here at Elite. Her father is an Air Force Veteran who served for 50 years, so the military played a very big part in her life. In honor of Veterans Day, she asked her students to write letters to Veterans with the help of Operation Gratitude. This thoughtful gesture soon inspired other teachers and Elite families to join in and express their gratefulness with writing letters or creating their own artwork to express their thanks.

   

Operation Gratitude Letters to Veterans from a few of our Elite Students! 

 

When we think of our Military Veterans, we all think of the friends or family members in our lives that have served and protected. Here at Elite, we are especially grateful for our Veteran Staff, Parents, and Family Members. We had the opportunity to ask a couple of our current Elite Staff and Military Veterans how their time in the Military impacted their current career and led them to working in Education.

 

Adam Woodard, Elite's Director of Finance and Navy SEAL Veteran

My time in the SEAL teams taught me in no uncertain terms the value of teamwork, discipline, and finding a way to succeed regardless of the adversity in front of us. In my new mission as Director of Finance, I might not get to interact very much with the teachers and students that make this school as amazing as it is, but my team and I are honored to be in a position to help them achieve their goals. Leaving the Teams, I wanted to find a driven group of people who understand what it means to work hard and find a way, and I think Elite Academic Academy fulfills that definition and then some. This team truly is Elite!

 

 

 

 

Laura Spencer, Ed.D, Chief Academic Innovation Officer and Army Psychological Operations Specialist Veteran

I joined the Army on a whim when I turned 18. Little did I know just how much it would change my life. As a Psychological Operations Specialist attached to a Special Warfare Unit, I learned that I was capable of achieving just about anything if I set my mind to it and pushed through my self-doubts. With this new outlook on life, I volunteered to serve in Germany for 3.5 years. With nothing but a calling card and the German translation to order a burger at McDonald’s, I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. I traveled to 13 countries while stationed there; made amazing friends; and gained life and leadership skills that continue to serve me today. I would encourage anyone thinking of serving to do some research about the options available and do it! I’m grateful for my time served, and proud that both my daughters have chosen to serve as well, in the U.S. Navy. (Go Army! Beat Navy!)

 

Staff Family Members Salute their Veterans

 

Kira Donaldson, Business Service Clerk and Wife to USMC Master Gunnery Sergeant, James Donaldson Jr. 

Quite a few men have served in my immediate family to include my maternal and paternal grandfathers, uncle, great-uncle and brother-in-law. My husband is an active duty Marine currently serving at Camp Pendleton. Last week he received notification that he has been selected for promotion to the highest enlisted ranking of Master Gunnery Sergeant! I am very grateful for the past, present and future Veterans. 

 

 

Maria Mack, Flex Academy Educator and Daughter to Army and Vietnam War Veteran, Charlie Mack 

I am proud of this veteran, who happens to be my dad, Charlie Mack.  He was in the army at the height of the Vietnam War.  He inspired my uncle to enlist in the army.  My uncle later on became a paratrooper.  Happy Veteran's Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nolan Hutton, Special Education Coordinator and son to the first Female EOD Bomb Tech in the Marines

 

 

 

 

 

There is still time to write a letter or create artwork for Operation Gratitude. Here is the link to the letter writing tool kit. Once the students have written their letters, you can email them to your Teacher of Record or to Kiley Allen at kallen@eliteacademic.com. We want to wish a Happy Veterans Day to all of our Military Veterans and their Families!

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” - Elmer Davis, WWII Journalist


Jayden Cox: Student Highlight of the Month

Congratulations to Jayden Cox, an 11th Grade Flex Student who is our Student Highlight of the Month! This is Jayden's 2nd School Year with Elite, and he has shown a lot of growth since he first enrolled.

Jayden came to Elite and was simply focused on improving his grades and relationship with education. While he has made leaps and bounds in that area with the help of his Teacher, Mrs. Potrero, he has also found his niche within our Elite Clubs.

"I'm in a lot of extra curricular activities right now. I'm a part of the BeElite Podcast, Kindness Ambassadors, ArtSeen and CoreUs. I think these clubs are pretty cool and helpful because it helped me get through my shyness phase".

Jayden's current favorite subjects are Chemistry, Spanish and Construction. He chose to stay with Elite after completing our Summer Program in 2020 because he felt he got a lot more help and personalized instruction than he had previously. He would really like to get involved with the music production industry, which is why he enjoys the ArtSeen and CoreUs Clubs. He also really appreciates his Teacher, Mrs. Potrero, who helps him stay on track with his classes and encourages him to keep working hard.

"I think Mrs. Potrero is a cool teacher, she helps me through a lot of my classes, goes over everything...Elite changed a lot of my Academic Experience, I have teachers that actually grade my work and give me feedback, which helps a lot."

His Teacher in the Flex Academy, Mrs. Potrero, is deeply dedicated to her students and their success at Elite.

"We appreciate Jayden's involvement in the clubs and activities at Elite. He has become a student leader! I appreciate that Jayden includes people and encourages them to be part of the school community".

Congratulations Jayden on being Elite's Student Highlight of the month. We can't wait to see how you continue to impact other students through your creativity and kindness in our Elite Clubs!


Meet Homeschool Teacher Amanda Bobczynski

Amanda Bobczynski is one of our fantastic Homeschool Educators here at Elite! She has been in Education for 17 years, a teacher for 10 years, and has been with Elite for 3 years. She chose to #BeElite because she is passionate about Education.

"I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. I have experience teaching several diverse fifth grade classes.  I had the opportunity to teach and host various clubs such as robotics and coding. I was a college advisor for seven years and I discovered people are just a couple decisions and choices away from their dreams, and rarely do they accomplish them without an education." 

Ms. B grew up in Shell Beach on the Central Coast of California before moving to San Diego in High School, which is where she has put down her roots. She has a daughter who is a sophomore in college, and a fur baby with four legs, named Coco. She loves sunsets, walking on the beach, and hanging out with family and friends.

"My goal is to instill a passion, teaching students how to critically think, inspire, and motivate every student I come in contact with. I have learned that hard work, a positive attitude, and perseverance always pays off." 

Homeschool Director Evan Jorgensen notices Ms. B's good qualities and is glad that she is a part of the Homeschool Staff:
"Regardless if students are looking to complete FAFSA or learning Phonemic Awareness, Amanda is ready and willing with a vast toolbelt of resources to support her students. Thank you Amanda for working hard and going above and beyond to support your Homeschooling Families."
Kirk Shea, an Elite Parent also recognizes how lucky they are to have Ms. B in their corner:
"Amanda has been so friendly and passionate. She’s been helping us navigate the homeschool world for the last two years with great success. She always makes sure to check in on how our family is doing at all of our meetings."   

While Ms. B has a diverse background in teaching different subjects and grades, her favorite subject to teach has changed a little since she first started her teaching career.

"I used to love math, but now it is writing.  I love giving students the opportunity to explore their creative side, inspire students to go beyond their capabilities, give students the flexibility to find their writing “voice”,  and give individualized feedback during writing conferences." 

We are so grateful to have a dedicated and hardworking teacher like Ms. B to be a part of our awesome Homeschool Academy Staff!

"I love being a homeschool teacher because I get to connect with families,  help facilitate a love for learning, and create individualized education paths for each student. My passion is to inspire students to be a lifelong learner and each child is like working with raw diamonds that I can help shape into precious stones.  Cheers to being a lifelong learner!" 


Shelby Murray - Homeschool Academy Students Ranks First Nationally in Horsemanship

Shelby Murray is one of our Homeschool Academy Students that just finished up her 10th grade school year. Like many of our students, she works hard in all areas of her life. Shelby has taken it one step further and become an absolute rockstar in the sport of Three day Eventing. She was recently ranked Number 1 in eventing at the Junior/training division by the United States Eventing Association, USEA. We had to learn more about Shelby's rise up the ranks and what keeps her motivated to do her best in her sport.

Shelby's mom, Julie, has loved horses her whole life. It seems that the love of horses and discovery of the sport came from her! They got involved with the US Pony Club when Shelby was 9 years old, and have been a part of the organization ever since. Through the Pony Club, learning to ride a horse is just one aspect that you're taught. Kids learn everything there is to know about a horse, from its hooves to its ears. They also learn how to properly care for a horse on their own.

"Children learn all aspects about a horse including it's genetic defaults, nutrition, diseases, anatomy.... The Pony Club fully encompasses the whole gamete of owning a horse" Julie said. "It starts with basic stuff, but now Shelby is one level from being at the top of the Pony Club’s horse management pinnacle A rating.".

Every rating that Shelby has surpassed has been earned. In the upper levels national raters come and test both her riding ability and horsemanship knowledge.

Shelby started out at the Fallbrook Pony Club, where future Tokyo 2021 Olympian Liz Halliday-Sharp got her start as well. Shelby's family has since started their own Pony Club, San River Downs, which they saw was needed for Shelby in order to progress further in the sport. "She has her own motor and I'm just helping to guide her engine" mom said.

On top of being nationally ranked in her sport, Shelby is an awesome student and also works part time as a working student at Swift Ridge Eventing. She has a great head on her shoulders and is thinking about her future. Shelby has a goal of becoming a dental hygienist so she can make a living for herself and continue with Equestrian as her hobby. She's also working on her gold award for girl scouts and is a part of the national charity league with 500 volunteer hours logged over the last four years.

We asked Shelby's mom how she took the news about being ranked Number 1 in her Junior/training division.

"She's super humble and just happy that she gets to ride. Her main horse Sonik was injured a year ago, he had to have surgery and just came back for a show one month ago. So every ride that she gets to ride with her horses is a gift to her. Another horse she rides is Reverie. This horse is not easy, but Shelby rose to the occasion and they're doing fabulous. It's unusual for anyone to get 4 first places in a row in eventing. She could have done much more showing and earning points for the leaderboard, but she didn't want to possibly injure the horse. She said it's not worth it and she wants what's best for the horse".

Check out this video compilation created by Shelby of her past riding competitions with her Horse, Reverie GWF.  

That is where her horsemanship knowledge comes into play. On top of riding her horse, Shelby is there every day feeding, wrapping, exercising, grooming the horse, completely taking care of it as it is her responsibility. She knows what it's like to take care of a sick horse and understands what over-activity can do to them, so she refrained from showing too much. Being a part of the Pony Club and continuing her education in horsemanship has taught her a lot more than just being a passenger on a horse.  It’s a delicate dance between horse and rider, the ultimate partnership in a very challenging sport.

There are some Homeschool Programs that do not recognize Equestrian as a sport, which is why Shelby found a good fit with Elite.

She is able to get an unmatched education through Elite and Mr. Shirley and through the US Pony Club. The flexibility of Elite's program allows her to fit her riding and horse-training responsibilities in when she needs. It also allows her to teach younger kids in the Pony Club about riding and horsemanship.

"She'd love to help anybody who has any questions. She teaches horsemanship as part of the upper horsemanship rating responsibility and she also does it for the love of it" mom says.

Shelby is always looking for the next step, which is why she recently started looking into the different aspects of eventing. Eventing is described as the equestrian triathlon and is extremely rigorous. There are three phases: dressage, cross country, and show jumping. Shelby is looking into shadowing  cross country course designers/builders and learn more about that phase, which is the most dangerous. But her background in this sport has prepared her for taking this next step.

We have no doubt she will succeed in this event, just like she has in everything else. Shelby, thank you for choosing to Be Elite and representing our school so well!

If anyone is interested in joining the Elite Equestrian Team or would like to learn more from Shelby herself, please email our Community Coordinator, Kiley Allen kallen@eliteacademic.com

Clubs, Classes and Connections: Jeannelle Reeves Takes Full Advantage of Being an Elite Student

Jeannelle Reeves, a Junior in Flex Academy, is changing the mindset and academic experience of our students through the Kindness Club and Be Elite Podcast. She also helps runs our Lunch Bunch, which is a recurring school wide virtual lunch activity where students have fun connecting with each other while eating lunch. In addition to being a positive influence on our school, Jeannelle is an exceptional student.

“What made you decide to come to Elite?”

I was attending another school and they had a lot of work, but the videos and notes were completely different from the test. I was so confused and I wanted to find a different school. I saw an ad for Elite and I was like “Hey maybe I’ll check it out”. I saw that I could join the  Flex Academy, so that I can have my work on Strongmind (online) but also have a teacher to meet with. My problem has always been with teachers not getting back to me. Also, I saw that it was tuition free and there was a possibility for enrichment funds that could pay for piano lessons!

“Tell me about your overall experience with Elite!” 

It has been awesome!

“If I need help, my teachers get back to me right away and I can tell that they care about me! I feel like the school’s mission is to make the students feel cared about and helping them understand everything.”

They actually do what they say they are going to do, it’s not all talk. My teacher of record, Mrs. Steele is awesome! She’s always there for me and she always cares about me, my mom, and my cat! I have a lot of fun at our weekly meetings. Mr. Smith, my Marketing Teacher is super awesome. He makes Marketing and the Podcast a lot of fun!

“You are such an involved student. Kindness Ambassadors, Lunch Bunch, Podcast, and joining a lot of school events! What brought you to get involved with school activities and what do you enjoy about it?” 

At first I wasn’t really involved in anything. I wanted to join the Podcast, but I wasn’t really sure about it. I thought “maybe next time”. But I got an email saying that I was picked to be a part of the kindness ambassadors and I didn’t really know what it was. I thought it might be cool to be part of it. After that, we did a kindness week episode on the podcast and I was like “hey this was fun” so then I joined the podcast club!

“After I started to see how fun it is, I like getting to be part of things that the school is doing! I like how we are starting to all get to know each other and now I am starting to know students at the school that I wouldn’t have known before.”

“What are your hobbies outside of school clubs?”

I really love music and I take piano lessons, I like creative things and doing crafts! I like to paint, bake, and I like to cross stitch and I like this thing called diamond dotz! I also really love legos (like the lego piano), and playing games like Animal Crossing and Mario!

How has your academic learning experience been like at Elite? 

Really good! I feel like all my teachers really care about me! Anytime I need help I know my teachers will always get back to me and help me with whatever I need. I feel like for the most part Strongmind is pretty easy to navigate and Canvas is nice too! My teacher of record, Mrs. Steele is super awesome and she always helps me if I need anything.

” I also like how I can do classes on google classroom because I have been able to do music, film, and photography. It’s nice to have flexibility in my classes!”

Jeannelle is always putting her best foot forward, and we are with her every step. We are excited for Jeannelle to continue to excel in her academics and in her commitment to bringing our students together through the Podcast and Kindness Club. 

Keep up the amazing job, Jeannelle; we are so proud of you!


Celebrate Pi Day with these Awesome Activities

Albert Einstein, arguably the most famous theoretical physicist to date, was born on March 14, 1879. March 14th also happens to be Pi Day, in honor of π - the ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle. Regardless of the circle's size, this ratio will always equal Pi, or 3.14 for short. Pi is an irrational number, meaning the decimal form never ends or becomes repetitive in numbers. Here is Pi to just 18 decimal places: 3.141592653589793238. 

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In order to celebrate National Pi Day on March 14th, there are a ton of educational activities you can do in order to explore this ratio further.  

  1. Use the first 20 digits in pi and write a story using the numbers. You will use a 3-letter word then a 1-letter word then a 4-letter word and keep going!
  2. Make a pie, measure it, take the circumference and area, then EAT! 
  3. Make Pi Plates. Glue the Pi symbol into the middle, and color it using ten different colors that coincided with the numbers. Then write the digits of Pi around the outside border as many times as you can! 
  4. Make Pi Bracelets. Take two different colors of beads. One color represents odd numbers and one color represents even numbers. Put together the bracelets based on the 20 numbers of Pi and wear it on your wrist proudly  
  5. Read stories related to Pi Day. “Sir Cumference and the Knights of the Round Table”, a story about the introduction of the circle vocabulary (circumference, diameter, radius, etc.), and “Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi”, a story about the discovery of the value of Pi. 
  6. Find objects around the house that are circular in shape and measure the circumference, the diameter and the radius. Find the value of the circumference divided by the diameter, and the circumference divided by the radius. It will be great to see how similar the answers are with the different objects! 
  7. Come up with a song about Pi with 8 facts to the tune of a nursery rhyme.