Peak Performance Kick-Off 2023 at SoFi Stadium

We had a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime kickoff to our Peak Performance Program at our SoFi event! Hundreds of students from across Southern California arrived in style with their teams via charter bus, ran out of the Rams tunnel, participated in Athletic benchmark testing on the field with Zybek sports, and had several celebrity and athletic speakers, such as actor Noel G and former NFL player Spencer Tillman. It was a night to remember! Thank you, everyone, for your attendance and support in celebrating our amazing athletes!



How To Succeed In Virtual School

By Angelina A. , Elite Academic Academy Student

Originally created for our CTE Social Media Marketing course

Whether you were forced into virtual school due to the pandemic or you made the decision long before or after the pandemic came about, the switch to online schooling is hard for many students. Adapting to the schedule of creating your own school work and independent study can certainly come as a challenge, especially since we are so used to having our school schedule planned out for us. It is not anymore the days of simply just having the task of showing up to class and listening to our teacher talk.

Put The Distractions Down, Focus.

Putting your mobile device or any distractions away during study time is pivotal to your success, and in this aspect, virtual schools and in-person classes are identical. In this article published by the Science News Bureau, it states that studies show that if you constantly have some fidget or device that will cause you to lose focus on the task at hand, your brain will be unsuccessful at retaining information. Even if you think that despite your need for entertainment, you are paying good attention to the material, your brain is not going to be able to process the information effectively, and when it comes time to recall the information for a test, etc., you will be unable to. This can ultimately lead to bad grades; as we all know, oftentimes this leads to a domino effect. 

Find What Time Of Day Works Best For YOU

This is another very important factor to pay close attention to. Everybody's different; some people feel their best as soon as they wake up; while others may need to get up, eat, exercise, and maybe journal before they feel their brain is performing at its best; and on the other end of the spectrum, some people feel the most alive at night time, and quite literally dead in the daytime. Whichever one sounds most like you is perfectly fine! Just be sure to utilize your brainpower when it is at its highest.

After all, trying to get schoolwork done when your brain is foggy or just simply unable to focus will not benefit you. If anything, it will cause you to lose motivation for school altogether, which we certainly don't want. Just think about it; doing your school when your brain is most powerful will allow you to be able to flow through your school work effortlessly, at least with less effort than it would take if you tried doing your school while your brain juices were performing poorly.

Set Reasonable Goals, Plan!

Setting reasonable goals is focal when it comes to succeeding in any aspect of your life, and schoolwork is no different. When I say reasonable, I don't mean to set super easy goals that you

know you will be able to complete with little to no effort, but I also don't want you to set goals that will have you working every moment of your day with no time to enjoy your life outside of

school. What I mean by reasonable goals are goals that you know you can accomplish as long as you plan your time appropriately and genuinely focus. Having goals that you want to achieve allows you to have something to look forward to, and achieving goals related

to school will make you more excited to actually do your schoolwork because of the dopamine release that you get from accomplishing goals. The article, The Importance, Benefits, and Values of Goal Setting, by Leslie Riopel, MSc., is a great guide to start setting your goals and it also talks about the effects of goal setting and accomplishment on our mind, overall success, and happiness.

Find A Study Buddy

It can be highly beneficial to have another person that's willing to sit in a quiet study room with you and work on school tasks together, giving each other support when it's needed. In simple terms, we are largely affected and influenced by those that are around us. For instance, if you are in a room full of people that are playing games and watching TV, within 10 minutes of being in their presence, you are going to be doing the same thing that they are doing. On the other more positive hand, if you sit in a room with another person that is focused and studying, you are 10x more likely to follow in their footsteps, as well.

There are plenty of ways to find somebody you can have study dates with. One of the most evident and obtainable ways is by getting in contact with somebody that is in one of your classes. You can find these people in your class discussions or even in specific assignments where you and your classmates share your projects with each other. Or, if you went to in-person classes, get in contact with your old classmates! It's always nice to get back in contact with old friends.

Utilize The Resources Available To You

Take a moment to realize the fact that you are home and free to utilize any resources that you'd like, whenever you'd like! For example, if you're a visualiser, then bring out that giant whiteboard that's been abandoned in the garage for years. That way, you have something to brainstorm your ideas for your project on. Or, if you need frequent refreshers in order to maximize your brain's focus, then utilize the fact that you can take a quick fresh-air walk break whenever you'd like. The list can go on and on, but the point I am trying to make is to utilize the fact that you are not in the enclosed environment that you are used to being in with traditional school; you have the freedom to create the best, most individualized study schedule to maximize your success.

Exercise Maximizes Brainpower

Exercise is undoubtedly the most beneficial thing anyone can do for themself. From curing depression to keeping your heart healthy and reducing your risk for health problems at every point in your lifetime. The effect that exercise has on your brain is probably the most

notable effect that we should mention in this blog. In this article published by the CDC, they touch on the exact effects that exercise has on our brain and our body. "Physical activity can improve your cognitive health—helping you think, learn, problem-solve, and enjoy an emotional balance. It can improve memory and reduce anxiety or depression". These results have come after decades of studying neuro and physical science; there's no rebutting these facts! If you want to improve your cognitive health and, ultimately, your cognitive performance, exercise for at least 8 hours every week.

Stay In Contact with Your Teachers

This is pretty obvious, but surprisingly enough, many students, including myself, forget that we have complete access to our teachers despite being at home. For me personally, this comes as a result of not having to go into a class and see my teacher daily. The reason may be completely different for you, but regardless, reaching out to your teacher when you find yourself stuck on a project or unclear on directions is essential to your success as a student. After all, being your teacher and ensuring your success is your teacher's job! Regardless if you are in person or not, these individuals are supposed to be there to support their students with any questions or concerns, big or small.

Lastly, Make A Schedule, and Stick To It

The final step to creating a master plan for success regarding this challenging new school concept is to create an effective and well-thought-out schedule for your weekdays.

This may take you a couple or even a few weeks to perfect, but the steps are simple; by just simply paying attention to what works best for you and makes you feel your best (mentally and physically), you will be able to put these findings into a master plan and set yourself up a schedule! 

Elite Honored as a 2023 California Distinguished School

Elite Academic Academy-Mountain Empire has earned the honor of becoming a California Distinguished School.

This honor is a prestigious two-year honor given to the state's top-performing schools using performance indicators specified on the California School Dashboard. This is only possible due to the innovative and collaborative efforts of our fantastic teaching staff, students, parents, classified staff, community partners, and the administrative team!

Holiday-Themed Creativity: Have Fun While Learning Over Winter Break!

December is a wonderful time of year for our families! While we might be busy making holiday travel plans, cooking, or shopping, this month can also be a fantastic opportunity to inspire meaningful learning. Thematic integration of reading, writing, and math activities can be done easily with a little creativity. It can be a lot of fun too!

December is a great time for cultural learning:

You can research and write about traditions celebrated around the world this time of year. Some examples include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia's Day (Sweden), The Legend of La Befana (Italy), Sinterklaas Day (Holland), Las Posadas (Mexico), Cobweb Christmas (Ukraine), the Yule Cat (Iceland) and many others.

Read holiday themed books and short stories. Check out your local library to find countless options!

Memorize and recite a holiday themed poem for family and guests.

Be sure to integrate writing projects into your daily learning. To make this even more fun, use festive paper and holiday stationery, or create your own by adding family pictures or holiday clipart. Another option is to make construction paper covers for stories topped with ribbon and a bow so the finished project resembles a present! Or add a special "peek-over" or festive frame to make writing come alive and be more fun to create and present.

Ideas for writing in December are limitless. Possible writing activities include:

Write letters to family, friends, neighbors, or even Santa! Use this as an opportunity to review the parts of a friendly letter, writing addresses, and mailing. Don't forget to add stickers and hand drawn pictures!

Read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and make tree-shaped paper ornaments with a "Gift of Love" written on the front to give to others. ( These are the gifts that money cannot buy—washing dishes, raking leaves, free babysitting... )

Write a new version of the story of the Gingerbread Man to accompany any cookies you may bake.

Write a holiday story using a winter or holiday themed wordbank.

Write about a favorite holiday memory or family tradition.

Write a persuasive paragraph. Is it better to give or to receive? Would you rather be an elf or a reindeer? Be sure to include your reasoning!

Write a sensory description about the sights and smells of your home during a special holiday meal.

Write a holiday "How-To." How do you build a snowman? Decorate your house? Plan a Party?

Write an acrostic poem using the word "Christmas," "Winter," or "Rudolph."

December is also a great time to practice real world math.

Create a grocery list complete with prices for budgeting. Use this as an opportunity to review coins, bills, and counting money. For older children, this is a wonderful opportunity to read ads and determine which stores offer the best deals.

Go gift shopping! Create a budget and plan ahead.

Cook and bake together. Use this as a chance to practice measurements and conversions.

Practice shapes, estimation, and surface area when wrapping gifts. Do you have enough wrapping paper? Will one roll be enough? How do you know?

Plan a party. What supplies will you need for your guests? How many of each item will you need?

Do some crafting. Many paper crafts require measuring and using rulers.

Plan a road trip. How many miles will it be? How long will it take? What time will you arrive? How much gas will you use? How do you know?

Project of the Month

Create a holiday themed flap book. My family made a "countdown to Christmas" calendar using this idea. After reading The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum, we numbered and sequenced the main events in the story and created flaps to reveal the writing behind each window. It was a fun and unique way to respond to literature. All we needed was a Christmas shopping bag and a backboard. Flap books can be used in countless ways to demonstrate learning.

Let creativity be your guide! Happy Holidays, Elite Families!


Post written by Erin Burhans, Homeschool Academy Teacher of Record.

Staff Highlight - Mrs. Pearce Brings Her Own Craft to the Flex Academy

There are many reasons that people get into teaching. Ms. Danica Pearce, one of our newest Flex Academy Teachers, knew from a young age that she wanted to have a career in education. We asked her about her decision to become a teacher, and how she stays connected with her students in a remote environment.

“It is so much fun to learn alongside children and see their curiosity, excitement, and understanding light up their eyes.”  This is Danica’s eleventh year in education.  She started as a teacher’s aide where she worked with students in small groups. Some of those students were brand new to America and only just starting to learn English!  She has taught all subjects to all ages. “One of my favorites was teaching Drama and putting on plays throughout the year!”

Danica chose to join our Elite family for the 22/23 school year and is finding new and creative ways to connect with her students in a remote environment. One of those ways is to spotlight one student each week in her “Guardian of the Week” series. She draws the student in the style of their favorite show or movie! It encourages her to keep up a hobby that she loves and is fun for the students. “I love talking and joking with my students. I am a kid at heart, so I love talking about and making references to shows and things that the students and I love.”

Danica is also excited about all of the fun field trips available to students this school year! She plans on attending Amy’s Farm with the Flex Academy, where she will get to meet with her students in person and see a wide variety of plant and animal species living a symbiotic life. Danica’s students are in good hands with her enthusiasm and compassion. We are so glad she joined the Elite family this school year and are excited to see her students shoot for the moon! If you would like to learn more about the Flex Academy or our upcoming field trips, please visit our website.

Senior Virtual Academy Student Alexis T. Earns Softball Scholarship

Our Virtual Academy senior student, Alexis T.  is not only an outstanding student, but she is a talented softball player as well.  Alexis recently earned a scholarship to play Division 1 NCAA softball at San Jose State University. While she will soon be wearing a Spartan Uniform, she still and will always be an Elite Eagle! 

In her early years, Alexis started out playing softball recreationally and had a lot of fun. She made a ton of friends, kept busy, worked on her athleticism, and by the time she turned 11, she knew that she wanted to compete at a higher level. This is the pivotal moment that started the journey of playing competitive travel softball. “It was here that I learned I could continue to do what I love at the collegiate level. So, I made that my goal and never looked back. It has been an absolute rollercoaster full of ups and downs and tons of sacrifices, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.” says Alexis.

Alexis currently plays for the USA Athletics on the 18U Gold team. The athletics is a top-tier, competitive organization based out of Long Beach, CA.  The organization is owned and run by husband and wife, Mike and Rose Rogers. Alexis decided to join Elite Academic Academy during the COVID Pandemic because she knew that it was the school that would give her the education she needed and the freedom to do it while working around a very demanding athletic schedule. When asked about what she loved best about being an Elite student Alexis stated that she feels Elite has truly mastered the art of creating an institution to fit and foster the best aspects and interests of every student. She loves that she can create her academic schedule, which allows her the time to devote herself to her sport and the recruiting process. The cherry on top was that Elite Virtual Academy courses are NCAA and A-G approved.

Alexis’ Elite Educator, Ms. Hutchins, is so proud of how hard she works with her academics. Mrs. Hutchins raved about Alexis saying that “She is an enthusiastic learner who enjoys school.  She is consistent with her assignments and meetings and maintains high standards in all of her work.  I can’t wait to work with Alexis during her Senior year!”.

Alexis’ post-secondary goals for San Jose State are to earn a degree in  Psychology which will help her to seek employment in the sports industry or Forensic Law Enforcement. She is very grateful for the opportunities she has had throughout her high school career and is looking forward to another awesome year at Elite before heading to SJSU!

We are so excited to see what the future holds for Alexis. There is no doubt that the SJSU Softball Team will be getting a fantastic player and teammate from the Class of 2023! Wishing you the best Senior year at Elite filled with memories to last a lifetime.

Meet Elite's New Curriculum Coordinator: Marisa Thompson!

Elite is growing, and so is our staff! Marisa Thompson has joined our Student Support Services Department as Curriculum Coordinator. She has worked in education for 17 years. She has been a high school English teacher, a professional development instructor for University of San Diego, and an education coach and presenter.


Marisa loves the work she does because she meets great educators and supports many students. She is a fantastic addition to our team, and will be supporting the Virtual Content Teachers and curriculum writing, as well as ensuring EAA has a viable curriculum guide. We asked Marisa a few questions so you can see why she chose to #BeElite! 

What brought you to Elite?

Last year, I supported Elite teachers as a guest speaker. I loved the work they were doing and their purpose in that work. When I saw there was an opportunity to join this amazing team, I jumped at the chance to continue that work with them full-time. In May, I became the Coordinator of Curriculum & Interventions for all Elite Academic Academies.

What are you most excited about this school year and being a part of the #BeElite Culture?

In traditional education, it's normal to have to jump through many, many hoops to do what's best for students and teachers. I love that we are encouraged and supported whenever we want to try something new to help every student surpass their own expectations; to help everyone #BeElite!

What are your hobbies that you enjoy outside of work?

If I'm not working on something for Elite or a conference, I'm probably planning a trip or at the beach with my family. Travel is a passion of mine and I absolutely love body surfing and snorkeling!

We welcome Marisa to her first year as an Elite team member, and we’re excited to see how she shapes the curriculum and learning of our students. If you would like to learn more about Marisa’s role at Elite or what our Student Support Services Department is all about, please visit their virtual office

For all things Elite, please visit our website 

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!

4 ways to help motivate your child in their schoolwork

*This article is a guest post from Dr. Deana Westedt, an Elite Academic parent

For parents of students learning at home who have difficulty completing their work, it can be a mystery that stumps the cleverest amongst us and leaves us wondering how to get them back on track. We know they are capable, yet work remains undone and refusal may ensue. Such circumstances can directly impact the dynamics in the home.

Here are some top tips for digging deep into such challenges and how to work with your child to get things going, even if they never really were!

1. Talk with your child

Ask your child what is hard about getting their work done. The answer may surprise you. It may have nothing to do with the type of work given at all. Find out from them some ideas of what they think might help to improve their work completion. These conversations can smooth out the rough edges and teach your child important communication skills to resolve conflict and challenges.

2. Consider setting a timer and giving a concrete amount of time to work

Sometimes the task may simply feel overwhelming and a child who does not developmentally have a sense of time or has neurodiversity may react by avoidance or outbursts. Setting a finite time with a definite beginning and end can help to scaffold this skill of work for them. If they can only work for one minute independently to begin with… go with it! Start with their success point and work your way up.

3. Balance

Consider what options you can offer your child for some child-led learning time. For example, you may consider giving a when-then challenge that includes preferred activities. For example, you can say,” When you have X amount of this done, you may…. (Fill in the blank with whatever activity they like to do such as Legos, etc.)

4. "When…then" for technology

If technology is a part of the issue, use the above-mentioned when/then technique. There are a million different ways you can vary it for your family. There isn’t one right way, so you may have to tweak it here and there before you find a program of sorts that works for your family. Whenever possible, include your child in the conversation surrounding tech issues, as this may increase buy-in from them.

About the author

Dr. Deanna Westedt is an Elite Parent as well as a speaker, teacher and motivator. Dr. Deanna Westedt is helping parents maximize their homeschool experience to bring out the full potential of learning in the home setting. She tackles the most common and difficult challenges of homeschool, drawing from both personal homeschool experience and blending that with developmental and learning theory. Her unique understanding of the homeschool lifestyle combined with her research into scaffolding learning for all kinds of learners, including those with learning disabilities and giftedness, makes her guidance second to none!