iLEAD Online Works to Accommodate Increased Demand Due to Pandemic

iLEAD Online

Students often switch schools between academic years, but the summer of 2020 is unique. The COVID-19 pandemic has directly and indirectly forced an uptick in student transfers. One noticeable trend has been an increased interest in online programs.

The quality of virtual, digital and remote learning at the end of the 2019-20 school year varied among schools. As a result, many families are considering leaving their neighborhood schools for online schools that have an established success rate. One such program feeling this effect is iLEAD Online Charter School.

Erin Jones, director of iLEAD Online, said enrollment at the school often increases in the spring and summer, but this year is different. Traditionally, Jones said, many learners seek an online school that begins the academic year in the summer due to interest in advancement, enrichment or credit recovery. However, Jones said that in addition to the normal summer enrollment growth, iLEAD Online is also experiencing an increased demand for fall enrollment. 

“We have families contacting us all day every day about their uncertainty,” said Jones. “They need more learning options during this time.”

Normally, Jones said her program and others are able to accommodate the increased enrollment, even though they often don’t receive full funding. But this year, due to a recent state legislative move, funding is challenged further in that schools are being compensated only for their enrollment numbers as of February 2020. Therefore, any schools that grow will not, as of this time, see any increased funding in order to support new enrollees, for example by hiring new staff and providing needed technology. 

This recent legislation is part of SB98 passed on June 29, 2020. iLEAD Online began their Track C school year July 1, 2020, with double the enrollment from the previous year. iLEAD Online enrollment had already increased by over 70 students for the 2019-20 school year after the annual attendance funding was frozen in February of 2020. In addition to the typical growth in enrollment, iLEAD Online has also expanded to offer grades K-2 for the 2020-21 school year. Jones said they are accustomed to carrying the additional load initially until funding typically catches up for the start of the next school year. “Funding has always followed the students,” said Jones. But with the legislature delaying that and also failing to account for incoming kindergarteners in their legislation, Jones said it has caused a huge ripple effect. Over 400 new learners and families are waiting to be able to enroll for the fall. 

Additionally, according to Jones, a large number of families previously enrolled in private schools are now seeking tuition-free schools like iLEAD Online. Amid the pandemic, some families have not been able to afford private schools because of their own recent employment and financial challenges, and some private schools have had to shut their doors.

All of this has left Jones and her team at iLEAD Online in a precarious place. They want to serve their returning learners effectively, and they don’t want to turn new families away. 

“We have been left in a chaotic situation, but we would never back away from learners who already enrolled and started. They are our number-one priority,” Jones said.

The team at iLEAD Online, as well as parents and other advocates have been reaching out to their legislators and other organizations, lobbying for the legislature to revisit SB98 and reconsider how this funding model is hurting both schools and families.

This issue affects charter and choice schools in general. Dawn Evenson, founder and CEO of iLEAD Schools, said this shouldn’t be a partisan or political issue. “Families who’ve been displaced or had to move won’t be able to get into their particular school program of choice,” Evenson said. “This is a direct assault on parent choice.”

In response to the current legislation, a group of charter schools in California just filed a lawsuit against the state. You can read more about this here. It remains unknown if the legislature will make changes to address these latest educational demands. 

For those interested in restoring per-pupil funding for all learners in all growing public schools, there is a Move On Petition that can be signed online. 

Posted on July 31, 2020 in iLEAD Digest

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Michael Niehoff

About the Author

Michael Niehoff is a teacher, leader, blogger, learner advocate, and the Education Content Coordinator at iLEAD Schools.
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Privacy Policy

Effective date: May 28, 2019

iLEAD Schools Development (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates the website and all affiliated websites as listed under “Our Locations” and linked to the website (the “Service”).

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal data when you use our Service and the choices you have associated with that data.

We use your data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, the terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from


Information Collection and Use

We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Service to you.

Types of Data Collected

Personal Data

While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you (“Personal Data”). Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

We may use your Personal Data to contact you with newsletters, marketing or promotional materials and other information that may be of interest to you. You may opt out of receiving any, or all, of these communications from us by following the unsubscribe link or the instructions provided in any email we send.

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We may also collect information on how the Service is accessed and used (“Usage Data”). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

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We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our Service and we hold certain information.

Cookies are files with a small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Other tracking technologies are also used such as beacons, tags and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyse our Service.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Service.

Examples of Cookies we use:

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iLEAD Schools Development uses the collected data for various purposes:

Legal Basis for Processing Personal Data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you are from the European Economic Area (EEA), iLEAD Schools Development legal basis for collecting and using the personal information described in this Privacy Policy depends on the Personal Data we collect and the specific context in which we collect it.

iLEAD Schools Development may process your Personal Data because:

Retention of Data

iLEAD Schools Development will retain your Personal Data only for as long as is necessary for the purposes set out in this Privacy Policy. We will retain and use your Personal Data to the extent necessary to comply with our legal obligations (for example, if we are required to retain your data to comply with applicable laws), resolve disputes and enforce our legal agreements and policies.

iLEAD Schools Development will also retain Usage Data for internal analysis purposes. Usage Data is generally retained for a shorter period of time, except when this data is used to strengthen the security or to improve the functionality of our Service, or we are legally obligated to retain this data for longer periods.

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Your information, including Personal Data, may be transferred to – and maintained on – computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ from those of your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including Personal Data, to United States and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

iLEAD Schools Development will take all the steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your Personal Data will take place to an organisation or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure of Data

Business Transaction

If iLEAD Schools Development is involved in a merger, acquisition or asset sale, your Personal Data may be transferred. We will provide notice before your Personal Data is transferred and becomes subject to a different Privacy Policy.

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Under certain circumstances, iLEAD Schools Development may be required to disclose your Personal Data if required to do so by law or in response to valid requests by public authorities (e.g. a court or a government agency).

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iLEAD Schools Development may disclose your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

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The security of your data is important to us but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Our Policy on “Do Not Track” Signals under the California Online Protection Act (CalOPPA)

We do not support Do Not Track (“DNT”). Do Not Track is a preference you can set in your web browser to inform websites that you do not want to be tracked.

You can enable or disable Do Not Track by visiting the Preferences or Settings page of your web browser.

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If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), you have certain data protection rights. iLEAD Schools Development aims to take reasonable steps to allow you to correct, amend, delete or limit the use of your Personal Data.

If you wish to be informed about what Personal Data we hold about you and if you want it to be removed from our systems, please contact us.

In certain circumstances, you have the following data protection rights:

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You have the right to complain to a Data Protection Authority about our collection and use of your Personal Data. For more information, please contact your local data protection authority in the European Economic Area (EEA).

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We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate our Service (“Service Providers”), provide the Service on our behalf, perform Service-related services or assist us in analysing how our Service is used.

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We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyse the use of our Service.

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iLEAD Schools Development uses remarketing services to advertise on third party websites to you after you visited our Service. We and our third-party vendors use cookies to inform, optimise and serve ads based on your past visits to our Service.

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You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

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Important information regarding confidential student data

There is ongoing litigation between the California Department of Education and the Concerned Parent Association. A notice issued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson states, “The lawsuit accuses CDE of widespread, systemic non-compliance by local educational agencies with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504. The CDE denies these allegations and is actively defending the litigation.”

The court has ordered CDE to release student and parent information to provide personally identifiable information (PII) – an act that can only be taken as an exception to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). As a result, we are providing notice of the court order and directions to anyone wishing to object.

Please be advised that CDE will notify parents or students of whom are required to disclose information and those individuals may object directly to the court regarding this disclosure using the PDF link below:

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