Tag Archives: Academy

Summer Academy at The Huntington – A Scholar’s Paradise

By Louise Hindle

Louise is IEA’s Academy Coordinator. Academy offers K-8th grade students challenging enrichment classes that focus on exploration and application of knowledge.

A group of Summer Academy students enjoys The Huntington's gardens and has fun with new friends made over lunch

A group of Summer Academy students spends lunchtime enjoying The Huntington’s gardens and having fun with new friends

This year, IEA had the tremendous opportunity to host both 3-week Summer Academy sessions at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, that scholar’s paradise situated in the center of San Marino, known and loved by curious minds near and far, young and not so young! It was a boon to our community to enjoy this remarkable location, and more, to begin to appreciate how such partnering might enrich our classes further. As we conclude our inaugural Academy program at The Huntington, we look back at the summer sessions through the eyes of our most important critics: the Academy students themselves!

See more highlights from Summer 2014 Academy

IEA Summer Spotlight 2014

By Jennifer de la Haye

“I am happy to be in a room of too’s,” said Betsy Jones, IEA President, as we concluded IEA’s Summer Spotlight this year. “We are all too’s – too emotional, too smart, too intense….”

Tuesday, June 8, was a bright evening of community, learning, and friendship as IEA and its community gathered at the University of Southern California for dinner and a time of sharing. Eight IEA Apprentices, who studied Industrial Design under Stan Kong at Art Center College of Design, displayed their impressive concept design sketches – pieces of art that would later become final projects. Posters, books, and sculptures created by Academy students, Caroline D. Bradley Scholars, and Yunasa campers were also scattered about USC’s Vineyard Room, along with plenty of photos of Academy kids at The Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens; Yunasa West campers frolicking in Colorado; and CDB Scholars who convened for the Bradley Seminar in April.

IMG_0344IMG_4479IMG_4477 See some of the highlights from Summer Spotlight!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Arden

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted child has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs, depicting the many faces of gifted. Academy – mentioned in this story – provides young students with challenging enrichment classes that focus on exploration and application of knowledge.

JKL November

Academy Student

Although Arden is not yet six years old, he’s already been interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, met Al Gore, been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live twice, and received a personal letter of encouragement from Bill Clinton. Arden garnered this attention because of his love and extensive knowledge of world geography and presidential history.

Learn more about Arden!

Chapter 1: The One Thing Needful – What Is It?

By Louise Hindle

Louise Hindle is IEA’s Academy Coordinator. A British import, Louise graduated from the University of Manchester with a B.A. Honors Degree in English Literature and Language, completed her post-graduate teacher training at The University of Cambridge, and has recently completed her dissertation in Educational Leadership and Innovation with the University of Warwick. Louise has 20 years of experience in education as a high school literature teacher, lead teacher, administrator, adviser, and consultant. IEA’s Academy program, described here, provides elementary and middle school students with challenging enrichment classes that focus on exploration and application of knowledge.

Mr. Gradgrind

Mr. Gradgrind

“Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts….Plant nothing else, and root out everything else… nothing else will ever be of any service,” declares Mr. Gradgrind in Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times. Gradgrind is, of course, a grotesque parody of all that education shouldn’t be. Ingrained in his face, Gradgrind, like the educational system he advocates, is “inflexible, dry and dictatorial,” demanding only closed-answer responses with absolutely no space to think, let alone enquire. Inexorable in his approach, Gradgrind looks at his room of students and sees “empty vessels,” vessels he must fill to the brim with the facts he determines most useful. The one thing needful in this context is a 19th century industrialized utilitarian view of education: keep it if it’s “useful,” lose it if it’s not, and let’s not think about who decides what’s useful. Furthermore, it’s an educational system where the distance between the teacher and the students is a steadfastly vast unexplored wasteland, devoid of personal interaction, engagement or – dare we say it – enthusiasm for teaching and learning.
Read Louise’s reflections on “the one thing needful” for our bright young minds!

Looking for Shakespeare? – Try ‘Looking for Shakespeare’ with Andre Martin

By Ellie S. and Charlotte F.

IEA’s Academy program provides young gifted students with challenging enrichment classes that focus on exploration and the application of knowledge. This fall’s Academy session offers a variety of courses, including the new class Looking for Shakespeare, taught by Independent Shakespeare Company actor Andre Martin.

Ellie and Charlotte are 11-year-old Academy students who attended Looking for Shakespeare, an event held by IEA in collaboration with the Independent Shakespeare Company. This is a post Ellie and Charlotte wrote about their experience at this event.

Ellie and Charlotte discuss Shakespeare with actor and Academy instructor Andre Martin

Ellie and Charlotte discuss Shakespeare with Independent Shakespeare Company actor and IEA Academy instructor Andre Martin

A friend of ours involved with IEA invited Charlotte and me, Academy veterans, to a taster for one of IEA’s new fall classes, Looking for Shakespeare. That friend was Louise Hindle, Academy’s new Program Coordinator. The taster was an invite to attend the play As You Like It performed by the Independent Shakespeare Company (or ISC) at Griffith Park last Thursday evening. In addition, as students of Academy, we were able to take a private tour of the backstage area with ISC actor and teacher of the new class, Andre Martin. This was a special treat. After we took the tour, we did a few fun activities with Andre to give us an even better idea of what the class might be like. Andre was very enthusiastic about teaching us, and we all loved learning from him.

The backstage tour was one of the most enjoyable parts of the evening, especially since Charlotte and I share a love of performing Shakespearean scenes. Before the play began, Andre led us all onto the stage and then took us behind the scenes and downstairs to the backstage area, where we could see the actors getting ready, putting on make-up and preparing their costumes. Andre explained some of the plot and introduced the characters from the play. We were lucky enough to meet some of the actors, including the man who played both the evil and benevolent Duke in the production as well as the actor who played Orlando, one of the lovers.

Andre gives Academy students an exclusive backstage tour

Andre gives Academy students an exclusive backstage tour

Following Andre, we left the stage and gathered on the grass for Andre to lead us in an acting game. “Imagine how a kind Duke would walk,” Andre told us. Charlotte, the other students and I walked in circles around Andre, imagining ourselves as a charitable person in authority. “Good,” Andre said. “Now how do you think a lover would walk?” A few of us wandered aimlessly, donning a dreamlike expression, and he laughed. I was beginning to wish my schedule would permit me to take this class…

Andre also led the students in acting games that included walking like different characters

Andre also leads the students in acting games that include walking like different characters

Leading us back to our seats, Andre encouraged us to pay careful attention during the play and kindly offered to answer questions or confer with him during intermission. As Charlotte and I took our seats and waited for the play to begin, we started to chat about our activities with Andre. We both agreed that Andre’s class would be an amazing and informative class to take. We also conversed about some of the things we had already learned with Andre. He had explained to us the plot of the play and quizzed us on the characters. We also got to hear his insights and opinions on certain parts of the play, such as the famous “Seven Ages of Man” speech and the fascinating character, Touchstone. We both took pleasure in hearing and learning about all of these things. Andre was very fun and energetic while he taught and was excited when we expressed our love for and experience with Shakespeare.

Once the play started, we were immediately pulled into its plot. The skilled actors captured our attention with their life-like portrayal of emotions and character traits. Soon, we noticed the different styles of the costumes used to represent the differing groups in the play. The courtiers dressed in elegant, fancy dresses and suits, while the forest exiles were dressed in more practical clothing for their setting. Also, the characters traveling into the forest wore clothes they thought would be suitable but were not and so they had to change identity.

Both Charlotte and I appreciated the depth of the production. When it was over, we thanked Louise and Andre for inviting us to the inspiring performance. Any kid taking Andre’s class in the Fall will surely enjoy it, we thought. As for this special taster event: now that night was one we would never forget.

Interested in Academy classes for gifted Kindergarten – 8th graders? The fall session starts September 21. Sign up today!

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Meet Min-Ling and Louise!

We are excited to announce that we have two new additions to our IEA staff! Louise Hindle and Min-Ling Li have both been involved with IEA and our programs before and have recently joined the team as Program Coordinators. Get to know more about these amazing individuals who will be leading some of our programs this year!

Learn about Min-Ling and Louise!

Thoughts on Gifted Children from an IEA Intern

By Matt Myers

Matt is a summer intern at IEA. He had the privilege of meeting some of the Summer Academy students and taking them to the park for lunch each day. This is his reflection on his time with these kids.


Matt with the Academy lunch crew. They like to keep the mood light.

I had never met a gifted child before interning at IEA this summer.  My job would be to help around the office and take the Academy kids to lunch.   What is a gifted child, though?  What do they look like?  I somehow had an image of miniature college professors in khakis, casual sweaters, and dirty new balance running shoes (this is what most of my professors at The Johns Hopkins University wear).  Perhaps one or two of them would even have a stylish goatee that they would twirl in their finger as they discussed the motive hunting surrounding the motiveless malignity of Iago from William Shakespeare’s Othello.  “Indeed the play suggests some over-determined motivations from Iago—a lover jealous of Othello’s involvement with Desdemona, an ambitious military officer, or perhaps a subtly racist Venetian?”

I would nod my head,  making a mental note to read up that night on my Othello notes from last semester.

See what Matt learned about gifted children here!

IEA Summer Spotlight 2013

115 students, parents and supporters of gifted education gathered at USC on July 9 for IEA’s Summer Spotlight 2013, an event designed to showcase gifted students and the programs we offer to meet their needs. The evening was a huge success, and we wanted to share some of the highlights with those of you who were not able to attend.

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See some of the evening’s highlights.

Spring 2013 Academy Highlights!

By Jen Mounday, Academy Program Coordinator

Spring Academy classes ran for eight weeks from April 1 to May 25. Classes included two new offerings: Explorations in Literature and Chemistry Lab. Some Academy classics were also held: Organic Chemistry, Primary Advanced Math, Neuro-Energy I and II, Molecular Biology, and Astronomy. Our student attendance was the fullest it’s been and included ten new students from local public and private schools.

Chemistry Lab, taught by Dr. Rosemary Rohde and Ronnie Bryan, was a hit with its hands-on curriculum. Dr. Rose took concepts from Chemistry I and II and expanded on them by conducting correlating experiments for each of the eight weeks. Some lab topics were rates of reaction, electrochemistry and chemical equilibrium. Proper safety precautions were taught with the use of chemicals—information most students don’t usually cover until they take a high school chemistry course.

Chemistry lab class

The new Chemistry Lab class with tons of hands-on experiments was a big hit!

Take a look at more Spring Academy highlights!

Gifted kindergartners through eighth-graders to learn from local specialists this winter

Institute for Educational Advancement welcomes highly able students to the Academy


SOUTH PASADENA, Calif.—Los Angeles-area kindergarten through eighth-grade gifted and talented students are stepping out of the traditional classroom to engage in advanced classes that explore disciplines such as chemistry, astronomy and humanities. Academy classes, taught by local specialists who hold doctorates in their fields, college professors and professionals, inspire Los Angeles’s brightest youth to grow socially and intellectually.

The Academy was created by South Pasadena-based Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA). IEA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing programs that help gifted children balance intellectual ability with social, emotional, physical and spiritual growth. Independent of government funding, IEA gives students the tools to work toward actualizing their full intellectual and personal potential in supportive environments such as the Academy.

IEA is meeting a need in the community by serving a demographic that often struggles with a lack of challenge in the mainstream classroom. Academy students are given work at a level appropriate for them, develop community with like-minded peers and bond with instructors who can relate to their special needs. For the students IEA serves, weekly classes at the Academy are essential in fueling and satisfying their quest to know more. “I would recommend Academy classes to anyone who enjoys learning!” says Ariane Watkins, an Academy student who completed a Neuro-Energy course last term.

The program links a broad range of students from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds with instructors who’ve been trained to teach advanced, college and high school material in a kid-friendly fashion. Winter 2013 classes include self-paced math, calculus, chemistry, ecology, humanities and astronomy. With an average class size of five students, Academy classes are a hands-on, inquiry-based and student-driven approach to learning. In Rocket to Calculus, for example, students make use of actual rockets to learn the basics of algebra, geometry and pre-calculus; in the final class, calculations are brought to life with a real rocket launch.

Scholarships for local Pasadena youth have been made possible by generous grants from the Ann Peppers Foundation and the Avery Dennison Foundation. “Due to the scholarships we provide, gifted students in our community grow. Not only do we fan the flame of life-long learning in youngsters from all backgrounds, but they become stronger representatives of the schools they attend and are better able to contribute to their communities,” says Jen Mounday, IEA Academy program coordinator.

The Academy runs year-round, with the winter 2013 session running Jan. 12 to March 14. Classes are held at the IEA offices in South Pasadena, Calif. Classes meet once a week for eight weeks and are offered after school on weekdays and during the day on Saturdays. For a full schedule of classes and to download an application, please visit the Academy page of IEA’s website or contact Jen Mounday at Academy@educationaladvancement.org or 626-403-8900.