Academy Specifics | Programs | Institute for Educational Advancement

IEA Academy provides students in Kindergarten through 8th grade with advanced enrichment classes that promote exploration and application of knowledge. Courses provide compelling content and appropriate challenges taught at a flexible pace with small classes by highly qualified, dedicated professionals.

Summer 2020 Session – Online Academy 

In response to California’s “Stay at Home” order, IEA Academy is excited to announce our Summer 2020 course offerings are moving to an online format. Classes will be held in live online video sessions at set times throughout the week over the course of five weeks for a total of 12.5 hours of live instruction, plus optional extension activities to be completed outside of class. Courses will offer the same small class sizes, hands-on learning, and high-level content that fit with IEA’s mission to serve the whole gifted child.

June 15-July 17 (5-weeks)
Early Bird Application Deadline May 4, 2020
Application Deadline May 27, 2020
Fall Open House August 14, 2020

Do you need help with the IEA Summer Academy Moodle Portal? Click here to watch our tutorial video for IEA Summer Academy’s virtual classroom platform. 

The Academy Application Portal is now closed. For questions about enrollment or the Summer schedule please email


2020 Online Summer Academy Schedule

9 am
10 am
11 am
12 pm
1 pm
2 pm
3 pm
4 pm
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Classes (June 15 - July 17)
Monday, Wednesday and Friday Classes (June 15 - July 17)
Science Explorations (Ages 6-9)

In this creative and hands-on course, students will be introduced to what it means to be a scientist and to see, understand, and explore science in the world around us. Students will engage in scientific labs and field studies to develop their observational and their laboratory skills. One of the main goals of the course is to develop each student’s sense of curiosity while presenting them with the tools used by scientists to explore. Mastery will be demonstrated through personal observations and data analysis, which students will record in their lab journals.

It's Electrifying: Fueling the Future (Ages 9-12)

It’s Electrifying! presents the problem of whether Virginia Beach, Virginia, will accept alternative energy supplies and which source of energy would be most beneficial with the least environmental impact: wave energy, tidal energy, or offshore wind farms. Students in this class will work together as engineers to select new, innovative options for energy production. Ultimately they must make a recommendation as to which form of energy would be best for the area, and they must make a convincing proposal for it. This class offers students an opportunity to explore clean energy technologies and to understand that the issues involved in implementing them are complex and multifaceted. It’s Electrifying! Fueling the Future is an NAGC award-winning curriculum designed by nationally recognized expert in gifted education and problem-based learning, Dr. Shelagh A. Gallagher.

Organic Chemistry (Ages 12-14)

Orbitals, isomers, chirality, valence bonds, benzene rings… organic chemistry is a language all its own! Students will increase their O-Chem fluency by delving into the structure, properties, reactions, and mechanisms of organic (or carbon-containing) compounds. This class will expand upon any previous chemistry knowledge of functional groups and Lewis structures to molecular geometry, valence bond theory, and hybridization. By the end of the course, students should to be able to predict how various carbon-containing compounds will react or restructure themselves based on the chemicals and conditions present. Mastery will be demonstrated by students' ability to identify, differentiate and utilize organic compounds to generate chemical reactions through calculations and laboratory exercises.

Page One: Creative Writing (Ages 6-9)

Welcome to page one, where writing springs from imagination! This course will draw inspiration straight from the stories, poems, lyrics and even comic books that students love most. Through short reading and writing exercises, students will learn how word choice, syntax, rhythm and rhyme bring setting, characters and plot to life. Interactive games and creative projects will build skills and confidence through exploration, experimentation and play. Mastery will be demonstrated by the creation of a short written work in the student’s genre of choice, which illustrates independent thinking and progress in reading, writing, and verbal expression.

Ka-Pow! Graphic Novels and the Hero's Journey (Ages 9-12)

Comics and graphic novels, or sequential art, have become some of the most accessible and engaging media for storytelling in the world. This course will provide students with the tools necessary to carefully balance art and language to construct narratives that bring the Hero’s Journey to life, from epic tales of adventure and allies, to adversity and triumph! Students will learn and apply elements of creation unique to graphic novels including storyboarding, page layout, panel transitions, text distribution, and more to develop their own characters and stories as action-packed as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. By the end of the course, students will have completed the beginning pages of their graphic novels, and will have a road map for going all the way through to a finished product.

Ka-Pow! Graphic Novels and the Hero's Journey (Ages 9-12)

Comics and graphic novels, or sequential art, have become some of the most accessible and engaging media for storytelling in the world. This course will provide students with the tools necessary to carefully balance art and language to construct narratives that bring the Hero’s Journey to life, from epic tales of adventure and allies, to adversity and triumph! Students will learn and apply elements of creation unique to graphic novels including storyboarding, page layout, panel transitions, text distribution, and more to develop their own characters and stories as action-packed as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. By the end of the course, students will have completed the beginning pages of their graphic novels, and will have a road map for going all the way through to a finished product. This class requires a $25 materials fee.

Pillars of Architecture (Ages 12-14)

For thousands of years, architects have used their knowledge and creativity to build environments as varied as temples, skyscrapers, palaces, pyramids, and suburban homes. What kind of skills do architects use to bring their ideas into reality? How can they be sure their designs are going to stand tall? In this interdisciplinary class, students will become budding architects, developing their math, science, and design skills as they learn and practice the fundamentals of architectural design: brainstorming, planning, drawing, 3-D modeling, and building.

Kitchen Chemistry (Ages 6-9)

You don’t need an expensive laboratory to challenge your chemistry skills -- look no further than your kitchen cabinet! By combining everyday ingredients, you can create exciting colors, weird sounds, creepy textures, and sometimes – explosions! In this class, students will learn essential scientific equations and elements, conduct safe and fun experiments, and watch different materials react in surprising ways as they explore the exciting world of science! Mastery will be demonstrated by a project using the processes of the Scientific Method: hypothesis, observations, experiment, analysis, results, conclusions and discussions.

Myths and Monsters (9-12)

Cultures all around the globe feature fantastical creatures, including fire-breathing dragons, bizarre chimerical hybrids, quasi-humans, and multi-headed monstrosities. Behind the myth, however, there lies a kernel of truth based in biological fact. In Myth & Monsters, we will separate fact from fantasy as we uncover the real-world origins and scientific explanations behind some of the world’s best-known mythical beasts, including dragons, unicorns, Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, werewolves, Pokemon, and more. Mastery will be demonstrated through hands-on observation of fossils and animal artifacts, in-depth group discussion on cultural beliefs, and tests of acquired knowledge.

Pathology of Viruses (Ages 12-14)

The goal of this class is to instruct students on the molecular biology and biochemistry of viruses and virus infection. Students will learn the fundamentals of virus structure, virus multiplication (lytic and lysogenic cycles), disease mechanisms, prevention and intervention of infection, and how viruses pose threats to human and animal health through emergence and evolution. We will discuss selected examples of viruses that impact our world and everyday life. The first week the course will focus on viruses pathogenic to animals and during the second week we will focus on learning a "bug (virus) per day.” At the course’s conclusion, students will understand principles and themes in modern-day virology, including virus pathogenesis, vaccination, anti-viral drugs, and gene therapy.


Robotics: Get Rolling! (Ages 6-9)

What is a robot, and how does it work? Stretch your imagination by having fun with engineering and coding to explore the world of robotics! In this class, students will become confident learners as they undertake real-world solutions. Skills will be more complex thinking, group cooperation, and problem-solving. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the building and coding methods to construct independent and group projects.

Sustainable Product Design (Ages 9-12)

The manufacturing of goods and products impacts the health of our planet's environments, and is a major contributing factor to global climate change. People and companies are increasingly interested in making everything from toothbrushes to children's toys more sustainable -- that is, less damaging to the environment. This involves not only making products that are more recyclable, compostable, or durable, but also sourcing the materials for products in ways that have minimal impact on our earth's health. In this interdisciplinary class that combines scientific research, problem-solving, and hands-on learning, we will learn about the key issues of sustainable design. We will then conceive, design, and model our own sustainable products. Mastery will be demonstrated by a presentation on your product what makes it sustainable.

Cells: Under the Microscope (6-9)

Fire up your brain cells and get ready to explore a fascinating microscopic world! Though cells are tiny, they are complex machines with moving parts and unique jobs to do based on their structure. Students will become cell experts through hands-on activities, discussion, and using a microscope to see living cells in action. This class will investigate single-celled organisms such as amoebas and bacteria, animal and plant cells, cellular processes, and even how some of our own uniquely structured cells work together to keep our bodies healthy. Mastery will be demonstrated by the creation of a project on the cell cycle of a specific type of cell of the student’s choosing.

California's Awesome Nature (Ages 9-12)

Where can you swim at the beach, ski an alpine slope, raft down a river, and camp under a starry desert sky? In this class, students will discover what makes California’s geography, climate and weather so diverse and appealing to its 39 million-plus residents. By charting California’s four distinct geographical regions and the critical role that water plays in shaping the mountains, deserts, valleys, and coastlines , students will build key vocabulary related to topographical features, geologic processes, and weather patterns unique to places like the Salton Sea, where both human and natural forces impact landscape and livability. Get ready for all that California's beaches, cliffs, lava beds, valleys, waterfalls, and dunes can teach! Mastery will be demonstrated in a comprehensive final project where students present the history, a model of the topography, and the impact of water, weather, and humans on a particular geographical region of California.

Starting from Scratch (Ages 6-9)

It’s never too early to start learning how to code. Specifically, for younger students who aren’t quite ready for the advanced concepts (and lots of typing) that “regular” programming entails, but really want to start learning how to code. Using the Scratch language from MIT, students will drag-and-drop “program blocks” to build up instructions - allowing them to focus on their goals instead of hunting for the right key. Through the course of the class, they’ll create animations, interactive stories, and simple games to challenge their friends (and parents).

Spotlight on Innovation (Ages 12-14)

From cement to satellites to cyberspace, innovations have paved the way for human progress on earth and beyond. But who came up with these “big ideas”, and what challenges did they overcome to succeed? Students in this class will delve into the lifework of modern and historic figures to discover the drivers behind innovation: vision, viability, and social relevance. Mastery will be demonstrated by the creation of a project or presentation that illustrates concepts covered.

Tuesday and Thursday Classes (June 15 - July 17)
Tuesday and Thursday Classes (June 15 - July 17)
Mythology of Many Lands (Ages 6-9)
9:00 am - 10:15 am

Are you enthralled with exciting stories, fantastical creatures, and other cultures? You are not alone! Humans have been telling stories for 3,000 years. Prepare to journey around the world, through time, and in and out of reality as you explore the mythology, folklore and fairytales that have shaped cultures and imparted words of wisdom! Students will listen to, read, write and tell stories from near and far while practicing grammar, vocabulary, and presentation skills.

The Ultimate Guide to Predators (Ages 9-12)
9:00 am - 10:15 am

No animals evoke a sense of wonder and fear as the world’s greatest carnivores. From the domesticated hunting beasts we keep as pets to the toothy killers of the prehistoric past, get ready to learn the ins and outs of being a meat-eater. This class will allow students to gain a better understanding of predatory animals, extinct and extant, on an anatomical, behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary level, while interacting with real fossils, animal artifacts, and live reptiles. Prerequisites: This class includes up-close interactions with live animals. If have you any animal-related allergies or phobias, or are otherwise uncomfortable handling/being around reptiles, please let the instructor know.

Robotics: MakeBot Challenges (Ages 12-14)
9:00 am - 10:15 am

Students in this class will be presented with advanced robot challenges through research, testing and building designs using multi-port Hub motors and actuators. Skills will be higher ordered thinking, group cooperation, and problem solving. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of the engineering and coding methods in field challenges, and the construction of creative projects.

The Math Kitchen (Ages 6-9)
10:30 am - 11:45 am

Learn about fractions through edible math in this integrated (reading, writing, math, cooking) unit. Students explore fractions and food to learn concepts like equivalent fractions, mixed numbers and improper fractions. Through authentic problem solving with popular, kid-friendly recipes, students learn to multiply and divide fractions and work with ratios. Students will scale recipes to a large amount and an individual portion to create a class ecookbook with “Monster Recipes” and “Dinner for One” recipes. Of course, we will cook the monster version of a recipe, too!

Robotics: Ramping Up (Ages 9-12)
10:30 am - 11:45 am

Step up your robotics skills by researching, testing and building bots to overcome various field challenges. Students in this class will hone their skills in engineering and coding to expand what a robot is and can do! Skills will be higher ordered thinking, group cooperation, and problem solving. Mastery will be demonstrated by the construction of independent and group projects.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Ages 12-14)
10:30 am - 12:15 pm

Are you an experienced D&D player looking to step up your game, ready to map uncharted territory alongside a cast of larger-than-life characters? If so, then Advanced Dungeons and Dragons awaits! Join the journey and discover what it means to be a true hero, to face one’s fears and to work as a team to achieve a common goal. Note: This course will be held for 4 weeks (8 class meetings) at 105 minutes each session to allow for optimal gameplay.


smARTy Science (Ages 6-9)
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

What chemical reactions can make pigments for painting? Why is it evolutionary advantageous for flowers to be beautiful? What kind of intricate patterns can we observe through a microscope? Scientists of all kinds are inspired by the beauty and order of the world around us, and artists have always used technology and scientific processes as part of their creative endeavors. In this interdisciplinary class, we will become both scientists and artists as we learn scientific concepts through hands-on art projects that students will be taking home, and artistic concepts (like balance, harmony, and pattern) through observing the natural world.

Cenozoic Life (Ages 9-12)
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

When it comes to prehistoric beasts, dinosaurs tend to hog the spotlight. For over 150 million years, they were the dominant animals on this planet. Then all of that changed and a new Age of Mammals began. Welcome to Cenozoic Life, where we will examine the animals that evolved after the dinosaurs went extinct. Prepare yourself for a paleontological journey featuring real fossils and animal artifacts where you will learn about everything from familiar Ice Age staples like mammoths and saber-toothed cats to megafauna species you may never have heard of, including a few that aren’t even mammals!

Programming with Python (Ages 9-12)
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

Students in this class will advance their skills in Python by creating games and animations using algorithms, loops, and conditional statements with increased sophistication. Students will manipulate numbers and text, draw images on the screen, and deepen their understanding of the *why* behind the code. Mastery will be demonstrated through the understanding and application of programming concepts and fluency with Python language syntax. Pre-requisites: Basic computer use and typing ability. Math level: pre-Algebra I.

Hacker Calculus (Ages 12-14)
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

When Isaac Newton developed calculus in the 1600s, he drew a lot of pictures and saw it as a tool to study how things move and change. After that, it got buried in a lot of algebra and symbols. Suppose Newton had owned a 3D printer? Maybe calculus would still be taught with pictures and models. We will take an intuitive approach to calculus with minimal algebra and lots of 3D prints. Students will start off with models the instructors have developed, and go beyond by learning to modify them and develop their own.

Bees and Other Builders (Ages 6-9)
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

The animal kingdom is buzzing with amazing architects of structures and systems! City-like beehives, earthworm tunnels, termite mounds, weaver bird nests, and beaver dams are examples of spectacular structures designed and built by animals. This class will look not only at animals' impressive structures, but also how some species help keep nature in balance through pollination, decomposition, and more! Students will learn from and about animal builders, demonstrating their mastery by building a product inspired by an animal architect.

Harry Potter: Behind the Words (Ages 9-12)
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Where does a world like Harry Potter's come from? It seems so complete, fans can believe they really are living there -- and yet it all springs from one person's imagination. In this class, we're going to not only play games with Harry Potter trivia, but also delve deeper into what makes JK Rowling's creation so engaging, and how we can harness those same tools. We will write our own stories, in the Wizarding World, or in worlds of our own creation: What if Harry had been a Slytherin? What if Voldemort had a crisis of conscience and tried to undo his wrongs? In the second half of the class, we will imagine that we were creating our own alternate universe Harry Potter miniseries. Students will get the experience of what it's like to be on the creative team that brings a grand project like this to life.

Medieval Battle Tech (Ages 9-12)
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Technology is often driven by the need to defend territories or the desire to conquer new ones. Students will learn about offensive and defensive techniques in medieval warfare, and learn Tinkercad to design and 3D print defensible castles. Students will then take on the role of military advisors and invent “secret weapons” that would have been plausible at the time but were not invented until much later. For the final few sessions of the course, we will table-top play the Battle of Agincourt, a famous battle where the English prevailed over a far larger French force and won because of superior technology and tactics. We will however add a twist, adding in the student-developed secret weapons to the respective sides. Mastery will be demonstrated by being able to discuss strategy and technology appropriate to the period.

What Would Socrates Say (Ages 12-14)
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Students in this class will be introduced to foundational philosophy concepts while learning how to question, reason and debate in the tradition of Socratic thought. Drawing from influential thinkers chronicled in Nigel Warburton’s "A Little History of Philosophy” and poignantly illuminated by children's authors Shel Silverstein and others, this course will guide students to discover their own insights as they hone their verbal and listening skills in spirited dialogue. Mastery will be demonstrated by the application of concepts in discussion and the construction of a creative project.

2020 Online Summer Academy Schedule

Monday, Wednesday and Friday Class Times

12:10-12:50pm BREAK

To be notified when information about new Academy sessions becomes available, please sign up for our email list and indicate an interest in Academy.



$225 per course




    • Multiple class discount: $10 off for each additional class
    • Early bird discount: $20 
    • Sibling price: $50 
      • Sibling price is for families that have 2+ children who log-in together to take the same class. Historically we have applied a $20 sibling discount. Now families taking online courses can pay an additional $50 extra for a sibling (in the appropriate age range) to join a class.


Financial Aid Available!


 Financial aid is available for families in need. Please email to request information on how to apply. Financial aid requests for the Summer 2020 sessions must be submitted by Friday, May 29th.



Tuition may be paid by Visa, MasterCard, or check (made payable to Institute for Educational Advancement).


IEA works with the following homeschool charter vendors:


  • Epic
  • Excel
  • Golden Valley
  • iLead
  • Inspire
  • Peak Prep Academy
  • Sage Oak
  • Sky Mountain

Classes for gifted children

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Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
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