Eye on the Valley

iLEAD’s Weekly Radio Show Highlights Learning, Supports Community Needs

In project-based learning at iLEAD Schools, learners regularly showcase and present their work publicly. iLEAD staff members also model the importance of taking their work public through social media, writing for websites and more. One staff member, iLEAD’s Director of Maker Outreach Matt Watson, hosts a weekly radio show, SCVi and iLEAD Schools’ Eye on the Valley on KHTS AM 1220 FM 98.1.

Designed to showcase the work of learners and facilitators at iLEAD Schools, Eye on the Valley has featured several iLEAD learners and staff as both hosts and interviewees. When it became a weekly show, Watson became the regular host. 

When the coronavirus pandemic struck and schools fully transitioned to distance learning in March 2020, Watson said the focus of the show shifted. He said the station’s owners asked if the show could respond to the community’s concerns about what to do with their children now learning at home. 

“iLEAD Schools were the leaders in our area of pivoting immediately to distance learning in only a few days,” Watson said.

Watson said that at first the show was going to be one hour per day, but due to demand, it quickly expanded to nine hours per week (two hours Monday through Thursday and one hour on Friday). Due to the community’s needs and response, Watson said the show quickly became a  significant go-to for families new to distance learning and schooling from home. 

“We provide resources and guidance for families working with their children, and we continue to provide community info and updates,” Watson said.  

Early in the distance learning shift due to the pandemic, the show’s focus was on curriculum, how to set up one’s distance learning schedule and program and parent survival tips, featuring resources such as Love and Logic and the 7 Habits of Happy Kids. Along with the show, iLEAD created the Home Schooling Answers website at the same time to provide curriculum and parenting resources. 

However, as families established some of the foundations, Watson said the show returned to spotlighting what’s going on at iLEAD-SCVi and other iLEAD campuses.  

“We have several regular guests who come in to update and inform the community. These include Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth and various leaders from College of the Canyons as well as LMFT Kristina de Bree, who offers daily social-emotional support,” Watson said. 

The show will continue to feature guests from the iLEAD community, including learners, staff, families and alumni. Recent guests have included SCVi class of 2015 alum and New York law student Paige Guarino, 8th Grade SCVi facilitator Dustin Lengning, iLEAD Agua Dulce facilitator and play-based learning leader Aidan Bybee as well as SCVi’s senior advisor, Cheryl Sena.

Watson says the show is an ideal vehicle to share iLEAD’s vision for education. “This time of crisis has shown us all not only what education can become but what it must become as the world continues to evolve,” Watson said. “We are hoping to help guide others, including families, other charter schools, our local district partners and the community at large.” 

iLEAD Schools Founder and CEO Dawn Evenson said, “The energy and personality that Matt brings to the show provides for an informative and entertaining show. The audience continues to grow, as does the list of requests to appear as guests.”

The show continues to introduce iLEAD to new members of the community, according to Evenson. “It has also introduced us, as an organization, to a much greater depth and variety of community members as we continually seek to be an integral participant in our community,” Evenson said.

Station owner Jeri Seratti-Goldman said, “We are so blessed to have Matt Watson hosting a two-hour daily show informing our community in this unprecedented time in history.” 

Watson said the future of the show in the short-term is to continue to support the community’s needs, while also showcasing the work at iLEAD Schools. However, the show is always poised to respond to new needs of the community. “Stay tuned,” Watson said. 

The weekly show is live Monday through Friday starting at 9:00 AM PST through the following platforms:

  • AM Radio 1220 and FM Radio 98.1 (Santa Clarita, California, area only)
  • Facebook Live
  • KHTS Website 
  • The free KHTS app for iPhone or Android
  • Amazon Echo: Say, “Alexa, play KHTS”
  • Podcast
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