Explore the possibilities

With a wide variety of classes in academics, arts, athletics and STEM, our Explorations program offers a way for your child to explore a different interest each day of the week. Please check back on July 31 for all class options.

So many options, it’s hard to decide.

Exploration classes are places where children can learn about new interests or become even more engaged in an already beloved activity. Whether your child is a budding actor, tech wizard, athlete, author or dancer, we’ve got something for them to explore!

Snapshots of the classes offered on the Hillcrest and Midway campus will be available on July 31.

Meet Our Partners

Dallas Magic Academy

Dallas resident Dal Sanders opened Dallas Magic Academy in 2016; he has been a professional magician for more than 40 years and has performed across the United States and overseas. Dallas Magic Academy programs help students build self-discipline, self-confidence, and interpersonal abilities. The Discover Magic course is an educational program specifically designed to teach respect, creativity, confidence, and preparedness among other things. In fact, it’s best described as a life skills course camouflaged to look like magic lessons. Kids become so engrossed and entertained in learning the magic tricks that they don’t realize they’re acquiring skills whose benefits they’ll reap for a lifetime. Indeed, many opportunities for performing magic tricks arise later in adult life, whether as an ice breaker for colleagues or a doctor who uses magic tricks to put their young patients at ease.

The Knight School

Founded by Head Coach and 20-year veteran classroom teacher David Brooks, Ph.D., The Knight School, and their coaches are powerfully driven to bring the joy of chess to every child in America. During their allotted weekly chess time, coaches initiate a unique, party-based, kid-focused, high-octane approach to learning chess and rocking a very fun chess tournament. The long, boring chess clocks, awkward required silence, mandatory chess notation, and friendless chess tournaments of our grandfathers’ generation are gone! In their place is The Knight School: fun movies, exciting driving music that accompanies their challenging chess puzzlers for candy prizes, their colorful silicone wristbands system in which each color connotes mastery of a different chess tactic, and daily chess tournaments where students play for each other’s Mardi Gras beads! Laughter and friends and silliness abound, and their chess classes ring every single kid-bell. In this party atmosphere, kids get better each week without even noticing.

SPARK Business Academy

 SPARK Business Academy was founded by J. Chuchi Arevalo in 2013 with the mission to empower students of all ages with essential financial literacy skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.

​SPARK is the financial literacy partner at over 250 public and private schools, including many of the top schools in the country and outside of the U.S.

​Before launching SPARK, Chuchi enjoyed a successful career in finance as a Director at PwC’s Financial Services Advisory practice, where he managed large-scale, multi-million dollar engagements at some of the most prominent global banks and led numerous corporate training programs for staff. Chuchi was a key member of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which awarded over $7 billon to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Chuchi earned an MBA with an emphasis in finance from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and a BA (Hons) degree in Economics from the University of West London, England. Chuchi is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter holder and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).


VineyardApp was built on the belief that early acts of entrepreneurship and development of real skills pay dividends down the road. All students have great ideas; with mentorship to unlock their ideas, they can begin their journey. Through building on their own, students learn to think critically about a problem and identify ways to solve problems with the tools they have. With so many different camps available VineyardApp wanted to build one where students can walk away with a tangible accomplishment.

VineyardApp cares about how they teach just as much as what they’re teaching. Their instructors are engaging, experienced, and fun. They constantly challenge students’ thinking, and the small group environment lends to students learning from each other in addition to the instructor. Students immediately put into practice the information they learn with activities and exercises, cementing students’ knowledge of the material. Not only that: their class curriculums are version controlled so that teachers are able to submit curriculum improvements after every class.



Brendan Carrillo

Brendan Carrillo is Parish’s 3rd and 4th grade Music Teacher. He joins us from Sudie L. Williams Talented and Gifted Academy in DISD, where he taught general music and directed the upper grades choir. Brendan holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor University and a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University. A talented double bassist, Brendan regularly serves as a substitute for the Dallas Opera and has performed as a freelance musician with the Houston Symphony, Waco Symphony, Temple Symphony, and other ensembles.

Cindy Overturf

Cindy Overturf brings a wealth of experience as the Music Teacher for PreK-2nd grade at Parish.  Shhas been teaching Kindergarten-5th grade music Mendenhall Elementary School in Plano ISD since 2002.  Before her Plano ISD position, she taught at the School of the Plains and in the Idabel School District in Oklahoma.  She has her Master of Music Education from the University of Oklahoma, her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Tulsa, and her Associate of the Arts from Cottey College. Additionally, she is Kodaly Level 3 certified.

Melanie M Brannan

At an early age Brannan loved art. In elementary school her crayon drawings drew the attention of classmates and sometimes the objection of her teachers for not following exact instructions. At the age of 10, her mother gave her a small set of oil paints. The set didn’t come with a paint brush, so she created her first painting on a discarded wooden panel with toothpicks. From that painting, she knew she had found her place. In high school, Brannan won her first two Best of Show awards in art competitions.

Brannan received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Louisiana Tech University in Advertising and Graphic Design. After graduation Brannan opened her own graphic design firm in Dallas which she had for 25 years. Her client list included national and international accounts including Neiman Marcus, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Southwest Airlines, and Mobil Oil Corporation.

In 2009, Brannan closed the design firm and returned to painting. She started working with a client who was building a home in Highland Park and wanted a few commission pieces. For years, they would meet weekly discussing art, reviewing comps, and delivering the final pieces. Overall, she painted 27 pieces for that home.

While starting this new career as a fine artist, Brannan taught painting classes to adults and children. She discovered how much she loved to teach the techniques, the history of art and the Masters. Brannan stated, “Teaching has brought so much to my own paintings. When you are teaching a Matisse, van Gogh or Kandinsky, you need to know their story, brush strokes, techniques, and palettes…I will forever be a student of art.”

DIMA Texas

DFW Institute of Musical Advancement (DIMATexas) provides after school music enrichment programs to independent schools in the Dallas Metroplex. DIMATexas was founded in 2018 by Dr. Elida Dakoli when she discovered that there was a need for high quality music instruction in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She was asked quite often to provide private piano lessons at the school her children attended. DIMATexas has since expanded into a multitude of independent schools, providing more than ten classically trained artists that teach private, semi-private, and group lessons.

Dr. Dakoli began her formative musical training at a young age in Durres, Albania and by the age of twelve she had performed her first solo recital and began performing concerts throughout Albania. At the age of 18, Dr. Dakoli was accepted into the University of Music, Tirana, Albania to study under Professor Anita Tartari and received her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. She has won many awards and has performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages. In 2003, Dr. Dakoli left Albania to study at Baylor University in Waco. She graduated with a Master of Music in Piano Performance in 2005. In 2017, Dr. Dakoli earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance degree from Louisiana State University. She serves as music faculty at Dallas Baptist University. Dr. Dakoli also serves on the Lamplighter Parents’ Association and coordinates The Lamplighter School’s annual Media Center Open House Student Recital. Dr. Dakoli is a Mason & Hamlin Artist and serves as the face of and is a recording artist for PianoDisc.


Founded by Terri Braun, Kidokinetics has engaged children with fun, high-energy sports, and fitness classes since 1996. They are a premier sports, fitness, health, and recreation program provider that comes to local preschools, elementary schools, local parks, or community centers.

Terri Braun is an athlete, leader, teacher, and mother of three. Her programs keep children moving and active. The magic of Kidokinetics is that they’ve made sure achieving goals is an exciting experience — one that is so much fun, kids aren’t even aware of the fact that they’re learning.

XFactor Cheer

 Coach Ty Smith is from Chicago and started in competitive gymnastics in elementary school and by the time he was 16 he was an assistant coach. Coach Ty has been teaching recreational and competitive Gymnastics for more than 30 years. He coaches gymnasts on balance beam, vaulting horse, floor tumbling skills and uneven/parallel bars. He also has taught recreational and competitive cheerleading for more than 25 years including stunts, cheers, chants, motions, transitions, voice projection and power tumbling. He is safety certified American First Aid AED/CPR Association Advance Broken Bone Certificate.

Hola Spanish Academy

Hola Spanish Academy is a family owned and operated Spanish education company headquartered in Dallas, TX. The company focuses on providing a fun, enriching and interactive environment for children to learn, strengthen and continue to build on their Spanish education. We utilize curriculum that is used by schools across the metroplex, however our classes center around making learning Spanish fun through songs, dance, games, and other activities.  As parents, we’ve witnessed firsthand that when learning is fun, children not only absorb and retain more information but also have the desire to continue learning.

8Bit Education

 Serving schools and recreation centers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, 8Bit Education strives to create fun, engaging STEM curriculum that encourages technical and social skills both in and out of the classroom. 8Bit Education is family owned and operated. They were founded in 2015 because they saw a need for high-quality, affordable STEM Education.

Founder, Adrian Sanchez, Jr., has been in the field of STEM Education for more than 12 years; he has worked with other companies and has seen what is possible when you open the door to the world of tech for students. He believes everyone should be able to have the experience of learning new skills and having fun at the same time!

Adrian works very closely with his brother and lead instructor, Tony Sanchez. Tony ensures the staff are properly trained to their high standards. The Sanchez brothers work diligently to keep each student engaged and will often team up to teach camps and classes. They also work very closely in developing new material and camps.

The final member of the team is Olivia Sanchez, Adrian’s wife. She works closely with the brothers to develop new curriculum as well as recruiting new partners, developing marketing materials, and working on anything 8Bit might need. 

Challenge Island

Challenge Island® is where engineering meets imagination! It’s a one of a kind enrichment program on the cutting edge of S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education and 21st century learning.  Each semester of Challenge Island takes place on a unique thematic island where our adventurous tribes tackle high-level thinking and engineering challenges at whimsical weekly destinations-combining kids’ love of creating with STEAM concepts making learning fun. 


Nexplore fosters a love of learning in all their students through hands-on experiences designed to inspire and empower their natural curiosity. They are committed to offering a diverse range of learning opportunities where students can explore their passions and strengthen core Life Skills needed to thrive in the 21st century. This includes:

  • Critical thinking, problem-solving, and logical reasoning.
  • Intrapersonal and interpersonal social skills
  • Emotional awareness and management
  • Creative thinking and innovation
  • Physical health and fitness
  • Cultural understanding, global awareness, and respect for humankind

Nexplore’s mission is to foster the joy of learning through enrichment opportunities so that each child may discover and explore a passion that drives him or her to excel and continue their path of education throughout their school years.

NuMinds Enrichment

NuMinds Enrichment was founded in 2013 by Ben Koch and Justin Vawter with the purpose of awakening education through real inspired learning. They create engaging, mixed-age programs and empower teachers around the world to transform their students through innovative practices, divergent thought, critical thinking, and a growth mindset. They do this by incorporating their core values of presuming the best, thinking like a kid, asking questions, allowing imagination, curiosity & wonder fuel the engine and believing in unlocked potential to pave the way for each class they teach.

Play-Well TEKnologies

Play-Well TEKnologies was founded by Tim Bowen in 1997. Tim was introduced to the LEGO® building system a year earlier and recognized it to be both a popular play medium and a tremendous learning medium. He began to develop projects which drew on his professional experience and combined the elements of fun, challenge, and learning and began operating a summer camp program, followed by after school enrichment classes. With steady growth of the company, project development is now undertaken by a staff of instructors bent on constantly improving the programs.Play-Well strives to build problem-solving skills, provide an opportunity for creative expression foster a greater appreciation of how things work and encourage the qualities of inquisitiveness, self reliance, and self confidence in children.

Contact Parish Extend

Have questions about Parish Extend? Reach out to our team – we’d love to hear from you.