Every student is unique and different. Options is designed to support the academic and social needs of students that have not found success in the traditional large public school environment.
Options High Schools are free, public, charter high schools with two campuses – one in Carmel and one in Noblesville. At Options, students are free to explore and embrace their individuality in a supportive environment which makes the high school a positive experience. Through our small size and individualized academic approach, every student is given the opportunity to excel in an environment that allows for different types and speeds of learning. With a combination of virtual and instructor-led learning, we offer flexible approaches for each and every student.
Our highly qualified instructional staff and administrative team not only serve as teachers, but as role models, friends, coaches and mentors to our students as they finish high school and move on to the next stage of life.
Student Success Stories
“It all started around the time I turned 13. I had been a good student, but when I entered middle school at Hamilton Heights things started to change. Like many young women at this age, I was struggling with going through puberty and as a shy and somewhat overweight kid, I was a victim of bullying. The bullying got so bad that at one point I even tried to kill myself. Thankfully, my parents helped me to change schools. Back when I was in school, Options wasn’t open. And even though the Christian school that I attended in the 8th grade was nice, I still didn’t feel that I had found a home. Thankfully, Options opened and I joined as a freshman in 2006.
The thing that was so different at Options is that I didn’t feel different. Many of the kids there came from environments where they felt like they didn’t fit in. At Options, we were all a bit different, so nobody felt different.
I finally felt that I had the chance to shine and succeed. Even though I continued to struggle to make good choices, I had teachers at Options that wouldn’t give up on me. I ended up dropping out of Options when I was a junior.
Unfortunately, I was battling an addiction that was the result of some poor choices. But the people at Options were always in my corner and continued to encourage me to come back, even though I had dropped out. At that point in my life, when I was in such a low space, knowing that I had somebody who was caring about me was an incredible lifeline.
I eventually beat my addiction and came back to finish my diploma at Options. Despite being behind academically, I was able catch up. Options offered me the flexibility to complete my classes via online, but they still stayed on top of me to make sure that I was working hard. This girl who never thought she would amount to anything in life, ended up graduating with a 3.84 and I just finished my Phlebotomy certification at Ivy Tech. I never saw myself as a high school graduate, let alone a college graduate. The staff at Options saw what I could be and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
Today, I am employed as a student aide at Options. I work with a student who is challenged with anxiety and emotional issues. I help him recognize when he is beginning to struggle, and take him out for a break or a breather.
I know that high school is tough and sometimes you don’t feel like you can make it. But for everyone like me who struggled, I just wish they knew that they can find a home at Options. You can be in a place where you can win. You can feel comfortable in a school again.”
“I went to middle school in California. I lived with my two brothers and one sister with my dad. Dad worked a lot so I had to do most of the work to take care of them. I always made sure that they had meals and that they finished their homework. But, that meant I didn’t have a lot of time to do my own school work.
I didn’t care about school much as a freshman. I wouldn’t complete assignments and spent most of my time being the class clown rather than doing my work. I ended my first semester in high school having only completed 1.7 credit hours. My parents agreed that it might be better for me to attend school in Indiana and live with my mom.
My mom enrolled me at Options and told me just to try it for a week to see if I liked it. I admit, at first it was weird. You call your teachers by their first names. But the longer I was there, the more I began to enjoy going to school at Options. I realized that they weren’t just my teachers, but my friends. At my old school, I never felt like I could talk to a teacher about why I was missing class or not completing an assignment. They just didn’t seem like they would take the time to understand. But at Options, the teachers are always there to help me and motivate me to do my best work. I was no longer missing classes and I started going to school every day.
I knew that this was my second chance and I needed to take school more seriously. I am finishing up my Junior year at Options and I already have 38 credits. Options really worked with me to get back on track. Options helped me understand how important it is to finish up high school. I am going to finish up my time at Options and go on to college. I don’t know what I want to study yet, but I know I am always going to have that high school diploma.”
What makes Options Different?
Options Schools have designed a school experience with the sole purpose of ensuring success for students who have previously struggled in the traditional large public school environment. At Options, students are not asked to conform to the system, rather the system has been designed to accommodate their needs and past experiences to ensure maximum achievement.
This unique design first begins with the social environment in which the students operate. At Options, we believe that learning takes place most effectively in a safe and secure environment based on trust and strong relationships. At Options, students find a place where they feel like they belong, starting with calling teachers and administrators by their first names. Additionally, every effort is made to help the students attain a sense of ownership for their school. Regular town-hall or small group meetings include open discussion and fun “family” time. Students are frequently involved in developing school rules, policies and events, giving them a voice and most importantly a sense of control in their learning environment.
Options’ educational approach is based upon the 40 Developmental Assets that have been identified by the Search Institute as the building blocks for healthy development in young adults. Students and parents become familiar with the connections between The Developmental Assets and academic success as they begin to see the students learn to set and obtain appropriate and measurable goals in the areas of academics, behaviors, and social emotional growth. Asset building becomes the foundation for the continued personal growth and development of each student.
Every student at Options is assigned a personal advisor from the highly qualified team of teachers. This advisor assists with motivating, monitoring, and communicating with the student and family on all aspects of the student’s education. A detailed Individualized Service Plan (ISP) is developed to identify areas of strength and concern. These ISPs are reviewed every six weeks by the entire teaching team and additional support measures or changes to goals may be updated at those times to ensure every student is able to find success. Options recognizes that students can also benefit from mentoring opportunities from the community as well. We are pleased that many of our students have developed life-long relationships as a result of the partnerships we have created with adult volunteers serving as mentors.