Student Spotlight: Aiden Kirby

Aiden Kirby, a high school junior at Options-Carmel

What grade are you in?
11th. I am going to be a senior next year!

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
Boating, gaming, hanging out with friends, skateboarding

What is your favorite thing about Options so far?
The teachers are great, the work is understandable

What is your favorite subject in school?
History

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options? Not only with academics, but overall.
All of my grades went up, dramatically.  School is a whole lot less stressful.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
They are super friendly, they like me as a person, understand my learning challenges and work with me. They are super chill, easy to approach and cool to talk to.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate? If so, please explain.
I’m doing my dream now. I got a summer job in welding and construction and want to continue that after I graduate. I want to start my own welding company.

How have your classes been since transitioning to eLearning?
Good, the teachers are great.

How have you been maintaining a good schedule while eLearning?
Yes, up in the morning, do my work so I can go to work or hang out.

Do you have any tips or tricks for staying productive while eLearning?
Just get the work done and play hard after.

Have you & your family been doing anything creative at home to stay active?
I work out every day. Going forward I will be working every day.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

Take a virtual campus tour!

Options-Carmel

(Serving Grades 6 – 12)
Click here to contact Principal Michael Dunagan

Options-Noblesville

(Serving Grades 6 – 12)
Click here to contact Principal Adam Barr

 

*** Now enrolling students for the 2020-21 school year ***

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

Options Schools Announces Graduation Plans

As regulations around the state will prohibit Options Schools from holding a traditional Graduation ceremony at the Ritz Charles in Carmel, this year’s Graduation is going online for an event that will be streamed on Facebook Live at this link: Facebook.com/optionscharterschools/.

The ceremony can be viewed on Facebook Live on Wednesday, May 27 at 6:30 p.m. EST. Following the conclusion of the 6:30 PM live event, the full ceremony will be available on-demand via Options Schools’ Facebook page.

Each campus Principal has already reached out to the Class of 2020 to provide information on how students can obtain their cap & gown, along with how they will be able to participate in the ceremony virtually.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

 

April 14 Update For Student & Parents

Parents and Students,

We hope this letter finds you and your families well as we all continue to Hunker-Down in Indiana and do our part to fight off the pandemic of COVID-19.  On April 2nd, Dr. McCormick, the Indiana State Superintendent of Education, announced that schools will not be allowed to return back to the physical buildings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Prior to spring break, we shared our plan for instructional days following spring break and that plan has not changed with this announcement.  An explanation of the plan is also included in this letter as well as some additional details for graduating seniors.  

We returned to eLearning, Monday, April 13, 2020 with all courses now set up in such a way that students may complete at their own pace with the goal of completing all currently assigned courses by May 1.  Students enrolled in the Options-Distance Education, Options @ HYCA and Options @ BACA programs will continue to complete courses according to their individual pacing plans. We are hopeful this will excite students and encourage focused work with the reward of an early summer break!  Teachers will continue to provide direct instruction through videos, virtual office hours, Google Hangout and Zoom meetings, and by appointment for individual virtual help.  

Dr. McCormick also announced on April 2nd that all graduating seniors will receive acknowledgment in all spring courses in which they are already enrolled to ensure they are able to meet graduation requirements.  Please note, “acknowledgment” is not the same as credit. In order for seniors to earn the transcripted credit in the courses, they must still complete the content and earn a passing grade. We are encouraging all seniors, along with all students, to push forward with their courses and work to complete all coursework on May 1, 2020. 

Beginning May 4, 2020, through May 27, 2020, Options will run a 4-week credit recovery session for all students that need extended time past the May 1st deadline or that are credit deficient and would like to enroll in an additional course or two.  Advisors and counselors will help students choose appropriate courses and will direct students to fill out this sign-up form.  Sign up forms are not necessary for Options-Distance Education and Options @ BACA students.  In addition, we will still offer summer school, online-only, June 1, 2020, through June 26, 2020.  Students will need to fill out the form for each 4-week term with the courses they wish to take. 

Dr. McCormick’s announcement does require us to also change how we celebrate together through our spring events such as the spring picnic, prom, and graduation.  Our leadership teams will continue to work together to develop alternative plans and will share more information as we have it ready to share. We are very proud of our students and their continued resiliency!   

Thank you, again, to each of you for being part of the Options’ family and trusting us to provide your children a sense of belonging in our schools, a belief in themselves, and encouragement to achieve their highest potential. We do not take that gift lightly. Also, our sincere thanks to all the dedicated people at all of the County and State Health Departments, the local and state officials, and to our staff at Options Schools who have been working tirelessly to prepare and plan for our students and families. 

Point of Contact by Program:

 

Quick Guide Calendar

March 30 – April 10 — Spring Break – No School

April 13 – May 1 — eLearning (Courses now At-Your-Own Pace)

May 1 — End of Semester 2

May 4 – May 27 — Credit Recovery Session 1 (Maymester)
Sign-up Form

June 1 – June 26 — Credit Recovery Session 2 (Summer School)
Sign-up Form

August 5 — First Day for Students, Fall 2020

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

Carmel Student of the Month – March

Pictured: Mercedes with her two younger sisters

In celebration of our March Students of the Month, get to know the Mercedes Schneider from Options-Carmel!

Mercedes Schneider
(Options-Carmel)

Grade: 10th

When did you enroll at Options?
January 2020

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I enjoy my free time by listening to music or hanging out with my family. Usually, I’ll play games with my little sister or cards with my parents. 

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
I really like the positive environment, most of the people are positive and very nice. All the teachers are also kind and helpful whenever you need their help.

What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject is history. It’s an interesting class where you can always learn something new every day. 

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
Yes, I’ve improved with my social skills and putting myself out there to meet new people. Also, with my academics, I feel as if I’m learning more at Options then my last school.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
Options teachers make sure students are more productive and ask the students if they need help. They also give more one on one time with students who are struggling in classes.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
Yes, I currently plan to graduate a year early, then go to college for neuropsychology, or something like that. Although I still don’t know where I will attend college though.

 

 

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

 

Steve’s eLearning Update (March 27)

With Options Schools closed until May 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our educational structure has transitioned to eLearning. With all Options students, teachers and administrators working from home, we wanted to share some blog posts on how the change has been going for different members of the Options family.

Next up is Steve Bowers, social studies teacher at Options-Carmel since 2017! Yesterday, Stacie O’Flaherty (Options-Noblesville science teacher) provided an update.

How has the transition to full eLearning been for your students?
Steve: The students have been resilient, if somewhat hesitant. We are charting new waters for a lot of them, and they just need to get comfortable with the new format. The students are still involved, producing high-quality work, being engaged, asking questions, just like in their school classrooms.

How has the transition to full eLearning been for you & the rest of the Options-Carmel team?
Steve: I believe we have all done very well making the transition, having the built-in eLearning Days already for our half-day/full-day Professional Development’s has helped us be ahead of the curve, unlike some of the bigger school corporations. Personally, I have taught virtually before so it was a pretty easy transition for me (and from conversing with my colleagues, for them as well). We have been sharing different ideas, apps, websites, resources to make the transition that much easier for the entire staff.

What has been the most successful part of eLearning thus far?
Steve: For me, seeing the students be able to embrace it. Some students have a natural fear of the unknown (we all do), but this was something that they were able to take in stride and still be successful students. The continual conversations that I and the other teachers have with our students via the different social media apps, emails, texts, phone calls, etc, it’s just like we see them in hallways and have a nice little conversation with them. Its “business” as usual, just in a different location.

How are you staying connected with your students during eLearning?
Steve: I text, use google hangouts, email, and make some phone calls.  I will leave comments on the assignments I grade, just simple things, like “nice job,” “keep up the good work,” “hope you and your family are doing okay,” “let me know if you need anything.” Things like that. It sounds cliche, but we are family and our students really, really buy into that here. We need to make sure that we continue that in this particular time of uncertainty.

What have you been doing to keep to a routine while teaching through eLearning?
Steve: Well, to be honest, I don’t get up as early as I did, as my kids are home as well and I don’t have to take my oldest to band practice. But what I do, I make sure I get dressed like I’m going into work. It’s fine to sit in your shorts and t-shirt, but that can be distracting. I put on clothes that I would wear to work. I don’t sit near my desktop, as my games and other distractions would be calling me, I set up class hangouts to correspond to the time I would actually have class. I connect with my teacher friends, like I would at school, eat lunch at the same time. Just to make myself realize that I am still at work.

Have you & your family been doing anything creative at home to stay active?
Steve: Well, my kids go for walks/play outside. My youngest (7th grader) has to do ‘Just Dance’ for his Gym class. My oldest (10th grader) is constantly practicing his bassoon or saxophone. We have family dinner, play board games, etc. Sometimes we do separate because being cooped up for an extended time period can be grating on your nerves, especially if your father is a history teacher and you are a teenager.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Steve: Just that as bad as it is, and while it’s bad and may get worse, if the scientists are correct, we will get through it.  We have a unique school that takes care of each other. We have the ability to do the right thing for our students and staff, and we are doing so to help our students because we believe in them. They know they belong to a school that cares for them and together we know they will achieve because we believe in them.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

Student Schedule Following Spring Break (As of March 23)

Parents and Students,

The last couple of weeks have challenged each of us in some similar and unique ways. We have been so fortunate, as a school family, to have a group of students and parents that have been patient and incredibly flexible with the changes in learning platforms. We have heard so many positive stories already of how you are all continuing to build community in alignment with our Relationships-First mission yet keeping the appropriate social distancing requirements. We recognize that while this situation is not ideal for students, staff or parents, it is important for the health and safety of our overall community. Our students and teachers continue to show us how resilient they really are!

We hope you will use the upcoming spring break as an opportunity to rest and heal, both physically and mentally. We know many of you have had to cancel family plans and normal busy schedules have slowed during this time at home. We encourage you to continue to schedule time each day to take care of yourselves and your family as a whole unit. If we are not careful and intentional, we can begin to feel isolated. Your Options family is here to walk with you and ready to help in any way we can. Please let us know if you or your family have any needs with which we may assist.

Options Charter Schools are on spring break beginning Monday, March 30, 2020, through Friday, April 10, 2020.  We will return to eLearning, Monday, April 13, 2020. At that time, all courses will have been set up in such a way that students may complete at their own pace with the goal of completing all currently assigned courses by May 1. We are hopeful this will excite students and encourage focused work with the reward of an early summer break!

Beginning May 4, 2020, through May 27, 2020, Options will run a 4-week credit recovery session for all students that need extended time past the May 1st deadline or that are credit deficient and would like to enroll in an additional course or two. If we are able to return to the buildings at that time, this session will run from 8:00 am-12:00 pm each day. If not, we will continue through the eLearning platform.

At this time, we are holding off on making any decisions about spring events such as the spring picnic, prom, or graduation. We are hopeful we are able to be together again before the end of the year but will follow the lead of our health agencies and government officials.  Summer school will continue as planned, beginning June 1, 2020, through June 26, 2020. If we are able to be in the buildings, this will be held at the Noblesville campus and will run from 8:00 am-12:00 pm. Students are able to enroll in up to two courses for summer school. More information and sign up sheets will be sent out in April.

Thank you, again, to each of you for being part of the Options’ family and trusting us to provide your children a sense of belonging in our schools, a belief in themselves, and encouragement to achieve their highest potential. We do not take that gift lightly. Also, our sincere thanks to all the dedicated people at all of the County and State Health Departments, the local and state officials, and to our staff at Options Schools who have been working tirelessly to prepare and plan for our students and families.

 

Quick Guide Calendar

March 30 – April 10 Spring Break – No School
April 13 – May 1 eLearning, Courses set to At-Your-Own Pace
May 1 End of Semester 2
May 4 – May 27 Credit Recovery Session 1
June 1 – June 26 Credit Recovery Session 2 (Summer School)
August 5 First Student Day, Fall 2020

 

Point of Contact by Program:

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

 

Options Schools closure update (March 19)

As was announced Thursday by Governor Eric Holcomb, all Indiana schools will be closed through May 1 and all state standardized tests have been canceled.

All Options Schools students will remain on their current E-Learning curriculum at this time. All Options campuses will remain closed, with Spring Break scheduled for March 30-April 10.

Options will collaborate with Hamilton County school superintendents, along with state and local health officials in order to coordinate a plan through May 1.

Information and news will be shared once a plan has been prepared.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

Options Pantry makes immediate impact amidst school closures

With more than 200 Indiana school districts having closed in response to COVID-19, students throughout Indiana are experiencing a change in their daily schedule. One of those changes is the access to lunch and other meals that are available to students when at school.

In an effort to ensure no students would go hungry during the extended break, Options Schools looked to its recently-renovated food pantry.

With the Options-Noblesville Pantry already in place, the foundation was set to make an immediate impact when staff learned Friday that Options Schools campuses would transition to E-Learning, beginning Monday, March 16. With help from students Symone and Jocelyn, Options-Noblesville Instructional Assistant Elizabeth Essig was able to prepare 100 bags of non-perishable foods. 50 of the bags were transported to Options-Carmel.

Some of the supplies were provided by the Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank, while others were purchased by Options. In addition to the 100 bags of food, White River Christian Church supplied Options with perishable and non-perishable items for 10 more families.

With additional supplies remaining, Options teachers and administration will distribute remaining supplies in the following days & weeks.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

 

Options Schools Transitions To E-Learning For COVID-19 Safeguard

NOBLESVILLE – Amid growing concerns surrounding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and a recommendation by the Hamilton County Health Department, Options Schools will close through Spring Break (March 30 – April 10).

The closure will be effective Monday, March 16 and Options administration will reevaluate the closure prior to April 10. All Options Schools students will transition to an E-Learning format for the remainder of the closure. Options will begin E-Learning for ALL PROGRAMS beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, 2020 for a total of 10 days. Students will access the curriculum from home, virtually. Access to the building will still be allowed, but by appointment only.

Options administration also announced that all events with large attendance were postponed. The list of postponed events includes: Options-Noblesville Senior Institute Gallery Walk (March 17), Options-Westfield Groundbreaking Ceremony (March 18), Options-Carmel Open House (March 18), Options-Carmel Senior Institute Gallery Walk (March 20) and Options-Noblesville Open House (March 25).

An email was sent to all Options parents outlining details of the closure and E-Learning Days. The email can be viewed here in its entirety.

 

Options Schools Postpones Events For COVID-19 Precautions

NOBLESVILLE – In order to remain committed to the health and safety of students and faculty, Options Schools has postponed upcoming events with large attendance, through the end of March with the current threat of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The list of postponed events currently includes: Options-Noblesville Senior Institute Gallery Walk (March 17), Options-Westfield Groundbreaking Ceremony (March 18), Options-Carmel Open House (March 18), Options-Carmel Senior Institute Gallery Walk (March 20) and Options-Noblesville Open House (March 25).

As originally scheduled, Wednesday, March 18 will remain an E-Learning Day for all Options students.

“After consulting with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and local officials, we feel that it is in the best interest of our students and staff to temporarily postpone Options Schools events,” said Dr. Mike Gustin, Options Schools President. “At this time, we do not feel school closure is necessary. However, we are encouraging all students and staff members to practice good sanitation habits and to remain home if they are feeling ill.”

Students concerned about their own welfare or potential exposure to family members may elect to participate in the Options’ Alternative Classroom Experience and learn from home. Parents should contact their building principal for more information on this option.

Currently, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any Options Schools campuses. If a case were to occur, Options would notify staff, students and parents from the involved school(s) and follow the recommendations of local, state and federal authorities. In the event schools would need to be closed for an extended period of time, Options would utilize E-Learning Days and postpone in-person meetings for Distance Education students.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on Wednesday. The ISDH and Centers of Disease Control (CDC) have shared guidance based on what is known about the transmission and severity of COVID-19. Per their recommendation, Options administration will continue to collaborate, share information, and review plans with local health officials.

Dunagan’s Principal Blog (March 2020)

I know it is hard to believe, but we are already into the month of March. As we near the end of the 3rd quarter we have a lot of important dates coming up in the next few weeks!

We had a great end to the month of February by spending a crisp Friday in southern Indiana at Paoli Peaks. While it allowed students to spend a day away from campus, the deeper meaning of the day is to reward students based on their achievement of certain benchmarks and by demonstrating the aforementioned academic skills. You can view a full photo gallery from the day, here. We also named 10th grader Daelyn Presswood as our February Student of the Month.

To signify a major milestone in the history of Options Schools, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Wednesday, March 18 to mark the beginning of the construction project that will result in a Westfield campus of Options Schools! We welcome anyone to attend the event, which will last from 1:30-2:30 PM. The groundbreaking ceremony will commence at 2 PM. The Options-Westfield site can be found off of State Road 32 and Gunther Blvd., behind Huntington Bank (3560 Westfield Rd, Westfield, IN 46074). The location is adjacent to the intersection of State Road 32 & Grassy Branch Rd.

Important Dates:

  • March 10th-11th ISTEP+ English testing
  • March 16th Army Recruiters will be on-site during afternoon advising to speak to any interested students
  • March 17th Practice Gallery walk for SI
  • March 18th Full E-Learning day for students
  • March 18th Groundbreaking ceremony for our Westfield campus at 1:30 PM
  • March 18th Open House from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • March 20th Gallery Walk for SI at 10:30 AM
  • March 24th-25th Cognia Review visit
  • March 30th-April 10th Spring Break

The full 2020 Open House schedule began this week and will last until May. The full schedule of dates can be found here.

Did you know that April 1, 2020 is Census Day? Responding to the 2020 Census is our civic duty and affects the amount of funding for our community’s public resources. To learn more, visit http://www.census.indiana.edu. Counting your child in the 2020 census could mean $10,000 of additional funding for K12 schools over the next ten years.

Students of the Month – February 2020

In celebration of our February Students of the Month, get to know the four students that were selected! Each student was selected by their program’s Principal and teachers.

 

Daelyn Presswood
(Options-Carmel)

Grade: 10th 

When did you enroll at Options?
Over a year ago in October 2018

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to play basketball, play video games & read comic books. I mainly play sports video games like NBA 2K and UFC. My cousin showed me the TV show “The Flash” and that got me hooked on comic books.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
Definitely the teachers. They make sure to help you succeed and they don’t let you fail. I also like being able to play basketball with friends at school during lunch.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I really like Social Studies with Steve and English with Gretchen. The way they teach and how they approach things is really helpful. I really enjoy reading and working on writing prompts. I also have learned a lot about history.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I have learned a lot more since I have been here compared to at my old school. Personally, I used to be super serious about everything, but small classes helped me learn how to be a little more laid back.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
They pay attention to each student and take interest in you as an individual because they don’t want to see me fail. Everyone is helpful, even down to our security guard. They try to help in the best way they can.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I’m not sure yet, but I want to do something where I can help other people.

 

Ethan Howard
(Options-Distance Education)

Grade: 12th
Hometown: Indianapolis

When did you enroll at Options?
December 2018

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
My passion is playing video games, making videos and listening to music. I also enjoy learning about airplanes and collecting airplanes. 

What is your favorite thing about the Options Distance Education program?
My favorite thing is how I can work any time to fit my schedule. This has made school better because I feel less rushed and can focus on one class at a time.

What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject is business because it’s interesting and I’m getting good grades in the class. This class is preparing me for my future as an entrepreneur.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I’ve improved my work ethic and my constructive writing skills. Overall, I am better at planning and managing my time.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
The teachers offer more 1-on-1 help to students to make sure they fully understand. They also help you set goals for yourself.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
After graduation, I would like to make my own company and become a pilot. If I were to make a company, it would produce movies. One day I would like to fly myself to Japan.

 

Basim Kahn
(Options-Noblesville Middle School)

Grade: 8th

When did you enroll at Options?
At the start of this school year in August

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I enjoy playing video games, mostly Nintendo games.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
I actually like going to school. You can voice your opinions; your voice Is heard, and the teachers are funny.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I would say math. I am good at it and it’s kind of easy for me.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I go to school a lot more now. I didn’t use to go as much.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
They have time to help you and answer questions that anyone has. The classrooms aren’t big, so nobody is embarrassed to ask questions and the work is attainable. 

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
Probably something with building or technology. I like working with my hands and playing video games, so something that has those things would be fun.

 

Tori Symons
(Options-Noblesville High School)

Grade: 10th

When did you enroll at Options?
In the middle of this past November

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I love photography and have been doing it for the past two years. I also know sign language and started learning that in 6th grade.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
I like the extra help from all my teachers. They make time to further help me and make sure we get the best grades we can.

What is your favorite subject in school?
English is my favorite subject. I love writing, especially poetry.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I have definitely become more outgoing and I’m better at speaking my own voice. I used to be shyer and I have also improved in math & have a better understanding of it now. The smaller school helps me be more comfortable with speaking up and being in my own skin because you can ask questions without judgment.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
Here they take extra time to help with whatever is needed, even if they have to go over a thing in class again. Having resource teachers help me too because there is more support than I used to have.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to be a Sign Language Interpreter and I am planning on going to IUPUI because they have a good program for that.

 

 

 

Options Students Take to the Ski Slopes in Celebration of the Literal Ups and Downs of Life

Options-Carmel student Dominick Andrews takes a turn while snowboarding for the first time (photo credit: Meredith Stasik)


Story written by Meredith Stasik

View Photo Gallery

Options Schools are a place where students go to succeed and to learn an appreciation for hard work, grit, and determination. This has never been truer than when a group of students from the Options campus in Carmel, IN and their teachers took to the ski slopes at Paoli Peaks in Southern Indiana on crisp Friday morning in February. The students were selected based on their achievement of certain benchmarks and by demonstrating the aforementioned academic skills.

Since this was the first time skiing for many students, and teachers, this field trip was a metaphor for the challenges of learning new skills and obtaining goals.

Sarah Cash, teacher, lamented this idea when she said, “We love to see our students succeed but we know that the path to success isn’t a straight one. Sometimes you fall and have to pick yourself up, tend to your bruises, and keep going. That’s exactly what you do while skiing. This trip is a perfect example and real-life application of grit and determination. It was a great lesson for all of us today.”

Not every student was quick to hit the slopes. After a lesson from the Paoli Peaks’ ski instructors, some students opted to hang back and watch the action for a while.

Samantha Floyd was one of those students. “It was a bit scary and intimidating at first. It was cold and wet. At first, a lot of people were falling down. It just seemed hard. But then people were skiing and snowboarding longer and faster and you could tell they were having fun. It made me want to get out there and try as hard as they were!” And it was not long before Floyd did just that. She was able to snowboard down the slope on her own in no time.

The Options Schools motto is “Believe. Belong. Achieve.” Teacher Phil Bertch exemplified this when he remarked, “Our school is huge on embracing the notion of ‘second chances’ and recognizing setbacks not as failures but an opportunity to improve. It is why many of our students end up enrolling with Options. We truly believe all of our students are capable of success. It’s about working with them and personalizing the support given to them to get them there.”

Some students found success quicker than others. For example, student Dominick Andrews. “He took to snowboarding right away. He served as a role model and a bit of inspiration for other students,” one of his former teachers Meredith Stasik commented. “That’s one of the powerful things about the Options smaller community. We have the ability to recognize the successes of our students and allow them to serve as motivation for the rest of us.”

Andrews added, “At first I didn’t think I was doing so well. It’s hard to tell when you are still figuring things out but then you have your teachers congratulating you and cheering you on. It gets you more excited and wanting to do more.”

Other students like Titus Barber and Daelyn Presswood could be heard giving words of encouragement to their teachers and peers from the ski lift or coming to the aid of a fallen teacher.

At the end of the day, each student made an attempt at least once down the hill. Everyone had their fair share of falls and bumps. Most importantly, everyone got up, mustered up their grit, and tried again. It was truly a fun-filled day that made a lasting impression on everyone in attendance and even leaving some students asking to come back again next year!

To explore Options, visit OptionsSchools.org. With enrollment now open for the 2020-21 school year, prospective families can attend an upcoming Open House or schedule a campus tour & Principal meeting.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

Options Schools sets dates for 2020 Open House schedule

View Open House Schedule (PDF)

In order to provide families with the opportunity to see what can be accomplished with a unique and personalized approach to education, Options Schools will be hosting 10 Open Houses in advance of the 2020-21 school year.

Scheduled for March through May, each Open House will run from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Attendees will be able to tour the respective campus and meet/speak with Options Principals, teachers and other team members in order to learn more about the high-quality approach and small class sizes found at Options Schools.

Open House Schedule (View PDF)
Wednesday, March 4 (Carmel campus – 530 W Carmel Dr)
Wednesday, March 11 (Noblesville campus – 9945 Cumberland Pointe Blvd)
Wednesday, March 18 (Carmel)
Wednesday, March 25 (Noblesville)
Wednesday, April 15 (Carmel)
Wednesday, April 22 (Noblesville)
Wednesday, April 29 (Carmel)
Wednesday, May 6 (Noblesville)
Wednesday, May 13 (Carmel)
Wednesday, May 20 (Noblesville)

Directions to each campus can be found here, while additional information about Options, including “Our Story,” can be found here. 

Unable to attend an Open House? No problem! Visit OptionsSchools.org to schedule a private campus tour and Principal meeting.

Applications for 2020-21 enrollment will soon be open to students new to Options Schools. For those interested, a limited number of seats remain available for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

 

Amazon John shares passion and expertise with Options-Carmel students

On Tuesday, students at the Carmel campus of Options Schools were able to learn a great deal from a rather entertaining and extremely knowledgeable source, Amazon John of Silly Safaris. With Silly Safaris serving as the leading provider of live animal conservation education, Amazon John spoke to all Options-Carmel students on a number of topics.

Topics covered during the day included small business ownership in Senior Institute, dietary-related themes in Health and Wellness, and animal communication patterns in Interpersonal Communications. Having started Silly Safaris in 1997 after having previously worked at the Indianapolis Zoo, Amazon John shared his story and also brought along some of his animals. Regardless of the topic, Amazon John made sure to share some valuable advice with students, “It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep. Whatever you do in life, just do something that makes you happy.”

A photo gallery from the day can be viewed at the Options Schools Facebook Page.

We made sure to catch up with Amazon John & one of his guests, “Twinkie,” to hear more about the day.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

Students of the Month – Jan. 2020

In celebration of our January Students of the Month, get to know the four students that were selected! Each student was selected by their program’s Principal and teachers.

 

Doug Raub
(Options-Carmel)

Grade: 12th

When did you enroll at Options?
During my Sophomore year (August 2017)

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like going to car meets and looking at different types of cars. I also am into live-streaming gaming on Fortnite.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
I like how you have 1-on-1 relationships with every teacher instead of no teachers knowing you. All of the teachers know something about you and can talk to you because they know you.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I don’t really have a favorite, but I have always liked science.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
They are respectful of students and show trust in people as long as students are honest.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I am looking at enrolling at Lincoln College of Technology to study something automotive-related. I also could work for my dad’s company.

 

Nicolas Jones
(Options-Distance Education)

Grade: 11th
Hometown: Indianapolis

When did you enroll at Options?
September 2019

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like playing my PlayStation and working on cars and dirt bikes.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
They are willing to work with you and address your concerns.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I don’t have any favorites. I am just doing my best to succeed.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
Most definitely! I’m more focused & getting more organized

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
They actually care.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I’m waiting to enroll in trade school for mechanics or HVAC.

 

Jillian Gale
(Options-Noblesville Middle School)

Grade: 7th

When did you enroll at Options?
At the start of this school year

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I really like art and drawing pretty much anything free-hand.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
Probably just the friends I have made, the teachers and the other students.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I like math.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
They understand you and take time to hear about your situation and they try to help you through it.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to be a teacher. I have wanted to do that for a while because I like helping others and I like kids.

 

Joey Kitko
(Options-Noblesville High School)

Grade: 11th

When did you enroll at Options?
I started in September 2019

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to learn about business, and I enjoy wrestling. I make business plans in my free time for all types of companies, but mainly in energy and producing products. I have been wrestling competitively since I was four and it is my favorite sport.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
The respect you get from teachers and the teachers have the willingness to understand situations.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I like math and any business classes.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
The structure is just different and there is some more individual work that lets you work at your own pace.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I am working to save up money to start a business in energy. I want to work with my older brother and he’s also been saving up money.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.

 

Kickboxing World Champion speaks to Options students

NOBLESVILLE – Actor, stuntman and former world kickboxing champion Jerry Trimble spoke to Options-Noblesville, Options-Carmel and Options-Distance Education students on Tuesday morning at Ivy Tech Community College in Noblesville.

An inspiration to many, Trimble shared his story of how he was able to overcome bullying and go after his dreams of becoming a World Champion Actor and Stuntman. Using his own life as a blueprint for creating change, Trimble inspires youth to get out of their comfort zone discover their gifts and use those gifts to go after their dreams.

With students in attendance from both Options campuses and Options Distance Education students having streamed the event, all Options students were able to hear Trimble’s story of overcoming adversity to turn his dreams into reality. Students in attendance also participated in some activities to encourage them to embrace change. Options students & parents interested in re-watching the presentation can email their respective Principal to obtain the website link.

Following the event, Trimble recapped the event and shared some words of wisdom.

“My intention coming in here is that I plant seeds of hope, inspiration and empowerment into each of their minds, bodies and spirit,” Trimble said. ” So when they walk out of here, they’ll know they have something special and they can tap into whatever they have. You know, it’s a process and hopefully I share my process with them so they can get something out of it to the point where they’re going, ‘Wow, I can actually, I can do that. I can do what he did. If it’s not becoming a world champion, it’s something else.'”

The event was also covered by WISH-TV and was featured in Tuesday’s evening news broadcast.

 

About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers a Distance Education program that serves students throughout Indiana. Providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1. With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002.

 

Pennies for Patients Fundraiser

Pennies for Patients raises money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society whose mission is to cure blood cancers and improve the lives of patients and their families.

Options-Carmel has participated in this fundraiser for many years. The school goal this year is to raise $500. The advising groups will be competing to see which group can raise the most money. The winning advising group will win a pizza party. Collection will end on Friday, January 31.

You can help by donating online through the Pennies for Patients website or sending in money with your Options-Carmel student.

Some important facts about Leukemia and Lymphoma:

  • Approximately every 3 minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer.
  • Leukemia is the #1 most diagnosed form of childhood cancer.
  • Approximately 80% of childhood cancer survivors develop a chronic health condition from their treatment.
  • More than 1.3 million people are living with or in remission from blood cancer.
  • More than 1/3 of blood cancer patients do not survive 5 years after diagnosis.

Please contact Gretchen at gtaylor@optionsined.org with any questions or concerns.

 

 

Two Open Houses set for mid-January

At Options, every student enrolled comes with an important and valuable story that shapes their individualized learning plan. In order to continue our efforts of serving students in search of a different approach to education, Options Charter Schools will be hosting a pair of Open Houses in January.

The Carmel campus will host an Open House on Tuesday, January 14 and the Noblesville event will be held on Wednesday, January 15. Each Open House will begin at 5 p.m. and conclude at 7 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the respective campus and speak in detail with Options Principals, teachers and other team members in order to learn more about the Options experience.

Serving students in grades 6-12 at the Noblesville campus and grades 8-12 at the Carmel campus, Options Schools are free, public charter schools. Providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1, Options was founded in 2002 as one of the first five charter schools in the state of Indiana. Options also offers a Distance Education program that serves students throughout Indiana with an online, web-based platform.

Location information for each campus is listed below and directions to each campus can be found here.

Unable to attend an Open House? You can visit OptionsSchools.org to schedule a campus tour and information session for another day & time.

Applications are still being accepted for the 2020 spring semester as a limited number of seats remain at each campus.

In addition to brick and mortar campuses in Carmel & Noblesville, and the Distance Education Program, Options also serves students through ‘Options @ BACA’ and Options @ Growing Minds.

 

Making the Holidays merry for others

Since Options Schools was founded in 2002, service-based learning has been a major part of the foundation upon which Options was built.

In order to graduate from Options and receive a diploma, every senior is required to complete a service-based learning project known as Senior Institute. Through the project, students are expected to leverage the skills that they learned through their practical application experience to complete a project with minimal supervision. The Senior Institute Project provides students with an opportunity to explore an area that interests them, benefit a community, demonstrate prior learning and learn something new.

At Options, that selfless mindset tends to stretch beyond Senior Institute students and an example of that can be found in a project that is currently in its final stages. With the Holiday season in full swing, multiple groups within Options Schools participated in community service projects to benefit local children and their families. The Options-Carmel and Options-Noblesville campuses have spent the last couple of weeks working with organizations that help make the Holidays special for local families.

Options-Carmel paired with Foster Fairies, Inc., an organization founded in 2013 to positively impact the lives of local children in the foster care system, primarily by means of fulfilling children’s needs and wishes as well as creating opportunities for individual growth and development. Each Carmel advising group had a child to sponsor for the holiday season.

Outside of the gift collection for Foster Fairies, another member of the Carmel team helped make an impact with help from a friend in the state of Ohio. Joe Hopper (Options-Carmel Safety Specialist) obtained several boxes full of toys that were donated by a friend who owns Dollar Tree and Dollar General stores in Ohio. The items will be donated to Toys for Tots so they can benefit a number of local children.

Options-Noblesville paired with the Good Samaritan Network and took part in their annual Holiday iSponsorship program, which directly coordinates a large Holiday Assistance Distribution program in Hamilton County. The program provides basic holiday provisions (Holiday food, clothing, toys, meals, etc.) for countless individuals and families.

On behalf of Foster Fairies and the Good Samaritan Network, we would like to thank all of the Options families that showed generosity by providing countless items that will help spread Holiday Cheer even further this year.

‘Tis The Season! (Dunagan’s Blog)


Hello families,

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration prior to the start of the break, and I wanted to personally thank all of the students & families that participated and helped make it a really nice event.

We are now in the final stretch of the first semester, with finals and final projects are quickly approaching. Winter Break isn’t too far away either!

With the holiday season upon us, we are taking part in a campus-wide community service project with Foster Fairies Inc. to benefit local children. The project involves Options-Carmel advising groups serving as sponsors for a child who will receive gifts that the child has listed on their “wish list.” We believe once our students see the needs and wants on their peers’ wish lists they will be humbled and want to continue to help those in need in the future. For more information about the program, or to get involved, email Jenny.

I also wanted to share a reminder about the bridge program that we will be starting at Options-Carmel in January, as we will be expanding to serve students in grades 8-12 for the spring 2020 semester. As we look to the future and the opening of the Options-Westfield location in August 2021, we are excited to welcome new families into the Options Family!

Please see the list of important dates below:
December 2-12: Foster Fairies, Inc. donation collection
December 13: Delivering gifts to Foster Fairies, Inc.
December 18: Full E-Learning Day

December 23-January 6: Winter Break (Students return on Tuesday, January 7)

I am so excited to finish our first semester together here at Options!

Happy Holidays!

— Dunagan

 

Hello All & Hello Fall!

Hello Fall!

I can’t believe how quickly this semester is moving along. Yesterday made for a great start to the week following Fall Break & today, a group of English students took a field trip to Butler University to see a play where the works of Edgar Allen Poe were brought to life. In my family, we are big Disney fans, so we spent time at Walt Disney World last week during our Fall Break & of course stopped by to see Mickey Mouse, as you can see in our photo.

Please continue to support your student by checking their grades on PowerSchool every Monday after 6:00 PM.  We have just under half of the semester left. Below you will find a list of important dates.

  • 10/30: PSAT at 8:30 AM
  • 10/31: Halloween Party – more info will be sent out
  • 11/5: Hearing Screenings for all 10th graders and any student new to Options this year
  • 11/6: Full E-Learning Day
  • 11/13: Senior Parent Night at 6:00 PM
  • 11/14: Picture Retakes at 10:00 AM
  • 11/26: Thanksgiving Feast – more info will be sent out
  • 11/27-11/29: Thanksgiving Break

Know of someone who wants to explore Options? We still have open seats available for enrollment! Please feel free to share this information with your family and friends.

Have a great end of October!

— Dunagan

 

Become an Options Student Ambassador!

Hello Families and Students.  The school year is off to a fantastic start.  We are already four weeks in!  Over the last few weeks, you have seen stories from graduates, parents, and staff about the wonderful things that happen daily at our school.  I wanted to share that we still have seats open for this school year.  If you know a student who could benefit from the relationship focus environment we create here at Options, please let us know and encourage them to reach out to learn more.  Each day they wait is a day they could already be getting an individualized education.

For our current students and families, I wanted to share information about our student referral program. With the addition of a new student referral program, both current and prospective students of Options Schools will have opportunities to be recognized for taking an active role in growing the impact of Options.

This program was created in order to acknowledge those students and families that continue to promote Options by spreading the word about how we serve students. Through this new program, students will be able to earn an assortment of items that include lunch account credit, Options gear and more.

How it works:

1.) Who can participate?
Any student who is currently enrolled at Options Charter Schools can participate in this program.

2.) How do we take part in the program?
In order to receive rewards, you must spread the word about Options Schools to your neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Tell them what you love about Options and encourage them to schedule a tour. For every student you refer to us that attends our school for at least three months, the referring student will receive a $10 lunch credit!

3.) How are the different recognition levels determined?
Each new student, along with the student who referred them, will also receive Options gear. Lunch credit will be capped at $50 for each student, even if having referred more than five students. The student with the most referrals on March 1 and October 1 will also receive an Options Prize Pack, which will include Options-branded gear and more. (Value of prize pack contents will be less than $50)

4.) When will lunch credit be applied to each student’s account?
At the beginning of each month, qualifying students will have credit added to their lunch account.

5.) How will Options know a student was referred?
The school has a question on our online application asking, “How did you hear about Options Charter Schools?” The applicant should note the first and last name of the student who referred them.

For additional information about the program, email Andrew Piper.

We are extremely happy to serve our families here at Options, but would love to expand our support to more students and families in our community. 

 

 

 

Welcome Back!

Wow! I can’t believe we are almost finished with the first two weeks of school.  I am having such a wonderful time getting to know all our students.  We are moving right along and students should have received their first week’s grades.  If you have not already received your Parent Powerschool Login information via email you will be receiving it within the next few days. If you have not received it by the end of the week, please email Jenny, jhoshor@optionsined.org, our Options-Carmel Administrative Assistant.

We are still enrolling students for the 2019-20 school year!  We have an Open House every other Wednesday from 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. (August 21 & Sept. 4). Please feel free to refer families that would like to become a part of our Options family.  You can email our Director of Marketing Andrew Piper at apiper@optionsined.org.

The Chromebooks are a key tool in our classrooms.  Please remind your student to charge their Chromebooks each night before coming back to school.  It is difficult to participate in class when they are dead.

Finally, please place the following events on your calendar:

  • Wednesday, August 21 — Early Dismissal for students, Dismissal at 11:45
  • Wednesday, August 28 — Early Dismissal for students, Dismissal at 11:45
  • Monday, September 3 — Labor Day (NO School)

Looking forward to a great school year!

– Dunagan –