Thank You Sherrie!

Sherrie Bly is retiring from Options Charter Schools after 14+ years of valued service to our schools. She was the sole member of the finance department for a majority of those years and did the thankless job of tracking every penny that was spent by the corporation. Due to her hard work and diligence, in all the years that Sherrie oversaw our finances, we have always had amazing audits and avoided financial pitfalls. One of Sherrie’s daughters, Lindsay, graduated from Options Schools in 2011 and was also named a Senior Institute Scholarship winner. Options Charter Schools will forever be thankful for Sherrie’s watchful eye as we have evolved into a place that now educates over 700 students throughout Indiana. Sherrie will be moving on after July 17th as she helps us transition into an era without her.

If you would like to reach out to thank Sherrie for all she has done behind the scenes, you can email her here.

Congratulations Sherrie on a great career at Options Charter Schools and we wish you all the best in your retirement!

 

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.

A Letter to Options Families (June Update)

The following email was distributed to parents/guardians, students & additional members of the Options family the week of June 15, 2020

Options Families –

We hope this email finds you and your families well and enjoying some of this beautiful summer weather we are having in Indiana! It was such a strange and emotional ending to the school year, but we are all working on getting the necessary rest and relaxation to be ready for a new school year come August. We hope your students are as well.

As you know, COVID-19 school re-entry guidance plans from the CDC, County Health Departments, and the Indiana Department of Education are very fluid right now.  As of today, we are planning to open on time, August 5, 2020, for all programs in-person and virtual.  Student and staff safety are being considered to the highest level as well as the need for everyone to return to some normalcy in their educational platform in order to further develop the strong relationships that make up the backbone of the Options’ educational platform of Belong. Believe. Achieve.  Our teams are taking into consideration the academic and social-emotional needs of our students as we prepare the curriculum for the fall as well.  We are working to provide even smaller group settings than in the traditional model and limit cross exposure yet still allow students the opportunity to return to in-person classes with virtual options for families that need them. The many factors associated with starting school are being discussed and will be shared with families as soon as decisions have been finalized.

We know you may have specific questions about safety precautions we’ll be taking and what the school day will look like. We’re currently drafting a comprehensive return-to-school plan with input from the various regulatory agencies and will have it ready to share with you mid-July.

We know this is an unprecedented time and the Options family feels very fortunate to have strong in-person and virtual programming as well as small class sizes, evening programs, special-focused programs, and the most amazing team of teachers, counselors, and administrators working to serve our families in unique and specific ways.  Even before the pandemic, Options has made it our mission to serve every student and every family with strong educational programs that meet their needs exactly where they are and are able to adapt as the student’s needs adapt. We will continue to provide flexible programming as we all navigate our way to the new normal.

As always, word of mouth is our number one way of sharing with others about our programs. Below is a list of open programs for August 20/21. More information is available on our website. All programs have open seats at the moment, but are filling quickly.

For more information, visit OptionsSchools.org

  • Options Carmel – daytime and evening programming available grades 6-12
  • Options Noblesville – daytime and evening programming available grades 6-12
  • Options Indiana – virtual programming only, grades 6-12
  • Options @ BACA – located on-site at BACA of Fishers, serves students in grades 6-12 who need part-day ABA therapy and part-day school
  • Options @ HYCA – located on-site at the Hoosier Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Knightstown, IN, serves grades 9-12 who are seeking high school credits/graduation and are participating in the HYCA 22-week program
  • Options @ Growing Minds – located on-site at the Growing Minds campuses in Ft. Wayne, IN and Columbia City, IN, serves grades 6-12 in need of therapeutic support alongside education

 

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.

 

#OptionsGrad Spotlight: Zoe Daniels

A student at the Carmel campus of Options Schools, Zoe Daniels graduated on May 27 with the Class of 2020. She also was named the Senior Institute Scholarship Winner for Options-Carmel.

 

When did you enroll at Options?
My sophomore year

How did you hear about Options?
My mom found Options on Facebook

What were you thinking when you first started at Options?
I was excited that I would still be able to graduate on time.

How do you enjoy spending your time outside of school?
I like to spend time with my family and friends.

How did you complete your Senior Institute project? Tell me a little bit about your project and how you obtained your service hours. (Please explain in 3-5 sentences)
My Senior Institute project was to get Best Buddies to be a part of Options Schools. My goal was to get Options to be promoters of Best Buddies. Unfortunately, I was not able to complete my senior institute project due to COVID-19. However, I was able to devote 15 service hours by phone calls, meetings and surveys.

Did you have a favorite subject and/or teacher?
I had the ability to have many favorite teachers who have helped me during my high school years. Melanie (Martin-Terrell ), Elizabeth (Lloyd), (Principal) Dunagan, and Steve (Bowers) are just a few of the people that have helped me.

What have you enjoyed most about Options?
I enjoyed having a group of people, peers & adults, to just be there for me, help me, and just guided me.

In what areas has Options helped you improve?
Options has allowed me to want to further my education and gave me a platform to accomplish and succeed in life.

What are your plans and aspirations following Graduation?
I am going to college but I am still undecided about what I would like to do. Options allowed me to take Ivy Tech courses and study business and those courses intrigued me to want me to be an entrepreneur.

How would you explain Options to a non-student?
I am constantly spreading the news about Options on how Options helped me to graduate and how Options may not have a football team or a cheer team but they do have the same goal, which is a community, a family, that helps and guides you in ways no other school does or did for me.

Is there any advice you would like to offer other Options students?
Options staff are there to help not make things worse. Everyone at this school believes in you even if you don’t believe in yourself.

New Principals & Exciting News for Options @ BACA

NOBLESVILLE – With the 2019-20 school year complete, Options Schools has announced the appointment of three experienced team members to the role of Principal for Options Schools programs, in addition to the growth of another program.

Melanie Martin-Terrell will serve as Principal of Options-Noblesville, Adam Barr will serve as Principal of Options @ HYCA and Beth Hodges will serve as Principal of Options @ Growing Minds.

Martin-Terrell first joined the Options team in September 2007 and has most recently served as Counselor at Options-Carmel since 2018, having dedicated over a decade as a member of the Options team. Barr will transition from Options-Noblesville Principal, to that of Options @ HYCA, and has been on the Options team since 2016. After having held the teacher role with Options @ Growing Minds since early in the 2019-20 school year, Hodges previously served as Director Education for Growing Minds.

After a successful first year as a pilot program that served 11 students in 2019-20, Options @ BACA had its’ ‘pilot’ tag removed and will provide up to 24 seats for students in 2020-21. With over a decade of experience in alternative education and a member of the Options team since Feb. 2019, Lisa Chandler will continue to lead Options @ BACA as the Program Director.

 

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 @ HYCA is a partnership between Options Schools and the Indiana National Guard Hoosier Youth ChalleNGe Academy in order to provide students with an opportunity to continue progressing towards their high school diploma. Options @ HYCA students are able to continue to earn credits towards their high school diploma while attending HYCA in Knightstown, IN.

The Options @ Growing Minds program is a hybrid school model for students in grades 6-12 located in and around Ft. Wayne and Columbia City, IN (Allen County). Options @ Growing Minds offers students the relationship-based educational approach unique to the Options schools partnered with the wrap-around services Growing Minds offers its clients.

 

2020 Options Commencement Ceremony

This video is a celebration & recognition of the Options Schools Class of 2020! This Commencement Ceremony was streamed on Facebook Live on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.


As a send-off to the Class of 2020, the Options Team shared in there reading of ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’ by Dr. Seuss.


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.

 

 

2020 Graduation Info – May 27 (6:30 PM)

Graduation Program (PDF) | Watch Graduation

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 linkFacebook.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 stream, the full ceremony will be available on-demand via Options Schools’ Facebook page.

The stream will start at 6:10 PM EST so families can start viewing the broadcast before the actual ceremony begins & the lead up to 6:30 will feature a scroll through Graduate photos. A PDF Graduation program that contains a ceremony schedule and Graduate lists can be found here. The event will also be available for viewing immediately following its conclusion on Facebook & will also be viable through (OptionsSchools.org) as well, following the ceremony.

 

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.

 

 

Student Spotlight – April 29

Tori [far left] spends some time at the park with her siblings
Continue reading “Student Spotlight – April 29”

Science with Stacie, “A ‘Meme-orable’ Pandemic”

Options-Noblesville science teacher Stacie O’Flaherty tasked her Earth Space class with a project called “A ‘Meme-orable’ Pandemic.” The results have included some great Google Slide presentations from students.

“I’ve seen several really excellent submissions from my Earth Space students with some really mature and well thought out remarks,” said O’Flaherty when discussing the work of students. “The perspective of this age group going through the present times is very enlightening.”

 

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.

 

Options Schools to Remain Closed Through End of 2019-20 Academic Year

NOBLESVILLE – As was announced Thursday by State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick, all K-12 classrooms in Indiana will remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 academic year. The closure results from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Options Schools campuses have been closed since Monday, March 16. Students are currently on Spring Break (March 30-April 10).

Options leadership will work with its administration, along with officials of other Hamilton County schools to determine a plan for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

An update will be shared prior to the resumption of classes following Spring Break on Monday, April 13.

 

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.

 

Stacie’s eLearning Update (March 26)

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.

First up is Stacie O’Flaherty, science teacher at Options-Noblesville since 2014!

How has the transition to full eLearning been for your students?
Stacie: It’s been easier for some than others. Our students are so close and really great at helping each other. Being isolated is difficult, but I know many of them are reaching out to each other during this time. Many are working hard on assignments and we teachers are on our computers all day, and many of us into the evening hours as well. So, we are able to clarify and explain assignments as needed.

How has the transition to full eLearning been for you & the rest of the Options-Noblesville team?
Stacie: We have such a strong group of teachers and counselors. It’s been very challenging for me because I do so much hands-on work in my science classroom and the transition to online is difficult for me. The students are real troopers though. I respect and admire the teachers and all the effort that everyone is putting into reaching out to students and parents to try to keep our students on track for credit attainment. Also, I want to shout out to Elizabeth Essig, our Instructional Assistant and volunteer in the pantry, who has been absolutely heroic in staying in touch with our students who are going through difficult financial times with the quarantine. She is doing so much to get needed food and toiletries for these students and their families.

What has been the most successful part of eLearning thus far?
Stacie: The most successful part is definitely how we are all growing and learning to do more online. It’s definitely a learning experience for me, and I know we try to get creative with online assignments. 

How are you staying connected with your students during eLearning?
Stacie: We are emailing, Google Meeting, Google Hangout including Hangout audio and video, Google Classroom comments and texting. We have a high school google hangout chat and a middle school hangout chat. We are doing any and all methods to reach as many as often as possible. 

What have you been doing to keep to a routine while teaching through eLearning?
Stacie: Definitely have to go to bed and get up on a regular schedule. I know we all have been putting in a good bit of extra time on getting as creative as possible with online assignments and keeping up with attendance and grading. Some of the teachers have young children at home. They really are my heroes.

Have you & your family been doing anything creative at home to stay active?
Stacie: You’re going to make me confess that I’m finally getting some use out of the treadmill I bought last spring. I have college students and a working husband. We are working a lot. But, we are also exploring and expanding our cooking skills while we are stuck at home.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Stacie: We teachers and counselors at Options are really all about the students. Our mission is to help these precious young people ‘Belong, Believe and Achieve’ in their academic career and to graduate on time. This quarantine doesn’t change that and there is a lot of love and care still occurring while we are apart just the same as when we are together.

 

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.

 

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

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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.

 

 

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.

 

Pen Pal Across The Pond

For Kimberly Massoud, a life-changing friendship began at age 12 with a book of addresses and optimism.

Interested in finding a pen pal, Massoud wrote a letter to every national embassy located in New York City to inquire about a pen pal program through which she could connect with someone in a different part of the world. The only response came from the Japanese Embassy and the result was a collection of letters.

“I started getting letters from all these people in Japan and that just wasn’t what I was looking for,” said Massoud. “I was just disappointed and then I found a book that was my dad’s and it was just full of street addresses all over the world. I just knew that if I wrote enough letters, I was going to receive a response.”

One of Massoud’s letters was delivered to a Lutheran church in the United Kingdom, about 30 miles outside of London in Essex. With not many young people in the churches’ congregation, the letter was given to 11-year-old Stephen Hamp.

“I remember one Sunday, the pastor came to me and gave me this envelope and folded up piece of paper,” said Hamp. “I was the only youngster in the church, so I’m not even sure if there was anyone else to give it to. I was fascinated, intrigued and excited, and all those things you would be. So, I replied and thought about it for a week or two and then a week or two later a letter arrived. It just went from there.”

While means of communication have changed in the 35 years since the first letter, Hamp spoke to everything that comes with a hand-written letter from a friend.

“It’s really hard to explain and we have never really been able to explain it, but there is just something about having an envelope come through the mail slot of your door and land on your doormat,” said Hamp. “Because we had to wait for the letter to be mailed and everything, it just made it unique because there wasn’t that instant gratification, but it was still exciting.”

While the hand-written & mailed letter may be a way of the past, Hamp spoke to what it did for his growth.

It really impacted the way I write and the way I communicate,” Hamp said. “Not many school kids have the opportunity to write at the depth and level that we were writing at. It has had such a positive impact on my life in so many ways and I even notice now that the way I speak was impacted by writing letters.”

Since first connecting over 30 years ago, Massoud and Hamp have each visited the other about every eight years, with the most recent visit being Hamp coming to central Indiana.

Massoud saw the visit as a great opportunity for her students to expand their world view.

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Hamp spent the school day at the Noblesville campus of Options Schools and was able to help Options students learn more about life in the United Kingdom.

“Stephen read Shakespeare to our eighth and ninth grade students,” said Massoud. “He works near Buckingham Palace so we did a digital tour of the area to show the students what that part of London is like. We also talked about some different terms in America and the United Kingdom, like ‘trash can’ and ‘rubbish bin.'”

“The students were asking me about my every day life and they were just really engaged in unique aspects of how things are different for us in the UK.,” Hamp said.

But what would a true cultural experience without tea?

During Massoud’s advising period, students were treated to tea and traditional foods like Marmite and egg salad sandwiches.

“It has been a really cool experience,” said one of Massoud’s students. “We already want him to come back.”

A life-long friendship and a cultural experience, all from the determination of Massoud to find a pen pal.

During Tea Time, students enjoyed tea, Marmite, egg salad sandwiches & more

Students of the Month – Oct. 2019

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

 

Riley Tynan
(Options-Carmel)

Grade: 11th 

When did you enroll at Options?
In August of 2018. I actually found out about it by accident and liked that it wasn’t a big & stressful environment.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I am really interested in reptiles and have recently become more interested in cosmetology, with makeup and acrylic nails. I also taught myself how to play the ukulele, guitar and piano. I currently have two reptiles, one ball python and one leopard gecko.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
There are a lot of things that I like. The environment is small and personable, which has encouraged me to do more work. The structure creates trust and mutual respect between the student and the teacher. It is always consistent that every teacher is nice.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Last year it was biology, but this year would be history. Having Steve as a teacher makes the subject great because he knows when it is time to be serious and when we can enjoy it.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I’m definitely better at math and I’ve become more social. I’m trying harder in school now and I’m a lot more comfortable with talking to people. At this school, students are open about their flaws and are easy to talk to and be around.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
The teachers are very understanding, and they will work with us if something happens. They’re always willing to help if I need it and they’re just supportive in every way.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I’m still deciding, but I know I want to graduate from college and become the first person in my family to do that because it will prove it is possible. I am interested in things like herpetology, ornithology, biology and cosmetology.

 

Chloe Keeling
(Options-Distance Education)

Grade: 10th
Hometown: North Salem, Indiana 

When did you enroll at Options?
January 2019

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I love to workout at the gym with my brothers or do anything that involves physical activity. I also find myself very intrigued in the fashion world.

What is your favorite thing about the Options Distance Education Program?
My favorite thing about the Options Distance Education Program is the flexibility it gives you. You can work on lessons anytime of the day or night, as well as work at your own pace, which I think is amazing.

What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject would have to be Math. I have always understood math very well, and I think it is cool how the whole world uses it in the same ways. 

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
Academically, I have improved. I have been able to not only get my work done, but I actually understand it and can apply it to the real-world. Outside of school, I have improved my relationships with my family, and have been able to experience more real-world situations with the flexibility of my schedule.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
The teachers at Options are great! Whenever I need help in a certain subject, all I have to do is message the teacher and I will get a quick response. We discuss why I’m having a hard time over video chat or email. The teachers really take their time in making sure the problem is resolved and I fully understand all of my work.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
Nothing is set in stone regarding my plans after a graduate. However, I’d like to attend college and explore different majors, and I’d also like to travel as much as possible in the future.

 

Bella Ott
(Options-Noblesville Middle School)

Grade: 8th

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

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I have played the clarinet for three years and I like Henna art, but it is the only thing I am good at drawing. I also like to play basketball.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
I like it a lot. I have become connected to other students and have developed some real friendships. I like that the teachers are genuine, they put in effort and truly care about us and our education.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Right now, it is Family & Consumer Science and Health. I like having Mike as a teacher and the class is just interesting because a lot of it is new to me.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I am just a lot happier and not as stressed about things because I am better about handling things, so I don’t have to always worry about school.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
I feel like I have such a closer connection with my teachers. Calling them by their first name was weird at first, but it really makes a difference in making them more approachable.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to graduate from high school during my junior year. I want to attend Purdue and get a degree in Zoology. I want to become an animal rehabilitator for plains animals and I want to make an impact. I don’t want my life to be wasted and I really just want to do something meaningful with it. I am really passionate about saving animals.

 

Leah Beach
(Options-Noblesville High School)

Grade: 12th

When did you enroll at Options?
The first day of the January 2019 semester.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to listen to different types of podcasts, but mainly mystery, true crime and paranormal. I also know how to knit, but I don’t really do it. Right now, I’m also busy volunteering at a senior citizen living community as part of my service project for graduation.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
I’ve gone to five different schools and this is my favorite. I like that it is small and you can get to know people better. You can also create more personal relationships with the teachers. I also like that it is all built around each student and everyone is supportive.

What is your favorite subject in school?
History because of how much passion and gusto Josh has for the material. I was never really a big fan of history, but I’ve liked exploring world history over time.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
Being here has been better for my spirit. My anxiety isn’t as bad, and I don’t get worried about unnecessary things anymore.

What makes Options teachers different than teachers you had previously in school?
They care and have more understanding, plus they really just want to be helpful. You get to know the teachers because the classes are small. They will make accommodations for students that need it and they are willing to work with you.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I have so many interests and I am working on narrowing it down. Right now, there are five different things I am interested in.

 

Want to learn more about Options Schools? Visit “The Options Experience” Blog to see more news about Options students & staff!

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

 

Charter Schools by the Numbers

The following information was provided by the Indiana Charter School Network

For the fourth year in a row, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) ranked Indiana 1st in the nation for the strongest state charter school law.

The Center for Education Reform rated Indiana as an “A” for our charter school law in their 17th Edition of its National Charter School Law Rankings and Scorecard. Arizona and the District of Columbia were the only others to receive an A rating.

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) ranked Indiana first in the country for our laws on authorizer accountability.

State law requires that every charter agreement must include a requirement that the charter school cannot remain an F rated school for 4 consecutive years. If an authorizer fails to close a school after 4 consecutive F ratings, the State Board of Education may intervene and close the school as well as penalize the authorizer.

15 out of 16 independent studies found that students attending charter schools do better academically than their traditional school peers.

 

About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low-income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the Indiana Charter School Network
The Indiana Charter School Network serves as Indiana’s charter school association. A great majority of Hoosier charter schools are dues-paying members. ICSN works closely with the IQE policy team in the development of policy positions to be shared with policymakers, to ensure our charter school members are represented well at the state level. ICSN provides member schools with communications on policy issues, grant opportunities, charter-related research, events of interest, and other relevant information. ICSN provides professional development opportunities for charter school staff and connects member schools to vendor partners offering our schools exceptional service or discounts.

 

Charter School Students Have Same Academic Performance, Report Finds

Via Education Week (By Andrew Ujifusa on Sept. 25, 2019)

There are “no measurable differences” between the performance of charter schools and traditional public schools on national reading and math assessments from 2017, a finding that persists when parents’ educational attainment were factored into the results.

That’s one key takeaway from a report released Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics about charters, private schools, and home schooling. “School Choice in the United States: 2019 ” also found that Hispanic students constituted a plurality—33 percent—of charter school enrollment in 2016-17, followed by white students at 32 percent and black students at 26 percent. Meanwhile, nearly half of students enrolled at traditional public schools, 49 percent, were white. And a higher share of charter school students were enrolled in “high poverty” schools compared to their traditional public school counterparts, as defined by eligibility for free or reduced-price meals, by a count of 34 to 24 percent.

Enrollment in charter schools grew by more than five times between 2000 and 2016—not the most shocking finding given the growth of the charter sector in general, although that increase did outpace the enrollment growth of just 1 percent in traditional public schools over the same time period. Meanwhile, the number of children ages 5 to 17 being home-schooled nearly doubled, reaching 1.7 million in 2016.

Let’s dig into those math and reading results for a minute. They come from the 2017 administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the “nation’s report card,” in reading and math to students in the 4th and 8th grades. It’s important to remember that these exams have no stakes attached for students, educators, and schools. And there are other ways in which using NAEP to measure the impact of policies and practices can get tricky very fast. For more on how to look at NAEP data and avoid “misNAEPery” go here for a classic Education Week piece from 2013 by Stephen Sawchuk.

With that said, here are a few conclusions we can draw from the new NAEP data comparing charter schools and traditional public schools:

  • Based on scores alone, with no controls, there was no statistically significant difference between charters and traditional public schools on NAEP in reading or math.
  • Why does this matter? Because these schools tend to serve different populations with different background characteristics, which can skew scores.
  • The researchers controlled for parent educational attainment, and still found no significant difference.
  • A lack of data meant NCES couldn’t rule out lots of other factors (like income, teacher quality, race and ethnicity) that are potentially caught up in these test results. The report notes that other factors not controlled for “are substantively correlated with student assessment scores and school type.”
  • This data is based on average or aggregate performance, which tends to suppress outliers. We know from recent work from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes that charters in some cities like Boston do better than traditional public schools. That’s not always the case, however.

For a visual, here’s the NCES chart of those scores for charters and traditional public schools in reading:

NAEPReadingCharterSchoolsTPS.PNG

There’s a bunch of other data on charter schools in there for folks to chew on. For example, charter schools are more than twice as likely to be located in cities than in the suburbs & 56 percent of charters are in cities, compared to 26 percent that in the ‘burbs.

Here’s one more demographic data point for you: 57 percent of traditional public schools are more than 50 percent white, compared to 33 percent of charter schools that can be described that way. More on that breakdown here:

NCESCharterTraditionalPublicDemographics.PNG