The construction team has sprung into action (Dunagan’s Blog)

The outside of the building has not changed much in the last few weeks.  They have finished the brickwork, but we are still awaiting the custom metal that will fill the rest of the front.  The sheets will sit over the top of the white wrap you can see on the building now.  We will also have a nice ‘Options Schools’ sign that will sit on top of the metal entry cover to let everyone know where to enter the building.  The parking lot is starting to take shape, with a special machine being brought in to mold and pour the concrete curbs.  These machines use a slip form to pour the curbs.  As the machine moves forward it leaves a perfect curb. All of the curbs will be poured in a matter of a few hours.  The parking lot will only need asphalt after today.  I know the curbs look tall, but they will be the perfect height after the asphalt is laid. The courtyard area will have concrete poured later this month and will have some seating outside as well.  The landscaping will be the last step.  This is going to be one of the best-looking spaces in Westfield, and I cannot wait to share it with you all this summer and next school year!

The inside of the building has seen the biggest transformation over the last two weeks.  The drywall has gone up and almost all of the windows have been installed. We are still missing the exterior doors and windows that will enclose my office.  We also need to replace a few windows that were damaged earlier in the brickwork, but it will be done soon.  The crews were running the HVAC and finishing the drywall when I visited.  As we entered the building, you can see all the windows that are in place.  The light really fills the entryway.  Jenny’s office is awaiting its windows and doors.  The offices will all have built-in desks and cabinets installed as well.  It is all going to look very sharp and make a great impression as you enter.

The multipurpose room is moving along.  The HVAC team was working to run the ductwork behind the walls today.  The walls are almost finished and the paint layout has already gotten its first coat.  The ceiling of the multipurpose room is a nice dark gray which really makes it pop. The two-story-tall space will be filled with natural light from all the windows that make up the back wall.  The weight room and basketball court will be ready for summer use during our Open Gym sessions. The weight room will have that nice shade of Options blue and will also have lots of natural light from the windows. I cannot wait to host students and families at all our summer events!

The back of the building is also awaiting the custom metal to be installed.  Just outside the middle of the building will sit the large patio area for lunch, or to host an outdoor class session.  There will be plenty of green space in the back for students to get outside and enjoy. We won’t have to fight the geese to go outside the gym next year.  All of the space will leave us with tons of opportunities to make Options Westfield fun and exciting.

The drywall team was hard at work to get the walls perfect for painting. Each classroom will have a blue wall at the front and white walls around the rest of the room. As you can see, the classroom is filled with natural light. Each classroom has at least two large windows. I don’t think we will need to turn the overhead lights on too often.  Natural light is wonderful for growing plants, but it is just as important for growing students.

I know it is hard to believe, but in just two short months the building will be complete.  We will be offering several opportunities this summer to come out and check out campus from May until August! We will host open gym hours on Wednesdays, along with several family events. Please take a look at the summer schedule below and come see the space for yourself!  Applications for enrollment have opened, secure your spot to join us in the fall today.

— Principal Dunagan —

 


 

Students of the Month – March 2021

March 2021 - Students of the Month blog

Congrats to our March Students of the Month!

This group has been shining bright in 2021!  Scroll down to read our Q&A with each program’s Student of the Month selection.


March 2021 Students of the Month:

  • Kylie (Options Indiana)
  • Jayden (Options Noblesville)
  • Elijah (Options @ HYCA)
  • Genevieve (Options Carmel)

Kylie
Options Indiana

Grade: 11th

“Kylie Gonzalez had a remarkable March. Kylie completed and earned three credits in my classes this month. Kylie earned credits in Human and Social Services 1B, Intro to Business A and Intro to Business B. Kylie has seemed to be on a mission this month and not only has she earned three credits this month, but also earned those credits with very good grades. It has been enjoyable watching her have a terrific March 2021.” – Mike Dellinger (Options Indiana teacher) 

What is your hometown/Where are you located in Indiana?
I live in the small town of Schererville, Indiana.

When did you enroll at Options?
I enrolled at Options in September 2020.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I just got into nails, I have learned how to do my own acrylic nails so that’s been filling up my free time most of the time, and I hang out with my family and boyfriend.

What is your favorite thing about Options Indiana? Please explain
My favorite thing about Options Indiana is that I am able to go at my own pace and my advisor is always there for me if I am ever confused about something with school.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
I would have to say Speech and Government were the classes I liked the most out of the classes I have taken.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options? Please explain
Ever since I enrolled at Options, I have improved as a student. Before I enrolled here, I had terrible attendance and my grades were not that great, so having this opportunity to become the person and student I am today is the best thing I could have asked for.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate? What are they?
I have always wanted to go to cosmetology school so that is always an option, but I am not 100% which path I plan to go down. I know I want to be successful and also do something I love at the same time.



Jayden

Options-Noblesville

Grade: 11th

“Jayden came to us mid-year having gone through some adverse school experiences due to the pandemic. But he quickly adjusted to the Options way and just took off! He had some of the term to make up for and everything I assigned to him, he did excellently and without complaint. We also discovered that he really enjoys aspects of the nature of science that has to do with discovering and using clues and data to solve problems and “mysteries”. The last big project of the term was working through an online program using data and descriptions to build phylogenetic trees and then using those skills to create a phylogenetic tree for a list of seemingly unrelated organisms. I had a blast watching his brain work. He was diligent, thorough, and insightful in figuring out the relationships among organisms (as well as the computer program itself). It is real joy when a student comes along who really takes to critical thinking and scientific approach.” – Stacie O’Flaherty (Options Noblesville science teacher)

Why do you think you were selected as Student of the Month?
I’ve really pushed myself recently to get the best grades that I can. I haven’t missed an assignment since I’ve been here, and my goal is to not get a grade lower than an ‘A.’

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
I’ve really enjoyed the teachers and just the overall energy of the staff here. The teachers here truly care, and they want you to move on & succeed in life, and I’ve liked that. They’re there for you if any help is needed and that is always great to know.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I play a lot of video games and it is something I want to get into in the future. I actually used to play a game for an Esports team also.

What is your favorite subject in school?
When I got here, my favorite subject became science. You can learn something new every day, so it’s very interesting. Stacie (my science teacher) has made it interesting, and she makes it about hands-on learning, instead of worksheets.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
I’ve definitely grown personally. Everyone is so approachable, so it has been great creating friendships as a result.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I’ve always stuck with the same answer for that and said, ‘I don’t know, but I will know by the time I get there.’ Anything can change in the matter of a second for different reasons. I wanted to be a nurse when I was a freshman, but that isn’t something I’m interested in now.

What goals have you set for yourself currently?
My number one priority right now is to graduate, and I promised my parents that would happen. I honestly just want to enjoy my life and I don’t want to worry in the future because I didn’t graduate from high school.



Elijah
Options @ HYCA

Grade: 10th

He is a very focused student and done everything that has been asked of him. He is a leader inside and outside the classroom.” – Adam Barr (Principal for Options @ HYCA) 

What is your hometown?
Newport, Indiana

What has your HYCA experience been like?
At first, it was hard to adjust, but I’ve just tried to accelerate from there. Everything is structured and based around time, so that has been an important part of HYCA. I’ve learned about myself too and how I can improve. 

How has Options @ HYCA been beneficial to you?
I’ve really enjoyed the Options education part and will transfer to Options Indiana when I finish my time at HYCA. It just feels better being able to learn at my own pace and have a schedule that allows me to retain everything.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I really have enjoyed learning more about World History

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to read here in my free time & I do a lot of physical training also. Reading has been a good way to pass the time and also keep me out of trouble.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I’m thinking about going into the Marines or National Guard, so that I can also further my education



Genevieve

Options-Carmel

Grade: 8th

“Genevieve is a joy to have in class, she is funny, always has a smile on her face and constantly has something witty to say in class. During last quarter, Genevieve worked really hard on her Science projects as well as making sure she kept up with and understood the math concepts we were going over during the quarter.” – Steve Bowers (Options Carmel middle school teacher) 

How long have you been attending Options?
Since November 2020

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my mom.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Science

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
I have been getting better grades.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to attend New York University

 


 

EXPLORE OPTIONS!
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with two brick-and-mortar campuses in Hamilton County. Options also offers additional campus, hybrid & online programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 129 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 – February 2021

Congrats to our February Students of the Month!

This group is off to a great start to 2021 & a new semester!  Scroll down to read our Q&A with each program’s Student of the Month selection.


February 2021 Students of the Month:

  • Ella (Options Carmel)
  • Angela (Options Indiana)
  • Mireille (Options with ABA)
  • Mya (Options Noblesville)
  • Breasia (Options Indiana)

Ella
Options-Carmel

Grade: 10th

“Ella is a remarkable student–she demonstrates resiliency and a drive for success, both for herself and for others, even when things are difficult. This particular school year has been challenging in ways that previous school years have not been, and Ella has risen to the occasion of working above and beyond her course load to meet her academic and personal goals. Additionally, she has consistently done so with kindness, gratitude, and respect toward others. I’m grateful to know her!”Bethany Stewart (Options Carmel teacher) 

How long have you been attending Options?
I started here at the beginning of this school year (August 2020)

What has your Options experience been like?
It is amazing, I love it more than my last school. There are just more opportunities at this school.

Why do you think you were selected for Student of the Month?
I’m not sure, but I know I’m a hard worker when it comes to school.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like hanging out with my friends a lot.

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
I would say the teachers because they are really nice & understanding about things.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Math because I’m really good at it and I kind of always have been.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
Definitely academics & my attendance. I never used to go to school because bigger schools were always overwhelming for me, but since I’ve been here, I’ve been a lot better about that.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to go to trade school to become a Veterinary Technician. Being here made me realize that I have a lot of opportunities, so I didn’t think much about it before this year.


Angela
Options Indiana

Grade: 11th

“Angela has overcome so many obstacles in the past few months and is so kind and thoughtful. She has made school a priority and has excelled in her courses this semester. She reaches out for help when she needs it and tries her very best. We are so lucky to have Angela as part of our Options family.” – Whitney Holmes (Angela’s advisor) 

What is your hometown/Where are you located in Indiana?
I currently live in Zionsville.

When did you enroll at Options?
I enrolled at Options at the beginning of March 2020.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to watch the office, swim, help people, and I enjoy learning about politics!

What is your favorite thing about going to Options? Please explain
My favorite thing about going to Options is that the teachers are easy to talk to and help me understand topics that I find challenging.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
My favorite subject in school is Biology because I find it interesting and somewhat easy.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options? Please explain
I think I have improved in communication skills ever since I started Options.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate? What are they?
After I graduate high school I want to go to college and become a nurse or physical therapist!


Mireille
Options with ABA

Grade: 7th 

Mireille is an amazing student. Whether it’s tracking down the fearsome Indominus rex, writing a professional lab report on volcano experimentation, or providing words of encouragement for her peers, Mireille is always impressing me in class with her creativity, hard work and kindness.” – Sarah Danks (Options @ BACA teacher)

How long have you been enrolled in Options with ABA?
Since after Thanksgiving Break of 2020

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
Black belt at Geist Martial Arts. Writing in Arabic in class.

What is your favorite thing about attending Options with ABA?
The way Mrs. Sarah Danks supports the class and teaches. Also Mrs. Elizabeth.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
Science or math, it’s a hard choice for real. They work together.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I have improved my math skills and my writing skills have improved greatly!

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
Probably in lawn care service or an animal training specialist.


Mya
Options-Noblesville

Grade: 6th

“Mya has been working hard to get all of her work done, and to stay caught up in her classes. Whenever she has free time in class, Mya volunteers to help the other students that are struggling with their work. She always comes to class prepared, and with a great attitude!” Ashley Jennings (Mya’s advisor) 

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
I like it here and the people are all nice.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to draw

What is your favorite subject in school?
I like math. It is easier for me.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
I’ve definitely become better at typing.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I think I want to go to a musical or performing arts school.


Breasia
Options Indiana

Grade: 10th

“Breasia has been a model student! She communicates with her teachers in a timely and respectful manner and is pleasant to work with.  She finished two credits during February and is well on her way to finishing her next course.  Breasia takes great notes using her tutorials and uses guided notes as needed.  Keep up the great work Breasia!”
Emily Swanson (Breasia’s advisor)

What is your hometown/Where are you located in Indiana?
My hometown is Fort Wayne

When did you enroll at Options?
I started at Options in 2018

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I enjoy doing hair & nails, and love doing it in my free time.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options? Please explain
Teachers have an understanding, and we can work at our own pace.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options? Please explain
All of my credits are from Options. I feel like the tutorials helped me understand a lot of things.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate? What are they?
I either want to own my own salon or get into the medical field as an anesthesiologist.


 

EXPLORE OPTIONS!
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with two brick-and-mortar campuses in Hamilton County. Options also offers additional campus, hybrid & online programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 129 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.

 

 

March-ing right along (Dunagan’s Blog)

The outside of the building is changing drastically with the brick being almost finished on one side of the building and just starting on the other.  It should be done by the end of next week.  The building front has a few nice lines of dark brick that adds a nice accent to the building.  The snow is gone and the warmer weather is really helping things move along.  The parking area is currently a bit of a muddy mess, but that is expected in construction.  It sure is better than the bitter cold and ice that the crews were facing just last week.

The inside has seen the most changes over the last two weeks. The insulation is in and the drywall is going up.  Once the building is closed to the outside elements the mudding process will begin allowing the drywall to be finished. The glass for the main entry will arrive soon and then the building will be closed from the outside elements.  The teacher workroom that is just off to the side is ready for the drywall mud and then will await built-in cabinets and a large work counter. Once complete it will be a great space for staff to work alongside each other and prepare for the day.

The gym area is currently filled with all the ductwork that will go up to heat and cool the building.  It is a large space, so you can imagine how much ductwork is needed to cover the entire building.  It will be the last area to get drywall, but it will happen by the end of the week.  The space will have built-in cabinets to store PE equipment and a moveable curtain so we can section off the basketball area while eating lunch. In the near future, it will be ready to host back school events and summer open gym.  The back patio area is currently a muddy mess but it too will take shape in the near future. On a day like today in 2022, we will be excited to sit outside and enjoy the warmer weather that we are lucky to have this week.

You can see in the picture that Jenny’s office is taking shape and soon she will be able to greet visitors from her window to the main entry hall.  She will have so much space to support our students, families, and staff.  She will also have a second window that will open up to the lobby area where she can interact with students throughout the day. The rest of the office area is waiting for the final pieces of drywall to be hung.  The electrical work is underway and will soon be tucked into their electrical boxes for light switches and outlets.

The Senior Institute classroom is missing the ceiling and it is also close to being finished.  This is the largest classroom space and I am looking forward to what it will look like with desks and student work areas.  Future seniors will plan and prepare their senior projects in this space in less than a year.  It will also be a great space for classes to work when not in use for seniors.  The rest of the classrooms in the high school side of the building are finished with drywall. In the picture below you can see Gretchen’s English classroom.  The room looks so much bigger with the walls up.

The middle school classes were getting the last sheets hung as we walked by the team hard at work. The electrician will be coming behind them to finish all the outlets.  With the drywall up you can really see the different levels of ceiling throughout the building.  The changes in ceiling heights help define different spaces like the student commons from the hallways.  Soon we will have 6th-8th grade students mingling before getting started for their classes, or working in small groups on projects.

The space looks really different from just two weeks ago but we still have a lot more to be ready for summer school in just three months.

We’re excited to host a number of really fun events from June until August at Options Westfield & I’ll share the schedule in a blog once it’s finalized. I’ll also be giving campus tours throughout the summer, so please email me if you’d like to schedule one.

Overview rendering of entire Options-Westfield campus building


EXPLORE OPTIONS!
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with two brick-and-mortar campuses in Hamilton County. Options also offers additional campus, hybrid & online programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 129 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.

 

Stage 3 for Quarter 4 (Update for Carmel & Noblesville)

Classroom images at the Noblesville campus of Options


Options Carmel & Noblesville Families,

As promised, the Options’ leadership team continues to monitor the community and school-level data to help inform our operational plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It has been a continued priority to keep our buildings open as long as it is safe to do so and welcome students to attend daily to receive the personalized attention and physical supports that they need.  The increase in positivity rates and rapid spread of the virus towards the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 required our schools to move to offer alternate days of in-person instruction rotated with synchronous learning from home.  Currently, the positivity rates are much lower and the CDC has released a scientific brief reviewing the evidence of transmission in schools (Read Here). The data continues to show that the school building, with appropriate mitigation measures, is the safest place for both students and staff members to be each day, with respect to the transmission of COVID-19.  

For all of these reasons, we are going to make a shift in our operational plan for the two brick-and-mortar campuses, Carmel and Noblesville.  The change will begin Monday, March 15, 2021.  All students will be invited to return to daily, in-person attendance.  Our students will continue to be grouped by separate pods, limiting the cross exposure to very small groups of students and teachers.  Virtual, synchronous learning will continue to be available during quarter 4 for students during a mandatory quarantine, isolation, or for high-risk students relative to COVID-19.  

Each building principal will provide the team with specific directions and/or expectations moving forward and Dr. Anita Silverman will provide instructional support.  We are very hopeful that this change is positive and supportive of both students and our teams. We will continue to monitor data and make additional changes if necessary.  Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.

 

Dr. Mike Gustin
President/CEO, Options Schools


 

English students learn about Fountains of Hope

Fountains of Hope

On Friday, students at Options’ Carmel and Noblesville campuses joined in a group video call with Bill Farrar, the Founder and Executive Director of Fountains of Hope. Fountains of Hope (FoH) works to provide safe, life-giving water to those in need around the world. FoH leads mission teams all over the world installing reliable and sustainable water purification systems.

During Farrar’s presentation, students and teachers learned about how Fountains of Hope transforms lives through safe water and how Farrar’s journey led him from a career as an aeronautical professional engineer to completing 186 water projects in places like Haiti, India, Kenya, Puerto Rico, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

After being laid off from his role as a helicopter/airplane mechanic, Ferrar was unsure if his engineering background would be utilized again. Following a short tenure in real estate, Ferrar was faced with a new opportunity involving water purification systems. After realizing the opportunity to utilize his background and knowledge in engineering to make a positive impact, Ferrar never looked back.

“I just wanted more than the manufacturing aspect,” said Farrar. “I also wanted to be the one to be sent out to places to help people, instead of being the person to send other people out across the world. I also like for everyone to remember that being nice to other people goes a long way.”

Farrar surely has seen a lot in the time since Fountains of Hope was founded in 2009, having installed water purification systems in 17 different countries and experiencing things like gunfire in Kenya.

The presentation from Farrar was in conjunction with Carmel & Noblesville students reading the book ‘A Long Walk to Water.’ Featuring themes of perseverance, A Long Walk to Water (2010) shares the intertwining stories of two children in Sudan in the midst of a civil war in the region. Students were also able to see the water purification system that FoH installs across the globe.

As Carmel and Noblesville students read the book as part of an Ethnic Literature course, they also had really good discussions about the book’s contents. Students conversed about how important water is, what a privilege it is to have easy access to clean drinking water and how it is something people can very easily take for granted.

 


 

EXPLORE OPTIONS!
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with two brick and mortar campuses in Hamilton County. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 129 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.

 

 

 

Dunagan’s Blog: Options Westfield is growing before our eyes…

Options Westfield campus opens June 2021

If you have ever had an opportunity to build a home, you know how exciting AND stressful the process can be.  You get to customize your home to fit your needs.  That of course means making lots of decisions, from the exterior trim color to the wiring and location of outlets in each room.  The Options team has been dreaming of this new campus for many years, and we are months away from being finished with our new home in Westfield!  Our team has been working with architects, designers, and builders to make that dream come true.

This past week, we took several staff members from Options Carmel on a tour of the new Westfield building.  The building is really starting to take shape.  Most of the windows are installed and the framing for the interior walls is up.  You can really start to see where the classrooms and offices will be.  In the next few weeks, the drywall will go up. The outside of the building is also coming along.  The brickwork has started, and the roof is almost complete.  It is really starting to look like a school!  Standing in front of the building brings chills knowing we will soon be teaching students in the building this summer for summer school.

On the tour, we saw the high school and middle school wings.  Each will have their own section of the building classrooms, restrooms, and common areas.  The common areas will have flex seating where students can gather or for a small group to work together.  While they were on the tour, staff stopped at their future classrooms and offices to take a picture.  You could feel the excitement in the cold air. Every classroom has large windows that fill the space with natural light. 

In Gretchen’s English class, she has a large window that weighs over 600 pounds and took 10 people to install. In JD’s science classroom, you can see the gas lines run in the walls for future lab stations.  The middle school is no different.  They have large classrooms with large windows. Steve stopped in his future middle school classroom to grab a picture from the front of the room. Each classroom will have new student and teacher desks and chairs.  Tables are designed to be moveable so that teachers and students can adjust the seating to meet the needs of the particular lesson. They can be pushed together to make groups or spread out for testing.  No detail has been missed.  It is so exciting to start to picture it all.  Steve was already thinking of how he wants to decorate his classroom to start the year. One last essential area that was added to the building was a teacher workroom.  Teachers will now have a space where they can meet to work and prep for the day.

The office area is similar to the classrooms.  The entire entry area will be filled with windows that overlook a small courtyard.  In our new building, the main entrance is easy to find with its long covered walkway.  As we walked the administrative offices, we saw the large space that will serve as a resource area for staff and students to work.  The resource area will be filled with flex seating and small workstations.  It will be a great quiet space for students to work. As we made our way back to the front, we stopped to see the different offices and the conference room.  On the tour, Jenny stopped and stood in her giant office area where she will greet students and visitors each morning. (It would take three people holding hands to touch wall to wall!) She will be able to look out her window into the lobby and see the wall of windows bringing in all that natural light. 

Westfield will also have a large cafe/gym area with an attached weight room.  The space will have two-story ceilings and open onto a large outdoor patio.  Since I know many students have wondered, there will be a basketball goal as well.  We are very excited about the flexibility the space offers to host lunch, gym class, large group activities, or a space for classes to spread out for a project.  The patio will allow for teachers to host class outside.

The Westfield campus will hold many more exciting opportunities for our students and staff!  Once we are able to move in this summer, we hope you will join us for some of the many community events we will be hosting. If you would like a campus tour, I welcome you to email me at mdunagan@optionsined.org!

— Dunagan —

 

EXPLORE OPTIONS!
Construction on the Options Westfield campus will be completed in May 2021, with the campus to open for summer classes on Monday, June 7. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for information on campus events this summer!

Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with two brick and mortar campuses in Hamilton County. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 129 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.

 

Scroll down for additional photos of Options Westfield’s progress from February 8!

 

 

 

Students of the Month – Jan. 2021

Congrats to our January Students of the Month! This group is off to a great start to 2021 & a new semester!  Scroll down to read our Q&A with each program’s Student of the Month selection.

January 2021 - Options Schools Students of the Month


January 2021 Students of the Month:

  • Lyric (Options Carmel)
  • Tori (Options Noblesville)
  • Hayley (Options Indiana)
  • Eric (Options with ABA)

Lyric
Options-Carmel

Grade: 12th 

When did you enroll at Options?
The start of this school year in August.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
Reading, drawing and hanging out with my dogs. I really like the tattoo-type art.

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
The smaller environment and ability to connect with teachers is great. There’s more one-on-one with teachers and that has been way better than the normal public schooling I had in the past. It has allowed me to really get my work done and focus on my academics.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Probably history and chemistry. I like the subjects a lot and having good teachers helps.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
My grades are definitely improved and that has been a big change to get a bunch of ‘A’ and ‘B’ grades.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I’m thinking of going to art school to become a tattoo artist or possibly go to college for something related to forensic pathology.


Tori
Options-Noblesville

Grade: 11th 

When did you enroll at Options?
In November 2019.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I’m very interested in psychology, more specifically criminal psychology. I’m also very passionate about photography and took three years of photography classes. I am also pretty fluent in American Sign Language, I’m self-taught and started learning on my own when I was in sixth grade. I thought sign language was a beautiful thing and I was able to pick up on it easily.

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
I definitely like the extra help that teachers go out of their way for. If you don’t understand a concept, they’ll take the time to go over it again with you, one-on-one. They understand some people might need more time to understand something.

What is your favorite subject in school?
English. I have always enjoyed writing and poetry.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
I’ve become a lot better about turning in assignments and it has really improved my grades & GPA.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I know I want to go into the psychology field, either be a psychologist or criminal psychologist. Criminal psychology will be tough because it requires a lot of schooling and I’m not sure how much time I want to spend doing that, but I know I want to go to college to study psychology & minor in American Sign Language..


Hayley
Options Indiana

Grade: 10th

What is your hometown/Where are you located in Indiana?
My hometown is Waynedale, but I’m in Bluffton, Indiana.

When did you enroll at Options?
I enrolled at the beginning of the second semester.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I love doing makeup in my free time.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
The teachers are very supportive and they care. I also love that I can work at my own pace.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Science.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I am able to learn better and faster. Learning at my own pace is faster and easier for me.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
My plan after I graduate is to go to cosmetology school to pursue my passion in makeup.


Eric
Options with ABA

Which campus do you attend?
BACA in Fishers, IN.

When did you enroll at Options?
I started in August of 2020.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to play Roblox and watch TV.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
My teachers are my favorite part.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I like reading because it’s fun.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I’m a lot more flexible (with adapting to things throughout the day).

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I don’t know if I want a job, but I want to hang out with my mom after I graduate.


 

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.

 

 

Administration shares Spring 2021 Operational Plan

Classroom images at the Noblesville campus of Options

During the final week of the fall semester (Dec. 14-18), Options Schools shared its Spring 2021 Operational Plan in this email to families

We have made it! First semester is complete and we couldn’t be more proud of the resiliency and grit your students and families as a whole have shown as we’ve navigated such an unusual school year. Thank you to so many of you for participating in the survey about how we will return to school in January! The operational plan shared in the fall provided some basic information about multiple stages we may need to consider throughout the semester as we learned more about the effectiveness of the preventative measures we planned to take in the schools and the overall spread of the virus in our communities.  Your students generally respected the new and uncomfortable requirements of wearing face coverings, staying apart from others, and cleaning commonly used areas likes tables.  We are thankful for this and ask that you continue to encourage and support these measures over break and when they return in January.  These intentional actions are what is keeping our teachers and other students safe at school! Additionally, we ask that you are mindful of your holiday activities and continue to protect yourselves and those that you may be in contact with. We want to see each of your students back with us in January and want to keep everyone safe!

Using the information from the surveys and the great suggestions and ideas shared, we have developed a plan to support the shared needs of students, teachers, and parents. We are excited to have a plan that can provide some stability for the semester and a sense of peace knowing it isn’t going to change at the drop of a hat like we’ve become used to with the early days of learning about COVID and the impact on schools. We have received a general level of confidence from the Indiana State Health Department, including Dr. Box, and our Hamilton County Health Department in our plans to remain open to in person learning with the planned safety measures in place.  Because the viral spread is still significant in our community we have decided to reduce the number of students in the building at one time. This will allow us to better social distance in the classrooms, limiting the number of individuals that would be contact traced if a person did come to school while sick.  It is important to remember that while our programs are small, so are our classrooms. Having all students in the building at one time was not allowing us to appropriately social distance.  If your child has a specific need that would require daily, in person attendance please speak with your student’s principal. Accommodations can be made for special requests like this.

We cannot stress enough the importance of staying home if you are not feeling well and communicating with the building principals to ensure you are able to continue to learn from home if able. Additional information will be provided by each of the building principals no later than Monday, December 28. This information will include expectations for attendance check-ins, live help sessions for tutoring or support that will be available during evening school times, food resources, group assignments for the students, and more.  If you have a specific question you’d like addressed in this communication please go ahead and email it to your building principal. They will be collaborating on these questions and work to ensure the information that gets sent out addresses your questions.

We hope you all enjoy some family time over the next two weeks and are able to rest and reset as you prepare to return for a great spring semester! I know we are ready for the break as well but will be excited to see you again in just a few weeks. We will return to school in Stage 2, on January 5, 2021. We anticipate staying at Stage 2 for the semester but think it would be great if the viral spread reduced in such a way that we could move to stages 3 or 4.  See you in the new year!

Mike Gustin, President/CEO

Spring 2021 Operational Plan *

Students of the Month – Nov. 2020

Congrats to our November Students of the Month for the 2020-21 school year! Scroll down to read our Q&A with each program’s Student of the Month selection.

November Options Student of the Month


November 2020 Students of the Month:

  • Gwen R. (Options-Carmel)
  • Vincent C. (Options with ABA)
  • Aiden B. (Options Indiana)
  • Felicia Y. (Options Indiana)
  • Sterling W. (Options @ HYCA)
  • Richard A. (Options @ HYCA)

Gwen R.
Options-Carmel

Grade: 12th 

When did you enroll at Options?
Since the beginning of this school year in August

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I enjoy music, cooking & running. Over the Thanksgiving break, I did three different races in a row – I ran a 4K, 5K and 6K with just 30 minutes in-between each, so I’m still recovering from it.

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
All of the teachers are nice & I am really able to focus a lot better than at my old school. I also felt really welcome from when I first started here.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I like science & English.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
Definitely my academics. I used to have a lot of distractions & wasn’t able to focus, but with the structure here, I don’t feel such a burden with everything.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I have thought about going into the Navy before I attend college, possibly something in the culinary field. My mom & dad were both in the Navy and I think that it can help me grow.


Vincent C.
Options @ BACA

Grade: 11th

How long have you been enrolled at BACA and/or Options @ BACA?
This is my second year in the Options @ BACA program.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
Spending time on my iPad, playing games and going on walks.

What is your favorite thing about attending Options @ BACA?
Friends and learning in a small group.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
Subjects that use technology and reading.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
Flexibility with my day & schedule.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
Undetermined


Aiden B.
Options Indiana

Grade: 10th

What is your hometown/Where are you located in Indiana?
I live in Fishers, Indiana & I was born in Marion, Illinois.

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

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
My favorite thing about Options is that I can work at my own pace.

What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school is science.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I improved in getting my work done on time.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I plan on enlisting in the Army after I graduate.


Felicia Y.
Options Indiana

Grade: 12

What is your hometown/Where are you located in Indiana?
My hometown is Culver, Indiana and it’s where I’m still currently living/

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I don’t get much free time being the mom to a beautiful eight-year-old, but I enjoy movies & games with my family when I have time.

What is your favorite thing about going to Options?
My favorite thing about Options is the flexible hours that work for me being a busy mom with a very busy schedule.

What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school is math.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I would say I improved in a lot of areas, more than I ever thought was possible when I started at Options.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
Yes, I do want to get a degree in the field of IT (Information Technology). I really love to fix computer issues or phone issues and work with any tech items.


Sterling W.
Options @ HYCA

Grade: 12

What is your hometown?
Westfield, IN

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I was able to graduate early by being in Options @ HYCA and I’ve already been accepted into Ivy Tech so I’m now pursuing a major in Chemistry. Outside of school, I like to spend a lot of time with my family — playing games, building puzzles & reading too.

What has your HYCA experience been like?
This whole experience has really just helped me learn how to take a deep breath. I know not to get frantic or let things get to me… I just need to stop worrying and take a second. I didn’t handle stress well previously and I would just struggle with remembering things, but this has helped change that.

How has Options @ HYCA been beneficial to you?
I was working towards a certain high school diploma track in Technical Honors at my previous school and I have been able to continue that path with Options while I’ve been at HYCA.

What is your favorite subject in school?
A tie between science & math. Science is really intriguing to me & math kind of comes easy to me.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to focus on finishing the Ivy Tech program I’m in now and following that with a nice-paying job & family eventually. My goal is to just keep moving forward.


Richard A.
Options @ HYCA

Grade: 11th

What is your hometown?
I was born & raised in Martinsville, Indiana

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I enjoy riding ATV four-wheelers, dirt bikes & just living a little. I like working on stuff and working with my hands, so I enjoy any type of building work or fixing anything that’s broken. I try to make my own car the best as possible because I enjoy working on that too.

What has your HYCA experience been like?
At first, I didn’t think coming here was a good idea, but it has just been so good for me. Honestly, I didn’t know if I would make it far because the acclimation phase is the toughest part of getting familiar. It’s definitely been a journey, but I’m glad I made it this far and I’m glad I chose to come here. Being here has really changed my life. 

How has Options @ HYCA been beneficial to you?
I am really glad I enrolled in Options because I wanted to have my high school diploma and graduate, instead of just getting a GED. I’ve learned a lot about respect and how it can get you a long way. Same thing with integrity, it’s about doing the right thing for yourself no matter who is around. I’ve really just learned that the small things in life matter a lot.

What is your favorite subject in school?
Probably science. There’s so much to learn and so much that relates to the world around us.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I’ve been thinking a lot about joining the military to attending a trade school for culinary or construction. I’ve looked into apprenticeship jobs also, so I’m seeing what is out there and have an idea of which way I want to go.


 

 

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.

 

 

Change of Curriculum Delivery Begins Nov. 30

Options Schools serves students throughout Indiana

Options Families,

We’ve made it to Thanksgiving!  On behalf of the entire Options team, we want to express our appreciation for your patience, flexibility, and support during this challenging school year.  We have made a lot of changes to support the academic, emotional, and mental health of both our students and our instructional teams this year like reducing course loads by moving to a 9-week quarter system, segmenting off the buildings to allow for smaller pods to reduce exposure, and increased sanitation and cleaning procedures.  Additionally, we have allowed students and families to flow in and out of in-building and we have provided synchronous learning options as needs have changed.  We are encouraged by the initial data from the first quarter as more of your students earned passing grades in nearly all of the courses as well as other performance indicators such as progress on Individualized Service Plan goals and positive trends in student attendance to school.

As the numbers of positive cases rise in our community, many more of our families are choosing to attend school through the synchronous learning option for a period of time.  In order to allow for better flexibility for students and reduce stress on our instructional teams currently having to plan for two different delivery platforms, we are going to make a shift in our operational plan beginning Monday, November 30, 2020, for our Noblesville and Carmel campuses.  We will remain in Stage 4, with our buildings open and students encouraged to attend daily when they are not ill or need to quarantine.  The shift will be in the instructional delivery.  All classes will be taught virtually, through Zoom, through synchronous learning.  This means that all students will continue to have the same class schedule to follow virtually. Students will just log into their classes using their Chromebook instead of physically being in the same room as the teacher.  Students that attend in-person will have assigned learning rooms and will continue to have in-person support and supervision by our teams.

We will continue to monitor the ever-changing data in relation to COVID-19 and hope to return to in-person instructional delivery as soon as our in-person attendance shifts back to nearly 80%.  Please continue to practice the safety measures encouraged by the Indiana State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control as you celebrate the upcoming holidays. Students too ill to learn synchronously should still be called in as absent.  Asynchronous learning options may also be available upon advanced request to the building principal, specific teacher, and or the student’s advisor.

 

Dr. Mike Gustin
President/CEO, Options Schools

 

 

 

Students of the Month – Oct. 2020

Congrats to our October Students of the Month for the 2020-21 school year! Scroll down to read our Q&A with each program’s Student of the Month selection.

October 2020 Students of the Month - Options Schools


Oct. 2020 Students of the Month:

  • Ellana S. (Options-Carmel)
  • Maddie B. (Options-Noblesville)
  • Brycen B. (Options @ BACA)
  • Tara W. (Options @ HYCA)
  • Brooklyn B. (Options Indiana)

Ellana S.
Options-Carmel

Grade: 9th 

When did you enroll at Options?
I came to Options to start this school year.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to play volleyball and draw fashion design clothing.

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
Everyone is nice and I just feel welcome here because there’s no judging. I went to a Christian school in middle school and I have done much better in smaller schools. I get more 1-on-1 help from teachers also. This kind of feels like another “home” for me too.

What is your favorite subject in school?
History

Have you improved in any areas since starting Options?
I’m getting better at math and that’s been because I’ve been able to get help and go through the steps on things I struggle with.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to go to college to be in a fashion-related career & just be really successful in life.


Maddie B.
Options-Noblesville

Grade: 11th

When did you enroll at Options?
I started at the beginning of this school year in August. Once I got through the first day, all of my nerves settled. I was more familiar with the students and everyone was really welcoming, and I really like that.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I enjoy writing and photography. I like fiction writing and to write short stories, I’m actually working on something now that I hope can become a model. I enjoy street photography because you could capture a special moment at any second. I also really like reading.

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
It’s going great and it’s really comfortable to be here. It’s hard to explain, but when I leave home (in the morning) to come here, I’m coming to a second home with friends and teachers that I can go to if I need anything. I really enjoy it here.

What is your favorite subject in school?
English, probably because I’ve always enjoyed reading & writing.

Have you improved in any areas since starting Options?
Definitely. I’m much better at turning all of my assignments in on time and managing classes with better focus.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to go to Ball State University and major in teaching, and when I graduate, I want to be an elementary or middle school English teacher in a small-town in Kentucky or Tennessee. I grew up in the country and I just love the small-town feel.


Brycen B.
Options @ BACA

Grade: 7th

How long have you been enrolled at BACA and/or Options @ BACA?
I have been at Options for a year and a half.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to play basketball, playing video games, and playing football. My favorite video game is NBA 2k16. 

What is your favorite thing about attending Options @ BACA?
The classes are easier for me to understand. I also like the school day schedule.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
Art is my favorite school subject. I also like writing stories.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I am interested in working for Pepsi. I want to work there because my uncle works there, and I would get to see him more! I would want to be a delivery driver for them!


Tara W.
Options @ HYCA

Grade:  12th 

What is your hometown?
Anderson, IN 

What has your HYCA experience been like?
It has been really beneficial. The first couple of weeks are tough for everyone, but it’s a lot of adjusting to a new routine. I have earned the rank of Master Sergeant, which is the second-highest rank for Cadets at HYCA. All of the Cadets here come to me with their issues, and it is my responsibility to help them work through issues, so that has matured me even more.

Have you improved in any areas since starting Options @ HYCA?
I didn’t have many future goals when I came here because I knew I was a senior & I didn’t focus much on school. Now I’m looking at going to college and preparing for a successful career. 

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
When I leave HYCA, I’m going to finish the second half of my senior year so I can finish my diploma and graduate. After that, I’m going to attend Ivy Tech for the first two years of college, and I will also enlist in the Army. I want to study human services and social work because I’ve always been comfortable working with people and helping others.


Brooklyn B.
Options Indiana

Grade: 12

What is your hometown?
Elwood, IN

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I love spending my free time with my family.

What do you enjoy most about being an Options Indiana student?
I am 23 and I have two kids, so I really love that I am able to do my schoolwork on my own time. I always got easily distracted whenever I was in public school when I was younger so I love that I can wait to do my work whenever it is quiet, and I don’t have any distractions.

Do you have a favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject is health.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I have really surprised myself with how well I’ve done in math!

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I am currently enrolled in cosmetology school and have a date to graduate in 2022! I am so excited for the future and wouldn’t be able to do any of this if it wasn’t for Options!


 

 

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 to partner with Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy in Kokomo

Options Schools & Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy will partner to form a hybrid education program in Kokomo, IN.
Options Schools & Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy will partner to form a hybrid education program in Kokomo, IN.


Options @ IBAA flyer (PDF) | IBAA website | Options with ABA website

KOKOMO, Ind. – A new partnership between Options Schools and the Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy (IBAA) will now provide Kokomo-area families with the opportunity to have access to an accredited Applied Behavior Analysis therapy facility, and an accredited public education in one convenient location.

Known as ‘Options @ IBAA,’ the program will offer diploma, certificate and functional academic tracks based on the individual needs of each student. Options’ highly-qualified team will be co-located within IBAA in Kokomo (125 W. Taylor St). This blended model will provide students with a 3:1 student-to-teacher ratio and an optimal learning environment to receive their education and 1:1 for therapy services.

Students attending the ‘Options at IBAA’ program will participate in the educational program for half of the day, either during the Morning or Afternoon session. Students will receive 3-4 hours of supports in social skills, independent living, and self-management from IBAA’s team. When participating in ABA therapy, students will receive 1:1 supports from a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and program oversight from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

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 (including Options @ IBAA and Options @ BACA) that serve students in over 90 school corporations throughout the state of Indiana. 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.

The Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy (IBAA) helps children with autism obtain the skills needed to successfully navigate their lives and grow to be more independent, happy young adults. IBAA was founded in Kokomo in 2015 as a program focused on quality services and outcomes. The program was one of the first accredited ABA centers in the state of Indiana and continues to be the only accredited program in Kokomo. IBAA is in network with all major insurance carriers and has a team onsite to support families and answer questions related to insurance coverage.

“After the great amount of success we have seen in the Options @ BACA program as it enters its second year in Fishers, we are excited to now also serve families in the Kokomo area,” said Options President/CEO Dr. Mike Gustin. “With Options Schools and IBAA both having missions based around helping students succeed through an individualized approach, it was a natural fit. We are excited to see the growth of Options @ IBAA and the positive impact it will have on Kokomo-area students.”

“IBAA is excited about the opportunity to partner with Options Charter School to provide a blended academic and therapeutic program for individuals in the Kokomo area.,” said IBAA Owner/Director Lisa Steward. “The Options team offers years of experience and a commitment to excellence which makes them a great addition to our program at IBAA. Together we will accomplish great things for our students and community.”

Program staff will include IBAA Owner/Director Lisa Steward and IBAA Clinical Supervisor Brittany Morgan, along with Options teachers and Lisa Chandler, Principal for Options with ABA.

Principal for Options with ABA, Lisa Chandler helped launch Options’ first ABA partnership, with Options @ BACA, and will serve in a similar role for Options @ IBAA. Chandler has spent the majority of her career in alternative educational settings playing a key role in the development, implementation and growth of educational programs for individuals on the spectrum. Chandler is also highly skilled in classroom design integrating sensory therapeutic and academic needs to create environments for multiple learning styles and her background includes extensive curriculum and assessment development. A 2006 graduate of Indiana University, she holds an Indiana teaching license in Mild Interventions P-12 and is nearing completion of her degree in Educational Leadership. Chandler is also a member of the Indiana Association of School Principals.

Lisa Steward, MA, BCBA, is the Owner and Clinical Director of Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy. Steward was board certified in 2009 and has since held Clinical Director positions in growing ABA clinics, consulted in a variety of schools, provided family and professional training, and taught for Purdue University. Steward founded IBAA in 2014 with the desire to expand the program to support individuals ranging in age from birth through early adulthood.

Brittany Morgan, MS, BCBA, is a Clinical Supervisor at IBAA. Morgan joined the IBAA team in October of 2016 as a Program Manager and quickly established herself as an exceptional behavior analyst and leader. Morgan has worked in the field for over eleven years in a variety of roles and environments. In addition to her experience and knowledge, Morgan demonstrates a commitment to the individuals IBAA supports, making her an ideal clinician to oversee the IBAA portion of the Options @ IBAA expansion.

The ‘Options @ IBAA’ program will begin in mid-to-late November 2020. The program will also cap enrollment at eight for the 2020-21 pilot year.

To secure a seat in ‘Options @ IBAA,’ interested applicants can visit OptionsSchools.org/enroll-now to submit an application.

For additional questions about the program, contact Options with ABA Principal Lisa Chandler via email. For more information about ABA and IBAA, email IBAA Owner/Director Lisa Steward.


Daily Options @ IBAA Schedule

Indiana Behavior Analysis Academy in Kokomo, IN
IBAA is located at 125 W. Taylor St. in Kokomo, IN

 

 

Students of the Month – Sept. 2020

Congrats to our September Students of the Month for the 2020-21 school year! Scroll down to read our Q&A with each program’s Student of the Month selection.

September 2020 Options Students of the Month


Sept. 2020 Students of the Month:

  • James G. (Options-Carmel)
  • Alex F. (Options @ Growing Minds)
  • Brayleigh B. (Options-Noblesville)
  • Quentin K. (Options @ BACA)
  • Ty Z. (Options @ HYCA)
  • Terez S. (Options Indiana)

James G.
Options-Carmel

Grade: 6th 

How has the first month of the school year been for you?
It’s been pretty good; I like it here. I like my classmates, teachers & classes.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I play video games and spend time with my family. I like playing Call of Duty and Warzone the most, but a bunch of games overall.

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
The people just seem to be nicer & the school is just better overall. It’s nice to have a small class. My two sisters used to go here too, so that’s how my family knew about Options.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I enjoy Math most

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
I think I’ve definitely got better at Math.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I think it would be cool to be a professional gamer.


Alex F.
Options @ Growing Minds

Grade: 10th 

Do you attend Growing Minds in Columbia City or Fort Wayne?
I attend in Fort Wayne and I started during the second semester of the 2019-20 school year.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I really like playing basketball and baseball. My favorite spot to play each is center in basketball & outfield in baseball.

What is your favorite thing about Options @ Growing Minds?
I think it’s the fact that it’s like a family atmosphere each day and not like a regular school where a lot of people might feel like strangers. It’s easy to be honest and open with the teachers because they want the best for you.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
I enjoy Career Skills because it covers a little bit of everything and its stuff we need to know.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Growing Minds?
At my other school, I didn’t get any work done because I would just want to sleep. After talking with some of the teachers, I am more motivated with my future. I’ve been working really hard every day and that didn’t use to be me.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I think I want to attend trade school & become a welder. I like making things and I know I can make some good money doing it.


Brayleigh B.
Options-Noblesville

Grade: 6th

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I enjoy practicing origami and making things. I learned through videos & books. I usually like making origami balloons. I like playing outside. 

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
It’s been good, I’ve liked basically everything about it. The teachers in the middle school are awesome. It’s a really fun school with really good teachers and I’m glad to be here.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I like Advising most because I enjoy Kimberly as a teacher so it’s nice having additional time to talk about things.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I have a lot of things I want to do, maybe become a baker.


Quentin K.
Options @ BACA

Grade: 10th

How long have you been enrolled at BACA and/or Options @ BACA?
August 2020

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like jumping on the trampoline, watching television & hanging out with my friends.

What is your favorite thing about attending Options @ BACA?
I enjoy my classmates and the teachers

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
Science

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling in Options @ BACA?
I’m getting better at reading and socializing.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
Unknown


Ty Z.
Options @ HYCA

Grade:  11th 

What is your hometown?
I’m from Chandler, IN, but since it’s a small town I just say Evansville because people know it more that way.

What has your HYCA experience been like?
It’s been pretty good. The first two weeks were rough, but eventually you get used to the routine and what’s going on. The start is like bootcamp because you are learning how things need to be done. After a week or so, you start to make friends and things just get simpler.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I played soccer for many years growing up and into high school. We have a couple hours of free time here after the school day ends, so I read a lot. I’ve already ready eight or nine books in the nine weeks that I’ve been at HYCA. I really enjoy dystopian literature.

What have you enjoyed most about the HYCA experience?
I got here not knowing what I was going to learn, but now being nine weeks in, I realize I need to do something with my life after I graduate, whether it’s school or a career so I can make something of myself.

Have you improved in any areas since starting Options @ HYCA?
With Options, I can work at my own pace & I realize I know a lot more than I think. Having help from teachers is nice too. If you put your mind to it and you want to be successful, it’s amazing what you can accomplish in classes and earning credits. I also have realized I didn’t have a great mindset before coming here and now I’m on track.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do just yet, but I know I’m going to make sure I get my high school diploma first. After that, I will see what will be next, maybe going into the military.


Terez S.
Options Indiana

Grade: 12

What is your hometown?
I live in Highland, IN, which is considered “the region”

How have the first few weeks of the school year been for you?
I actually love this school and have had a great start to my year.  I’m looking forward to my graduation in December.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I am a busy mom of a three-year-old and a newborn. Most of my free time, when I’m not working to finish my classes, is spent raising and taking care of them.

What do you enjoy most about being an Options Indiana student?

I love the teachers and I love communicating with them. They are so easy to talk to and always get right back with me when I need something.

Do you have a favorite subject in school?
I really like science.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I have improved in all of my subject areas but mostly I have found and improved on my motivation to finish school. 

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
After I graduate in December, I would like to go to school and work on my Cosmetology License.


 

 

Dunagan debuts first Principal blog in Year 2

For Principal Dunagan’s first Principal Blog of the 2020-21 school year, we discussed a trio of topics in video form!

 


  • How has the first month of the school year gone with things being different due to the COVID-19 pandemic? How have the students & teachers adapted to new circumstances?

 

  • With the small size of Options, students are able to attend schools five days a week. How has that been beneficial over having students only on campus for two days each week?

 

  • You first joined the Options team in July 2019 as Principal of Options-Carmel. How has your first year been & what are some of your thoughts as you enter your second school year?

 

Notable Upcoming Dates:

  • Oct. 9: End of Quarter 1 / Grades Final
  • Oct. 12-16: Fall Break!
  • Oct. 20: Picture Retakes
  • Oct. 29: PSAT Testing

 


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.

 

 

Passion, creativity & integrity: meet Dr. Silverman

Following the departure of the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the fall of 2019, Options Schools was left with an opening in a major role. The search for a new Director of Curriculum and Instruction began immediately and the result was the addition of Dr. Anita Silverman in December 2019.

A native of central Indiana and graduate of North Central High School, Silverman made an immediate impact with her demeanor and approach to the position. The source? A winding journey that provided a wealth of experience and knowledge along the way.

A first-generation college student, Silverman started her secondary education at Ball State University, with the goal of becoming a teacher.

Required to take a speech & hearing test in order to proceed in BSU’s teaching program, a speech impediment prevented Silverman from passing the test and with the Disabilities Act of 1990 not yet in place, Silverman was forced with a choice: forfeit her dreams of working in education or leave the state of Indiana.

“All I had ever wanted to be was a teacher, I wanted to be just like my elementary school Principal,” said Silverman. “I just picked Ohio State because it was out of state and it was random. I didn’t understand the concept or cost of out of state student fees, I just wanted to go somewhere because I couldn’t teach in Indiana. It ended up being the best decision I ever made.”

After her time at Ohio State, Silverman learned of an opportunity that would assist in paying her student loans if she spent time teaching in an urban environment. She selected Chicago, packed up a U-haul & off she went. Silverman’s next stop was Thornwood High School, her first experience in alternative education and working with at-risk youth.

“I was on the south side of Chicago and early on I experienced my first student death, via gang violence,” Silverman said. “After experiencing the funeral, I learned a lot about things I previously knew nothing about and it taught me that I needed to learn about the students. Not many teachers take the time to learn about their students, and we have to take time to do that. That was a big lesson for me at age 23 and ever since, I’ve been really involved in making sure teachers understand what our kids live, not just what they learn.”

After a five-year span in Chicago, teaching courses that included Family and Consumer Science & Graduation Reality and Dual Role Skills (GRADS), Silverman was ready to return to Indiana. As her family grew with the addition of two children, Silverman wanted them to be closer to their grandparents.

With courses including Home Economics & Family and Consumer Science having been cut in certain areas, Silverman felt the need to build on her resume and went back to school to earn her Master’s Degree in School Leadership. Silverman’s career then led her to Indianapolis Public Schools, where she served in a myriad of roles, including Dean of Students and Principal at one of IPS’ first alternative schools in 1999, where she realized alternative education was where she fit. Much of Silverman’s time was spent working at schools where “something needed to be done, whether it was an increase in test scores or motivation, that was kind of my niche.”

That very “niche” has helped Silverman thrive in previous roles, but also makes her a major asset for Options Schools and the students it serves. She also brings a student-first perspective that meshes well with the mission of Options.

“We have to respect students for being who they are…I can’t ask them to become part of my world and I can’t be a part of their world, we have to be in our world together, and I think that is really important because we have to create our community,” Silverman said. “I think we often make the mistake in forgetting that the younger generation knows how to think, so we have to respect their processes & their mindset. It is our job as educators to introduce us to the world, not to try to change their upbringing.”

The experience Silverman carries with her also comes from her dissertation, as she earned her EdD from Ball State University in Educational Leadership. Silverman completed her dissertation on the Cultural Competency of Teachers, and despite potential drawbacks to her dissertation topic, Silverman carried on.

“I was told that there wasn’t much research out there (on the Cultural Competency of Teachers) or that it wasn’t valid, or people don’t care, but now it’s so important to discuss race, and respect, understanding, and that was about 14 years ago,” Silverman said. “I was always told it was going to be a difficult topic and people may not be interested in that topic, but it has been and continues to be an important issue.”

With Silverman’s passion rooted in alternative education, she has used a creative mindset to present Options students with new experiences.

“I’ve always been really crafty and learning needs to be engaging for our students & shouldn’t be something that bores them,” Silverman said. “Not all students can learn sitting at desks in rows. I like to stay current with technology, and I like to still be involved with kids to see what I can do to connect with them and how I can help teachers to connect with them. I use drums because I know it can help with emotional regulation and kids are so dysregulated with everything going on in the world right now.”

Certified by Remo Drums in Healthy Rhythm Drumming Coordination, Silverman discovered the new-found passion in August 2019 and has since used it as a beneficial tool in the classroom, while improving her own drumming skills in her free time.

Along with the importance of education, Silverman also puts a lot of value in honesty and integrity.

“I think the best thing we can teach kids is integrity and model that for kids,” Silverman said. “Integrity has always been a big thing for me. It is the one thing you can’t ever get back, once you give someone your integrity, you can’t get that back. Even if you apologize after lying to someone, for example, you can’t just fix it and it’s the same with your integrity. I need to know that when I go to sleep at night, I was always myself.”

Silverman has loved the ability Options has provided her, to work with multiple schools and have full team involvement, working towards a common goal. Silverman shared that she is looking forward to strengthening and improving the sustainability of dual-credit program partnerships with Ivy Tech, J. Everett Light Career Center and others.

With the students always in mind, Silverman provided an “old phrase” that she believes speaks volumes in a school setting and serves as a reminder for all educators.

“They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”

 


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 – August 2020

Congrats to our first group of Students of the Month for the 2020-21 school year! Scroll down to read our Q&A with each program’s Student of the Month selection.


August 2020 Students of the Month:

  • Ben C. (Options-Carmel)
  • Ethan E. (Options @ Growing Minds)
  • James M. (Options-Noblesville)
  • Fazal S. (Options @ BACA)
  • Arianna S. (Options @ HYCA)
  • Lillian W. (Options Indiana)

Ben C.
Options-Carmel

Grade: 12th

How has the first month of the school year been for you?
It’s not been bad having to adapt to everything so far & things could be a lot worse, so it has been a good start to the school year.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like hanging out with my brother and we just talk about cars. I’m a big fan of cars in general, old school cars. Personally, I have a 1994 Jeep that I will soon be working on, but cars are my passion. My favorite car is a Dodge Dart.

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
It’s been a bumpy road along the way, and I struggled with some things, but it’s been a great experience overall and I keep improving.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I’ve enjoyed History like no other class and Steve is a great teacher for it.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
I used to be a crummy person and didn’t really think about other people, but I have really improved at expanding my understanding and knowing there are many perspectives. The friends and teacher support helped me get off to a great start a couple years ago when I was a freshman and I keep growing.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
After I graduate with my diploma from Options, I’m going to apply to positions at three different electric companies in the Line Man role so I can help the storm team and help people in need, like those currently in Louisiana where the hurricane hit. I have been considering this and going into the Air Force, and this is something I could see myself doing.


Ethan E.
Options @ Growing Minds

Grade: 7th

Do you attend Growing Minds in Columbia City or Fort Wayne?
I attend in Fort Wayne and this is my second year.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I usually spend free time playing games, but I also like to tell other people interesting stuff like facts from books and things to get you thinking. I also like telling and making jokes. I just like to make others smile and see their happiness. I also enjoy playing difference computer games and watching stand-up comedy.

What is your favorite thing about Options @ Growing Minds?
I like that you get to come in person and see the staff, because that has helped me a lot. Everyone here is also really nice and the teachers understand when you need to take a break and take a minute.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
I would say science and math. I like science more because I enjoy learning about different things, and how they work and might be connected.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Growing Minds?
I’ve learned to focus more, and I haven’t been good at writing, so the structure has helped me get better.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to be a stand-up comedian. I like to try to take things that happened to me and turn it into jokes. I got into comedy when I was five and my mom says I told my first joke and I don’t remember it, but she was crying laughing.


James M.
Options-Noblesville

Grade: I’m in 10th grade now, but I’ve been at Options for a few years. My sister graduated from Options in 2018 so I found out about it through her and I started in 7th grade at the same time the Options-Noblesville middle school opened. 

How has the first month of the school year been for you?
Pretty good so far.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
What’s “free” time? I work all the time (haha). I have two jobs, I work at McGavic Outdoor Power during the week and I also have my own landscaping business, so I mow other times throughout the week and on the weekends too. That keeps me really busy. It helps that at Options, a lot of the schoolwork is done during the day instead of having a bunch of homework dumped on us every night, so I can use time outside of school for other things like working.

What have you enjoyed most about the Options experience?
It’s great how much the teachers help and care. They’re awesome. At my previous school, it was like the teachers just gave us work & went to sit at their desk

What is your favorite subject in school?
I would probably say history. Anything with the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, always has interested me because both of my great grandparents and other family members have served in the military. Military stuff has always interested me when I was growing up and having Josh (Curry) to teach the subject, it makes it even better.

Have you improved in any areas since starting at Options?
I’ve definitely become a lot more friendly and open. Before I started at Options, I used to keep to myself at my other school and not really talk to many people. I can really be myself and not need to disguise myself to fit in.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I will probably go into the Army. Some people thing you might be doing it because you have no other choice, but I want to have a purpose for something, and I want to do something to give back & do my part. It is something that I’ve also been thinking about since I was little.


Fazal S.
Options @ BACA

Grade: 6th

How long have you been enrolled at BACA and/or Options @ BACA?
I started one month ago.

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I enjoy gardening with my parents and also mowing the law. I like watching Wild Kratts and Odd Squad on television.

What is your favorite thing about attending Options @ BACA?
I like being able to see & hang out with my friends.

What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
I like math because I’m good at it.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
I want to go to college after I graduate from high school. I want to be a doctor and specialize in gastroenterology.


Arianna S.
Options @ HYCA

Grade:  11th

What is your hometown?
Hanover, IN

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
I like to play soccer and I really enjoy reading books.

What has your HYCA experience been like?
Overall, it has been very challenging and has pushed my limits, but it has made me a better person. I have a desire now to go further and gained the confidence to be better. I feel like it is from the environment and how there are such high standards for you and everything you do. They want things to be the best they can be, so with them pushing me and me seeing other people pushing through, it makes me want to be better. There are leadership positions here and that has forced me to gain confidence and lead others. I am currently Group Leader, so I oversee my academic group of 15 cadets and follow certain procedures during the day like marching.

What have you enjoyed most about the HYCA experience?
With all of the people here coming from different places and backgrounds, there is just so much diversity and that has been so nice to see. It has helped me realize to be more considerate to others and not everyone experiences things the same, so it has given me a wider outlook on life.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I really like science, and specifically chemistry. It is cool seeing the Period Table of Elements and just knowing everything is made up of those 100 plus elements, but everything is so much more complex than what we might think. 

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
By the end of my time at HYCA, I want to be Cadet First Sergeant, which is the highest-ranking cadet leadership. After HYCA, I am going to graduate from high school in a year & a half, go to college and be in some branch of military because I really like how the military works and its structure. Eventually, I want to be a crime scene investigator in a branch of the military. Before this, I wanted to be in forensic science in some way, but I have realized that I can also serve my country and have that honor as well to be helping the entire country while still doing what I love.


Lillian Wood
Options Indiana

Grade: 12

What is your hometown?
I’m located in Greenwood/Center Grove

Do you have any hobbies, passions or ways you enjoy spending your free time?
My main hobby is All-Star Cheerleading. I have been doing it for 16 years and love every single thing about it. I also love spending time with friends and family.

What do you enjoy most about being an Options Indiana student?
The thing I enjoy most about being an Options student is how it’s best fit for me. All of my teachers have helped me so much, and I feel like it’s what was best for me! The communication is amazing and everyone is so nice.

Do you have a favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school is English because it helps with reading, learning how to write properly, communication, etc. It’s good for real-life events.

Have you improved in any areas since enrolling at Options?
I have improved in math for sure. Math has always been one of my least favorite subjects, but I feel I personally have done so much better.

Do you have any current plans or aspirations for after you graduate?
After I graduate, I am going to work for my cousin’s business, hopefully to start my own in the future. My cousin is very successful in what he does. I am also planning on traveling to California to start doing videography/photography.


 

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.

 

Q&A with Melanie, Principal of Options-Noblesville

With the 2020-21 school year underway, we caught up with Melanie Martin-Terrell to see how things have been in her new role as Principal of Options-Noblesville. Martin-Terrell has served in numerous roles during her tenure with Options Schools, most recently as Counselor at Options-Carmel.


How have your first few weeks been serving as Principal of Options-Noblesville?
My first few weeks as Principal of Options-Noblesville have been quite enlightening. I have been well received and met some wonderful families and gotten to know staff members and reconnect with former colleagues. I am learning how to navigate the enrollment process and investigate all the changes to the building. My days are full and productive.

What are your thoughts as you begin a new school year in this role?
Wow! What a time to take on new responsibilities. I welcome all challenges placed before me. I hope to focus on the school motto of Belong, Believe, Achieve. Our students need to feel accepted, safe, supported, encouraged and educated, and in that sequence. Relationships matter. Students are the number one priority of any school environment and we must see from their viewpoint. While some may disagree with this concept, this is what has been effective at Options.

You’ve been with Options for over a decade. What’s it been like to see the growth and evolution of Options Schools?
I am one out of a handful of staff members that have had the pleasure of working at both school campuses, in Carmel and Noblesville. Structurally, the buildings are completely different, but relationally, everything is the same. There are fantastic staff members at both campuses and we all have great rapport within our buildings and now amongst one another, as we are enhancing curriculum standards and providing synchronous instruction. I really believe I have come full circle and that is what makes my journey particularly interesting. I definitely hope to stay connected with all of the students I have worked with. I believe in their ability to succeed and our staff is equipped to assist them along the way.

What is it about Options Schools that has appealed to you for over a decade?
Options has a unique school environment that gives a place for students who need something different. Students can be who they are while developing the skills necessary to become productive citizens. To be able to build positive relationships with students is a major part of our motto. If you don’t feel like you belong, how are you able to be successful and feel at home? Once they belong, they can believe that they are capable and able to then achieve and accomplish goals as they move forward in life.

As you take on this role as Principal, is there anyone you want to acknowledge or thank?
My parents have definitely laid the foundational work as prime examples of excellent educators. They each had 40 plus years in the field of education. With that, I have ingrained and embraced working with youth. I thank the Options executive team for extending their confidence in me to lead the Noblesville campus. My family has supported me throughout all of my academic endeavors and I greatly appreciate their sacrifices and encouragement

Is there anything else you want to share or say?
Let us F.L.O.A.T. through this year and be Flexible, Level-headed, Outstanding, Adaptable, & Triumphant!

 

 

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.

 

 

The Current features Options on Westfield cover

The following article was featured as the cover story in the August 4, 2020 edition of The Current in Westfield. The full Aug. 4 publication of The Current can be found here.

Another way to learn: Alternative learning provides avenues for struggling students

By Anna Skinner

Options Charter School CEO Mike Gustin doesn’t advocate a one-size-fits-all approach to alternative learning.

“Alternative programming is like any other consumer item you would go out and purchase and try to access,” he said. “There’s options and choices, and what we do in Indiana is, there’s a difference in Indiana coding between an alternative school and an alternative program.

“They serve uniquely different purposes within the alternative spectrum of student.”

Although Westfield Washington Schools is refining a new alternative program, Gustin said there’s still a need for Options, and vice versa. Options Charter School broke ground on its Westfield campus last month at the northwest quadrant of Gunther Boulevard and Ind. 32.

“So within alternative programming, and we are aware Westfield Washington Schools is ramping up some alternative programming, is they focus their programming on one or two types of students, but they don’t provide programming across the bandwidth of alternative learning that might suite the needs of all alternative kids facing challenges,” Gustin said.

Gustin said Options Charter School works with local superintendents about ways to keep students enrolled in the district.

“If (students) have something in their school like a co-curricular or extracurricular activity, or if the student has a positive adult relationship, that is a hook for that kid to stay in school and perform well, even though they may temporarily be going through some difficult times,” Gustin said. “That student should stay in school and attend that programming if it’s designed to meet their need.

“We step into the void when things are absent, when the student doesn’t feel connected to school or the community or has no real connection to the people or programming there.”

If a student is connected with their district through clubs, relationships or sports, they generally see success within the alternative programming, whereas when those connections aren’t present, the student can feel disconnected in the district and may be better suited for something like Options.

“To me, the biggest difference really is that when a student is a Westfield student, there are so many different resources we have available in the entire district,” WWS Supt. Sherry Grate Said. “The whole idea is that we are trying to create the best academic experience we can for students and provide a wrap-around, so if a student can stay and we can provide all of those resources to help them be successful, then that’s a huge success.

“Options is a great partner for us. It’s finding out what’s the best fit for each student, and the more we can keep our students in the Westfield school system by meeting their needs, the better off they are.”

Connor Reiff completes his Options Charter School assignments at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted photo)

An Options Charter School example

Noblesville resident Connor Reiff benefits from Options Charter School education because the alternative learning school is flexible when it comes to Reiff’s medical needs.

“I have to travel to Stanford (University) for treatment and Southern California for clinical trials to help with my sleep disorders, and (Options) continues to be accommodating over the three years I’ve been there,” said Reiff, 16. “Those three chronic illnesses have kind of affected everybody in my family, and Options accommodated my sister, who sometimes had to fly with us out to Stanford.” 

 

 

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.

 

Current Openings with Options Schools

Options Schools is currently hiring for four teaching positions, two with Options @ HYCA and two with Options @ Growing Minds. Interested applicants are welcome to apply immediately by contacting the respective program leader (information listed in each posting).

Open Positions:

  • Options @ HYCA English Teacher
  • Options @ HYCA Math Teacher
  • Options @ Growing Minds Teacher (Special Education preferred)
  • Options @ Growing Minds Teacher

Job Descriptions & Qualifications:

Options @ HYCA Teacher (1 English & 1 Math opening)

  • The English/Math Teacher is responsible for teaching and/or overseeing all English/Math courses required for graduation and remedial programs. In addition, all teachers at Options are responsible for a small group of students in an advisory role and other possible courses.
  • The Indiana Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy is part of the National Youth ChalleNGe Program which was established in 1993 by the National Guard and has graduated over 90,000 Cadets. Founded in 2007 and located in Knightstown, IN, the academy offers military-based training to unemployed/underemployed, crime-free and drug-free high-school dropouts 16-18 years of age. HYCA empowers youths to embrace responsibility, achievement and positive behavior, while also instilling confidence, fostering ambition and increasing employment opportunities. The free program is a 17.5-month commitment, including an in-depth screening process, a two-week acclimation phase, a five-month residential phase and a yearlong post-residential mentorship phase to help graduates with career and life goal achievements.
  • All teachers at Options Charter Schools must be highly qualified to teach their assigned subject areas, grades 6-12, as well as show field experience in working with at-risk students. Applicants must be able to execute developed lesson plans based on the Indiana Academic Standards utilizing project-based instruction and authentic assessment of learning. He/she must be willing to work collaboratively with the other team members in the organization and, most importantly, must have a good heart and be willing to develop strong relationships with his/her students.
  • Interested applicants can email their resume & cover letter to Adam Barr, Principal of Options @ HYCA.

 

Options @ Growing Minds Teacher (2 openings, Special Education preferred)

  • The Options @ Growing Minds Teacher will work out of the Growing Minds campuses located in Fort Wayne and Columbia City, IN. The position will work with grade 6-12 students in a much smaller school setting and will work in collaboration with the Growing Minds staff.
  • 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. Students attend school physically on-site at Growing Minds for a minimum of 3 hours each day. Students can also elect to enroll in an online program.
  • All teachers at Options Charter Schools must be highly qualified to teach their assigned subject areas, grades 6-12, as well as show field experience in working with at-risk students. Applicants must be able to execute developed lesson plans based on the Indiana Academic Standards utilizing project-based instruction and authentic assessment of learning. He/she must be willing to work collaboratively with the other team members in the organization and, most importantly, must have a good heart and be willing to develop strong relationships with his/her students.
  • Interested applicants can email their resume & cover letter to Beth Hodges, Principal of Options @ Growing Minds.

 

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.

 

 

Small Groundbreaking Ceremony held for Options-Westfield

On Tuesday, July 28, a small ceremony was held to mark the groundbreaking of the Options-Westfield campus. In attendance were select members of the Options Executive Team, Options Founders, Options School Board, SA Berg Company, Axis Architecture and the City of Westfield.

One of three speakers at the event, Options President/CEO Dr. Mike Gustin spoke passionately about the project and shared the following words. “A new building for Options Schools has been a part of our plan since 2014. It’s not just a building, it’s trust that the parents know we will give their kids the very best & trust from the kids in the faculty. This project is all about fulfilling a promise of trust & hope.“

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 Shares Operational Plan

Operational Plan (PDF) | Community Data Report

Options Families & Staff,

As we approach the start of another school year, we have developed an Operational Plan that allows for adaptations to the number and how often students participate in-person versus virtually in order to be able to adapt as the situation changes regarding COVID-19. We are looking forward to beginning the fall semester on Wednesday, August 5 in Stage 4 of the Options Operational Plan.

As we continue to work together to get our students back in school safely, we ask that you continue to keep open lines of communication with us and help support and encourage your students to attend, in their selected platform, each day. Attendance is one of the most important components to ensure students are able to continue to learn and do not fall behind. Opening schools during a pandemic requires all of us to be flexible and considerate of each other, and please keep in mind that guidance from state and local authorities can change quickly in this environment.

Principals will be sending out additional information to families in the coming weeks on plans for Chromebook pick up, schedules, drop-off, arrival, and other program-specific protocols.

Parents/students have many choices within the Options programs. Please speak directly with your Principal to make any changes to your program option:

    • Brick and Mortar Campuses (Carmel, Noblesville, BACA and Growing Minds) will offer in person and remote options in their day programs. Carmel and Noblesville will continue to offer evening programing with both in person and remote options.
    • Options @ HYCA will continue to operate in person, on site at the Hoosier Youth ChalleNGe Academy and will serve all cadets choosing the high school credit option.
    • Options Indiana (Distance Education) will continue to provide virtual, alternative programing designed to best serve students that need to work on fewer classes at a time and at their own pace. This may be the best program for students/families needing an asynchronous option.

 

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.

 

 

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.