Stacie’s eLearning Update (March 26)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Options & Hamilton County Resources

As the latest news and information continues to be shared at OptionsSchools.org and Options’ Facebook Page, this page features answers to a couple of questions, along with resources for Options and Hamilton County families.

What is the current school schedule?

An update was provided on Monday, March 23, which included an updated schedule for Options students following Spring Break (March 30-April 10).

Social-Emotional, Mental Health & Other Support

Extended eLearning can be a stressful time for students, parents and staff members. Options Schools counselors, teachers, and other team members are committed to staying connected and will be available to provide social-emotional and basic needs support during this time. Email addresses for the entire Options team can be found here.

Cathy Cooley and Kristi Turner of Hamilton Professional Counseling are both available to provide students with the support they need. Cathy and Kristi can be contacted via email at cathycooley6@gmail.com & Kristi@HamiltonProfessionalCounseling.com.

Counselor Availability

Options Carmel – Melanie Terrell
Monday-Friday (9 AM-3 PM)
Office Cell: 317-660-5327
mterrell@optionsined.org

Options Noblesville – Toshie Kagosawa
Monday-Friday (9 AM-2 PM)
tkagosawa@optiosnined.org

Options Distance Education – Carrie Bennett
cbennett@optionsined.org

Options Distance Education – Adelina DeLagrange
adelagrange@optionsined.org

Options Distance Education-Angela Holmes
Monday-Friday (8 AM-4:30 PM)
aholmes@optionsined.org

Options Distance Education-Michael Rentfrow
Monday-Friday (12:30-3:30 PM)
mrentfrow@optionsined.org

 

Food Assistance

We appreciate the support from all of our incredible donors who have helped us provide food to local families during this time because without them this would not be possible.

Options will not be holding a drive-thru for food pick-up the week of April 6th. Food can still be picked up or delivered, but by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled by contacting Adam Barr via email at abarr@optionsined.org.

You can also go to the website pantrynet.org and type in your zip code to find your closest pantry.

Here are some resources for our Options and Hamilton County families while we are out of school:

White River Christian Church Food Pantry (Drive-thru)
1685 North 10th Street
Noblesville, IN 46060
Hours: Thursday, 1-6 PM

Grace Church Care Center (Drive-thru)
5504 146th Street
Noblesville, IN 46062
317-848-2722
Hours: Monday (6-7 PM), Tuesday (6-7 PM) and Wednesday (10 AM-11 PM)

St. Vincent De Paul (Drive-thru)
1391 Greenfield Ave.
Noblesville, IN 46060
317-773-7608
Hours: Wednesday (9 AM-1:45 PM and 6:30-8 PM) and Saturday (9-11:45 AM)

All you need is an ID showing you are a Hamilton County resident, such as a driver’s license.

 

 

 

 

Options Pantry makes immediate impact amidst school closures

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Pantry grows to provide additional benefits to those in need

In an effort to provide students with assistance beyond the scope of education, one Counselor at Options Schools began a pantry program that has grown immensely over a short period of time.

Started by Options-Noblesville Counselor Devin Hines, the Options Pantry began at the start of the 2018-19 school year, roughly 18 months ago.

With initial support from Grace Church, the pantry consisted of non-perishable items that were available to students and their families. When Hines left her role with Options in December 2018, the future of the pantry was up in the air before Instructional Assistant Elizabeth Essig volunteered to carry on the cause.

“It was such a positive thing for all of our students to have access to food and other items, if they ever needed them,” said Essig. “I didn’t want it to end and with my role, I have some time to assist, and I didn’t mind helping since the benefit was evident.”

Following overseeing the pantry through the end of the 2018-19 school year, Essig not only wanted to see the pantry continue, but grow.

After learning that the pantry would no longer receive assistance from Grace Church, Essig received a recommendation to reach out to the Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank. With help from Anita Hagen, Executive Director of Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank, the Options Pantry had secured the support it needed to increase its reach.

“I went with (Options-Noblesville Principal) Adam Barr to meet with Anita (Hagen) and discuss some possibilities,” said Essig. “Anita was really excited to talk about the pantry because of the uniqueness surrounding a school having its own pantry. She came in to look at the space we had, and things took off from there.”

By moving the pantry’s location to a room in the heart of campus, any interested students could easily access items they needed before or after the school day. Essig also saw an opportunity to increase the benefits of the pantry by expanding selection choices.

Having started with non-perishable foods, the pantry has since added perishable foods, hygiene products, gently used clothes, a book exchange and educational flyers on vaping, second-hand smoke and other important topics.

“There have been a number of supporters in addition to Anita and the rest of the Hamilton Country Harvest Food Bank team,” said Essig. “We receive a weekly donation of fresh produce and other perishable items from the White River Food Pantry through Options parent Sarah Reiff. I also was able to obtain monetary donations from a relative and through employee contributions to the Options In Education Foundation. We even have some students bringing in donations.”

If you are interested in making a contribution to the pantry, donations can include non-perishable foods, hygiene products, books, gently used clothes and monetary contributions to be used to purchase additional items. To learn more how to get involved, email Elizabeth Essig to help make an impact.

 

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.