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.

 

COVID-19 Community Report

 

As of August 31

Number of Staff Members who were quarantined Number of Staff Members who tested positive for COVID-19 Number of Students who were quarantined Number of Students who tested positive for COVID-19
Options-Noblesville  0 0 2 1
Options-Carmel  0 0 0 0
Options Indiana  0 0 0 0
Options @ BACA  0 0 0 0
Options @ Growing Minds  0 0 0 0
Options @ HYCA  0 0 0 0

NOTE: Data from the week prior (August 31-Sept. 6)

 

As of August 24

Number of Staff Members who were quarantined Number of Staff Members who tested positive for COVID-19 Number of Students who were quarantined Number of Students who tested positive for COVID-19
Options-Noblesville  4 0 1 0
Options-Carmel  1 0 4 0
Options Indiana  0 0 0 0
Options @ BACA  0 0 0 0
Options @ Growing Minds  0 0 0 0
Options @ HYCA  0 0 0 0

NOTE: Data from the week prior (August 24-30)

 

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.

 

New Principals & Exciting News for Options @ BACA

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

2020 Options Commencement Ceremony

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


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


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

 

 

Student Spotlight – April 29

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

April 14 Update For Student & Parents

Parents and Students,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Point of Contact by Program:

 

Quick Guide Calendar

March 30 – April 10 — Spring Break – No School

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

May 1 — End of Semester 2

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

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

August 5 — First Day for Students, Fall 2020

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Steve’s eLearning Update (March 27)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Stacie’s eLearning Update (March 26)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Options Pantry makes immediate impact amidst school closures

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Options Schools Postpones Events For COVID-19 Precautions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dunagan’s Principal Blog (March 2020)

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

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

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

Important Dates:

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

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

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