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

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

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

Graduation Program (PDF) | Watch Graduation

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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.

 

Carmel Student of the Month – March

Pictured: Mercedes with her two younger sisters

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

Mercedes Schneider
(Options-Carmel)

Grade: 10th

When did you enroll at Options?
January 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Steve’s eLearning Update (March 27)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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.

Options Schools sets dates for 2020 Open House schedule

View Open House Schedule (PDF)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Students of the Month – Jan. 2020

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

 

Doug Raub
(Options-Carmel)

Grade: 12th

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nicolas Jones
(Options-Distance Education)

Grade: 11th
Hometown: Indianapolis

When did you enroll at Options?
September 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jillian Gale
(Options-Noblesville Middle School)

Grade: 7th

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Joey Kitko
(Options-Noblesville High School)

Grade: 11th

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

2020 #SchoolChoiceWeek Recap

Held every January, National #SchoolChoiceWeek shines a spotlight on effective education options for children

NSCW recognizes all K-12 options, including traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.

Started in 2011, NSCW is now the world’s largest annual celebration of opportunity in education. Over the past nine years, more than 131,000 NSCW events have been planned across the country and around the world.

NSCW is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical, independent public awareness effort. Therefore we are not associated with any legislative lobbying or advocacy. More information can be found at SchoolChoiceWeek.com.

 

Monday, Jan. 27

Tuesday, Jan. 28

Wednesday, Jan. 29

Thursday, Jan. 30

Friday, Jan. 31

 

 

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

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

 

Aaron Likens visits Options-Noblesville to spread autism awareness

An author, speaker, and Mental Health Champion, Aaron Likens spoke to a group of 50 students, teachers and guests at Options Schools’ Noblesville campus on Monday in an effort to raise the awareness and understanding of the autism spectrum.

The event came together with the assistance of Likens’ sister, Options-Noblesville English and middle school teacher Kimberly Massoud.

After being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was 20 years old, Likens wrote Finding Kansas: Living and Decoding Asperger’s Syndrome. He was named a 2012 Mental Health Champion of Missouri and dedicates his time to raising autism awareness.

15 months after his diagnosis, Likens began to write about not only the what of Asperger Syndrome but the why. One thing led to another and eventually he had a book written, Finding Kansas, and is now the Autism Ambassador for TouchPoint Autism Services. His mission in life is to raise the awareness AND understanding of the autism spectrum because there is hope only if parents, teachers, and society understands.

Following the event, Likens spoke about the day, his motivation & provided some great insight. Watch the full video here.

 

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

 

Paving the way with Senior Institute

Since Options Schools was founded in 2002, the Senior Institute program has been a strong fixture upon which the foundation of Options has been built.

Within that program, each graduating senior is required to complete a community service-based learning project that spans the entirety of their senior year and requires at least 30 hours of volunteer service. While the details of each student’s service project may differ, the impact of Senior Institute is a positive one for all students.

One great example of that impact can be found with Options-Noblesville senior Lainey Welch and how a volunteer opportunity has helped pave a career path. For many students, the biggest obstacle of the Senior Institute project comes with selecting an organization to pair with for their service.

“When I was thinking about my organization, I decided I wanted to work with Riverwalk Village (Senior Community) because my Aunt worked there for 17 years and I used to volunteer there when I was younger,” said Lainey. “I didn’t know much, but I did know that I wanted to volunteer there.”

Once Riverwalk was selected by Lainey and approved by her Senior institute teacher Angie Smith, Lainey’s project was officially underway as she began volunteering in mid-September. Lainey’s 30 community service hours were obtained through working with the Riverwalk Activities Director, where she assisted with activities that the residents participated in.

“After I started volunteering, I just fell in love with the people and wanted to keep doing it even after Senior Institute,” said Lainey. “I formed a strong, natural connection with residents and that just helped me grow in the position.”

Through hard work and dedication, Lainey was able to extend her stay at Riverwalk Village as she accepted a paid position as an Activities Assistant in mid-November. The stars seemed to align, with the Activities Assistant role having been vacant and Lainey having proven the ability to handle such a position. As an Activities Assistant, she takes part in activities with residents, distributes mail, socializes with residents and assists with other tasks as needed. Lainey has hit the ground running in her new position, but Lainey wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I really enjoy it,” said Lainey. “I just love seeing the residents happy and I enjoy doing what I can to make them genuinely happy. I work six days a week and I’m not full-time, but I definitely have a busy schedule.”

While the Senior Institute project has already benefitted Lainey greatly, it isn’t exactly the result she had expected when the school year began in August.

“I never thought about a career like this before,” said Lainey. “I wanted to be a Biology teacher, but now I definitely think I want to be in Social Services, maybe even something with Psychology or getting by CNA license so I can work as a Certified Nursing Assistant.”

What other benefits does Lainey see from the Senior Institute project as she now works towards the presentation portion?

“It just has opened me up to so many different people in different cultures and just having a different sense of what other people might think,” said Lainey. “I feel that I am so much kinder because I have gained a new point of view on things and the residents give me a sense of hope that I can be my most genuine happy self.”

With Lainey set to graduate from Options in May 2020, she is now shaping her future plans around her role at Riverwalk as an Activities Assistant as she plans to continue in her position after graduation while attending Ivy Tech, before eventually transferring to Ball State University.

 

In order to continue our efforts of serving students in search of a different approach to education, Options will be hosting a pair of Open Houses in January. The Carmel campus will host an Open House on Tuesday, January 14 and the Noblesville event will be held on Wednesday, January 15. Each Open House will begin at 5 p.m. and conclude at 7 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the respective campus and speak in detail with Options Principals, teachers and other team members in order to learn more about the Options experience.

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 & another campus coming to Westfield. Options also offers a Distance Education program that serves students throughout Indiana. Providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1. With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002.

 

Pen Pal Across The Pond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what would a true cultural experience without tea?

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

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

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

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

Students of the Month – Oct. 2019

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

 

Riley Tynan
(Options-Carmel)

Grade: 11th 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Chloe Keeling
(Options-Distance Education)

Grade: 10th
Hometown: North Salem, Indiana 

When did you enroll at Options?
January 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bella Ott
(Options-Noblesville Middle School)

Grade: 8th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Leah Beach
(Options-Noblesville High School)

Grade: 12th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Next Up: November

I know people say this all the time, but it is just wild how the first three months of the school year have flown by, and the holiday season will be here in a matter of weeks! With Fall Break now in the past, we are looking forward to seeing everyone finish the semester and 2019 calendar year on a high note. Our annual Halloween Party will take place Thursday afternoon, so the students and staff are all excited to get in the spirit.

Yesterday, our Senior Institue students that have already committed 15 hours of community service towards their organization took a trip to Muncie for a visit to the Planetarium at Ball State University.

Please take note of some important upcoming dates:

  • October 31: Halloween (festivities from 1 PM-3 PM)
  • November 5: Picture retakes
  • November 6: Full E-Learning Day 
  • November 27-29: Thanksgiving Break

We still have seats available at Options-Noblesville for anyone who could benefit from smaller class sizes and a more individualized approach. Anyone interested in learning more about Options or scheduling a tour can reach me via email at abarr@optionsined.org.

Enjoy your week & make it great!

– Adam –

Hello All & Hello Fall!

Hello Fall!

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

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

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

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

Have a great end of October!

— Dunagan