Did you know Options was first known as “The Matrix School?” Or that we were one of the first charter schools in the state of Indiana over 20 years ago?
Ever wonder how we got to where we are today? Options Schools are deeply involved in the history of providing alternative education programs to students in Hamilton County & central Indiana. Read on to learn more about how Options Schools got our start and the future of our learning programs.
Are you looking for alternative education for your student? Contact Options Schools in Noblesville & Westfield, IN, today!
Where We Began
Options Schools was one of the first five charter schools to open in the state – in 2001, the Charter School Law was passed in Indiana. In 2002, the first Options Schools campus opened in Carmel. Originally called “The Matrix Program,” the first class consisted of six students for the 1999-2000 school year and provided an alternative for students in need of something different. In 2006, the Noblesville campus opened, marking the second Options campus. By 2008, there were a total of 270 students attending Options Schools, across the two campuses.
Around 2014, Options began serving some students through the ACE (Alternative Curriculum Environment) Program. Created out of student needs, the ACE Program provided the educational flexibility necessary for those facing obstacles that limited their ability to attend school in person, five days each week. Those students unable to be in the classroom would learn through paper packets to provide a hybrid format to ensure obstacles would not keep any student from obtaining their education and working towards their high school diploma.
In 2016, Options leadership discussed the growing demand for a program that served students similar to ACE, but in a virtual format. Linda Cunningham was brought over from the Options Noblesville campus to oversee the new Distance Education program, now known as Options Indiana, and serving hundreds of students throughout Indiana.
Prior to launching an Options with ABA pilot program in partnership with BACA (Behavior Analysis Center for Autism) in November 2019, Options partnered with The Hope Source in 2016 to serve students, and the partnership marked the first place Options pushed into to provide education services on site, along with clinical care.
Following the opening of the brand new Options Westfield campus in July 2021 for grades 6-12, and with it the relocation of Options Carmel to Options Westfield, Options Noblesville transformed back to serving grades 9-12, and the Advanced Learning Center came to fruition as the ALC filled the end of campus occupied by the middle school since its founding in 2018.
As our campuses and team began to grow & Options leadership made local and statewide connections, so did the support for the mission and purpose of Options Schools. Along with having been Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) certified since our inception in 2002, Options eventually went on to receive accreditation from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and AdvancED. This national recognition continued to help solidify our approach to education and our support systems for students. For many years, Options was known and referred to as ‘the best-kept secret in Hamilton County.’
Our Dedicated Team
From the very beginning, staff members like Kevin Davis, Barb Maschino, and Debi Morris showed unparalleled commitment to our schools. When the recession hit in the early 2000s, Options Schools were in danger of losing funding. It was because of our teammates’ belief in the value of Options Schools and support from charter authorizer Ball State University and other supporters that we were able to continue serving students.
Though their roles have changed over time, our team’s commitment to serving students never waned, and this laid the groundwork for Options Schools and what it has become.
“Options has had the good fortune of working with some really great people over the last 20+ years, who have helped this organization and the reputation of this organization to skyrocket,” said Options Superintendent & President Dr. Mike Gustin.
Where We Are Today
As of today, Options Schools is proud to serve over 1,000 students throughout Indiana. Our team of employees has more than tripled in size, and “Options” has become a household name in the Hamilton County community & throughout central Indiana.
How did Options Schools get its name? According to Co-Founder Kevin Davis, “A group of us that started the school had talked through the fact that what we wanted to do was treat students individually. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all school, so we wanted to give students different ways to get from where they were to where they wanted to be. That is how we chose the name.”
During the 2021-22 school year, we opened our Advanced Learning Center, designed to provide additional advanced classes to our students. A physical space & a conceptual idea, the ALC provides students with access to Advanced Placement classes, college credit courses, dual credit courses, and more to students looking to get ahead in their education. Interested in learning more about the opportunities our ALC provides? Read our blog post!
Simon Youth Academy at Options Noblesville
Furthermore, we are proud to have recent partnerships with the Simon Youth Foundation to create Simon Youth Academy at Options Noblesville. This partnership will provide professional development, student scholarships, and a number of other opportunities that will expand the reach of Options Schools in Noblesville and throughout Indiana.
Through school organizational development and infrastructure build-out, we are working toward a future where our campus and virtual programs continue to benefit more students that are searching for an education built around their individual needs.
The Timeline of Options Schools
2001: Charter school law enacted in Indiana
2002: Options Charter Schools founded as one of the first five charter schools in the state of Indiana (campus in Carmel)
2006: Noblesville campus opens
2016: Distance Education program launches with four staff members (program now known as Options Indiana)
2018: Options Noblesville middle school opens
2019: Options with ABA program launches in Fishers
2021: Options Westfield opens new campus (relocated from Carmel and NMS relocated here)
2022: Partnership with Simon Youth Foundation and launch of ‘Simon Youth Academy at Options Noblesville’
Join the Options Family & Add to Our Proud History
At Options Schools, we are making history every day, and we want you to join us! We are proud to provide alternative learning options, expanding advanced curriculums, and professional development opportunities to students across central Indiana & throughout the state of Indiana.
If you are in or around central Noblesville or Westfield, IN, and are looking for the next step in your student’s educational journey, contact Options Schools today. We can’t wait to speak with you!