Virtual school honored for counseling program

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From left: Lauren Gross, Jessica Briones, Sonia Norman, Jennifer McClimon, Melissa Brown, Curt Oechsle, Brandon Currie, Angela Spoljaric and Jeniece Fleming celebrate INCA’s Indiana Gold Star School Counseling Award, which they also received from ASCA for its counseling program. (Submitted photo)

From left: Lauren Gross, Jessica Briones, Sonia Norman, Jennifer McClimon, Melissa Brown, Curt Oechsle, Brandon Currie, Angela Spoljaric and Jeniece Fleming celebrate INCA’s Indiana Gold Star School Counseling Award, which they also received from ASCA for its counseling program. (Submitted photo)

By Amanda Foust

Many students are turning to virtual schools as an alternative to the traditional classroom setting, and one local online program is proving that its offerings go beyond academics.

Indiana Connections Academy, which serves students in Carmel, recently became the only virtual school in the nation to be named a Recognized ASCA Model Program. The designation, presented by the American School Counselor Association, honors schools for top level counseling programs.

The Indianapolis-based school completed a rigorous application process to be considered for the award. Teachers, counselors, parents, students and others formed a steering committee to work toward qualification. INCA principal Melissa Brown said she is proud of the hard work and dedication put in by everyone involved.

“[The committee] met once a month compiling information,” Brown said. “We also did a lot of student surveys about how we were serving their needs. We then submitted a really comprehensive application.”

Committee members embraced the extensive application process because they felt the award was important to the school.

“We really felt like this was a distinction for us,” Brown said. “We certainly serve students’ needs academically, but we wanted to talk about how we support students in other ways, too.”

INCA, which serves students from kindergarten through 12th grade, focuses on each student as a whole through its counseling programs.

“The needs of students go outside the walls of a school,” said Brandon Currie, INCA director of counseling. “Each student needs an individualized plan of action for success.”

With an intentional focus on students’ overall well-being, INCA provides students with socio-emotional and career readiness support, college visit opportunities, social events and clubs such as National Honor Society and student council.

For more information on Indiana Connections Academy visit indianaconnectionsacademy.com.

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