Options partners with Hoosier Youth ChalleNGe Academy


A new partnership between Options Schools and the Indiana National Guard Hoosier Youth ChalleNGe Academy is designed to steer at-risk students toward a path of achieving a high school diploma.

The organizations recently announced a partnership in which Options staff will educate the cadets at HYCA to keep them on track for a high school diploma instead of a GED.

HYCA enrolls students ages 16 to 18 in a 22-week residential program that mirrors military-style training. The cadets are identified as students struggling within their community, and the academy has philosophies to help the cadets navigate adult life.

“During that 22-week program at HYCA prior to our partnership, every student enrolled was being enrolled in the high school equivalency program to achieve a GED,” Options CEO and President Mike Gustin said. “So, they were struggling because this is a Dept. of Defense program, and a lot of the outcomes they were achieving with those students were not in alignment with the Dept. of Defense expectations.

“We are able to come alongside them and put those children back on track toward getting a high school diploma. It matched our school mission to be able to come alongside them and provide those 80 to 100 students per semester an opportunity to continue earning credits toward a high school diploma.”

At HYCA, students participate in early morning calisthenics and physical activities, followed by attending classes on the HYCA campus in Knightstown. Classes are taught by Options staff.

“One of the buildings is set aside for student education, so students come there,” Gustin said. “After they get done with their morning routine with the folks at HYCA, they’ll march them over in the morning when they would normally go to school, and we will take over and provide education like a normal educational day.”

When a student graduates from HYCA, Options works with either the public school the student came from or finds a charter school to continue the student’s education. The students also can continue education with Options, which has locations in Noblesville, Carmel and Fishers. A new building is under construction in Westfield.

In addition, Options works with kids with autism at a Fishers location. Options also has an online presence.

“We anticipate a percentage of those students being transitioned back to traditional public school, which is our hope, that once they get through HYCA, we can continue to keep them on track and transition them back,” Gustin said. “We are going to educate between 80 and 100 kids per semester, and in a full year, that’s 160 to 200 kids we get to redirect back into a diploma-earning track, which is huge for us.

“We are really excited for that opportunity.”

For more, visit optionsschools.org.


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