Options Charter School in Carmel is an alternative to the traditional, large-scale, comprehensive high school providing a unique, highly personalized educational opportunity for students in grades 9-12. Smaller class size, one-on-one student teacher relationships, and community partnerships provide students the opportunity to re-engage with life-long learning and become contributing members of society. Unique curricular opportunities include career field experiences, high-tech classroom environments, and the senior institute project, which challenges students to find a topic of interest to them, that benefits the community, that demonstrates prior learning, and gives them a chance to learn something new. A past project entitled Homeless City has become an annual event at Options Camel, where students continue to raise awareness about homelessness in Hamilton County through a variety of means including a homeless camp-out in a public place. Options Carmel is located in a two-story, 6,300 square foot space in a suburban office park building that is shared with a Sign a Rama company. The first floor is for administration, recreation, and a common area with decorated murals and plantings that personalize the space. The second floor contains the classrooms and labs, which are spacious and receive ample daylight and provide generous views onto mature trees and the surrounding neighborhoods. Serving approximately 156 students, the small school culture is reinforced by the color of classroom walls and individually hand-painted ceiling tiles throughout the building. This allows students to take ownership of the educational facility through personalization. Students and teachers are allowed great flexibility and autonomy within their classroom setting reinforced by an informal and personal teaching style. It is commonplace to see small groups of students working together with the teacher providing an over the shoulder supporting role. Classroom settings are differentiated in scale, shape, color, and spatial quality. Instead of traditional front-facing classroom layouts, students face one-another, allowing for effective interaction and encouraging support and respect of each other.
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