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Three school districts in Hamilton County collaborate to provide an alternative education program



Hamilton County, Indiana – Together, three school districts will assist each student in finishing. Northern Hamilton County Academy is an alternate environment for kids who might not graduate on their own and are in their first semester of operation.

Local superintendents stated that the initiative would not be feasible without collaboration amongst the school districts of Hamilton Heights, Sheridan, and Westfield.

“Our school corporations have worked well together for a long time,” Hamilton Heights Superintendent Derek Arrowood said. “‘Why don’t we just do one together?’

“We also love being Huskies, and we love being Blackhawks, and we love being Shamrocks. We like that individual opportunity too, but there are times when we can work together and do great things for kids.”

Students in high school may encounter a variety of personal difficulties. Perhaps a student has fallen behind on their credits, is absent from class, or makes bad choices. The Northern Hamilton County Academy’s goal is to lower the likelihood of teenage failure.

“Those kids are offered the choice to rather than be expelled from school, we’re going to offer you an alternative setting to finish out this semester so you can come back with credits,” Arrowood said.

Dave Mundy, the superintendent of Sheridan, came up with the concept, stating that the community needed this kind of school. They have eight pupils enrolled thus far.

“Considering we started a month ago, that’s fantastic,” Mundy said. “We’ve already had several successes coming out of the program as well. But we do believe it’ll continue to grow and we’re going to probably expand faster than we anticipated.”

Arrowood provided an example of a pupil who is making tremendous progress already.

“That kid, he’s a rock star,” Arrowood said. “He has started off with very few credits going into his senior year. There is hope now he may actually graduate on time because he’s coming to school almost every day.”

According to both Arrowood and Mundy, learning loss is a significant concern that has altered their approaches to teaching even though the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects aren’t the only ones.

“Is that the main driving point behind this? No, it’s not,” Mundy said. “But does it have other kids down there that are maybe down there because of loss they had during that time? Absolutely.”

Mundy stated that the program’s annual operating costs come to about $100,000. He went on to say that grants and a number of partners, including the County Council, provide funding for the initiative.


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