Warrior Academy gets approval from state
The Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation is celebrating not only the initial success of the Warrior Academy but also the announcement that it has been approved by the state.
The corporation has been working the last several months on establishing funding for the Warrior Academy including undergoing an on-site visit and meeting all the requirements for the Indiana Department of Education’s (DOE) Alternative.
“This is a huge step because the board took a leap of faith with us last spring and this is important,” superintendent Dan Foster said of the school board. “You basically have to have the program up and running for the DOE to come and visit the program before you can get full approval. That took a commitment by the board to say ‘we think this is important that even if we don’t get some extra state dollars we think this is something that we should do for our kids.’”
Karen Butler is currently teaching about 16 students. Of the 16 students, the majority are sophomores with a few seniors.
The idea of the academy is to offer students, who don’t schedule in a regular classroom setting, an alternative. Students will not only advance academically but also prepare them with a plan for the future.
Foster said the corporation has a standard of excellence they want to achieve that includes 100-percent passing rate and a 100-percent graduation rate.
“Despite doing very well, we felt like we were missing the boat on some things. We wanted to reach out and catch those students before we lost them,” Foster said.
Students learn with online courses and must pass with 80 percent or better before they can move forward. Coursework can be completed at home but testing must be completed at the school.
Although it is not the typical classroom setting, students sign a contract and are held accountable for their actions. If a student has three unexcused absences, they are no longer a part of the program.
“Graduating is definitely the biggest part of this and the second is graduating on time,” Foster said. “If they don’t graduate in four years or less then they count against your graduation rate, even if they graduate that fifth year.”
The full approval means the program is eligible for two-thirds of costs to be funded by the state. Foster said they are still learning how the funding works.
Foster thanked Butler for the amount of work she has put into the program. Not only teaching the students but ensuring all the proper paperwork was available for the state.
“It’s a great program and we are very excited,” Foster said.
The corporation will need to request approval for the program to continue next year. Foster anticipates the program to continue similar as it is this year for next year. It could expand to include high-ability courses.