“Teachers really help you out more,” Castellon said. “They’re more one on one.”
Toddrah Carter from Avon said she felt lost in her former high school.
“Basically all of the administrators are more hands on with students and they worry about each and every one of the students,” she said.
Teachers at Harris also laud the self-paced program.
Shara Davis, who taught at Ben Davis and Carmel before coming here, said appreciates getting to know her students on a one-on-one basis.
“You feel like you’re really making a difference with these students,” she said. “It makes them grow up pretty quick because a lot of them do work 20 to 40 hours a week. That’s why so many kids are here, so they can work. They have that maturity level and that’s why we have a trust in them. So many of these kids are their own adult or are a parent. It prepares them to manage their time and get their work done and then go to work as well.”
English teacher Peter Battistini added, “Our classrooms are smaller, so the students are getting a lot of attention. We know where their weaknesses are in terms of learning, and we can gear lessons and attention to them to bring that level of learning up.”
Joe Reagin, a science teacher at the school, said the academy more closely mirrors a college atmosphere than that of a high school.
“Most of the time you’re in college, you’re doing most of the work on your own outside of class,” he said. “You’re self directed and self paced. At a normal school that has 30 kids in class, you’re going at one speed and kids that are really fast sit there and waste their time because they’re waiting for the next thing and the kids that are really slow get behind and never get caught up. Here, students can work at the rate they’re comfortable with and achieve success and build on that. The self paced model really makes a lot of sense for kids. They can get credits in a shorter amount of time here by working at their rate, and that’s another thing that will help them in college to be self motivated.”