March 2020 News

UPDATED: End-of-Semester News

Friday, March 27, 2020

UPDATE (3/27/2020):

If you are enrolled in a BSU class, be aware that the extension of the Academy’s semester to May 15th does NOT apply to your BSU class. These classes will follow the BSU end of semester completion dates and will likely finish by April 30th. Contact your BSU instructor if you have questions.

Original Communication

Dear Students and Parents,

We have heard from many students that they are stressed both physically and emotionally. They have had to return home weeks earlier than expected, separate from their friends and they are facing an uncertain future. Many have asked for a delay in school work to give them time to grieve and make adjustments.

One of the challenges in e-learning is finding the right pacing. Your instructors have been asked to be flexible during this time, but I know that many adjustments are taking place to find the most appropriate ways to deliver the e-learning courses.

To help balance these problems, I, in consultation with Dr. Barton, Dr. Marra, and Dr. Lowery, have decided to extend the semester past the original end date of May 1 to May 15th. The week of May 18-22 would be “Final Exams”, more likely a time to wrap up assignments, complete grading etc. The extension of the semester by two more weeks will allow additional flexibility in course pacing, create more time for review, perhaps generate time for a creative e-learning event or project, or just have an open day to get caught up.

I know that you will be disappointed to give up May Term, the time normally spent in special and unique classes. However, I believe that the move to extend the semester will offer greater flexibility and better serve the emotional and educational needs of the students.

Dr. Jeff Smith
Director of Academic Affairs

UPDATED: AP Updates for Schools Impacted by Coronavirus

Friday, March 27, 2020

UPDATE 3/27/20:

AP Students, you do not need to let me know if you want to cancel AP Exams.

Students who still want to take the 2020 AP Exams
Once College Board releases the two (2) exam dates, students will get instructions (from College Board) on how to take the exam. If students do not sign-on to take the exams, all other exams will automatically be cancelled at no charge.

I will continue to provide you updates as necessary. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me if you or your students have any questions.

Thank you.
Karen Workman

This Washington Post article has some more information.

Original Communication:

Dear Parents, Students, Faculty, and Staff,

NOTE: Any student already registered for an exam can choose to cancel at no charge. If a student no longer wants to take an AP exam please send me an email letting me know that you would like to cancel your AP Registration.

We understand that AP exams are not your first priority at this time. There are so many other matters which need your attention, so we will keep communication to the bare minimum.

We are committed to helping our students and will do our absolute best to ensure that we make that happen. We too are dealing with COVID-19, but are confident we will get through this together! Continue to take care of yourself and those around you. 😌

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. Thank you and stay safe.


Karen Workman
(765) 717-5225

Students who still plan on taking AP Exam(s) please continue reading.

Extended Curriculum Updates

Friday, March 27, 2020

Indiana Academy Students:

The recent closure of Wagoner Hall due to the ongoing COVID-19 disruption created unprecedented challenges for students attempting to complete Extended Curriculum requirements. The Office of Residential and Student Affairs is making the following adjustments for students currently enrolled at the Academy:


  • The Academy will not withhold the diploma of any eligible student in the Class of 2020 who is prevented from completing Extended Curriculum requirements by circumstances related to the hall closure and COVID-19.

Community Service and Academy Service

  • All students currently enrolled at the Academy will receive credit for one semester of Academy and Community Service (12.5 hours of Community Service and 7.5 hours of Academy Service). The Academy expects that students receiving these hours will earn them by being good citizens and community members during these challenging times.
  • Seniors who have completed extra Community Service hours above and beyond the required 50 may use those hours toward Academy Service Requirements.
  • Seniors who have completed extra Academy Service hours above and beyond the required 30 may use those hours toward Community Service Requirements.
  • The Office of Residential and Student Affairs will be flexible in our definitions of Academy Service and Community Service in light of current events.
  • Staff and faculty will be working to identify and develop opportunities for service hours that can be completed virtually or asynchronously to help seniors complete any remaining hours needed for graduation.


  • The SLC team is currently working to develop virtual/asynchronous programs and wellness opportunities. Over the next eight weeks, Academy students should expect to have more than 50 opportunities to earn wellness credits.
  • Residential students are expected to continue earning wellness credits toward graduation requirements.

For a refresher on the Academy’s extended curriculum requirements, please visit Reach out to your SLC if you need a reminder of your current totals.

Our goal is to ensure that every student in the Class of 2020 is able to complete graduation requirements. If additional flexibility is needed due to your individual situation, please reach out to Mr. Douglas or me.

Hope this finds all of you well!

Bridger L Fetters
Associate Director of Residential and Student Affairs

Updated Message Regarding Delaware County Disaster Emergency Declaration

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Last evening, the Delaware County Commissioners issued a Disaster Emergency Declaration. In this Declaration, the Commissioners ordered most businesses and services in Delaware County to close, with specific exceptions, several of which apply to Ball State University.

In light of the Declaration, the president of the university is asking all students who still remain in our residence hall to move out as soon as possible.

Our Student Life Counselors (SLCs) are calling all parents whose students still remain in the residence hall and asking you to come get students today (Saturday, March 21) or tomorrow (Sunday, March 22). If you were planning on returning to the residence hall to clean out your student’s room or retrieve your student’s items, please do not do so until further notice. If you have mitigating circumstances, please call 765-285-8125.

We will continue to provide instruction online through the remainder of the semester unless otherwise notified. Thank you so much for your cooperation and understanding!

Dr. Vickie Barton
Executive Director

Updated Information from the Office of Mental Health and Support Services

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Academy Students,

In this ever-changing situation, I wanted to let you know how to access me for support and share some resources with you. I will be available Monday – Friday from 8-5 with a break for lunch. As of right now, I can be reached via phone at 765-285-5483 or email . As per our policy, please only use email to set up a time to talk and if it is an emergency you can also call 911. You do not need to have a scheduled time to talk with me; you can also call just like you would walk down to the office. If I do not answer, possibly because I am on another call, please leave a voicemail with how to best reach you. I will not be able to receive or send text messages. Calls will focus on addressing students’ immediate mental health needs, rather than addressing long-term ongoing problems.

I am working with Ball State to be able to provide tele-therapy so that I can also be available through WebEx for video conferencing. When I am able to do this I will communicate how that process will work, what information is needed from your parent/guardian if you are under 18, and any potential limits of confidentiality with not being face-to-face.

I am sure we are all facing challenges in some way right now and doing our best to adapt to change while processing new information along with managing many emotions. Please take time to honor how you are feeling and find ways to get support for what works best for you. We have also created a new webpage for Self-Care Resources where you will find a variety of resources that might be helpful to you now or in the future. Please save this email for future use even if you do not need any of this information at the present time.

Please let me know how we can continue to support you.


Mindy Wallpe, Ph.D., HSPP
Assistant Director of Mental Health and Support Services

Message from the Director of Residential and Student Affairs

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear Indiana Academy Students and Families,

On Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Barton sent a letter to the Academy community indicating that Wagoner Hall would close on Sunday, March 29th in accordance with Ball State University’s response to COVID-19. Today we received additional information clarifying that Wagoner Hall will not reopen for the Spring Semester.

Everyone moving out between now and Sunday, March 29th at 6 p.m. should plan to move all belongings out of Wagoner Hall for the remainder of the Spring semester. For students and families who are already home, but left items in the building, we ask that you pick up the remaining items by March 29th at 6 p.m. If there are unique situations that would prevent you from retrieving these items, please contact Mr. Douglas (765-285-8127 or ) or Mr. Fetters (765-285-8123 or ).

Please continue to reach out with your questions and concerns.

Take care and be safe,

Paul Douglas
Director of Residential and Student Affairs

Letter from the Executive Director

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear Indiana Academy Parents and Students:

We know you have a lot of questions during this rapidly-changing situation, and we are committed to keeping you informed with updates as soon as we have information to share with you.

As you may already be aware, President Mearns sent out a letter last evening, March 16, to the Ball State community that outlined additional measures at the university including the closure of residence halls on March 29, 2020. In alignment with that response, the Indiana Academy’s Wagoner residence hall will close on Sunday, March 29 at 6 p.m. Students and families may begin moving out as soon as practicable to meet this deadline. Specific details about move-out including book returns will be communicated to you as soon as we have that information.

Students will continue with e-learning through Canvas that began on Monday, March 16. If students anticipate that they will not have online access after moving out, please communicate your situation to Dr. Dain Kavars (765-285-7461 or ).

At this time, the Office of Mental Health and Support Services is exploring ways to continue to support our students after move-out while still following guidelines and recommendations regarding COVID-19. We will communicate with you as soon as possible how the Office of Mental Health and Support Services will move forward with providing mental health support to our students and what that will look like in the coming days, weeks, and months. Our SLCs will also continue to be available as a resource for our students.

Again, we know that you likely have a lot of questions. As decisions are made and approved, we will communicate that information to you as quickly as possible. We are all dealing with unprecedented circumstances, and we appreciate your continued understanding and patience.

With gratitude,

Dr. Vickie Barton
Executive Director

Message from Burris Athletic Director

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Parents,

In keeping with Ball State guidance regarding response to COVID-19, all athletic events, including practices and awards ceremonies for winter and spring sports are cancelled. As a unit in Teachers College, this decision aligns with that made by Ball State University in compliance with the Mid-American Conference’s recent directive. We have the same responsibility for and commitment to assuring the safety and well-being of all student athletes at University Schools, as we do for Ball State University.

We will continue to monitor developments and as soon as there’s a possible change, we will be in touch. While to date, there has not been a single identified and confirmed case of COVID-19 on the Ball State campus, Burris, the Indiana Academy, and Muncie community, we want to be cautious. I appreciate your understanding. Please feel free to contact me with your questions.


Mr. Chad Wlodarek
Athletic Director
Burris Laboratory School & the Indiana Academy

E-Learning Announcement

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This message is to provide information regarding the switch to e-learning that will begin Monday, March 16 at the Indiana Academy. All course materials will be shared through Canvas for all Academy, Burris and Ball State University classes.

  1. Course delivery methods – Classes will be delivered in several different formats as announced by the instructor. These are:
    • Synchronous – Students should log-in at the class’s regular meeting time for instruction.
    • Asynchronous – The course will not meet at the class regular meeting time. Students can check Canvas anytime for their course materials and instruction.
    • Hybrid – Portions of the instruction will be synchronous and other parts asynchronous.
  2. Office Hours – Faculty have the option to work from their Academy offices or from home. Some will hold their previously announced office hours and others will arrange new times. Faculty are being asked to announce their office hours and availability. Please remember that all faculty can be contacted by e-mail. Direct contact by phone, using “Conferences” (video chat option in Canvas) or Skype can be arranged by request.
  3. Assessments – Will move to more formative assignments and fewer summative assignments. For example, students may be asked to complete frequent concept checks, short homework assignments, quizzes or participate in discussion threads. Fewer large traditional tests will occur because of exam security issues.
  4. Attendance – Since the course delivery methods will vary, attendance will be tracked through the completion of assignments. Students should submit work as announced in Canvas.
  5. Technology – We appreciate that internet and technology access will vary from student to student. Please contact the instructor immediately if access to course materials is problematic so that alternate methods can be identified.
  6. Pacing – Students should check Canvas frequently for new course materials and assignments.
  7. Keys to success – The keys to success in an e-learning environment are staying current with assignments and communication. Instructors will publish their materials on Canvas at different times and rates. Students must check Canvas regularly to stay current with the assignments. Problems (technology concerns, delays due to illness etc.) should be communicated with the instructor as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility as we move all courses to an e-learning environment. Having taught e-learning courses myself for many years, I know that this environment has its challenges, but can also be very educationally rewarding.

Please contact me at 765-285-4136 or if I can be of any assistance. For further updates on the COVID-19 and the Indiana Academy, please go to

Dr. Jeff Smith
Director of Academic Affairs

Letter from the Superintendent

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear Indiana Academy Parents,

Circumstances surrounding the novel COVID-19 virus are rapidly changing around the world. To date, there has not been a single identified and confirmed case of COVID-19 on the Ball State campus, Burris, the Indiana Academy, and Muncie community. However, in accordance with university guidelines outlined yesterday in a message from President Geoffrey Mearns, who is committed to continuing quality education while helping protect all members of our campus community, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, we will deliver all instruction online until further notice.

As the university is remaining open, although delivering instruction online, the Academy dorm will also remain open. Should you choose to pick up your student, please understand that there is no option for reimbursement. Students are expected to complete course expectations whether or not they remain in campus housing during this time.

Thank you for your understanding as we adapt to this new form of instruction.


Bob Marra
Superintendent of University Schools