July 2020 News

2020-21 Indiana Academy Return to School Plan & Guidelines

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Indiana Academy Students and Families:

At the bottom of this message you will find a link to the Indiana Academy’s return to school plan and guidelines for the 2020-21 school year. Please read through and familiarize yourself with the important information in this document.

More information regarding Welcome Week and our official move-in schedule is forthcoming, and you will be receiving an email soon with further details. We anticipate and respect that some families may want their residential student in a single room. The deadline for a single room request is Tuesday, July 21. To request a single room assignment, please email both Bridger Fetters at and Paul Douglas at .

If you have questions or concerns after reading through the document, here is a listing of areas to contact for further guidance and information:

  • Academics – Dr. Jeff Smith, Director of Academic Affairs –
  • IEP and 504 Plans – Dr. Dain Kavars, Interim Executive Director –
  • Student Life – Paul Douglas, Director of Residential and Student Affairs – and Bridger Fetters, Associate Director of Residential and Student Affairs –
  • Athletics – Chad Wlodarek, Athletic Director –
  • Financial Aid and Billing – Cary Witter, Budget and Administrative Coordinator –
  • Any other questions? Please contact Dr. Dain Kavas, Interim Executive Director –

As a reminder, we also continue to post updates regarding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic on our website at academy.bsu.edu/covid19.

I hope you continue to have a safe and enjoyable summer, and we look forward to seeing you in August!

Dain Kavars
Interim Executive Director
Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Download the Return to School Plan document

Important Information for the Indiana Academy Community

Monday, June 29, 2020

Dear Indiana Academy Families and Community Members,

We hope you are enjoying these early weeks of Summer and have found a way to wind down and relax, while staying safe and healthy. It certainly was an unprecedented end to the 2019–2020 school year, but we are grateful for the way our students, parents, faculty, and staff came together to make the best of a very difficult situation.

First and foremost, the health of our community is our primary concern. We have established a team working on a reopening plan that details protocols for academic instruction in classrooms and online, safety protocols in classrooms, teacher meetings, residential rooms, lounges, transportation, dining, move-in procedures, etc. The team comprises IA administration, faculty, community members, and health and safety experts, in addition to key personnel from Ball State, including specialists and supervisors from the public health, custodial, and dining services departments. These protocols will be coordinated with Ball State University.

As the country continues to weather the challenges presented by COVID-19, we know you have questions regarding how the health crisis will impact the new school year. While there are still a number of uncertainties, we wanted to share as much information as we can at this point.

Ball State University has recently changed its Fall 2020 academic calendar in response to COVID-19, and the Indiana Academy will be aligned to it. Therefore, the following calendar changes will go into effect for the Fall 2020 term:

  • Monday, September 7, and Tuesday, September 8, will be in-class instruction days, and the residence hall will not close for the Labor Day weekend.
  • Monday, October 5, and Tuesday, October 6, will be in-class instruction days, and the residence hall will not close for the weekend.
  • The residence hall will close at the end of the day on Friday, November 20, for the remainder of the semester and reopen in January for the start of the Spring semester.
  • The remaining Fall semester instruction days after Thanksgiving will move to an e-learning format. The last day of e-learning instruction will be Monday, December 14, four days earlier than the original calendar.

These changes remove the extended weekends in September and October. We understand the new calendar adds a long time for students and families to go without an extended break. For families who already have vacation plans these weekends and for students and families who need a break, please know that our school will strive to be flexible.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we will continue to keep you updated via emails and posting updates to our website at academy.bsu.edu/covid19 as we have more information available.

As ever, we thank you for your continued support and engagement.

Dain Kavars
Interim Executive Director
Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Important Message from Indiana Academy Leadership Team

Friday, June 5, 2020

Dear Indiana Academy Community:

We are appalled by the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. George Floyd is one more life lost to violence against Black people. We are broken-hearted for the families who have lost loved ones to racial violence.

The Indiana Academy’s mission statement reads “we are committed to creating innovative programs and practices that attract, retain, and nurture a diverse community and foster an environment that enables all who contribute to excel in a diverse culture.” We cannot hold to that mission while remaining silent on the senseless killing of Black people.

The Indiana Academy stands in solidarity with the Black community and we want them to know that we support them and stand with them. We condemn all actions of violence, discrimination, and hatred. Every individual at the Indiana Academy must take a stand against racial discrimination and violence.

We understand racial discrimination, violence, hatred, social injustice, and killing will have a deep impact on students, families, faculty, and staff. There will be increased anxiety, stress, trauma, and vulnerabilities. We are currently working to set up safe (and brave) spaces for students, families, and employees to share with and learn from each other. We need to listen to the experiences, concerns, and ideas of our community as we seek to be better. These will start in the form of discussion groups/forums on campus when classes resume in August and virtual groups/forums before the start of classes. Additional programming and support opportunities will be put in place throughout the school year.

As we move forward, the Indiana Academy continues to be committed to ensuring that everyone in our community is safe and welcome. To do so we must all stand up against injustice, support each other, and open our hearts and minds to differences to create an Indiana Academy, nation, and world that is inclusive to all.

Dain Kavars
Interim Executive Director

Vickie Barton
Executive Director (Retiring)

Jeff Smith
Director of Academic Affairs

Julie Tuttle Davis
Director of External Affairs

Paul Douglas
Director of Residential and Student Affairs

Bridger Fetters
Associate Director of Residential and Student Affairs

2020 Senior Recognition Night

Friday, May 22, 2020

For anyone who may have missed our live stream of the 2020 Senior Recognition Night, or for anyone who just wants to watch it again, we’re posting it here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!


Academy Interim Executive Director

Thursday, May 21, 2020

An email went out earlier today from Dr. Kendra Lowery, Assistant Dean, announcing that Dr. Dain Kavars will be the Interim Executive Director, effective July 1, 2020, for the 2020-2021 academic year. Vickie Barton, who has been at the Academy since its beginning, is retiring on June 30.

Here is a brief message from Dr. Kavars:

Putting “Vickie Barton” and “retiring” in the same sentence is still hard for me to believe. There has never been an Indiana Academy without her! As I prepare to step into this position, I know I have some huge shoes to fill. I cannot overstate Vickie’s contributions to the Academy. On a personal level, I greatly valued her guidance and advice, and I am still having a hard time picturing the Academy without her walking the halls. She’s not leaving the Muncie area, so she knows that I expect her to make an appearance now and then!

Although I have met many of you, I have not had the opportunity to meet everyone, so let me provide a brief introduction. I started at the Academy in Fall 2006 as a full-time teacher, teaching physics and astronomy courses. I moved into my current role, Associate Director of Academic Affairs, in Fall 2015, no longer teaching physics, but continuing to teach astronomy. Each year seems like a dream, to be able to work at a school as wonderful as the Indiana Academy. Working with the amazing faculty and staff, and having the opportunity to work with gifted students every day is a dream come true.

I am very excited to move into this new role. COVID-19 brings many unknowns and challenges to the Academy in the coming year. At the same time, every new challenge is a new opportunity for the Academy. I know you likely have many questions. More information will come in the weeks ahead. I will be working very closely with Vickie, as well as our Superintendent and Assistant Dean, to transition and hit the ground running on July 1.

Dain Kavars
Associate Director of Academic Affairs
Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities

Dr. Lowery’s Message:

Dear Indiana Academy Community:

On behalf of the Indiana Academy Interim Executive Director Search Committee, I am pleased to announce that Dain Kavars has accepted our offer to serve as the Interim Executive Director for the 2020-2021 school year. He will start his role on July 1, 2020.

We are confident that Dain will be successful as he leads the Academy through a year of challenges due to COVID-19, while continuing to uphold the mission and further the goals of the Academy. Congratulations, Dain!

Kendra Lowery, PhD [she/her/hers]
Assistant Dean for School Engagement
Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership
Teachers College Room 1011
Ball State University | (765) 285-8618

We Miss You!

Monday, May 18, 2020

We’re just going to leave this right here.

UPDATE – Graduation Information

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dear Class of 2020,

Thank you for participating in our graduation survey. We received 165 responses (parents were asked to respond as well). From your replies, it is clear that you want an in-person graduation ceremony no matter when it may be. To this end, we are hoping for an on-campus graduation ceremony for you sometime this fall.

There are challenges and many potential unknowns about the fall, including how dissimilar it may need to be from the traditional Academy ceremonies in the past.

  • The governor may still call for restrictions for large groups.
  • Ball State may still restrict large group gatherings on campus.
  • COVID-19 infections could still be increasing.
  • Some of our 2020 graduates will not be able to attend on that date due to college, distance, or other plans.
  • We may have to limit the number of individuals who can attend.
  • It may need to be outside and could be impacted by inclement weather.

If we are not able to hold graduation in the fall, perhaps for some of the above reasons, we hope to plan one for early next year. And if for any reason neither of those times are possible, we will find another date!

If you think there is a possibility that you will not be able to attend the graduation ceremonies, we would like you to send in a picture of yourself in your graduation garb, wearing your medals, stoles, and cords. Those photos will be shown when your name is read at the ceremony. You can send them to Mr. Raleigh at .

Additionally, we are still planning on having our Senior recognition night on Friday May 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm. This program will be on-line and possibly live streamed.

Karen Workman’s video of your baby pictures, graduation pictures, and your quotes will be shown, as faculty read the clubs and activities you have been a part of while in high school. Scholarships will be announced and there will be a surprise video at the end. We will give you more information on how to view the evening program as the time gets closer.

We are working to give you an in-person graduation if it is at all within our prerogative, hopefully sooner than later. You definitely deserve one!

Dr. Vickie Barton

2020 National Latin Exam Results

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The results are in from the National Latin Exam, and congratulations are due to the students below for their achievements:

Latin 1
Emma Leedy
Cum Laude distinction
Eric BlacklidgeCum Laude distinction

Latin 3
Natalie Williams
Maxima Cum Laude distinction
Meredith FairmanMagna Cum Laude distinction

This exam was taken by Latin students across the entire country. While everyone at the Academy who took the exam did well, receiving a mark of distinction means that compared to peers across the country these students have excelled. It is important to note that Natalie Williams and Meredith Fairman are second year Latin students, but take the Latin 3 (as opposed to Latin 2) exam because the Academy operates under an accelerated curriculum/dual credit. This means that they have received distinction in a year beyond where they would typically be expected to be.

Congratulations to all who took the exam! Our Latin students are truly extraordinary!

2020 Academic Super Bowl Results

Monday, May 4, 2020

This year’s Academic Super Bowl was held online on an individual basis, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP) stated, “We are happy to announce that we have posted the awards for the Senior Individual 2020 Academic Super Bowl on our website iasp.org/students/academic-super-bowl. We had 1,426 individual responses on the senior level. The top 15 percent of our scores will be recognized for first, second, and third place awards.”

With the challenges brought on by the e-learning environment, most of our students opted to not participate because of their heavy workloads. Here are our results:

In Math, Wenhan Tang and Shivali Singreddy participated and scored within the top 35%.
In Interdisciplinary, Derek Park participated and scored within the top 26%.
In Social Studies, Derek Park scored in the top 8%, and earned a second-place ribbon!
In English: Jalyn Upshaw scored in the top 8%, and earned a second-place ribbon!

Congratulations to all of the Academy participants!

Teaching During a Pandemic – a Century Ago by Mr. John Marsh

Monday, April 27, 2020

Frances and Charles Marsh stand side by side in the center in front of their business in 1935 in Muncie.

A recent article written by Social Studies instructor Mr. John Marsh, “Teaching During a Pandemic – a Century Ago,” has been published on the home page of History News Network. HNN is perhaps the biggest professional history journal online with 1.5 million page views per month.

Read the article on the History News Network website.

A different version of the article with more Muncie-specific information and a photo of Mr. Marsh’s grandparents’ business was published a few weeks ago in the Muncie Journal, and was picked up by Google News and Newsbreak, also reaching a national audience.

Read the Muncie Journal version of the article.