April 2020 News

Indiana Academy Graduation Information

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Academy Students and Parents:

Given the announcement by the Governor last week cancelling in-person classes for the rest of the school term, we sadly will need to cancel the in-person Indiana Academy Commencement Ceremony scheduled for May 23, 2020. These are unprecedented times and it would not be judicious of us to bring our students back to campus for our traditional ceremony. We were all hoping our Indiana Academy seniors and families would be able to celebrate with us at our May ceremony in Emens Auditorium, but our traditional way of celebrating our graduates is going to need to be different this year.

I realize this is just one more piece of disappointing news that you have received in recent weeks. Please know that we intend to celebrate our Class of 2020 seniors in the best way possible given the circumstance we are in with the COVID-19 virus. Our thoughts this far, are to hold a series of online graduation events. We could celebrate our seniors with two virtual ceremonies, the first on the evening of Friday, May 22, at 7 p.m. (our Academy Awards ceremony), and then an online graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 23 starting at 11:30 a.m. All would be prerecorded and released for collective viewing at these scheduled times.

We are also thinking that each senior can don their graduation regalia and take a picture or short video to send to us. The picture or video would be used in the ceremony and shown when your name is read. We would be asking the faculty and staff to do the same as they send messages of congratulations during the virtual graduation ceremony. There would still be presentations by Academy Seniors, a commencement speaker, and pomp and circumstance.

Those are our thoughts, but this is your graduation. Your input is vital to making these celebrations the best they can possibly be given our situation this year. We really want the graduation events to reflect your preferences, so we are asking for you to share your thoughts and ideas. We will be collecting your ideas via Mr. Raleigh (), and sharing them with the graduation committee. Since we will need some time to put it all together, please make sure to respond promptly by April 24th.

Other graduation actions that are already in progress:

  1. Karen Workman is collecting your baby pictures and senior pictures along with your quotes for Friday evening.
  2. Jostens will be sending your orders (announcements, cap and gown, medal, cords, etc.) to your home. (If you have questions about your order, please call Jostens at 317-326-2782)

Our hope is that sometime in late summer we might be able to invite you all to gather back at the Academy to celebrate you in person. If this is something you would be interested in attending please indicate so by using the email provided.

Thank you for your continued understanding and patience. Class of 2020, you are all a remarkable, accomplished, bright, kind, talented, and an outstanding group of human beings. Know that walking across a stage in May will not change that fact.


Dr. Vickie Barton, Executive Director

Question of Possible Changes in Graduation Requirements

Friday, April 3, 2020

Dear students, parents and guardians,

A few questions have come in regarding possible changes in graduation requirements for seniors. Below is part of the information sent to schools from State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Jennifer McCormick. Please read the comments in red boxes on how each statement affects the Academy seniors of 2020.

Communication from Dr. McCormick

In accordance with Section 13.B. of Executive Order 20-05, the undersigned hereby adopt the attached policy document in order to provide flexibility with respect to Indiana’s graduation requirements to schools and students for the 2020 graduation cohort.

  1. Has met all of the course and credit requirements for the specific diploma designation based on a combination of high school credits earned prior to and the courses in which a student was enrolled as of March 19, 2020, when the Governor issued the statewide school closure order; and
There are no changes. Academy Seniors will continue their progress in completing high school courses and credits towards their diploma.
  1. Meets any virtual or remote learning participation requirements established by the governing body of the local school corporation in response to the statewide school closure order issued by the Governor; and
There are no changes. Academy Seniors must complete the e-learning courses established by the statewide school closure order that are currently in progress.
  1. Meets any additional graduation requirements established by the governing body of the local school corporation pursuant to IC 20-32-4-1.5(3) prior to the school closure order issued by the Governor.
There are no changes. Academy Seniors must complete the Extended Curriculum requirements for Community Service, Academy Service and Wellness as modified and announced in recent e-mails from Mr. Douglas and Mr. Fetters.

Graduation Examination & Graduation Pathways
In addition to the flexibility granted to determine whether a student has met the course and credit requirements for the Core 40 diploma, Core 40 with Academic Honors, or Core 40 with Technical Honors, the following requirements have been waived for students in the 2020 graduation cohort:

  1. The successful completion of the graduation examination as required in IC 20-32-4-1.5(1); or
  2. A graduation waiver pursuant to IC 20-32-4-4 for students who do not achieve a passing score on the graduation examination.

Academy seniors have already completed the necessary Graduation Examination exam or Graduation Pathways requirements.

In Summary – the waivers announced yesterday do not change the graduation requirements or expectations for the Academy Seniors of 2020. They must complete the e-learning classes and the Extended Curriculum requirements already in progress.

Please contact Dr. Jeff Smith at if you have questions.

Indiana Academy Reimbursement

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Dear Indiana Academy Families:

In alignment with Ball State University’s announcement that reimbursement or credit for room and board for students who were directed to leave campus due to the COVID-19 virus will be distributed for those who left campus early, we will issue the same at the Indiana Academy. The amount of reimbursement or credit will be calculated as of Saturday, March 21, 2020 – the day parents were requested by Academy administration to pick up their student from the residence hall in response to President Mearns’ e-mail about the state of emergency.

In keeping with Ball State procedures, graduating seniors and juniors who will not return to the Academy in the fall will be issued reimbursements. Juniors who plan to return in the fall will be issued a credit for AY 2020-21, unless extenuating circumstances are presented. Reimbursements and credits will be calculated and issued on an individual basis for each student, based on what each family has already paid. We ask for your patience as the amounts are calculated by Ball State personnel. Should a reimbursement or credit be owed to you, we hope to issue it as soon as possible.

Please contact Cary Witter, Budget and Administrative Coordinator (; 765-285-7457) if you have any questions regarding the amount of your reimbursement or credit.


Dr. Vickie Barton
Executive Director

Update from the Office of Mental Health Services

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Office of Mental Health and Support Services continues to be a resource for Academy students, and we are attempting to do so through many avenues.

  • Please continue to visit the Self-Care resources page on the Academy website for support, and we will work to keep this updated with additional resources.
  • I am available to assist in identifying providers in your home area to connect with for counseling and mental health support.
  • The OMHSS will now have the option to provide telehealth to Academy students with consent from the legal guardian of the student (or a student age 18 or older). Below you will find information regarding what this entails and the process to begin telehealth.

Benefits and Risks of Telehealth
Telehealth refers to providing psychotherapy services remotely using telecommunications technologies, such as video conferencing or telephone. One of the benefits of telehealth is that the client and clinician can engage in services without being in the same physical location. This can be helpful in ensuring continuity of care if the client or clinician moves to a different location, takes an extended vacation, or is otherwise unable to continue to meet in person. It is also more convenient and takes less time. Telehealth, however, requires technical competence on both our parts to be helpful. Although there are benefits of telehealth, there are some differences between in-person psychotherapy and telehealth, as well as some risks. For example:

  • Risks to confidentiality. Because telehealth sessions take place outside of the therapist’s private office, there is potential for other people to overhear sessions if you are not in a private place during the session. On my end, I will take reasonable steps to ensure your privacy. But it is important for you to make sure you find a private place for our session where you will not be interrupted. It is also important for you to protect the privacy of our session on your cell phone or other device. You should participate in therapy only while in a room or area where other people are not present and cannot overhear the conversation.
  • Issues related to technology. There are many ways that technology issues might impact telehealth. For example, technology may stop working during a session, other people might be able to get access to our private conversation, or stored data could be accessed by unauthorized people or companies.
  • Crisis management and intervention. Usually, I will not engage in telehealth with clients who are currently in a crisis situation requiring high levels of support and intervention. Before engaging in telehealth, we will develop an emergency response plan to address potential crisis situations that may arise during the course of our telehealth work.
  • Efficacy. Most research shows that telehealth is about as effective as in-person psychotherapy. However, some therapists believe that something is lost by not being in the same room. For example, there is debate about a therapist’s ability to fully understand non-verbal information when working remotely.

If you are interested in beginning therapy or consultation via telehealth please follow these steps:

  1. Review this consent form, get appropriate signature, and return via email to .
  2. When sending the consent form, please include the following information for communication purposes if needed during telehealth: Student phone number and email and parent/guardian phone number and email.
  3. Once necessary paperwork is received, I will send an email with your scheduled appointment time. You will also receive an email with a link for the virtual appointment via WebEx. Please view link and make sure this will work for communication purposes. If unable to utilize WebEx, then a phone session can be completed.
  4. If telehealth is not clinically indicated for your need or your need could best be served through another resource, that information will be communicated to you and your family.

Please note that we want to continue to support all students and assist in meeting their needs. Please let me know if there are any questions. Feel free to contact me via phone at 765-285-5483 or email . I will be available to answer calls and schedule appointments M-F 8:00-5:00.

Dr. Mindy Wallpe

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 academy.bsu.edu/handbook/handbook-7/#nonacademic. 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