Hope Academy


February Board Meeting

Thursday, February 22 2024

7:30am - 9:00am EST

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  1. Open Items
    7:30 am EST
    1. Call the meeting to order
    2. Record Attendance and Guests
  2. Public Comment
    1. Open Comment Period
  3. Finance
    20 mins
    Jennifer McVey profile image
    7:30 am
    1. Finance Committee Report
      1. By June 30, 2024 the board will approve a balanced and fiscally sound budget that aligns with the school program needs for SY 24-25. "
      2. Audit Update
        Jennifer McVey profile image
    2. Collaborations/Concerns
  4. Goals Update
    5 mins
    Rachelle Gardner profile image
    7:50 am
  5. Academic and Recovery Excellence
    20 mins
    Rachelle Gardner profile image
    7:55 am
    1. Academic and Recovery Committee Goal: Achieve at least 60% retention rate of eligible students by June 2024. "
    2. School Report
      1. Enrollment/Enroll Indy Update
      2. Professional Development
      3. Formative Assessments
    3. Data/Goals Update
      1. School Data Dashboard
    4. Collaboration/Concern
  6. Marketing Committee
    15 mins
    Angie Tomlin profile image
    8:15 am
    1. Marketing Committee Goal: To achieve enrollment targets of 38 students in October of 2023 and 41 students in February of 2024.
    2. Marketing Committee Report
      1. Marketing/PR Update
    3. Collaborations/Concerns
  7. Development Committee
    10 mins
    Colleen Kenney profile image
    8:30 am
    1. Development Committee Goal: Hope Academy will raise $710,000 in FY '23-'24.
    2. Development Committee Update
      1. Direct Mail Update
    3. Collaborations/Concerns
  8. Governance Committee
    10 mins
    Amy Levander profile image
    8:40 am
    1. Governance Committee Goal: Provide oversight, input, support, and direction to the strategic plan for sustainabilty for the next phase of Hope Academy's growth.
    2. Legislative Update
      1. Collaboration/Concern
  9. Executive Director Report
    10 mins
    Rachelle Gardner profile image
    8:50 am
    1. Strategic Plan Update
    2. Staffing Update
    3. Partnership Updates
    4. Facilities Update

Minutes Tab

Hope Academy
org logo

February Board Meeting

Thu Feb 22, 2024 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM UTC

Open Items

Call the meeting to order

Janine Shopp called the meeting to order at 7:33am.

Record Attendance and Guests

Present: Angela Tomlin, Colleen Kenney, Janine Shopp, Jennifer McVey, Marissa Manlove, Phyllis Usher

Remote: Amy Levander, Leah Mannweiler, Victoria Wilburn
Absent: Darren Craig, Eric Afuseh, Janice Gabe, Marlon Llewellyn

Staff Present: Rachelle Gardner, Linda Gagyi, Deb Leser, Erin Mooney, Jon Shapiro
Guests: Brian Anderson

Approve the Minutes

Angela Tomlin motioned to approve the December 14, 2023 Hope Academy Board Meeting minutes. Marissa Manlove seconded.


Member Votes Yes (9)

Amy Levander, Phyllis Land Usher, Leah Mannweiler, Marissa Manlove, Victoria Wilburn, Colleen Kenney, Janine Shopp, Angie Tomlin, Jennifer McVey

Public Comment

Open Comment Period

No members of the public present. 


Finance Committee Report

By June 30, 2024 the board will approve a balanced and fiscally sound budget that aligns with the school program needs for SY 24-25.

December Financials

Brian Anderson reviewed the current financials, specifically the Budget vs Actual Summary. Looking at revenue we are ahead of budget, largely due to development and also being close on enrollment. Total expenditures are a little behind budget. Our ending cash balance in December was $330k. Our cash balance dropped a little in January, however thanks to Amy Levander, we have finally received the second payment of our Alt Ed funding. 

ALT Ed Funding

Amy Levander wants us to engage with the Department of Education to take a pulse on if they have concerns if the allocation will change with Hope if we continue to see a rise in ADA (in case they want to reduce or cap). As we talk with legislators Deb believes we need to clarify that we are an in-person school vs virtual, and that is why we need the full funding. In the future the Finance Commitee will review the form the DOE requires for Alt Ed funding, prior to it being sent to the DOE. 

Rachelle is going to put together a document showing where other recovery schools are getting their state funding from, so that we can look at national data of what is happening so that we can have an idea of how else to get funding other than relying on the Alt Ed funding.   

Audit Update

Jennifer McVey gave an update on the audit. From the Finance Committee perspective, the Audit was expected to be completed in November, with Jane providing updates over the past few months that it was being worked on and was moving along. A few weeks ago, while Jane was on vacation, Rachelle intercepted a call from the audit team and discovered that the audit had not been started yet. The State Board of Accounts requires that the audit be completed by the end of the year. Any extension required has to be submitted to the State Board of Accounts by the end of November. Since that phone call Brian and his team have been working hard to get us moving quickly and the State Board of Accounts has given us an extension to the end of February. The draft will be given to the finance committee in March. 

Rachelle added that the process will be different with the next audit as Jane is retiring in June. With Jane's retirement Brian and his team will take the lead on the audit and we are hiring a part time bookkeeper/accountant to handle payables and payroll with the remainder of Jane's duties transitioned to Kristen. With Brian's help we are also doing an RFP for audit teams. 

Janine suggested that a specific goal be added in regard to the audit, possibly that the finance committee review the audit in October or November each year, prior to when it's due in December. 

Goals Update

23-24 Goal Tracker

Each committees' goals were shared with the board, with each committee briefing on their specific goals throughout the meeting.

Academic and Recovery Excellence

Academic and Recovery Committee Goal: Achieve at least 60% retention rate of eligible students by June 2024. 

School Report

Enrollment/Enroll Indy Update

Deb Leser gave a brief overview of where we currently stand. We have 40 students today, with 41 likely by the end of the day and 3 new student interviews scheduled over the next week. Unfortunately, four students were expelled yesterday, but they are technically "suspended 10 days, pending expulsion", so they are included in the current enrollment number. Expelled students stay ours until they enroll in a new school and will also be included in our graduation rate cohort.

Professional Development

Tomorrow is an asynchronous e-learning day, so staff will be doing a trauma informed training with Erin Flick, our in-house therapist. Johnna Belkiewitz, our Occupational Therapist, previously held one of our professional developments and will be doing a second one the week of March 1st. 

We are continuing to work on science of reading and have been looking at data and technology in the classroom. 

Formative Assessments

ASVAB will be given on March 1st.  The SAT will tentatively be given to the Junior class on March 6th. 

Data/Goals Update

Academic Dashboard

We are starting transition meetings in March & April meetings in April. Last year we had 100 percent participation and hope to hit that goal this year too. We had a Parent Meeting last week to go over graduation pathways. We also had a senior parent meeting at the end of December. 

School Data Dashboard

Boys are still outpacing girls, and we are more diverse than in the past. Marion county continues to grow as largest geographic base of students. The percent of special Ed has stayed steady but may rise with a new student we interviewed yesterday. Attendance is + 90 percent. Free and Reduced lunch has increased greatly and we're nearing the 50 percent mark. Grade distribution is typical to what we usually see in the second semester. Recovery grade is supposed to be 80 percent passing and we're at 94 percent. As we get closer to senior year the number of students on track to graduate significantly increases. We currently have only one freshman in the building who is on track. The board packet shows that ADA is 60, but we're actually at 64 as the document was completed for the development committee last month. The spring number on the document in the packet also shows the spring goal of 44 and should have said 42.

Graduation Pathways

Rachelle and Deb have had to put a lot of thought into finding a pathway that fits our students since the ASVAB is no longer an option after this graduating class.  The state is looking for students to be enrolled, enlisted or employed. Students will need to meet their credit requirements; be employable (which we do by Capstone project); and have post-secondary ready competency, which is that we have mostly been working on. One of those ways to complete post-secondary competency is via an Academic or Technical Honors Diplomas, which is not possible for Hope. The other option is to complete the post-secondary competency requirement are passable ACT scores, SAT scores of at least 480 in English and 530 in Math, ASVAB testing with a form confirming you plan to enlist, a CTE Concentrator (career centered piece, an industry certification which we, AP/IP/Dual Credit/CLEP exam, an Industry Certification or a Locally Created Pathway. 

For the CTE Concentration we have looked at Community Health Worker Certification. We are working with Gina Woodward with DMHA to get the funding to pay for our students to get the certification which is $1,200. 
Hope will also be applying for a Locally Created Pathway called the "Open Doors Pathway" with the goal to have students sober and workforce ready. Every student will be required to take a personal finance course and a college career course. Our goal is to work with WorkOne. We are also working on a Sponsor/Mentor component. Two years of Recovery and Wellness curriculum will also be used. If our students come in later in junior year/senior year, we are requiring GPS and community recovery activity hours to get that credit. 

We are going to look at each student individually to determine which pathway fits their individual needs best. Our goal is to try to have students on one of the 9 available pathways before opting for the locally created pathway. . 
The application for the Locally Created Pathway is due March 1st.


Dr. Carlotta Cooprider will be joining the Academic and Recovery Committee as the Committee Chair. 

Marketing Committee

Marketing Committee Goal: To achieve enrollment targets of 38 students in October of 2023 and 41 students in February of 2024.

Marketing Committee Report

Marketing/PR Update

Erin Mooney gave a quick overview. The target areas are still the same. We are getting some traction with probation and have a meeting in March with the deputy probation officers in Marion County.  Erin and Jon attended the opioid settlement breakfast recently and Rachelle and Erin will be visiting Henry County Probation next week. 

Inquiry leads that come in through the website have been solidified. When an inquiry comes in through our website Erin responds immediately. She fills out a form and schedules the new student interviews in a timelier manner. With the system more streamlined we are getting in front of inquires right away. 

We had a great meeting with Trinity Group Home (Lutherwood Boys) - they have several kids with substance abuse issues they are going to start sending our way if they meet the Hope criteria. Jake from the Marion County Prosecutors Office came in for a tour with an intern and connected Erin with probation officers. 

Development Committee

Development Committee Goal: Hope Academy will raise $710,000 in FY '23-'24.

Development Committee Update

Grants and Giving Update

Jon provided the board with January's Development Report in the board packet.  A few highlights: We learned a few weeks ago that the DMHA money will be renewed next year with an added bonus of any money we did not spend this year will be carried over to next year. We will see the contract in March.  We had a good meeting with Mental Health of America last month, which we will likely receive a funds from for two more years. Those grants are funding the new in-house therapist and funding the 8th grade program.  We have finally signed the contract with the Indiana Department of Health, which is all budget relieving for staffing. 

On the donation side, with still two months to go, we have already hit last year's retention rate.


We are considering setting up some sort of an endowment in conjunction with our 20th anniversary and will be having strategy meetings in the coming weeks. 

Governance Committee

Governance Committee Goal: Provide oversight, input, support, and direction to the strategic plan for sustainabilty for the next phase of Hope Academy's growth.

Legislative Update


A Members Expectations document was included in board packet to refresh the board of the expectations of engagement from board members. We have a few people who will be up for renewal in July.  Rachelle and Janine will be meeting with them to make sure they are planning to renew and meet the expectations. Janine asked that board members read the form and if they have any questions to reach out as we want to keep the board engaged. 

Executive Director Report

Staffing Update

We have put an offer out to a possible Special Education Teacher that we are very excited about. 

We were informed that our bus driver was potentially purchasing THC carts and nicotine carts for our students. Although we didn't have firm confirmation, we reported it to DCS and terminated immediately.

Facilities Update

The landlord recently had the potholes in the parking lot fixed. 

Partnership Updates

Rachelle will be presenting in Baltimore at the Joint Meeting on Youth Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. Deb and Rachelle have also been asked to be technical advisors to Heartland School in Ohio. Jon, Janine and Rachelle will be presenting at the ARS conference in June. 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:08am. 



Name Attendance

Eric Afuseh

Brian Anderson

Kristen Bolden

Darren Craig

Janice Gabe

Linda Gagyi

Rachelle Gardner

Colleen Kenney

Phyllis Land Usher

Deborah Leser

Amy Levander

Marlon Llewellyn

Marissa Manlove

Leah Mannweiler

Jennifer McVey

Erin Mooney

Jane Panyard

Jon Shapiro

Janine Shopp

Ty Spisak

Angie Tomlin

Guest Members

Name Attendance

Victoria Wilburn

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