RANDOLPH, NJ- On Monday night, the second annual Option II showcase was held in the Randolph High School commons.
Option II is a program that allows school districts to create a program through which students may earn credit toward graduation in a non-traditional way. Each student experience is unique and is designed to meet their needs and interest areas.
The showcase displayed all the accomplishments of each option II student, with personally crafted personal exhibits.
Option II concentrations were diverse including music, art, animals, dental work, law, sign language, translating, health and wellness, dance, fashion, and journalism.
As stated by RHS principal Debbie Iosso, “The point of Option II is to provide educational experiences that are meaningful and relevant and that provide students with opportunities to explore and achieve at high levels. Option II allows local school districts to design and implement curricular programs that meet the needs of all students, the regulation for student participation in deep and meaningful learning experiences that advance student learning, and focus on student interests and abilities.”
Allie Poles’s Option II project was focused on medical related research. She took a few online courses including Duke University’s Visual Perception of the Brain. She also shadowed doctors at different places such as a pediatric intensive care unit, a cardiologist and a facial surgeon.
“Option II gave me the opportunity to branch out and do my own thing,” says Poles. “I like how it wasn't as structured like other classrooms and we just got to go off of what we’re interested in.”
Kelley O’Neill, along with Cameron Coloneri, Victoria Raff, and Carly Whitman decided to prolong their high school fashion career though Option II, for they had taken all the fashion classes RHS has to offer. With their project, they created their own brands.
O’Neill adds, “Mine is based on the perfect clothes to pack for travel. I have 5 interchangeable pieces creating 7 different outfits to wear any time of day. I loved having the freedom to create my own designs and do what I wanted with them.”
Emma Spagnuolo became more accomplished than she ever imagined through her Option II experience. She based her project on radio and broadcast journalism, a field she says to have always known she wanted to study.
“I shadowed at WMTR and WFAN. Every week I have a radio show on WJSV in Morristown and I have my radio license, all made possible for me by the Option II program,” Spagnuolo proudly explained.
“Next year I will be studying broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University, and I'm going to have a leg up on all the freshman next year because real life experience is just so important these days.”
The Option II program at Randolph High School is directed by Andrew Buchanan and Nicole Dixon. It is the first year being heads of the program for both of them.
“My first year of teaching Option II has been absolutely fabulous, I've really enjoyed it. The students I've gotten the opportunity to work with, it’s been wonderful to see their journey from project design, project creation and presentation to the final product here tonight,” Buchanan stated.
Sophomore Kenan Mitchell took over his brother Seth’s Option II project last year titled Increasing the Odds, in which students at RHS are paired with students of Camden Street Elementary School to create an original musical. Last year, Seth titled the musical Ramden Dreams. Accordingly, Kenan titled this year’s musical, Ramden Dreams Part Two.
“It’s really exciting to see how it’s all turned out. Over the course of the year we met 20 times to create an original musical with the kids. Back in 2011 the school was renewed due to lack of a lot of things. They had 18% literacy rate, 40% of the school is special needs and there’s a lot of stuff going on, so this program really meets those needs in the sense of providing literacy and meeting the arts initiatives of the city if Newark,” said Mitchell.
“It’s really cool to see how both sets of students really learned to love one another and just make such strong connections that will really last a lifetime. This week is the performances and I’m really excited,”
Kenan added, “I just take a step back and I'm like ‘Wow, look what’s really been able to happen!’ It’s beyond me it’s beyond anything that I've seen and it’s really inspiring to see both schools come together like this.”
Ramden Dreams Part Two will be performed in the RHS auditorium this Saturday, June 6 and 7 pm, with free admission.
Katy O'Neill, who took part in the Option II program for Journalism and was the lead contributor for TAP into Randolph this year explained, "Option II gave me the opportunity to escape the classroom and enter a real-life journalism position. I was able to juggle a long term project, Ram-Page editorial, and writing for TAP all thanks to the Option II advisors and their efforts."
"The opportunity is unique and once in a lifetime, something I recommend to anyone that has exhausted all of the classes at RHS. It was clear through the hard work displayed by the Option II showcase that the students enjoyed the ability to personalize their learning this year, concluded O'Neill."
“If you’re a student at RHS considering taking Option II next year, do it. I can’t say enough good things about it,” Spagnoulo added.
The second annual Option II showcase was a huge success, displaying a bright future for the program.