CCHS vs. ETA: How to make the choice

COLUMBIA CITY —Even with months to go before the end of the school year, Whitley County Consolidated School students are making course selections for the 2013-14 school year. On Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. parents and incoming freshman are invited to attend an informational and interactive night to help make high school class selections.Having Eagle Tech Academy (ETA) as an educational option opens up many learning opportunities, but at the same time can add to the overwhelming feeling incoming freshman may experience when selecting a study path.Choosing to take advantage of ETA is a decision made by students in the eighth grade. That may seem awful early to make such a big choice, but Reiff offers some practical advice to students and parents torn between the two options.CCHS vs. ETAThere are a few misconceptions about CCHS and the ETA program, and Reiff along with guidance counselor Sarah Maynard want to separate the facts from fiction. Fiction: A diploma from ETA is a technical diploma and not the same as a diploma for students at the main campus. Fact: The diplomas are the same no matter where a student attends school. Fiction: ETA is a different school and for students not able to learn in a traditional school setting.Fact: Both ETA and Columbia City are the same school. However, the learning environment is different. For school leaders this is a positive point. Eagle Tech’s teaching style is collaborative based. It gives students more opportunities to interact within small groups and hands-on learning environments. Columbia City’s main campus offers more of a traditional learning environment. Fiction: Students who attend ETA cannot participate in elective courses such as band, choir and specialized programs.Fact: Anything is possible. Reiff and Maynard both agreed that there was not any one particular class or program that is off limits to those who choose ETA. Fiction: Once students are bused over to the ETA campus, there is no coming back and forth.Fact: Now that upper classmen are at ETA, more students are coming to and from the main campus during the school day. Because Columbia City High School is one of the few schools that builds a master schedule based on the students interest in certain classes, there is a growing need to have students’ schedules mixed between the two campuses. Does that mean there is the potential need for a shuttle bus to transport kids at each class period? “Yes, that is a strong possibility,” said Reiff. College is the word on guidance counselor’s mouth as they are working constantly to help prepare students for beyond high school.“We meet with students before they come into high school and we are meeting with them at least once a year if not twice a year,” Maynard said. The school has a page on its website dedicated to college preparations ( A month-by-month checklist keeps parents and students on task so that college applications, scholarships and grants are not missed. January 10 at 6 p.m. the school will host a financial aid night. This is an opportunity for parents and students to hear from financial aid representatives and ask questions regarding financing a college education.There will be another financial aid help session Feb. 14 from 3 to 8 p.m. that will allow parents and students to submit necessary financial forms for free with professional help. Each of these events happen at CCHS.For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Dec. 22 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.