College courses offered on Helix campus
By Jennifer Osborn
Helix is changing its name to Helix Charter High School University. Ok, that part’s not true, but it is true that Helix students are being provided with the opportunity to take college courses on campus, earning credit toward both high school and college graduation.
The Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI) began in 2002 with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a means for students to earn high school and college credits, especially for underserved populations who traditionally attend college at lower rates than others. Students are exposed to rigorous high school curriculum with the incentive of earning college credit. This prepares them and increases access to post-secondary education.
Staff, parents and community members established a Strategic Plan for Helix and one priority identified in that plan is to continuously evaluate the structure of the school to ensure students are being prepared for what lies ahead. The school structure refers to many different elements – the school day, the school year, how to offer more courses, etc. The ECHSI fits right in with Helix’s mission to prepare all students for college. It is our goal to not only provide an education that allows students the opportunity to attend college, but to give them the tools they need to complete their degrees. By offering challenging courses in high school, students are less likely to drop out of college due to a lack of success in the higher level courses.
Currently, Helix offers one college course: Counseling 120: College & Career Success. Students in grades 10-12 are able to take the course, taught by a community college instructor. The goal is to offer more courses over time. For example, there is discussion to add courses in English, economics, French, and Spanish for next year. These courses would likely be taught by Helix instructors. We look forward to continuing to offer opportunities for students to achieve at a high level and ensure their future success.
The process for enrollment for the 2016-17 school year is already underway. Families who live in Helix’s traditional attendance area, or students who have a sibling currently attending Helix in grades nine through 11, will be granted priority enrollment if they attend an informational meeting and complete a form indicating their intent to enroll for next year.
Information on upcoming meetings and more details regarding the enrollment process can be found on the school website, helixcharter.net (click on “Entrance Boundary/Lottery Information on the left side of the page).
For families living outside of Helix’s attendance area, the lottery is the only method for entry into Helix. There will be two lottery meetings on March 8 and March 9 at 6:20 p.m. in the Helix Performing Arts Center.
If you are interested in finding out more about Helix Charter High School, please attend one of our Excellence in Education Tours, held twice monthly. The tours for February will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 5:30–6:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 8:30–9:30 a.m. Reserve your spot using our website, helixcharter.net.
As always, we welcome your input. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
––Jennifer Osborn writes on behalf of Helix Charter High School.