By Jennifer Osborn
During this season of celebration, there is much to celebrate at Helix. Students and staff are celebrating the end of a successful term heading in to winter break, and will return in January to new classes and the start of a new term. The month of December was busy and exciting on the campus.
The eighth annual Helix Supporters’ Breakfast was held on Dec. 1. More than 200 members of the Helix community attended, enjoyed breakfast with friends, watched performances by our award-winning performing arts programs, and heard about academic success and the College 4 Me program (C4Me).
C4Me is a program that provides the opportunity for 150 Helix students to visit 10 to 15 California colleges and universities during a six-day trip over spring break. It is an integral part of Helix’s mission to provide all students the opportunity to attend college, should they so choose. The Helix Supporters’ Breakfast raised more than $30,000 to help support this program.
The next celebration was the ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the new and upgraded facilities on campus. Attendees toured the new Student Services/Administration building, the upgraded state-of-the-art Sports Medicine facilities, the renovated weight room and fitness center, the visual arts room, the ASB room, and the technology rooms that house the ever-growing Computer Science program. This much-needed upgrade was possible thanks to the voters of East County, who approved bond measures in two elections. The next construction project will focus on renovations of the gym.
The football team kept us celebrating for weeks, winning the CIF San Diego Championship against Mission Hills High School, then coming away with a victory in the Regional Championship in an away game against Oaks Christian High School.
Those victories propelled the team into the State Championship game against Folsom High School, played at Sacramento State University. In a well-fought game that changed leads several times, the Highlanders ran out of time and fell 49-42, finishing as runners up in the state. We are proud of the team for their first appearance in the State Championships under the new playoff system.
The Helix community also celebrates recent results from state testing. While test scores don’t tell the entire story of a school’s educational program, there is definitely value in reviewing the data and identifying trends as a means of making improvements and evaluating long-term goals.
Part of Helix’s vision is to close the achievement gap. According to Education Week, “The ‘achievement gap’ in education refers to the disparity in academic performance between groups of students. The achievement gap shows up in grades, standardized-test scores, course selection, dropout rates, and college-completion rates, among other success measures.” This disparity is most often observed in groups defined by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and gender.
We are proud to note that Helix has made great strides in closing that gap. The data from the most recent testing shows that all of Helix’s student subgroups are outperforming, or are very close to, the highest performing subgroup in the state in math and language arts. We will continue to use research-based models, and evaluate student performance data to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of our educational program, and provide the best opportunities for all students.
And finally, 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 January are Jan. 12 at 8:10 a.m. and Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m. Reserve your spot using our website, helixcharter.net.
—Jennifer Osborn writes on behalf of Helix Charter High School.