By JENNIFER OSBORN
It’s summer, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the Helix campus. Traditionally quiet months at school, June and July have been a time for plenty of opportunities for Helix students to come on campus for educational and enrichment activities, as well as meeting with their Grade Level Teams (GLT) to prepare for the 2021-22 school year.
In June, Helix students and their families participated in summer registration meetings. Last summer, registration was done all online, but the in-person meetings have resumed this summer, allowing families to meet with a member of their GLT to talk about class schedules, long-term goals, and other important information to help students be successful.
At Helix, each student’s schedule is custom-built — they are able to choose which period they will take each class, as well as choose their teacher, and whether they are interested in college prep, honors, advanced placement, or dual-enrollment (college) courses. During these meetings, the GLT also discusses the student’s goals and makes sure their course selections are in line with those goals.
During June and July, Helix offered both summer school, focusing on academic courses, and ASPIRE camp, focusing on enrichment and athletic opportunities. After more than a year of online courses, students were able to take summer school classes in person to strengthen their skills in social studies, English, math, PE, technology, science, and special education. More than 600 students participated in courses, some taking as many as four classes.
Summer school was divided into four sessions, supported by 32 teachers and 22 staff members. According to Grade Level Principal Paula Ann Trevino, students and staff were very happy to be back on campus. Safety protocols were followed, and everyone was excited to be learning in a classroom setting once again.
ASPIRE camp offered additional opportunities for students to get involved. ASPIRE is the Helix after school program that offers academic support, as well as enrichment and athletic opportunities during the school year. The ASPIRE summer camp was developed this year because a large number of students have never actually attended school on campus.
“So many students have not had the opportunity to actively participate and engage in our amazing Helix culture,” said ASPIRE coordinator Katie Pipes.
ASPIRE camp took place over three, two-week camps, and each camp offered two sessions — one morning and one afternoon. Students were able to register for up to six different activities over the three camps, with 15-20 different activities offered each session. More than 500 students participated, and almost 40 staff members offered activities, with baking and indoor volleyball being among the most popular options.
“This has been a really great experience for students on multiple levels,” Pipes said. ”They are familiarizing themselves with our campus, they can re-connect with other students, and they have the opportunity to build rapport and positive mentor-student relationships with Helix staff. All around, this is a win-win for our school.”
Students will return on Aug. 4 to begin the 2021-22 school year, which will be offered in person, five days a week. Families have also been offered the option to participate in the Helix Virtual Academy, which is a distance-learning option, open to any Helix student who does not wish to attend in person for any reason. We look forward to welcoming the Helix community back to campus for a great 2021-22 school year.
— Jennifer Osborn writes on behalf of Helix Charter High School.