TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY..........................................................................................
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
               Mission, Academic Philosophy, and Values
The mission of Helix High School: ADM (Arts and ...
education; (2) early college high schools are created and sustained by a local education
agency, a higher education instit...
School. Partnerships with these institutions are essential in preparing students for the rigors
of academic success moving...
Sophomore      > 70% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Math, English)
                      s:
   !       Year 3:    Freshmen...
Sophomores:                                 75+%
       !    Year 3:           Freshmen:                                  ...
!   First interim financial report for July through October, due December 15

    !   Second interim financial report for Ju...
! Enrollment and ADA: Projections are based on the average or adjusted actual
       enrollment and ADA. Any growth projec...
Criterion: Operations
The school demonstrates effective management of operations:

     ! Operational Management

        ...
Research-Base
For decades, scholars have asserted that experience and how it is critically reflected upon is
the core of al...
!   Student academic engagement
      !   Improved student self-esteem and self-concept
      !   Reduced student behavior...
MISSION AND VISION
                          Mission and Academic Philosophy
The mission of the proposed Helix High School...
Students of all proficiencies and abilities will follow an individual learning plan to reach grade
level equivalencies nece...
Helix High School: ADM will offer a technology-rich environment at the high school level to
traditionally underserved stud...
college completion; and (5) early college schools and their higher education and community
partners work with intermediari...
of spots available to students from each district 21. The schools are anticipated to reflect a
student body similar in demo...
preparing students of all socioeconomic statuses to succeed in the 21 st century workplace.
Providing low-income students ...
curriculum to real world applications.



                           Enrollment Projection Chart
 Grade Level      Year 1 ...
EDUCATION PROGRAM
     Educational Philosophy, Curriculum, and Instruction
OVERVIEW
The success of tomorrow demands school...
learning experience for students at the school. The LSU/Helix partnership is two-fold, first
LSU will offer services such a...
technology to complete their project. The knowledge that they acquire, coupled with staff
support and creative ideas that ...
Project-based Inquiry Learning
A fundamental component of an interdisciplinary approach is project-based inquiry learning....
acceleration of technology has allowed for rapid dissemination and application of information,
especially within the fields...
engage in studies related to a chemical plant, while physics students might engage in
research related to the Livingston I...
Students show comprehension of Louisiana State Standards:

   !   Year 1:     Freshmen:         > 50% score “Basic” or abo...
Students indicate growth among the following assessments: Northwest Evaluation
Association (NWEA), End-of-Course Assessmen...
The school regularly engages parents/families as evidenced by the following data: (a)
parent attendance at quarterly bench...
development opportunities each month led by local and national experts in the areas of
instructional leadership and school...
Personnel Devoted to Students with Disabilities
The school design and staffing will provide Special Education staff. Profes...
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Charter School proposal for East Baton Rouge Parish School Board

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Helix High School: ADM

  1. 1. TABLE OF CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY...........................................................................................................3 Mission, Academic Philosophy, and Values.............................................................................................3 Structure, Leadership, and Governance..................................................................................................4 Short- and Long-term Goals....................................................................................................................5 Research-Base......................................................................................................................................11 Model Appropriateness..........................................................................................................................11 Core Values about Teaching and Learning............................................................................................12 MISSION AND VISION ................................................................................................................................................13 Mission and Academic Philosophy........................................................................................................13 Target Population...................................................................................................................................16 Enrollment Projection Chart...................................................................................................................19 EDUCATION PROGRAM........................................................................................................20 Educational Philosophy, Curriculum, and Instruction.............................................................................20 Students with Exceptionalities...............................................................................................................29 Student Evaluation.................................................................................................................................36 Professional Development.....................................................................................................................41 Student Recruitment, Enrollment, and Admissions...............................................................................43 School Climate and Culture...................................................................................................................45 Parent and Community Engagement.....................................................................................................48 GOVERNANCE, LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT..........................................................51 Governance...........................................................................................................................................51 School Leadership and Personnel Management...................................................................................57 Employment...........................................................................................................................................58 Operational Management......................................................................................................................60 FACILITIES AND FINANCE...................................................................................................62 Facilities ................................................................................................................................................62 Finance..................................................................................................................................................63 APPENDICES.........................................................................................................................67 Appendix 1 Facilities Floorplan............................................................................................................67 Appendix 2 Roster of Key Contacts.....................................................................................................68 Appendix 3 Board of Directors Résumés.............................................................................................70 Appendix 4 Helix By-laws....................................................................................................................88 Appendix 5 Public Records Policy.....................................................................................................101 Appendix 6 Compliance with Code of Ethics ....................................................................................102 Appendix 7 Enrollment Projection Chart ...........................................................................................111 Appendix 8 Student Enrollment Policy ..............................................................................................112 Appendix 9 Staffing Chart .................................................................................................................119 Appendix 10 Personnel Policy.............................................................................................................120 Appendix 11 Student Discipline Policy ................................................................................................126 Appendix 12 Job Descriptions.............................................................................................................135 Appendix 13 Facilities Information.......................................................................................................145 Appendix 14 Insurance Policy Quote...................................................................................................147 Appendix 15 Emergency Response Plan ...........................................................................................149 Appendix 16 Homeless Student Policy................................................................................................190 Appendix 17 Strategic Achievement Plan............................................................................................192 Appendix 18 Start-up Plan...................................................................................................................193 Appendix 19 Parent Complaint Policy.................................................................................................194 Appendix 20 Budget ...........................................................................................................................196 Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 2 of 195
  2. 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Mission, Academic Philosophy, and Values The mission of Helix High School: ADM (Arts and Digital Media) is to provide the greater Baton Rouge region with a student-centered learning place that is a pathway to successful postsecondary placement, and ultimately, to success in the ADM industries. The goal of the high school is to develop students who will learn continuously as our economies and communities change; in essence, to prepare students for cutting edge careers in the Arts and Digital Media fields. The following beliefs have guided the design of the high school and will guide its operation once approved: (1) all students can learn; (2) students rise to the expectations that adults have of them; (3) students must have a voice in determining how they learn; (4) students have a right to expect and receive high-quality, engaging educational opportunities. The philosophy behind the design of Helix High School: ADM has emerged largely as a response to changing economic indicators in the region. Agricultural, manufacturing, and traditional service sectors are being replaced with a knowledge sector that requires independent, responsible decision-makers who can rise to the challenge of new and unexpected situations. To successfully prepare adolescents to become such individuals in the 21st century requires a school environment that is built upon a platform centered on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The basic components of ICT are: (1) finding out information; (2) developing and implementing ideas; (3) exchanging and sharing information; and (4) reviewing, modifying, and evaluating work in process.1 While a strong mastery of ICT and content-specific goals are critical to placing digitally-literate students in successful organizations, so is the mastery of “soft skills”2 that will allow them to compete in todayʼs global economy. Examples include decision-making, independent thinking, critical thinking, motivated life-long learning, and problem solving. These skills will be the core expertise with which students will graduate from Helix High School: ADM; just as important is their understanding of the use of technology as a tool for 21st learning and teaching. Technology is essential to the success of our communities—locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. The collection of 21st century skills developed in the high school, along with Helix High School: ADMʼs collaboration with Louisiana State University, will give students a strong advantage in post-secondary coursework, as well as post-secondary career placements. From the mission and the philosophy came the schoolʼs design principles, which will permeate every aspect of academic life at the school for students, teachers, staff, and school leadership. These principles are as follows: personalization, technology integration, college readiness, and adult-world connections. Additionally, Helix High School: ADM will adopt the early college school model to provide a supporting learning environment that incorporates effective instructional and structural practices3. The four core principals of early college high schools are as follows: (1) a commitment to serving students underrepresented in higher 1 "Sun ICT Solutions for Schools: 21st Centure Learning on World-Class ICT Solutions." 2007. Sun MicroSystems. <http://uk.sun.com/servicessolutions/industries/education/schools/pdf/schools_ICT_Solution_DSv3.pdf>. 2 Marquit, Miranda. "Increase the Chances of Finding a Job in This Recession by Focusing on Soft Skills." 29 July 2009. AllBusiness.com. 29 July 2009 <http://www.allbusiness.com/labor-employment/human-resources-personnel/12512301-1.html>. 3 Early College High School Initiative Core Principals (2008) [on-line]. Available at: http://www.earlycolleges.org/Downloads/ECHSICorePrin.pdf Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 3 of 196
  3. 3. education; (2) early college high schools are created and sustained by a local education agency, a higher education institution, and the community; all of whom are jointly accountable for student success; (3) early college high schools and their higher education partners and community jointly develop an integrated academic program so all students earn one to two years of transferable college credit leading to college completion; (4) early college schools engage all students in a comprehensive support System that develops academic and social skills as well as the behaviors and conditions necessary for college completion; and (5) early college schools and their higher education and community partners work with intermediaries to create conditions and advocate for supportive policies that advance the early college movement. Following the early college high school model, Helix High School: ADM will be a small school. If approved, the first class of 125 freshmen will begin in July 2010. In July 2011, they will progress to sophomores, and a new freshman class will enter. The enrollment at the school will proceed in this manner until it reaches full enrollment, with the first cohort graduating in spring 2014. Alignment to East Baton Rouge Parish School's Mission and Vision Successful charter schools pride themselves on a mutually beneficial relationship with their authorizing district. With this in mind, the proposed school is well aligned to East Baton Rouge Parish School's Mission and Vision. Helix High School: ADM is dedicated to preparing students for engagement in higher education and success in local industries. This commitment compliments East Baton Rouge Parish School System's Vision to ensure students will graduate with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to become active and successful members of a dynamic learning community. The proposed school also seeks to serve students through personalization, technology-infusion, project-based learning, and adult-world connections. This matches EBR's Mission to educate all students to their maximum potential in a caring, rigorous and safe environment. Structure, Leadership, and Governance The Helix Board is well-positioned to serve as the governing board for the proposed school. Members include representatives from industry and content specialties, the non-profit community, education reform organizations, and community-based organizations. Diversity is also reflected along the lines of gender, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic background. The Helix Board will include parental representation from Helix High School: ADM upon opening of the proposed school. Helix High School: ADM will be led by the Executive Director, Dr. Brian J. Dixon, who reports directly to the Helix Board. The Executive Director will oversee the principal, who will supervise faculty and staff at the school. Helix High School: ADM will benefit from a number of organizational partnerships to ensure the successful design, launch, and management of the school. From the start of the design process, the school was supported by BP America (BP), bringing expertise in current and future industry to the design of the school. A team of educational experts from across the nation were invited by a local educational organization to participate in the design of the school. Efforts have also been made to partner with regional institutions of higher learning, including Louisiana State University, Southern University, and Baton Rouge Regional High Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 4 of 196
  4. 4. School. Partnerships with these institutions are essential in preparing students for the rigors of academic success moving forward. The Helix Board has recognized the need to consult with experts in diverse fields to proactively support students. These fields include financial management, curriculum development, teacher support and training, and pursuing philanthropic partnerships. At this early stage, several organizations have been of tremendous assistance in preparing the application for the proposed schools. Upon approval, the Helix Board will review these relationships, and seek to formalize agreements that are in the best interest of the students. Examples of organizations who have provided support in their specific area of expertise include Revolution Learning, an educational incubator for innovative learning tools and schools; Advance Innovative Education, who spearheaded the design of the school; and 4th Sector Solutions, a charter school focused business management organization. Moving forward, the Executive Director in collaboration with the Helix Board will continue to reach out to organizations to support the design, implementation, and daily operations of the school. Examples of these burgeoning partnerships include technology (Apple, Microsoft, and Qualcomm), facilities (Downtown Development District), and food services (Revolution Foods). Short- and Long-term Goals Meeting the academic and operational goals of Helix High School: ADM will ensure the school positive standing in public education. The following goals have been set with modesty in mind, building upon success year after year. These realistic goals will help ensure an effective partnership with the district, parents, and other stakeholders as Helix Schools seeks to meet these goals and criteria for measuring academic viability. The Helix Board of Directors has established quality goals for academic and operational viability. The goals and criteria for assessment appear in the Tables below: Criterion: Attendance Students regularly come to school on time: ! Year 1: Tardiness < 15%, ADA = 90% ! Year 2: Tardiness < 12%, ADA = 91% ! Year 3: Tardiness < 10%, ADA = 92% ! Year 4: Tardiness < 8%, ADA = 93% ! Year 5: Tardiness < 5%, ADA = 95% Criterion: State Assessments Students show comprehension of Louisiana State Standards: ! Year 1: Freshmen: > 50% score “Basic” or above on iLeap ! Year 2: Freshmen: > 53% score “Basic” or above on iLeap Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 5 of 196
  5. 5. Sophomore > 70% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Math, English) s: ! Year 3: Freshmen: > 55% score “Basic” or above on iLeap Sophomore > 73% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Math, English) s: Juniors: > 70% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Science, Social Studies) ! Year 4: Freshmen: > 60% score “Basic” or above on iLeap Sophomore > 77% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Math, English) s: Juniors: > 75% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Science, Social Studies) Seniors: > 90% score on Capstone Project > 90 % on-time graduation ! Year 5: Freshmen: > 65% score “Basic” or above on iLeap Sophomore > 77% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Math, English) s: Juniors: > 78% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Science, Social Studies) Seniors: > 90% score on Capstone Project > 90% on-time graduation Criterion: Benchmarking Students indicate growth among the following assessments: Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), End-of-Course Assessments, and Presentations of Learning (POLs). Year NWEA End-of-Course Exam POLs 1 Set Benchmark Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% 2 10 point gain Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% 3 8 point gain Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% 4 5 point gain Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% 5 3 point gain Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% Criterion: Promotion There is steady growth in percentage of students who enter a grade in year one and are promoted to the next grade in year two. ! Year 1: Freshmen: 75+% ! Year 2: Freshmen: 78+% Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 6 of 196
  6. 6. Sophomores: 75+% ! Year 3: Freshmen: 80+% Sophomores: 80+% Juniors: 80+% ! Year 4: Freshmen: 82+% Sophomores: 80+% Juniors: 85+% ! Year 5 Freshmen: 85+% Sophomores: 85+% Juniors: 90+% Criterion: Teacher Retention The school retains teachers so there is little attrition, and little disruption in advisor/advisee process. ! Year 1: Retention = 70+ % ! Year 2: Retention = 75+ % ! Year 3: Retention = 80+ % ! Year 4: Retention = 85+ % ! Year 5 Retention = 90+ % Criterion: Parent Involvement The school regularly engages parents/families as evidenced by the following data: (a) parent attendance at quarterly benchmarking conferences; (b) completion of two volunteer hours monthly; (c) attendance of parents at sub-committee meetings (led by a parent who serves on Helix Board); and (d) completion of two home visits a year. . Year 1 (a) = > 50% (b) = > 25% (c) = > 10% (d) = > 50% Year 2 (a) = > 60% (b) = > 35% (c) = > 20% (d) = > 60% Year 3 (a) = > 70% (b) = > 40% (c) = > 30% (d) = > 65% Year 4 (a) = > 80% (b) = > 45% (c) = > 40% (d) = > 70% Year 5 (a) = > 80% (b) = > 50% (c) = > 50% (d) = > 75% Criterion: Stakeholder Satisfaction The school provides a voice to its students, parents, families, teachers, staff, volunteers, and industry and community partners to receive guidance about the quality of the schoolʼs services through surveys that are administered in the 2nd and 4th quarters. Surveys have a scale of 0 – 3, where 0 represents “extremely dissatisfied,” and 3 represents “extremely satisfied.” ! Q2 survey averages will equal 1.5 or higher each year ! Q4 survey averages will equal 2.5 or higher each year Criterion: Financial Reporting The school submits all financial reporting in a timely and accurate manner: ! Preliminary annual budget, due on or before July 1 Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 7 of 196
  7. 7. ! First interim financial report for July through October, due December 15 ! Second interim financial report for July through January 21, due March 15 ! Unaudited actual financial report for July through June 30, due September 15 ! Audited report for prior fiscal year, due December 15 Criterion: Financial Stability The school demonstrates financial stability and sustainability: ! Positive Cash Flow: Cash received exceeds cash expended ! Net Operating Surplus: Operating revenues are greater than operating expenses in the current fiscal year ! Positive Ending Fund Balance: Assets are greater than liabilities ! Adequate Reserve for Economic Uncertainty: Ending fund balance is at least 3% of the current yearʼs expense budget or $50,000, whichever is greater ! Audit Results: Any audit findings are appropriately addressed in a timely manner ! Solvency: Available cash is sufficient to satisfy current liabilities ! Enrollment and ADA: Student enrollment is stable and the Average Daily Attendance factor is maximized to increase apportionment funding Criterion: Financial Management The school demonstrates effective financial management: ! Restricted Funding: Revenues from restricted resources are accounted for separately, and appropriate expenses are being charged according to funding restrictions from the granting agency ! Accounting Software: Accounting Systems adequately report financial information by function and source to charter school management, Board of Directors, and reporting agencies in required forms ! Safeguarding of Assets: Internal control procedures are implemented to protect assets of the charter school and comply with accounting procedures adequate to prevent misuse of charter school funds ! Attendance Accounting: Student attendance is accurately tracked and reported in conformity with state laws and reporting requirements ! Required Funding Documentation: Supplemental funding applications, plans, claims, and required documentation are filed with the funding agency by the specified deadline ! Liabilities: Loans, debts, and outstanding obligations are properly accounted for and paid in a timely manner, as required by legal agreements Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 8 of 196
  8. 8. ! Enrollment and ADA: Projections are based on the average or adjusted actual enrollment and ADA. Any growth projections are based on historical experience or planned operational changes ! Budget Development: The staff, management and Board of Directors are involved in the budget development ! Board Oversight: The management and Board of Directors regularly review the budget in comparison to actual revenue and expenditures and, as new information becomes available, make necessary adjustments to the budget ! Adjusted Budgets: Current fiscal yearʼs operating budget is updated for new revenue received and new expenses incurred Criterion: Governance The school demonstrates effective governance and organizational leadership: ! The governance board bylaws reflect the governance processes described in the charter. They have reasonable terms regarding financial management, personnel decisions, and oversight of educational program and school safety ! Board meetings occur on a regular basis, comply with all aspects of the Brown Act, provide an opportunity for public comment, and are recorded in written minutes ! The Board adheres to reasonable written conflict of interest policies and makes decisions free from conflict of interest by disqualifying any Board member from voting on a particular matter that would materially affect him or her ! The Board adopts reasonable written policies to resolve internal and external conflicts and complaints ! The Board maintains clearly written minutes that indicate attendance and a general description of all matters proposed, discussed, and/or decided. Minutes indicate that the board regularly achieves a quorum and is able to progress through issues from one meeting to the next ! The board implements an accountability process for the school leader ! The board establishes regular opportunities for stakeholders to address administration and board (measured by parent meetings, surveys, etc.) ! Board or school administration provides regular public reports on schoolʼs progress towards achieving its goals to school community ! Board and school administration foster a school culture conducive to student learning and staff professional growth (as measured by perception data) Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 9 of 196
  9. 9. Criterion: Operations The school demonstrates effective management of operations: ! Operational Management ! Employment Policies: Employee policies are written and consistent with the charter and applicable law ! Employee Records: Employee records are complete and kept in a manner consistent with the law and employee policies ! Risk Management: Adequate insurance is obtained to provide appropriate levels of risk management ! Health and Safety ! Safety Plan: The school has an up-to-date school safety plan ! Certificate of Occupancy: The school has a current Certificate of Occupancy, if it is located on non-district facilities ! Admissions Policy and Practices ! Policy: The school has a written admissions policy consistent with the law and its charter ! Practices: The admissions policy is implemented with fidelity to charter petition ! Student Discipline ! Policy: The school adheres to written discipline policy that is consistent with the law and the charter ! Records: The school maintains appropriate student discipline records ! Parent Access ! The school adopts policies that address parent access in a manner that is consistent with the law and the charter Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 10 of 195
  10. 10. Research-Base For decades, scholars have asserted that experience and how it is critically reflected upon is the core of all learning.4 This assertion refutes the primary reliance upon lecture-based instructional methods in the traditional education System and confirms the need for alternative school models to successfully prepare students for life in the 21st century. Helix High School: ADM will use an interdisciplinary curriculum to link content and modes of inquiry normally associated with more than one scholarly discipline.5 In contrast to the traditional, subject-centered structure of traditional secondary schools in the United States, an interdisciplinary approach posits a group of teachers with content or discipline specialties working together to integrate content standards and objectives around themes or projects to achieve more relevant, student-centered learning than would occur with traditional subject–specific curriculum and instruction.6 A fundamental component of an interdisciplinary approach is project-based inquiry learning. Studies show that this method boosts student performance and attitude toward learning, particularly in science and math, and in subjects that demand verbal and written communication.7 Moreover, inquiry enables a confluence of skills, knowledge, and dispositions in a way that demands a connection to real life. Seeking solutions to authentic and personally meaningful questions, students engage in inquiry through extended investigation, questioning, collaboration, and the use of technology. Todayʼs students face technology opportunities that previous generations could only imagine. The acceleration of technology has allowed for rapid dissemination of new ideas and applications. Meaningful integration in the classroom of technology enhances learning experiences and provides a tool for exploring virtual solutions to problems before implementing methods of solutions in real life.8 When individuals understand how to use technology this way, it becomes a tool that is safer and more cost-effective means to solving problems. Model Appropriateness Serving at-risk students is central to our mandate and mission. Helix High School: ADM will be a personalized learning environment that is engaging to students through project-based delivery of the curriculum. Research of the interdisciplinary approach to education in high at- risk student populations has led to positive academic achievement.9 These outcomes include: ! Improved student academic achievement ! Accelerated student academic achievement of low-income, ethnic and minority students 4 Newsome, Linda Ann, George W. Wardlow and Donald M. Johnson. "Effects Of Lecture Versus Experiential Teaching Method On Cognitive Achievement, Retention, And Attitude Among High School Agriscience Students." 2005. National AAAE Research Conference. <http://aaae.okstate.edu/proceedings/2005/Articles/146.pdf>. 5 Vars, G. F. Interdisciplinary Teaching: Why and How. Columbus, OH: National Middle School Association, 1993. 6 Jackson, A. and G. A. Davis. Turning Points 2000: Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century. New York: Teachers College Press, 2000. 7 Jarrett, D. Inquiry Strategies for Science and Mathematics Learning. 1997. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. 8 Newby, T., Stepich, D. Lehman, J. & Russell, J. Educational technology for teaching and learning. (3rd ed). 2006. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Merril, Prentice Hall. 9 Ogle, Donna M. (1997). Critical Issue: Rethinking Learning for Students at Risk. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory [On-line]. Available: http://ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/atrisk/at700.htm Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 11 of 195
  11. 11. ! Student academic engagement ! Improved student self-esteem and self-concept ! Reduced student behavior issues In schools with similar demographics, where teams of teachers cooperatively implemented interdisciplinary curriculum and instructional practices, such as thematic project-based learning and inquiry learning, studies have found higher student academic achievement as compared to schools with traditional subject-centered curriculum and instructional practices. 10 Other research has revealed that equity issues were improved when teams of teachers used practices from multiple disciplines in schools.11 Students from low- income backgrounds achieved higher academic gains in schools where teachers were experienced in collectively using such practices. Beyond student academic achievement, researchers note other positive student outcomes related to teaching teams engaged in interdisciplinary approaches, including increased engagement, improved self-esteem and self-concept, and decreased negative behavior.12 Student motivation increases as rote learning and content coverage is de-emphasized and students are provided choice. Student learning in classrooms with an interdisciplinary approach emulates learning in natural situations such as apprenticeships. Research shows that technology integration offers at-risk students a differentiated and innovative learning experience that will improve their motivation and attitude toward education.13 Particularly one-to-one laptop to student ratio is shown to enhance learning programs in preparing students of all socioeconomic status to succeed in the 21st century workplace. Providing low-income students who normally would not have access to computers at home with laptops helps to minimize or close the “digital divide” and increase student achievement.14 Core Values about Teaching and Learning Our core teaching and learning values, that is, what we believe and how it has influenced the design of Helix High School: ADM – have arisen from Louisianaʼs collaboration with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Our values are: (1) authentic assessment; i.e., utilizing multiple measures of mastery; (2) building understanding across and among core subjects as well as 21st century interdisciplinary themes, such as transliteracy (see section on “integrated technology”); (3) engaging students with real world data, tools, and experts; (4) knowing that students learn best when they are actively engaged in solving meaningful problems; and (5) integrating what students learn with what communities need. 10 Flowers, N., Mertens, S., & Mulhull, P. "The Impact of Teaming: Five Research-Based Outcomes." Middle School Journal (1999): 57-60. 11 Mertens, S, & Flowers, N. “Middle School Practices Improves Student Achievement in High Poverty Schools.” Middle School Journal (2003): 33-43 12 Felner, R., Jackson, A., & Kasak, D. “The Impact of School Reform for the Middle Years: Longitudinal Study of a Network Engaged in Turning Points-Based Comprehensive School Transformation.” Phi Delta Kappan (1997): 78, 528-532. 13 La, P. "One-to-one Laptop Programs." 2009. B. Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. <http://edweb.sdsu.edu/eet/articles/lptpprgrms/index.htm>. 14 Hug, Sarah T. and Andrew A. Zucker. "A Study of the 1:1 Laptop Program at the Denver School of Science & Technology." December 2007. Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). <http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/3d/10/8c.pdf>. Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 12 of 195
  12. 12. MISSION AND VISION Mission and Academic Philosophy The mission of the proposed Helix High School: ADM (Helix High School: ADM) is to provide the greater Baton Rouge region with a tuition-free, student-centered learning place that is a pathway to successful postsecondary placement and ultimately, to success in the ADM industries. In fulfilling this mission, it is our goal is to develop citizens who will learn continuously as our economies and communities change; in essence, to prepare traditionally underserved students for ADM careers. Our target population will not be those students who are necessarily high achievers, but rather at-risk students of our region who deserve the opportunity for a free, rigorous education that is personalized to meet individualsʼ needs and that provides adequate support along the way to academic success. The underpinning beliefs of the proposed high school includes the following: (1) all students can learn; (2) students rise to the expectations that adults have of them; (3) students must have a voice in determining how they learn; and 4) students have a right to expect and receive high-quality, engaging educational opportunities. These beliefs will be shared among all staff, faculty, students and stakeholders who interact with the school regularly, creating a culture that ingrained in the school, contributing to academic success of all students. The philosophy behind the design of Helix High School: ADM has emerged largely as a response to changing economic indicators in the region. Agricultural, manufacturing, and traditional service sectors are being replaced with a knowledge sector that requires independent, responsible decision makers who can rise to the challenges of new and unexpected situations. Preparing adolescents to become such individuals requires a school environment that is built upon a platform centered on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The basic components of ICT are: (1) finding out information; (2) developing ideas and making things happen; (3) exchanging and sharing information; and (4) reviewing, modifying, and evaluating work in process.15 While a strong mastery of ICT and content-specific goals are critical to preparing a digitally- literate citizen for a successful career in ADM fields, so is the mastery of “soft skills”16 that will allow them to develop into self-sufficient individuals and to compete in the global economy of tomorrow. Examples include decision-making, independent thinking, critical thinking, motivated life-long learning, and problem solving. Examples of soft skills include decision- making, independent thinking, critical thinking, motivated life-long learning, and problem solving. These soft skills will be the core expertise with which students will graduate from Helix High School: ADM. From the mission and the philosophy came the schoolʼs design principles, which will permeate every aspect of academic life at the school for students, teachers, staff, and school leadership. These principles are as follows: personalization, technology integration, college readiness, and adult-world connections. Personalization A personalized learning plan, overseen by an advisor who serves the student throughout his or her career at Helix High School: ADM, will guide each student's learning experiences. 15 "Sun ICT Solutions for Schools: 21st Centure Learning on World-Class ICT Solutions." 2007. Sun MicroSystems. <http://uk.sun.com/servicessolutions/industries/education/schools/pdf/schools_ICT_Solution_DSv3.pdf>. 16 Marquit, Miranda. "Increase the Chances of Finding a Job in This Recession by Focusing on Soft Skills." 29 July 2009. AllBusiness.com. 29 July 2009 <http://www.allbusiness.com/labor-employment/human-resources-personnel/12512301-1.html>. Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 13 of 195
  13. 13. Students of all proficiencies and abilities will follow an individual learning plan to reach grade level equivalencies necessary for course and grade promotion. Advisors will discuss the learning plan with students and parents, as well as teachers who will team-teach to manage student projects. Advisors will help students plan for appropriate enrichment or remedial activities offered during quarterly breaks, guiding students toward resources and opportunities that will be most beneficial for students to improve understanding, building skills, and acquire knowledge. This daily contact with a core group of student will enable advisors to monitor the studentʼs personal and academic development throughout their high school tenure. The advisor will model best practices in decision-making, prioritizing, and time management for students. Advisors will also serve as the point of contact for families and will be able to liaise with community support services if necessary. We believe that this level of personalization will result in student retention and academic achievement. Integrated Technology Technology-rich curriculum produces better results for all students by creating engaging, personalized, and productive learning.17 Although technology has been a part of education for over thirty years, it has not been used to its full potential, especially in public schools located in low-income communities. Many schools are considered technology-rich, but the technology has been relegated to an expensive tool for presentations or remedial instruction, and a “course” for teaching computer literacy skills (e.g., typing, Microsoft Office). At Helix High School: ADM technology will be used in all academic activities as a tool to enhance exploration, investigation, and intellectual discourse. As an example, technology has been used heretofore to address literacy through such approaches as Read 180. Integrated technology will transform those approaches, resulting in “transliteracy.” Transliteracy is effective communication that requires reading, writing, and interacting across multiple media and social platforms.18 Technology will also serve as a means of supporting students and measuring student performance. Helix High School: ADM is designed to include a one-to-one laptop program for students and teachers so that visual, hands-on learning opportunities will be available across the curriculum. The proposed school will use Netbook devices, rather than laptops, which are much more affordable, lightweight, and provide similar features to laptops that benefit student learning. Another tool that will further integrate technology for a student is the use of Appleʼs iPod Touch. With the rapid creation of applications, students will be able to follow and/or create blogs, listen to podcasts (or create his or her own!), search the dictionary, use a scientific calculator, or freely listen to iTunes University options—to name just a few. The technology-focused curriculum will enable mass distribution of educational models and results, ensure a high probability of student engagement and regular school attendance, and allow students to learn at their own pace, thus fostering a deep understanding of the core curriculum. As a result, the learning becomes a personalized experience for each student. Technology provides more readily the means for teachers to give focused, strategic attention to problem areas for each student. Industry and community experts will be available to the students via video conferencing and/or interactive on-line courses, harnessing the power of technology for advanced educational opportunities. (For instance, the Louisiana Virtual School offers courses to students all over Louisiana.) Integrated technology is a fundamental piece of amplifying the organization of pedagogy; it is able to handle the multiple means by which information is transferred and learning transformed. 17 “Overview of Technology and Education Reform.” U.S. Department of Education. July 2009. <http://www.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdTech/overview.html#goals2000>. 18 KnowledgeWorks Foundation. “2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning.” 2009. <www.futureofed.org>. Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 14 of 195
  14. 14. Helix High School: ADM will offer a technology-rich environment at the high school level to traditionally underserved students, providing the region with the human capital it needs to meet the workforce needs of the 21st century. This is a positive step in developing digitally- literate who would have statistically fallen victim to the digital divide and would therefore be less competitive than their peers in securing valuable jobs in the ADM fields. Technology is essential to the success of our communities—locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. The collection of 21st century skills developed in the high school, along with Helix High School: ADMʼs collaboration with Louisiana State University, will give students a strong advantage in post-secondary coursework, as well as post-secondary career placements. College Readiness Helix High School: ADM is an early college high school; that is, a small autonomous school that blends high school and college into a coherent educational program. The school is designed for a student demographic who may very well be underrepresented or even absent at the university; it is designed for students who may have been or are being underserved in previous/current educational experiences. The high school program aims to prepare all students to undertake a four-year college or university career pathway. The curriculum is the Louisiana Core Curriculum. It is rigorous, demands high expectations, and provides the foundation for entry and success at the post-secondary level. A challenge that we will face, but we are confident we can overcome, is providing this intense curriculum to students who are struggling academically. Many students will be in need of remediation and support. To assist us in meeting the needs of our target population, we will partner with Career Compass, a successful non-profit organization in the region, which has dramatically increased the number of at-risk students accepted by colleges and universities. We have also planned our school calendar to have one week between each quarterly break dedicated to remediation and enrichment courses. We will create individual learning plans for students, continuously assess academic progress, and support to students to in achieving their success in high school, college, and beyond. In our effort to remove either real or perceived barriers to entering a university, Helix High School: ADM will familiarize students with the university campus. A common barrier to entering a university is the unfamiliarity with the university for many students from rural or low- income urban communities. The size alone of Louisianaʼs flagship university can be intimidating for students; early exposure to the campus and its students, teachers, and staff can create a smoother transition from high school to university for many students who might otherwise have perceived the university as out of reach, intimidating, and unfamiliar. By gaining frequent access to LSUʼs campus, students will have a much stronger connection to the environment for which Helix High School: ADM is preparing them. Helix High School: ADM will also adopt the early college school model to provide a supporting learning environment that incorporates effective instructional and structural practices 19. The four core principals of early college high schools are as follows: (1) a commitment to serving students underrepresented in higher education; (2) early college high schools are created and sustained by a local education agency, a higher education institution, and the community; all of whom are jointly accountable for student success; (3) early college high schools and their higher education partners and community jointly develop an integrated academic program so all students earn one to two years of transferable college credit leading to college completion; (4) early college schools engage all students in a comprehensive support System that develops academic and social skills as well as the behaviors and conditions necessary for 19 Early College High School Initiative Core Principals (2008) [on-line]. Available at: http://www.earlycolleges.org/Downloads/ECHSICorePrin.pdf Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 15 of 195
  15. 15. college completion; and (5) early college schools and their higher education and community partners work with intermediaries to create conditions and advocate for supportive policies that advance the early college movement. As an early college high school, Helix High School: ADM expects to experience the success of other such schools in preparing their students for postsecondary education.20 Students experience an orientation for development of personal responsibility. This orientation contributes to the self-management that is critical to success across all phases of learning. Adult-World Connection At Helix High School: ADM, the curriculum delivery and daily schedule will be similar to those that students would experience at the university level and will be delivered through integrated, project-based approaches. Like traditional schools, full-time teaching staff will teach students, but these teachers will receive support from industry and university representatives both in and outside of the classroom. Students will arrive at school at 9:30am each weekday and work until 5:30pm. For the most part, school will be in session year-round. Classrooms across grades will have small-group learning and project areas, ubiquitous wireless laptop access, and displayed prototypes and final projects. Students will experience some of their most valuable learning outside the school walls. For instance, field-trips to design studios and partnerships with media companies will provide students with hands on experiences that extend classroom learning into the real world. Additional outside of the classroom experiences will be offered in the 9th and 10th grade students. They will have opportunities to "shadow" an adult through a workday, perform community service in a group project, and engage in “power lunches” with outside adults on issues of interest. Juniors will complete a semester-long academic service learning project in a local business, industry, or non-profit. Seniors will develop substantial projects that will enable them to complete their academic requirements while working to address problems of community interest and concern. These projects will contribute to our regionʼs collective learning, such as the importance of “green” construction. Target Population In year one, the school will open enrollment to all students who are eligible for the 9th grade (according to Louisiana public education policy). We anticipate many applicants having a socio-economic background that might typically prevent them from enrolling in a rigorous, challenging high school curriculum if they were not selected to attend an academically challenging public high school. Helix High School: ADM will not preclude students who are not high academic achievers; we will work with all students to ensure academic success through remedial and enrichment programs. The middle schools targeted for recruitment will include those with high percentages of students eligible for free and reduced lunch. Once approved, Helix will work closely with East Baton Rouge Parish Schools to establish partnerships with neighboring school districts. The student enrollment goal for the first year is to serve a total of 125 freshmen students from East Baton Rouge and the larger Baton Rouge region including Ascension, City of Baker, Central, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, and Zachary Community Schools. Student admissions will be based on a lottery System. Each year Helix High School: ADM will use the sum total number of students served by each target district to calculate a percentage 20 Lieberman, Janet. “The Early College High School Concept: Requisites for Success.” Jobs for the Future. June 2004. <http://www.earlycolleges.org/Downloads/ECHSConcept.pdf>. Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 16 of 196
  16. 16. of spots available to students from each district 21. The schools are anticipated to reflect a student body similar in demographics to the districts from which the students will be drawn. All districts, with the exception of Ascension and Zachary Community Schools, serve above 50% at-risk students and minorities in public schools. Spaces remaining after the lottery will be filled by students from all areas in the larger waiting pool. Helix High School: ADM intends to give these students an opportunity for a rigorous, relevant, and engaging high school education, with the expectation that they will continue to a four-year university and complete a ADM curriculum. Evidence of Effectiveness on Target Population Serving at-risk students is central to our mandate and mission. Engaging students in a personalized way and providing relevance of academic coursework are two ways to significantly increase student cognitive retention in high school. Research has indicated that an interdisciplinary approach to education in at-risk student populations leads to positive academic achievement and improved student outcomes.22 These outcomes include: ! Improved student academic achievement ! Accelerated student academic achievement of low-income, ethnic and minority students ! Student academic engagement ! Improved student self-esteem and self-concept ! Reduced student behavior issues In schools with similar demographics to the proposed school, where teams of teachers cooperatively implemented interdisciplinary curriculum and instructional practices, such as thematic project-based learning and inquiry learning, studies have found higher student academic achievement compared to schools with traditional subject-centered curriculum and instructional practices.23 Other research has revealed that equity issues were improved when teams of teachers used practices from multiple disciplines in schools.24 Students achieved higher academic gains in schools where teachers were experienced in collectively using such practices. Beyond student academic achievement, researchers note other positive student outcomes related to teaching teams engaged in interdisciplinary approaches, including increased engagement, improved self-esteem and self-concept, and decreased negative behavior.25 Student motivation increases as rote learning and content coverage is de-emphasized and students are provided choice. Student learning in classrooms with an interdisciplinary approach emulates learning in natural situations such as apprenticeships. Research shows that technology integration offers at-risk students a differentiated and innovative learning experience that will improve their motivation and attitude toward education.26 In particular, one-to-one laptop ratio is shown to enhance learning programs in 21 In Year One, seats per district will be: Ascension 22.88% (29),Central 4.33% (5),East Baton Rouge 52.36% (65),Iberville 5.08% (6), Pointe Coupee 3.14% (4), West Baton Rouge 4.52% (6), Zachary Community Schools 5.51% (7), City of Baker 2.18%, (3). 22 Martin L. Maehr; Carol Midgley “Enhancing Student Motivation: A Schoolwide Approach,” Educational Psychologist (1991): V26.3 399-427. 23 Flowers, N., Mertens, S., & Mulhull, P. "The Impact of Teaming: Five Research-Based Outcomes." Middle School Journal (1999): 57-60. 24 Mertens, S, & Flowers, N. “Middle School Practices Improves Student Achievement in High Poverty Schools.” Middle School Journal (2003): 33-43 25 Felner, R., Jackson, A., & Kasak, D. “The Impact of School Reform for the Middle Years: Longitudinal Study of a Network Engaged in Turning Points-Based Comprehensive School Transformation.” Phi Delta Kappan (1997): 78, 528-532. 26 La, P. "One-to-one Laptop Programs." 2009. B. Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. <http://edweb.sdsu.edu/eet/articles/lptpprgrms/index.htm>. Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 17 of 195
  17. 17. preparing students of all socioeconomic statuses to succeed in the 21 st century workplace. Providing low-income students who normally would not have access to computers at home with laptops helps to minimize or close the “digital divide” and increase student achievement.27 Helix High School: ADM will participate in the one-to-one laptop program, with Netbook computers for all students and teachers in the school. This technology blends the affordability of portable devices with the power of desktop computers. Clear technology acceptable use agreements will ensure students are well trained and supported in their daily use of these devices. Meeting the Requirement to Serve At-Risk Students Helix High School: ADM will take every reasonable measure to ensure that all student needs are met. The school will team students with a staff advisor, who will monitor the studentʼs personal and academic development and serve as the point of contact for the family. Additionally Helix High School: ADM will put into place a counseling System to assist all students in preparing high quality applications for college, taking required exams, and ensuring they are aware of TOPS criteria to qualify for the scholarship completion of high school. Students with special needs will also receive individual attention in a full inclusion model. The high school will monitor student academic progress and create an individualized plan for each student to succeed in course passage, grade promotion, high school graduation, and university admission. To best serve all students, including the at-risk target population who may need remedial help in coursework to close the achievement gap, Helix High School: ADM teachers will create an individualized educational plan for each student, schedule weekly team planning time to discuss how to overcome learning challenges with students who need extra attention, and monitor progress toward academic achievement, as outlined in the TOPS curriculum. Helix High School: ADM will offer a variety of opportunities for remediation on an as-needed basis to students who require further support. Meeting the needs of at-risk students, in an effort toward retention, is central to our mandate and mission of providing a tuition-free, student-centered learning place that is a pathway to success for all students. Our recruitment efforts will not preclude any students of not applying to enroll in the school. We intend to undertake the following activities to reach prospective students: ! Brochures, pamphlets, and flyers (materials will be translated into relevant languages) ! Recruitment events ! Radio announcements and television commercials ! Phone banks ! Engaging community leaders ! Strategic participation in community events ! Partner with local community organizations, recreation centers, churches ! Post information in middle schools For those students who are recruited and successfully enroll in the school through the lottery System, we bring relevance to learning. Helix High School: ADM will familiarize students with local industries, showing the students how to apply classroom learning to real world, engaging projects. Students will have the opportunity to interact with successful adults who are industry representatives and content specialists in the fields of study that students are learning about. Students will be encouraged to ask these adults questions and learn more about careers of interest in the industry. The students will be able to apply knowledge obtained from coursework to co- and extra-curricular activities, which will reinforce the relevance of their 27 Hug, Sarah T. and Andrew A. Zucker. "A Study of the 1:1 Laptop Program at the Denver School of Science & Technology." December 2007. Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). <http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/3d/10/8c.pdf>. Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 18 of 195
  18. 18. curriculum to real world applications. Enrollment Projection Chart Grade Level Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Freshmen 125 125 125 125 125 Sophomores 0 125 125 125 125 Juniors 0 0 125 125 125 Seniors 0 0 0 125 125 TOTAL 125 250 375 500 500 Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 19 of 195
  19. 19. EDUCATION PROGRAM Educational Philosophy, Curriculum, and Instruction OVERVIEW The success of tomorrow demands schools to transition from traditional methods of teaching to innovative approaches that help students understand how to process complex information and making sound decisions quickly. As schools work to prepare students for success in rapidly changing industries, and for jobs that may not exist today, conventional boundaries among subjects are neither sufficient, nor appropriate to prepare students for the challenges they will face as adults. To meet these needs, project-based inquiry approaches to teaching will drive the curriculum for Helix High School: ADM. Arbitrary separations between subject areas will dissolve as students work toward developing solutions to authentic, community and industry problems within an interdisciplinary, solution-based learning environment. Helix High School: ADM will work with freshmen and sophomores to build a foundation of knowledge and a deep understanding of coursework needed for high school students. During these years, students will work on becoming masters in core curriculum competencies. Accelerated opportunities will be available for students who advance through the core curriculum at a faster rate; they will have the option of dual- or concurrent- enrollment at the university in their last two years of high school. Recognizing the variance in student learning styles, motivations, and backgrounds, faculty will use technology as a tool to enhance instruction and will closely monitor and frequently assess studentsʼ progress to ensure comprehension of the taught material. Students will enter Helix High School: ADM at varying levels of proficiency. The inclusive learning environment will require teamwork from students, made up of students with varying degrees of talents in different subject areas, collaborating on projects. The school calendar allows for two-week break periods between each ten-week quarter. One of the two-weeks will be dedicated to remediation and enrichment for students. The junior and senior years will continue to offer courses in the core curriculum, while allowing students to begin to specialize in the areas in which they have the most interest and skills. Student service learning projects will be available for students in their junior year. Those who have chosen an accelerated path will have the option to matriculate in dual or concurrent enrollment courses. We anticipate that dual and concurrent enrollment options will include, but are not limited to, College Algebra, Calculus, College Biology, College Chemistry, Computer Science, and Environmental Systems. To fulfill the mission of preparing students for LSU ADM majors, Helix High School: ADM is creating a collegiate learning environment within the school. There will be no bells in the school; students will be dismissed from class verbally at the appointed time and expected to arrive promptly at the next class. Similarly, students will have an open lunch hour, and will be permitted to use downtown food vendors. Students are responsible for arriving back at the campus in time for class after leaving the building for lunch. This sense of personal responsibility and culture of high expectations will prepare students to be responsible in the university, in their daily lives, and in their careers. Helix High School: ADM is also partnering with LSU to provide outreach to enhance the Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 20 of 195
  20. 20. learning experience for students at the school. The LSU/Helix partnership is two-fold, first LSU will offer services such as providing expertise from the university to help align university coursework with high school classes and to provide consultation to teachers on complex student projects. Secondly, our students will have access to LSUʼs campus. During their junior and senior years, students who have reached a specified level of academic proficiency will have the option to participate in certain dual- or concurrent-enrollment courses at LSU. The early access to university coursework will put high school students on a fast track to graduating from the university, thereby encouraging them to apply for enrollment in the university and promoting retention following acceptance. Instructional Methods Throughout studentsʼ tenure at Helix High School: ADM, their teachers will deliver methods of instruction that support the need for developing 21st century skills. Such skills include components of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), using technology in instruction as a tool for learning and developing digital literacy, and developing soft skills. As mentioned before, the basic components of ICT are: (1) finding out information; (2) developing ideas and making things happen; (3) exchanging and sharing information; and (4) reviewing, modifying, and evaluating work in process. Since the mission of the school is to prepare students for the university and careers in the ADM fields, teachers will use methods of instruction that encourage students to develop skills that are built upon the ICT components, as well as digital literacy and soft skill proficiencies. To do this, teachers will instruct students in a way that is more like coaching than dictating. Students will be encouraged to research and experiment independently in order to complete the projects necessary for promotion. Teachers will design projects that promote student ownership and responsibility for learning, while allowing students to meet grade level equivalencies defined by the Louisiana Core Curriculum Content Standards. An example of a project that a teacher may design would be for students to test soil samples at the levee near the Mississippi to understand the impact that pollution is having on the environment. Students would learn about the river, which may be part of geography, social studies, or a history course. At the same time, they may be building an understanding of biology and/or chemistry concepts with their science teacher. As part of the project, students may also be required to write a report on their findings. This part of the project might be led by the English Language Arts teacher and/or an elective teacher, depending on the electives offered that year. Instruction will be delivered in inquiry- and problem-based methods that require students to think critically and engage in knowledge seeking activities. Since technology is an integral piece of the curriculum and instruction, students will employ the internetʼs vast resources, while learning more about the tool that they are using to foster critical, innovative ideas to take full advantage of technology. Students must then demonstrate learning through presentations and other means of voicing what they have learned. Students will have a certain level of creative freedom to develop their own ideas within the parameters set by the curriculum and grade level equivalencies. Students will graduate with the tools to find information that may inspire ideas and the technical skills and knowledge to bring their ideas to fruition. This is the second component of ICT learning, which requires students to develop ideas and make things happen. An example of this would involve a group of students working together to compete against their classmates to develop the most effective pulley System. They are given a variety of items that could be fashioned into a pulley System. Rather than create a number of different pulley Systems, and test their effectiveness, they decide to use computer visualization techniques to simulate the pulley System. They donʼt know how to use the visualization software or what product to use, so they research the various types of software and teach themselves to use it. Students will be encouraged to develop the soft skills of self-motivated learning and knowledge-seeking to find out how to use Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 21 of 195
  21. 21. technology to complete their project. The knowledge that they acquire, coupled with staff support and creative ideas that students develop on their own, will result in the studentsʼ making this happen. Instructional methods in the classroom will also encourage students to exchange and share information, which is the third ICT component. The use of technology in the classroom will assist students in sharing and exchanging information. Teachers will be encouraged to use social networking tools, publish personal websites, and create digital portfolios to serve as models for sharing information. Teachers will also coach students on exchanging and sharing information. Students will develop strong communication skills as they exchange and share information to work on their projects effectively and efficiently, with the help of their teacher. Students will be required to share information learned by creating presentations. Not only will these presentations serve as a learning opportunity for the other students, they will also allow the presenting students to augment their professionalism and public communication skills. Before projects are complete and students present what they have learned, they will undertake a process of reviewing, modifying, and evaluating their work. This review process requires critical thinking, discipline, and consciousness of deadlines. Instruction by teachers will encourage this process; for example, teachers may require students to report on a project in four phases. Teachers would provide students with guidance in performing a critical review and modifications to their projects. This process will help students gain skills that will be useful in college studies, and in the workplace. Evidence of Effectiveness Interdisciplinary Approach Interdisciplinary curriculum is "any curriculum that deliberately links content and modes of inquiry normally associated with more than one of the scholarly disciplines”.28 It is a curriculum approach that is key to project-based learning, and it is effective because it promotes a deeper understanding of all subject content areas. Projects that are taught in Helix High School: ADM will be cross-curricular and will require students to employ the four basic components of ICT, just as projects in the university, workplace, and adult world are completed. Technology enhances the studentʼs ability to complete a high quality final product, and to understand how as a tool technology can help students find solutions. Research has indicated that an interdisciplinary approach to education leads to positive student outcomes including the following: ! Improved student academic achievement ! Accelerated student academic achievement of low income, ethnic and minority students ! Student academic engagement ! Improved student self-esteem and self-concept ! Reduced student behavior issues Students achieved higher academic gains in schools where teachers were experienced in using such practices. Critical caveats to these findings are the importance of common planning time for teachers when engaging in interdisciplinary work, as well as structuring student schedules to allow teams of teachers to work with a common set of students. When school organize curriculum, instruction and structural components around a multidisciplinary research there are positive outcomes for teachers and overall school effectiveness. The interdisciplinary approach has a strong theoretical foundation and a growing research base for positive student and school outcomes. 28 Vars, G. F. (1993). Interdisciplinary teaching: Why and how. Columbus, OH: National Middle School Association. Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 22 of 195
  22. 22. Project-based Inquiry Learning A fundamental component of an interdisciplinary approach is project-based inquiry learning. Such learning requires students to think deeply about what they learn and build knowledge relevant to their lives. Good questions open our minds, allow us to consider a wide range of possible responses, options and solutions, and foster receptivity to alternate possibilities, thereby offering a space for generating even further options. Both interdisciplinary teaching approaches and inquiry-based teaching are heavily dependent on administrative leadership and teachers skilled in providing the necessary opportunities and conditions. Helix High School: ADM will target recruitment of teachers to hire teachers who have experience working in project-based learning environments. Prior to the schoolʼs opening, teachers will participate in professional development activities that help them develop and build on skills for teaching approaches that will be expected throughout the year. Once the school opens, teachers will receive ongoing professional development to further develop these skills. Helix High School: ADM is designed for team teaching, which will also help teachers develop projects and deliver teaching approaches that are expected to teach students within the school. Inquiry learning boosts student performance and attitude toward learning, particularly in science and math, and subjects that demand verbal and written communication.29 Moreover, inquiry develops a confluence of skills, knowledge, and dispositions in a way that demands a connection to real life. Seeking solutions to authentic and personally meaningful questions, students engage in inquiry through extended investigation, questioning, collaboration, and the use of technology. Inquiry learning is advocated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Research Council, and the International Society for Technology in Education. Integrated Technology Technology-rich curriculum produces better results for all students by creating engaging, personalized, and productive learning.30 Technology will be used in all academic activities as a tool to enhance exploration, investigation, and intellectual discourse. Integrated technology will transform those approaches, resulting in “transliteracy.” Transliteracy is effective communication that requires reading, writing, and interacting across multiple media and social platforms.31 Technology will also serve as a means of supporting students and measuring student performance. Helix High School: ADM is designed to include a one-to-one laptop program for students and teachers so that visual, hands-on learning opportunities will be available across the curriculum. The proposed school is expected to use Netbook devices, rather than laptops, which are much more affordable, lightweight, and provide many features that will benefit student learning. Another tool that will further integrate technology for a student is the use of Appleʼs iPod Touch. With the rapid creation of applications, students will be able to follow and/or create blogs, listen to podcasts (or create his/her own!), search the dictionary, use a scientific calculator, or freely listen to iTunes University options—to name just a few. The technology-focused curriculum will enable mass distribution of educational models and results, ensure a high probability of student engagement and regular school attendance, and allow students to learn at their own pace, thus fostering a deep understanding of the core curriculum. Todayʼs students face technology opportunities previous generations could only imagine. The 29 Borasi, R. (1992). Learning mathematics through inquiry. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 30 “Overview of Technology and Education Reform.” U.S. Department of Education. July 2009. <http://www.ed.gov/pubs/EdReformStudies/EdTech/overview.html#goals2000>. 31 KnowledgeWorks Foundation. “2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning.” 2009. <www.futureofed.org>. Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 23 of 195
  23. 23. acceleration of technology has allowed for rapid dissemination and application of information, especially within the fields of science and mathematics. Meaningful integration of technology enhances learning experiences.32 LOUISIANA CORE CURRICULUM The Louisiana Grade Level Expectations and Louisiana Core Curriculum underpin the overall structure of the curriculum and provide the basic foundation for the core subject areas that will be taught. The Louisiana Core Curriculum (LCC) is aligned with national standards, which effectively align the aforementioned components. In many respects, the expectations of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education are equal to, if not greater than, the expectations of most states in regard to accountability. For these reasons, Helix High School: ADM will use the Louisiana Core Curriculum to teach the state content standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Scope and Sequence Freshman Year: Students will have multiple real-world opportunities to study and integrate Algebra I, Physical Science, Technology, and Engineering concepts that incorporate causal research strategies (e.g., Cothernʼs Four Question Research Strategy33). During the course of the year, students will learn how to collect, display, and analyze data and report their research findings. Some of these investigations will occur outside of the classroom at a local field site. For example, students may investigate the scientific and mathematical dynamics at a water park. They will be expected to choose a Capstone Scientific Research (CSR) project that interests them and capitalizes on the phenomena identified at the water park. Ninth grade technology, science, and mathematics proficiencies will be integrated into these field-based projects and research experiences. Ideas that span these three areas may include digital operations and concepts, investigations in energy, force and motion, solving basic equations, identifying independent/dependent variables from scientific and algebraic perspectives, and modeling real life relationships in linear functions. Since students will most likely be unaccustomed to project-based inquiry methods, it is anticipated that the 9 th grade year will be an adjustment period as students learn to meet the expectations of rigorous self-directed projects. Sophomore Year: While the content areas will address Biology I, Geometry, Technology, and Engineering, the inquiry-based methodology will emphasize descriptive research strategies. The LSU lakes, the Baton Rouge Recreation and Parks Commission Blackwater Conservation Area, or a water purification plant will serve as possible field study sites. Deductive and inductive reasoning premises, along with dimensional structures in geometry, will complement the biological investigations. Technology and engineering applications will use models and simulations to explore these complex Systems and issues. The research methods will build on causal strategies introduced in the previous year and will highlight more qualitative approaches to research. The research methods will include collecting data to yield new information, generating better questions, and learning to synthesize emerging patterns that lead to new questions and further investigations. Junior Year: Recognizing that students may be enrolled in a variety of science and mathematics courses to meet their own needs and interests, the junior year content courses will target correlation research strategies that complement the content area and explore relationships among variables at field study sites. For example, chemistry students might 32 Newby, T., Stepich, D. Lehman, J. & Russell, J.(2006). Educational technology for teaching and learning. (3rd ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Merril, Prentice Hall. 33 Cothron, Giese, and Rezba, Students and Research, 2000 Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 24 of 195
  24. 24. engage in studies related to a chemical plant, while physics students might engage in research related to the Livingston Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). Engineering concepts and technology standards that emphasize communication and teamwork will be embedded in projects and assessments throughout the year. Examples will include collaborating and publishing with peers and experts and employing a variety of digital media to communicate information effectively to multiple audiences. Senior Year: In their senior years, students will continue to diverge and specialize in areas based on their interests. The content courses will provide opportunities for students to design and carry out creative, complex field investigations that draw upon previously mastered content and research methodologies. Junior and senior level students will use increasingly sophisticated technology and tools to collect, analyze, and synthesize data and share their results. It is anticipated that seniors will rely more heavily on mentors as they progress through high school, with the senior year showing the most growth and maturity. They will have the experience and knowledge to use critical thinking skills, plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Graduating seniors will exhibit model leadership qualities and have the communication, content, and research backgrounds to enter the next phase of their lives well prepared for the postsecondary and career paths they have chosen. Helix High School: ADM will take every reasonable measure to ensure that all student needs are met. The school will team students with a staff advisor, who will monitor the studentʼs personal and academic development and serve as the point of contact for the family. Additionally Helix High School: ADM will put into place a counseling System to assist all students in preparing high quality applications for college, taking required exams, and ensuring they are aware of TOPS criteria to qualify for the scholarship completion of high school. Students with special needs will also receive individual attention in a full inclusion model. The high school will monitor student academic progress and create an individualized plan for each student to succeed in course passage, grade promotion, high school graduation, and university admission. To best serve all students, including the at-risk target population who may need remedial help in coursework to close the achievement gap, Helix High School: ADM teachers will create an individualized educational plan for each student, schedule weekly team planning time to discuss how to overcome learning challenges with students who need extra attention, and monitor progress toward academic achievement, as outlined in the TOPS curriculum. Helix High School: ADM will offer a variety of opportunities for remediation on an as-needed basis to students who require further support. MEASURABLE ACADEMIC GOALS OF HELIX HIGH SCHOOL: ADM Goals and Criteria for Measuring Academic Viability Criterion: Attendance Students regularly come to school on time: ! Year 1: Tardiness < 15%, ADA = 90% ! Year 2: Tardiness < 12%, ADA = 91% ! Year 3: Tardiness < 10%, ADA = 92% ! Year 4: Tardiness < 8%, ADA = 93% ! Year 5: Tardiness < 5%, ADA = 95% Criterion: State Assessments Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 25 of 195
  25. 25. Students show comprehension of Louisiana State Standards: ! Year 1: Freshmen: > 50% score “Basic” or above on iLeap ! Year 2: Freshmen: > 53% score “Basic” or above on iLeap Sophomore > 70% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Math, English) s: ! Year 3: Freshmen: > 55% score “Basic” or above on iLeap Sophomore > 73% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Math, English) s: Juniors: > 70% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Science, Social Studies) ! Year 4: Freshmen: > 60% score “Basic” or above on iLeap Sophomore > 77% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Math, English) s: Juniors: > 75% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Science, Social Studies) Seniors: > 90% score on Capstone Project > 90 % on-time graduation ! Year 5: Freshmen: > 65% score “Basic” or above on iLeap Sophomore > 77% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Math, English) s: Juniors: > 78% score “Basic” or above on GEE (Science, Social Studies) Seniors: > 90% score on Capstone Project > 90% on-time graduation. Criterion: Benchmarking Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 26 of 195
  26. 26. Students indicate growth among the following assessments: Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), End-of-Course Assessments, and Presentations of Learning (POLs). Year NWEA End-of-Course Exam POLs 1 Set Benchmark Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% 2 10 point gain Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% 3 8 point gain Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% 4 5 point gain Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% 5 3 point gain Passage: > 80% Score: > 80% Criterion: Promotion There is steady growth in percentage of students who enter a grade in year one and are promoted to the next grade in year two. ! Year 1: Freshmen: 75+% ! Year 2: Freshmen: 78+% Sophomore 75+% s: ! Year 3: Freshmen: 80+% Sophomore 80+% s: Juniors: 80+% ! Year 4: Freshmen: 82+% Sophomore 80+% s: Juniors: 85+% ! Year 5 Freshmen: 85+% Sophomore 85+% s: Juniors: 90+% Criterion: Teacher Retention The school retains teachers so there is little attrition, and little disruption in advisor/advisee process. ! Year 1: Retention = 70+ % ! Year 2: Retention = 75+ % ! Year 3: Retention = 80+ % ! Year 4: Retention = 85+ % ! Year 5 Retention = 90+ % Criterion: Parent Involvement Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 27 of 195
  27. 27. The school regularly engages parents/families as evidenced by the following data: (a) parent attendance at quarterly benchmarking conferences; (b) completion of two volunteer hours monthly; (c) attendance of parents at sub-committee meetings (led by a parent who serves on Helix Board); (d) completion of two home visits a year. . Year 1 (a) = > 50% (b) = > 25% (c) = > 10% (d) = > 50% Year 2 (a) = > 60% (b) = > 35% (c) = > 20% (d) = > 60% Year 3 (a) = > 70% (b) = > 40% (c) = > 30% (d) = > 65% Year 4 (a) = > 80% (b) = > 45% (c) = > 40% (d) = > 70% Year 5 (a) = > 80% (b) = > 50% (c) = > 50% (d) = > 75% Criterion: Stakeholder Satisfaction The school provides a voice to its students, parents/families, teachers, staff, volunteers, and industry and community partners to receive guidance about the quality of the schoolʼs services through surveys that are administered in the 2nd and 4th quarters. Surveys have a scale of 0 – 3, where 0 represents “extremely dissatisfied,” and 3 represents “extremely satisfied.” ! Q2 survey averages will equal 1.5 or higher each year ! Q4 survey averages will equal 2.5 or higher each year Monitoring and Reporting We believe that instructional methods and practices and effective delivery of the Louisiana Core Curriculum are vital to academic success. We will hold our school leaders accountable for instructional methods and practices and effective delivery of the Louisiana Core Curriculum by regular interim monitoring of the progress of the school toward its established annual goals as outlined in the charter. The Executive Director and the Director of Achievement will report monthly to the Helix Board on observations and student academic progress to determine improvement needs. The school's instructional methods and practices focus on students working in collaborative teams on authentic projects with real-world connections. This is a shift from high-stakes testing preparation, and therefore requires authentic measures appropriate to this pedagogical focus. Progress, then, is measured in a multimodal fashion including, but not limited to, feedback from teachers, students, and parents; presentations of learning; exhibitions of projects; and demonstration of learning in class. School performance will be evaluated through national and state comparison of standardized testing, student attrition rates, teacher satisfaction, family satisfaction, and community satisfaction as measured through surveys. Additionally, the high school will use monthly monitoring reports (third party consulting company) and annual external educational audits (measurements produced by an external evaluator). In the event that monthly and/or quarterly monitoring shows that progress toward the goals is not being made, the Director of Achievement will conduct a review to determine if the School Improvement Plan should be revised. If so, an effective implementation will begin immediately (see Appendix Strategic Achievement Plan.) If the school finds itself in any year in AUS1 (Academically Unacceptable School First Year), it will adhere to all the requirements of the Louisiana Accountability System. We believe that the school leader drives the success of the school, and we are committed to sourcing the best possible instructional leadership for the proposed school. We support school leaders in line with the ISLLC (Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium) standards for educational leaders, coupled with ongoing coaching and professional Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 28 of 195
  28. 28. development opportunities each month led by local and national experts in the areas of instructional leadership and school reform. While understanding the need for consistency, we will make changes in the leadership if evidence shows that the individual at the helm is not performing to the standards and expectations set forth by the Executive Director and the Helix Board of Directors. Students with Exceptionalities COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS Helix High School: ADM will comply with the laws governing the education of children with disabilities; i.e., the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. §§1400-1485, and Louisianaʼs Education of Children with Exceptionalities Act, LA R.S. 17:1941 et seq. The school and its educational partners understand the mandate of these laws, which stipulate that charter schools, like traditional schools, must provide children with disabilities a free, appropriate public education that includes them in regular classrooms to the greatest extent possible. We also understand that charter schools, as the local educational agencies or LEAs, are legally responsible for putting all of the necessary Systems in place to ensure that children with disabilities enjoy this right to a free, appropriate public education. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 reinforce the central idea of IDEA: to the maximum extent possible, a school must include children with disabilities in its regular activities and curriculum. The ADA requires schools to modify its physical facilities to provide students with disabilities the greatest possible access. Section 504 requires schools to actively seek out and identify children with disabilities so that it may provide them with the free and appropriate public education required by IDEA. Services Helix High School: ADM intends to respond to the needs of students with disabilities in ways that will enable them to achieve to the best of their abilities. Services will generally include specially designed instruction, program modifications, classroom accommodation, and supplementary learning aids and services. If students need additional services in line with special education, Helix High School: ADM will directly provide them or coordinate to find a provider. Special education services will include, but will not be limited to: ! Speech, occupational or physical therapy ! Interpreters ! Medical services ! Orientation and mobility services ! Adaptive physical education ! Parent counseling and training in support of the IEP ! Psychological or counseling services ! Recreation services ! Rehabilitation ! Social work services ! Transportation Helix High School: ADM will directly provide all services to the maximum extent of our resources and capabilities, and as they relate to the fair and equitable provision of our student academic achievement program. Third-party contracts will be enacted in some cases. Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 29 of 195
  29. 29. Personnel Devoted to Students with Disabilities The school design and staffing will provide Special Education staff. Professional development will be provided to both the Special Education staff and regular teaching staff who are assigned to instruct students identified as having a disability. To accomplish this objective, the school will: ! Contract a third party IEP Site Facilitator ! Develop a school-wide strategic plan that covers: ! Identification and evaluation of students with disabilities ! Development and implementation of IEPs ! Integration of students with disabilities into regular classrooms ! Communication with parents of students with disabilities ! Provision of appropriate training for each regular education teacher who serves a student with special needs in his/her regular classroom ! Provide each teacher with Special Education training no later than 10 days after a student with a disability is placed in his or her classroom ! Ensure that each teacher receives a signed copy of the studentʼs IEP no later than 5 days before the student is placed in his or her class ! Inform teachers that they have the right to participate on the IEP team of any student in their classrooms ! Inform teachers that they have the right to call an IEP team meeting about any student in their classrooms when they have good reason to do so ! Respect the law that makes it illegal for a school to require any regular education teacher to perform any health or medical procedures for a student with disabilities (although a teacher may, if s/he wishes, perform such services after proper training) IEP Assessment, Review, Revision, and Implementation Identification Process Identification, goal setting, and implementation of the Individualized Education Plan are the keys to providing children with disabilities an academic program that will improve their likelihood of success. Helix High School: ADM and its educational partners understand that a child with a disability is any child who meets both of the following criteria: ! S/he has a specific and identifiable learning disability, severe developmental delay, mental or physical impairment, or serious emotional disturbance ! This disability affects his or her ability to participate in the schoolʼs normal curriculum As a result the school will: ! Establish an in-school committee to handle all special education referrals. This committee will include the principal or his/her designee, at least one general education teacher, and at least one special education teacher ! Develop an internal referral policy: ! Train teachers to recognize signs of common disabilities ! Encourage teachers to report suspected cases of students with disabilities ! Provide a standard internal referral form ! For each referral, call a meeting of the in-school committee that must also include the referring teacher Within 10 days of a referral, the committee will meet and decide whether to evaluate the student. If a parent requests an evaluation, the school will initiate the internal referral process and conduct an evaluation as indicated by the referral process. To ensure that there is a consistent and effective method for evaluating students suspected of having a disability, the school will collaborate on the development of an evaluation policy: Helix High School: ADM – Charter Proposal Page 30 of 195

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