Charter schools are independently-operated public schools that have the freedom to tailor their curriculum, academic focus, discipline policy and other matters that are generally decided at the school district level.
Helix Charter High School is a comprehensive high school, located in La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego. Helix has served its community as a traditional public high school from 1951 - 1996, then as a public charter school from 1998 to present. Helix was the first public comprehensive high school in California to convert to a charter high school, and while much about the educational program has changed to best serve the student population, the tradition of the school has remained. Helix boasts a history of academic excellence; outstanding arts, athletics, and activities; and it continues to serve as a community school, while welcoming those in the surrounding areas through its charter status.
To those stepping on campus for the first time, Helix appears much like any typical high school. With an enrollment of 2,400-2,500, the Helix student population is wonderfully diverse, and they are supported by approximately 200 staff members. The school has been upgraded and renovated through two school bond measures, strongly supported by East County voters, resulting in a campus with a solid infrastructure, and state-of-the art facilities. Recent additions include a new Science building with built-in lab stations, a 36,000 square foot Performing Arts Center, and a Sports Medicine facility. Beyond the new buildings, the already-existing facilities were upgraded substantially.
While a good first impression is always important, the real difference at Helix comes from years of innovation and collaboration to create an educational program that sets high standards for all students, while supporting their social and emotional needs. Helix's mission is to provide a comprehensive education that prepares all students to graduate college-ready and equipped to reach their personal and academic potential. While not all students need to attend college in order to be successful, Helix's educational program provides students with an education that prepares them for all options following graduation, whether that be attending a two- or four-year college or university, entering the workforce, joining the military, or attending a trade school.
To graduate from Helix Charter High School, all students must complete a rigorous set of requirements - receiving a diploma from Helix ensures that students have met the minimum course requirements to be eligible to apply to the California State University and University of California systems. Helix's programs also ensure that students have a choice to develop skills through elective programs and a Career Technical Education (CTE) program. Currently, Helix offers programs in Biotechnology, Business/Entrepreneurship, Education, and Sports Medicine. Students have the ability to participate in a myriad of athletic and performing arts programs, as well.
As a charter school, Helix has the ability to design and implement programs to serve our students well. Through years of evaluation and development, our policies and programs, all part of "The Highlander Way", have proven to be integral to Helix’s success.