- Designed to Meet the Educational and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students
- An Intentionally Small, Connected, and Caring Community
- A Passionate Faculty, Invested in our Mission
- An Engaging Program, Providing Depth and Complexity
- Voice, Agency, and Meaningful Learning
- Fully Accredited by CAIS
Refreshingly free of rigidity, our school is suffused with a thoughtful, compassionate culture where out-of-the-box thinking is celebrated. We provide a truly compelling and compassionate education for gifted students, helping them harness their talents and grow into confident, caring, competent individuals. Gifted children thrive in a warm and kind learning environment where they feel safe to take emotional and academic risks.
We’re a K-8 school of about 110 students on a spacious, four-acre campus. Our school culture is authentic, unpretentious and relationship-driven. Walk around and you’ll sense the intellectual and emotional vibrancy of our students’ days as they interact and problem-solve with other students, staff and families. You might see a middle school student facilitating a Ga-Ga game for kindergarteners, our Director of Technology popping in on a science class as a guest expert, or a parent serving as judge in a middle school mock trial. It's all part of a close-knit, connected community that we work hard together to create.
Our Helios faculty and staff comprise a cohesive, positive community of professional educators who are passionately devoted to providing exceptional experiences for gifted children. Supportive of one another, and embodying lifelong learning, our teachers have high standards for performance and integrity — not just for their students, but also for themselves. Our teachers hold degrees in education and other professional fields and participate in continual professional development, presenting at conferences of the National Association of Gifted Children and the National Association of Independent Schools.
When we hire faculty, we look not just for subject matter expertise, but for kindness, approachability, and a student-centered, collaborative philosophy of education. Our teachers are not simply expert educators but also models for their students of how to live and work as gifted adults.
Gifted learners thrive in a climate of intellectual depth and complexity. Our curriculum is built around this axiom, providing students the opportunity for independent and collaborative work with true cognitive peers across the K-8 spectrum.
Students at our school learn in mixed-grade groups, in home room and in specialized subjects. After Kindergarten, classes are grouped in two-year grade spans (1st/2nd, 3rd/4th etc). In specialized classes like math, class placement is based on learning needs rather than grade level. Our semester-long science and humanities themes are project- and inquiry-based, asking students to produce thoughtful and authentic work such as self-published short stories, ecosystem games, and expert debates.
We know that gifted students require voice and agency in their own education. We provide this throughout class work, as well as from programs such as our Imagine Lab, Wilderness Village, Community Meeting, Electives, and Passion Projects. Helios students know how to help a friend set up a tent in the rain, how to safely operate a miter saw, and how to stand up and confidently present their original research to a group of peers and adults.
We also know that academic knowledge and intellectual talent are far more meaningful when coupled with a commitment to kindness and social justice. This value is interwoven into our program and curriculum to encourage students to use their learning to enrich the lives of both their own families and the larger community.
School accreditation is a peer-review process that fosters excellence in education and encourages school improvement through discovery, dialogue, compliance, and commitment. Accreditation enables a member school to develop clearly defined goals and objectives based on its mission and philosophy.
The accreditation process is designed to assist a school in engaging the energies of all community members in reviewing and clarifying the school's purpose and goals for students, and in developing plans to accomplish these goals. The school also develops measurements that show the degree to which its goals for students are achieved. Because each school community is unique, the accreditation process permits the school to use considerable flexibility in its approach to the self-study yet still be linked to sound components of a quality self-assessment.
Through the completion of the accreditation process the schools will have:
- involved the school community in a collaborative way;
- clarified the school's purpose and its goals for its students--and the programs, people, and facilities that support them;
- assessed all aspects of the school's operations, the student program and its impact on student personal and academic growth with respect to the criteria and standards;
- developed a Future Planning Document, as well as an accountability system for monitoring the plan's implementation.
To become a full member of CAIS, schools must have received accreditation by the Association. The accreditation process includes a written self-study based on 16 standards with responses to questions about every aspect of the school. This report is followed by an on-site visit by a team of educators who look into every aspect of the school's programs and operations to assess its effectiveness in fulfilling the school's stated purposes.
Although schools are accredited for a maximum period of seven years, they must complete an interim review midway between accreditation visits. The interim report addresses the school's progress in responding to the major recommendations of the visiting committee and the advancement made on its Future Planning Document.
CAIS offers joint accreditation with the following accrediting bodies:
For more information, contact the CAIS office at email@example.com.