Mission and Philosophy
Helios School students develop...
- a life-long love of learning that is internally motivated and self-directed
- academic skills and self-discipline
- a positive sense of self
- respect and empathy for others
...to thrive in and contribute to a dynamic, interconnected world.
The Helios Philosophy Statement
Helios serves gifted learners across the “giftedness” spectrum, including exceptionally gifted and profoundly gifted learners. Our understanding of giftedness is based on the definition developed by the Columbus Group (the leading researchers group in gifted education): "Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. The uniqueness of our learners renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching, and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.” Gifted learners often experience “asynchrony”- uneven emotional, intellectual and even physical development.
Our program is designed to educate the whole child, to instill a positive sense of one’s authentic self, and to provide safe space for our learners to express themselves and take intellectual risks, while developing respect and empathy for others. Because gifted learners experience heightened sensory sensitivity and emotional intensity, we integrate social-emotional learning (SEL) throughout the school’s academic curriculum and culture. We share the SEL program with members of the Helios community to ensure deeper engagement with the program and to support the needs of our students, fostering youth voice, agency, and engagement.
Our culture is rooted in the shared value of authenticity. Helios is a place where all community members can enjoy being their authentic selves. We believe authenticity comes from understanding and accepting oneself and is the basis of self-respect; self-respect is the foundation of a productive and fulfilling life and is, along with empathy and kindness, the key to successful relationships.
Our theme-based expeditionary curriculum is designed to promote the broadest search for knowledge and depth of understanding, while supporting the development of academic skills. Our educational program inspires discovery through outdoor education, meaningful exploration and real world connections, meeting our learners’ need for a rigorous and generative education.
Helios seeks to meet the learners where they are, addressing their shifting social-emotional, intellectual and learning needs in a climate that grows and changes with them. Our educators have a deep understanding of giftedness and empathize with the challenges our learners face. They use a child-centered approach, giving credence to learners’ ideas, thoughts and feelings. Our educators play a central role in creating an inspiring curriculum that encourages learners to grow and develop by empowering them to take initiative, think critically, collaborate and be accountable for the results. They are guided by principles of restorative justice to resolve conflicts and strengthen relationships in the community.
Helios recognizes the many inequities present in the world around us, and how these inequities create varied challenges for our students and families inside and outside the classroom. We also recognize that accessing specialized education for gifted students is a privilege that should be -- but unfortunately is not -- available to students of all communities and across socioeconomic classes. We seek to understand these inequities, and through our hiring, admissions and curriculum we aim to create a more inclusive, mutually caring community that celebrates our collective differences.