“It was a measure passed by voters in Oregon to set aside money for CTE, graduation, and college prep,” said Helix Superintendent/Principal Darrick Cope.
Oregon Ballot Measure 98 was a ballot measure passed in the 2016 election. The measure required state funding for dropout prevention and career/college readiness programs in high schools.
Thanks to Measure 98, Helix High School is receiving $48,000 for the next two years to increase graduation rates and further college prep programs. “In an effort to achieve both college prep and graduation, we’re paying for all the Eastern Promise classes, Distance Learning, Retrieval classes, and CTE classes,” said Cope. The school hopes to help kids realize that using their brains and abilities to their advantage will help them in their future.
Oregon is currently ranked 48th out of 50 nationwide in graduation rates. With hopes that Ballot Measure 98 will help fix that, schools all over Oregon are receiving money of varying amounts to help increase their graduation rates and help prep students for college.
Helix School plans to use this money to help students discover what they want to do in the future or to at least help them pass their classes so they can move on to their future. “It allows those kids who want to take a class we don't offer, the school will pay for it. Once they find that interest, it helps them have a better idea of what they want to do when they graduate,” said Helix School Board Member Keith Stahancyk.
Helix’s share of the money is paying for Distance Learning fees which is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a school. Traditionally, this usually involves correspondence courses wherein the student corresponded with the school via computers or the internet. Classes taken through the Oregon Virtual Education Network (ORVED) currently run $325 per semester course.
Funds are also paying for Eastern Promise classes which are college classes taken in the traditional classroom taught by Helix High School teachers. Through Eastern Promise classes, students earn college credit while in high school. These courses now cost $20 per credit, making a typical 4 credit class cost $80.
Helix is also funding Credit Retrieval classes which are classes that students are re-taking to meet graduation requirements. These courses are currently accessed using Acellus provided by the Inter Mountain Educational Service District.
Finally, Helix offers CTE courses in Business and Finance that help students connect what they’re learning to the real world. These courses can help students gain key skills to help them get a job after they graduate. Several CTE courses are currently offered at Helix, including Business Computers, Desktop Publishing, Personal Finance, and Accounting.
These classes are a great way to explore career options and meet the people who work in them. Students are able to earn college credit in high school in a variety of CTE courses. These courses currently cost $20 per credit. “Any class that you want to take that you find interesting the school will pay for,” said Stahancyk.
There is a catch to all of this, though. If they fail one of your classes that the school is paying for, they can take that class again, but the school will not be paying for it.
The school is also paying for a new app and for its webpage to be redone. The app is essentially the same thing as the webpage, however, the app is designed specifically for smartphones and devices. “The app falls under measure 98 in a communication provision in dropout prevention. Through the app, I can communicate to anyone at the school allowing them to know what is going on as soon as possible,” said Cope.
The app will have all of the same things that the website has such as schedules and information that may be important. The app will be the main communicator for the teachers to reach students and parents. The School will be getting rid of teachers calling parents on such days as a school closure for some reason. The Helix School will be just posting that information on the app, allowing everyone to be reached quicker and easier.
Overall, the school is benefiting greatly from this ballot measure. The school wants to help students as much as possible, and this is one more way to do that. Students no longer have a lack of money as an excuse to not go after their college goals or dreams.