285 Tallassee Rd. Athens, GA 30606 • 706-521-5477 • firstname.lastname@example.org
The school of Double Helix School of Athens, Inc. admits students of any race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
About Double Helix
Double Helix is small private school serving 4th - 8th graders. It is a school that celebrates the intersection of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. We are rooted in standards, but not bogged down by them. We are a school in which "teachable moments" drive instruction. This is a school that allows students to construct their own knowledge through projects and explorations without sacrificing the need to build requisite skills. We meet children where they are; we know where they need to be; and we honor multiple ways of getting there. Check the Frequently Asked Questions portion of the site for more details about our curriculum.
2016-2017 SCHOOL YEAR
Tuition: $7750/year payable over ten months
Grades Served: 4th - 8th grade
Hours: 8:30 - 3:00 Monday - Friday
Early drop off and after school care are available at an additional cost.
Karen Gerow, Founding Director
English Language Arts
Click through for more information about each teacher.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is STEAM?
Double Helix is a STEAM School. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, but it means so much more. It's really about the intersection and interplay between those subjects. Rather than teaching these topics in isolation, we'll explore how they all merge together.
How long has Double Helix been around?
I piloted Double Helix out of my house in January of 2014. In 2014-2015, we had our first full year as a private school. We moved into a small house on Prince Ave. which allowed us to serve ten students. In 2015-16, our enrollment doubled. We moved again to accompany this growth. Our campus on Tallassee Rd. has been perfect for our growing school.
How exactly does 4th-8th grade work in one school?
A broad age band like this, unlike individual grades, allows us to meet children where they are. Instead of than viewing standards in isolation, we can look at the standards as a progression. By doing this, we meet children where they are and develop a clear road map to take them where they need to be. It also allows us to honor the natural variability in children's development. A child might chronologically be a 4th grader, but she might read on a 7th grade level and perform math at a 2nd grade level. This kind of variability is seen as a natural function of child development, rather than an obstacle to learning.
We do a lot of differentiated instruction with flexible grouping. Our current students are divided into three groups loosely based on ability. Each group does three rotations in a day: math, English language arts, and an independent rotation that includes skill-based work, keyboarding, and independent research.
What can you tell me about the curriculum?
As a STEAM school, our curriculum will be integrated and project-based. We are located on a bus line, which allows us to take field trips around Athens. We have many connections to the University of Georgia and are fortunate to be able to pop over to talk to a world-renowned mathematician or to get an exclusive tour of the art department when the mood strikes.
During my years of public school teaching, I gained a lot of experience writing both math and science curriculum. After the Common Core State Standards were adopted, I was recruited to be part of an elite group of math curriculum writers. I have won awards at the national level for curriculum writing. What does this mean to you? It means that I can apply my in depth knowledge of curriculum and personalize it for our specific group of children. I can draw on the students' interests as I develop lessons tailored to our school.
Even though we are a STEAM School, the English Language Arts are still important. Students engage in fiction and non-fiction writing. They read books in literature circles. We focus on historical fiction in reading so that we can also address history standards.
One other important aspect to our curriculum -- Creativity and critical thinking are as important as the content areas. As such, we engage in activities to develop these skills just as we would practice facility in any other content area.
Do you do any standardized tests?
Short answer: Yes. We take the ITBS in the fall and spring.
When done correctly, testing can be a good thing. I'll tell you what I like about it from a teacher perspective. It provides me with helpful information. I can learn how much progress a child has made in a year. I can get a quick breakdown of performance in different domains. I can look at my overall class and see how they compared to national norms. I like having that check to know how I am doing.
I will promise this: I will never do test prep. I will never present a test as high stakes. I won't accelerate or alter my instruction because test day is looming. I will never let the score I see on the results negate what I know about the child from daily experiences.
Testing can be a valuable tool and it is one I would like to have in my toolbox. Parents may always elect to have their students opt out of testing.
Tell me about homework.
The truth is, I'm not a fan of homework -- not as a teacher, and not as a parent. I would encourage nightly reading but that is something I trust families to do. I can't promise that I would never ask anything to be done outside of school, but generally speaking, I place as much importance on free time after school as I do learning in school