The Odyssey Program is a focus option for Portland Public Schools serving students in grades K - 8. The Odyssey Program offers:
- Experiential learning - students take on historical identities to explore literature, writing, science, history, geography, art, drama and more through the exciting lens of history
- Rigorous academics - individualized and enriched curriculum based on Oregon's K - 8 benchmarks.
- Team building, leadership training, and field study
- A small, motivating learning community emphasizing problem solving, communication skills, and discovery
- Mixed age K-1-2 program
- Team-based learning and multiage classrooms for grades 3-4-5 and 6-7-8
- Visual and performing arts
- Award winning teachers
- A history of excellent results - students have consistently outperformed district averages on ALL benchmark exams
Curriculum and Academics
Curriculum Models – Interactive, Integrated, Theme-Based Learning
What does interactive, integrated, theme-based learning mean?
It means to take a history-based theme, such as Colonial America, Ancient Greece, or Renaissance Europe, and over the course of several months teach science, reading, writing, language arts, social studies, math, the fine arts, and the performing arts THROUGH that theme. It means that the students will be immersed in the theme-based unit through highly motivational, interactive simulation activities, where they take on the identities and the lifestyles of persons from the theme period – wearing the clothes, learning the music and arts, building the lodgings, collecting the artifacts, studying the literature and science of the time, and many other varied, hands-on activities that make learning come alive and appeal to the imagination and inherent desire to learn that is inherent in every child. The Odyssey Program takes learning from a remote abstract process and brings it into a world of living, meaningful educational experiences.
The Odyssey Program is organized around 3 multi-age "clusters": K12, 345 and 678. Our multi-age classrooms and blended grade levels allow students to progress at their unique development rates. For math, reading and literature, students are placed in groups according to their assessed needs. For all other subjects, students work in mixed-age teams of both older and younger students at a variety of academic levels.
The curriculum of each cluster is open-ended, integrated, and interactive. Please learn more about each cluster in the sections below.
Putting it All Together
Having trouble imagining how this all comes together? Let’s say the History Unit the students in the 345 cluster are studying is Native People of North America and the European’s Exploration and Conquest of North America. The students might read for their Literature and Language Arts studies historic fiction novels and non-fiction books related to the Native Americans of this time period; for example, "Island of the Blue Dolphins", "Runner in the Sun", or "Rolling Thunder".
Their Science unit might study the formation of the earth and the geology of the regions in which the Native Americans lived. They could also study astronomy, mapmaking, ocean currents and weather systems, as those affected the explorers in their navigations to discover the New World.
Enrichment activities related to this History unit might be a PowWow performance where they learn traditional Native America dances, and traditional songs and chants. The would learn drum-making, make traditional shawls, blankets and dresses authentic to the time period and people they are studying. Their studies would culminate in an extended Field Study trip to the Warm Springs Reservation, Yakima Reservation, and the Tilicum Village and Longhouse, where they would meet and study with Native Americans who live there.
For more information on the different cluster curriculum models,
The Odyssey Program has a track record of student achievement and success. It has proven successful for the widest range of students, from students who have struggled to perform in other schools, to the highest performing, talented and gifted students who have not found enough challenge in other types of programs. Our success is measured not only by the overwhelming support of our student and parent community, but also b the results of our student assessment on State and District Achievement Tests. Among the highest-scoring schools in the District, Odyssey students consistently outperform District averages in all tested subject areas.
Our academic curriculum is aligned to District standards for the core subject areas of Math, Science, Literature, Language Arts, and History. Our academic standards are rigorous, while allowing students to be placed at the level appropriate to their needs in each subject area.
Profile of an Odyssey Student
At Odyssey our mission is to create students who think independently, critically and creatively, and who know how to take responsibility for learning and community membership. A graduate of the Odyssey Program will have both outstanding academic preparation, and a caring environment in which to develop socially and emotionally.
Academically, Odyssey students are:
- Hard working
They understand and are skilled in:
- Critical and creative thinking
Socially and emotionally, they have been given:
- A welcoming, warm, supportive and cooperative community
- A safe place to be inquisitive and interested in learning
- A chance to grow in self-awareness and personal confidence
Our students have lived their educational life according to Odyssey’s Seven Caring Habits:
- Negotiating Differences
The most basic thing these seven habits have in common is that they are all “win-win” says that people can choose to relate to one another. Add the phrase, “to/with one another”, after each of these habits and you will begin to understand how these concept support a successful community. The Odyssey Program promotes the Seven Caring Habits to help create an environment in which cooperative learning thrives.