Odyssey's Ten Essentials

  • 1. Team Teaching

    • When teachers collaborate, students receive many benefits.
    • Two or more teachers working together create the opportunity to pool 
    • personal and instructional resources.
    • Increases creativity and ability to meet the needs of individual students.
    • Allows students to be in flexible groups and teams for art, math, literature 
    • and many components of their day.
    • Teachers flow between groups, too, allowing them to teach to their 
    • strengths.

    2. Multi-age Classrooms

    • Blended grade levels allow students to progress at their unique 
    • developmental rate.
    • Student developmental rates are often very different than their 
    • chronological rate.
    • 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, which include both 
    • older and younger students at a variety of academic levels.

    3. Cooperative Learning

    • Research shows that cooperation is more effective than competition in 
    • improving academic achievement.
    • Provides the opportunity for older students to learn and practice leadership 
    • helping younger children who look up to them.
    • Students benefit from:
    • Constructing knowledge together as a team. 
    • Contributing at their unique level. 
    • Leading in their areas of strength.
    • Receiving assistance in areas where they are less confident.
    • Non-threatening environment supports problem solving, and effective 
    • communication and collaboration.

    4. Community Support

    • Odyssey welcomes and encourages parent and community involvement in many 
    • ways both during and outside of the school day.
    • Teachers, students, and families join together to foster learning, creating 
    • a community school.
    • Parents participate in the way each chooses—everyone is needed and valued.
    • This approach creates a strong and engaged learning community.
    • Parents connect to what their children are experiencing.
    • Dedicated community support helps teachers achieve their educational goals.
    • All students feel supported by a group of adults who care about 
    • them.

    5. Differentiated Instruction

    • To meet all the needs of a diverse student population, The Odyssey Program 
    • differentiates instruction.
    • Individual students learn in a wide variety of ways and have different 
    • interests.
    • Instructions reaches out to students unique learning styles, interests, 
    • readiness, and needs in order to create the best learning environment possible.
    • All learning is designed to use scaffolding activities, engaging students’ 
    • areas of strength (i.e., visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and moving them to 
    • mastery of areas of need.

    6. Open-Ended Curriculum

    • Our learning format has no bottom or top.
    • Curriculum fosters the development of creative and critical thinking skills 
    • in all subject areas.
    • Students at all academic levels experience much growth during the school 
    • year.
    • Gifted students are challenged, while those needing to master the basics are 
    • supported toward success.
    • Curriculum helps students view learning as an ongoing, life-long process. 
    • All students are encouraged to deepen their learning through 
    • extensions.

    7. Theme-Based Learning

    • The Odyssey Program is based on integrated curriculum and enrichment
    • Centered around historical themes based on Oregon learning benchmarks.
    • Prominent American educator Dr. Mary Beth Klee argues that, "For too many 
    • years we have undershot with America’s elementary school children.
    • "They come to us with their fresh minds, their keen curiosity, their 
    • enthusiasm for learning, and for far too long we have served up pabulum.
    • "They come to us longing to connect with the broader world, the world they 
    • do not know, but hunger to know."
    • In our program, we strive to satisfy this "hunger."

    8. Enrichment

    • Hands-on learning activities meet the needs of a wide range of students and 
    • appeal to their specific interests.
    • Art, writing, science, language arts, and social studies are integrated into 
    • the curriculum for each unit.
    • Singing, dancing, and drama are emphasized in a culmination performance for 
    • each unit.
    • Extended field studies culminate learning each year in grades 3-8.

    9. Integrated Curriculum

    • Education is more effective when students know why they are learning 
    • something, and are offered a context for new information.
    • Studying rivers, mountains, and rock formations becomes much more meaningful 
    • when a child also learns how this topography affected Lewis and Clark’s 
    • expedition, or the lifestyles of the Northwest Indian tribes.
    • Integrated study at The Odyssey Program mean that subjects will naturally 
    • flow together.
    • Students won’t have to stop thinking about science and start thinking about 
    • spelling just because a bell has rung.
    • Students might not realize what "subject" they learned on a particular day, 
    • but will be able to describe a wealth of knowledge gained and tell a 
    • fascinating story of why it is important.

    10. Interactive Learning

    • In this educational model, no child is a passive learner.
    • During each unit of study, students take on the identities and lifestyles of persons from the theme period.
    • Students wear the clothes, learn the music, collect the artifacts, and engage in interactive simulation activities where learning comes alive.
    • This approach appeals to the imagination of every child.
    • Learning is never isolated and abstract, but always meaningful and exciting.