About The Odyssey School
"The Odyssey curriculum will stress hands-on learning, with students training in real-world situations. Odyssey's founding parents are drawing on the experience of such successful programs as Outward Bound and the Rocky Mountain Expeditionary School. . . ." Denver Post Editorial
The BasicsThe Odyssey School is a public school chartered by Denver Public Schools. Students eligible for the free or reduced lunch program will have their kindergarten tuition waived. The Odyssey School is different from most other schools, because it is based on the Expeditionary Learning educational model.
Like many new endeavors, it began with a shared vision. A dedicated group of parents, teachers, and community members from the Park Hill area worked together to create a new school of choice for Denver families. Their specific goal was to design an innovative school based on the principals of Expeditionary Learning to serve a richly diverse community. Denver Public Schools approved the charter in January of 1998. We started our first year on September 1, 1998, with 24 students in each of two multi-grade classes, first-second and third-fourth. Each year, we have expanded to accommodate advancing grades. We completed our charter by adding the eighth grade in the 2000-2001 school year. Currently, we have 225 students enrolled K - 8th grade.
The Odyssey School is located in the Philips building on the corner of Montview & Monaco Blvds. The school has ten classrooms (grades K-8), art studio, gym, and lunchroom.
Our Mission StatementThe Odyssey School is a dynamic Expeditionary Learning Community dedicated to fostering each child's unique potential and spirit of adventure through exemplary standards of character, intellectual achievement, and social responsibility.
The Expeditionary Learning PhilosophyThe Odyssey School is based on the Expeditionary Learning philosophy. Expeditionary Learning is one of seven "break the mold" school designs funded over a five-year period by New American Schools, a 1992 initiative that called for radically new models of education built upon high standards and yielding dramatic improvement in student achievement. There are now about 150 Expeditionary Learning schools in 29 states nationwide, including the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning in Denver, which was one of the original 12 Expeditionary Learning schools.
The fundamental idea behind Expeditionary Learning is that students learn more by experiencing the world than by sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher talk about it. Expeditionary Learning harnesses the child's natural passion to learn and is a powerful method for helping children develop the curiosity, knowledge, skills, and personal qualities they need for successful adulthood.
Expeditions - journeys into the unknown for a definite purpose - are the heart of The Odyssey School's methodology. Although some curricular skills are taught separately, for the most part, students acquire knowledge and skills through learning expeditions that cut across and make connections among disciplines. Each expedition has specific and well-defined academic, service, and physical goals. All expeditions culminate with exhibitions or final products that must meet high standards. These products are the vehicle for students to synthesize what they have learned and to demonstrate how they can use it.
Evaluating Student ProgressThe Odyssey School is committed to comprehensively and rationally evaluating our students' progress. This means two things. First, The Odyssey School will have clearly defined standards. The Odyssey School will base its standards, in part, on the Denver Public Schools ("DPS") Content Standards. Second, the Odyssey School will employ a number of other assessment tools to give a comprehensive view of each student's progress, including portfolios, developmental guidelines and checklists, summary reports, public exhibitions, passage panels, embedded assessment practices, and standardized testing.
Encouraging DiversityThe Odyssey School is committed to providing a rich learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds -- students with a range of abilities, affinities, and strengths. To ensure diversity, The Odyssey School's enrollment policy includes a low income preference. Children meeting federal guidelines for free and reduced lunch receive lottery preference.
Involving Families And CommunityThe interest and energy of parents helped create The Odyssey School and will help the school thrive. Research shows that family involvement is a crucial factor in successful learning. The Odyssey School is particularly committed to setting up and supporting plentiful, diverse, and broadly-defined opportunities for parents to participate in the school-based education of their children.
Each family can volunteer for activities such as reading with children, becoming involved in expeditions of particular interest, collecting or creating classroom materials, typing stories or transcripts, and participating on clean-up days. The Odyssey School offers a range of opportunities for families to participate -- both during the school day and on evenings and weekends. This lets family members support the school in ways that are convenient and that capitalize on each person's special talents and pursuits.
The Odyssey School's Family Council meets throughout the school year. All families are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings. Every parent/guardian that attends is eligible to vote on issues presented at that meeting.