September 22, 2016
Greetings Odyssey Families,
On behalf of our entire staff, administration and school board, I would like to officially welcome all of our families for another exciting school year at Odyssey Charter School. As we enter into our fourth week of the 2016 – 17 school year, we are hoping that our students, teachers and parents are getting back into this structure and regular routines of the school year.
Last week, we held our annual Back-to-School evenings, and they were tremendous successes. With the addition of our ninth grade class and the opening of our high school, our student population has grown to over 1440 students. We clearly had the largest crowds ever for the Back to School events, and everyone was excited to see the tremendous outpouring of parental support for our programs. Hopefully the evening gave all of our families an opportunity to have some face time with their children’s teachers and to clarify the means for communication should any questions arise for parents and teachers.
This Saturday, September 24th marks one of the more exciting events in recent Odyssey history. On this day we will be hosting our annual AHEPA 5K run. As part of the ceremonies, we will be celebrating the receipt of the Olympic flame from ancient Olympia and hosting a large number of dignitaries from Greece and elected officials from Delaware. In addition, we will be conducting a variety of performances, a parade, and a number of historical presentations to commemorate the tenth anniversary of our school. Race information is at: Races2Run.com. Registration begins at 11:15 am and the race begins at 12:15 am. It will be a fantastic celebration for our greater school community and we hope that all of you are able to attend.
We would also like to welcome our newest school neighbors to our campus, The Academia Antonia Alonzo. The school features a Spanish Immersion Program. Academia is a K-5 elementary school with approximately 450 students. We extend a very warm welcome to Academia students, families and staff!
At the PTO meeting on Wednesday, September 7th, a number of questions and concerns were presented to the administration by our families. These included a number of ongoing and some new challenges for the administration and our school board. Some of the questions and concerns included:
- Transportation: Arguably the most contentious challenge we face has to do with the services of our bus contractor, First Student Transportation. We continue to receive a huge volume of calls relating to family dissatisfaction with the schedules, overcrowding, late arrivals and departures, and behaviors on the bus. Most of the overcrowding issues have been resolved with the addition of new buses and a reassignment of certain pickup and drop off points. We continue to be terribly disappointed and frustrated with the level of service provided by our contractor. We are working daily to modify the bus routes and relay our families’ concerns. We apologize for this unfortunate situation and understand the frustration this poor service causes all of you.
- Small Gym: At the monthly Sports Meeting last night, parents expressed strong concerns about sustaining momentum for the growing sports program. We also received many questions about the completion of the small gym and the removal of two of the transformers preventing our field expansions. We are hopeful that the latest completion date of Thanksgiving will prove to be accurate. Once the small gym is completed we will have additional space for our sports programs. Additionally, we are hopeful that the newest bids for relocating the transformers will help signal a continued commitment and strong positive momentum for our growing sports programs.
- 4th Grade Lunch: Currently, our fourth-grade students are eating lunch in their classrooms because of a scheduling overlap with the eighth grade lunches and the completion of the new small gym. Once the small gym is completed, fourth graders will have an opportunity to eat lunch in the cafeteria and eighth grades will eat in the multi-purpose area of the small gym.
- Car Lines: A great deal of thought has been put forth in developing the car line pick up and drop off procedures for Odyssey and Academia. We appreciate and continue to urge heightened safety and vigilance in driving in the bumper to bumper traffic. As families from both schools have become more familiar with the process, we have seen major improvements in the time spent dropping off and picking up students. Please know that car line is a NO PHONE zone.
- Sign In for Late Arrival: If you are a middle or high school student and parent, please know that after 8:03 am, you must park and escort your child to sign them in to school. Under no circumstances can students be dropped off in the parking lot and walk into school late.
- Sports Information: Our fall sports programs are up and running. Odyssey students are competing at the high school freshman team level. Competitive games are scheduled for many of our teams this year and all of the information regarding our sports programs can be found at the following website: OdysseyCharterSports.com
- Interim Progress Reports: The mid-points for the marking periods ends September 28th for grades 4-9. Interim Progress Reports will be sent home on October 5th for grades 4-9 and on October 12th for grades K-3.
- Phone Calls to School: We have had numerous complaints about phone calls not being answered at the schools. The lower, middle and high schools do not have full-time receptionists. Additional part-time help at the middle school are assisting staff to help manage the office and assist with the increased number of phone calls. The vast majority of calls at the present time are transportation related issues. The calls will return to normal levels with rectified bus runs.
- Email Options: Our office staff are doing their best to manage the offices and handle phone calls. In the meantime, if you have a non-transportation issue for the office staff or the administration, please leave a message and in addition, send a brief email to Courtney Saxton, Evan Winokur at the Lower School, Tracie Principe, Denise Parks at the Upper school, or Jo-el Fetizannan, Nick Manolakos at the High School.
We hope to see all of you this weekend at the annual AHEPA 5K on Saturday, September 24th Registration for the race starts at 11:15 am.
Dr. Nick T. Manolakos
Odyssey Charter School