Odyssey Charter School

Odyssey Charter School is a publicly-funded Kindergarten through 6th grade elementary school located in Wilmington, Delaware. Since its inception in 2006, Odyssey Charter School has provided the families of Delaware with a first-class public school education.

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Headmaster's Page

May 17, 2017

Greetings OCS Families!

Spring is in full force and we are entering the final weeks of the school year. The usual end of the year flurry of academic, sport and extra-curricular activities has begun and summer is right around the corner. It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by so quickly and is quickly coming to a conclusion.

Before we wrap up the year though, many significant activities are continuing. The new OCS Strategic Plan is in full action mode, as many different committees are meeting to help map out the school’s future. For those of you that have not had an opportunity to review it, the OCS Strategic Plan and all the committees associated with the nine main goals of the plan. We continue to seek parental involvement and ask that each of you consider getting involved to contribute to have the most representative voices come together for the good of our school. The committee chairs would welcome the input and value your involvement. Please try to find the time to join a committee and give back to the school in any area of interest or your expertise.

The PTO has been especially active the last few months and this year’s leadership team have put on an amazing array of fundraising and school activities. The leadership team, led by PTO President, Shamekia Martin, has been a pleasure to collaborate with and have worked extremely hard to support the administration during some very challenging times as the school continues its rapid expansion plan. The PTO’s new officers were recently announced with Mrs. Kim Wolansky being elected as the new president for next year.

The staff and administration have been very actively working on preparations for the next school year. Our facilities manager, Jon Stewart, architect and Odyssey parent Tim Skibicki have had numerous meetings with Board President Dimitri Dandolos and school administrators to design our expansion plans into the most appropriately affordable layouts possible.

Next year, Odyssey will be increasing enrollment to 1660 children and adding our 10th grade. The administration and teacher interview committees will be hiring nearly 40 new employees for the next school year. Our planning and budgeting committees are in full swing and the school’s scheduling committee is meeting with our professional consultant to look at opportunities with school scheduling options to adjust school start times. The biggest constraint we face is the limited transportation options with use of transportation hubs throughout New Castle County.

The Board’s consultant on transportation has issued a report recommending that we incentivize a variety of opportunities for drivers and continue with our current transportation company for next year to work to improve services. Additionally, the school will maintain financial flexibility to possibly begin the start of a small launch of our own transportation operation in mid-January, if the improvements Odyssey seeks with the current company do not occur.

While we’re making huge strides on many fronts, some challenges continue to have more elusive solutions. One of the goals of our school improvement plan was community engagement and improved communications. We have initiated numerous more regular communications with our families and within our staff. Yet, sometimes there are expectations for the dissemination of information that the administration cannot perform and maintain its fidelity to current legal standards.

Our families seek reassurance that their children and the school is safe. As a parent and school administrator, I fully understand the desire for that kind of confident reassurance. However, families must know that when disciplinary incidents occur at the school, we must maintain child protection laws and cannot provide generalized case-by-case data to our communities.

Recently we attempted to be proactive by informing families of a disciplinary event that numerous students overheard. In order to dispel unnecessary concern, a generalized notice was sent out to the community. This raised many questions and some concerns about the process and how we can be proactive around disciplinary activity at the school.

Administration has sought a new approach that will help parents better understand when they can expect to receive more detailed information about any events at school. If and when there is a significant event that alters the day-to-day operations of the school, then the administration will inform the community of events of this nature, with an explanation of the reasons for the changes in daily activities. Any time the daily operation of the school is altered by events at the school, we will inform our community of the reasons why. However, parents must understand that we cannot give specific information about disciplinary incidents to the general public.

We are here for the benefit of the community we serve. Over the six years this administration has been in place we have a track record of performance and activity within our community. We ask that when one-off events are considered in the totality of this multiyear picture, we believe our families will know that our time tested policies and procedures have consistently landed us in good places.

We hope that you will continue to trust in us and believe in our judgment. When we do err, it will be on the side of safety for our children. That is the driving force behind any decisions we ever undertake at the school. We know we had been trusted with your most precious assets. We would never take that responsibility lightly. If we could do more we would.

As the year winds down we want to thank you for your continued support and involvement with our school. We were looking forward to many more years getting to know you and your children as they and our school continue to grow. Best wishes for a happy and exciting spring and conclusions of the school year!

Kindest regards,

 

Dr. Nick T. Manolakos
Headmaster
Odyssey Charter School