March 7, 2016
Greetings Odyssey Families,
With the arrival of March, the first signs of spring are starting to appear. It also ushers in one of the busiest seasons on the school’s schedule, with spring break just a few weeks away. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide our community with updates on some of the latest exciting activities at Odyssey:
- The CHOICE process ends on March 18th. If you are considering attendance at Odyssey Charter School, you must send your acceptance response by this date. There are no exceptions, and if you fail to respond before the close of business on March 18th, you seat will be forfeited.
- We have concluded our OCS lottery the old fashion way using the bingo barrel. This year, more than 1700 applicants applied for seats at our growing school. Our kindergarten program alone had more than 500 applicants with hundreds of other applicants spread across the grades.
- OCS has also submitted a Minor Modification Plan with the Delaware Department of Education, which will allow us to increase our enrollment by more than five, but not greater than 15 percent of our student population. The primary driver behind the modification is meeting parental demand.
- The Modification Plan calls for adding one additional classroom of 23 seats in grades K - 3 and additional seats to meet the targets of 115 students per grade level above.
- We are progressing with the build out of our ninth grade classrooms for our new high school, our small gym and our athletic facilities. Website plans will be posted very soon.
- The High School facilities planning continues with the Board, administration, teachers, families and students all providing input in a variety of forums.
- Developed our high school curriculum and conducting teacher recruitment at U of D’s annual Project Search, and through renewed efforts with the Greek Ministry of Education and advertising in major metropolitan areas to obtain the most highly qualified Greek Language teachers.
- ACE, Band, and Chorus are active and growing. Our spring Musical Concert is scheduled for the end of May.
- Our winter sports program has come to an exciting conclusion featuring boys and girls basketball. The spring seasons we will be sponsoring Girls on the Run, track and field, girls’ soccer, intramural basketball and volleyball.
- Student Council is growing in stature and working to provide students with the opportunity to help shape and have input on some decisions around student activities. The Student Council will be inviting state and local elected officials to visit and tour our school at the end of March.
- The National Junior Honor Society is concluding its selection process in advance of the inaugural Induction Ceremony.
- Our first drama production will be presented in grand fashion this spring!
- Advisors and our students are working on creating the OCS 2015-16 yearbook to preserve these historic firsts.
- If that wasn’t enough, on Friday, March 4th, we hosted an absolutely amazing pep rally for grades 4 - 8 presented by the Philadelphia 76’s. This event showcased how OCS can be, As Kid President says, More Awesome!
Odyssey is growing into an exceptional school that makes us all very proud. Clearly, we are experiencing some growing pains and we understand that for some, these continuous changes are not palatable for every family. For this reason, we advise availing yourself of the CHOICE options to obtain the educational best fit for your child's future.
We hope that your confidence in the school’s progress will be reflected in your decision to continue attending our school. We do believe that for the vast majority of our families, Odyssey does provide a great educational opportunity. We are far from perfection, but we are extremely proud of your children and what we have been able to accomplish the past few years working together. While the rapid expansion of Odyssey Charter School has unfortunately created challenges for some children, OCS is very committed to maintaining an excellent educational environment. This requires strong support at home and shared values at school. In this fashion, teacher instructional time can be exclusively focused on challenging and engaged teaching.
As some of you may know, some of our new students particularly at the upper grades have found transitioning to our school, with its strict adherence to the code of conduct, and the challenging nature of acquiring a second language, a very hard process to navigate. In some cases, children are finding Odyssey to perhaps not be the best choice for them. We have added almost 400 new students the past two years and some of these students have come from environments where this emphasis on excellence is not as strong.
Parents of children in this position have a very important decision to make before March 18. They can continue to work with their children and seek support from the school to help them succeed at Odyssey, or avail themselves of the Choice Process. The school Board, administration and faculty are committed to instilling the values espoused in the school’s mission as the highest priority for every child. Our commitment to excellence remains strong.
Kindest Regards and Happy Spring,
Dr. Nick T. Manolakos
Odyssey Charter School