Dear Odyssey Families,
I am writing to wish everyone in our Odyssey community a joyous and wonderful holiday season! Odyssey officially kicked off the start of the holiday season with a tremendously successful Winter Chorus and Instrumental Music Concert last Wednesday, December 10, 2014. The level of parental support and the beautiful performance by our children was truly moving. Students in Kindergarten, First and Second Grades will also help to ring in the holidays with choral performances on Thursday, December 18, 2014.
As the holiday season approaches, it gives Odyssey families cause for thanks on many fronts. Our children are extremely fortunate in the continued love, support and guidance that all of you provide them. Our teachers demonstrate daily the well-deserved trust you have placed in them with your most precious assets. Our school clearly provides your children the opportunity to learn and grow in an exceptional academic environment.
We are sure you have learned in your time with our school that we strive to excel continually in every aspect of our programs for your children. As Odyssey nears the mid-way point of its 9th year, it has been another exceptional year filled with noteworthy achievements. These achievements include:
- Odyssey is very near the realization of our aspiration to secure the Barley property and build our unified Campus, fulfilling the long term vision of our families, staff and school board.
- Odyssey students are achieving at record levels in every grade, as measured by the DOE’s Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS). Odyssey now is considered by many to be in a category of the top achieving Delaware schools. Our school received the DCN Academic Award for outstanding academic achievement this year.
- Odyssey received the Recognition Award from the Governor’s Office and the State of Delaware presented to our school for two consecutive years of “exceptional academic achievement.”
- Our Headmaster, Dr. Nick Manolakos, received the DCN Impact Award for the school administrator having the greatest leadership impact on a Delaware Charter School.
- Odyssey has launched a middle school sports program including Girls on the Run, soccer, basketball and track programs.
- Our Middle School Student Government, National Junior Honor Society and student service organizations will begin their first year of operations when we return from the winter vacation.
- Our Foreign Language Elementary and Middle School Programs continue to grow and be recognized by the ACTFL organization. They are truly unique and continue to contribute to our students’ overall academic achievement.
- Odyssey anticipates that our Charter Renewal Application should be announced shortly before students and staff go on winter vacation.
- Please take a moment to review the Strategic Plan, which details our long-term vision for the school. In addition, our 2014 Annual Report to the Delaware Department of Education is posted under About OCS, School Overview.
- The expanded administrative team continues to guide and support exceptional instruction. Mrs. Barbara Berrick, Student Services, Mrs. Renee Ickes, Educational Diagnostician and Mrs. Kathryn Standish, Curriculum Coordinator, continue to support the parents, teacher and school community. In addition, this year we hired a student advisor, Mr. Daniel Newcott, to help manage the school’s growth.
- We also hired a new Greek Program Coordinator, Ms. Fratzeska Belafemine, to strengthen our FLES and FLMS Program. We continue our Greek Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings to analyze data and drive best practices. In addition we have enlisted Dr. Gregory Fulkerson from DOE to facilitate the curricular move to Common Core Standards in Greek Language Instruction.
- Our ACE Program (Academic Acceleration and Enrichment), Odyssey’s form of Gifted and Talented Programming, led by Mrs. Amber Smith enriches instructional offering across grades 3 to 7. In addition, Odyssey participates in numerous statewide events highlighting our students’ skills and abilities.
- Our upper elementary and middle school band and choral programs continue to excel. Our students performed beautifully at the Winter Concert.
- We continue to work closely with our PTO to help improve our response to community concerns on a school-wide basis. We launched a new communications initiative this year. Through this campaign, the Upper and Lower School Assistant Headmasters, Mrs. Parks and Ms. Pastis both send weekly communications to our staff and biweekly correspondence to our families. In addition, the Headmaster now posts on the webpage and in the newsletter a monthly message to the community.
- Our School Improvement Committees serve all phases of our operations such as compensation, school climate and opportunities to improve sustainability and capacity for leadership. They serve as important avenues for staff input and collaboration.
In September 2015, we will complete middle level growth with the addition of our 8th grade program. We expect that our families will continue to express their faith and support of the additional middle school grades, especially upon moving to our new campus. We’ve made tremendous progress in our efforts to secure facilities and expect more details in late December or January, so stay tuned!
Odyssey is a special place for many people – our children, our parents, our educators and staff, the PTO and the members of the Board. On behalf of the Board and our Administration, I want to thank everyone - each of us has made a valuable contribution to Odyssey throughout the year.
We’re so proud of our school and each year brings new opportunities to showcase the work and talents of our children -- these are exciting and dynamic times for our school!
Wishing you well over the holidays and a very happy and successful new year,
Dr. Nick T. Manolakos
Odyssey Charter School