Greetings Odyssey Charter School Families!
Welcome back for another exciting year at Odyssey Charter. Since my last message in June, there have been many exciting changes taking place at our school. We have successively transitioned Kindergarten through Fourth Grade to a beautiful new building located at Barley Mill Plaza, Building #20. The school administrators, our teachers, support staff and volunteers were extremely busy throughout the summer working to prepare for the start of the new school year. Those first days of the new school year were incredibly exciting for all of us, as we welcomed Odyssey families to our new home.
As many of you can attest, moving to a new home is a huge task. For Odyssey, the logistics and organization required for the move to our new facility were immense. This relocation involved tremendous effort and coordination for everyone involved with Odyssey. This move to Barley Mill Plaza was certainly not a deviation from the norm. The many levels of change associated with moving once again brought out the usual can do attitude exemplified by our staff. This approach has been witnessed over the many changes through the last eight years in the Odyssey community. Reflecting on the whole process provides us with an opportunity to look at and evaluate the many processes and procedures that are in place at our school and prepare for the future expansion. In short, we have a chance to collaboratively decide if we need to define, refine, or create new processes for the future operation of our school.
While I know there were some issues with preliminary communications from the Lower School to the parents, I appreciate your understanding and cooperation with the many new changes that moving into a new facility brings. At last week’s PTO meeting and through numerous individual interactions, please know that members of the Board and this administration have heard your feedback about the opening of the new school. In addition to these concerns, we also welcomed the overwhelming support and acknowledgment by our families of the many good things that our teachers did on their own time over the summer in preparation of opening and new facility.
The three biggest questions and concerns that were presented at the PTO meeting by our families revolved around buses and transportation, the new food program and communication issues, predominately from the Lower School. In response to that meeting, we have instituted the following:
- The day after the PTO Meeting, Ms. Parks and the administrative responded to concerns by meeting with Mr. Reginald Henry of First Student Transportation. Since then changes have been made to existing routes. New bus runs will be phased in over the next two weeks to alleviate over capacity on identified bus routes. We will continue to we send immediate updates via Blackboard Connect to our families on a daily basis, as a way to keep families informed of any changes to the bus schedule or routes. Our Pre- and After-Care programs have also instituted free coverage for families affected by the transportation issues with First Student Bus Company. Please send any continuing concerns to the administration, the bus company, and our PTO Officers.
- The food program continues to evolve under the direct supervision of Mr. Righos, Vice President of the Odyssey Charter School Board and director of the food program. He is currently preparing written responses to a list of questions presented by representatives of the PTO. Additionally, he is hosting a parent open forum at the Lower School on September 25th at 6:30 PM to answer questions our parents may have about all facets of the food operation. In the meantime any questions about the food program can be sent directly to him, the PTO or the school administration. Please try to attend if you have any questions about this program.
- As you can well imagine there were many new processes involved for everyone at our school in the move to our new building. At the PTO meeting parents requested improved communications from Lower School. Since then, Ms. Pastis has met with her team leaders and has worked to improve the car line process, bus pick-up and drop-off, and with the operations of the new building.
The start of this new school year has been especially busy. Here are several examples of the activities taking place at Odyssey Charter School for the 2014-2015 school year: The addition of a new class for the seventh-grade, extending admissions to over 300 new OCS students, remodeling at St. Thomas facility to create new classrooms, completely renovating Building 20 Barley Mill Plaza, the addition of new administrators, the creation of our new sports program, submission of a charter school renewal application, and conducting the processes with financial organizations to purchase our new facility. While working on all of these and other challenging initiatives, we remain committed to serving our families in providing a quality educational experience at one of the premier charter schools available to parents in the area.
Please make every effort to attend our Back-to-School night on September 18 from 6 to 8 PM. The Lower School program will begin at 6 PM. The Upper School program will begin at 7 PM. This is a great opportunity to get to know your child’s teacher(s), and begin to build a lasting relationship for this school year. In addition, this Saturday we will be conducting our annual Odyssey 5K Run at Rockford Park—we hope to see you and your child there! I thank all of you for your continued support in helping to make Odyssey a great school community.
On behalf of the entire school administration and staff, I welcome all of you to the start of another wonderful school year!
Dr. Nick T. Manolakos
Odyssey Charter School