Intention. Purpose. Authentic.

Research skills are fostered at every grade level: enabling students at Odyssey Creative School to approach their learning with inquiry, perspective, and passion. Teachers guide students’ natural curiosity to drive thematic investigation in their classrooms; introducing students to 21st century research skills and preparing them to become informed and engaged citizens.

In elementary classrooms, students learn in integrated thematic units: exploring a region of the world or a concept by exploring subject areas as they relate to the content. For example, a class study of bird might study the physics of flight, the geography of flight patterns, the mathematics of population, and the mythology of birds in literature.

Beginning in kindergarten and continuing every year through high school graduation, students conduct a long-term Independent Research Project at Odyssey. These are not science projects! They are well-developed mastery of a passion: Students explore ideas, investigate their topic, and report and present on their experience, developing a range of professional skills from interviewing to research methods to public speaking.

Design Thinking is at the forefront of our curriculum. In kindergarten through fifth grade, the design-thinking process is integrated into daily lessons: integrating scientific and creative processes to inspire students to be able to create the change they want to see in the world.

In math, language arts, social studies, and science, teachers guide students to identify, explore, and improve systems through research and innovation. Ideas are tested and “failure” is embraced as an essential component in the learning process. Students also investigate concepts and their own ideas through the arts: from 2-D to virtual design, music, dance, and theatre. Middle school students take yearlong arts classes, introducing the elements of design into their academic language. While high school students are offered 3 electives each year and are required to take four core design courses, which have included Aesthetic, Music, Visual, Material, Environmental, and Social Design.

Reflection is an essential component in the development of metacognition and mastery in whatever field and on whatever path our students walk into adulthood. Odyssey’s Integral Education creates space for the skill of honest and deep reflection on the learning process at every step.

In social-emotional learning, students reflect independently, within small groups, and as whole classrooms to develop emotional literacy, active listening, compassionate communication, and conflict-resolution skills.

Parents are offered four conferences throughout the year to meet and reflect on student learning in each of the strands: mental, emotional, aesthetic, moral, and physical. The first conference is led by parents, who reflect and share their family’s goals, strategies, and challenges. The second is led by teachers, who reflect on their observations of each child’s progress in meeting goals. The third conference is led by students, who reflect on learning artifacts they’ve collected, their growth, and their goals for the end of the year.  The fourth is a chance for parents, students, and teachers to gather and reflect on achievements and challenges to prepare for the coming school year.