What’s Magical About Our Community?
We engage in community, foster relationship, and nurture the integral value of shared and varied perspective, through our pairing of students, old and young, to create school-wide Buddies.
Older buddies, 4th-12th grade students, and younger buddies, preschool through 3rd grade students, come together to play, laugh, and celebrate. Once a month, we host Buddy Lunches. During these lunches, the whole school congregates and eats together for a shared experience across the age barrier, developing a recognition of the value of intergenerational friendship and mentorship.
During each of our four celebrations, older buddies lead their younger friends through the activities and games, playing together. This relationship provides a safe way for our younger students to explore each festival and inspires older students to step into a role of responsibility and leadership. Buddy relationships can be lifelong and inspire heart and smiles for all our students!
Festival of Light
Day of the Heart
Our preschool is very present in the community, offering a Friday Morning Market each week and participating in local Asheville festivals throughout the year. Students are leaders in their everyday routine with classroom jobs and leaders in the community through their garden program, as they tend the soil, seed, and water plant starts that later become the seedlings for sale at the market! In addition, Director Courtney Fincher leads her class through the cultivation and harvest of Holy Basil tea, another Odyssey product for sale to the community. All sales from this project are used to support the continuation of our garden program!
The Kindergarten-First Grade students are leaders in weekly community centering. This class practices a singing centering during the week and then leads the preschool through fifth grade classes each Monday, sharing their music and their connection with the self, the sacred, and their learning family.
As with all our classrooms, our 2nd and 3rd grade classroom creates a special space in the daily schedule for goal setting. At this developmental stage, however, students begin an awareness of their engagement with the six learning strands and they are encouraged to set goals that involve the community and citizenship. Students work towards heroic achievements when they achieve goals that are exemplary acts of leadership, for themselves and for their community.
Our whole school benefits as we learn about (and eat!) the bounty from our aquaponics lab. The fourth and fifth grade classroom is responsible for tending the system, measuring the pH and balancing the ecology of the tanks, as well as harvesting the vegetables, herbs, and fish! This aquaponics lab, thanks to the leadership of our fourth and fifth graders, has provided a learning opportunity for all of our classrooms.
As students enter middle school, leadership steps into the forefront of our education of the whole child. Social justice is a central theme in our middle journey and students engage in active citizenship, including leading school-wide debates, developing a large-scale walking map of the United States available for younger grades to explore and interact with our national geography, and connecting with middle school classrooms across the country in 21st century-style leadership: Our students blogged about Alice and Wonderland with high school students in California, led sixth grade classrooms in New Jersey through meditation, and read to students in Spanish in classrooms in Nicaragua.
In our students’ mature years at Odyssey, they take their developing leadership to the next level: Odyssey’s tradition of independent research projects, transforms into social action projects in high school. In these projects, students approach their passions through a lens of entrepreneurship and sustainability. They have the opportunity to volunteer in the community, working through apprenticeships and internships, and create significant works for professional portfolios. Students then lead in the field of their passions through public presentation and authorship.