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F.A.Q.

 CONNECTICUT’S FIRST PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL

Established 1997

Grades K-8

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 

1.      What is a Charter School?

 

Charter schools are public, independent schools funded directly by the Connecticut Department of Education.  The Odyssey Board of Trustees functions as our Board of Education.  Charter schools are small schools with defined focuses.  They currently receive $10,500 per pupil to operate the school, and they are responsible for meeting all the state and federal requirements of any Connecticut public school.  Charter school teachers must meet all of the state certification requirements, and charter school students must take the state mandated achievement tests in the elementary and middle grades.

 

2.       How do Odyssey students score on the CMT’s?

 

Odyssey is recognized as a high-performing school that is closing the achievement gap between minority and non-minority students, which is the largest challenge facing Connecticut schools.  In 2008 we were identified as a ConnCAN Success Story School for middle school performance gains.  In 2011 we were designated a Top Ten School in performance gains for middle school students.  In 2011 students scored an average of 10.9% higher than they did during the previous year.  In 2012 100% of 8th graders scored proficient in math.  In 2013, Odyssey was recognized as a school that is surpassing the state average in reading and math.  In 2014, Odyssey again was awarded Success Story School designation.

 

3.       What does it cost to attend Odyssey?

 

Odyssey is a tuition-free Connecticut public charter school.

 

4.       What is special about Odyssey?

 

a.        Safe, supportive learning environment that allows students to gain self-awareness and self-confidence.

 

 

 

b.      Small classroom size with low teacher to student ratio.

c.       Paraprofessional assistance in lower elementary grades.

d.      High academic and behavioral expectations.

e.       The school promotes a strong sense of community.

f.       Parental involvement is welcomed.

g.      Parental access portal to Power School, our school’s data base, allowing real time information on their child’s progress.

h.      High level of technology is integrated with the curriculum, including dedicated and mobile computer labs, a video production lab, Smart Board in every classroom, and increasing use of tablet, cell phone and computer notebook integration in the classroom.

i.        Behavioral issues are immediately and consistently dealt with.

j.        Students are taught to respect other people, their school, and themselves through exposure to our CIRCLE values of Courage, Integrity, Respect, Curiosity, Leadership and Excellence.

k.      Interesting variety of enrichment and extracurricular activities.

l.        Field trips, guests and projects that enhance learning.

 

5.       Do we have to live in Manchester to attend Odyssey?

 

Odyssey is open to Connecticut residents within the immediate area.  About 75% of our students are Manchester residents.  Currently we have students from a dozen other towns.  However, Manchester is the only town required by law to provide bus transportation for its resident students.  Families from other towns must drive their children, form carpools or rely on public transportation.  There is a city bus stop directly in front of the school.  Parents should carefully consider the length of the commute and the fact that every Friday is a half day when making the decision to apply to Odyssey.  The same standards of prompt arrival and departure apply to students from all towns.

 

6.       What is Odyssey’s daily schedule?

 

Students must enter the building through the rear parking lot (entrance on Adams Street) at 7:30 a.m.  The front parking lot is reserved for school bus use only until after 7:55 a.m. or when the last bus leaves.  Students must be ready to begin their first period class promptly at 8:00 a.m.  School dismissal is 2:45 p.m.  On half day Friday, dismissal is 12:30 p.m.

 

7.       Does Odyssey have an after-school program?

 

Manchester Early Learning Center (MELC) is a licensed day care program.  MELC operates an after-school program until 6:00 p.m. which utilizes the school’s common room, gymnasium and playground.  Registration and payment are done directly with MELC.

 

Odyssey offers clubs after school until 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Students must pre-register for these activities.  Late run buses are provided on those days for Manchester residents.

 

 

8.       Why is every Friday a half day?

 

Half-day Fridays are a critical element of the professional development of our teachers, providing them with activities and opportunities to enhance their instructional skills, case conference around the needs of a particular child, curriculum or grade team planning activities, analysis of student achievement data, or to meet with parents.

 

9.       How does the school handle discipline?

 

We understand that children will make mistakes.  The best outcome is for them to learn from their mistakes.  We believe that children learn best when their environment is physically and emotionally safe.  We use a progressive discipline plan in which children have the opportunity to change an unacceptable behavior; if they do not alter an unacceptable behavior, they will receive a progressively heightened disciplinary response.  We contact parents the same day to inform parents of the problem and the consequence.

 

More severe behaviors such as bullying or aggression are dealt with immediately.  They will jump to the highest level of progressive discipline because these offenses have a negative impact on individual students and the learning environment in general.

 

10.   How does the school communicate with parents?

 

Odyssey supplies each student with a planner.  We ask parents to make it a daily habit to check their child’s backpack for homework and notices that may be sent home.  Homework assignments are also posted to each teacher’s site on our web site at odysseyschool.org.

 

11.   Does Odyssey have a hot lunch program?

 

Odyssey students have the opportunity to purchase hot lunch from Sodexo, a catering firm which delivers and serves school lunches that meet state and federal nutritional standards.  Students receive a monthly menu in advance so they may preorder and prepay lunch on the days they select.  Meals currently cost $2.70.  Eligible families may apply for federal free or reduced lunch pricing.  Students may, of course, bring their own lunch to school.

 

12.   Does Odyssey have a nurse on site?

 

Odyssey has a registered nurse on site from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Odyssey complies with all state mandates such as annual vision, hearing and scoliosis screenings.

 

 

 

 

13.    Does Odyssey provide physical education?

 

Odyssey provides a comprehensive physical education curriculum.  Our focus is on fitness and developing a healthy lifestyle.  We use our gymnasium for indoor activities.  We also have a playground, grass field and basketball court in the large rear parking lot.

 

14.   Will my child have art and music classes?

 

All Odyssey students participate in a highly creative visual arts program.  Music classes combine theory, instrument exposure and voice activities for all grades.

 

15.   Does the school have a parent association?

 

The Circle of Odyssey Parents is usually referred to as COOP.  They publish a schedule of meetings and family activities at the beginning of the school year.  The success of these family-oriented nights is highly dependent upon parents who are willing to make a volunteer investment in their child’s school.  There are a lot of choices, including the back-to-school barbeque, fundraising events, bingo or other family themed activities.

 

16.   What is ASE?

 

All School Exploration (ASE) is unique to Odyssey.  Each trimester, students of all grades comes together to explore a special theme.  Some examples have been Heritage, Latin Culture, Heroes, Decades, the Renaissance, Inventions and Stories Through Time.  Each ASE involves some aspect of research and a culminating event involving either a field trip such as a trip to Ellis Island, a guest speaker such as a professional story teller, or a band demonstrating a particular culture’s music and instruments.

 

17.   Where do Odyssey graduates attend high school?

 

While some students choose to return to their home schools, a larger number select magnet, vocational or private schools.  Most graduates leave Odyssey feeling that they have thrived in a smaller environment.  They seek a similar setting for their high school experience along with a focus of study which aligns with their personal interests.  Our alumni report that they were well prepared for high school and were not feeling overwhelmed with the academic demands of high school.

 

 

 

 

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Jan 29, 2014, 6:40 AM
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