Student Learning Experience

The California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) in our accreditation report described the Student Learning Experience at Odyssey:

“The foundation of the student learning experience at Odyssey consists of a hands‐on, project­‐based, accelerated, experiential education program designed to play to student strengths while supporting and bolstering student weaknesses. The school calendar and schedule are designed to provide numerous opportunities for learning beyond traditional classes, including time for expeditions to Japan, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Whitney, Ashland, and the Channel Islands. Various all‐school meetings occur throughout the week. These meetings are designed to build a tight community of students and teachers. In class, students are challenged academically while having numerous opportunities to work independently and in groups. Active participation in class is both expected and highly valued, and teachers are encouraged to give students some degree of choice with respect to their assignments.

Notable Strengths:

1. Strong relationships between teachers and students strengthen the students’ educational experiences. In fact, current Odyssey students and alumni repeatedly cite the strong sense of community and warm, friendly teachers as major strengths of the school. In addition, numerous positive student­‐teacher interactions were observed by the committee during our visit.

2. Faculty and administration recognize the importance of educating the whole child and have created a rigorous academic program while also providing both a strong social­‐emotional program (including the Self-­Science course, community meetings, and advisory) and numerous high­‐quality experiences outside the classroom (such as the various expeditions and field trips).

3. Students demonstrate active engagement in class and active participation is highly valued, with participation grades representing a significant percentage of the class grade.

4. Homework club creates a structured environment for students to work on homework and receive help not only with assignments but also on valuable learning skills such as study habits and organization. The learning services coordinator runs homework club effectively and prepares well for each day’s homework club. She is aware of all assignments, and she is also aware of which students are behind on their assignments.”