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Odyssey

Description of Odyssey Academy
by Jodi Johnson on 5 December 2012

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Transcript of Odyssey

The Journey Begins 2010 - 2011 Odyssey in Motion An exploratory team was assembled at New Hanover High School to visit Freshmen Academies in the region. Meanwhile, at West Bladen High School, Mr. Finn launched "The Success Academy" for 9th graders. At the end of the year, Mr. Finn was appointed at New Hanover as Principal, where he met the teachers who had done the exploratory work to create a freshmen academy. This collaboration led to the framework for the Odyssey Academy, with a year long project called Project 650. Project 650 was a 180 day process by which student schedules were examined and teachers were teamed up to ensure the overall success of select students. The results were higher composite EOC scores across the board for all demographics, and a higher promotion rate to the 10th grade than in previous years. Further, the Lead Teacher, Ms. Johnson and the prospective guidance counselor, Mr. Guthrie, began collaborating with other teachers about turning this project into a school within the school, with a New Hanover twist. 2011 - 2012 * Teachers were recruited based on their propensity to build strong relationships with students, on top of mastery of their subject area.
* The third floor was dedicated to The Odyssey, with a face lift being provided featuring freshly painted walls, motivational banners, The Excellent 11 Concepts, and student-chosen quotes. Teachers were given the opportunity to paint their rooms any color they wanted in the summer, as the classrooms began to look like each teacher's personality.
* Teachers had a say in the scheduling of students. They were partnered up in teams, with some classes meeting year round for 45 minutes each day, and others meeting for half of a year at 90 minutes per day.
* Communities in Schools was brought up to the third floor to give additional support. Final Preparations for the Launch of the Odyssey: *In August of 2012, the first Odyssey Class started their 9th grade year.
* Herff Jones provided a banner which was a Contract for Graduation, and the students all signed the banner which will hang on the UNCW stage in 2016.
* Mr. Guthrie introduced the Service Learning Group.




Mr. Norvell was assigned as the administrator who would be housed in the freshman academy, and Mr. Guthrie was assigned as the school counselor who would be housed in the freshman academy. The Odyssey was the name given to the freshmen academy, as the 9th grade year would be an experience and a journey that would see the success of all students entering 9th grade for the first time. By the end of the 2011-2012 school year: The Odyssey has developed as follows:
*Built by teachers, built for student success
*A common area of the building
* The opportunity for students to work and learn outside of the academy as well.
*A team of core teachers and support staff
* On site guidance and administrator
* Monthly Seminars and Student Recognition Assemblies
* Service projects
* Custom-Built Schedules
* EC Support
* AIG Support
* Opportunity for AP Classes as 9th graders
* Pre-Lyceum and Pre Signature Academy Pathways
* Focus on Citizenship through Civics as 9th graders
* Individualized classrooms
* Motivational Hallway
* Web Site within our Web Site
* Off Site Trips
* Demand from NHC Parents - led the county in 9th grade open choice applications.
* Discipline numbers have dropped.
* Achievement has risen.
* Dropouts have been non-existent: students are finding success academically, socially, and see promotion as a reality.
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