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Odyssey STEM Academy, Lakewood, CA

Odyssey STEM Academy opened its doors to its first freshman class in August 2018 and will add an additional grade level each school year. Scholars are immersed in an Idea Lab designed to awaken their curiosity and passion for transforming themselves and the world. Acting as bio-inspired engineers, scientists and designers, scholars take cues from nature as a way of enhancing existing technologies and inventing new ones. Learning at Odyssey is hands-on and the concept of “bio-inspiration” anchors the curriculum across disciplines during the first trimester. The Odyssey Design Principles capture and represent their values of inclusiveness, community, personalized learning, and learning without boundaries Odyssey commits to increased emphasis on communication, collaboration, innovation, and a strong sense of self, purpose, and responsibility. Students reach deeper levels of learning because of an intentional emphasis on capturing the evolution of creativity and learning rather than on the product. Students learn early in their work when designs “fail”, they provide deeper learning opportunities than ones that “work.”

School Type

Choice School

School Context

Small Size, Urban

Dimensions

  • Outcomes: Whole Child; Competencies; College readiness and place-based models
  • Learner Experience: Personalized, blended, project-based and competency-based; Learning through interests/internships; Focus on learner agency; Advisory/family structure of time
  • Competency & Credentialing: A-G; Students led conferences/portfolio; Team evaluations of each scholar with narrative feedback; Learning exhibitions; Block schedule; Grade level spiral lab
  • Wellness: Advisory
  • Equity: Representative; Full inclusion
  • Professional Learning: Teacher-led personalized learning; Partners personalized learning; Personal learning plans
  • Strategy: Grade/Learning levels
  • Partnerships: NuVu; BPL; Community Partners
  • Technology: Altitude Learning

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These resources have been vetted by the project’s partner organizations. While this list highlights a diverse set of models, we know there are more innovative models around the nation. We’d love to hear about yours!

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Jennifer Storm, Executive Director, Friends of Texas Public Schools

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Dr. David Harris, President of the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators