LIFE at ODYSSEY

Each day at Odyssey looks different from the next.

We believe that education should be about shaping students who learn to live and lead from the inside out. Our educational opportunities are different from any other school! They are crafted around questions of deep moral importance, real-world significance, and engaging learning experiences for sixth through twelfth grade students!

 
 
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MENTORING

Building community with those around you, each and every day.

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The achievement of excellence in schools depends not on adding value, but on the development of a community of practitioners who encourage virtuous activity in each other.
— William Foster
 
 

Mentoring is at the heart of everything we do at Odyssey Leadership Academy.

The moral center of OLA revolves around the idea that, in order to educate fully flourishing human beings, there must be people who speak life into one another in a caring community. 

We take our cue from the great philosophical and religious communities who devoted themselves to caring for one another in wisdom, truth, and love over long periods of time, including Plato's Academy, Aristotle's Lyceum, and the early Judeo-Christian communities who practiced charity, hospitality, and sacrificial living.

At Odyssey Leadership Academy, mentoring happens in all spaces: eating together around the lunch table, playing ultimate frisbee at the park, sipping cappuccinos in coffee shops, helping each other rappel down a mountain, sitting around a campfire at 13,000 feet, teaching guitar... yes, everywhere!

 

Our Mentors walk with a small number of students from the student's first day at OLA to their last.

Each Mentor is responsible for mentoring students of the same gender, beginning with the student's first year. As the student moves up, so does the Mentor. A Mentor is not just a teacher. He or she is helping to shape Odyssey Expeditions, leading Odyssey Explorations, advising students on course selection, getting to know the needs of each student's family, helping out with college advising, and being there to offer encouragement and support throughout the student's journey.

We also believe in fostering a spirit of mentorship in our students by asking older students to mentor younger students both one-on-one and in small groups.

 

 

 

 
 
Miss Kingston and her mentor girls posing together in Central Park, during the 2017 Spring Excursion.

EXPLORATIONS

Morning Courses FROM 9:30 am - noon

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We structure our class times as a journey undertaken with one's peers in order to discover, create, and explore new things.

 

EACH SCHOOL year is broken up into Four course BLOCKS.

What are course blocks? We offer four terms of eight-week courses that allow students to dig deep into one particular conversation. This means that students are only focusing on learning one topic for those eight weeks instead of the seven subjects taught in traditional school settings. This provides students the chance to go deeper, ask questions, pause for reflection, and cover more material in one unit than most traditional students would cover in a whole semester.

Each course meets from 9:30am - 12:00pm every day for eight weeks (it is highly encouraged and expected that the time is spent in a variety of ways: interactive conversation, lecture, small group work, outdoor exploration, reading time, workshops, acting, etc...).

Once a student chooses a particular course, the student is engaged in that course for the duration of the eight weeks. We do offer many courses at one time, so students will miss out on the other options during that semester. However, our courses are very popular and are offered in future semesters for those who were not able to take them the first time.

 
Student, Julian, talking about his Celebrating Differences course final project with Celebrations of Learning attendees, Fall 2017.

 

Course Examples

  • For the Love of Poetry (English)
  • Game Theory (Mathematics)
  • The Problem of Evil (History)
  • Fixing the Body (Science)
  • Nature's Folklore (English and Science)
  • Math: the Quest for Wonder (Mathematics and History)
  • Celebrating Differences (Social Studies)
  • Nutrition (Science)
  • Peace building (Social Studies)
  • Gender Reconciliation (English)
  • Leaders of the Past and Present (History)

EXPEDITIONS

Afternoon Courses from 1 - 3 pm

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Student, Harrison, painting live for his art expedition's final project, at Celebrations of Learning Spring 2017.
 
 
EACH STUDENT HAS DREAMS THEY WANT TO FULFILL. INSTEAD OF SITTING IN A CLASS ALL DAY, WE LET STUDENTS EXPLORE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES.

At Odyssey Leadership Academy, we help students craft their own educational journey to fit their passions, interests, needs, and desires.

Odyssey Expeditions meet in the afternoon from 1:00--3:00 pm, Tuesday - Friday. Students have the chance to engage in our diverse selection of courses guided by our Mentors, or design their own educational experience during these afternoon sessions. 

Examples of Courses Offered

  • Photography
  • Culinary
  • Creative Writing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Woodshop
  • Karate
  • Foreign Languages 
  • Spoken Word
  • Tinker's Garage

 

Apprenticeships and Volunteer Opportunities

Students can also be guided in choosing to volunteer at the local zoo, shadow a surgeon, study guitar, intern at an architectural firm, serve at a local non-profit, tackle a research project, write and publish their own novel, direct a movie... the list is endless!!

 

EXCURSIONS

Week-long trips created to deepen community and our understanding of the world around us.

 

Fall and Spring Excursions

During the rest of the school year, students will have the opportunity to go on two more excursions (one in the fall and one in the spring semesters). These times of travel give students cultural exposure ad leadership experiences beyond the classroom. Past fall and spring trips have been to the bustling metropolis of New York City, an Indian reservation in New Mexico, Washington D.C., a south trip to study race, etc...

True community is built when lives are shared all day, multiple days on end.

During the year, students and faculty embark on three, week-long trips. Each year holds different destinations because we try to match what we are learning in our morning courses with where and what we see and do on our trips.

 

Our first day of school is the day we head out on our first trip.

Typically, this looks like engaging in activities and experiences in the mountains and on the rivers of Colorado. This allows for student-to-student and student-to-mentor bonding, creates deep relational connections, build bridges between ages, and starts the year off with a life-changing experience that sets the tone for the rest of the year!