At The Odyssey Preparatory Academy each child matters. Odyssey provides a safe and secure environment where all children are given the opportunity to discover and use their talents to make a positive impact on their community and the world. Through the use of innovative curriculum and technology, scholars at Odyssey will be prepared to lead in the ever-changing global market place. The positive nature of the Odyssey environment will inspire all team members and will contribute to low teacher turnover and extensive parent volunteerism
Thank you for entrusting the education of your scholar to The Odyssey Preparatory Academy team of schools. For those of you who are new to the Odyssey team, we thought it might be fun to look back at where we started, where we are today, and where we will be in the next few years.
In March of 2008, we (Holly Johnson, Megan Olson, and Mary Yanke), held our first informational parent meeting in the Buckeye Chamber of Commerce Pulte Room. There were twelve people there, six of whom we were related to and were forced to be there so the room did not look too empty! From then on, the meetings continued to double and triple in size and before long, every meeting we held was over crowded and a fire hazard!
On January 13th, 2009, The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools deemed our 300 page application acceptable and granted us a charter to operate schools in Arizona. Plans had already been made for a permanent building and a Letter of Intent was placed on a piece of property in Buckeye. Financing was also in place to build the school. As most of you remember, this is around the same time the economy completely tanked and banks stopped lending money. Our projects were put on hold and the financing was pulled. We continued to search for different parcels and funding, but as time went on, it became apparent we would need a temporary facility to at least be able to start school. The plan was to only be in the temporary facility for a few months while the permanent structure was built, however, as many of you know by now, the temporary facility became a year-long adventure. The temporary facility was built out in 30 days, and one week before school was to start, a swarm of parent volunteers came on site and painted, put together furniture and set up rooms.
The Odyssey family was able to transform a strip mall into a working school in a matter of hours. On August 31, 2009, we opened Odyssey with over 400 scholars for the first time, in an 11,000 square foot strip mall. Parent volunteers covered lunches until it was cool enough to let scholars eat outside. PE was held in the back on the asphalt until we could put grass in the retention basin and our kindergartners went home smelling like Carne Asada every day! By January of 2010, we had investors willing to build the permanent facility, however, the financing did not fund completely until April of 2010. The contractors worked tirelessly and diligently to ensure the building was done in time for our second year of school. In the meantime, the strip mall was remodeled into a wonderful kindergarten and preschool facility. We began our second year with over seven hundred students and hundreds more on the waitlist. The new facility helped us grow and expand and let investors and the community know, we were here to stay.
The opening of this school year marks the start of our third year. We have three wonderful facilities, and between the preschool and the elementary schools, over 1500 scholars with hundreds on a waitlist. We are so thankful to all the Odyssey families who have been with us from early days of a start up school and we welcome our new families who now get to take part in this exciting journey.
The future for Odyssey is bright. Negotiations took place starting last school year on a piece of property squarely between the Goodyear and Buckeye schools for the 7-12 campus. We are now in the due diligence phase of the process and as soon as it is purchased, the building will begin! Outdoor classrooms on both elementary campuses are in the planning and permitting phases. Technology is being purchased daily and is being infused into the daily curriculum. The parent portal will help parents communicate with teachers and scholars with ease. We have assembled a new administrative team and a phenomenal teaching staff at each campus that is unmatched in quality and professionalism. These teachers and administrators will continue to move us closer and closer to being the best school in the country, anything less would leave us short of our goal.
Welcome to all our new families, welcome back to all our returning families, and thank you again for joining the Odyssey team.
Holly, Megan, Mary