It makes good sense that in any given classroom, in any given subject, there are a variety of different types of learners with a variety of different skills. So it makes good sense to cluster learners with similar learning profiles and abilities with one another and tailor instruction to their needs. What makes no sense at all is to assume that just because a student has difficulty understanding a single concept, (say those pesky fractions) that she is locked into the proverbial ‘low group’ for the remainder of the year. At TOPA we pretest each new concept to determine the student’s aptitude and tailor instruction and cluster groups accordingly.
More specifically, we use a model called Cluster Grouping to group ALL of our scholars. While typically this is a strategy used only for students who have been identified by a district as gifted, this is a model of instruction that we use for each of our classrooms. Cluster grouping allows elementary scholars to receive enrichment within their classroom using instruction that provides opportunities to grow academically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally according to their abilities and talents. This model is ideal because it gives scholars the opportunity to work in a community of other learners who think like them and it enables the teacher to provide ongoing support, acceleration, and enrichment as needed.
The Odyssey Preparatory Academy has been a Core Knowledge school since its inception. We feel confident that the Core Sequence with its variety of rich literature, focus on the arts, and emphasis placed upon historical context will provide a foundation of prior knowledge that will greatly benefit our scholars as they take on the challenges of high school and university. The rationale for the Core Sequence is outlined below. However, sometimes it is more helpful to experience Core Knowledge than to explain it.
The following links allow you to see Core Knowledge in action at our campuses:
What I Learned at Odyssey ( A link showing CK displayed in a door decorating contest)
Interweaving Classroom Content (Link to a music teacher’s website)
The Core Knowledge Sequence is the result of a lengthy research process taken on by the Core Knowledge Foundation. The Sequence was put together by a group of educational professionals who consulted with academic organizations and studied different countries with successful educational systems. Students in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade at all three elementary schools are exposed to integrated studies in the world and American geography and history, science, visual arts, music, math and of the language arts.
The Core Knowledge® Curriculum is distinguished by the “Four S’s”:
Specificity – By clearly specifying a core of knowledge, children are guaranteed equal access to that knowledge. The Sequence contains specific information of what each child should know.
Shared – All children, regardless of where they come from, will have access to a shared body of knowledge that will help them become a part of a literate society.
Solid – There is a body of basic knowledge that all children should know.
Sequenced – Research has proven that children attach new knowledge to what they already know.
To learn more and to view the Core Knowledge Curriculum Sequence, please visit the official website: http://www.coreknowledge.org/
As stated by the Arizona Department of Education, “Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards are the culmination of an extended, broad-based effort to fulfill the charge issued by the states to create the next generation of K–12 standards in order to help ensure that all students are college and career ready in literacy and mathematics no later than the end of high school.”
As a public charter school, Odyssey is required to teach the ACCR standards and does so with fidelity. These standards are not a prescribed curriculum but a set of rigorous skills that each child is expected to master at the end of each grade level. These standards are taught through the Odyssey’s chosen curricula. For a complete set of Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards please visit: http://www.azed.gov/standards-practices/
The founders and teachers at The Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies are pleased to announce the school’s application for candidacy for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme has been authorized.
The Diploma Programme (DP) level, for grades 11 and 12, is a comprehensive two-year advanced academic studies program designed to prepare scholars for success in higher academia and participation in a global society. Scholars begin the program in their junior year of high school and study six subjects chosen from the six subject groups, complete an extended essay, follow a theory of knowledge (TOK) course and participate in a Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) plan.
OI has already been accepted in the IB community to offer The Middle Years Programme (MYP), designed for 6th to 10th-grade scholars. The MYP focuses on scholars becoming creative, critical and reflective thinkers, all while emphasizing intellectual challenges and encouraging the scholars to make the connection between their studies and the real world.
Currently, The Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies is the only school in the state of Arizona offering all of the Middle Years Programme for scholars in the 6th through the 10th grades. Odyssey will be the fourth school in the state of Arizona offering both the Middle Years Programme and the Diploma Programme. Odyssey will be the only school in the state of Arizona requiring the entire student body from the 6th grade through 12th grade to take the IB programme.
For comprehensive information on the International Baccalaureate program and the rigors of this learning experience, please visit the International Baccalaureate Organization.
To learn more, please download the OIAIS IB Brochure