Wilmington, DEL.- In a move that underscores Delaware’s commitment to the future and diversity of its youth, the Red Clay Consolidated District School Board has voted unanimously to approve the Odyssey Charter School for its anticipated opening in September 2006. The vote was cast on May 11th, 2005.
The Odyssey Charter School, a publicly-funded elementary school, will offer an innovative approach to elementary education by providing its students with instruction in a second language along with an emphasis in mathematics. Targeted for a central location within the Red Clay Consolidated School District, Odyssey’s site plan and associated finances will be reviewed by the School Board later this year in August prior to the school’s final approval to commence student enrollment in the fall.
“The combination of learning to read and speak a foreign language, and reviewing the day’s math lessons in that second language hones the students’ skills and comprehension of the materials,” said Odyssey Charter School Board president, George Chambers. At Odyssey, students will learn and be taught in Greek, with additional emphasis on the classic roots and fundamentals of English, language arts, mathematics, and science.
“The Odyssey Charter School represents a rich academic focus that will challenge and excite its young students, and guide them through an exceptional educational experience,” said Red Clay School District superintendent Dr. Robert Andrzejewski. “We are pleased to be home to this unique school and believe that Odyssey may redefine the expectations of any public school in the state.”
“To enhance the students’ foreign language experience and sense of world citizenship at the Odyssey Charter School, we’ve arranged through the Greek Embassy to provide veteran elementary school teachers from Greece to instruct and immerse our students in Greek language and culture,” explained Chambers. “The students’ experience will be as though they are attending a school in another country!”
Working side by side with the foreign instructors, Delaware state-certified teachers will have responsibility to teach the school’s core curriculum. This free public education will establish a solid academic foundation for Odyssey Charter School students and leave them well prepared to meet and exceed all state testing standards, as required of Delaware public schools.
Modeled after the Archimedean Academy in Miami, Florida, the Odyssey Charter School has set goals similar to the achievements at Archimedean.
“To place in the top 1% in math and 3% in reading out of approximately 1880 elementary schools in Florida is an amazing accomplishment for both the students and faculty,” says Tony Skoutelas, Odyssey’s curriculum development leader and secretary of the Odyssey Charter School Board. “Based on research as well as the documented performance from elementary programs similar to ours, we see no limit to what can be accomplished by our students at the Odyssey Charter School.”
The charter application process started in July 2004 for the Odyssey Charter School Board. Partnering with the AHEPA, an internationally recognized Greek-American education and philanthropic organization, and the Innovative Schools Development Corporation who specialize in the incubation and funding of charter schools, Odyssey was guided toward Red Clay. “Our school district has taken a leadership role in the promotion and advancement of public schools through our charter program,” states Irwin Becnel, Jr., president of the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board. “The outstanding elementary course of studies soon to be offered by the Odyssey Charter School will compliment the already widely successful charter institutions such as the Charter School of Wilmington and the Delaware Military Academy that have been commissioned within Red Clay.”