Odyssey Gifted Program at Libby

Libby Center The Spokane Public Schools elementary and middle school Odyssey Program is a full day, every day gifted  magnet program at Libby Center for fifth through eighth grade students. Students who qualify for the district's Tessera Program, also qualify and may apply for enrollment in the Odyssey program as fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth graders.
The Odyssey program at the fifth/sixth grade level consists of two multi-age, self-contained classes. Students remain with the same homeroom teacher both years. The Odyssey program at the seventh and eighth grade level consists of two self-contained classes. Students will have their assigned homeroom teacher. However, all Odyssey teachers team teach throughout the school year; thus, students collaboratively work with several skilled Odyssey teachers throughout the school year.

Students in the Odyssey program are taught the required core curriculum for Spokane Public Schools. This curriculum meets Washington State Essential Learning requirements. However, in Odyssey, curriculum and instruction are accelerated and enriched to provide more in-depth learning through varied methods, including large and small group instruction, special projects, individualized programs, project-based units, field trips, volunteer work, guest speakers, and travel when appropriate.

Odyssey students experience a challenging, more rigorous academic program, which is designed to effectively meet the special needs of gifted, highly capable students. The program focuses on critical and creative thinking, and provides opportunities for children to independently pursue interests in depth. The curriculum is open-ended and individualized. This is accomplished through curriculum compacting and student self-selection of reading and research material, as examples. Science and social studies concepts and objectives are taught through project-based units, which allow Odyssey students the opportunity to explore areas of personal interest within the framework of the required curriculum.

In addition, Odyssey students are taught and encouraged throughout the curriculum to develop habits of personal responsibility and organizational study skills. Long-term projects and the more individualized approach to learning in Odyssey require students to develop self-management systems and skills which are essential for success in school and throughout adult lives.

Odyssey Schedule: The Odyssey day begins at 8:15 a.m. and ends with a 2:30 p.m. dismissal. As with other Spokane Public Schools alternative programs, parents provide transportation to and from the Libby Center for their children in the Odyssey program. However, assistance is provided to parents in helping to set up carpools. The ending time in the Odyssey school day gives parents enough time to transport their children back to their home schools for extra-curricular activities, such as sports programs.

There is no "typical" day in the Odyssey program. A daily routine would include, but not be limited to, academic skills taught through team teaching, large group instruction, and discussion including problem solving, individual projects, and student presentations. In addition, students schedule a portion of their day to maximize their individualized learning goals. Research indicates that gifted students become intensely involved in an area of study and need the option of flexible scheduling. This type of flexible scheduling, for example, allows students to focus on a topic for a lengthy period of time, when needed, and then shift to the other required projects and assignments for the day at a later time.

In addition, the Odyssey program provides specialist teachers for instruction in Art, Physical Education, Music Technology, and electives for Band and Strings. In addition, students are provided instruction in Keyboarding, Library, and On-line Research Skills.

Summary Remarks: Spokane Public Schools is committed to meeting the diverse learning needs of its gifted, highly capable students. As a result, the district offers several options and programs to challenge and enrich the learning of these special students. Some of these programs include the Tessera Program, Honors, and Advanced Placement courses. The Odyssey program is a recent new choice offered for gifted students in Spokane Public Schools.

The success of the Odyssey program, even from its first year, results from the collaborative effort of parents, students, teachers and administration. Parent involvement as mentors, teacher assistants, and coordinators of trips and events, is vital to the effectiveness of the program. The Odyssey teachers serve as learning facilitators and view students as partners in determining the path and direction of their education. As a result, Odyssey students set goals, work to achieve them, actively take part in evaluating their academic and study skill performance, and then set new goals.

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