It has become quite common for some of the first questions about Odyssey Young Leaders Academy to be ones of curriculum. How will kids learn reading, writing, mathematics without textbooks and tests and grades? How will we know if our child is "on track"? Will they be behind? All very understandable questions.
It seems the fear and frenzy cultivated in the narrative of education has gained significant control over schooling. Control leading to cramming curriculum, believing that more is better, and assenting that grades and testing determine life outcomes. The resulting stress has polluted parenting, childhood, and education in truly detrimental ways.
And we believe it is time for a plot change.
Of course that does not mean we are working toward raising a generation of illiterate children who cannot solve mathematical algorithms. Quite the contrary. We just believe the why matters. Our why will never be for a test score, a grade or staying "on track". From the beginning of the Odyssey story, the rooting narrative was and still is "to set captives free". Our collective work is to reimagine schooling in a way that does that very thing. Rather than schooling perpetuating oppression, we will be a place where education brings freedom.
Saturday night I listened to stories shared by parents from Odyssey Leadership Academy. They shared how finding OLA was a significant plot change in the narrative of their child's life. They told stories of death turning to life, disconnection to relationship, apathy to passion, neglect to care, purposelessness to meaning. They shared how engaged their students were in learning-not to get the grade, but to understand themselves and the world, to find beauty, to cultivate good.
We are honored to extend this same narrative to the young ones in our city.
In that, we wholeheartedly believe the ability to read brings freedom. Not just freedom to move on to the next level. Freedom to understand the world, to enter worlds we have not known, and to shape new and better worlds. Proficiency in math isn't mostly helpful for a high mark. It is mostly helpful to grasp impact, change, significance, and mystery. This understanding leads to cultivating those same things in this world. It brings freedom to the knower, and in ways we may not understand for years to come, it has an exponential effect on our community, our city, our world.
Students at Odyssey Young Leaders Academy will absolutely pursue mastery in a variety of academic skill and content areas. Mentors at OYLA will consistently resource and equip students to be voracious learners. Any tool-the reading, the writing, the math and science-that leads to freedom is a sacred thing in our community. The difference-at Odyssey appetites are fueled by a vision of generations set free to set future generations free.
Ready for a plot change? Join the story unfolding at Odyssey Young Leaders Academy.