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IEP Supports & Accommodations

OHS is a school for gifted/talented & academically curious/motivated girls with supports for other selected IEP needs.

IEP Supports & Accommodations

We support and welcome gifted and academically curious girls who may or may not need supports for giftedness, dyslexia and/or dysgraphia (handwriting/fine motor), anxiety/emotional sensitivity, and other select IEP learning needs (e.g. short term memory LDs).

Odyssey Heights welcomes applications from all girls (with and without IEP learning needs) who love small classes & personal attention, horses, visual arts (including knitting, weaving, and other fibre arts!), hands-on science, nature, and spending time learning with their peers in the outdoors, and have a positive, caring, and kind character.

Consideration is given to students with IEPs who are performing below grade level due to a lack of appropriate and/or sufficient accommodations and supports. There is a optional transition program for students that can start in the spring or July term before the student’s first school year at OHS.

Please Note: Admissions decisions are focused on the overall fit of each applicant with her year cohort of applicants and peers in her grade and the grade above. OHS tries to ensure that girls have one or more classmates with similar learning support needs, so all girls feel included.

All students, even those without IEPs, are taught how to use, and do use effective assistive technologies (e.g. text to speech, organizational apps) on their iPads. This ensures the most effective and organized shared learning and social experiences.

Please click here to learn more about what Odyssey Heights offers support and accommodations for and the attributes that successful applicants have, as well as the IEP needs that we don’t support,

Created to Serve the Needs of Students with IEPs & Those Who “Conventional” Schools Don’t Work For.

Students with IEPs are why Odyssey Heights School for Girls was created. Our Director and Founding Principal, Ms. Elizabeth McCready has worked with students with IEPs in her professional Academic Coaching practice since 2001 and specializes in students with giftedness (including high performance athletes & pre-professional dancers), dyslexia, anxiety/emotional sensitivity, other learning disabilities (short-term memory, executive functioning), and ADHD.

She became increasingly frustrated with repeatedly seeing wonderful gifted and capable students mental health and self-esteem plummets from ‘falling through the cracks’, because their needs were not being understood or met at school, and their schools were not learning and/or social environments conducive to their positive mental & physical health.

Odyssey Heights is a school whose creation began with creating a positive, supportive, and enriched program, so teens with and without giftedness, anxiety, depression, ADHD, dyslexia and/or learning disabilities can be safe, inspired, and successful.

1:1 iPads With Effective and Organized Assistive Educational Apps for All Students

Dana Sahian’s video is so close to why and how Odyssey Heights is 1:1 iPads that there’s no need for OHS to create our own video. Not only is she a Speech Language Pathologist and Assistive Technology specialist - she’s also a mom of a young teenage girl who uses her iPad like this for school.

Of particular note are the apps: Inspiration, Quizlet, and Notability, as well as iOS Reminders/Lists, text to speech, and speech to text.

This video gives an overview of some of the amazing things that students can do on the iPad to help them in all of the different areas of learning. https://danasahian.com

Dana Sahian’s video is so close to why and how Odyssey Heights is 1:1 iPads that there’s no need for us to create our own video. Not only is she a Speech Language Pathologist and Assistive Technology specialist - she’s also a mom of a young teenage girl who uses her iPad like this for school.

[Used with permission]

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Gifted & Talented

The structure and programs at Odyssey Heights are ideal for both gifted students, and gifted students with other IEP needs (anxiety, LD, ADHD,...). The Learning Communities that combine two grades ( 7&8, 9/10, 11/12) facilitate working at higher grade levels in one or more subjects, and provide leadership opportunities for girls to peer teach younger students (both often recommenced IEP accommodations for gifted students).

The flexible pacing of both online and blended learning courses allow gifted students to work ahead, or study topics they’re interested in in depth. A maximum in class student to teacher ratio of 10:1 means more individual attention for all students. With Ontario certified teachers for all online courses, even though Odyssey Heights is a small school, our students in all Ontario Secondary School Credit courses and a classroom teacher as an academic coach.

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Dyslexia, Dysgraphia & Select Other Learning Disabilities

The only GIRLS SCHOOL focused on supporting girls with dyslexia and related learning disabilities in a girl positive social environment.

An IEP is developed and implemented before each student with dyslexia and/or learning disabilities starts at Odyssey Heights School. IEPs are created with input from families, the student, past teachers, medical professionals and recent psychoeducational assessment. Ongoing and open dialog with families, the principal, medical and support professionals, and the student helps adjust to changing needs.

Odyssey Heights is a 1:1 iPad with keyboard & Apple Pencil school. All Apple devices have text-to-speech and speech-to-text as part of iOS and MacOS. For students with dyslexia, reading materials can easily be converted to “Dyslexie” font - a special font created by and and for people with dyslexia that aids in reading text.

The blended learning environment for grades 7 & 8 uses multiple learning styles, and with the rare exception, all materials posted in students’ Canvas accounts are in accessible screenreader ready OCR format.

For grades 9-12, as all the credit courses are online, students can work at their own pace, and materials are in accessible formats.

While admission is on a case by case basis, other diagnosed learning disabilities typically supported at Odyssey Heights include:

  • short-term memory, (learns/understands something, then forgets it)

  • fine motor skills, (e.g. messy handwriting)

  • visual-spatial organization/sense of direction,

  • executive functioning,

  • general organizational skills,

  • time management/organization

  • “NV LD” diagnosed coordination/gross motor learning (accident prone, physically awkward, avoids sports for fear/embarrassment of being bad at them,)

    • **Girls with NV LDs typically are above average to gifted intelligence, are more mature in their speech and vocabulary usage than their peers.

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Anxiety (Emotionally Sensitive Girls)

Perfectionism, math/test anxiety, those that work best in very small classes, being bullied at a current or former school, extremely shy, overly worried concerned about what her peers (or others) think of her…

Daily exercise, sufficient sleep, and a healthy diet are key factors in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and depression. The late start at 10:30 am allows girls to sleep more and to avoid the worst of the morning rush hour crowds. Our nature, adventure, and mindfulness physical education is specifically designed to support mental health.

Supports for students with anxiety and depression include: testing accommodations -

  • Additional time

  • Small classes with a maximum of 10 students per class

  • Flexible course schedule.

  • Use of technology

    Blended learning and online credit courses mean students don’t miss content when they miss school, and they can review.
    a peaceful environment with quiet areas
    daily mindfulness moments for every Odyssey Heights student

  • As our director and founding principal Ms. Elizabeth has overcome PTSD and panic disorder, (and has not had a panic attack in over 12 years), there is great support and empathy for girls with mental health needs, as well as a strong role model and advocate.

All teachers have Mental Health First Aid Certification.

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ADHD

Girls with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have different behaviours and different social needs than boys - yet most schools with specific ADHD supports are boy focused and have far more boys than girls.

The schedule and very physically active program at Odyssey Heights are ideal for girls with ADHD as exercise helps regulate brain function. An IEP is developed and implemented before each student with ADHD starts at Odyssey Heights School. IEPs are created with input from families, the student, past teachers, medical professionals and recent psychoeducational assessment. Ongoing and open dialog with families, the principal, medical and support professionals, and the student helps adjust to changing needs

The blended learning environment for grades 7 & 8 uses multiple learning styles. For grades 9-12, as all the credit courses are online, students can work at their own pace, and materials are in accessible formats. With almost all material being posted on the students’ Canvas class accounts, girls who miss concepts because of their ADHD can “rewind the teacher.”

Gifted Pre-Professional Dancers and Athletes

Part-time and half day options allow busy pre- professional dancers and high level student athletes to complete their schooling and have a peers to work with, while having time to focus on their training.
For athletes and dancers that travel frequently, attending class via video conferencing can be discussed with the principal.

The schedule and very physically active program at Odyssey Heights are ideal for girls with ADHD as exercise helps regulate brain function. An IEP is developed and implemented before each student with ADHD starts at Odyssey Heights School. IEPs are created with input from families, the student, past teachers, medical professionals and recent psychoeducational assessment. Ongoing and open dialog with families, the principal, medical and support professionals, and the student helps adjust to changing needs

The blended learning environment for grades 7 & 8 uses multiple learning styles. For grades 9-12, as all the credit courses are online, students can work at their own pace, and materials are in accessible formats. With almost all material being posted on the students’ Canvas class accounts, girls who miss concepts because of their ADHD can “rewind the teacher.”


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Aspergers/Mildly “on the Spectrum”

As the symptoms and educational & social needs of girls with Aspergers vary extremely widely, admission decisions are on a case by case basis, to ensure the best educational and social fit, and long-term success for girls.

While Odyssey Heights doesn’t have Aspergers/autism specific interventions, our small classes, individualized and experiential learning, and integrated assistive technologies may be an excellent fit for some girls with Aspergers/mild autism - especially those who work above grade level in one or more subjects with appropriate supports and accommodations and/or who are highly motivated by horses and time in the outdoors. Accommodations available are similar as those above for dyslexia, anxiety/emotional sensitivity, and select learning disabilities (e.g. short term memory LD).

Please Note: Odyssey Heights School for Girls/École pour filles Odyssey Heights is NOT a school for Troubled Teens. Students at OHS will not be in classes with girls with severe/untreated mental health issues, addictions, or those at risk of harming themselves or others. The safety of our community members is paramount. Girls who are at risk of harming themselves or others cannot be accepted at Odyssey Heights. All students must be academically and socially capable of being positive members of the learning community at Odyssey Heights. Aggressive, disruptive, or violent behaviours are not tolerated and will result in immediate suspension, most likely expulsion, and potentially legal consequences.