A Truly Unique School
What if there was a school...
that starts at 10:30am giving students more time to sleep, and helps avoid morning the TTC rush hour delays?
With daily fitness focused on outdoor and mindfulness?
where there is "No Homework Ever!" and no need to hire tutors or learning coaches because girls work at their own pace (often with their friends) being guided though online courses with Odyssey Heights teachers being their learning coaches?
that emphasizes real-life, hands-on, engaging and challenging learning experiences in the outdoors?
where a month of overnight trip days are included in tuition?
that has an OE3 Outdoor Ecological and Experiential Education program that provides enrichment for the Ontario Curriculum
where all students participate in a school-wide, curriculum-linked equestrian program?
that has a 10:1 student-to-teacher in class ratio (not just the "on staff" ratio that some other schools use to mislead to parents), and a maximum of 1:5 in Secondary credit courses (?
that specializes in both the arts and the sciences?
that has team-taught, multi-age learning communities that function like an extended family?
Where individualized teaching, and very French small classes of 4-8 students following France’s Ministry of Education FSL curriculum, ensures that all girls graduate functionally fluent in French - in time for the student-panned graduation trip to France?
that provides an integrated, supportive, and challenging university preparatory curriculum for students with giftedness and students with anxiety, learning disabilities, ADHD, & depression.
that has had universities recruiting its graduates even before the school's first year of operation?
that is one of the only secondary schools in Canada to use the research proven Montessori method that's produced leaders in both the arts as sciences including: the founders of Google, Wikipedia andAmazon; Julia Childs; Anne Frank; Sean "P. Diddly" Combs; George Clooney; and several Nobel Prize and Grammy Award Winners?
Well now there is. Welcome to Odyssey Heights School for Girls, opening in midtown Toronto in 2018. Apply now, or request more information by contacting the director and founding principal Ms. Elizabeth McCready at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 416-556-4079.
Exciting Program Revisions for 2019-2020!
After the first few months of Odyssey Heights we’ve learned a great deal about what works for our students, and what can be changed to make the program even better. This website and other online information is being updated over the next few weeks. Here are some highlights:
Program Revisions for 2019-2020
Look for Website Updates in January
Increased flexibility, lower fees and more central location, and an even stronger focus on girls mental health…
The best part of teaching and working with youth is learning. I’ve learned a tremendous amount this year about what works really well for our students’ needs, what parents are specifically searching for, and what needs to be changed. There is a definite need for a school like Odyssey Heights School for Girls, but we need to:
make our school geographically and financially more accessible for more families, and
focus on the population of girls that most need the alternative programming that Odyssey Heights School offers
keep the elements that work
Thus, 2019-2020 will see the following changes:
We are moving downtown and will be within a 5 minute walk of both the Yonge/University/Spadina and the Bloor subway lines. (The exact location to be announced in the next few weeks.)
A maximum 30-45 minute TTC commute from most of the city and Vaughn Centre.
Walking distance and/or a 5-10 TTC trip to so many cultural and educational resources including: the ROM, Toronto Reference Library, Bata Shoe Museum, JCC, University of Toronto, Hot Docs Theatre, Bata Shoe Museum, Yoga & Fitness studios, National Ballet of Canada performances, and more
Four terms per year with July being optional:
Fall (September to December)
Winter (January to March Break)
Spring (March Break to June)
Summer (July) - optional
**Fall, Winter, and Spring terms have a 4-5 day mid-term holiday weekend (November, Family Day, Easter)
Two credits per term in Fall, Winter, and Spring, plus year-long French credit
This keeps students focused and doesn’t spread coursework over the longer winter and March Break holidays.
Two overnight OE3 trips per term included in tuition (still a month of trips)
One Project or Going Out (POGO) week per term:
Multimedia & Graphic Arts in Fall, Coding in Winter, Environment & Culture Day in Spring
Stronger focus on French:
3 hours/week Alliance-Français FSL classes using the French Ministry of Education curriculum, with the option to work on the DELF diploma for teens.
Grade 9 Ontario French credit - Year long course
Optional after school private, semi-private, and group French courses though Alliance-Français.
Physical Education & Fitness
Increased focus on outdoor cardio activities and mindfulness. Approximately 10-12 weeks each of Nordic Walking, outdoor ice skating, and rock climbing.
An average of 2 Friday POGO (Project Or Going Out) days a month in equestrian activities: lessons, trail rides, farm trips, equine therapy.
(Remember that there are holidays and over night trips, so some months there are only 3 Fridays that are school days - and only 2 in March and June.)
All credit courses will be online through the Independent Learning Centre. This creative alternative to “regular” in person courses was recommended by our wonderful Ministry of Education inspector as it provides the following benefits for our student population:
Students who miss a significant number of days/classes due to mental health will no longer be at risk of not meeting the required 110 hours of instruction per credit course.
Odyssey Heights teachers can focus on guiding and coaching students while the ILC online teachers do the lesson planning, prepare the course material, do the marking and exams, and prepare the academic report cards.
Students can start at Odyssey Heights at any time during the school year and still work on secondary school credits.
Students can work at their own pace. Gifted students can work at an accelerated pace, while those needing more time can continue to work on a course into the next term without receiving an incomplete on their report card.
Students can work at home in the evenings and weekends if they want to. (I was quite surprised that some students wanted the flexibility to take some work home - without it being required homework.)
As the credit courses are provided by the Independent Learning Centre the Ministry of Education doesn’t charge Odyssey Heights School the fees associated with offering credit courses. This saves thousands of dollars a year, hundreds of hours of staff work time, and is helping us reduce our tuition fees.
A BOYD (Bring Your Own Device) program that allows students the choice of a MacBook and basic 6th generation + iPad and Apple Pencil, or an iPad Pro with a keyboard and Apple Pencil. This is instead of purchasing through school fees
Families want the option for their daughters to use iPads and/or newer MacBooks, that they already own.
Some families would prefer to purchase iPads through their cell phone providers or finance iPads and/or MacBooks through Apple to spread the cost into monthly payments.
Students may choose their own outdoor gear including gear they/their families already own (as long as it meets certain requirements).
This helps reduce fees for families that already own winter sleeping bags, hiking packs, etc, and more choice for colours and features for our girls.
Weekly Schedule Highlights
(The weekly timetable will be posted online the day that our exact new school location is announced):
10:30am to 4:25pm Monday to Thursday
This allows students to avoid the morning rush hour, and get 9 hours of sleep even if they fall asleep at midnight.
Girls were getting tired with the 9:55-5:30pm work days.
Start and end times vary on Fridays depending on the field trip location/traffic.
Monday Mornings 10:30-12:30 - Outdoor/Adventure Fitness: Nordic Walking, Ice Skating, Indoor Rock Climbing.
One day a week at the Toronto Reference Library
One afternoon a week at the ROM
POGO Days moved from Wednesdays to Fridays so girls can sleep in the day after a longer active day: Equestrian, Day Hikes, Nature and Science Field Trips,
Student Planned POGO Days:
With the new student council activity fund, girls can organize their own POGO Day activities at least once a term.
The options are endless - especially being in the Yonge and Bloor area - ceramic painting, art parties, musicals, glass blowing, sailing lessons, harbour cruises, paddle boarding, Toronto Zoo, escape room, dance workshops, opera, AGO, Niagara Falls, ballet performances, rock climbing, golfing/mini-golfing, tennis lessons, bowling, movie nights, HotDocs, and more.
The out of province/international year end trips are now student planned (with extensive guidance from school staff).
Students gain more planning, research, math/financial, and communication skills, while making each trip truly their own.
Students receive a per student budget from school funds, and have the option to fundraise.
As the trips will be student planned the first one will be in 2020-2021 to Alberta.
Lower fees - especially the one time new student fees like the enrolment fee and eliminating the back to school shopping fee.
Lower fees mean that Odyssey Heights is more affordable for more families.