Besides my usual interest in what my granddaughter is doing, I volunteered a day in her first grade classroom. The class had Reading Workshop and Math Workshop where they were learning "strategies for solving problems"-- not just working on reading or math worksheets but strategies. The children spent time holding and reading real books they chose according to their interests and reading levels. The students knew what to do and followed class routines. They worked together and individually and helped each other. They also used computers or learning materials like matching and counting buttons to 100. The teacher used a smart board for stories and singing songs so the students could read the words along with her.
It was obvious the children loved their teacher and she cared for them. The students came from many different cultures and backgrounds and they all seemed to get along well. The teacher got a grant for the children to plant a vegetable garden and see how food grows. Many parents joined them as they visited the Pumpkin farm and learned more about where food comes from. Plus, it was great fun. The students were writing stories about their experiences when I was visiting.
The school was orderly, clean and quiet in the halls. I observed older students helping in the lunchroom. They cleaned tables and helped younger students carry their trays and open their milk cartons. The teachers ate with the children.
Odell has a teacher from China who is teaching Chinese to each of the classes. The students greet her in Chinese and then smile (it's very cute).
I'm glad my granddaughter goes to Odell, it's a great school and caring community.
The first grade teachers plan together and seem like a good team. They have calendars on their websites which help everyone know what is happening. The field trip to the Pumpkin farm was fun and tied to their curriculum. The children planted a garden with vegetables and learned about food and where it comes from. It takes extra work, but this hands-on experience is so important for young children. It makes learning fun and real.
Students have the opportunity to participate in many subjects. They take Chinese and learn computer skills. Their progress is charted in all subjects and the teachers challenge each student to try harder and learn more skills.
There are high expectations for the students. Each student is challenged to do their best and treat each other with kindness and caring. I saw students helping younger students open their milk cartons in the lunch room. There are students from many cultures and abilities and lots of caring.
I saw older students helping younger students set up and clear the tables in the lunchroom. Also saw them helping with the dismissal. There were lines of students for "walkers, car riders, bus riders..." and the students all helped each other. It was orderly and they took their turns. The students with disabilities were included and the other students all looked out for them.
Students are expected to treat each other fairly. There are students from many countries and cultures, there are students with disabilities and all are encouraged to work hard, respect and learn from each other.
Like many other parents we moved out of the Meck school system to Cabarrus Cty for the schools, and we're glad we did! Odell Elementary is truly top-notch! PROS -Security: All visitors must enter through two doors & a computer security system (not in that order) before entering the school. -Telephone Info: We get recorded telephone calls throughout the year reminding us of upcoming events and due dates. -Level of Teaching/Education: What ever happened to taking naps & making ash trays?! Not here! Kindergartners are taught math, reading, spelling, etc. And with a lot of support & love. Yes, our child's teacher gives lots of hugs. Needless to say she's an awesome teacher!!! -Keeping Informed: The school uses Class Dojo to keep the parents abreast of their child's day-to-day behavior. -Car Line: Students stay seated inside the bldg. until their name is called. Well done! -Respect: Our daughter is taught respect for other students and other teachers. -Expansion: There are plans to build another Odell on the site of the old school that has been demolished. As of today the two schools will be Odell Primary (K-2) and Odell Elementary (3-5) Cons: -I can't think of any.
This is my daughter's third year at Odell Elementary. I cannot begin to describe how great of a school this is! The teachers truly care for every child and make each day special from start to finish. We have nothing but respect for the way the administration responds to the communities needs. Even the KidsPlus program on-site is fabulously ran! We feel blessed to have given our daughter such a wonderful start to her education and look forward to the next three years!