I went to this school for only a year before they were going to rebuild. This school is really awesome. Especially compared to other districts in washington. Rules are some what lenient but still a god environment. Some kids at the school are somewhat rough though. They have good electives and good programs
My daughter lived offshore with her mom and went to a private Montessori school for five years before coming back to the Bellevue School District this school year. I would have sent her to a private school here, but alas I couldn't find one that I could afford. So I settled for Odle, which I have read about in several great reviews. Now, just three months into the school year, I can definitely say that sending my daughter to Odle has been one of my best decisions. The principal, Mr Eric McDowell, has maintained a most efficient environment for middle school education. Misbehaving students are not tolerated, and I still have to encounter a teacher who is not doing a good job. The orchestra teacher, Mr Barney Blough, most certainly knows how to motivate his students. My daughter had not even as much as touched a viola before the school-year started, and just last week I was very proud to hear her play "Dragon Hunter" and "Kabuki Dance" in a concert in which all three of Odle's orchestras performed superbly.
My son graduated from the Prism program at Odel last June. I have no question that he received the best education there that we have seen (he is number five of six children all of whom went through the Bellevue school district.). The math teacher was amazing. The literature teacher taught him so much about how to express himself clearly and thoughtfully. They never let him get away with less than his best work. Now, I do not know much about the non-Prism aspects of the school, but he did take language and electives with non-prism kids. Dance was incredible! The computer courses he took were great too. Only language, where the classroom had 39 students, seemed less than stellar. The principal is always out with the students; he knows virtually all of them, and projects a caring and restrained atmosphere that is so different from the usual Middle School milieu. We had a fantastic experience there.
Odle is a challenging environment. My children's overall experience has been quite positive, but the one glaring problem deserves mentioning. The conflict between gifted and General Education students (and parents) is real. There are essentially two schools in the building and only a small percentage of students cultivate positive relationships outside of their program. Gifted students bully Gen Ed students for being "stupid" and Gen Ed students bully Gifted kids for being "nerds" There isn't a lot that staff can do about the negative student attitudes and interactions, particularly when Gifted students and parents complain of intellectual bullying within their own program. Much is shrugged off as cultural and characterized as being worse between gifted kids. That is somehow an excuse for gifted kids to demean GenEd and Special Ed students when they share academic elective classes. If your "non-gifted" child is confident enough to withstand some intellectual bullying and learn empathy for peers from ALL walks of life, then Odle is a great place.
Most of the teachers doesn't understand the students, since we use a yellow card red card system, it's makes school even harder. Even though on the student guidebook, it said the teacher will give verbal warnings then the visual warnings (yellow and red cards), most of the times they just pass them out. It's even more unfair when they just pass it out to whoever they want to. I can't even l turn to ask my friend a question about what the teacher just said. In the morning it's really hard to get to school if your parent is driving you, there is only one way in and there is a swimming club right next to it, using the same entrance. And then there is Stevenson Elementary right across the street, making it impossible. It takes up to 20 minutes just to get in so most parent drops their kids off near the side walk, I think it is very dangerous. Overall, Odle is a great school with great education but it is heavily influenced by its surrounding.
Odle was once a successful school. Now, the grade averages are not even close to standard despite many measures taken by the administration to boost them. Odle was caught being manipulative of the PRISM program by not counting the PRISM students for student population counts determining average family salaries to earn Title One status, but still using PRISM as a tool to boost the grade average a little bit higher. Odle has also implemented a silly and ridiculous Success Initiative system intended to boost the grades since Odle has recently been forced to include PRISM in the population counts and cannot use Title One as an excuse for bad grades, and it gives the teachers despotic powers while student liberties are greatly diminished. Despite several student petitions and protests against the Success Initiative and what problems it poses, the administration has ignored themdidn't raise grade averages to standard. Odle is failing miserably to maintain a healthy standing within the district and raise the kids to be successful students.
I am incredibly impressed with the caring, flexible, dedicated staff, teachers and non-certificated, at Odle. We have had six children in Bellevue Public school, Private schools on the east side, and Catholic Schools. I feel like a school expert. No where else have I seen such responsive, warm, attentive and creative people working with parents and youngsters to insure that the students get what they need to be successful. This is for youngsters with all levels of academic ability, from the most academically able to the ones needing the most assistance. This is what education needs to be about for all children. It is far superior to schools we paid thousands of dollars for tuition to attend.
Odle is amazing! A great faculty, staff and principal. The teachers are positive and care about every student...not just in student academics, but students as individuals. Everyone at Odle strives to create a positive learning experience and making it a happy school environment.