While 2017 has been a challenging year politically, weather wise, with fires, shootings and uncertainty everywhere. We choose to focus on the positive gains Odyssey has made this year and celebrate them. We have reached some milestones at Odyssey for which we are proud and those milestones give us reason to be hopeful. We continue to feel the pressure of the ongoing needs of our staff, students, families and our community regarding meeting those needs for those struggling with Autism. We are impacted by an unprecedented shortage of credentialed Special Education Teachers in California and that truly hits home here at ODYSSEY. Finding qualified Educational Aides is also becoming increasingly difficult. We recognize that it takes very special people to fill these positions. The Board and Administrative Leadership will be taking further proactive action to alleviate the anxiety that accompany those issues in recruiting and hiring qualified Teachers and Teacher Aides.
On the positive side, we celebrate that we are blessed with having a staff that is passionate about promoting higher goals and standards for our Odyssey Family.
Our newly formed PARENTS ACTION COMMITTEE developed our first ever Gala fundraising event in October and it was a huge success. We look forward to Gala II next year. As a result of these organizing efforts, another Fundraising event has become available with a new sponsor, Top Golf of Roseville. That event is anticipated to take place in March 2018. Thank you to our PARENT ACTION COMMITTEE and other volunteers who worked tirelessly to make these events not only a reality but also and Annual Fundraiser! For those of you who were not able to attend the Gala, you missed a fantastic, inspirational and fun evening. We will make special efforts to get you there next year.
We recently successfully satisfied a CDE compliance audit. We purchased and began implementing a newly mandated curriculum. This has been no easy task but our dedicated Educational Administrative Staff proved to be up to this rigorous challenge.
We are embarking upon our newest Odyssey adventure by applying for and at this time we are in process of being vendorized by ALTA and certified by Community Licensing to expand our outreach with the opening of Odyssey Life Center. This Adult Care facility will serve those students who by law age out of the public school system when they reach age 22 years. We recognize that many families face this difficult uncertain time not knowing where to turn to find a “safe harbor” for their loved ones. The much needed program will provide the lifelong opportunity for that young adult to participate in daily activities, learning life skills and in some cases, in developing self-enriching vocational skills. In response to these needs, Odyssey will soon open our first facility, hopefully by February 2018 at our recently acquired site in nearby Folsom. We plan to provide a continuum of services from early education through adult skills in life, recreational and vocational skills while participating in the community with a support mechanism.
Thanks to ALTA California Regional Center for being not only being sensitive to these needs but also instrumental in expediting the process toward fruition. Huge thanks to all our supporting parents and the diligent efforts of our Executive Director, Doug Nordby and our newly appointed Program Administrator for Odyssey Life Center, Blake Ellis and all staff for their exemplary efforts to launch this exciting program.
Other significant accomplishments this year include the acquisition of several new, qualified credentialed teachers to our staff. We are pleased that Odyssey now has a special Principal, Lovina Robinson, who possesses a great deal of experience in both Special Education, teaching and administration. We have hired our own O.T. department to provide relevant and necessary services on demand without delay as dictated by the IEPs of our students. We plan to bring on board a new Human Resource Manager in January 2018 to assist in restructuring and streamlining our organization to enable our continued ventures to transition and grow to achieve our ambitious vision and mission.
We are proud of the fact that Odyssey is virtually the only non-profit, non-public school in the area that promotes water therapy and activities for behavioral, functional and recreational purposes on site here in Orangevale. To honor and continue that commitment, we are currently renovating our pool to upgrade its usage and it should be completed in early spring 2018. Staff, students and parents alike join us in eagerly awaiting its upcoming opening.
So yes, we indeed have a lot to be thankful for. We are truly appreciative for our Odyssey Administration and staff, all the volunteers, sponsors, partners’ ad contributors who make all of these wonderful things happen at Odyssey.
Finally, let us pause at this time of year to reflect on all the positive things that we have accomplished both collectively and individually. Additionally, let’s think of the times that did not go as smoothly as we would have desired, but realize how we learned or could have learned how to do it differently. We simply desire to collectively strive to make Odyssey’s future brighter.
Together we are forging exciting new ground for the Odyssey community.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all!
Your Odyssey Board of Directors
Ann Fox Morgan
7150 Santa Juanita Avenue Orangevale, CA 95662