PLATTSBURGH — Mary Gertsch-Cochran believes there are different ways to be smart.
For some students it’s all about a curiosity for other cultures, for others, it’s all about math or science.
But students in the Plattsburgh city school district were granted less access to that kind of learning when the Odyssey of the Mind program became a casuality of the district’s latest round of voter-approved budget cuts.
The statewide Odyssey program has been around for more than 30 years, and in that time it has fostered enrichment of state-mandated learning by allowing students to explore topics of their own interest.
“Along with what they’re already learning, they’d also do their own investigation and project,“Gertsch-Cochran said. “We tried to touch upon all the different ways of knowing.”
Locally, the most popular aspect of Odyssey was the 15-week-long global village project.
“We’d get 80 students doing research on different continents, countries or states working in groups or independently,” Gertsch-Cochran said.
The global village was more than just a research project— it was a way for students to explore the world beyond the boundaries of the North Country.
Once completed, the projects were displayed at an evening event called the Global Village Celebration.
The Odyssey program is based in part on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Education, which recognizes six levels of effective learning: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
The three types of activities the program employs are designed to enrich student knowledge by incorporating those six levels in a hands-on approach.
Type-I activities are for all students and include Kids’ Press, a vehicle for the publication of student writing and art, and the science fair, a component that gives students the chance to research and display a project of their own choosing.
Type-II activities include the global village, and activities that focus on higher-level math, language and arts skills.They are designed for students who exhibit specific talents in certain areas.