Type-III activities are reserved for students who are considered academically gifted. The instruction is on an individual or small group basis, and is based on the needs of each student involved.
“I think this program was exciting for students,” Gertsch-Cochran said. “It wasn’t just about what they were learning, it was about how to learn.”
Sarah McCarty ran the Odyssey program for Bailey Avenue/Oak Street Elementary School for 12 years.
She applauded the hands-on approach to learning that the Odyssey program provided.
“We’re a team educating these children,” McCarty said. “Some teachers are working on the core, and we go deeper.”
McCarty said personal interest in the Odyssey projects is what makes students want to go deeper, and that the program facilitates success.
“I’ve had kids research everything from fish to rockets to computers to the impact of computers on society,” McCarty said. “If they’re (students) stuck with compulsory education, they’ll never figure these things out.”
Some of the students have gone on with Science Olympiad, and one student, who is now in high school, created apps and is selling them to Apple
“I think this is a terrible loss,” McCarty said. “ I think the district is trying really hard. This is a difficult situation for the board to be in.”
When the school board unveiled its first budget, which was voted down May 15, the focus was on cutting things that would not have a negative affect on students, like switching computer programs used by school administrators .
“The Odyssey program was not included in that first budget, but that was rejected by taxpayers,” Plattsburgh City School Superintendent James Short said. “If the community can’t afford it, we have to respond.”
Plattsburgh’s Odyssey program was the only one of its kind in the area, and since it isn’t mandated by New York state, it had to be considered for elimination.