Odyssey of The Mind Success Discussed At School Board Meeting

In the last decade, the Odyssey of the Mind program at Crestwood has grown from one team to almost a dozen. Those students have excelled so much in the program that Crestwood has not only dominated regional and state competitions, but has placed as the best in the world.

At the April 20 meeting of the Crestwood School Board, Kevin Seyer, principal at Rice Elementary, spoke to the board and audience about the success of Odyssey of the Mind here.

Odyssey of the Mind is a creative, problem-solving competition where students, from elementary to high school, work in small teams to solve presented problems. In competition, the students must spontaneously generate solutions to a problem, working together quickly. They also spend months working on predefined problems and their solutions often involve elements of theatrical performance, construction, and design.

“What they’re able to do is amazing,” Seyer related of the teams. “Their solutions are nothing short of genius.”

When the program began a decade ago, Crestwood had a single team. Now it’s grown; 75 students in grades kindergarten through 10th grade comprise 11 Odyssey teams spread among the district’s four schools.

Seyer presented a slideshow depicting students of various ages working together on projects. Many were dressed in elaborate homemade costumes or with DIY props of everything from a robot to a giant pizza.

Superintendent Joseph Gorham commented that all the pictures were similar in that the students were all smiling in each photo. “How awesome is that when we can get kids excited about learning?” he asked.

After many of the photos of groups working together, a photo of the same group followed. This time the beaming students were holding ribbons and trophies. Of the 10 Crestwood teams that went to regional competitions, six made it to the state level and most brought home trophies.

“Crestwood not winning at states is actually rare,” stated Seyer. “We do exceptionally well.” Further, Crestwood teams have even gone on to the world Odyssey competition. In 2015, a team from the district placed third in the world.

Seyer expressed hope that next year’s Odyssey program will have even more participants and he and Gorham both thanked all the parent and teacher volunteers that make the after-school activity possible.

Also, at the April 20 meeting, the board moved to name the Crestwood middle and high schools, the Crestwood Secondary Campus, starting in the 2017-18 school year.

This year’s school calendar was changed to reflect a new graduation date, of June 12, with added teacher days on June 14 and 15.

The board finalized the issuance of $4.5 million in bonds for improvement in the district’s aging buildings. While the exact use of the funds is yet to specified, a report from Hunt Engineers, the firm that is evaluating the physical condition of the district’s buildings, is expected soon to shed light on work needed.

The board also approved paying $6,954 to DARE program instructors, coming from the Wright Township Police Department, to teach at Rice and Fairview elementary schools.

Refunds for overpayment of school taxes were approved, totaling

See School Board page 4