According to the Florida Department of Education School Report Card for Odyssey Charter School, Odyssey’s graduation rate plummeted from 97% in 2021 to 87.5% in 2022. However, that is nothing compared to what the graduation rate SHOULD have been for 2023.
Florida law dictates how absences are to be enforced. This law is also reflected in the Odyssey Parent/Student Handbook stating that any student with more that 9 absences in a semester, will not pass. The Florida Department of Education’s website shows that Odyssey had a total of 56 students enrolled as seniors in the fall of this year. At the end of the year, it appears the total enrollment of seniors dropped to approximately 48, although we are still waiting on confirmation of the exact number.
According to an Odyssey staff member responsible for recording attendance, 21 seniors this year had absences ranging from 13 to 72, averaging nearly 28 absences for each student. Those numbers were as of May 1, 2023. The final number accumulated through the remaining weeks of school was higher, but when this staff member went into the computer to check the current absences on May 20th, they were all changed in order to ensure that the students met the graduations requirements. For example, one student suddenly went from 29 absences to just 4.
According to another staff member, leadership in the school made it clear that no student would not graduate due to excessive absences this year. A teacher that brought concerns regarding the extreme amount of absences to the new principal Mike Davis, was promptly terminated. Based on these reported absences alone, Odyssey’s graduation rate would have fallen into the 50% range had the requirements actually been enforced. It may have been even lower factoring in testing and GPA requirements that we will be reporting on later.
There have reportedly been a total of at least 15 staff members who have recently resigned or have been terminated from Odyssey Jr/Sr High.
During a staff meeting yesterday, led by Constance Ortiz, she stated that she has hired a public relations firm to combat the recent negative press about her organization. She stated a news letter will soon be going out to parents to highlight the positives of Odyssey.
In the meantime, we continue to receive more concerns from staff and parents, daily. A staff member even sent us a photo of alcohol inside a staff refrigerator at the school. The metadata within the photo shows that it was indeed taken on campus. We will continue to report on these incidents as soon as we are able to substantiate the allegations with evidence and public records.