Just months into the school year, the founding freshman class at Odyssey STEM Academy has already made their mark. Against one wall in every classroom, each student has listed personal strengths, passions, and careers he or she is interested in. These student-produced profiles embody several of Odyssey’s key values: knowing learners well; teaching learners to use their minds, hearts, and hands; and learning beyond school walls. Bordered by Long Beach and Compton in southern California, Odyssey is the newest school community in the Paramount Unified School District. The school serves 140 freshmen students from the area and will add a grade level each year until they reach capacity. Housed in a former elementary school, Odyssey’s facilities are limited compared to other STEM high schools. So without amenities like a science lab, how is this non-charter, urban public high school empowering deep learning for its students?

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