• Welcome to Talent Middle School's newest program for students...the Outdoor Discovery Program (ODP)!  The ODP is a project-based, environmental science-focused program that is taught in a partially self-contained environment.  Read below for more details and information on how to apply to be a part of the program.

    ODP Logo


    The Outdoor Discovery Program was started by Phoenix-Talent Schools in 2009 and has been housed at Talent Elementary since that time.  In 2019 the District made the decision to expand the opportunity to our middle school students.  2019-20 was the first school year that the ODP operated at the middle school level.

    Program Philosophy/Vision

    Phoenix-Talent School District’s Outdoor Discovery Program is a magnet program based on the following beliefs:

    • Nature is inherently educational.
    • Learning is deepened through integration and an understanding of interconnectedness.
    • Children are innately curious about the world.

    Program Structure

    • The program incorporates 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.
    • Class/program size is approximately 30 students.
    • Students take language arts, math, and one elective class in the morning in the general student population. 
    • Students have lunch with the general population.
    • Students are self-contained for the remainder of the day with one teacher.
    • Advisory, science, social studies, and health curriculum are embedded in the afternoon ODP-based curriculum.  Students are in the ODP environment from 11:55- 3:10 each day.

    Typical Projects and Course Study in the ODP

    • Clearing land and building garden beds/ greenhouse.
    • Examining chemical and life cycles.
    • Embryonic chickens project.
    • Local stream study/rehabilitation work.
    • Work within the Bear Creek Greenway. 
    • Field trips to Salmon watch, Crater lake, Cascade- Siskiyou Monument, etc.  
    • Environmental Engineering.
    • 8th grade capstone.


    Photo of Akita Meet the TMS-ODP Teacher - Daniel Akita

    • He is finishing his 6th year as a teacher at TMS.  1 year as a math teacher and 5 years as a science and PLTW teacher. He completed his first year leading the ODP program in 2019-20.
    • Prior to coming to TMS, he taught science and math at a private school in NYC and two other public schools. 
    • He has a strong interest in alternative models of education.
    • Previously, he taught our after school enrichment cooking and baking classes.
    • He grew up working on his grandfather’s farm and orchard in Southwestern Washington.  
    • He spent a summer working in OMSI’s chemistry lab.
    • He spent his summers in college working for the Forest Service.
    • He was a science coach advising K-5 teachers on how to do hands on science.
    • He rewrote the K-8 science curriculum for a private school.
    • He taught an elective on critical thinking.
    • He piloted and ran two school gardens. 
    • He ran star parties at night so kids could view the heavens.
    • He is currently an Instructional Growth Coach at Talent Middle School.