"We saw it contribute to a change in culture, and we saw it increase pride throughout the building," he said. "That all impacts achievement."
Enacting these clothing standards has not been a problem for low-income students, he said.
"It doesn't tell kids what they have to wear, it tells them what they cannot," he said. "It's pretty general. If you put on a T-shirt and a pair of blue jeans — as long as they fit around your waist — you're good to go."
At one point, school administration did consider requiring uniforms. But when teachers witnessed a positive response and compliance with the dress code, the idea was thrown out.
— To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to @ChelseaLeeDavis.
Updated Ottumwa High School dress code: The following will NOT be considered appropriate school attire: -- Headwear: hats, hoods, bandanas, sunglasses, etc. -- Clothing that exposes undergarments (bra straps, underwear, gym shorts) -- Clothing that exposes the midsection or cleavage -- Strapless, halter-style tops -- Sleeveless tops -- Clothing with large, open arm holes -- Clothing with alcohol, tobacco, drug advertising, inappropriate words or phrases -- Skirts, shorts or dresses that are not appropriate in length (not appropriate means more than 5 inches above the top of the knee) -- Leggings and yoga pants that are not worn without an appropriate length skirt -- Athletic shorts that are more than 5 inches above the top of the knee -- Pants with any holes, frayed or otherwise -- Pants worn below the waist line -- Pajamas