The Ottumwa Courier

February 20, 2013

Encouraging all parents to participate in survey


OTTUMWA — In March 2011, Ottumwa High School was selected to participate in a U.S. Department of Education program designed to measure and improve statewide learning conditions. Grant money was provided to all the schools in 11 states, including Iowa, with the goal being to enhance the general educational atmosphere. This program, known as Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools, is a leadership team made up of a diverse group of students, parents, faculty and other members of the community. It is their responsibility to decide how the grant money is spent.

I am currently a member of the Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools Youth Leadership Team at OHS. Our group has three primary focuses: student engagement, school safety and overall school environment. In May 2011, confidential surveys were completed by students, parents and teachers. The results concluded that Ottumwa High School scored low in the following areas: student-to-student relationships, graduation/dropout rate, expectations and boundaries and physical environment. It is our goal to improve these scores and make learning more enjoyable for everyone. Some of the early successful steps that we have taken toward meeting this goal include the Bulldog Block Party, painting parts of the building with school colors, hiring a graduation coach, implementing the 10 standards of success and hanging new TVs in the cafeteria to display information. In the future, we plan to conduct a school cleanup day and provide better outside lighting around the school.

There is another survey going on now through March 1, and we encourage all parents to get involved. The feedback from this survey is the driving force behind all the decisions that our team makes regarding how the grant money should be spent. Parents have received a letter in the mail with information about the survey. This survey can be taken online at any time between now and March 1. If parents are unable to find the link, then they can contact OHS Assistant Principal Zach Wigle at 641-683-4444, ext. 2510. Everyone’s thoughts and comments are much appreciated, and they are helping to make Ottumwa High School a much better place. Thank you for your support!

Sydney Strunk


Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools Youth Leadership Team