Ottumwa High School

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Ottumwa High School
Ottumwa High School.JPG
Ottumwa High School - 2015
501 E 2nd St,


United States
Coordinates41°00′54″N 92°24′22″W / 41.015°N 92.406°W / 41.015; -92.406Coordinates: 41°00′54″N 92°24′22″W / 41.015°N 92.406°W / 41.015; -92.406
School typePublic
School districtOttumwa Community School District
SuperintendentNicole Kooiker
PrincipalCory Johnson
Enrollment1,239 (2016-17)[1]

Ottumwa High School is a public high school located in Ottumwa, Iowa. It is part of the Ottumwa Community School District, and it is the district's only high school. It was established in 1923. The school sports mascot is a Bulldog.


For several years, students in Ottumwa attended private classes inside area homes. Later, some students studied inside a local Methodist Episcopal church. In 1865, the first public school in Ottumwa—Adams School—was completed at "College Square", an area bounded by College, Fourth, Second, and Union Streets. The school, which utilized four classrooms on its top floor for the high school, cost $28,818.57[2] to build, and it sat on the same site as the present-day high school. It was declared unsafe in 1883. The school board voted to tear down the condemned building and build a new one at the same site. With more citizens coming to Ottumwa, an additional high school was constructed about a mile west of the Adams School site in 1899. This building later served as a junior high school until it was closed in 1982.

Schafer Stadium[edit]

The Ottumwa High School football/track stadium, known as Schafer Stadium, was established in the early 1920s in memory of a past student of OHS. Walter B. Schafer graduated from the Ottumwa High School in 1903 with amazing athletic records and many college football opportunities. He went to the University of Chicago to play football under the famous coaching of Amos Alonzo Stagg, but Schafer left college early to fight in the war. Schafer was killed while serving in 1918. He was considered one of the greatest athletes in Iowa and especially in football, which is why the Ottumwa Stadium is now known as Schafer Stadium.

Current Building[edit]

This building served as Ottumwa High School from 1899 to 1923.

To address the growing student population, the Ottumwa Community School District began construction on the current high school building at the same location as the Adams School in 1921. The "new" high school was designed by architects Croft & Boerner of Minneapolis. It was completed in 1923. As part of the construction, the Adams School was lifted from its foundation and moved east—it would serve as a building for vocational classes at the new high school.

Ottumwa High School as it stands today opened on August 29, 1923 to grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. It reportedly cost just over one million dollars to complete.[2]

In the 1970s, an additional building was completed—the "Vo-Tech" building—for vocational and performing arts classes. The facility was connected to the main building via a skywalk accessible from the second floor hallway. This decade also saw the addition of a second gymnasium, often nicknamed the "Rubber Gym" because of its rubber floor, which was built behind the first gymnasium and replaced the Adams School, which was demolished.

Building Expansions[edit]

In the 1990s, a city property tax was levied to help fund a multimillion-dollar renovation project. The original aim of the project was to renovate the school hallways and some classrooms, add additional basement classrooms, relocate the cafeteria and library to a new area adjacent to the original building and connecting to the Vo-Tech building, renovate and modernize the school's gymnasium facilities (locker and exercise rooms), and remodel the school's auditorium. The project went over budget, and the gymnasium and auditorium phases were scratched. The cafeteria and library projects were successfully completed, along with the basement, classroom, and hallway renovations, by the end of the century. The skywalk formerly connecting the Vo-Tech and main buildings was replaced by the new building.

Vision Iowa Grant Renovation[edit]

In spring 2001, the school received a grant for nearly $1 million from Vision Iowa to remodel the auditorium which is where they now hold all of their pep rallies, guest speakers, and drama productions.[3] The auditorium was closed from 2002 to 2003 for renovations. Its grand re-opening took place on November 23, 2003.[4]

The latest renovations to the Ottumwa High School building came in the summer of 2003, when renovations to the gymnasium facilities were completed with aid of a federal grant obtained with the help of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.

Step Controversy of 2005[edit]

In 2005, the school's front steps were the focus of a local controversy. The steps, which were in disrepair, needed to be replaced. A local architectural firm suggested two options: replace the steps with a similar staircase, or scrap the steps and redesign the building's entrance and facade. Although the architectural firm and local school board both recommended the cheaper option of scrapping the steps, a grassroots campaign of graduates spoke out against removing such an iconic part of the school. The steps had been the site of senior pranks, where students painted them with Sherwin-Williams paint from the Ottumwa store, just a short walk from the school. At that point, it would have cost $3 million to rebuild them, but that would include extra safety features. In August 2005, the school board decided to keep the steps, and no major decisions about what to do with them were made.[5]

The steps now have no breezeway underneath them, which caused them to rot faster. Also, the steps were rebuilt with a heating system that will increased safety in the winter time and reduced the need to salt the stairs in the winter. Construction was finished in the 2006-2007 school year.


OHS is situated on one of the highest hills in Ottumwa. This view from the roof is an impressive look at downtown Ottumwa.

The main campus of Ottumwa High School consists of a four-story building in downtown Ottumwa. The hill on which the building sits was once the site of Chief Wapello's tribal village. Legend suggests he originally called the area "Ottumwa" from this spot in 1838.

The four floors of the main building can be roughly divided by subject areas: the rooms on the bottom floor contain mostly social studies and foreign language classrooms; the second floor contains several offices, family and consumer science classrooms, and mathematics classrooms; the third floor is mostly mathematics and language arts classrooms; and the fourth floor houses science and language arts classrooms. The school's auditorium and gymnasium are usually accessed from the second floor, though the auditorium and gyms have entrances on the third floor as well.

The Vo-Tech building houses vocational classrooms, a JROTC room, and a fiber optics network room on its first floor. Performing arts classrooms are located on its second floor.

The two buildings are connected by a central cafeteria or commons; this building also houses a second-floor library with approximately 9,000 volumes.

Ottumwa High School does not hold any sporting contests on its campus; instead, the school uses other buildings, public facilities, or the stadium within Ottumwa. The school does maintain a parking lot for students, and three for faculty.


Enrollment during the fall quarter of the 2014-15 school year was 1,263 students. 70% of the student body is white, 21% is Hispanic, 1% is Asian, 4% is African American, 1% is Native American, 2% is multi-racial, and 1% is of another descent.

10% of the student body qualifies for a special education program, while just over 37% of the student body speaks English as a second language. 6% of all graduates completed four years of English/language arts study and three years of either mathematics, science, or social studies in 2004–2005.[6]

Ottumwa High School has 6 foreign exchange students this year.


There are approximately 140 staff that work at OHS. Out of these 140 people there are 8 science teachers, 9 math teachers, 8 language arts teachers, 7 social studies teachers. The Physical Education and Athletic Department is made up of the Athletic Director, Mike Egbert. Physical Education classes are run by 5 teachers: Kevin Kanaskie, Jim Nickerson, Mary Orman, Kevin Patterson, and Zach Pfantz who is the current Ottumwa High School Football coach but will relieve his duties in 2015. Among all these teachers there are also around 20 office staff that help to ensure that we have school everyday. Extra Classes account for 5 teachers that specialize in a world language like French or Spanish, 4 teachers that are running our music program consisting of band, choir, and orchestra, 3 FCS teachers, a JROTC and a TAG leader. In order to have classes up and running we must have our 9 current custodial staff and 12 people who make the lunch happen. Also to ensure that every child gets a more thorough education there are 28 teacher associates, 17 people who specialize in Special Education, and 1 ESL teacher. Ottumwa High School also offers the program of applied technology and computer technology classes ran by 5 teachers, including Mr. Anderson, Mr. Phippen, Mr. Woodruff, Mr. Downing and Mr. Ford. The student to teacher ratio is 16:1.

Faculty Awards[edit]

Mr. Hanson, the current principal of OHS, was awarded the "2015 Iowa Secondary Principal of the Year." on May 11, 2015 at a school wide assembly at Ottumwa High School.[7] He is not the only faculty member that has received an outstanding award. In 2001, anatomy/physiology teacher Gail Wortmann was named "Iowa Teacher of the Year."[8] She was also awarded the Milken Family Foundation Teacher of the Year award in that year.[9] From 2000–2002, science teacher Peggy Steffen served as an Einstein Fellow for NASA.[10]


The current administration at OHS includes Mark Hanson (Principal), Steve Zimmerman (Associate Principal), Scatt Maas (Associate Principal), Shelley Bramschreiber (Dean of Students), Sherry Bemis (Dean of Students) Angela Jones (Dean) and Wendy Maas (Dean of Students).


Varsity teams

  • Football: Rich Mayson and Brett Williams
  • Volleyball: Jessica Carson
  • Girls Swimming: Cherie Langland
  • Cross Country: Boys-Jeff "Smiddy" Smith Girls-Angela Chaney
  • Boys Golf: Scott Maas
  • Basketball: Boys: Chris Gravett Girls:
  • Bowling: Doug Techel and Brett Salter
  • Wrestling: Jeremy Frueh
  • Boys Swimming:
  • Tennis:
  • Girls Golf: Stephanie Mishler
  • Track: Jim Nickerson
  • Soccer: Girls: Brett McKenzie Boys:
  • Baseball: Jaeger
  • Softball: Frank Huston and Matt Mishler
  • Cheerleading: Debb Kent

Achievements Metro Wins

  • State Titles: Bowling
  • Individual State Titles: Golf-Matthew Walker

Team Records 2012-2013

  • Football: 4-6
  • Volleyball: 16-20
  • Basketball: Girls: 4-18 Boys: 2-20
  • Soccer: Boys: 7-9 Girls: 4-12
  • Tennis:Boys: 6-3 Girls:
  • Baseball: 19-19
  • Softball: 35-10

Ottumwa’s Softball, Golf, and Bowling teams have consistently competed very well with championships throughout the years. Ottumwa High School hosts a variety of intramural sports including basketball, dodgeball and powderpuff football.


Mission Statement- To motivate young people to become better citizens.

Purpose of JROTC- To encourage students to graduate high school, against common misconception that the purpose of JROTC is to recruit students for the military. The JROTC cadets usually all go by last name.

The battalion’s staff is a group of devoted cadets that under the command of the Executive Officer. The staff is composed of the S-1 (Adjutant Officer), S-2 (Security Officer), S-3 (Training & Operations Officer), S-4 (Supply & Logistics Officer), S-5 (Public Affairs Officer).

There are 6 companies during the course of a day, which are Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Foxtrot.

Instructors: SAI (Senior Army Instructor) qualifications are 25 years of active service and either be a Commission Officer or a Chief Warrant Officer and must have a bachelor's degree. The AI (Army Instructor) must have 20 years of active service, be a Non-Commission Officer or a Chief Warrant Officer, and have at least an associate degree. CW5 (Retired) Chief Wynn, CW5 (Retired) Chief Rynier.

Raiders: Raiders is concentrated more on the physical and military intellectual part of JROTC. They work mostly on physical training (PT), map reading, first aid, knot tying and rope ridge.

Color guard: A group of cadets that present the colors at special events such as sporting events, parades, public events.

Drill Team: The person in charge is the Battalion’s Command Sergeant Major, who is responsible for the Battalion’s Drill Team. Drill team concentrates more on the mind and footwork of JROTC.

Achievements- The OHS Battalion has had the Honor Unit with Distinction Status Award for 15 years. Raiders have won 4 first-place trophies 2012-2013, Drill has won 1 first place and Color won 1 first place and 2 second-place trophies in competitions.

Rank Structure- When the cadets first start out their rank is a private. Cadet goes in front of every name given. Cadet Private, Cadet Private 1st class, Cadet Corporal, Cadet Sergeant, Cadet Staff Sergeant, Cadet Sergeant 1st class, Cadet Master Sergeant, Cadet 1st Sergeant, Cadet Sergeant Major, Cadet Command Sergeant Major, Cadet 1st Lieutenant, Cadet 2nd Lieutenant, Cadet Major, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel, Cadet Colonel (Not Active).

Chain of Command- The chain of command is a line of authority in JROTC in which responsibility is delegated. The head of the battalion is the Battalion Commander, who subordinates are the company commanders, who are responsible for whatever their company does or fails to do.

It started February 22, 1995 and is one of the three Army JROTC's in Iowa, the others are Marines, Air Force and Navy.

Activities: The OHS Battalion participates in community service activities, it hosts the Cadet Ball and the annual steak dinner to raise funds for the program. There are awarded ceremonies after competitions.

Curriculum- They focus on leadership, physical fitness, and group building, they practice first aid, land navigation, and military intelligence.

Clubs and Activities[edit]

There are 17 clubs at The Ottumwa High School, they include:

Art Club- is a social organization open to any high school student who has an interest in the visual arts and wishes to participate in extracurricular arts activities.

Best Buddies- To establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Comedy Team-This is a club where students use humor to better understand the values of teamwork, resourcefulness, and being spontaneously creative. They use exercises such as Team building, thinking on the spot, using their entire body to create a story, and creating a scene around a given prop or item to keep the creative juices flowing smoothly. They orchestrate four performances throughout the year and in the 2014-2015 season they had ten members in the 2014-2015 school year. There are three open slots for 2016 and auditions for these empty spaces will be conducted on June 1, 2014 in the OHS auditorium.

Dance Team- Group that dances during halftime at football and basketball games.

First Tech Challenge- Is an out of school program for high school students to learn about the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through hands-on learning in the field of robotics.

Friends of Rachael- Allows students to be positive role models while promoting random acts of kindness.

Future Educators of America (FEA)- Allows students the opportunity to explore teaching as a career option, provide a realistic understanding of teaching and encourage students from diverse backgrounds to think seriously about the teaching profession.

Hyperstream Club- Allows students to learn about technology and do hands on activities.

Interact Club- Sponsored by the Ottumwa Rotary Club and is dedicated to service in our community, as well as, internationally.

International Club- Students who want to share/gain a more global view of foreign cultures. Most students in the club are taking a foreign language.

National Honor Society- Torch Club- Students selected to this organization are chosen for their outstanding qualities of scholarship, leadership, character, and service. It is a club meant for those who show significant academic leadership that helps improve their college applications. Students in this club wear a gold tassel at graduation because of participation. Club officers are elected annually.To get into Torch Club a student needs to have a 3.2 GPA and 22 honor points. The club conducts and participates in service projects, such as summer food programs, the school pantry program, and they are currently working with the Ottumwa Area Art Program to raise money for memorials around town.

Operation Smile- is a non-profit volunteer medical organization that provides free reconstructive facial surgery for children and young adults in developing countries around the world and the U.S.

Science Club- For students who are fascinated by intellectual conversations about science.

SU2C- Stand Up To Cancer- To raise cancer awareness in the school and the community.

Stand Up and Speak-Is a group that focuses on bullying as well as the protection of follow students and importance of standing up against the issues that arise in the school around them. Each year Stand Up and Speak gives a presentation on the harmful effects of bullying, alcohol, and how to be safe from daily peer pressure situations.[11]

Student Council- is the channel through which students may express their opinions and offer suggestions to faculty and administration.

Substance Abuse Task Force- Is for students who want to be positive role models for youth in the community and decrease youth substance abuse in our community by participating in substance abuse prevention initiatives in our community.

Trap Team- Students learn weapon safety along with practicing the safe use of weapons and animal traps. While learning these valuable skills students also learn good team building and teamwork skills during competitions.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Students at Ottumwa High School can participate in many extracurricular activities. In addition to 14 varsity athletic teams (baseball/softball, basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross-country running, football, golf, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, soccer, and wrestling), OHS offers numerous clubs and other activities such as the JROTC program and Drama. The OHS drama department presents several productions annually, and the band, choirs, and orchestra present several concerts.

An art club, debate team, speech team, international club, and science club are joined by local chapters of DECA, Future Educators of America, SADD, and the National Honor Society (known at OHS as the "Torch Club") to extend opportunities for students. There is also a student council with approximately 50 members, who help to plan homecoming (an annual tradition since 1938), intramural sports (basketball, dodgeball, powder puff football, and volleyball), and multiple "Spirit Weeks."

Of three intramural sports offered yearly, basketball is the most popular. It involves a regular season and a playoff tournament. Intramural dodgeball and beach volleyball seasons also take place each year.

Students may also take a year-long course to help produce the "Argus Annual", an annual yearbook since 1904, the student newspaper (formerly the "Argus News", but is now the "Bulldog Bulletin"), or the student television show ("BNN"—Standing for "Bulldogs News Network"). A student-run café—with gourmet food cooked by family and consumer science students—offers bi-weekly meals to the community. Another class offers students interested in going directly into a field of work after graduation job shadowing experience.

Student traditions are observed around the week of homecoming, which is usually close to the end of September or early October. Students celebrate the school day with "dress-up days", (such as "duct tape day", "pink day", "black day", "Disney day", "Make-your-own t-shirt day", and "hat day"), a parade, a bonfire/local band concert, and a football game. Cheerleaders and football players TP each other's houses during homecoming week, and the senior class often celebrates Friday with a senior prank.


OHS has had fluctuating numbers of accepted All-State singers in the last 40 years. Dennis Vasconez, Ottumwa High’s current vocal director, believes that OHS had the "highest accepted number of All-State singers in the 70s." OHS had a steady number of singers in the 90s through the early 2000s, followed by a decrease in numbers, with none accepted again until the early 2010s. "In the past two years," Vasconez says "Ottumwa has had five all-state singers accepted, with two admitted into chamber choirs in the festival."[citation needed]

Show Choir According to Ottumwa Vocal Director Dennis Vasconez the OHS Show Choir has been in existence for 15 years. Starting in 2002 with only 20 members, the group has gone on to be one of the most successful groups in the state of Iowa.[citation needed] In the last seven years the group has qualified for finals 16 times, 13 of them being consecutive, and has won four grand championships. In 2017, there were over 50 members which was a new record, this year the group received two grand championships at the Indianola Show Choir Encounter and the Quincy Showcase of Excellence in Quincy Illinois. The OHS Show Choir continues in the OHS Music Department.

Solo and Ensemble

Dennis Vasconez stated that OHS steadily receives many 1 ratings in all the years that they have participated in State Solo and Ensemble competition.[12]

Concert Band[edit]

Concert Band-Ginny Kjer The current directors are Alexander Mason and Troy Gerleman. There is only one concert band. The from 1970-1971 directors were Bob Kaiser (sophomore) and Jack Cameron (junior/senior).[13] From 1973-1974 the directors were Robert Kullmer (sophomore) and Jack Cameron (junior/senior).[14] From 1975 the director of both bands was Jack Cameron and the junior/senior band played at Hancher.[15] From 1976-1978 the band directors were William Cornelius (sophomore) and Barney Onerheim (marching band, junior/senior). OHS hosted the Tri-City Festival in 1976.[16] From 1982-1983 the directors were Craig Alberty (sophomore) and William Cornelius (junior/ senior).[17] From 1988-1989 the directors were Glen Flanigan and William Cornelius.[18] From 1994-2001 the directors were Glen Flanigan and Jane Triplett.[19] From 2002-2008 the directors were Jane Triplett and Pam DeBoer. From 2008-2009 the directors were Ellen Wubbels and Pam DeBoer. From 2009-2010 the directors were Ellen Wubbels and Troy Gerleman. From 2010–2017 the directors were Alexander Mason and Troy Gerleman.[20] As of 2017-present the band is under the direction of Troy Gerleman.

Drama and Debate[edit]

Natalie Saunders, current director of the OHS Drama Department, trained Ashton Kutcher as an actor. Tyler Smith, alumni of Troupe #615, has performed on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines as an entertainer. Heather Hubbs and Nicole Agee are now anchorwomen for KCRG. All three of these successful individuals were on the State Thespian Board during their time at OHS. James Palmer is assistant director of Birthday Party in Steppenwolf Theatre. He has helped organize the Tony party. James Gibler went on to do work in Los Angeles and interned at Walt Disney World. Josh Morissey and Josh Huddleston did "extra" roles for popular TV shows. Christopher Peters, Brett "Boomer" Williams, and Kevin Long were briefly featured in a television commercial for Courtside Bar and Grill located in Ottumwa, IA. Austin Pettinger won a costume design contest at the international level, and he is designing costumes professionally now in Chicago. Nick Schwartz is working as manager at Second City in Chicago. Riley O'Brien had a small reoccurring role in season 2 of the Spike TV produced, college football dramedy, Blue Mountain State. Many alumni of the Ottumwa High School Drama Department are currently working or have worked with the Ottumwa Community Players.

The OHS Auditorium was renovated in 2000. "Rumors" was the first play performed in the newly renovated auditorium, and "The Music Man" was the first musical in 2003. It was the first musical performed by the OHS drama department in fifteen years. These plays were performed by Natalie Saunders who has been the longest returning drama director since Mike Earnst. The shows being performed for the 2013-2014 school year are "The Laramie Project" and "Grease." The OHS Drama Department puts on two full-length shows per year, one in the fall and one in the spring. A musical is performed every other year. The Drama Department participates in speech contest during the winter months, competing in areas such as One Act, Ensemble Acting, Musical Theatre, Mime, Reader’s Theater, TV News, Radio News, and individual events such as Poetry, Prose, Acting, Improv, and Public Address.

Thespian Troupe #615[edit]

The International Thespian Society of Ottumwa High School is Chapter #615. It is one of the oldest Thespian troupes in the state of Iowa. A Thespian Troupe is a National Honors Society for people who have invested over a hundred hours in two different productions with at least ten of those hours being crew hours. After they have done so they become a Thespian and a part of the Thespian Troupe in their area.

Speech Competitions[edit]

Ottumwa High School regularly participates in speech contest at the State and All-State levels. This is a high honor for the students participating. Students regularly attend the State and International Thespian Festivals each year, sometimes taking individual events (like the ones performed at speech contest) and performing them for fellow Thespians of Iowa, or even of foreign countries at the International festival. There are two aspects of speech competition: large group and individual. At OHS Large Group is coached by Natalie Saunders, and Individual speech is coached by Susan Gates. The Drama Department participates in the Iowa High School Speech Association speech events in mid November to the end of February, competing in areas such as One Act, Ensemble Acting, Musical Theatre, Mime, Reader’s Theater, TV News, Radio News, and individual events such as Poetry, Prose, Acting, Improv, and Public Address.


The OHS debate team has been helping students since 1914 in teaching responsibility, research skills, and different communicative skills. The current coaches are first year coach Sam Garchik and third year coach Susan Gates as of the 2014- 2015 school year. Throughout the season the team competes in public forum debate; competing in various tournaments including annual competitions at Dowling-Catholic and the Districts competitions. Compared to other years the team is attending more tournaments and has implemented an extra Monday practice for novices to help them get to know the sport.

End of Year Banquet[edit]

At the annual End of the Year Banquet, awards are given out, new Thespians are inducted, and next year’s officers and shows are announced. There are awards for best actor and best crew-person in each show, some director’s choice and some student choice. There are also traditional awards unique to Ottumwa High School, such as Senior Drama Queen and Best Thespian.[21]


Ottumwa High School is a four-year comprehensive high school serving 1,300 students in grades 9-12. It is accredited by North Central Association and the State of Iowa Department of Public Instruction. The school year is divided into two semesters of 90 days in length. Class size averages 25 students with seven 47-minute periods.[22]

School Day[edit]

Ottumwa High School utilizes a seven-period school day, with classes beginning at 8:15 am and ending at 3:00 p.m. School is also dismissed at 1:00 p.m. for teacher professional development. All students are required to take several core academic classes, including three years of language arts, two years of mathematics, three years of social studies, two years of science, and four years of physical education to graduate and receive a diploma.

As of the 06-07 school year, they mandated an advisory period for all grades. A twenty-minute class to set kids in the right direction, and plan their future. Students have the same teacher all four years. It's held between third and fourth period. Students listen to announcements on Tuesday and Fridays. Also used to better organize assemblies, inform students on schedule changes, grade updates, and ITED testing. While many people are opposed to the advisory program for shortening each class, some students say it's an okay program. Black binders hold activities to get your goals accomplished towards a better future. Most of these are seen as useless, busy work. Every person in the building has an advisory including the principal and school nurse. So therefore, going to the nurse is not allowed during advisory. Neither is going to the bathroom allowed. It counts for half a credit per semester if all advisory activities are completed.

The 08-09 school year saw the elimination of the study hall.

Graduation Requirements[edit]

  • Number of Credits for required classes: 32 Credits
  • Number of Credits for elective classes: 14 Credits
  • Minimum Credits for diploma: 46 Credits

Advanced Enrollment Options[edit]

Senior Year Plus serves as an umbrella for a variety of programs designed to provide high school students access to courses that have the potential to generate college credit.

Student Eligibility Requirements:

  • To participate in Senior Year Plus programming, students must meet the academic requirements of both the school district and postsecondary institution.
  • At the school district level, students must demonstrate proficiency in each of three academic areas — reading, mathematics, and science. This is primarily determined using the students’ most recent scores on the Iowa Assessment. Students are determined to be proficient if they score at or above the 41st National Percentile Rank in the subject area.
  • At the college level, students must meet any assessment requirements of the postsecondary institution including any placement exam requirements of the institution.

Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO)[edit]

The Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act was enacted in 1987 to promote rigorous academic pursuits by providing high school students access to enroll part-time in nonsectarian courses in eligible postsecondary institutions. Now offered through Senior Year Plus, the program is available to eligible juniors and seniors as well as freshmen and sophomores who are identified as gifted and talented according to the school district’s criteria and procedures. Additional criteria are listed below:

  • The courses are not comparable to courses offered by the high school.
  • The courses must be arts and science courses in the disciplines of mathematics, science, social science, humanities, music and art that include a component of history.
  • The student must file a P.S.E.O. intent to enroll form with his/her counselor during Spring registration and prior to the next school year for each course.
  • Each student's application must be reviewed by a school administrator, who will approve or disapprove the application.
  • The parents are responsible for transportation.
  • When a course is approved by the Superintendent or designee, the school board is responsible for the cost of tuition, textbooks, materials, and fees to a maximum of $250.00 per student for courses not comparable to those offered by Ottumwa High School.

If a student drops or fails a P.S.E.O. class, the student will be responsible to reimburse the district for course tuition. Grades earned in off-campus courses are not used in the calculation of Ottumwa High School grade point average. Maximum opportunity to use P.S.E.O. is specified by law: no more than 4 semester terms or 6 quarter terms unless identified as Talented and Gifted in 9th or 10th grade.

Concurrent Enrollment[edit]

The concurrent enrollment program, also known as district-to-community college sharing, promotes rigorous academic or career and technical pursuits by providing opportunities for high school students to enroll part-time in eligible nonsectarian courses at or through community colleges. Per Senior Year Plus, concurrent enrollment courses are offered through contractual agreements between community colleges and school districts within their service area.

There are classes taught at Ottumwa High School that earn college and high school credit. Approved college-level instructors who use college textbooks and course syllabi teach a "Contracted Class." The student must sign up for the class in the Spring during the registration process for their junior or senior year by using the application form provided and then seek approval by parent, counselor and administration.

IMPORTANT: College credit obtained may or may not transfer to a higher-level institution. Students and/or parents should contact the university or college choice to make sure that what they are planning to take will transfer to the specific major or particular field of study of the student.

Career Academies[edit]

Career academies are programs of study offered to high school students through an agreement or contract between their high school and a community college. They bridge high school and community college CTE programs. Career Academy programs typically are ½ day college block schedules on the Indian Hills Community College campus.

Articulation Agreements[edit]

Based upon a mutual concern for the needs of students pursuing technical education programs, Ottumwa High School and Indian Hills Community College have reached several articulation agreements for classes in the OHS curriculum. Courses that qualify are indicated within the course description of this booklet. Applicants for credit must meet all college admission requirements and be an enrolled student in good standing with the college.

In addition, the student must have satisfactorily completed the secondary course to be articulated with a grade of C or higher. In addition to classes that articulate to Indian Hills, a few classes are designated as State Articulated, which means that they transfer to participating community colleges throughout the State of Iowa.

Ottumwa High's 10 Standards for Success[edit]

  1. Attending school regularly, arriving to class on time, and being prepared for class.
  2. Dressing in a manner which is appropriate for school.
  3. Addressing adults by using "Mr., Mrs., or Ms."
  4. Using school appropriate language at all times.
  5. Listening to teachers, administrators, or to classmates when they are speaking.
  6. Using technology appropriately and respectfully.
  7. Not cheating, copying and/or plagiarizing .
  8. Treating others with respect at all times.
  9. Treating others’ personal property and school property with respect.
  10. Actively participating in class, meeting deadlines, and making good use of class time.[23]

School Performance[edit]

  • Ottumwa High School Attendance: 2013-2014 - 90.1%
  • ACT Test Scores: 127 students from the graduating class of 2014 scored an average composite of 20.9
  • Graduate Intentions: 72% of 2014 graduates plan to pursue post-secondary education

Notable alumni[edit]

Ottumwa High School’s current Alumni Association was founded in 2012. It hopes to provide a variety of activities for the school’s alumni. These activities are an alumni choir, pep band, and sporting events. The Alumni Association also plans to be involved with Ottumwa High School, working with the student council, giving out scholarships, and also helping fund High School reunions.

There are currently 16 Ottumwa alumni working at the Ottumwa High School, roughly 9.6% percent of the whole faculty, in 10 departments.

The Ottumwa Alumni Association ceased operating in the 1990s (most of the members died or moved on) but it re-established in 2012, thanks to leadership and head of the association of Kyle Roemerman, current English teacher.

Some of the future goals for the association are an alumni sports game, an alumni choir concert, an alumni pep band, and an official Hall of Fame. The Alumni Association would also like to reward the alumni by providing an Alumni Membership Card, which would provide discounts from local businesses in Ottumwa. The awarding of scholarships in the future and helping with class reunions is another goal of the association.[24]


  1. ^ "Ottumwa High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Meagher, G.; Munsell, H. Ottumwa, Yesterday and Today. p. 49 and 51.
  3. ^ Ottumwa Courier (2001), Ottumwa to receive nearly $1 million for OHS improvements.
  4. ^ Ottumwa Courier (November 24, 2002), Hundreds pack new auditorium.
  5. ^ Ottumwa Courier (August 9, 2005), No repairs for OHS stairs.
  6. ^ Ottumwa Community School District (2004–2005), Annual Report.
  7. ^ "Ottumwa Leader is Iowa Secondary Principal of the Year". SAI. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Iowa Teacher of the Year". Education Iowa. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Milken Educator Awards". Milken Educator Awards. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  10. ^ "NASA". NASA Einstein Fellows. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  11. ^ Lunsford, Danielle. "Student led group battles bullies". Ottumwa Courier. External link in |publisher= (help); Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  12. ^ (Short, Kim, ed. Argus 1996 VOL. 92. Comp. John Graziano. Otttumwa Iowa: Ottumwa High School, 1996. Print.) (Beeler, Stacy, and Jennifer Moore, eds. Argus 2000. Comp. Christy Peterson. Vol. 96. Otttumwa Iowa: Ottumwa High School, 2000. Print.) (Cook, Jennifer, ed. Argus 2002. Comp. Erin K. Harris. Vol. 98. Otttumwa Iowa: Ottumwa High School, 2002. Print.)
  13. ^ The junior/senior band went to Minneapolis. Edmund, Julie, Diane Magrane, Jean Finney, Beth Barnes, Linda Hart, and Janice Wilkerson, eds. Argus 1970. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1970. Print. Bruch, Ruth, Connie Lakin, Nancy Eaves, Debbie Schertz, Penny Staebler, Joan Comer, Janet Denefe, Connie Soteropulous, and Janice Wilkerson, eds. Argus 1971. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1971. Print.
  14. ^ Funk, Rick, ed. Argus 1973. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1973. Print Rhynas, Ken, ed. Argus 1974. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1974. Print.
  15. ^ Gross, Geoffrey, ed. Argus 1975. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1975. Print.
  16. ^ Hall, Julie, ed. Argus 1976. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1976. Print. McWilliams, Cindy, ed. Argus 1977. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1977. Print. Argus 1978.
  17. ^ Riedel, Rosanne, ed. Argus 1982. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1982. Print. Riedel, Rosanne, ed. Argus 1983. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1983. Print.
  18. ^ Ogier, Cindy, ed. Argus 1988. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1988. Print. Mitchell, Julie, ed. Argus 1989. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1989. Print.
  19. ^ Stuart, Monica, ed. Argus 1994. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1994. Print. McElroy, Valerie, ed. Argus 1995. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1995. Print. Short, Kim, ed. Argus 1996. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 1996. Print. Beeler, Stacy, and Jennifer Moore, eds. Argus 2000. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 2000. Print. Sieren, Lisa, ed. Argus 2001. Ottumwa: Ottumwa High School, 2001. Print.
  20. ^ Interview with Mr. Kelly Scott, 6/5/2013
  21. ^ Saunders, Natalie. "Thespian Troupe #615." Personal interview. 31 May 2013.
  22. ^ "Ottumwa High School". Ottumwa School District. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  23. ^ "Ottumwa High Student Handbook" (PDF). Ottumwa CSD. OHS Student Handbook 2014-2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  24. ^ Citation: Roemerman, Kyle. Personal interview. 31 May 2013.


  • Taylor, J. Ottumwa: One Hundred Years a City. Chicago: Max Corp. 1948. p. 52.
  • Meagher, G., Munsell, H. Ottumwa, Yesterday and Today. Ottumwa, Iowa: Ottumwa Stamp Works. 1923. p. 48–52.
  • Sterling, R. Wapello County History. Montezuma, Iowa: Sutherland Printing Company Inc. 1986. p. 154–159
  • Baker, C. In retrospect. Virginia Beach: The Donning Company. 1992. p. 164–167.

External links[edit]