Monday, November 24, 2014

COBBS: Exciting days at high school

By RYAN COBBS, Ottawa High School | 8/11/2014

Welcome back, everyone, to what is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years at Ottawa High School in recent history. Our staff did a great deal of work last year in an effort to make OHS a better place for our students. Included in that was the structuring work to prepare for a transition from state assessments to the ACT, as well the design for “Cyclone Connect.” This year, we actually will see all of that work come to fruition as the implementation of these two programs see their first days.

Although we could sit back and watch our work take shape, we are not resting in our efforts to improve OHS while creating the best environment possible for our students. We will be one of five districts in the state chosen this year to work with TASN and the University of Kansas to develop and implement a behavior program through our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support. You may remember Ottawa schools utilizing the MTSS framework a few years ago to develop a reading program that extends from elementary through high school targeting specific student needs in one of five different reading ares. OHS and its counterparts in the school district will be working this year to develop a district-wide behavior program and intervention system that targets specific behaviors that we would like to see of our students and how best to help them learn those behaviors. OHS will once again be breaking new ground in doing so, as our reading program is still something that is sought after by most high schools and behavior programs such as what we will be developing are almost unheard of.

Welcome back, everyone, to what is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years at Ottawa High School in recent history. Our staff did a great deal of work last year in an effort to make OHS a better place for our students. Included in that was the structuring work to prepare for a transition from state assessments to the ACT, as well the design for “Cyclone Connect.” This year, we actually will see all of that work come to fruition as the implementation of these two programs see their first days.

Although we could sit back and watch our work take shape, we are not resting in our efforts to improve OHS while creating the best environment possible for our students. We will be one of five districts in the state chosen this year to work with TASN and the University of Kansas to develop and implement a behavior program through our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support. You may remember Ottawa schools utilizing the MTSS framework a few years ago to develop a reading program that extends from elementary through high school targeting specific student needs in one of five different reading ares. OHS and its counterparts in the school district will be working this year to develop a district-wide behavior program and intervention system that targets specific behaviors that we would like to see of our students and how best to help them learn those behaviors. OHS will once again be breaking new ground in doing so, as our reading program is still something that is sought after by most high schools and behavior programs such as what we will be developing are almost unheard of.

We are truly excited to begin this new adventure and continue to strive for greatness. This year will mark the beginnings of our visits with AdvancED toward district-wide accreditation. We also will continue working with the Kansas State Department of Education to provide the WorkKeys assessment as a way to mark improvement and ensure workforce readiness. April will provide a major change as we test every student with the ACT to ensure college readiness. And, of course, the most important addition to our school will be the implementation of “Cyclone Connect,” in which every student will be provided a Toshiba Chromebook. This process already has started as we delivered more than 500 chromebooks to students during enrollment last week. We look to a hand out about another 200 in the coming week.

As we draw closer to the first day of school for our students, I wanted to remind you of a couple of dates that loom on the horizon. Our first day with freshman and new students is Thursday, Aug. 14. We will meet with students until noon with lunch provided. Friday, Aug. 15 will mark our first day for all students. Our annual open house event is set for 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28 at Forest Park. I will provide more information about this event in my next column. I hope to see you all there.

Dr. Ryan Cobbs is principal at Ottawa High School. Email him at cobbsr@usd290.org or call (785) 229-8020.

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