Saturday, November 22, 2014

COBBS: A few words of OHS thanks

By RYAN COBBS, Ottawa High School | 11/18/2013

As the holiday season draws closer — there are only about 22 school days left before the end of the first semester and the beginning of winter break — I thought I would share some of the many things for which I am thankful, as it pertains to Ottawa High School and the Ottawa school district.

Because I am OHS principal, I am acknowledged for many of the great things we are accomplishing and working toward. However, I am but a very small portion of the internal workings of our great school and district. I think acknowledgment for those who are truly responsible for the success we see is well overdue.

As the holiday season draws closer — there are only about 22 school days left before the end of the first semester and the beginning of winter break — I thought I would share some of the many things for which I am thankful, as it pertains to Ottawa High School and the Ottawa school district.

Because I am OHS principal, I am acknowledged for many of the great things we are accomplishing and working toward. However, I am but a very small portion of the internal workings of our great school and district. I think acknowledgment for those who are truly responsible for the success we see is well overdue.

I want to begin by acknowledging our incredible staff and faculty. I could not be more proud of their dedication to our students and the profession. Through the course of the past year and a half, our school has undergone an incredible number of changes, including the change from state standards to Kansas College and Career Readiness standards; our accreditation process has changed from High Schools That Work to AdvancEd; assessment protocols are changing from CETE State Assessments to ACT (although this is still being determined at the state level); we have implemented a high school reading program through Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports; we are making efforts to change the culture of our school to one that is more inviting to students, parents and community; and we are  preparing for a transition to 1-to-1 (every student having a computer). Even with these transitional changes, which have been dramatic, as well as numerous others, the staff and faculty at OHS still find time to be innovative in the classroom, to develop relationships with our students, to differentiate instruction for those who need it and to give of their own time to help our students meet their goals.  

Our students also need a huge pat on the back. We have seen a number of students in our school take on leadership roles this year, making an incredible impact upon our school. For instance, the OHS student council put on a great block party as we brought homecoming to downtown for the first time in years.  This group — including Gabby Bowers, Abby Hale, Stephanie Brands and Maddie Lancaster — met with Ottawa city commissioners and Franklin County commissioners, as well as local businesses and community members, to approve, develop and execute one of the best homecoming celebrations OHS has seen in decades. Another group of students currently is leading a technology committee to determine which device we will present for purchase with our 1-to-1 initiative. This effort includes expectations of students for the device’s use, and ultimately how we can drive instruction utilizing the device. These are just two examples of the leadership of our student body. The true work, however, can be seen every day in the classroom as we continue to see our students striving for greatness both in and out of the classroom.  

I am incredibly grateful for the support shown to us by this wonderful city, for all of the time parents spend in our building helping our kids in all aspects of their life, for our school board and superintendent Jeanne Stroh for supporting our school as we move forward with some major changes that will bring OHS to the forefront of education in Franklin County, the northeastern region of the state and ultimately at the state level.

I also am thankful I was given the opportunity to be the principal of OHS and to share in the lives of our students, their parents, our staff and the City of Ottawa as a whole. I could not think of a more fulfilling position and truly appreciate all the support shown to my staff and I during the course of the past two years.

I look forward to what the future holds for us and the successes we will see. Thank you all.

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

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