Superintendent's Welcome

Superintendent Nicole Kooiker photo

Welcome to Ottumwa!

Dear Families and Community Members,
Welcome to the Ottumwa Community School District. We are fortunate to serve the children and families of our community.  It is my honor and privilege to serve the Ottumwa Community School District as Superintendent.  Our District serves approximately 4,600 students and is comprised of one preschool, six elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

As a school district, our vision is to engage, educate, and empower every student every day; our mission is to inspire every student to think, learn, achieve, and care.  Together, our teachers, families, staff and community continue to expand our educational opportunities, focus on quality instruction, continue to utilize strong collaboration, respond to data, and ensure that every student matters in all decision making.  

It is truly an exciting time for our school district. Our focus continues to be on literacy and culture and includes aspects such as increasing educational opportunities for our students, providing staff with professional development opportunities based on the very best instructional practices, and incorporating technology so Ottumwa students are ready for wherever life may lead them.   We believe in the extraordinary potential of each of our students and remain committed to making all of our decisions based on their needs.

As we begin the 2019-20 school year, we are excited to announce the following points of pride: 

  1. Every junior takes the ACT - Last year we started to provide the opportunity for every OHS junior to take the ACT test during the regular school day at no cost to the student or family. This opportunity removes barriers to taking the test and some test anxiety by offering it in a familiar setting. Over 80% of our students took the test in 2018.
  2. 1:1 Initiative at OHS - Starting in August, every high school student was assigned a Chromebook for their use at school and home with a focus on incorporating technology into quality instructional practices.
  3. SparkTank - This fall, we expanded this project-based experience that connects teams of students with local businesses and organizations to solve real-world problems. The program, located in downtown Ottumwa, provides value-added opportunities for students to give back while becoming immersed in a professional culture. 
  4. Safety in our Schools - Every school now has a secure entrance which includes new doors, cameras, and buzzer systems installed in our older buildings.  In addition, we have updated emergency plans, safety teams in every building, and building doors are now numbered and marked to align with emergency response suggestions.  We have also expanded our programming for under-resourced students with Aspire, our addition of a district at-risk director, and the addition of our Bridges Out of Poverty community initiative.
  5. Pickwick Early Childhood Center - After opening the facility this past year, we have now expanded our classes into Douma Elementary and we are looking at expanding by adding on to Pickwick to serve additional 3 and 4-year-old students.  We are also excited about our early childhood data and the improvements we are seeing as well as the retention of students within the Ottumwa District.  
  6. K-8 Literacy Program Improvements - The District continues to support effective literacy instruction by providing high quality reading materials,  MTSS practices, productive standards-based collaborative teamwork through the Friday PLC structure.

In addition to our new programs and opportunities, we also continue to have a wealth of after school activities in which students may engage.  Our district offers unique opportunities such as orchestra, trap shooting, archery, lego league, bowling, tennis, swimming and so much more.  We also offer over 30 dual enrollment courses in partnership with Indian Hills and pride ourselves on building relationships and making connections.  

At Ottumwa, we are committed to our core beliefs and demonstrate behaviors that align. Every student matters, data drive our decision making, and building relationships is the foundation of success.  We are deeply committed to building strong partnerships with families to support student learning, development, and academic achievement.  We look forward to continuing to serve our students and our community.

With Pride,

Nicole Kooiker
Ottumwa Superintendent

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