Class Load
All students must be enrolled in seven classes every semester.  Juniors who have earned 25 credits by the end of their sophomore year may enroll in six classes (six periods) per semester.  Seniors who have earned 34 credits by the end of their junior year may be enrolled in six classes (six periods) during their first semester and as many as necessary to graduate during their second semester. 


English/Language Arts (8 CR)
    9th English (2 CR)
    10th English (2 CR)
    11th English (2 CR)
    12th Language Arts option (2 CR)

Mathematics (6 CR)
    Six semesters of Mathematics (6 CR)    

Social Studies (6 CR)
    US History (2 CR)
    World History (2 CR)
    American Government (1 CR)
    Economics/Financial Literacy (1 CR)
Science (6 CR)
    Earth & Space Science (2 CR)
    Biology (2 CR)
    Physical Science (2 CR)

Physical Education (4 CR minimum*)
    Health (1 CR)
    Choice PE courses (3 CR) 
    *Required of all students each semester (unless waived per board policy)

    Number of credits for required classes (30 CR)
    Number of credits for elective classes (16 CR)
    Minimum credits for diploma (46 CR)

A student may graduate at the end of the first semester of his/her senior year provided he/she:

  1. Fulfills all graduation requirements. 
  2. Makes application during the spring of scheduling their classes for senior year.  This should be in the four-year plan for his/her educational need.
  3. Obtains approval of the school and parent/guardian by completing and returning the OHS Early Graduation Policy form available from his/her counselor.

A diploma will be issued upon completion of the stated requirements after the graduation ceremony.  Mid-year graduates may take part in all senior activities as¬sociated with graduation.


The graduation ceremony is a privilege available to seniors who have completed all requirements for graduation, do not owe fees and have completed all discipline consequences.  All graduation requirements must be completed by the Thursday prior to graduation at 4PM.  If a senior commits a serious disciplinary infraction without enough time to serve the consequences before graduation, he/she may be excluded from the graduation ceremony.   Examples of types of behavior that may make a student ineligible to participate in the graduation ceremony are:  harassment, assault or threats against a student or staff member; theft of property of the school, another student or a staff member; vandalism of property of the school, another student or a staff member; various other violations of the Civil Code of the State of Iowa.


Students may request copies of their transcripts by completing a form with the Registrar in the Counseling Office. This transcript service is a free service to OHS students and graduates.  There is a 24-48 hour turnaround time to produce a transcript.  Students under the age of 18 MUST have a parent’s signature to make this request. Students 18 years and older MUST complete and sign the request forms themselves.  SENIORS are advised to complete the request form before they leave town for college so that future transcript requests can be accomplished without delaying the process waiting for the college student’s signature.  The transcript request form is good for one (1) school year.


Every student is assigned to a grade level according to the traditional system:  9th grade (freshman) for 1st-year high school students, 10th grade (sophomore) for 2nd-year high school students, 11th grade (junior) for 3rd-year high school students, and 12th grade (senior) for 4th-year high school students.  We will use these classifications for reporting purposes.


Cumulative grade point is the average of all semester grades; current grade point is the average of only the current semester’s grades.  Grades not included in the GPA are denoted with an asterisk following the course’s title.  IHCC classes counted for concurrent credit, including classes satisfying graduation requirements/credits, will calculate in a student’s high school GPA regardless of instructor or instructional method.  


Progress reports will be available at parent teacher conferences.  Parents and students can access the online grading system at any time for an up-to-date grade report. Teachers update gradebooks weekly.  Teachers and parents are urged to communicate when there is a concern about a student’s attitude or progress.  


Students are not ranked until they complete their first semester of study. Thereafter, rankings are recalculated at the end of every semester.  Rankings are fluid as new students enroll and current students transfer out of district.  Class rank represents the numerical position of a student in the class with which the student graduates. The “numerical position” is determined by cumulative grade point average.  For example, a senior student who has a cumulative grade point average of (4.00) in a senior class of three-hundred (300) students - would have a class rank of “1/300”.  The student would be at the top of the class. Cumulative grade point averages will be calculated three (3) decimal places.  Any student receiving educational modifications will not be included in the class rank.  


A list of the names of those students that have earned a grade point average of 2.667 and above is published in the Ottumwa Courier each semester.  To qualify for the honor roll, a student must be enrolled in three (3) letter-graded OHS courses.


This policy is intended to make OHS grading practices consistent across the building, to eliminate practices that focus on sorting and selecting, and to improve alignment of grading practices with the mission of teaching and learning. 

Grades should reflect the degree to which students meet learning targets. Grades should be based primarily on achievement: what a student knows and is able to do. 

The same grading scale will be used by all teachers for all classes (with the exception of Concurrent Enrollment and Advanced Placement classes).  The PowerSchool categories will be as follows:  Formative = 30%, Summative = 55%, and Semester Test = 15%.  
    Letter Grade / Class Percent / GPA Equivalent
    A+ / 100-98 / 4.0
    A   /   97-93 / 4.0
    A- /    92-90 / 4.0
    B+/    89-87 / 3.333
    B  /    86-83 / 3.0
    B- /    82-80 / 2.667
    C+/    79-77 / 2.333
    C  /    76-73 / 2.0
    C- /    72-70 / 1.667
    D+/    69-67 / 1.333
    D  /    66-63 / 1.0
    D- /    62-60 / 0.667
    F  /     59-0  /  0.0

  • Summative assessments may include quizzes, tests, papers, projects, presentations, etc..  These assessments are generally given at the end of a chapter/concept/ unit to measure a student’s understanding and will make up 55% of the final grade.  The deadline for an assessment is midnight the date the assessment is due.  If a student is absent on the day of a summative assessment, the student will receive a 0% in the grade book.  The 0% will remain until the student makes up the assessment (See the Make-Up Policy in the student handbook for the make-up deadline).  Students present the day of a summative assessment but unprepared to turn it in will incur a 5% penalty for each day it is late, down to a 50% if ten days late.  If the student elects to redo the assessment, the re-do score will still incur the late penalty.  A student who completes a summative assessment will receive no less than 50%.  Missing summative assessments can be turned in for 50% credit up to two weeks prior to the end of the semester.   
    • If a student is absent the day of test and returns after two days absence, the student has three (3) days to take the test (two absent days plus one).  If taken during the allowable time period, the student will incur no penalty on their earned grade. 
    • A student who is present the day a project is due but fails to turn it in until later will suffer a late penalty. For example, if a student turns in a project four days late, he/she will incur a 20% penalty (5% late per day), and he can only earn 80% of the earned score.  If the project was worth 100 points and the student earned a score of 87, the score entered into the grade book is 69.6 (87 points x .80). If the student elects to redo the assessment and earns a 95 redo, the replacement score in the grade book is 76% (95 points x .80).  Teachers should comment in the grade book to indicate the original score and the number of days late.   
    • If the student does not turn in an assessment within two weeks of the deadline and later decides to complete the assessment, the student will earn a 50%.  
  • Formative assignments are practice and should comprise no more than 30% of the final grade.  Formative assignments should be a safe place to try out new skills.  Formative assignments are strategies for preparing students to earn summative grades.  Formative assignments will be graded based on the quality of the work submitted. The deadline for an assessment is midnight the date the assessment is due.  If a formative assignment is not turned in, the student will receive a 0% in the grade book.  The 0% will remain until the student makes up the assignment.  Missing formative assignments can be turned in for 50% credit up to two weeks prior to the end of the semester.   Formative assignments do not qualify for re-dos.  
  • Feedback is more important than ever before due to the increased use of writing and research in the OHS classrooms.  Feedback is required in a timely manner as it helps guide students in their future writings and helps to prepare them for other assessments. Summative assessments that include short answer, multiple choice, true/false, or completion should be returned to students within three (3) days of the assessment.  A summative assessment that includes short in-class essays should be returned with feedback within one (1) week of the deadline.  Any summative assessment three (3) or more pages should be returned with feedback within two (2) weeks from the deadline.  
  • Re-do Policy is the primary intervention for helping students who earn low scores on major summative assessments.  Every student has the opportunity to raise his/her assessment score by re-studying and re-taking a test, or revising a piece of written work, or re-doing a project.  The deadline for an assessment is midnight the date the assessment is due.  The highest grade must be recorded (not an average of the first attempt and the re-do grade), thus reflecting the student’s actual proficiency on the standard(s) being measured. Teachers should encourage students to complete a re-do as soon as possible after a summative assessment.  Students have a final limit not to exceed two weeks (10 school days) from the time the graded assessment was returned to the student.  The return date will be reflected in PowerSchool as the due date.  
  • Concurrent Enrollment and Advanced Placement Courses will follow the institutions’ grading scale.  The re-do policy and late work policy is at the discretion of the teacher and will be noted in their syllabus.   


One credit is awarded for successfully completing the required work in a class that meets every day for a semester.  A half-credit may be earned in a class that meets every other day for a semester.  Multiple credits may be earned in classes meeting for more than one period.  (Check the course description for details.)

Forty-six (46) credits are required for graduation, students who begin grade 12 in August and have earned at least 34 credits by that time can reasonably expect that they will be able to complete graduation requirements by May.  We consider the following to be the minimum number of credits that a student should have earned in order to be considered “on track” to graduate on time with his/her class:

  • 12 credits by the end of freshman year
  • 25 credits by the end of sophomore year
  • 34 credits by the end of junior year

We will use these credit levels to identify students who need special interventions to keep them on track to graduate on time.  Students with fewer credits than listed above will not be eligible for a free period and must be enrolled in seven periods each semester.  


Free periods are a privilege for juniors and seniors in good credit standing.  Every two weeks, guidance counselors will verify grades for those students with a scheduled Free Period. Student’s receiving an “F” in any course will lose their Free Period and be required to attend Aspire to support their academic needs.  At the end of two weeks, grades will be reevaluated to determine every student’s Free Period status.  


It is important that students carefully choose the proper classes that best fit their personal, educational, and vocational needs.  Students should seek advice from parents, teachers, and counselors.

  1.  All students must be enrolled in seven classes every semester.  Juniors who have earned 25 credits by the end of their sophomore year may enroll in six credit earning classes per semester.  Seniors who have earned 34 credits by the end of their junior year must be enrolled in six credit earning classes during their first semester.  During the second semester a senior must enroll in at least as many classes he/she needs to graduate.  Second year seniors may enroll in as few courses as necessary to graduate.
  2. Juniors and seniors may request to drop a course during the first three days of each semester if they are scheduled for seven periods.  Students may not drop a class if they will fall below the minimum course load requirements.  
  3. The scheduling process begins 2nd semester.  Students will have multiple opportunities to learn about the next year’s classes.  Courses are then scheduled during an individual appointment with their guidance counselor.  
  4. Students will have two opportunities to make schedule changes; in the spring (Move Up Day) and during registration.  Student or parent initiated schedule changes are not accepted after the start of classes. 
  5. Multiple credits may be earned in classes meeting for more than one period.  (Check the course description for details.)
  6. All classes are offered “upon demand”.  Although a course is listed, a sufficient number of students must register for the class to make it economically feasible to offer the class.
  7. Due to the limited enrollment of some courses students may not always receive their first choice.  It is suggested that they be prepared to choose an alternate course in the event one of their first choices is closed.
  8. To maintain athletic, music, and other activity eligibility, students must be enrolled in a minimum of four courses.


Students are responsible for accepting the course of study for which they register, therefore they must plan very deliberately, always keeping in mind individual interests and post high school plans.  Any adjustments following the initial Spring Registration period are limited and will be based on only one of the following reasons: 

  1. Computer error or imbalance of course sections. 
  2. Failure in a class that is a prerequisite. 
  3. Teacher recommendation and/or request because of inappropriate level placement. 
  4. Unavailability of a class. 

Requests for reasons other than those listed above are limited to extenuating circumstances and must have parent/guardian approval.  Requests that would result in an imbalance in the sections of a course will NOT be approved. 

Any adjustments after the beginning of the term must have Principal approval.  Students wanting to add, drop, or adjust their schedule must pick up a Schedule Adjustment Request form from the Counseling Office and make an appointment.  Requests for teacher change will not be granted except under extenuating circumstances approved by the Principal.  


Each semester a student may elect to take one class pass/fail.  A student wishing to take a class pass/fail must first discuss it with his/her counselor and request a meeting with the appropriate teacher for approval.  A student must file the appropriate form within the first week of the semester and will remain in effect throughout the semester.  Students or Parents/Guardians may not request that a traditional letter grade be recorded for the class on the official school records once the Pass/Fail Contract is submitted.  Pass/Fail grades will be recorded on the transcript with a P or F in place of the letter grade.  In order for a student to earn P, they must earn a minimum of 60 percent.  On the official transcript the earned percentage will follow the P (i.e. if the student completes the class with a 72 percent, the transcript will display P72).  A Pass/Fail class will count as part of a full-time load.  The NCAA Clearinghouse Eligibility Center requires a letter grade for each class to determine their final GPA.  Student athletes interested in Division I or II post-secondary schools should consider taking all classes for letter grades.  See your guidance counselor for more information.   


For students who potentially might play athletics in college, specific courses meet eligibility standards for freshman participation at member NCAA Division I and II schools.  Courses are designated as Approved or Not Approved for the NCAA Clearinghouse.  The Guidance Office has further information for questions about the college-bound athlete.


The State of Iowa has a rich tradition of providing quality post-secondary educational opportunities for its citizens that also attracts students from all over the country and world. Today, Iowa's three Regent universities and 15 community colleges serve more than 150,000 students annually!

Iowa's Regent universities and community colleges have joined to create a Web site dedicated to seamless transfer. Their intent is simple - to create a one-stop resource to help students and families plan for their future.

The number one question transfer students ask is "How will my credits transfer?" Follow the 'Transferring Your Credit' links on the Transfer in Iowa website to discover how your courses may transfer to the Regent universities. You are invited to explore, discover, and continue to dream big.  Visit for more information. 


Students from Iowa high schools planning to begin their studies in fall 2009 or later must have a Regent Admission Index score of at least 245 and take the minimum number of required high school courses to qualify for automatic admission to Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at The University of Iowa. Students who achieve a score less than 245 will be considered for admission on an individual basis. 

The index combines four factors that strongly predict success at regent universities: ACT or SAT test score, high school rank, high school cumulative grade-point average, and the number of completed high school core courses. 

Visit for more information or to calculate your RAI.  See your Guidance Counselor for more information. 


The (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), or FAFSA, is the first step in the financial aid process when looking for funding available to pursue post-secondary education.  Use it to apply for federal student financial aid, such as the Pell Grant, student loans, and college work-study.  In addition, most states and schools use FAFSA information to award their financial aid.  For more information visit   


If a student wishes to repeat a course, he/she must conference with their counselor.  To qualify, the student must have originally received a “C” or lower for a grade.  If academic credit was granted when the course was taken originally, no additional credit will be issued for repeating the course.  The repeat grade will replace the original grade even if the repeat grade is lower than the original, unless the repeat grade is an “F” and would result in a loss of credit.


PLATO Learning is the industry’s undisputed expert in proven, effective credit recovery solutions. Innovative and engaging, PLATO® curriculum gives students a needed alternative and second chance to learn online and be challenged by rigorous, standards-driven content.

Learning is self-paced and put in real-world context and coupled with offline activities and Internet resources that reinforce learning in areas of greatest weakness.  PLATO® Credit Recovery Solutions allow students to complete course requirements more rapidly, recover credits, regain self-confidence, and graduate on time.


It is the belief of the Ottumwa Community School District that all students should have a balanced high school curriculum, which includes physical education.  Participation in high school physical education on a yearly basis provides students with a healthy outlet, which will improve their learning. 

Exemptions from physical education may be granted for the following reasons: medical condition with written doctor’s statement, religious beliefs, or full academic schedule. Participation in a full academic load does not necessarily require that a student be exempt from physical education. Every effort will be made by the professional staff of Ottumwa High School to ensure that a student will participate in physical education a minimum of two years.

Students who believe they qualify for a physical education exemption should work with their counselor to determine if they qualify and complete any necessary forms.


Students planning to withdraw from Ottumwa High School for any reason must check out with their guidance counselor.  The counselor will help the student complete necessary withdrawal forms and procedures.  


All alternative program-enrolled students will be held to OHS Core Requirement of 30 credits as required by law. Students enrolled in alternative programming will receive coursework audits to determine courses which may count towards graduation requirements.


Under Iowa law students may receive competent private instruction as an alternative to attending regular public school.  Detailed information and application forms may be obtained from Central Office at 1112 N. Van Buren.  Requests for private instruction should be submitted by the first day of school.


Driver Education is operated by Drivescape LLC .  

For further information regarding availability, scheduling, and fees, please contact:
    Drivescape LLC 
    David Becker
    Cell:  641-799-7512


Concurrent Credit Options

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 interested in Arts & Science courses must demonstrate proficiency  on the state tests in all three academic areas.  This is primarily determined using the students’ most recent scores on the designated state required test.  If a student is not proficient in one or more area but wishes to enroll in an Arts & Science course, he/she must meet an alternate proficiency requirement.  Two options are available as alternate proficiency measurements: (1) a score of 21 or higher on the most closely related ACT subtest of course student wishes to enroll in or (2) an Accuplacer recommended cut score for the individual course as determined by the community college. Career Technical programs/courses do not require proficiency.  See your counselor for more information.  
  • At the college level, students must meet any assessment requirements of the postsecondary institution including any placement exam requirements of the institution.

The following programs provide an overview of opportunities:

Advanced Placement (AP®)

Advanced Placement (AP®) courses are college-level courses offered by high schools.  The courses, curriculum requirements, and optional tests are provided by The College Board.  Based on the examination score and the postsecondary institution's policies, students may be eligible for college credit or advanced standing at the college or university they later matriculate.

Ottumwa High School offers the following AP courses:  AP Art History, AP Chemistry, AP Language and Composition, AP Literature and Composition, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, and AP Psychology.  In addition to these courses, students may be eligible to participate in AP online.  In order for a student to enroll in an online AP course while enrolled at Ottumwa High School:  (1) The student must receive prior approval from the Talented and Gifted Coordinator and the principal or designee and (2) The student must take the AP exam.

All enrolled AP students will be expected to take the course AP exam.  Exam performance will not impact a student's course grade.

Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO)

Ninth and tenth grade students who have been identified by the school district as gifted and talented, and eligible eleventh and twelfth grade students, may utilize the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (“PSEO”) program. To qualify, a course must be a nonsectarian, credit-bearing course that leads to a degree, and in the areas of: mathematics, science, social sciences, humanities, career and technical education. A course is not eligible for PSEO if a comparable course is offered by the school district. This would include courses at a community college with which the district has a concurrent enrollment agreement. Students shall not be charged for tuition, textbooks, materials, or fees related to a PSEO course with the exception of equipment that becomes the property of the student. In Iowa, 4 year institutions qualify for PSEO. 

The school district shall reimburse the post-secondary institution for tuition and other expenses for each PSEO course up to $250. Students who successfully complete a PSEO course, as determined by the postsecondary institution, shall receive postsecondary credit and high school credit. The Superintendent or designee is responsible for determining the number of high school credits that shall be granted to a student who successfully completes a PSEO course. Students may not enroll on a full-time basis to any post-secondary institution through the PSEO program. 

Transportation to and from the postsecondary institution is the responsibility of the student or parent or legal guardian of the student enrolled in a PSEO course. Eligible students may take up to seven hours of post-secondary credit during the summer months and receive high school credit upon successful completion of a post-secondary course. However, the student or student’s parent or legal guardian are responsible for all costs associated with courses taken during the summer. 

Students who fail a PSEO course and fail to receive credit are required to reimburse the school district for all costs directly related to the course up to the $250.00 reimbursement maximum. Prior to registering, students under the age of eighteen are required to have a parent or guardian sign a form indicating that the parent is responsible for the costs of the course should the student fail the course and fail to receive credit. Reimbursement waivers may be granted by the board if sufficient verification is provided to show that the student was unable to complete the course for reasons outside the student’s control, including but not limited to physical incapacity, a death in the student’s immediate family, or a move out of the school district. 

In accordance with all PSEO qualifying guidelines stated above, students may take such courses at a community college. The courses are called individual concurrent enrollment. If a student enrolls in such a course, the following rules apply: 

  • Individual concurrent enrollment contracts must be completed with the community college for each class.
  • The district will receive supplemental weighting dollars for the individual concurrent enrollment course.
  • Regular tuition and book fees apply, to be paid for by the district.
  • Failure still results in student reimbursement beyond the supplemental weighting amount.

Concurrent Enrollment

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 using the application form provided and then seek approval by a parent and administrator.  

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

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

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.