Phone: (616) 786-1100

Welcome Letter

Welcome to West Ottawa High School!

Located near the shores of Lake Michigan, West Ottawa High School serves a diverse student body within a wonderfully supportive community. A comprehensive high school of 2330 students in grades 9-12, West Ottawa is able to offer the largest selection of educational opportunities of any West Michigan school. These opportunities include 20 Advanced Placement courses, 15 International Baccalaureate courses within the IB Diploma Program, as well as nearly 200 course selections among eight elective and four core departments. This vast array of educational opportunities sets us apart from other high schools in Ottawa County. We know academic success can be highly correlated with extra-curricular involvement. Students at West Ottawa are encouraged to participate in one of the more than 30 extracurricular clubs and organizations on our campus. We also are members of the highly competitive OK Red Athletic Conference and support 28 inter-varsity sports. West Ottawa’s performing and fine arts programs are continually recognized for their excellence at local, state, and national competitions. Our high school campus consists of two 9-12 buildings on over 60 acres of green space. Students often travel between buildings for classes, providing a small “college-like” atmosphere. In fact, Grand Rapids Community College also hosts college courses on our campus throughout the year. Our close proximity to Hope College, Grand Valley State University, Davenport University, Kendall College of Art and Design, as well as GRCC, provides many dual enrollment college credit opportunities for our students.

Recent Academic Recognition

West Ottawa High School has been recognized as a US News & World Report Silver Medal award winning school in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 ,2016, and 2017. West Ottawa High School is one of only two high schools in Ottawa County to win this award five or more years in a row. The US News Silver Medal is awarded to less than 60 schools across the state and is based on the number of advanced educational opportunities offered by the school and selected by students. We are very proud of our 20 Advanced Placement programs with more than 600 students taking College Board certified AP courses in the 2016 school year. This represents a 68% increase in Advanced Placement enrollment over the past five years. At the same time, with the support of local businesses, we began the first International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in West Michigan and the only one currently in Ottawa County. Enrollment in IB courses has increased by more than 200% in the first four years of this advanced program, with over 200 students currently participating. In all, there are endless opportunities for students to challenge themselves and find rigorous college-level course work at West Ottawa High School.

The Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine also recently recognized WOHS as the top high school in Ottawa County. Bridge Magazine completed their annual study by “comparing student proficiency on standardized tests at the school district level, across grades, and over time, relative to socioeconomic status.” By using the Achievement Exceeding Predicted Proficiency methodology, Bridge is able assign every school district a score based on student achievement. The naming of West Ottawa Public Schools as exceeding expectations is just one more piece of evidence supporting the educational excellence occurring in the district. It is also a credit to the teachers, staff, parents and students for their dedication and commitment to the education of every child in the West Ottawa community.

 

Graduation Rates

Graduation rates at West Ottawa High School far outpace those of peer schools around the state. In fact, in 2016 West Ottawa High School had the 7th highest graduation rate of all high schools in Ottawa and Kent Counties.

College, Career, and Life Ready

This is the mission of West Ottawa High School, preparing all students to be college, career, and life ready. Measuring students’ college readiness is done numerous times throughout their high school career, from PSAT scores in 9th and 10th grade, the SAT score in 11th grade, to their GPA posted on their transcript. Academically, we have very good measures of our students’ ability to move on to post-secondary educational opportunities. Measuring career readiness and life readiness is much more difficult for schools to do.

It has been a goal of the leadership team at West Ottawa High School to not only integrate more teaching of work readiness skills across the curriculum but to also develop a well defined metric in order to measure each student’s ability level in this area. In order to integrate this idea with our school-wide Positive Behavior Intervention Support system, we have developed the West Ottawa Work Readiness PRIDE Score.

Beginning in the fall of 2014 each student now receives a PRIDE score based upon a predetermined rubric of work readiness skills or “soft skills”. While these skills have always been encouraged and taught in high school, they have never been measured and connected to students’ academic record before. We think these skills will become much more meaningful for students when they know their score will be measurable, reportable to parents and employers, and connected to their short and long term future goals.

How I can use the Work Readiness Score

Are you an employer of high school aged students or recent graduates?

  • What if you had easy access to a well defined measurement of soft skills on each job applicant?
  • What if you could easily screen each job applicant based on up to four years of soft skill scores?
  • What if job applicants already new the importance of good attendance and punctuality, high quality effort and dependability, as well as the ability to work well with others and show respect to fellow employees and themselves? What if each applicant walked in the door with a record of their performance on these skills?
  • What if you, the employer, had access to longitudinal data on each applicant?

It is our hope that local employers will recognize the West Ottawa Work Readiness Score as a measure for determining the quality of job applicants coming from West Ottawa High School. If you are interested in more information regarding the West Ottawa Work Readiness Score or if your business may be interested in partnering with us, please contact Principal Todd Tulgestke at (616) 786-1101 or at the email link below.

Please feel free to contact us at (616) 786-1100 if you would like to visit or tour our campus.

Sincerely,

Todd Tulgestke
Principal

 

Meet our Assistant Principals:

Bre Bartels
Assistant Principal
Ryan Oshnock
Assistant Principal
Jason Reinecke
Assistant Principal
Kristine Jernigan
Assistant Principal

 

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