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      Federal Grant helping improve the educational environment at Ottumwa High School

      $14 million over a four-year period that is how much money the Hawkeye State received a year ago to help schools improve their overall atmosphere.

      We hear about it all the time, how important it is to fund our schools. With the economy still struggling, and school districts stretching every last penny, a different kind of story is being written at Ottumwa High School.

      â??It is something that I have never seen. I have had teachers come and basically say, this is one of the best starts to a school year since they have been teaching here,â?? said Zach Wigle, Assistant Principal at Ottumwa High School.

      The culture and climate at Ottumwa High School is changing, and that can be attributed to a grant the school received.

      The Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools Grant was awarded to 20 high schools throughout the state, helping educators create a better learning environment for schools in need.

      â??It has really allowed us to shine some light on some issues that we do have. Whether that is students to student relationships; whether it is staff to student relationships; whether it is how to improve the physical environment of our buildings, we are going to have some tools and some things that we are going to do and continue to do that will hopefully allow us to improve the overall culture of Ottumwa High School,â?? Wigle said.

      According to the Lt. Governorâ??s office, Iowa was one of 11 states to receive the federal funding; totaling $14 million over the next four years. That could possibly mean an additional $500,000 for the bulldogs.

      â??The biggest things we are trying to do is create a sense of pride. We really want to change the culture at Ottumwa High School,â?? Wigle said.

      The administration at Ottumwa High believe that as the culture and climate continue to improve, that test scores will also improve.

      The grant is currently being geared toward both teachers and students. The staff at Ottumwa High School will be able to use funds for professional development.