State of the Schools speech addressed education in Ottumwa

Education was the word in Ottumwa at the city's first annual "State of the Schools" address.

Over 120 people gathered to listen to Superintendent Dr. Davis Eidahl's keynote address, which highlighted the mission of the Ottumwa Education System, its vision and the strategies to increase student achievement.

"I hope when they leave that they realize and understand that we offer a great product for our students," Dr. Eidahl said. "And that students in Ottumwa that graduate from Ottumwa High School have an advantage because of the quality of education that they receive from us."

During his speech, Eidahl noted that the mission of the Ottumwa Community School district is to provide quality education for each and every student. A running theme throughout the event was that trends in Ottumwa education are heading in the right direction, but there is still far to go. The graduation rate in the district is improving, but has always been, and continues to be, a challenge.

To meet the district's mission, several priorities were identified, including eliminating drop-outs, expanding post-secondary courses and integrating technology into the classroom.

Overall, the Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation, who sponsored the event along with the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation and the Ottumwa Chamber of Commerce, was pleased with the turnout.

"We're very pleased with today's turnout for our first annual state of the schools luncheon," said David Barajas, Executive Director of the Economic Development Corporation. "I think just the idea of putting education at the top of everybody's mind is so important, it's so important for our community to grow and develop, there's nothing more important than a strong education system."

The sponsors of the luncheon hope to hold a "State of the Schools" address each year.