Promoting Work Readiness at WOHS

Who We Are

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 2300 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 35 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 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, and 2016.  The US News Silver Medal is awarded to less than 60 schools across the state and is based on the number of advanced educational courses offered by the school as well as how students score on those tests.  We are very proud of our 20 Advanced Placement programs with nearly 700 students taking College Board certified AP courses in the 2016-17 school year.  This represents a 70% 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 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.  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.

Record Setting Graduation Rates

West Ottawa High School has worked hard to build a college-going culture among our students. These efforts have led to a significant increase in graduation rates. Our ethnic and economic subgroups now far outpace peer groups across the state in terms of academic achievement and graduation rates. The increased focus on post-secondary educational opportunities has raised the bar for all students.  Click here to read more about how WOHS students are graduating at higher rates than ever before.

College, Career, and Life Ready- The WOHS Work Readiness Score

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, SAT scores 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 work 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 (or Work Readiness 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 records 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 on their transcript, and connected to their short and long term goals.


New WOHS Transcript with PRIDE Score

New WOHS Transcript



PRIDE Score Development Timeline

  • Development of PRIDE initiative by PBIS and School Improvement Team. PRIDE represents our school-wide behavior expectations. Displaying PRIDE means showing Preparedness, Respect, Integrity, Dependability, Effort.
  • Involvement and input of the Parent Advisory Council took place at the building level
  • Began teaching PRIDE behaviors in classrooms


  • Continue to teach PRIDE behaviors in our classrooms
  • Development of the PRIDE Score rubric
  • Development of scoring system within Infinite Campus and Parent Portal


  • Began building local employer partnerships
  • Began recognizing students for PRIDE behaviors through PRIDE Friday awards. Over 400 students were recognized and awarded.
  • Met with area business leaders including members from West Coast Chamber of Commerce to discuss the work readiness scoring system.
  • First semester. PRIDE Score system was piloted by school improvement team members
  • Second semester. PRIDE Score system was open to pilot by all teachers


  • Roll out PRIDE Score system to all Freshmen at registration and orientation
  • Roll out PRIDE Score system to all students and parents September 2014
  • First PRIDE Scores will be available to students and parents on Parent Portal at the end of first quarter (11.5.14)
  • Spring 2015. Provide PRIDE Scores to local partner employers for use in summer employment decisions.



Please view the Work Readiness Score video shared with all students fall 2014.


As a local Employer, How can I use the WOHS Work Readiness Score?

Are you an employer of high school aged students or recent graduates? Are you looking for high quality job applicants?

–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 your business is interested in more information, please complete the form below.