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This summer has been a fantastic one for me, both personally and professionally. Last summer was very hectic, as my family and I moved here from Ohio and I hit the ground running in assuming the principalship here at Niwot High School. Last month, my wife Kate and our children Ethan, Ben, and Ellie were able to enjoy a beautiful multi-day camping excursion at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. In addition, we spent a weekend with extended family up in Dillon. It was such a refreshing and invigorating chance to reconnect with family and to enjoy the indescribable beauty that this great state affords all of us, and the time away gave me an opportunity to reflect on a memorable past school year, and to firm up the school’s goals for this upcoming year.
Almost every day I reflect on what a unique and whimsical place Niwot High School is, and how blessed I feel to lead this storied institution. Last year was memorable for a host of reasons. Athletically, our Girls Track and Field Team won the State Championship for the 3rd year in a row, with runners Kela Fetters and Alexis Carroll capturing individual 1st place finishes. Our Valedictorian, Spencer Lang, won the Boys Singles Tennis State Championship. During the Fall sports season, 8 of our 9 teams made the state tournament. Musically, a very talented cast presented “Shrek the Musical” to rave reviews, 8 students made the All-State Choir, 7 students made the All-State Orchestra, and NHS led the district in having the most students selected for the All-District Honor Band (11). Three NHS students, Gabe Hyde, Alex Arnold, and Ben Randall won a Robotics competition (the Nao Challenge USA) and will be bringing a $5,000 robot to Niwot H.S. that was awarded for first place. 22 NHS students participated in the district’s Up-A-Creek Robotics Team that won 2 regional competitions and placed 3rd in the national competition. The inaugural Niwot High School Film Festival was a rousing success, with over 60 submissions and more fun than anyone expected!
Our Senior class made a mark that will last for many years to come. They earned over $8 million in scholarships, and our Cougars are enrolling in such prestigious institutions as West Point, Vanderbilt, CU, Baylor, Skidmore, Alabama, Iowa, Arizona, Missouri, BYU, Miami of Ohio, Oklahoma, William & Mary, College of Charleston, Marquette, Butler, UCLA, Georgetown, SMU, Mississippi, Boise State, Depaul, Cincinnati, Purdue, Wisconsin, CalPoly, Hofstra, Kenyon, and the Eastman School of Music. This is just a small sampling of the colleges and universities that our students have chosen, but it is a solid representation of the myriad possibilities that await our hard-working graduates. We also salute our students who are choosing to serve their country in the military, either through enlisted service or enrollment in a military service academy. Over 90% of our students traditionally choose to pursue a post-secondary education, and that is a tribute to the rigor of our curriculum, our I.B. Program and our A.P. courses, and our dedicated, creative, and inspirational staff.
Academically, we once again finished very strong. Our average ACT score was 23.6 (well above the district and state averages), we had 5 National Merit Semifinalists, and for the 2nd year in a row had a student score a perfect 36 on their ACT (2 students this year). NHS was also recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top high schools in Colorado.
We had an outstanding school year, but we are now looking forward to improving upon our past successes. On that note, our goals for this year are:
· To lay the groundwork for the one-to-one technology roll-out that will happen next fall (2016) with every student receiving an Ipad Mini. This includes professional development for our staff.
· To review our course offerings to ensure that we are preparing our students to be successful in today’s global economy. This includes the possibility of adding Chinese to our World Language offerings.
· Continuing to work towards ensuring that every student is valued, known, and encouraged. We are a family at Niwot High School, and we are committed to not allowing any student to “fall through the cracks.”
I would like to invite you to come up to Niwot High School to see for yourself what we have going on. Catch a play, a game, or a concert. I am confident that you will be impressed with our students and will feel assured about the students that we are preparing to become the leaders of tomorrow!
-Eric Rauschkolb, Principal of Niwot High School