3 Reasons to love Oshkosh West High School and a Q&A with Principal Kohl

Friends from Oshkosh West High School enjoying a photo session by Ashley Kalbus

As an Oshkosh Senior photographer, I meet students from all different high schools in the Fox Valley area. I have met many seniors from Oshkosh West High School and they’ve all told me so many good things about it. It’s great to have such a wonderful high school in the area.

Oshkosh West High School was founded in 1969 and is located at 375 North Eagle Street in Oshkosh, Wi. The high school has almost 1700 students and hosts grades 9-12. Their mascot is the Wild Cats and colors are blue and white. Their mission is to “create a culture for learning that engages the OWHS community so that all students graduate college, career, and community ready.” (quote found here)

Oshkosh offers two public high schools for the community: Oshkosh West High School and Oshkosh North High School. Both are wonderful options and are highly rated by the state of Wisconsin. Below I have included information about Oshkosh West’s academics, activities, additional programs for students, as well as a Q&A section with Principal Erin Kohl.

What Oshkosh West High School Has to Offer

Friends from Oshkosh West High School enjoying a photo session by Ashley Kalbus


According to the State Report Card from Wisconsin Department of Public institution, Oshkosh West exceeds expectations in Achievement, Growth, Target Group Outcomes, and On-track to Graduation categories. They’ve defined their academic standards and outcomes: “defined curriculum benchmarks for every course and every grade level. Curriculum addresses content as well as skills and attitudes that we want students to develop by the time they leave a course, a grade level, or a K-12 educational program. Instruction focuses on the way that we help children to address the standards and the benchmarks. The emphasis in the district is on research-based best practice, or the best ways to be sure that all students learn and learn to the best of their abilities” (quote found here)

Extra Curricular Activities & Athletics

Oshkosh West also offers over 60 different activities for their students to participate in. Activities range from Division 1 athletics, to art, to curriculum based groups and more. For a more detailed look at activity requirements and guidelines check out the Activity Handbook here.

Some of the sports offered include:

  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Volleyball
  • Baseball
  • Dance
  • Ice Hockey
  • Swimming
  • Soccer
  • Wrestling
  • Gymnastics
  • Golf
  • Cross Country
  • Track
  • Softball

Some of the activities offered include:

  • Environmental Club 
  • Marching Band 
  • Math Team
  • Musical Theater
  • Robotics
  • Trapshooting Team
  • Yoga and Meditation Club 
  • Russelsheim Germany Exchange
  • Anime Club 
  • Cosmetology Club
  • Forensics 
  • French Club

Additional Programs Offered to Students

Oshkosh West High School has many programs to offer support for their students.

  • Counseling services: academic counseling, college and career and personal/social
  • Mental health services: the district has created a mental health framework that is applied to their curricula to address the mental health needs of their students.
  • Bullying prevention: staff are available to help you if your child is being bullied or if your child is a bully
  • Alternative education programs: there are a few different programs that have been developed to address issues concerning students who struggle to find success in a traditional school setting
Friends from Oshkosh West High School enjoying a photo session by Ashley Kalbus

Q&A with Oshkosh West’s Principal, Erin Kohl

Q: Could you describe the school’s culture? How can a student expect to feel while attending Oshkosh West? 

A: Oshkosh West High School is a place where all students are welcome and valued. We provide a positive school culture, promoting the Wildcat Way; respect, responsibility, and safety.

Q: How would you describe the student body?

A: West has a diverse student body with diverse interests. Our students are committed to academic excellence while also being involved in co-curricular opportunities. They engage in sports, fines arts activities, and other interest-based clubs. Many students participate in community service and volunteerism. Our students follow the Wildcat Way daily and show school spirit in a variety of ways. I always say we have the BEST kids at West! 

Q: Can you describe what the student and teacher interaction is like?

A: Classroom sizes vary depending on the class. Most classes will have between 20-28 students, but there are some higher-level elective classes with fewer students.

West’s teachers are second-to-none. They are committed to providing quality educational opportunities for students and will go above and beyond to help students success. Our teachers are also involved in the school community beyond the classroom, serving as coaches, club advisors, and mentors for students. Teachers regularly participate in Homecoming and Snowblast activities and attend student events, such as athletic competitions and concerts, to support students in their co-curricular activities.

West also has a “W Hour” which is a class period in the morning that provides flexible options. W Hour is a time when teachers hold club and activities meetings, provide additional help for students, and provide enrichment opportunities for students. Teachers can request specific students for W Hour and students can also request teachers or sign up for the sessions they are interested in.

Q: Are there any roles for parents at Oshkosh West? Are there volunteering opportunities for them?

A: We always welcome parent involvement. West has a Parent Advisory Group. This is a group of parents that meets 4 times per school year to provide me as the principal with feedback about their experiences at West and what we can do to improve our service to students and their families. Parents can also get involved with the West Booster Club, which supports all of the athletic teams at West. There are monthly Booster Club meetings and many opportunities to volunteer and fundraise. Periodically we have special projects that we enlist parents to help with, including our senior post-high school photo board, grounds upkeep, and other projects sponsored by different departments, clubs, or activities.

Q:How would you describe the academic program at Oshkosh West and what makes it different from other high schools in the area?

A: West is known for providing a rigorous academic program as well as a wide variety of elective options for students. Students have hundreds of choices to design a 4-year experience that is tailored to their interests and career paths. We offer numerous upper-level courses that prepare students for higher education including honors courses, as well as courses that students can earn college credit for, including CAPP classes that are articulated through UWO, FVTC classes, and Advanced Placement classes. Many students graduate West with a full semester or more of college credits under their belts.

We also offer career-based programs such as School 2 Work which is a partnership with Oshkosh Corp and Youth Apprenticeships which places students in career-based apprenticeships with local companies. West also offers the Academy for Global Studies, which is a program that integrates Spanish, English, and social studies courses to provide a curriculum that prepares students to be globally aware and culturally competent. One option within this program is to complete a capstone project senior year which leads to students earning the Global Scholars Certification from the WI Department of Public Instruction. Oshkosh West is one of only 10 high schools in the state approved to offer this certificate.

Friends from Oshkosh West High School enjoying a photo session by Ashley Kalbus

Thank you for reading my post about Oshkosh West High School. And thank you Erin Kohl for taking the time to answer my questions in regards to Oshkosh West High School.

Still searching for the right Senior Photographer? I’d love to chat with you about your Senior Portrait needs.

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