School Spotlight: Cooper High School
At Cooper High School, you will see the signs and hear the staff members talk about “The Cooper Way.” It’s a mantra that encourages students to practice honesty, accountability, work ethic and kindness.
“We embody that and we want to do that whether we are here or out there,” says principal Frank Herman at Cooper High School. “It’s something we are constantly working on.”
The Cooper Way is visible in the challenges staff members pass along to students too. Students are challenged to complete 10,000 hours of community service this year. Many students volunteered during homecoming week. Inside the school, students are engaged in the International Baccalaureate program that encourages questions and critical thinking.
“Overall, it really gets them ready for the world and we are still finding out what that means,” says Herman. “For example, we are preparing students for jobs we don’t know exist yet.”
The high school offers more than 25 college level courses, including a growing aerospace and engineering program. Students may build a cable car from scratch or discover how to map out the trajectory of a rocket.
“Failure is not an option—I don’t like that quote. I like the failure is an option quote because you have to know what you do when you fail,” said Tim Fitze, engineering teacher.
Students also are learning higher level thinking skills across the curriculum. The performing arts department, which has always been a strong part of Cooper High School, is growing again after being cut back 10 years ago.
“We try to do breath and depth,” says theater teacher Gretchen Wurzer-Palm, who challenges students to do Shakespeare, contemporary pieces, musicals, and more. The elective classes will feed into a robust and award-winning extracurricular drama program.
The school also has exceptional music programs, offering students a taste of orchestra, choir, marching band, and more.