Sept. 20, 2021 Board Meeting

21 Sep

New feature: To watch the full board meeting discussion of the below items, please click the “watch recording” link next to each item. The links will take you to the start of each of the below agenda items/topics from the board meeting recording.

Face mask mandate put in place for PK-6 staff and students – watch recording
The Marshalltown School Board approved a face mask mandate for PK-6 students and staff while indoors at school. The mandate covers Anson, Fisher, Franklin, Hoglan, Rogers, and Woodbury elementary schools, as well as Lenihan Intermediate School; it will take effect on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

This measure does not affect students or staff at the 7-12 level, where vaccines have been approved and made available to those able and willing. Face masks will continue to be highly recommended, not required, at Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School, and Marshalltown Learning Academy.

District data on COVID-19 from both the current and previous school years was also shared at the meeting.

MCSD takes step toward upgraded website – watch recording
An important step was made toward a new and improved Marshalltown CSD website at the Sept. 20 board meeting. A request for proposal document was approved, and vendors have until 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8 to submit proposals. 

“One of the recommendations from the [Communications] Audit report was that multi-authoring ability, so that we could more easily delegate certain pages’ directories… to other people throughout the district,” said District Director of Technology Amy Harmsen, adding she worked closely with Director of Communications Adam Sodders in forming the RFP document approved Monday.

Discussion of a District website upgrade, as well as the broader MCSD Communications Audit report, was held at a recent school board work session.

The District Technology team was recognized at the Sept. 20 Marshalltown School Board meeting. Pictured, from left: tech support specialists Janet Merlos Garcia, Alex Bartels, and Ricardo Garcia, Chromebook technician Jose Ramirez, network and security specialist Andrew Claseman, tech support specialist Gabriela Dubon, server specialist Sebastian Ramirez, and director Amy Harmsen. Not pictured: technology coordinator Jennifer Harrington.

District IT professionals celebrated – watch recording
The Marshalltown CSD’s excellent Technology Team was recognized at Monday’s meeting ahead of National IT Professionals Day on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Read more here!

New Student School Board representatives introduced – watch recording
Two of this year’s new Student School Board representatives – Taylor Jones and Phoebe Hermanson – introduced themselves to the board. The students also shared their regular meeting presentation.

Hermanson and Jones are joined in their Student Board representative roles by Aaron Seberger and second-year rep Haley Reed. The student leaders will hold regular presentations to the board this school year, outlining important happenings at MHS.

Important committees approved for 2021-22 – watch recording
The membership of two important school committees gained board approval Monday evening, The board approved the Equity Committee, as well as the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC), for the 2021-22 school year. The committees include not only school staff and administrators, but also District parents and guardians.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 401.5 Employee Records (amended, second reading waived)
  • 501.14 Open Enrollment-Sending District (amended, second reading waived)
  • 501.15 Open Enrollment-Receiving District (amended, second reading waived)
  • 505.5 Graduation Requirements (amended, second reading waived)
  • 508.5 Activity Ticket Funds (tabled)
  • 603.6 Physical Education (amended, second reading waived)
  • 604.1 Private Instruction (amended, second reading waived)
  • 711.2 Student Conduct on School Transportation (amended, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 205.4 Lifetime Activity Passes (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 502.3 Student Expression and Student Publications (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Regulation 502.3-R1 Student Expression and Student Publications Code (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 905.3 Weapons in the School District (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review

  • 401.7 Employee Travel Compensation (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.8 Recognition for Service of Employees (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.10 Credit Cards (will come back for a first reading)
  • 804.6 Video Surveillance (will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.2-R2 (new 804.6-R1) Use of Recording Devices on School Buses (will come back for a first reading)
  • 804.6-R (new 804.6-R2) Video Surveillance Regulation (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
September 22nd (Wednesday) will see the first day of fall and the wearing of masks by all students and staff from PK- 6th grade while indoors. 

Last night’s board meeting was filled with a discussion regarding masks/no masks in our district buildings. Data was presented regarding the increasing number of Covid cases, attendance data and CDC and public health recommendations. Parents spoke, emails were read and survey data was shared. The board had much to discuss from all of that input.

After a recommendation for a full mask mandate district-wide was defeated, the board approved a proposal to institute a mask mandate for grades PK6. This was passed largely due to the fact that vaccine is not yet available to students of that age group. After a vaccine is available and students have had an opportunity to become vaccinated and develop an immunity, this mandate will be revisited.

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

Sept. 7, 2021 Board Meeting

8 Sep

Note on new feature: Watch the full board meeting discussion regarding each of the below items by clicking the “watch recording” link. The link will take you directly to the beginning of the chosen agenda item/topic in the video recording of the meeting.

Orpheum Theater, parking lot set to become part of MCSD – watch recording
The Marshalltown School Board approved a letter of intent to purchase the Orpheum Theater Center, an important Marshalltown landmark, at the Sept. 7 Marshalltown School Board meeting. The Orpheum is set to become part of the District after several years of Iowa Valley Community College District operation.

Additionally, the board approved an agreement to acquire the parking lot next to the Orpheum from UnityPoint Health. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the facility is planned for educational use by Bobcat students.

Students share Great Debate experiences – watch recording
MHS students Vania Madrigal Ibarra and Edgar Tellez strengthened several important skills as they took part in the National Hispanic Institute’s Great Debate. The students shared their experiences from the event at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Vania said she was able to share about her life experiences using self-expression skills. Edgar said he developed strong points and counter arguments on an assigned topic during the event.

MHS students Vania Madrigal Ibarra, left, and Edgar Tellez, right, share their experiences from the recent National Hispanic Institute Great Debate.

School supply donation efforts highlighted – watch recording
Hundreds of pens, pencils, notebooks, crayons, and more were recently donated to the Marshalltown CSD through two generous efforts

House of Compassion Director Chad Hammar and MPD Officer Andrew Cole, representing the Fraternal Order of Police, partnered to provide large numbers of supplies for this year’s Stuff the Bus effort. Additionally, hundreds of supply-stuffed backpacks were provided by O’Brien Family McDonald’s, which includes the local McDonald’s location.

These donation efforts help to ensure all students have access to essential school supplies as the new year begins.

Ridout, right, presents a donation to Isgrig, left.

Proceeds from Bobcat Burger sales donated to MHS Activities Department – watch recording
MHS Activities Director Ryan Isgrig accepted a generous donation from local Legends American Grill Manager Brady Ridout at Tuesday’s meeting. The donation of more than $1,500 was raised through sales of the restaurant’s signature Bobcat Burger. For each Bobcat Burger purchased, $1 was added to the donation funds.

2021-22 Student School Board representatives share first update – watch recording
Student School Board representatives Haley Reed and Aaron Seberger shared the first of many school year updates with the school board Tuesday evening. 

Reed returns as a representative after serving last school year; Seberger, one of the new student board reps this year, introduced himself to the board. Fellow student representatives Taylor Jones and Phoebe Hermanson will also share updates at school board meetings this year.

Student School Board representatives Haley Reed, left, and Aaron Seberger, right, share the first student representative update of the 2021-22 school year.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 401.13 Staff Technology Use/Social Networking

Initial Review – 

  • 401.5 Employee Records (will come back for a first reading)
  • 401.5-R1 Employee Records Regulation (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.6 Limitations to Employment References (marked as reviewed)
  • 501.14 Open Enrollment-Sending District (will come back for a first reading)
  • 501.15 Open Enrollment-Receiving District (will come back for a first reading)
  • 505.5 Graduation Requirements (will come back for a first reading)
  • 508.5 Activity Ticket Funds (will come back for a first reading)
  • 603.6 Physical Education (will come back for a first reading)
  • 604.1 Private Instruction (will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.2 Student Conduct on School Transportation (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 205.4 Lifetime Activity Passes (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 502.3 Student Expression and Student Publications (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Regulation 502.3-R1 Student Expression and Student Publications Code (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 905.3 Weapons in the School District (will come back for a first reading)
  • 504.3 School Publications (deleted)
  • 504.3-R1 Student Publications Code (deleted)

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

Aug. 16, 2021 Board Meeting

17 Aug

COVID-19 mitigation strategies for the upcoming school year presented
Student, staff and community safety continues to be the top priority of the Marshalltown CSD as the 2021-22 school year begins. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte shared updated health and safety guidelines with the Marshalltown School Board at the Monday, Aug. 16 regular board meeting.

The updated guidelines include information on face coverings, which will be highly recommended, though not required, for use by students and staff. Each staff member and student will be provided with a cloth face mask; an appropriate face covering of choice may also be used, if desired.

Social distancing measures will continue to be highly encouraged and expected as well, where and when possible. Additionally, school day schedules have been adjusted to minimize student and staff crossover.

Dr. Schutte said he continues to work with District Health Services and Marshall County Public Health to monitor the pandemic situation in Marshall County, particularly with recent concerns about the Delta variant.

To see the full guidelines, including those regarding school visitors, large gatherings, vaccines, and more, click here.

Former MHS student-athlete Jarret Heil, center, presents a generous donation from fellow Bobcat Boys Cross Country alumni at Monday’s meeting. Also pictured, from left: former MHS AD and Boys Cross Country Coach Tim Bell, MHS Activities Director Ryan Isgrig, Boys Cross Country Coach Chad Pietig, and Deanna Bell.

Boys Cross Country program receives generous gift
Former MHS Boys Cross Country coach and MHS Activities Director Tim Bell, his wife, Deanna, and MHS alum Jarret Heil presented generous donations to the MHS Boys Cross Country program Monday evening.

The gifts, which totaled $2,500, were shared to support the continued growth of the Cross Country program, which has a rich history at Marshalltown Schools.

“Cross country is a tough sport. It builds a lot of character,” said Heil, who was a student-athlete in the program under Bell, adding a portion of the funds were raised during a recent reunion of past Bobcat Boys Cross Country athletes from the graduating classes of 1981-2013.

MHS Activities Director Ryan Isgrig and Boys Cross Country Coach Chad Pietig accepted the donations on Monday.

Rogers Elementary Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen, left, Franklin Elementary Principal Tim Holmgren, center, and Anson Elementary Principal Ronnie Manis, right, share an overview of the Ladders to Learning program at Monday’s board meeting.

Ladders to Learning program finds success
The return of the Ladders to Learning has had a positive impact on participating students, according to data shared at Monday’s board meeting. The program focuses on helping students fill learning gaps by meeting targeted, individualized goals.

“When we look at goals for kids, we’re looking at what does this specific student need?” said Rogers Elementary Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen, one of the leaders of the Ladders to Learning program in the 2020-21 school year.

Anson Elementary Principal Ronnie Manis and Franklin Elementary Principal Tim Holmgren also helped lead Ladders to Learning; the three administrators said the program saw many student goals met. They said later assessments may reveal more about how the students’ proficiency improved after participating in Ladders to Learning.

“We can see the growth kids are making … it’s kind of a win-win for both our kids and our building,” Dr. Jurgensen said.

Three elementary buildings chosen for Iowa Total Care “100 Schools in Iowa” initiative
Anson, Franklin, and Rogers elementary schools have been chosen to take part in the Iowa Total Care “100 Schools in Iowa” literacy program. Each school will receive $500 for books and a toolkit to support students’ literacy advancement.

The selection of the three school buildings as part of this great Iowa Total Care program was recognized at Monday’s board meeting.

Director of Instruction Shauna Smith presents the Amplify Reading program

Amplify Reading literacy program approved for grades K-4
A new, personalized literacy learning program will be available for elementary-level Bobcat students after board action Monday.

Director of Instruction Shauna Smith said the Amplify Reading program aligns with current District curriculum and will meet the needs of students in grades K-4. She said remaining licensing for Lexia CORE 5 will be put toward Lexia PowerUp Literacy programming at Lenihan Intermediate School and Miller Middle School.

Update shared on 2021-22 school registration
Smith also presented an update on school registration for the upcoming school year with the board. She reported that nearly 90 percent of students have registered, with several more who have begun the registration process. 

“I think we’re in a great place,” Smith said, adding there is still work to be done. 

To learn more about registering for the 2021-22 school year, visit www.marshalltown.k12.ia.us/parents/online-school-registration-2021-22/

REMINDER: The first day of school is next Tuesday, Aug. 24. Register your child today if they are not already registered!

Major HVAC projects at MHS, Anson continue to progress
Important work to install and upgrade HVAC systems at Marshalltown High School and Anson Elementary School continues, with many aspects of the projects nearing completion. However, supply chain challenges are expected to cause a delay in the arrival of key parts.

“We do have some components, some of the air handlers, that will be a little delayed,” said Buildings and Ground Director Todd Goulding, adding some work-arounds have been found to provide air cooling in the short-term, specifically at Anson. 

However, officials from Garling Construction said shipping delays will mean the new air conditioning system at MHS will become operational in the fall, later than initially planned.

Marshalltown Virtual Academy handbooks approved
Student handbooks for grades K-6, 7-8, and 9-12  at the new Marshalltown Virtual Academy (MVA) received school board approval Monday evening. 

One of the highlights shared during the handbook presentation focused on attendance policy. MVA PK-6 Principal Ronnie Manis said great care will be taken to ensure students are actively engaged in virtual schoolwork. During the K-6 handbook presentation, Manis said students will meet in a live virtual session with their teacher every morning; he added that students’ activity and engagement with school work will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Summary shared on federal pandemic funding
Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold and Dr. Schutte provided an overview of the federal funding provided to MCSD during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The presentation covered not only various Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) revenues, but also the FEMA Disaster Assistance, the USDA Child Nutrition Program, and the state-level Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEERS) program.

Marshalltown Schools has and will continue to use the designated funds for a wide range of pandemic-related expenses and supports. 

Major health and safety efforts have been made possible through the funding, including internet hotspots and additional tech support, desk shields, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, helpdesk services, paid COVID-19 sick leave for staff, several digital learning programs, and much more.

Newbold said available federal funding will continue to be used for COVID-related expenses going forward.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 200.3 Responsibilities of the Board of Directors (amended, second reading waived)
  • 206.1 President (amended, second reading waived)
  • 206.2 Vice President (amended, second reading waived)
  • 213 Public Participation in Board Meetings (amended, second reading waived)
  • 213.1 Public Complaints (amended, second reading waived)
  • New 401.14 Employee Expression (amended, second reading waived)
  • 606.2 School Ceremonies and Observances (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 701.2 Transfer of Funds (amended, second reading waived)
  • 803.1 Disposition of Obsolete Equipment (marked as reviewed)


Initial Review – 

  • 400 Role of Guiding Principles for Employees (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.1-E Equal Employment Opportunity Grievance Form; Affirmative Action Grievance    Form; Title VI Compliance, Grievance Form; Title IX Compliance, Grievance Form; Section 504 Compliance, Grievance Form (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.4 Employee Complaints (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.13 Staff Technology Use/Social Networking (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The start of a new school year is upon us. Staff will participate virtually in ‘Welcome Back’ activities on Wednesday and will then greet students next Tuesday. I will have the opportunity to address staff on Wednesday for the last time. It is with pleasure and honor that I do that.

I hope that you have enjoyed your time away from lesson plans and grades. Summer is a time to refuel. And summers in Marshalltown, in the recent past, have had their own stresses. But as Buddha tells us, ‘No matter how hard the past is, you can always begin again.’ 

Best wishes for a great year filled with successes and happy memories.” – Bea NiblockThe next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be held on a Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, Sept. 6, and will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

Aug. 2, 2021 Board Meeting

3 Aug
Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson, left, speaks about the new sculpture coming to the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center. Also pictured is Marshalltown Public Art Committee Chairman Ben Fletcher. BELOW: A rendition of “Scherzo” was shared at Monday’s meeting.

Public art to be installed at Marshalltown Performing Arts Center this fall
A large, colorful, expressive public sculpture will soon greet visitors outside the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Auditorium.

The Marshalltown Community School District and Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Foundation, in partnership with the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance, announced artist Stephen Johnson as the finalist whose sculpture – “Scherzo” – will be displayed at the Performing Arts Center. Examples of Johnson’s public art can be found across the U.S., from Brooklyn and Los Angeles to Dallas and Kansas City.

The colorful sculpture will feature abstract forms based on music notations. The piece’s emphasis on music, rhythm, movement, and color will serve as an excellent complement to the beautiful Marshalltown Performing Arts Center.

“[Johnson] is a really amazing and talented artist,” said Arts & Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson at the Monday, Aug. 2 Marshalltown School Board meeting. “We’re really excited to show the community how beautiful this facility is and welcome them into the Performing Arts Center.”

Danielson said “Scherzo” is expected to be installed later in the fall of this year. Once in place, the sculpture will join many excellent pieces of public art on display across the Marshalltown CSD, including “Drills” at the MHS Roundhouse and the Sidewalk Safety Murals at multiple schools.

Generous donation to Miller Auditorium renovation highlighted
Members of the Marshalltown Community Theatre Board of Directors presented a donation of $1,750 toward renovations at the Miller Middle School Auditorium at Monday’s meeting.

Theatre Board President Lisa Naig said proceeds for the donation were raised during a recent performance of “Unconditional Surrender: A Visit with Ulysses S. Grant” at the Miller Auditorium.

“The District really appreciates the thought and effort to raise money to improve the Miller Auditorium. It’s on our radar as one of a number of larger-scale projects we wish to embark on, hopefully, in the future,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

The Miller Auditorium has served as a temporary home for Marshalltown Community Theatre after the organization was displaced from its usual venue – the Fisher Community Center Auditorium – due to the 2020 derecho. Naig said another performance is scheduled at the Miller Auditorium in October.

MCSD Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, left, accepts a generous donation from members of the Marshalltown Community Theatre Board of Directors. Also pictured (from left): Theatre Board President Lisa Naig, Theatre Board member Bill Roberts, performer Pete Grady, Theatre Board Vice President Hobz Hooley, and Theatre Board members Barb Lageschulte and Rick Gooding.

Finken ready to bring wealth of education experience to MHS
Marshalltown High School will welcome new Associate Principal Mark Finken this fall. Finken brings considerable teaching and leadership experience with him to Marshalltown, and will be a great addition to the MHS and District teams. 

Finken previously taught language arts at Waukee Community School District for 14 years, and worked at Des Moines Community Schools prior to his time in Waukee. Along with teaching, Finken has received praise for his work in curriculum development as a teacher leader.

New MHS Associate Principal Mark Finken, right, was introduced to the school board Monday evening. Also pictured is MHS Principal Jacque Wyant, left.

Parking lot repair project moves forward
Repairs are coming to the parking lot outside the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center after board action on Monday. 
Des Moines Asphalt and Paving was approved to perform asphalt repair work on the parking lot, located on the north side of the MHS Roundhouse. District Director of Buildings and Grounds Todd Goulding said funds for the work were built into the District’s summer projects budget.

2021-22 school board, superintendent goals approved
The Marshalltown School Board and superintendent goals for the 2021-22 school were approved Monday evening. The goals can be seen here.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies
First Reading

  • 702 Cash in School Buildings (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 706.3 Pay Deductions (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 706.3-R1 Pay Deduction Regulation (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 203 Board of Directors Conflict of Interest (amended, second reading waived)
  • 707.4 Audits (amended, second reading waived)
  • 707.5-R1 Internal Controls Procedures (amended, second reading waived)
  • 801.4 Site Acquisition (amended, second reading waived)


Initial Review – 

  • 200.3 Responsibilities of the Board of Directors (will come back for a first reading)
  • 206.1 President (will come back for a first reading)
  • 206.2 Vice President (will come back for a first reading)
  • 213 Public Participation in Board Meetings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 213.1 Public Complaints (will come back for a first reading)
  • 401.14 Employee Expression (will come back for a first reading)
  • 606.2 School Ceremonies and Observances (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.2 Transfer of Funds (will come back for a first reading)
  • 803.1 Disposition of Obsolete Equipment (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“August is the month where we start afresh – a new year for each of us; a chance to start again. We started the new year in the boardroom with new equipment – cameras and microphones.

We strive to be available to the community and transparent to our stakeholders. The new microphones make everything audible and the new cameras allow everyone to be seen. You don’t see anyone’s back nor just see their lips move. The new equipment is remarkable for our use.

Amy Harmsen, Director of Technology, is masterful at making sure everything functions as it should. Seeing and hearing all of the speakers will make the audience watching live streaming or delayed broadcast more enjoyable – almost as if you are in the boardroom!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

July 19, 2021 Board Meeting

20 Jul
MCSD Food Service Director Lynn Large shares the annual Food Service Department update at the July 19 board meeting

Food Service director commends staff in annual report
Over the past 16 months, the MCSD Food Service Department has continued to provide excellent service to Bobcat students, both at school and in the neighborhoods of Marshalltown. 

In her annual departmental report at the Monday, July 19 Marshalltown School Board meeting, Food Service Director Lynn Large highlighted staff members’ incredible teamwork and dedication during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m really proud of the Food Service team and how we handled all those challenges,” Large said.

Despite the challenges, she added there were plenty of positive accomplishments from the end of the 2019-20 school year and into the 2020-21 school year, including:

  • Meals were provided at no cost for all students ages 18 and younger
  • Grab-and-Go meals were served to hybrid and virtual students
  • The Meals Close to Home program ensured students had access to nutritious meals during school closure
  • Staff members grew their skills with cross-training opportunities
  • The department grew stronger as a team

Large said the USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program also continued last school year, and Food Service staff were celebrated during Lunch Hero Day 2021. She said she is excited for the upcoming school year.

2021 Bobcat Golf Fundraiser a massive success
The Bobcat Golf Fundraiser returned stronger than ever in 2021 after being cancelled last summer.

MHS Activities/Athletics Director Ryan Isgrig said the June outing brought together community members and Bobcat alumni at the American Legion Golf Course, all for the benefit of Bobcat students. In total, more than $25,000 was raised for Bobcat activities/athletics.

To see the full story on this year’s record-breaking Bobcat Golf Fundraiser, plus more photos and results, click here.

MHS Activities/Athletics Director Ryan Isgrig shares details from the this year’s record-breaking Bobcat Golf Fundraiser.

Legislative priorities set for 2021
The board approved the District’s legislative priorities for 2021 at Monday’s meeting. The areas of equity for all children, mental health, school funding policy, supplemental state aid, and COVID-19 remediation were emphasized on this year’s list.

Key construction projects discussed, change orders approved
Several exciting facilities projects are underway across the District this summer, with contractors, architects, and District staff working hard to ensure their timely completion.

Some obstacles have come up as the projects progress, including delays in the delivery of certain pieces of equipment and parts, as well as work reflected in recent change orders.

Superintendent Dr. Schutte said the District built contingency funds into the project budgets to address such change orders, and that a small portion of the projects’ contingency funding has been used thus far.

In addition to hearing the projects update, the board approved change orders for projects at MHS and Anson Elementary at Monday’s board meeting.

Update, follow-up steps shared regarding recent personnel matters
Dr. Schutte expressed the District’s extreme disappointment following two separate allegations regarding improper employee-student relations announced recently, as well as the significant follow-up steps the District is taking to ensure the safest, most enriching learning environment is provided for students.

“These allegations fly in the face of the law, our employee code of conduct, and the foundation of what our District stands for,” he said.

While the District’s selection and hiring processes and procedures were found to be thorough and robust upon review, Dr. Schutte said extensive efforts will be made to strengthen those processes wherever possible.

“We will still leave no stone left unturned as we evaluate all of our policies, practices, and procedures to make sure that our employees fully know and understand District expectations and conduct themselves in an appropriate and professional fashion at all times,” he said.

The District is looking into providing trainings on employee ethics and responsibilities, as well as proper use of social media, both of which have been presented to staff in recent years. The District is also investigating ways to strengthen policies and practices related to employee-student communications, and to ensure students are informed about reporting and getting help if a concerning situation were to arise.

“We have a wealth of community agencies that provide support in a variety of ways,” Dr. Schutte said. “We’ll be reaching out to CAPS – Child Abuse and Prevention Services – to access and take advantage of any other student and/or employee supports.”

He said the many action steps outlined Monday will be part of an ongoing process in alignment with the District’s number one priority – student safety.

District staffing needs discussed, employee handbooks approved
Human Resources Director Dr. Nora Ryan shared an overview of the District’s current staffing needs Monday evening.

She said MCSD is experiencing the same challenges in filling open positions as many other schools. Despite the challenges, Dr. Ryan said strong efforts are being made to proactively reach out to potential candidates. 

The District’s available positions can be viewed at https://iowa.schoolspring.com/ (search the Marshalltown zip code – 50158 – to see our career opportunities), as well as at https://marshalltown.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx

Additionally, the 2021-22 employee handbook presented by Dr. Ryan in June received the board’s approval on Monday evening.

Small vehicle purchases strengthen District fleet
The board approved the purchases of two vans at the July 19 meeting, both part of the Transportation Department’s annual replacement cycle. Transportation Director Rex Kozak said PPEL funding will be used to fund the purchases.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 403.1 Employee Physical Examinations (amended, second reading waived)
  • 404.1-R1 Employee Dress Code (amended, second reading waived)
  • 605.6 Internet-Appropriate and Safe Use (amended, second reading waived)
  • 703.1 Budget Planning (amended, second reading waived)
  • 704.1 Local-State-Federal-Miscellaneous Revenue (amended, second reading waived)
  • 704.6 Online Fundraising Campaigns – Crowdfunding (amended, second reading waived)
  • 707.2 Treasurer’s Annual Report (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 702 Cash in School Buildings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 706.3 Pay Deductions (will come back for a first reading)
  • 706.3-R1 Pay Deduction Regulation (will come back for a first reading)
  • 203 Board of Directors Conflict of Interest (will come back for a first reading)
  • 707.4 Audits (will come back for a first reading)
  • 707.5-R1 Internal Controls Procedures (will come back for a first reading)
  • 801.4 Site Acquisition (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“During the summer meetings, the board hears reports from the various departments throughout the district. Last night’s meeting heard the Nutrition Services report.

It seems that the pandemic has reached near and far and impacted everyone. Because no students attended school for several months, food service employees took meals ‘on the road’ to be sure that all students still had the opportunity to receive meals as they would have in school.

And when we returned to school in the fall, many students chose to continue to learn online or only came to school every other day in a hybrid model. This necessitated decreasing the food service work staff as revenue decreased by nearly $46,000. We have high hopes that the fall will see nutrition services return to near normal.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

June 21, 2021 Board Meeting

22 Jun
New MCSD Director of Learning Shauna Smith was introduced at Monday’s school board meeting. Smith has previous experience at MCSD, as well as South Tama Schools and Bondurant-Farrar Schools.

New Director of Learning introduced
Marshalltown Schools is excited to welcome new MCSD Director of Learning Shauna Smith to the District leadership team.

During her formal introduction at the Monday, June 21 Marshalltown School Board meeting, Smith said she is excited to again serve Bobcat students.

“I’m really honored to get to serve the community,” Smith said. “We live in the community, my children go to school here. We’re very much committed and invested in the Marshalltown Community School District.”

Smith returns to MCSD from South Tama County Community School District, where she has served as director of curriculum and student services. Prior to her time at South Tama, Smith served as an assistant principal and dean of students at Bondurant-Farrar Schools. During her previous tenure at Marshalltown Schools, Smith served as PK-6 Curriculum and Professional Development Leader and as a teacher. 

“I’m really excited to develop a relationship with all of you and to continue serving our students to the best of our ability,” Smith said. “I feel like I’m finally home.” 

Monday’s meeting was current Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson’s last in Marshalltown before her departure at the end of June, and she was thanked for her incredible service to Bobcat students since 2016.

“I hope your years here have been enjoyable years,” said Board President Bea Niblock to Dr. Stevenson.

Student school board representatives, board meeting schedule decided for 2021-22
Four Bobcat students were chosen as next school year’s student school board representatives at Monday’s meeting, including Phoebe Hermanson, Taylor Jones, and Aaron Seberger. Returning as a student representative will be Haley Reed.

Also approved was the 2021-22 regular school board meeting schedule. Marshalltown School Board meetings take place at 5 p.m. on the third floor of the MCSD Central Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave., on the first and third Monday of the month, except for Labor Day in September (meeting moved to the first Tuesday) and the single meetings in the months of January and July.

District Lead Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford presents the annual Health Services Report for 2020-21

District Nurse shares 2020-21 Health Services report
The MCSD Health Services team stepped up in a major way during the 2020-21 school year, which was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. District Lead Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford had high praise for her team during her annual Health Services report on Monday. 

“They’ve all taken on more leadership in their buildings, helping to navigate through this pandemic,” she said of the District’s school nurses and health aides. 

Tool-Crawford described how the Health Services team performed contact-tracing, educated staff and families about the coronavirus, tracked positivity rates within buildings, and ensured that the District’s safety measures were followed during the school year. 

COVID-19 vaccinations have been another area of success for Marshalltown Schools. Tool-Crawford reported that more than 80 percent of staff members were vaccinated through a partnership between MCSD and Hy-Vee earlier this year. About one-fifth of Bobcat students have also been vaccinated since May, thanks to the support of Hy-Vee and Meskwaki Health Services.

Tool-Crawford said it is very likely that the vaccination rate among both staff and students is higher than District data shows, due to the availability of other vaccine clinics locally. She said work will be done next school year to gain insight into vaccination rates at MCSD.

“This past school year has been one of constant change,” Tool-Crawford said, adding that strong leadership and dedication from MCSD staff and students helped minimize the impact of the pandemic. “We were leaders in the area in maintaining those mitigation strategies,” 

Culture survey overview presented
Marshalltown Schools staff members were asked to give their feedback in a District-wide culture survey recently, and the results came back strong despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

HUMANeX Ventures CEO Brad Black gave an overview of this year’s culture survey, including the District’s top-rated dimensions: Engage-Inspire, Pride, Continuous Improvement, Innovation, and Quality. He said the survey showed a slight decline in overall score, but added MCSD continues to have impressive results.

“You have a very resilient, strong staff,” Black said. “You’ve got a solid, strong culture,”

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said this year’s culture survey was an excellent opportunity to learn about the experiences of District employees in 2020-21. 

“I’m really glad that we did this to see what kind of impact this past year had, knowing that it was going to be extraordinarily challenging for everybody,” he said. “What I’m really going to be interested in seeing is how our scores next year look, compared to even a year ago.”

James Christensen describes the successful USTA Iowa Adult League District Championships hosted at the Marshalltown Court Complex this month.

Successful tennis tournament at Marshalltown Court Complex celebrated
Hundreds of spectators and tennis players gathered at the beautiful new Marshalltown Court Complex facility this month for the USTA Iowa Adult League District Championships.

MHS Tennis coach and Bobcat Tennis Academy Director James Christensen did an excellent job managing the tournament, and he was pleased to share the praise given to the new Court Complex and the city of Marshalltown at the event. 

“They really loved the facility,” he said. “We really got to test out the capabilities … having that many people there at that high level of tennis was a big test.” 

The tournament also had a positive impact on the local economy, and Christensen said visitors from around the state stayed in hotels and complimented the variety of high-quality restaurants offered in Marshalltown.

“It was really nice to be considered a great place to host,” he said, adding tennis action will return to the Marshalltown Court Complex June 29-30 and on July 21.

Board approves MasteryConnect platform to support student learning
A powerful new tool to support student learning was approved by the school board Monday evening. 

MHS Principal Jacque Wyant said the MasteryConnect platform will dovetail with the District’s existing programming to help identify learning gaps resulting from pandemic-related challenges. The platform cost will be covered by federal ESSER funding.

2021-22 MHS Course Manual, Student Handbook approved
The MHS Course Manual and Student Handbook for the upcoming school year also gained board approval Monday, and Wyant said there were a few notable updates in each document. 

In the Course Manual, changes were made to reflect a new state law regarding dual-credit college coursework for high school students; specifically, there are now alternative measures students can take to participate in dual-credit courses.

In the Student Handbook, updates were made to the MHS school day schedule to reflect block scheduling. A third 45-minute “C” lunch period and a 5-minute passing time between classes were included as well.

Also emphasized was the school’s open campus policy, which allows only students in grades 11-12 who are in good standing to participate in the open campus lunch period.

Change orders approved for facilities projects
Several facilities projects are underway across the District this summer, and a group of change orders were approved for three of those projects Monday.

One of the change orders had to do with the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project, specifically related to duct work. Another change order was for upgraded cameras to be installed as part of the Lenihan AV/Intercom upgrade project; the cameras are intended to be used to support virtual learning in 48 Lenihan classrooms.

The remaining change orders approved on Monday ensured that Davis-Bacon wages would be paid for the Lenihan AV/Intercom project, the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project, and the MHS Air-Conditioning project. Those change orders follow similar actions taken at the June 7 board meeting; by paying Davis-Bacon wages, MCSD qualifies for pre-approved federal ESSER funds to use toward the projects.

Wall panel repairs to take place at Marshalltown Performing Arts Center
Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding updated the board on wall panel repair work at Marshalltown Performing Arts Center. The panels were damaged by the powerful 2020 derecho winds.

MCSD moves forward with EAB District Leadership Forum partnership
The board approved a District Leadership Forum partnership with renowned educational research firm EAB, a move which will provide MCSD leaders with access to valuable research materials, toolkits, webinars, and unlimited consultative support.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies:

First Reading

  • 312.5 (new 303.7) Administrative Personnel-Professional Development (amended, second reading waived)
  • 303.4-E1 Fringe Benefits-Administrators (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 314.2 Administrative Personnel Contract Termination-Resignation (deleted)
  • 314.3 Administrative Personnel Contract Terminations-Dismissal (deleted)
  • 403.1 Employee Physical Examinations (will come back for a first reading)
  • 404.1-R1 Employee Dress Code (will come back for a first reading)
  • 605.6 Internet-Appropriate and Safe Use (will come back for a first reading)
  • 703.1 Budget Planning (will come back for a first reading)
  • 704.1 Local-State-Federal-Miscellaneous Revenue (will come back for a first reading)
  • 704.6 Online Fundraising Campaigns – Crowdfunding (will come back for a first reading)
  • 707.2 Treasurer’s Annual Report (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The June board meetings are a time when the board hears many end-of-the-year reports. One of those reports at last night’s meeting was the Student Health Services report given by Stacey Tool-Crawford, district lead nurse.

The impact of the Covid pandemic was obvious in the statistics of the report. One result, disconcerting even though expected, was the dramatic increase in the number of students diagnosed with anxiety issues. The year’s stress took its toll on our staff and students. And, yet our nurses provided input to mitigation efforts and contact tracing which kept our Covid numbers quite low. Vaccine clinics were arranged and staffed by our nurses to provide vaccinations to all staff and, later, to students 12 years of age and older.

All of this, in addition to their regular duties, show us how important our entire nursing staff is to the health and safety of staff and students.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, July 19, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. It will be the only regular board meeting in the month of July. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

June 7, 2021 Board Meeting

9 Jun
MHS graduates Ruth Tha, left, and Diana Espinoza, right, discuss their experiences earning both a high school diploma and a college degree this spring. Other Bobcat dual grads this year are Madison Hunter and Klaudia Hernandez.

Class of 2021 dual graduates recognized
Four outstanding Bobcat dual graduates were highlighted at the Monday, June 7 Marshalltown School Board meeting; Diana Espinoza, Klaudia Hernandez, Madison Hunter, and Ruth Tha each earned an associate’s degree from Marshalltown Community College this spring, in addition to their high school diplomas.

Espinoza and Tha shared their experiences in the dual-credit program. Diana Espinoza’s mother, Melissa Espinoza, also spoke highly of MCSD’s dual-credit opportunities; she said the program – which allows students to take college courses at no cost to them – saved money and gave her daughter an edge as she looks to continue her college education.

To learn more about these excellent students and the valuable dual-credit program with MCC, click here!

Lenihan staff show benefits of Computer Science is Elementary programming
Lenihan Intermediate School welcomed Computer Science Is Elementary programming in 2019-20, and staff members gave an overview of the great computer science learning fifth- and sixth-grade students receive at Lenihan.

Computer science curriculum, integration of computer science into other core subject areas, and the District-wide efforts to expand computer science learning were key areas touched upon. Examples of students’ computer science projects were also shared, including a fifth grade student’s digital rendition of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Thirty-five Bobcat graduates earn Seal of Biliteracy
Also recognized Monday were 35 Bobcat graduates who earned a State of Iowa Seal of Biliteracy this year. The Seal signifies that a student displays proficiency in two or more languages by the time they graduate high school.

We are incredibly proud of this year’s Seal of Biliteracy honorees – learning and becoming proficient in a different language takes much study and practice.

The biliterate skill set these students bring with them after high school will help them not only in career paths, but also in connecting with others. Congratulations!

New board member Bonnie Lowry participates in first meeting
Former MHS principal and longtime educator Bonnie Lowry officially took her seat on the Marshalltown School Board at Monday’s meeting. Lowry was appointed to replace former member Niko Aguirre in May, and she said she is excited to continue serving MCSD students.

Modern Woodmen donation to assist MHS Pool Ceiling/Lighting project
One of the many exciting facilities upgrades taking place this year is the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project, and MHS Swimming Coach Mike Loupee graciously accepted a $500 Modern Woodmen of America donation toward LED lighting for the project at Monday’s meeting.

MHS senior and swimmer Stephen Blom presented the donation to his coach during the recognition. We are grateful to the Modern Woodmen for this generous donation!

MHS Swimming Coach Mike Loupee, left, accepts a $500 check from the Modern Woodmen of America on behalf of the District. MHS student and swimmer Stephen Blom, right, presented the check to his coach. The funds will go toward the MHS Pool Ceiling/Lighting Project.

Student’s impressive showing at National French Contest spotlighted
MHS sophomore Denise Montealegre had a successful performance at this year’s Le Grand Concourse (the National French Contest). She placed second statewide in level 2A of the contest. 

MHS French teacher Naomi Musal said she is incredibly proud of Denise and all of the French students who took part in Le Grand Concourse this year. 

MHS French teacher Naomi Musal, right, hands student Denise Montealegre, left, a check she won at this year’s National French Contest. Denise placed second statewide in the contest’s 2A level.

Discussion held on MasteryConnect platform
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant shared information on the MasteryConnect platform with the board on Monday. The program compiles student data to identify gaps in student learning as a result of quarantine due to COVID-19; professional development is also included with the program.

No action was taken regarding MasteryConnect Monday evening, and the board is set to vote on the recommendation at the June 21 board meeting.

Master contract with MEA approved
A master contract between the Marshalltown CSD and the Marshalltown Education Association (MEA) gained board approval. The agreement spans the 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2023-24 school years.

Wage changes for facilities projects allow federal funding access
In order to access federal funding for eligible HVAC improvements at MHS and Anson Elementary, the board voted to approve payment of Davis Bacon Act wages for the projects. That action will allow the use of American Rescue Plan (or ESSER III) funding to support those important projects.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies
First Reading

  • 312.3 (new 303.4) Administrative Personnel – Compensation/Benefits (amended, second reading waived)
  • 405.4 Licensed Employee Continuing Contracts (amended, second reading waived)
  • 701.2 Transfer of Funds (amended, second reading waived)
  • 701.3 Financial Records (amended, second reading waived)
  • 706.2 Payroll Deductions (amended, second reading waived)
  • 803.1 Disposition of Obsolete Equipment (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 312.4 Administrator Evaluation (will come back for a first reading)
  • 312.5 Administrative Personnel-Professional Development (will come back for a first reading)
  • 303.3 (new 303.12) Building Principals an Associates (will come back for a first reading)
  • 303.4-E1 Fringe Benefits-Administrators (will come back for a first reading)
  • 907-R1 District Operations During a Public Health Emergency Regulation (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 908 United States Flag Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 908-R1 United States Flag Procedure for Displaying the Flag and Respect for the Flag (adopted, second reading waived)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“If June, July and August are summer months, then we had our first board meeting of the summer last night. My meeting quote came from author, Harper Lee:

‘Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape.’

It’s been a challenging year for everyone. The board thanks each and every one of you for your hard work and the extra effort that you put forth to make this year a success.

Wishing you a delightful summer away from lesson plans and school challenges. May your summer be filled with happy memories of summers past and the opportunities to make happy memories.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, June 21, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

May 17, 2021 Board Meeting

18 May

MCSD keeps COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place for remainder of school year
The Monday, May 17 Marshalltown School Board meeting featured an update from Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte on COVID-19 mitigation strategies after major announcements by both the Iowa Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control last week.

“I’m recommending that we stay the course,” Dr. Schutte said of current safety measures, including required face masks, desk shields, frequent sanitation, and social distancing wherever possible, among others. “Our kids and our staff have done an unbelievable job of complying and doing what they need to do to keep themselves, their families and each other safe.” 

The announcement came with just 15 days left in the school year; students’ final day of classes is set for Tuesday, June 8.

Dr. Schutte added there are tentative plans to ease some measures after this school year ends, depending on the situation with the pandemic. One potential change may be to make face masks optional for students in grades 7-12 and their families; no longer using desk shields has also been seriously considered. Changes for younger students are harder to predict, as COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been approved for children under 12 years of age.

A reminder of the two student vaccine clinics the District is hosting this week was also shared. The Friday, May 21 clinic will offer vaccines to Bobcat students ages 12 and older. The Saturday, May 22 clinic will take place at the MHS Roundhouse from 8 a.m. to noon; students from Marshalltown, East Marshall, West Marshall,  and Green Mountain-Garwin public schools, as well as St. Francis Catholic School, are welcomed to register!

Follow-up vaccinations for this week’s clinics are being planned, and students who got a vaccine at the Friday, May 14 clinic will get their second dose on Friday, June 4.

Director of Instruction’s service spotlighted in farewell recognition
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson has made several positive impacts since arriving at Marshalltown Schools in 2016; she was recognized Monday evening as she prepares to take up an administrative position at Davenport Community Schools this summer.

“Lisa is one of the most knowledgeable people I know in education,” said Dr. Schutte, who has worked with Dr. Stevenson for more than a decade at MCSD and Bettendorf CSD.

“I want to thank her for the stellar work that she’s done for the District. As much as I hate to see her go from the District, I wish her the best in the new position that she’s undertaking.” 

Dr. Stevenson said she is proud her five years in Marshalltown, especially amid challenges like the 2018 tornado, the 2020 derecho, and the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t think there’s a place in Iowa that’s in a better position to move forward than we are in Marshalltown right now,” she said, adding she has grown close with the Marshalltown community during her time at the District.

Dr. Stevenson’s resignation was approved Monday and will be effective on June 30.

Miller Middle School teacher Lucas Johnson named Pre-AP National Faculty member
Also recognized at the May 17 board meeting was Miller Middle School language arts teacher Lucas Johnson, who was recently named a Pre-AP National Faculty member. 

Pre-AP National Faculty members are College Board-endorsed educators who facilitate professional learning experiences across the United States and around the world. They’re stewards of the College Board’s mission to clear a path for all students to own their future by promoting excellence and equity in education.

MHS students (from left) Haley Reed, Klaudia Hernandez, and Itzary Avalos give their final student school board representatives update as a group Monday, with Hernandez and Avalos set to graduate later this month. All three have done an excellent job as student board representatives this year!

Student School Board Representatives update
Student School Board representative Klaudia Hernandez, Itzary Avalos, and Haley Reed shared an update on the happenings at Marshalltown High School Monday evening. The update carried extra significance – it was the group’s last before seniors Hernandez and Avalos graduate later this month; as a junior, Reed is set to continue with updates through the end of the school year.

“We hope it’s been a good learning experience” Dr. Schutte said. “We want to wish those of you that are graduating well as you go on to the next step of your journey, and we want to encourage Haley to pursue continuing with us for another year.”

Here are the key highlights from Monday’s student school board presentation: 

  • Bobcat Sports:
    • Girls Track & Field: Student-athletes Lily Duff (discus) and the 4×800-meter relay team of Phoebe Hermanson, Micha Blevins, Grace Rasmussen, and Rachel Smith qualified for state this year
    • Boys Track & Field: Student-athletes Deonte Dean (100- and 200-meter dash), Dwight Joar (high-jump and 100-meter hurdles), and the 4×100-meter relay team of Malachi Holmes, Mannie Kparyea, Jaiden Buchanan, and Dean qualified for state this year.
  • NHS recently designed new Bobcat Pride t-shirts which feature descriptions of the wearers’ important roles or activities (i.e. soccer player, musician, teacher)
  • Important senior student dates:
    • Senior Awards Night is Thursday, May 27
    • Finals week for seniors runs from May 25-27
    • The Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 30 at Leonard Cole Field

District moves forward with relocation, sign-on bonus incentives
Two great employee incentives were approved Monday.

One new incentive offers a reimbursement of up to $2,500 toward qualified moving expenses for new certified teaching staff who relocate to the Marshalltown CSD. Such a move must be made within three years for the relocation incentive to be given. 

New teachers hired in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years who have not yet moved into the Marshalltown CSD are also eligible for this relocation incentive through August 1, 2024!

A sign-on bonus of up to $5,000 for new hires or internal transfers to specific, key certified teaching positions was also approved Monday. The sign-on bonus incentive requires a three-year commitment.

Board stamps approval of official Class of 2021 graduates list
The Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony is right around the corner for hundreds of Bobcat students, and the board approved the official list of students set to graduate on May 30 Monday evening.

The list includes a total of 346 soon-to-be Bobcat graduates. For more information on this year’s commencement ceremony, click here!

Personnel agreements gain board approval
Four District employee salary/benefits agreements were approved Monday, including: 

  • Buildings & Grounds tentative agreement: One-year agreement includes step advancement, longevity, and a $0.05 per hour wage increase for each employee. Also added were new grades for skilled trades positions.
  • Secretarial staff benefits: Approved to use five personal illness days for family members under the same conditions as “family illness days,” as cited in Appendix E of the Employee Handbook.
  • Marshalltown Education Association tentative agreement: Three-year agreement includes step and lane advancement, longevity, and an addition of $140 to the base salary schedule.
  • Administrators, Directors, Building Principals, & Other Professionals salaries & benefits: Changes include a 2.03 percent salary increase, as well as the availability of five more family illness days (deducted from personal sick leave), which can be accessed for extenuating circumstances with superintendent or designee’s approval.

2021-22 MLA student handbook given nod
Next school year’s Marshalltown Learning Academy student handbook gained board approval Monday. The updated handbook had previously been presented to the board, as were the 2021-22 preschool, elementary, Lenihan Intermediate School, Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School, and Transportation student handbooks.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies
First Reading

  • 312.1 (new 303.3) Administrative Personnel Employment-Individual Contracts (amended, second reading waived)
  • 403.3-R1 Exposure Control Plan (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 501.3-E2 Attendance Regulations (amended, second reading waived)
  • 707.5 Internal Controls (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 312.3 (new 303.4) Administrative Personnel – Compensation/Benefits (will com back for a first reading)
  • 312.3-E1 (new 303.4-E1) Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors (marked as reviewed) 
  • 312.3-E2 (new 303.4-E2) Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors-Request Form (marked as reviewed)
  • 404.1-R1 (new 404.1-R2) Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics Regulation (marked as reviewed)
  • 405.4 Licensed Employee Continuing Contracts (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.2 Transfer of Funds (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.3 Financial Records (will come back for a first reading)
  • 706.2 Payroll Deductions (will come back for a first reading)
  • 803.1 Disposition of Obsolete Equipment (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“At Monday’s board meeting, the negotiated contracts and salaries for all sub-groups of employees were approved.

This has been a difficult year for negotiations as the district was faced with budget guarantee due to declining enrollment. Because of that fact, our district received a very restrictive amount of new money. That makes it extremely difficult to give significant raises to all of our employees and show them that they are valued and appreciated.

But, negotiations have been completed. We are ready to issue contracts and move forward to a productive new year serving the youth of our community. Thanks to each of you for the time and effort each of you give toward that purpose.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, June 7, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

May 3, 2021 Board Meeting

4 May

Special recognitions given to teachers, school board members
The arrival of May brings with it several celebrations of school leaders and staff who are essential to the success of students.

May is School Board Recognition Month, and the seven members of the Marshalltown School Board were commended by Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte on behalf of the District at the Monday, May 3 regular board meeting.

“Being on the board is a lot more than just attending two board meetings a month,” he said. “There’s a lot of subcommittee work, a lot of meetings and workshops that the board is engaged in.”

Dr. Schutte added the board members have also invested considerable time and energy into developing as leaders.

Also celebrated were the District’s hundreds of dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring teachers. This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and Board President Bea Niblock read a statement from President Joe Biden honoring the teachers of America, all of whom have had to adapt to meet the needs of students during the pandemic this school year.

“May I extend the board’s thanks to our teachers for all they have done this year to keep us afloat during the pandemic and all of the stresses,” said Niblock, herself a retired educator and school administrator. “We do appreciate your work.”

Board announces vacancy, encourages letters of interest to fill seat
The Marshalltown School Board is seeking letters of interest from District community members who would like to take up an important leadership role; board member Niko Aguirre announced his resignation from the board effective this week.

To be considered for appointment to the board, an interested individual must send a letter of interest to Board Secretary Paulette Newbold, 1002 S. 3rd Ave., Marshalltown, IA 50158. Letters of interest will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 14.More information about the process to fill this board vacancy can be found here. For questions, please contact Newbold at (641) 754-1000 or email pnewbold@marshalltown.k12.ia.us

Bobcat success at state Poetry Out Loud contest celebrated
Two Marshalltown High School students gave exceptional performances at this year’s state Poetry Out Loud contest, and their achievements were recognized at Monday’s meeting.

MHS seniors Elijah Thiessen and Olivia Adams-Zmolek won first place and third place, respectively, at the state competition. Thiessen also performed at the national level, where he placed 24th overall and eighth regionally.

“I ended up really enjoying it,” Thiessen said of participating in Poetry Out Loud. “In literature, you have this opportunity to learn things about other people and their experiences … especially when you have to memorize it the way I did for Poetry Out Loud.”

Ben Barker shares a check for $9,806 toward the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project from generous community members Monday

Generous donation goes toward MHS Pool Ceiling & Lighting project
More than four dozen local businesses, families, and individuals banded together to provide the District with a check for $9,806 toward the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project. Community member Ben Barker presented the check on behalf of the generous donors Monday.

“Thank you for letting this project come to life,” Barker, an MHS alum, said. “With the overwhelming support, it wasn’t really all that difficult to raise the funds.”

MHS Agriculture students (from left) Drew Carson, Kaylee Tyda, and Kyran Stanfield join Agriculture program instructor Tara Leytham (right) for a presentation at the May 3 board meeting.

MHS Agriculture program highlighted
Several Marshalltown High School students have enjoyed an exciting addition to the school’s course offerings this year – the MHS Agriculture program has given students several enriching experiences, from hatching chickens to creating and marketing their own brands of beef jerky. 

MHS Agriculture instructor Tara Leytham brought three students from the program to showcase what they had learned in the past several months.

“My favorite part was the beef jerky project. We got five pounds of beef and we had to cut it and marinate it and come up with the recipe in our group,” said MHS senior Kaylee Tyda. “We had to create the packaging for it, the logo for it, who our buyers were going to be, and then we had to actually go out and sell it.”

Fellow Ag students Drew Carson, a senior, and Kyran Stanfield, a freshman, agreed that they enjoyed the beef jerky project. The students also discussed hatching chicks, dissections, DNA extraction, and other key activities from the program.

Leytham said one goal for the MHS Ag program is to start an official Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter for MCSD. She said she hopes to see the program’s enrollment grow in the coming years.

Student School Board Representative Haley Reed, right, and MHS English teacher Jo Frohwein, left, share information on the recent Triangle of Excellence project undertaken by the MHS Mentors in Violence Prevention program.

Student School Board Representatives update
Student School Board Representative Haley Reed shared an update on the happenings at Marshalltown High School Monday evening. Here are the key highlights from the presentation: 

  • Bobcats Sports: 
    – Bobcat Track & Field student-athletes Malachi Holmes, Jaiden Buchanan, Jayzek Lee, and Deonte Dean featured in this year’s Drake Relays. All four ran in the 4×100 relay, and Dean placed 6th in the individual 100-meter sprint.
    – The upcoming schedules for the MHS Girls Track & Field, Girls & Boys Tennis, and Girls & Boys Soccer programs were also shared.
  • Prom: This spring saw the return of Prom after the event was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The students had fun while following important safety measures.
  • Bobcat Bands: A busy, exciting schedule lays ahead for band students, with several events coming up in May. The Band program will host two fundraisers, the Jazz Band Coffee Concert, the Band Awards Banquet, and will perform at the MHS Commencement Ceremony on May 30.
  • Mentors in Violence Prevention: The MVP program, which seeks to mentor freshmen students as they transition into high school, introduced a big project last week. The Triangle of Excellence, a project to build empathy, was presented to freshmen students. The students were given hypothetical scenarios and were asked to identify which portion of the Triangle fits them best, based on how they would react to the scenario.
  • National Honor Society induction: A ceremony was recently held for both the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 National Honor Society inductees

Summer facilities projects, operations sharing agreement discussed
District Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding presented this year’s list of summer facilities projects Monday evening. He said he has been conducting building walk-throughs and receiving input from building administrators regarding future needs.Additionally, the board approved an operations sharing agreement with East Marshall Schools. The agreement will see Goulding assist with EMCSD’s operations for a portion of each week for one year; the arrangement will be revisited at the end of the one-year period to determine next steps.

2021-22 Student Handbooks approved, MLA handbook presented
The board voted to approve several 2021-22 school year student handbooks Monday. The handbooks for the preschool and elementary levels, Lenihan Intermediate School, Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School, and District Transportation were all presented at the April 19 meeting. Additionally, the board heard an update on the 2021-22 Marshalltown Learning Academy student handbook from Principal Eric Goslinga. The MLA handbook will be up for board approval at the next regular meeting.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies
First Reading

  • 905.9 (new 905.2) Smoking and Tobacco Use on School District Facilities (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review

  • 310.4 MCSD Organizational Chart (marked as reviewed)
  • 312.1 Administrative Personnel Employment-Individual Contracts (will come back for a first reading)
  • 403.3-R1 Exposure Control Plan (will come back for a first reading)
  • 501.3-E2 Attendance Regulations (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.1 Depository of Funds (marked as reviewed)
  • 704.5 School Activity Fund (marked as reviewed)
  • 707.5 Internal Controls (will come back for a first reading)
  • 708-R1 Care, Maintenance and Disposal of School District Records (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Monday’s meeting found us celebrating a number of recognitions. Two among those were Teacher Appreciation Week and School Board Recognition Week – 2 groups so appropriate to share a week!

All school board members are elected from their communities and volunteer their time. My fellow board members give of their time to oversee the happenings within the district. Many more hours are given than the time needed for two meetings a month. With pride, I thank my colleagues for the service given to make MCSD a great place for staff and students.

A proclamation by President Biden was shared to kick off Teacher Appreciation Week. This week, and every week, we honor and celebrate the teachers in our district for their dedication and passion for helping students succeed. It is with admiration, appreciation and gratitude that we thank you for your hard work in helping MCSD become the ‘district of choice.’” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, May 17, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

April 19, 2021 Board Meeting

20 Apr
JBS Marshalltown General Manager Todd Carl presents on the Better Futures program.

JBS Marshalltown presents exciting new Better Futures program
JBS Marshalltown General Manager Todd Carl presented on the exciting new Better Futures program from JBS USA and Pilgrim’s at the Monday, April 19 Marshalltown School Board meeting. 

The Better Futures program will provide the companies’ employees – as well as their dependents – with opportunities to pursue tuition-free higher education, including associate’s degrees and trade certificates.

“JBS has been in Marshalltown for 132 years … we view the world from this location,” Carl said. “We’re looking forward to a large number of our employees participating in this program.”

As the largest employer in Marshalltown, JBS employs many MCSD parents and guardians. Because the program’s benefits extend to one dependent per JBS employee, many Bobcat students will have great new opportunities to access a high quality post-secondary education at a significantly lower cost.

“It’s really an unbelievable gift. Thank you,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, adding Marshalltown Schools will continue to work with JBS to ensure as many eligible Bobcat families as possible take advantage of the program.

Dr. Schutte said the Better Futures Program will combine well with other programs which provide post-secondary opportunities to students, such as those offered through Science Bound and the Marshalltown Business-Education Alliance (MBEA).

The Better Futures program is an extension of the JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Hometown Strong initiative, which was announced last year. Strengthening the communities where JBS USA and Pilgrim’s team members live and work is an ongoing priority. Funding for Better Futures is in addition to the initial $50 million for Hometown Strong investments.

Miller Middle School seventh-graders Anessa Morrison, left, and Harper Wilson, right, explain the brand comparison experiment which earned them grand championship honors at this year’s State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa competition.

Two Miller students named State Science and Technology Fair grand champions
Miller Middle School students Anessa Morrison and Harper Wilson gave an exceptional performance at this year’s State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa, where they were named grand champions. 

Miller Extended Learning Program (XLP) teacher Ann Jackson said Anessa and Harper’s accomplishment is a major milestone; they are the first Miller students to win the competition’s grand champion title. The seventh-graders also won first place in the Fair’s engineering, physics and math category.

“We took two brands of markers, an on- and off-brand, and tested to see which one worked best,” Harper said of the duo’s award-winning project. “We used a robot which had 3D printed parts attached to it; we learned how to make the 3D printed parts through a class we took in the XLP program.”

The students explained how they found the on-brand marker to be more than twice as effective as the off-brand marker. They also activated the robot they designed as part of their presentation Monday evening.

As grand champions, Anessa and Harper were nominated to apply for the Broadcom Masters Science Competition, with judging set to take place this summer. On Sept. 1, the top 300 projects will be announced; a total of 30 finalists will then be selected to take part in the national competition in Washington, D.C.

“It’s another example of the great students we have and the great education students can receive at the Marshalltown Community School District,” Dr. Schutte said.

MHS art teacher Kirk Niehouse discusses the proposed new art curriculum being considered for next school year.

New K-12 Art Curriculum presented
A proposed new K-12 art curriculum was presented at Monday’s board meeting. 

Art teachers Maggie Parks and Kirk Niehouse, as well as Curriculum and Professional Development Leader Julie Thede, shared information on the FLEX Curriculum Suite, which offers instructional flexibility, responsiveness to cultural diversity, a focus on college and career readiness, an emphasis on using technology to create and present art, and much more.

The curriculum also comes with professional development materials for teachers, as well as a school success manager to help onboard the new curriculum. The FLEX Curriculum Suite aligns to the Iowa Fine Arts Standards. 

The recommendation shared Monday included supplemental resources and equipment, including digital cameras, poster sets, tablet devices, and more. The recommendation was an information/discussion item, and the board will take a final vote on the new curriculum at a future meeting.

FY2020 audit report marked by positive growth
An overview of the Fiscal Year 2020 financial audit of the Marshalltown CSD was shared at the April 19 board meeting.

“We had no issues – everything was properly stated,” said Hoglan-Hansen audit manager Shawna Bornholdt, CPA, who presented the audit overview. “That’s the best opinion you could possibly get.”

Among the areas of growth noted in the audit report was an improved District solvency ratio, which increased significantly since the previous audit. The FY20 audit report covers the period from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

Student School Board representatives Klaudia Hernandez (left), Haley Reed (center) and Itzary Avalos (right) share exciting news from MHS at the April 19 board meeting.

Student School Board Representatives update
Student School Board representatives Klaudia Hernandez, Haley Reed and Itzary Avalos presented on the latest happenings at Marshalltown High School Monday evening. Highlights include:

  • The Bobcats Track and Field season is off to a great start with several impressive performances. MHS senior Deonté Dean recently posted a state-leading 200m dash time of 21.82 seconds! Additionally, Dean qualified for the Drake Relays in the 100m dash and as part of the 4×100 relay team, along with Malachi Holmes, Jaiden Buchanan, Jayzek Lee and Mannie Kparyea.
  • The Bobcat Boys Soccer team is ranked no. 7 in the state and have started the season strong
  • Kind letters with tips for maintaining mental health were shared through the National Honor Society’s Piece of Mind project at the high school
  • The Bobcats are well-represented at the ongoing National History Day state contest; preliminary round results are expected Thursday, April 22 and final results are expected Friday, April 30.
  • Prom is scheduled for this Saturday, April 24 – the event will include multiple safety measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; see more information here
  • MHS seniors’ final day of school is May 27, with an outdoor graduation ceremony scheduled for May 30
  • The Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program is returning to in-person activities in the freshman homerooms

Contracts issued for MHS Pool Ceiling & Lighting, Franklin bleacher deconstruction projects; Lenihan A/V and intercom upgrade contract approved
More progress was made toward major facilities upgrades and projects at three school buildings Monday. 

The board approved the issuance of a contract with Garling Construction for MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting upgrades. Also approved as the issuance of a contract with LinnCo, Inc. for bleacher deconstruction and paving work at Franklin Elementary.

Additionally, a contract with Tierney Brothers, Inc., for intercom and A/V upgrades at Lenihan Intermediate School was approved Monday.

2021-22 student handbooks presented
Updated student handbooks for the 2021-22 school year were presented Monday evening.

The handbook presentations covered the preschool and elementary levels, as well as Lenihan Intermediate School, Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School, and District Transportation. Marshalltown Learning Academy’s student handbook will be presented in the near future as well.

The board did not take action on the student handbooks presented Monday evening, with a final vote set to take place at an upcoming meeting.

Salary settlements approved for paraeducators, nutrition professionals
The board approved two 1-year employee salary settlement agreements at the April 19 board meeting.

The Paraeducators Master Contract includes agreements on step advancement, longevity, and adding $0.05 per hour to the wage of each employee. The Nutrition Professionals Master Contract also includes step advancement and longevity, as well as an increase of $0.22 per hour to the wage of each employee.

Woodbury Elementary Principal Anel Garza, left, and Anson Elementary Principal Ronnie Manis, right, present the updates made to the Elementary Student Handbook at Monday’s board meeting.

Changes to bus drivers, monitors employee handbook approved
Updated language for the District’s Bus Drivers and Monitors handbook gained board approval Monday. 

The language added to the handbook was derived from applicable sections of the group’s current collective bargaining agreement, as there will not be such an agreement in the upcoming fiscal year.

Communications
Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here.

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here.

Policies
First Reading

  • 305.1 (new 303.11) Administrative Cabinet (amended, second reading waived)
  • 410.1 Substitute Teachers (amended, second reading waived)
  • 706.1 Payroll Periods (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review

  • 310.1 (new 301.1) Administrative/Management Team (marked as reviewed)
  • 310.2 (new 301.2) Administrative Structure (marked as reviewed)
  • 905.9 (new 905.2) Smoking and Tobacco Use on School District Facilities (will come back for a first reading)

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, May, 3 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.