February 5, 2018 board meeting

6 Feb

Rogers Elementary School kindergarten teachers Megan Cutright, right, and Susan Eggleston display some calming techniques with Rogers students at the school board meeting. Rogers has a routine in the morning to get students ready for the day.

School Board member Karina Hernandez read the proclamation for the Week of February 5, 2018, which is “National School Counseling Week.” Thank you to our school counselors!

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.
Included in the personnel items were three more retirements including:
Sharon Baughman- curriculum secretary who has been with the district for 28 years.
Jody Brintnall, business office manager, who has served 25 years in the district.
Cheryl Dunham, ELL teacher at Rogers, has been in the district for 26 years.

“We’re losing some expertise, it will be hard to replace,” said Board President Bea Niblock.


Rogers Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen, teacher librarian Erin Faas and counselor Mark Church are pictured presenting to the board.

Rogers Attendance Center Plan
Rogers Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen, teacher librarian Erin Faas and counselor Mark Church presented the Attendance Center Plan.

Rogers continues to work on school climate to help all students be successful, Jurgensen said.  Faas said they focus on building resilient learners and ways to overcome adverse childhood experiences, among other tactics.

Kindergarten teachers Megan Cutright and Susan Eggleston demonstrated the morning gathering with a group of students. It includes the Rogers pledge, the Pledge of Allegiance, breathing to music and other activities to get students ready for the school day.

Art Club trip
The Marshalltown High School Art Club sought board approval for a trip to Kansas City which is planned for Friday, March 2. The group will visit the Kemper Art Museum, Sheery Leedy Contemporary Art, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center and the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum and return home late at night.
Cost is $65 for students. So far 18 students have signed up but there is room for 46 students.  The board approved the trip. Out of state school trips are required to have board approval.

Preschool Program
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson requested board approval for a change in preschool programming from four half days to five half days for next school year. This is a follow up to her presentation on preschool at the January 16 meeting. Total increase in programming is estimated to cost $19,500. The board approved the changes to the preschool program as presented.

2018-19 School Calendar
The school calendar survey results were presented to the board. The board approved this 2018-19 school calendar, which includes a full week of spring break and added eight full day professional development days, eliminating Wednesday early outs for the 2018-19 school year. There is a possibility that the state legislators will move the mandatory earliest school start date up from August 23 to earlier that week. If that measure is taken, the calendar may be brought back before the board with an earlier start date.

Board Book Study
The board and administrators are reading the book “Teaching with Poverty in Mind” by Eric Jensen. The board and administrators tackled several questions as part of the book study discussion on Chapter 1. The board discussed how information from the book is applicable to our district and how living in poverty affects our students.
The group also discussed what the district can do and is doing to assist those living in poverty.

Grandwood Consortium Program
Matt Cretsinger, Director of Special Services, requested the board approve the application to the School Budget Review Committee in the amount of $3,044.88 for special education administrative costs associated with the Grandwood Consortium program for the 2018-19 school year. The Grandwood program serves students whose needs can’t be meant by our district in the Woodward area. Currently one student from Marshalltown attends the program. The board approved the item.

Board Policies
First reading
502.5-R-new number is 502.1R – Student Dress Code – Cross reference change – Approved and waived second reading.
502.6 – New number is 604.11 –  Temporarily Disabled Students – minor changes- Approved and waived second reading.
502.7- New numbers is 503.4R1-Student Conduct in Extra-Curricular Activities – Few language modifications- Approved and waived second reading
503.4 – Good Conduct Rule (new policy ) IASB policy – Approved as amended and waived second reading.
401.10R- Credit Cards- Revision of policy and changes made- Approved as amended and Waived second reading.
401.7- Employee Travel Compensation- Newly crafted policy combines old 401.7 and 401.11-  Minor of changes approved as presented waived second reading and  deleted old policies 401.7 and 401.11.

Initial review
502.12 new number is 502.7-Smoking, Drinking, Drugs- Marked as reviewed
503.1 – new numbers is 504.1 – Student Government – Added paragraph from IASB policy – To come back before board.
505.5- Interviews of Students by Outside Agencies – old policy deleted
502.9 -Interviews of Students by Law Enforcement and Outside Agencies – To come back
501.13- Students of Legal Age- IASB policy, to come back
502.5 – Student Lockers- New policy from IASB format – To come back from board

The board then went into exempt session for negotiations.

The next regular meeting of the board will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, February 17. The board will also meet from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 8 for an expulsion hearing.


From Board President Bea Niblock
“The board has embarked on a book study of “Teaching with Poverty in Mind,” by Eric Jensen.  We discussed the first chapter at our Monday meeting.

The board, central office administrators, and building administrators present engaged in a rich discussion bringing each person’s perspective to the table.  Many have had years of experience with this segment of our student population and brought personal stories to the discussion to help all understand the nature of poverty and its presence in Marshalltown.

These discussions will give every board member an opportunity to be more knowledgeable regarding what many students live through and the challenges brought to the learning environment.” – Bea Niblock




January 16, 2018 Board Meeting

17 Jan

The school board heard a presentation on the Individual Career Academic Plan in the district. Pictured from left, are Lydia Arevalo, Rachel Meckley, Terri Hungerford and Dee Burt.

Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP)
MHS Counselor Lydia Arevalo, Miller Counselor Rachel Meckley, Curriculum and Professional Development Leader Dee Burt and Iowa Valley’s Terri Hungerford presented this information on the ICAP work being done in the district. Career exploration programs begin as early as preschool in the district and increase as students get older.

ICAP’s  5 essential components include:
1 – Self understanding
2- Career information
3 – Career Exploration activities
4 –  Postsecondary Education
5  – Career and Postsecondary Decision

“We are actively looking to build a college-going culture,” Arevalo said.



MHS English teacher Kathi Hale is congratulated by Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

MHS English teacher Kathi Hale was recognized as a recent recipient of the Golden Apple Award from WHO-TV.  Kathi received a standing ovation from the board.
“I am so grateful for this award,” Hale said.

This list was approved by the boardIncluded in the items were the early retirements of Linda Brintnall, 3rd grade teacher from Rogers Elementary who has served with the district for 37 years and Susan Pollpeter, Title I teacher from Fisher Elementary who has been with the district for 18.5 years.

Other retirements included Kathi Hale, English teacher at MHS (18 years in district) and Pamela Ledford, food service at MHS (15 years in district).

Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz will resign effective March 30.

2018-19 MHS Course Guide
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant presented this document for approval.
Highlights include: Adding 12 point grading scale starting with Class of 2022,
and early dismissal for seniors will not be available beginning with the school year 2019-20 as they encourage more work experience.

Some of the added courses:
– Family and Consumer Science- “Intro to Education class – “It’s our way of growing our own as try to get more teachers here in Marshalltown, especially bilingual teachers,” Wyant said.
– Music department- change bands to symphonic band and wind symphony – not just by grade levels – these will be auditioned bands
– Social studies- Adding world history at freshman level
– Military Science in specialized studies
– Foreign Language- Heritage Spanish for native speakers

The board questioned why there is no weighted GPA for honors classes. Mrs. Wyant said she will convene the grading committee and look at that.

The board approved the 2018-19 school year course of studies.

National Student Clearinghouse Data
Mrs. Wyant  presented this document, which is data provided through National Student Leadership Clearinghouse on MHS graduates and figures on going to, staying in and graduating from college.

Young Bobcats Moving Forward (Preschool update)
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this update on preschool.
There are two main goals:
Goal 1- trying to increase preschool participation – “We want to emphasize that this is an opportunity that is there,” Stevenson said.
This year 76 percent of kindergarten students in Marshalltown Schools have participated in a preschool program.
“Ideally we want even more kids,” Stevenson said.
Several ideas and solutions were discussed to try to increase preschool participation.

Goal 2 – Make sure 80 percent of students are meeting end of the year benchmark in preschool. Stevenson said 80 percent is an “ambitious goal.”
One of the solutions to this goal will be to expand the half day preschool program from four days to five days a week.
The board asked several questions on the status of preschool and the future of preschool.
This item was for information only as Dr. Stevenson expects to come back to the board for approval of changes to preschool at the Feb. 5 board meeting.

2018-19 School Calendar survey
Recent survey results indicated a slight preference (55 percent) by staff to have a full week of spring break next school year.
There was an error in the parent survey – allowing parents to vote more than once. We will resurvey parents to get their feeling on spring break for next year.

Increase in K-6 student book fees for 2018-19 school year.
Dr. Stevenson proposed this increase in student book fees for K-6 students from $40 to $45 for the 2018-19 school year. The board approved the rate as presented after hearing about book fees in surrounding districts.

Food Service Equipment purchases
There is a need to replace aging food service equipment. The board approved $69,470 in equipment purchases which will come out of the food service budget run by Director of Food Service Lynn Large.

E-Rate Funding Request
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented this document.
Items being requested include an Internet service provider, additional wireless access points, redundant firewalls and leased fiber service. The board approved the go ahead to publish RFPs.

Board Policies
First reading

  1. 2-R- number change to 502.8-R- Search and Seizure – Approved waived second reading

502.3 – number change to 502.9 – Interviews of Students by Law Enforcement and Outside Agencies – Approved as amended from changes at previous meeting, waived second reading

502.4 – Student Complaints and Grievances – New policy from Iowa Association of School Boards policy- Adopted  and waived second reading.

502.1 – number change to 503.1-Student Conduct – Changes presented at last meeting- combination of previous policy along with IASB policy- Approved as amended waived second reading

503.1-R1 – Disciplinary Procedures and/or Penalties (Responsibility) –  2 minor changes from last time before board- Approved as amended, waived second reading

502.8-deleted and becomes 503.2- Student Expulsion- Adopted and waived second reading-

502.8-R number changes to 503.2 R – Search and Seizure- Adopted

503.1R2- Student Suspension- Adopted and waived second reading

307- Communication Channels – New policy based on IASB policy- Adopted and waived second reading


Initial review
502.5 R number changes to 502.1R- Student Dress Code- Minor changes- To come back before board

502.6 – to have a new number – Disabled Students- to come back before board

502.7- to change number to 503.4 R1-Student Conduct in Extra-Curricular Activities-  Based on IASB policy – to come back

502.7R – number changed to 503.4 R 2 – Student Conduct in Extra-Curricular Activities- To come back

503.4 – Good Conduct Rules- To come back before

401.10R- Credit Cards – Changes made- to come back

401.7 and  401.11 to combine for 401.17- Employee Travel Compensation- taken from IASB and added own language – New 401.7 to come back before board

The board will next meet in a special board work session at 5 p.m. on Monday, January 22 in the district office conference room. The next regular meeting of the school board will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, February 5 in district offices.

The board then went into a closed session for expulsion hearing-

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Your school board definitely has the best interests of all students at heart.  Last night’s agenda was certainly proof of that.
Agenda items included approving the list of early graduates and approving the course offerings at MHS for the 2018-19 school year to discussion of the goals and changes being considered for the district preschool classrooms.
It’s not often that the board considers such a range in one evening’s agenda, but it was a treat to discuss what’s happening with our youngest students and then our graduating seniors.  Increasing the proficiency of our preschoolers moving to kindergarten will definitely impact our percentage of high school graduates.  Everything in a child’s educational career has a profound impact on everything that follows.
Increasing student achievement is the board’s number one goal!” – Bea Niblock


December 18, 2017 Board Meeting

19 Dec

Lenihan Intermediate School sixth graders spoke to the board about learning language fluency. From left, are Natalie Salas, Elazia Davison, Colten Ricken and Chase Gustafson.

Lenihan Intermediate School presentation

Lenihan Principal Kyle Young and Assistant Principal Liz Jurgensen delivered this presentation to update the board.

“The year has been filled with a lot of new learning,” Young said.

There has been a new focus of trying to get more students connected to the school with one way being the new intramural program. Basketball is the first activity of the intramural program.

“Our goal is to work beyond athletics as we grow this program,” Young said.

Lenihan has also added new leadership opportunities for students to go along with others already established including Ricochet and Teen Outreach Program.  New additions have also been added on the academic side, including ST Math.

“I’ve been really proud of our staff,” Young of putting ST Math into place.

Four Lenihan sixth grade students talked about dimensions of fluency and read poetry examples.


Victoria Johnson

Marshalltown High School senior Victoria Johnson was recognized for being nominated by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst  to be considered for appointment for the United States Military Academy at West Point and by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley to be considered for appointment in the Naval Academy.  Victoria said she wants to study nuclear engineering in the Navy.

For Personnel items approved by the board click here.

Included in the items were two retirements including: Dee Coulter, special education teacher at Miller Middle School who has 29 years of service to the district and Karen Roessler, Title I teacher at Hoglan who has 33 years of service with the district.


Mark Smith

Visit from State Representative Mark Smith
State Representative and Iowa House Minority Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown visited with the board. During the previous meeting, three other legislators visited with the board, Smith was unable to attend then and spoke at the December 18 meeting.

The board presented Smith its priorities. The 2018 legislative session will focus on budget, Smith said. He said the state budget is not in good shape.

The board held a discussion with Smith around various topics including state supplemental aid, SAVE, unfunded mandates, graduation rates, school calendars,

ST Math Update
PK-6 Curriculum Leader Erica Finders and Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this update on ST Math which was implemented this fall in Pre-K through 6.

“Students move through the curriculum at their own pace individually,” Finders said.

Professional Development Delivery Model Calender Survey Update
The district is researching the how professional development is delivered as we develop the 2018-19 calendar. Staff were surveyed for their preference in either keeping the current structure for early dismissals on Wednesday or adding 8 additional full days of professional development.
Director of Communications Andrew Potter presented both staff and parent survey results. Staff in favor of going to full day PD was 54.4 percent while 51 precent of parents also favored this method.
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this pros and cons list of each calendar option. The next step will be to survey staff and parents on whether or not to have a spring break.
This was an information item only as board approval of the calendar will come at a later date.

Application to SBRC
The board approved the Marshalltown Community School District application to the School Budget Review Committee in the amount of $3,020.71 for special education administrative costs associated with River Hills Consortium program for the 2018-19 school year as presented.

Rescinding of Vote on At-Risk Plan
Board member Karina Hernandez sent this letter regarding rescinding her vote on the at-risk plan that was approved by the board at a special meeting on December 11. It was approved by the board

Marshalltown High School Roundhouse Phase II Asbestos Abatement
Director of Buildings and Grounds Chuck Springer presented a bid as asbestos was revealed during the Phase II work.
“We found that have some asbestos containing material on north face of Roundhouse,” Springer said.

The board accepted the bid from Controlled Asbestos, Inc. of Ankeny  for asbestos removal for the Roundhouse Phase 2 Project, at a cost of $13,063.

Board Policies
501.3-E2- Attendance Regulations – One adjustment- on last line referenced an old policy. Approved as amended
502.2 – Search and Seizure- changed number to 502.8- and number changes on cross references- Marked as reviewed.
502.2- E – Search and Seizure Checklist – Number change to 502.8- E- Marked as reviewed.
502.2-R -Search and Seizure- now 502.8R- a number of change in it to mirror IASB policies- To come back before board.
502.3 -Interviews of Students by Law Enforcement and Outside Agencies- Change number to 502.9- title changes, and generally same content with minor wording changes. To come back to board.
502.4 -Physical Restraint (Corporal Punishment) -Change number to 503.5- and title change, from IASB. To come back before board.
502.4-E – Physical Restraint or Physical Confinement Documentation- Change number to 503.5E- Marked as reviewed.
502.5 – Student Appearance –  Change number to 502.1- Change in cross references- Marked as reviewed.
503.1 – Student Conduct- From our policy and IASB policy – (was formerly 502.1)- To come back at next meeting.
503.1R1- Disciplinary Procedures and/or Penalties (Responsibility). Moved from another portion of conduct policy – To come back at next meeting.
502.9 – Gangs- Change number to 502.11 – Marked as reviewed.
502.9-R- Gangs- Number change to to 502.11R. Marked as reviewed.
502.10 – Weapons- Number change to 502.6. Marked as reviewed.
502.11- Violence- Number change – 502.12- Marked as reviewed.
307 – Communication Channels-  New policy – To come back before board
502.4 – Student Complaints and Grievances- To come back before board.
502.8-R-Student Expulsion – Number change to 503.2R. To come back.
503.2- Student Expulsion- Adopting from IASB- New policy, to come back.
503.1-R2- Student Suspension-New policy to come back before board.

NOTE: Next Board Meeting
The next board meeting will be Tuesday, January 16 at 5 p.m. in district offices. This is a move of one day from the original schedule of Monday, January 15 due to the MLK holiday.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The audience at the board meeting and the community members, who listen to the delayed broadcast of board meetings, all received a wonderful gift at Monday’s board meeting! The improved audio and video updates have been completed and were used for the first time.

For years, many have complained about not being able to see or hear what was happening during board meetings. The situation has been remedied. When asked of those sitting in the back of the board room, “Can you hear us?” the answer was a resounding ‘yes!’

May you all have the gift of time and relaxation during the upcoming holiday season. Enjoy your time away from the rigors of the job. Relax and find happiness with your loved ones. No matter how you celebrate the holidays, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Bright Blessings, Happy Hanukkah – Chag Sameach, or Happy Kwanzaa – Heri za!” – Bea Niblock







December 4, 2017 Board Meeting

5 Dec

MHS student displays robot he built and programmed


Marshalltown High School sophomore Keaten Collinson displayed a robot he built and programmed to the school board at the December 4 meeting.

Marshalltown High School sophomore Keaten Collinson presented to the school board a robot he designed, built and programmed.

“He’s really gifted with technology,” said Susan Fritzell, who is Keaten’s Extended Learning Program teacher at MHS.

The robot can be controlled by anyone over the internet. Keaten said he spent a few hundred hours of work on the project both in his Extended Learning Class at MHS and at home.

Keaten will be presenting as part of the district-wide Family Coding Night at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6 at Miller Middle School.

Mrs. Fritzell said she sees great collaboration in her class, especially when it comes to students experimenting with technology.

“It’s really neat that they are teaching each other and encouraging each other,” Fritzell


Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, thanks Sharon Baughman, center and Stacey Mommer for their work on the certified enrollment to receive a Platinum Award.

Recognition- Platinum Award
District Registrar Stacey Mommer and Director of Instruction Administrative Assistant Sharon Baughman received the Platinum Award from the Department of Education for their work on the district’s certified enrollment.

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the two showed significant commitment and effort to achieve this honor.

“This is the top recognition,” Schutte said.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here

Two retirements were shared by Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis.

Larry Kadner – Kadner was a longtime industrial arts teacher before retiring and then coming back two years ago to help fill a need at MHS.

Cindy Wirkler-S he is secretary in Human Resources who has worked for the district for 15 years. A recent Employee of the Quarter award winner, Wirkler’s retirement will be effective at the end of June.

Carpenter Travis James has been named custodial supervisor for the district.


Travis James


Speaking at the board meeting were state legislators, from left Jeff Edler, Dean Fisher and Walt Rogers.

Update from legislators
Three state legislators visited the school board including State Senator Jeff Edler, State Representative Dean Fisher and State Representative Walt Rogers.

The legislators gave an update on the state finances and past and potential legislation. The board and Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented priorities for the upcoming session and also had discussed several matters with the legislators. Budget was one of the items discussed.

“We all know that the budget is a driving issue of what we have to do,” Edler said.  

Fisher  said they expect a tight budget yet again. Rogers, from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, is  chair of House education committee. He said there are no plans to change IPERS.  “It’s a good program we don’t plan on doing anything (with it),” Rogers said.

Dr. Schutte said extending SAVE is one of the priorities for the district due to facility needs.

“In our district we’ve always had a plethora of needs as well as wants,” Schutte said.,

On the topic of state supplemental aid, Board President Bea Niblock said it is very important to get that number from the legislature in a timely manner.  Several other topics were discussed including collective bargaining, school calendars, underfunded mandates and more.  State representative Mark Smith is expected to speak at the December 18 school board meeting.

IASB Director Vote
The board voted for Mary Poulter from the Colfax-Mingo School District as director for District 5 for the Iowa Association of School Boards

Microsoft Open Value Subscription- Agreement for Education.
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented this renewal agreement for approval.The cost to renew this year $28,539. The board approved the agreement after a discussion.

At-Risk Budget
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this budget  as a discussion item. It will come up for a board vote during the special meeting on December 11. This is a follow up to information Dr. Stevenson presented at the last board meeting.

Also presenting was Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz, who presented this document on specific figures.

There is an Increase in the budget of $197,000 from the current year, with a potential property tax rate increase of 20 cents. Bartz said that tax rate figure will have more clarity in the spring as they do the certified budget.

As part of this new budget, there will be an opportunity to expand the summer school offerings in the district.

Board Policies
501.1 R-(number change to 501.3-E2)0 Attendance Regulations- Many changed made were already discussed. One item that needs fixed is a reference to a student grievance policy (503.3) that does not exist. Policy will come back before board.
501.2- Non-Resident Student- Minor change to reflect Iowa code student count date Approved as amended.
501.7- (number changed to 604.8) Foreign Students – Approved as amended waived second reading.

The following six policies have been reviewed already this year. The only changes are numbering changes to reflect IASB numbering. All the following six policies were marked at reviewed.

501.10 (number changed to 501.15) – Open Enrollment- Receiving District
510.10-R (number changed to 501.15R)- Open Enrollment – Receiving District Regulation
501.11 – (number changed to 501.6)- Student Transfers In
501.12- (number changed to 501.7) – Transfers Out of Withdrawals
501.13- (number changed to 501.12)- Pregnant Students
501.16- Homeless Children and Youth

Next meetings
A special board meeting will be held on Monday, December 11 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The meeting will include a presentation by the company RSP  and the at-risk budget will be up for approval.

The next regular full board meeting will be a 5 p.m .on December 18.

The board went into a closed session for a quarterly evaluation of the superintendent.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“State Senator Jeff Edler, Representative Dean Fisher and Representative Walt Rogers (Education Committee Chair) met with the board at last night’s meeting.  Representative Mark Smith was unable to attend, but will join us at the December 18th meeting.

This allowed the board, administration, and members of the audience to hear what the legislators held for their visions for the upcoming legislative session.  It also gave the board the opportunity to share our concerns and hopes for the session as well.  The board brought many ideas to the table, including the timeliness of the state supplemental aid and unfunded (or underfunded) mandates.  Discussion was held around the SAVE statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure and collective bargaining.  Other topics were also broached.

Senator Jeff Edler stayed to hear the discussion of our at-risk budget, later in the board agenda.  That allowed him to hear about budget concerns, staff salaries/wages and the tax asking for the district – all good topics for him to hear.

Take the opportunity to visit with your state legislators.  Their work affects our work.” – Bea Niblock


November 20, 2017 board meeting

21 Nov

Fisher students read their short stories at the board meeting


Fisher Elementary School fourth graders, from left, Lucas Hagen, Quinn Eastman and Emerson Eastman talk to their teacher Julie Preston, right, during a presentation to the school board on November 20. Also pictured is school board member Ben Fletcher.

Fisher Elementary School Presentation
Princpal Mark Lee and Instructional Coach Jennifer August presented this overview of things going on at Fisher.
“It’s been a fantastic whirlwind,” Lee said of his first year at Fisher.
The board was then able to catch a glimpse of what goes on during an author party at the school. Three students each from Mary Pepper’s first grade class and Julie Preston’s fourth grade class read their short stories and talked about each other’s work.

!st Grade

Maximus Leger reads to fellow first graders Celeste Heald, left, and Andrea Cabrera at the board meeting.



Director of Foodservice Lynn Large (left) recognized Kendra Bueghly of Farm Credit Services of America for the company’s recent donation of $5,000 to the backpack program. The program  provides food to take home for 200 kids each week.
“One of our missions is nutrition,” Bueghly said.


Dr. Theron Schutte, left, congratulations Lucas Johnson on his coach of the year award for boys golf.

Marshalltown High School boys golf coach and Miller Middle School teacher Lucas Johnson was recognized as he was named Class 4A coach of the year by the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association. Johnson helped guide the Bobcats to the Class 4A title.
“It’s a nice honor,” Johnson said.

The board itself was also recognized for earning awards for their own learning development from the Iowa Association of School Boards. More on the board honor here.

For personnel items approved by the board click here.

Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis pointed out the four current retirements in the district and gave some information on their work in the district including:

Penny Duer – Current Special Education Instructional Coach who has 31 years of service to district

John Fitzgerald – Current MHS counselor who has 38 years of service to the district.

Bev Fisher- Current Miller Middle School math teacher with 19 years of service.

Mark Chardoulias – Current Lenihan counselor with 25 years of service to the district.

“We we miss the individuals greatly,” said Board President Bea Niblock

At-Risk update
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented preliminary information on the at-risk budget. She will come back at the December 4 board meeting with the budget. The board finance committee will meet on November 27 to present clearer budget figures.

First Quarter report
Dr.  Stevenson and Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger presented this document as an update with data from the first quarter.

While some numbers such as chronic absenteeism were not what the district wanted, there were some other numbers that showed promise, including a 11 percent jump in reading proficiency on the FAST test throughout the elementary level.

Behavior referrals were also discussed. The board had several questions for the two and also would like to see the data on how it stacks up to past years and state averages.
More data is expected to be presented to the board in the future.

The following 4 finance items were resolutions for refinancing of bonds and for the Roundhouse Phase II construction project – All were approved by board

  • Resolution Appointing Paying Agent, Bond Registrar, and Transfer Agent, Approving the Paying Agent, Bond Registrar and Transfer Agent Agreement and Authorizing the Execution of Same.
  • Approval of Tax Exempt Certificate
  • Resolution Authorizing the Terms of Issuance and Providing for and Securing the Payment of School Infrastructure Sales, Services and Use Tax Revenue and Refunding Bonds
  • Resolution Appointing A Successor Paying Agent, Bond Registrar, and Transfer Agent; Approving the Paying Agent, Bond Registrar and Transfer Agent Agreement and Authorizing the Execution of Same –

Franklin Elementary and Miller Middle School Easements
Working with Alliant Energy, this agreement allows the company to take above ground power lines below ground at Franklin and Miller,paid for by Alliant-  Board Approved

Board Policies
501- 1R to become 510.3-E2 – Attendance Regulations. Will come back with changes- being reworked again

First reading
705.9- Death of Student, Staff Member, or Board Director. Added phrase at end. Approved, waived second reading

Initial review
501.1-Resident Students- Recently reviewed- marked as reviewed again
501.2- Non-Resident Students- Change to the date in last paragraph- to October 1. To come back as first reading
501.7- Foreign Students- to change number to 604.8- to mirror IASB policy number – Integrate IASB policy and will be run by legal counsel – Policy to come back before board
501.8-Attendance Records – Marked reviewed.
501.9 -Open Enrollment- Sending District- number changed to 501.14 to reflect IASB number – Marked as amended.
501.9-R- Open Enrollment – Sending District Regulation-  Number changed to 501.14R – Phase III references removed. Accepted as amended.

The next regular school board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on December 4 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“It won’t be long and you’ll soon be off and enjoying some time away from the educational setting.  So, let me share with you the quote that I used at the end of the board meeting yesterday.  

“I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.”   Henry David Thoreau

May you, too, be perpetually thankful!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!” – Bea Niblock


November 6, 2017 Board Meeting

7 Nov

Board learns of personalized learning going on at Miller Middle School 


Miller Middle School student Samya Huerta speaks as part of the school presentation to the school board on November 6. The students talked about a cookbook they are publishing as part of a personalized learning class.

Miller Middle School presentation
This school presentation included students from a personalized learning class at Miller and also featured teacher Lisa LaVelle, Principal Pat Rial and Associate Principal Dave Glenn. The students presented work they are doing to publish a cookbook along with some of the goodies they are working on as part of the book.
The cookbook will feature 169 recipes, many are favorites of the Miller staff. This project is just one of many at Miller where students are learning real-world skills.
“A lot of hands on stuff going on,” Rial said.

For a cookbook order form, click here.


From left, veterans Ross Harris, Chuck Springer and Brian Bart.z

Honoring veterans
Board member Ben Fletcher read the proclamation that honored veterans as Saturday is Veterans Day and three veterans in attendance were recognized including Board member Ross Harris,  Director of Buildings and Grounds Chuck Springer, and Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz.
Other district veterans will also be honored this week by Central Office administrators.


Luke Pedersen and Kassie Wilkins performed a number from the upcoming musical “Cinderella.”

MHS musical sampling
MHS will present the musical “Cinderella” at 7 p.m. on Friday November 10 and Saturday, November 11. Cast members Luke Pedersen and Kassie Wilkins along with vocal director Amy Ose on keyboard presented a number from the show.


District Buildings and Grounds Director Chuck Springer, second from left, recognized the hard work of, from left, Travis James, Todd Goulding and Jennifer Gray.

B&G staff honored
Three Buildings and Grounds staff workers were recognized at the meeting for their help in guiding the department through a leadership change recently. Recognized were Jennifer Gray, Travis James and Todd Goulding.


Marshalltown High School student Nayeli Barajas speaks about the recent Latinx Conference attended by MHS students.

Latinx Conference students recognized
Marshalltown High School students who attended the recent Latinx Conference at the University of Iowa were recognized. A group of them took third place in the history contest while others presented at the conference along with MHS teacher Jocelyn Frohwein.
The group also thanked MHS Principal Jacque Wyant for her support. For more information on the conference, click here.

For personnel items approved by the board click here.
Additions were added to the personnel list including two early retirements from longtime staff members. Special Education Instructional Coach Penny Duer and MHS counselor John Fitzgerald had their early retirement requests approved, effective at the end of the school year.

Iowa STEM Best grant
Marshalltown Learning Academy Principal Eric Goslinga, talked about being a recipient of the STEM Best grant from the state in the amount of $25,000.
“It’s a nice honor for a program of our size,” Goslinga said.
Goslinga said this grant will help MLA increase STEM programming and also will lead to more connections with local businesses, especially as they seek apprenticeship opportunities for students. The board accepted the STEM best grant award.

Title I Chromebooks
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented bids for 131 Acer Spin Chromebooks,with carts and headphones for TItle I program use. The board approved the awarding of the bids to GovConnections in the amount of $58,072.

Refunding of current bond issues- New bond issue to cover Roundhouse Phase II
Presented by Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz. This item combines the refinancing of current bonds with the sale of bonds for the Roundhouse Phase II project.
The refinancing rates came back better than expected and will allow for a savings of just under $300,000 over five years.
The total sale of bonds is $9.9 million with $5.5 million of that going to the Roundhouse Phase II project and the remaining being refinanced to pay off previous bonds.
The board approved the refinancing and new bond issue.

Application to the School Budget Review Committee for 2017 Modified Supplemental Funding for Increasing Enrollment, Open Enrollment Out and Limited English Proficiency Instruction Beyond Five
Since enrollment is up 23.2 students, the state allows the district to recapture spending authority for these students since money is behind on this, noted Brian Bartz. Approved by board.

Board Policies
(Continue renumbering to bring polices in line with Iowa Association of School Board policies)
500.1- change to 500 – – Objectives of Equal Educational Opportunities for Students- Number change, Reordered protective classes and change in equity director, approved, waived second reading
501.1-(changed to 501.3-E1)- Attendance requirements- Minor wording changes approved, waived
501.3-E 2 (Formerly 501.1R)- Attendance Regulations  – Policy to run by county attorney on chronic absenteeism- To come back before board.
501.5 (Formerly 501.3)- Numbering change- change responsibility to superintendent vs. the board in regards to attendance center assignments- Approved, waived seond reading
501.3-Compulsory Attendance – No recommended changes (IASB format)- new policy- Approved
501.8- (Formerly 501.4) -Attendance Records- Adjustment made on primary responsibility for caretaker of records to principals. Approved, waived second reading
501.9 – Student Absences-Excused -New policy – IASB policy – Approved waived second reading
501.10 -Truancy- Unexcused Absences-New Policy – IASB policy-Approved, waived second reading

705.9 -Death of a Student, Staff Members, or Board Director- Change to be brought back- added “which may include purchase of flowers or a plant.”

The following 400 level policies were reviewed and are in alignment with IASB policy numbers. There were all marked as reviewed.
402.2- Child Abuse Reporting
402.2R – Child Abuse Reporting Regulation
402.2-E – Reporting Child Abuse When Suspected by “Caretaker”
402.3- Abuse of Students by School District Employees
402.3E1 – Abuse of Students by School District Employees- Complaint
402.3E2 – Abuse of Students by School District Employees- Investigation
402.4 – Gifts to Employees
402.5 – Public Complaints About Employees
415.5 – Classified Substitutes

The next regular meeting of the school board  is at 5 p.m. on Monday, November 20 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Our board meeting was filled with students and staff making presentations or being recognized for remarkable things.  What a perfect way to remind the board of the real reason that we are sitting at the table when surrounded with the financial and policy decisions that we must deal with at every meeting.

Al Exito students shared their experiences from a recent Latinx Conference.  Cast members performed a number from the upcoming MHS musical, “Cinderella.”  MMS students brought samples for the board to try from their soon-to-be published cookbook.  Staff members who have served our country in the armed forces were recognized.  Employees from Buildings and Grounds who stepped up and took on extra responsibilities during the search for a new department director were recognized.  And, Eric Goslinga shared the receipt of a $25,000 STEM grant awarded to MLA.  What a night!

Remember the musical performances on Friday and Saturday at the MHS/Community Auditorium.  And watch your emails for a chance to purchase a cookbook from MMS.  The samples that we tasted were great!  Great things are happening in the MCSD!” – Bea Niblock  


Hoglan STEM work in spotlight at board meeting

17 Oct

Hoglan Elementary School fourth graders presented on STEM as part of the school’s overall presentation to the school board on October 16. Pictured are students, from left, Angel Chavez, Anthony Chavez, Millie Heitmann and Sydney Kapayou. At right is STEM specialist teacher Alex Jahnke.

Hoglan Elementary School presentation
Hoglan Principal Amy Williams led this presentation. She said Hoglan has 376 students with 46 percent being English Language Learners and 82 percent as free and reduced lunch. A special STEM program presentation was made by STEM Specialist Alex Jahnke and four Hoglan fourth graders.

The Class 4A state golf champion Bobcats were honored at the start of the meeting. The group won the title at Elmwood Country Club in very wet conditions.


State Champion golf coach Lucas Johnson talks about the team’s accomplishments. Pictured, from left, are Mason Reid, Nate Vance, Tate Carlson, Keygan Hansen, Luke Appel, JD Pollard and Cole Davis.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Public Comment
Several current Marshalltown Schools staff members spoke in favor of keeping the voluntary early retirement policy in place for this school year including Dee Coulter from Miller, Karen Roessler from Hoglan, Matthew Nevins from Miller, Brad Weidenaar from MHS and several speaking via video including: Mark Church from Rogers Elementary, Mary Estrada from Woodbury, Jasmine Hazen from Woodbury, Deb Martin from Lenihan, Jane Boehler, retired Anson teacher, and Bob Gilbertson from Miller.

Marshalltown Education Association President Kate Troskey introduced the MEA leadership team and a few members-at-large.


Every Student Succeeds Act


Dr. Lisa Stevenson

Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this state-provided overview of ESSA – which is a replacement for No Child Left Behind and is still awaiting federal approval.
Iowa’s plan is designed to continue to give equity to disadvantaged students

2017-18 Curriculum Overview
Dr. Lisa Stevenson and Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger presented this document, which outlined the curriculum plans. Dr. Stevenson said several teams are meeting to research curricular needs throughout the district. The board had several questions for the Lisa and Matt.

Cell Phones for Preschool Bus Routes
Dr. Lisa Stevenson said there is a need for preschool bus route monitors to have cell phones to be able to call the Language Line and use a translator. The board approved the purchase of three cell phones.

Certified Enrollment Count
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said it appears enrollment will be up somewhere between 23 and 28 students district wide. The numbers are unofficial as the state is still cross checking students. It could take until November when official enrollment figures are released


Voluntary Early Retirement Program
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte recommended to offer the voluntary early retirement incentive package for the 2017-18 school year to retirees eligible.  The package pays insurance cost for 8 years or shorter after retirement depending on when Medicaid starts for the retiree.
“It helps us to be in a better balanced budget situation,” Schutte said.
Extensive discussion was held regarding this policy and how it provides savings for the district and the need for estimates on what the savings are projected.
The board adopted the early retirement policy for this school year by a vote of 4-2.

Supplement to Agreement for Services with Terracon Consultants Inc.
The board approved this supplement to an agreement with Terracon Consultants related to inspection of the work of the subcontractors related to the base of the Roundhouse Phase II project.

Board Policies

Second reading
414.8 -Absence Without Pay- Classified – Approved as amended

First reading
203.1- Formulation, Review and Revision of Policy- Updated review cycle for board policies- Approved as amended.
414.3- Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – The following five policies were updated with Iowa Association of School Board language and updates with the federal family and medical leave language- All were approved and second reading was waived.
414.3 R1-Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Regulation
4.14.3-R2 –Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Definitions
414.-3-E1-Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave Notice to Employees
414.3 – E2- Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Request Form
414.4 -Classified Employee Bereavement Leave- Funerals-  Phrase changes Approved, waived second reading
414.6- Classified Employee Jury Duty – Title change and section changes- approved waive second reading
414.7-Military Service- Approved with changes
414.10-Classified Employees Immediate Family Illness – Different number of family days -Approved waived second reading
414.11-Classified Employees Personal Leave-  Title addition and change of accrued sick leave maximum to 140 days.- Approved
415.1-Drug and Alcohol Testing Program- Changed phone number – Approved as amended
415.1- E1- New Policy- Drug and Alcohol Testing Program Notice to Employees- Exhibit related to policy which is required by law- approved as amended, waived second reading
415.1- E2- Drug and Alcohol Program and Pre-Employment Testing Acknowledgement Form-  New exhibit,  approved as amended, waived second reading
415.4- Classified Staff-Professional Development Leave- Inserted language from IASB- Approved as amended, waived second reading

Initial reading
The MCSD 500 Series order and IASB order are not inline- so number changes are being made to many polices

500- Students Rights and Responsibilities- Marked as reviewed changed to 500.1
501.1-Objectives for Equal Educational Opportunities for Students- Policy number becomes 500- changes to Director of Human Resources and Civil Rights Office address change- to come back for first reading.
501.1- Attendance Requirements and 501.1R – Attendance Regulations- Tabled for further work to be done by administrators.
501.2- Entrance Requirements – Evidence of Age- new number becomes 501.4- Changes in cross references- Marked as reviewed
501.3 – Attendance Center Assignment- New number becomes 501.5, To come back before board with changes
501.3 Compulsory Attendance- New policy- To come back with changes
501.4 – Attendance Records- New number becomes 501.8 – needs to return to board, added language from IASB policy.
501.5- Resident Students- New number  becomes 501.1-Marked as reviewed
501.6 – Non-Resident Students – New number becomes 501.2- Marked as reviewed
501.9 – Student Absences – Excused – New Policy, to come back
501.10 – Truancy – Unexcused Absences- New Policy- To come back

The next regular  board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on November 6 in the district office board room.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“What a busy board meeting we had.  School reports, curriculum reports, certified enrollment, business contracts, cell phones for preschool buses, and board policy updates.  The board seems to have a full agenda these days.

We also had the opportunity to hear from teachers regarding their feelings about the early retirement policy.  It is easy to say that teachers consider this incentive when planning for their retirement.  Dr. Schutte made a presentation which, based on financial considerations, raised questions in some board members’ minds.  Serious discussion centered around the offering of the early retirement program for the 2017-18 school year or not.  When the dust cleared, the board voted 4-2 to offer the incentive program to teachers, administrators and 12-month secretaries for this school year.

Stay tuned!  The board votes each year before October 30th, as to whether the early retirement incentive program will be offered or not.  See you next October!” – Bea Niblock