March 1, 2021 Board Meeting

2 Mar
3A State Champion MHS Boys Bowling team head coach DJ Wilder, assistant coach Dustin Peterson and student-athletes Demitri Ferneau, Xander Pickett, Damon Borton, Aaron Ratte, and Dru Wilder are recognized Monday. Not pictured are team members Tyler Wilson and Dylan Cooper.

State Champion MHS Boys Bowling team celebrated
The newly-crowned Class 3A State Champion MHS Boys Bowling team was recognized at the Monday, March 1 Marshalltown School Board meeting. It was a triumphant return after last year’s impressive runner-up finish at the state level. 

“We peaked at the end of the season like we always want to do,” said MHS Bowling head coach DJ Wilder. “All of them contributed in many different ways to the championship. They all bowled really well, I’m very proud of all of them.” 

Several impressive individual performances helped lead the team to victory last week, including those of 2nd-place overall winner Demitri Ferneau and 5th-place overall winner Damon Borton. Wilder said he is excited to welcome back the entire championship team next school year.

Wilder additionally shared his pride for the MHS Girls Bowling team, which he also coaches. He commended the girls team for an impressive conference win and for breaking a school record high score this season. The future is bright for Bobcats Bowling!

MCSD and Center Associates partnering to provide mental health services, support
The short, often overcast days of late winter and early spring can take a toll on mental health even under “normal” circumstances. With the built-up stress caused by the 2018 tornado, the 2020 derecho and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Marshalltown Schools is continuing to partner with Center Associates to support and provide mental health services to the Bobcat community. 

District Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger shared three exciting ways this partnership is helping Bobcat students, their families, and staff members through this challenging time. 

One such event was last week’s mental health live stream, where Cretsinger and Center Associates mental health experts offered advice and strategies to fight stress and anxiety, as well as address mood disturbances.

Center Associates therapists are also working with MCSD principals to offer support to the hard-working, dedicated employees who deliver education and services to students. Additionally, Cretsinger said the popular “Supporting Children & Families” video series is returning with brand new episodes.

Along with these great supports offered by MCSD and Center Associates, Cretsinger said employees can seek mental health support through the District’s Employee Assistance Program, which covers the cost of a number of appointments with Center Associates and other health organizations. Bobcat students also have many avenues to seek support, from school counselors and building administrators to  outside services.

“Every year during our At-Risk (programming) conversation, the board approves a grant that supports students who struggle to have the money for the co-pay part of going to a  place like Center Associates,” Cretsinger said. “It’s important to us to try and support our families and make sure money is not a barrier.”

Lenihan fifth-grader Jaslene Valdovinos reads her “What the Flag Means to Me” essay

American Flag Essay winners highlighted
Lenihan Intermediate School fifth-graders Maritza Barajas, Jaslene Valdovinos, and Anna Phomvisay won respective first-, second-, and third-place awards in this year’s Fifth Grade American Flag Essay contest, sponsored by the American Legion; their accomplishment was celebrated at Monday’s board meeting. 

Jaslene Valdovinos was on-hand to recite her thoughtful essay about what the American Flag means to her.

“Over the past years, many people have been fighting for justice in this country,” Jaslene said, reciting her essay. “Leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Susan B Anthony fought for justice and rights for everyone in our nation.” 

Congrats to Maritza, Jaslene, and Anna on your well-written essays!

Student Klaudia Hernandez shares State Board of Education Equity Committee update
MHS senior and Student School Board Representative Klaudia Hernandez is one of a handful of students statewide to serve on the State Board of Education Equity Committee this year, and she presented an update on the committee’s work Monday evening. 

Hernandez said one major focus of the committee has been following state legislation, including Senate File 2102, which relates to the Teach Iowa scholarship program.

“We’ve been trying to get teachers of color as priority applicants,” she said of the Teach Iowa program. 

Hernandez is also taking a closer look at the various cultures represented among Bobcat students. She said her goal is to do research on that topic, compile data, and then present her findings to her peers and school staff members.

“I think it’s awesome that you’re sitting on that committee and that Marshalltown has representation there as one of the more diverse districts in the state,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, adding that Hernandez is welcome to present her research on cultural diversity to the board.

MHS senior and Student School Board Representative Klaudia Hernandez discusses the work she is doing on the State Board of Education Equity Committee.

Project to upgrade Lenihan A/V and intercom systems moves forward
The intercom and audio/visual systems at Lenihan Intermediate School are another step closer to a major upgrade after board action Monday.

The proposed work would see the current building intercom system replaced with a new, high-quality system.

“This new system we’re looking to propose and install in the building will get us coverage in all of the classrooms,” said District Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding, adding that classroom video capabilities would be included in the project to support virtual learning.

Dr. Schutte said the goal is to use federal ESSER II dollars to fund the project after the Iowa Department of Education shares guidance for use of that funding. The board tentatively adopted a resolution for the plans, specifications, form of contract, and the estimated total cost of the proposed project. A public hearing on the proposal was also set for 5 p.m. Monday, March 15.

Generous donation by local Walmart recognized
From pencil boxes and folders to notebooks and sanitizer wipes, the local Walmart Supercenter shared thousands of important classroom supplies with Marshalltown Schools last week.

The donation effort was led by store manager Scott Ferguson, who said he knew the donation would support learning and student health. 

Get the full story on this generous donation here!

CIML realignment discussion continues
Important conversations about the future of the Central Iowa Metropolitan League have continued since late last year, and six CIML districts are proposing the formation of a separate conference starting in the 2022-23 school year. 

Under the proposal discussed Monday, Marshalltown Schools would join Ames Community Schools, Fort Dodge Community Schools, Mason City Community Schools, Ottumwa Community Schools, and the five Des Moines Public Schools in leaving the CIML and forming a new, 10-team sports conference. 

Dr. Schutte has helped lead realignment discussions among fellow CIML districts in recent months; he said he fully supports the proposed new conference.

“Many of the districts are looking for an opportunity to have a much more equitable and competitive playing field,” Dr. Schutte said. “We truly believe that every team, no matter who it is within this conference, should be able to week-in and week-out feel like they have a legitimate chance to compete well and to potentially win.”

He added that Marshalltown, along with the other five districts supporting the move, would still be free to schedule out-of-conference competitions with the remaining CIML districts in suburban Des Moines, but would no longer be required to play against several of those larger districts throughout the year. Dr. Schutte also said he has received a lot of positive feedback from Marshalltown community members related to the proposal.

The board did not take action on this item Monday. The proposal is set to be brought before the board for a vote at the March 15 regular meeting. If all six districts’ boards approve of the move, a letter to withdraw from the CIML would be expected to be submitted by April 1.

Two new school buses joining Transportation fleet
The board approved the purchase of two new school buses for transporting student-athletes to and from sporting events Monday evening. Both the 56-passenger bus from School Bus Sales and the 44-passenger bus from Hoglund Bus Co. Inc. are air-conditioned and feature seatbelts.

Student School Board representatives (from left) Klaudia Hernandez, Haley Reed, and Itzary Avalos update the board on upcoming events and activities at Marshalltown High School.

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board representatives Klaudia Hernandez, Itzary Avalos, and Haley Reed shared updates from Marshalltown High School at Monday’s meeting. Here are a few highlights from their presentation: 

  • Upcoming fine arts events include an MHS Solo/Ensemble performance on April 12, the MHS Band Spring Concert on April 25, and a Jazz Band Coffee Concert (grades 6-12) on May 10; the MHS Vocal Concert will take place on May 11, and the All-District Orchestra Concert is set for May 18.
  • Spring is in the air with warmer weather, and excitement is building for the upcoming girls soccer and girls golf seasons. Boys and girls track and field competition has already begun.
  • A winter sports roundup shared the season results for boys and girls basketball, as well as a celebration of the 3A State Champion Bobcat Boys Bowling team.

Networking upgrades approved
Exciting tech upgrades are coming to MCSD with approvals by the board Monday. 

A three-year wide area network agreement with Windstream will provide transport of up to 10 GB of bandwidth, meaning even faster, higher-powered internet access delivered to all MCSD buildings. In addition, the board approved an agreement with Heartland Business Systems to upgrade the District’s wireless equipment, a move which will also ensure continued high-quality and secure internet access at Marshalltown Schools.

Board adopts Budget Guarantee resolution
The board adopted a Budget Guarantee resolution for the 2021-22 fiscal year Monday. District Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold said declining enrollment this school year caused the need to participate in the state Budget Guarantee program. 

The 2.4% increase in state supplemental aid to schools this year was not enough to offset the enrollment decline, Newbold said. The Budget Guarantee program ensures the District receives 101% of this year’s school funding in the upcoming 2021-22 school year.

Important message shared by author Jamie Vollmer
Early each calendar year, Marshalltown Schools and districts across the state plan out their upcoming fiscal year budgets. With that in mind, Monday’s meeting featured a short, timely video from “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” author and public education advocate Jamie Vollmer. 

In the segment, Vollmer outlines the importance of community support for public schools; while most taxpayers do not have children who attend school, he said it is important for all members of the public to support their local school district. 

Vollmer shared several statistics showing the benefits a strong, well-supported school system brings to its community, from lower crime rates to a healthier local economy, and more. Earlier this school year, the board and District administration held a book study on “Schools Cannot Do It Alone,” which included regular discussions about growing community support for public education.

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 – 

  • 301.2 (new 302.2) – Superintendent of Schools – Contract and Contract Non-Renewal (amended, second reading waived)
  • 507.2-E2 – Parental Authorization and Release Form for the Administration of Prescription Medication to Students (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • Old 301.3 Superintendent of Schools – Functions (deleted)
  • Old 301.4 Evaluation of the Superintendent (deleted)
  • 301.4-R (new 302.5-E1) Evaluation of the Superintendent (marked as reviewed)
  • 301.4-E (new 302.5-E1) Formal Superintendent Evaluation Report (marked as reviewed)
  • New 302.4 Superintendent Duties (will come back for a first reading)
  • New 302.5 Superintendent Evaluation (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“A year ago, the CDC declared the Coronavirus pandemic. By now, we are all getting a little weary of all of the things surrounding Covid. The district is well aware of the stresses placed on the staff because of the pandemic. Vaccinations have been offered to all staff and the district EAP program has been widely used. It is important for us to support the ongoing mental health needs of our staff, students, families and community.

Please reach out to others if you need additional support. Our nurses and administrators can help you make the connections needed to help you. And remember, wear your mask properly, social distance and practice good hygiene. We can beat this – together!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, March 15, 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.

Feb. 15, 2021 Board Meeting

16 Feb

Marshalltown Virtual Academy approved for next school year
The Marshalltown CSD is delighted to introduce the Marshalltown Virtual Academy (MVA) for the 2021-22 school year and beyond!

The Marshalltown Virtual Academy recently received Iowa Department of Education approval, and the Marshalltown School Board granted its approval of the exciting new, permanent virtual learning program at the Monday, Feb. 15 regular meeting.

Dr. Stevenson discusses the exciting new Marshalltown Virtual Academy.

“We’re excited … to be able to continue to offer this learn from home option, not only to kids who live in Marshalltown, but kids who may live in other parts of Iowa,” said District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson. 

Students in grades PK-12 from anywhere in Iowa are able to enroll in the Marshalltown Virtual Academy. MVA students will not only receive a flexible, personalized, and enriching educational experience, but they will also be able to fully participate in school sports, fine arts, clubs, and other activities along with their fellow Bobcat students. 

With Monday’s approval, the MVA is now accepting student enrollment applications. Parents and guardians interested in the Marshalltown Virtual Academy are asked to take this brief MVA interest survey. (PLEASE NOTE: students in grades 1-12 who will be new to the Marshalltown CSD in the 2021-22 school year must enroll by March 1)

To learn more about how the Marshalltown Virtual Academy will provide an excellent environment for students to grow and thrive, visit https://www.marshalltown.k12.ia.us/marshalltown-virtual-academy/

Board earns prestigious IASB Team Achievement Award
The Marshalltown School Board is one of just five board teams statewide to earn a 2019-20 Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) Team Achievement Award; that outstanding accomplishment was celebrated at Monday’s meeting.

The 2019-20 Marshalltown School Board members honored include: Board President Bea Niblock, Vice President Sean Heitmann, Mike Miller, Karina Hernandez, Sara Faltys, Jan McGinnis, and former member Bob Untiedt.  

In addition to the Team Achievement Award, Niblock, Heitmann, Hernandez, Faltys, McGinnis, and Untiedt earned Individual Achievement Awards from IASB. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte was also recognized for being one of seven education leaders statewide to earn an Award of Honor from IASB for 2019-20. 

Learn more about these incredible achievements by District leaders here!

Amy Harmsen shares information on a new partnership with the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program

Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program to bring mobile hotspots, learning environment support to MCSD
The Marshalltown CSD is partnering with the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program to support and create innovative learning environments after board action Monday.

Marshalltown Schools is one of only 30 districts nationwide, and one of only two in Iowa, to be selected for the exciting Verizon Innovative Learning Schools initiative.

The program provides free internet access in the form of hotspots to students who qualify for free/reduced lunches and identify as not having high-quality internet access. In addition to free access, the program provides training and classroom technology integration support for school staff. 

District Director of Technology Amy Harmsen said the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program will allow MCSD to continue providing internet access to students for the foreseeable future.

Bid approved for major MHS, Anson air-conditioning projects
Projects for new and upgraded air conditioning at Marshalltown High School and Anson Elementary School took another big step forward Monday. The board approved a bid from Garling Construction, Inc. for the work, and project costs are set to be much lower than originally expected. 

The bid to complete the upgrades at MHS and Anson, along with four additional alternates, was approved at $5,253,000. That figure is more than $2.5 million less than the initial estimated cost for the project. 

The alternates approved as part of the bid include LED lighting upgrades, pool HVAC/dehumidification work, and classroom flooring replacement work at MHS, as well as south window replacement work at Anson. All project costs will be paid for with bond proceeds from the issuance of School Infrastructure Sales, Services, & Use Tax (SAVE) Revenue bonds.

MHS student’s Know Your Constitution program achievement recognized
MHS sophomore Yessenia Alvarez Zamora was recently named as a Finalist in the Iowa State Bar Association’s Know Your Constitution program. Yessenia’s accomplishment was recognized at Monday’s meeting, and she described her experience in the program. 

“It pushes you to do your own research and be educated on issues … to have your own opinion based on facts,” Yessenia said of the competition, which included a 50-question quiz and an essay focusing on felon voting rights.

Yessenia said she does not plan to pursue a career in law, but found the competition both fun and informative. She said she became interested in the competition by participating in MHS Youth for Awareness activities; she added she would recommend the Know Your Constitution competition to her peers.

Discussion held on potential CIML scheduling realignment
MHS Activities Director Ryan Isgrig shared an update with the board on the schedule realignment discussions happening within the Central Iowa Metropolitan League (CIML), of which MCSD is a member district. 

The realignment has been called for by some districts in the CIML with the intent to ensure fair, healthy competition between and among school sports programs. The current proposal would see the 19 CIML schools move into two conferences, one with 10 schools and the other with nine schools, to provide better competition and equity.

“It would still be the CIML conference, but the 10-team pod would consist of Ames, the five Des Moines public schools, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, and Mason City, as well as Ottumwa,” Isgrig said, adding there would still be opportunities to play against the large suburban schools within the CIML, including Waukee, Ankeny, West Des Moines, and others.

He said such a change “would be a step in the right direction” for Marshalltown Schools. 

Discussions among CIML school districts and leaders are ongoing, and other proposals could still be made before a final plan is approved within the League. If changes are approved, they would be set to take effect in the 2022-23 school year.

The Marshalltown School Board did not take action on this topic at Monday’s meeting; the item was for information and discussion only.

Revised COVID-19 Pandemic Response policy adopted
Updates to the District’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response supplemental policy were adopted by the board Monday. The revised language reflects the extension of emergency paid sick leave for staff through March 31, 2021, despite the end of federal support for such leave at the end of 2020. 

The document also includes the District’s multiple safety measure requirements to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Board adopts resolution on state SF 159 legislation
A resolution opposing a state legislative bill was adopted at Monday’s meeting. The bill referenced in the resolution is Senate File 159 – Scholarship Funds, Vouchers, Education Savings Accounts and Expanded Tax Credits.

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 – 

  • 403.3-E1 Hepatitis B Vaccine Information and Record (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 501.4 Entrance Requirements-Evidence of Age (amended, second reading waived)
  • 502.8 Search and Seizure (amended, second reading waived)
  • 502.8E1 (new 502.8-E1) Search and Seizure Checklist (amended, second reading waived)
  • 507.2-E1 Authorization Asthma or Airway-Constricting Disease Medication or Epinephrine Auto Injector Self-Administration Consent Form (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 603.1 Basic Instruction Program (amended, second reading waived)
  • 604.6 Instruction at a Post-Secondary Education Institution (amended, second reading waived)
  • 605.4-R (new 505.5) Graduation Requirements (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 301.2 (new 302.2) Superintendent of Schools-Contract and Contract Non-Renewal (will come back for a first reading)
  • 302.2 (new 301.1) Associates to the Superintendent-Qualifications (marked as reviewed)
  • 507.2-E2 Parental Authorization and Release Form for the Administration of Prescription Medication to Students (will come back for a first reading)

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, March 1, 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.

Feb. 1, 2021 Board Meeting

3 Feb

School year calendar approved for 2021-22
The Marshalltown School Board approved the 2021-22 school year calendar at Monday’s regular meeting. Here are a few key highlights from next school year’s calendar: 

  • First day of school: Aug. 24, 2021
  • Last day of school: June 1, 2022 (barring potential inclement weather days)
  • Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 24-26, 2021
  • Winter Break: Dec. 23, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022
  • Spring Break: March 14-18, 2022
    (aligned with state regent universities & Marshalltown Community College) 

“[The calendar] incorporates 190 teacher contract days, 177 of which are student contact days,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. “We’ve got 11 teacher professional development and/or work days built in.” 

The 2021-22 school calendar is available to view now on the MCSD website.

Resolutions adopted for A/C projects at MHS, Anson Elementary
Marshalltown High School and Anson Elementary School are set for major upgrades after the board adopted plans, specifications, and forms of contract for projects at each building Monday evening. 

The main focus of both projects will be the buildings’ air heating and cooling systems. Additional work to be done as part of the projects includes window improvements at Anson and upgraded LED light fixtures at MHS, among other items.

The board also adopted a resolution for $10 million in school infrastructure, sales, services, and use tax revenue bonds in order to finance the important projects at MHS and Anson. Public hearings on the both projects and on the bond resolution yielded no comments.

District will not move forward with proposed staggered school start/end times
A proposal for staggered school start/end times at the PK-4 and 5-12 grade levels did not gain board approval Monday.

With the removal of hybrid learning for grades 7-12 beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, the District will continue to implement safety measures such as mask wearing, frequent deep clearing and sanitation of school buildings and, as much as possible, social distancing of at least 3-6 feet, among other measures.

AT LEFT: Rogers Elementary third-graders Bennett Thede, right, and Vayda Smith, left, have put some serious miles on the Rogers track as part of the school’s Mileage Club program this school year. AT RIGHT: Rogers P.E. teacher Nicole Boliver discusses the success and benefits of the Mileage Club.

Rogers Elementary Mileage Club program recognized
Rogers Elementary P.E. teacher Nicole Boliver has seen impressive participation in the school’s Mileage Club program, which seeks to get kids outside and active by logging the distance they walk, jog, or run over the course of the school year. 

As of last month, the Rogers students have logged more than 600 combined of miles this school year. 

Two students who have covered a lot of distance on the Rogers track joined Boliver as the program was recognized Monday evening. Third-graders Bennett Thede and Vayda Smith said they’ve enjoyed putting in the miles this year, and look forward to adding even more before the end of the second semester.

Learn more about the incredible Rogers Mileage Club program here!

School counselors’ crucial work spotlighted
This week, Feb. 1-5, is National School Counseling Week. At MCSD, we are blessed with a top-notch team of caring, smart, and supportive school counselors.

Board member Jan McGinnis recited a board proclamation celebrating the important work school counselors do every day. Learn more about how they help guide Bobcat students to success here!

Student School Board Representative update
Student school board representatives Itzary Avalos and Haley Reed shared an update from Marshalltown High School with the board. Their report included: 

  • Highlights from recent events, including the virtual MHS Orchestra Concert and the recognition of MHS Class of 1981 alum and wrestling icon Larry Jackson last month
  • A preview of the upcoming National Honor Society “Piece of Mind” project, which will focus on student mental health in March
  • A roundup of Bobcats basketball, boys swimming, and wrestling events, as well as a look ahead to soccer and girls track and field this spring
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant shares information about the new courses added to the 2021-22 MHS Course Guide.

MHS course guide for next school year approved
The Marshalltown High School Course Guide for the 2021-22 school year got the board’s nod Monday evening, and there will be three new classes offered to MHS students.

The three new classes are AP Art History, Prep for College English, and a new College and Career Readiness seminar. In addition, MHS Principal Jacque Wyant said students in the Fire Science program will have the opportunity to earn an EMT certification next school year thanks to a partnership with the Marshalltown Fire Department. 

Students who earn the EMT certification would be able to apply to join the MFD as a professional firefighter.

Steps taken toward upgrade projects at Lenihan, Franklin Elementary
Two proposed projects are moving forward with the board’s approval Monday evening.

One proposal is for design work outlining an audio/visual and intercom renovation project at Lenihan Intermediate School. The other proposal is for the services related to the demolition of the bleachers on the Franklin Elementary School campus, along with paving work.

The Lenihan A/V and intercom upgrades would be paid for out of ESSER Part 2 funds, while the proposed bleacher demolition and paving project at Franklin would be paid out of PERL funds.

Technology items approved
District staff and members of the Marshalltown community will join forces as part of the new Technology Advisory Committee approved Monday. The committee, made up of 17 members, will advise the MCSD Technology and Curriculum departments on the use of technology by students and staff.

The District Technology Department also gained approval to seek bids for wireless networking equipment. Director of Technology Amy Harmsen said the federal e-Rate program will help cover a significant amount of the cost for the equipment. 

Additionally, the board accepted a bid for Acer Chromebooks and related equipment for students in grades 2, 5, and 10. A bid was also accepted for PC laptop computers to replace teachers’ current desktop workstations. Both the Chromebooks and the laptops were purchased as part of the District’s normal technology replacement cycle. 

Harmsen said the PC laptops will allow teachers more mobility and convenience compared to their current desktop workstations. She said the Chromebooks teachers currently have will not be replaced by and will still be available for use.

Special education overview presented
Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger and Central Rivers Area Education Agency Executive Director of Special Education Amy Knupp shared an overview of Chapter 103 of the state’s administrative rules.

Cretsinger said MCSD staff have completed updated training based on Chapter 103, and the board recently approved several updated policies to align with the regulations within the chapter.

MHS student set for early graduation
MHS senior Skye Johnson will graduate early this school year after board approval. She will join several other Bobcat high schoolers who have successfully worked toward early graduation.

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 – 

  • 204.8 (new 210.7) Rules of Order (amended, second reading waived)
  • 205.1 (new 216.3) Compensation for Expenses (amended, second reading waived)
  • New 210-7-R1 Rules of Order Regulation (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 312.3-E1Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors (amended, second reading waived)
  • 409.2 Employee Leaves of Absence (amended, second reading waived)
  • 507.2 Administration of Medication to Students (amended, second reading waived) 
  • 507.2-R Administration of Medication to Students (deleted)
  • New 604.10 Online Courses (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 205.3 Board of Directors and Elected Officials (marked as reviewed)
  • 403.3-E1 Hepatitis B Vaccine Information and Record (will come back for a first reading)
  • 507.2-E1 Authorization Asthma or Airway Constricting Disease Medication or Epinephrine Auto Injector Self-Administration Consent Form (will come back for a first reading)
  • 507.2-E2 Parental Authorization and Release Form for the Administration of Medication to Students (will come back for a first reading)
  • 501.3 Compulsory Attendance (marked as reviewed)
  • 501.4 Entrance Requirements-Evidence of Age (will come back for a first reading)
  • 502.8 Search and Seizure (will come back for a first reading)
  • 502.8-E1 (new 502.8-E1) Search and Seizure Checklist (will come back for a first reading)
  • 603.1 Basic Instruction Program (will come back for a first reading)
  • 605.4-R (new 505.5) Graduation Requirements (will come back for a first reading)
  • 604.6 Instruction at a Post-Secondary Education Institution (will come back for a first reading)

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, 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.

Jan. 19, 2021 Board Meeting

20 Jan
Woodbury Elementary third-grader Theo Lewis, right, discusses his research on aviation this semester. Extended Learning Program teacher Nicole Holman Lankelma, left, praised Theo for following his interest in aviation as part of his education.

Woodbury third-grader recognized for research on aviation
Woodbury third-grader Theo Lewis has a passion for all things airplane-related, and he used that intense interest to fuel research projects on aviation this semester. Theo was recognized Monday for his research efforts, which included interviews with professional pilots. 

Get the full story on Theo’s research and learning about aviation here!

Step taken toward Marshalltown Virtual Academy creation
The coronavirus pandemic has caused many changes to how education is delivered to students nationwide. At Marshalltown Schools, students have had the option to learn in a fully virtual setting this semester, and now the District is working to create a permanent virtual learning option – the Marshalltown Virtual Academy (MVA)

The Marshalltown School Board approved the District to apply for the creation of the Marshalltown Virtual Academy with the Iowa Department of Education at Monday’s meeting. District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson said now is the right time to build a virtual learning option for students. 

“We did want to be prepared, because we had over 25 percent of our students who chose that option this year,” she said. 

Marshalltown Learning Academy Principal Eric Goslinga said the Marshalltown Virtual Academy would benefit many Bobcat students at the secondary level. 

“We’ve had a number of students and families who have found this to be a highly desirable way to learn,” he said of virtual learning. “It opens a lot of time in the schedule for work-based learning experiences.” 

Dr. Stevenson said virtual academy students would be able to participate in extracurricular activities, and they would take assessments and receive report cards just like their in-person peers.

2021-22 school year calendar proposal presented
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented a proposed 2021-22 school year calendar for board consideration Monday. No action was taken on calendar approval as the item was for information and discussion only. 

Here are a few key takeaways from the proposed calendar (please note: this is a proposal only, and calendar details may change prior to final board approval): 

  • The proposed school year start date is Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021
  • Thanksgiving Break would be Nov. 24-26, 2021
  • Winter Break would be Dec. 23-31, 2021
  • Spring Break would be March 14-18, 2022
  • The proposed last day of school is Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Public hearings set for MHS, Anson Elementary air conditioning projects
Public hearings were set for two exciting improvement projects at Marshalltown High School and Anson Elementary School at Monday’s meeting. Both projects will involve the installation of new air conditioning units to provide a comfortable learning environment for students, among other upgrades. 

The public hearings on the plans, specifications and form of contract for each project are scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1. Please contact Board Secretary Paulette Newbold for questions about sharing comments during the public hearings: pnewbold@marshalltown.k12.ia.us

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board Representative Klaudia Hernandez shared an update from Marshalltown High School Monday evening. Key items highlighted in the presentation included: 

  • A visit from U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley earlier this month, where MHS government students asked several thoughtful questions about lawmaking and the federal government.
  • The MHS Holiday Concert, which was held on Jan. 17 after being rescheduled from December. The concert was a success, and audience members were able to view a live stream of the performance. 
  • It’s finals week at MHS; the second semester begins Tuesday, Jan. 26.
Student School Board Representative Klaudia Hernandez shares an update from MHS at Monday’s board meeting.

Communications/Marketing audit approved
The board approved a communications audit to be performed by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) at Monday’s meeting. The audit process will support the District by gaining feedback from the school community in several key communications and marketing areas. 

Special emergency paid sick leave will be provided through March 31
MCSD employees will continue to be provided special emergency sick leave in accordance with the federal Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) after the adoption of a board resolution Monday. 

The resolution extends the provision of up to 10 days of special paid sick leave related to COVID-19 through March 31; those sick days had previously officially expired on Dec. 31, 2020. The board’s action does not add more special sick leave days beyond the 10 days outlined in the FFCRA, but extends the timeline in which those days may be used by three months.

MLA student approved for early graduation
Marshalltown Learning Academy student Kristi Strickland was approved for early graduation. She joins several fellow Bobcat high school students in being approved to graduate early this 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 – 

  • 204.5 – Organizational Meeting (deleted)
  • 200.1-R1 – Organizational Meeting Procedures (amended, second reading waived)
  • 210.1 – Annual Meeting (amended, second reading waived)
  • 507.8 – Special Health Services (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 
Will come back for a first reading 

  • 204.8 (new 210.7) – Rules of Order
  • 210-7-R1 – Rules of Order Regulation 
  • 205.1 (new 216.3) – Compensation for Expenses
  • 604.10 – Online Courses 
  • 312.3-E1 – Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors
  • 409.2 – Employee Leaves of Absence 
  • 507.2 – Administration of Medication to Students

Adopted, second reading waived

  • 503.6 – Physical Restraint and Seclusion for Students 
  • 503.6-R1 – Use of Physical Restraint and Seclusion with Students 
  • 503.6-E1 – Use of Physical Restraint and/or Seclusion Documentation Form 
  • 503.6-E2 – Debriefing Letter to Guardian of Student Involved in an Occurrence where Physical Restraint and/or Seclusion was Used 
  • 503.6-E3 – Debriefing Meeting Document

Amended, second reading waived

  • 503.1 – Student Conduct
  • 503.1-R1 – Disciplinary Procedures and/or Penalties (Responsibility) 
  • 503.5 – Physical Restraint (Corporal Punishment) 

Deleted

  • 507.2-R – Administration of Medication to Students

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, 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

Dec. 21, 2020 Board Meeting

22 Dec

Second semester Return to Learn plan approved
Marshalltown Schools will stay the course with current learning model options through the end of the third quarter after board action Monday evening.

Specifically, students in grades 7-12 will continue to learn in a hybrid model, which includes block scheduling with alternating on-site and remote learning; students in grades PK-6 will continue with fully in-person learning. All families were given a fully virtual learning option when second semester preferences were collected in November. 

One major change planned at the PK-6 level is that Edgenuity will no longer be used to provide virtual learning; instead, Google Classroom and Google Meet will be used to deliver virtual learning.

“I would anticipate we will be back to the board sometime in March to talk about where we’re at,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. 

The District’s recommendation to continue with the current learning models was made with student and staff safety in mind. Dr. Schutte acknowledged differences of opinion within the community on the topic of learning during the pandemic, adding the District’s Return to Learn plan was designed to balance student and staff safety with student achievement during unprecedented times.

Also continuing next semester are dozens of District safety measures, which were put in place to prevent disease spread in school buildings. Those measures include social distancing rules, a face mask requirement, frequent deep cleaning and sanitation, and widely available hand sanitizer, among many others. 

MHS seniors discuss upcoming work experience at Iowa Capitol
Monday, Jan. 11 will be a big day for MHS seniors Abbey Welden and Mary Kate Gruening – both will begin their work as legislative Pages at the Iowa Capitol Building in Des Moines. 

Welden and Gruening were recognized by the board Monday, and they shared their motivation to become Pages. The position will see the students assist state lawmakers and policy leaders during the upcoming Iowa Legislative Session. 

For more on these exceptional Bobcat students and their upcoming work experience in politics and government, click here

Extended Learning Program provides quality education for gifted students
Meeting all Bobcat students’ educational needs is one of the core goals of Marshalltown Schools, and the Extended Learning Program (XLP) plays a major role in meeting that goal. 

A dedicated team of XLP teachers shared an overview of the program Monday, highlighting the history and importance of XLP instruction. 

“The needs of our gifted and talented students are not always met by the regular curriculum,” said XLP teacher Vanessa Engel, who serves Lenihan Intermediate School and Marshalltown Learning Academy students. “The XLP program helps high-ability students meet their academic potential.” 

Susan Fritzell has taught gifted Bobcat students for two decades and said there have been exciting changes recently, one of which involves how high-ability students are identified. The Cognitive Ability Test (CogAT) is used alongside a student’s ISASP score to determine if the XLP program is the right fit. 

Once identified, XLP students are given a Personalized Education Plan (PEP) and work with a curriculum built to meet their learning needs. Students in the program also have access to academic competitions, small group enrichment, independent studies and projects, mentorships, and more. 

The XLP teachers emphasized the importance of continuing to adjust the program to meet the needs of gifted Bobcat students. 

Training in co-teaching approved for 27 District staff members
With board approval Monday, more than two dozen general education teachers will be trained in the area of co-teaching. In a co-teaching system, general education teachers work closely with English as a second language (ESL or ELL) and special education teachers to meet the needs of students.

The training will touch on how these instructor teams can plan, teach, and assess students with special needs and students who are learning English. 

“The District has had a handful of people trained in this in the past … we needed to re-create more of a system-level thinking of how can we make this a priority,” said Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson. “We’re really excited to be able to have an evidence-based strategy that our teachers have been asking for training and support in.” 

2021-22 At-Risk budget set
The District’s At-Risk budget for next school year has been approved, with the action coming after previous presentations by District leadership. The At-Risk budget supports drop-out prevention and the summer Bobcat University program, among many other important programs. 

Director Business Operations Paulette Newbold said the 2021-22 At-Risk will increase only slightly from the current year’s budget, meaning a minimal impact on the property tax rate. Despite no new programming being added to next year’s At-Risk budget, Dr. Stevenson said the program’s offerings have grown significantly in the past five years. She said the approved budget will continue to serve and benefit Bobcat students. 

Proposal shared for District communications/marketing audit
Communications Director Adam Sodders shared information on an anticipated District communications/marketing audit for the board’s consideration.

The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) communications audit would center on gathering family, staff, and community stakeholder feedback to continue improving District communications. No action was taken on this item at Monday’s meeting; an official recommendation and vote on the communications audit is planned for the Tuesday, Jan. 19 regular meeting. 

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board Representative Haley Reed delivered an update from Marshalltown High School. Her presentation featured the MHS gingerbread house contest, which concluded on Dec. 14, as well as a look at MHS basketball and swimming. 

Eight students approved for early graduation
The board approved eight Bobcat students – six seniors and two juniors – for early graduation Monday. All eight students worked hard to meet the District’s graduation requirements prior to the end of the school year. 

Among the early graduates are seniors Godgive Gbala, Mary Kate Gruening, Alysha Ortega, Abbey Welden, Hector Yanez, and Kordell Cripps. The junior students set to graduate early are Austin Christen and Kadence Hartwell. Congratulations to all! 

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 – 

  • 204.1 (new 210.2) – Regular Meeting (amended, second reading waived)
  • 102 – Equal Educational Opportunity (amended, second reading waived)
  • 603.2 – Summer School Instruction (amended, second reading waived)
  • 603.3 – Special Education (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 204.3 (new 212) – Closed Sessions (marked as reviewed)
  • 204.5 – Organizational Meeting (will come back for a first reading)
  • 200.1-R1 – Organizational Meeting Procedures (will come back for a first reading)
  • 210.1 – Annual Meeting (will come back for a first reading)
  • 507.8 – Special Health Services (will come back for a first reading)
  • 607.2 – Student Health Services (marked as reviewed)
  • 605.6 – Internet-Appropriate and Safe Use (marked as reviewed)
  • 701.2 – Transfer of Funds (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Winter Break is upon us. Wishing each of you a memorable winter holiday – whichever of them you choose to celebrate. May all of your holiday hopes and dreams become a reality. Hoping your time away from planning, checking papers and screen time is restful and relaxing. Best wishes for a new year of health and happiness!” – Bea Niblock

Board President’s quote shared at the Dec. 21 meeting: 
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child at Christmas time.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021; the meeting will take place on a Tuesday due to the MLK Jr. holiday on Monday, Jan. 18. The meeting will be available to watch via YouTube live stream. 
NOTE: The Jan. 19 meeting will be the only regular board meeting in the month of January.

Dec. 7, 2020 Board Meeting

8 Dec
Nate McCulley, left, discusses the donation of hand tools to the MHS construction program taught by Raul Arevalo, right.

Local company donates tools to MHS construction program
Marshalltown High School industrial arts teacher Raul Arevalo accepted a generous donation of hand tools from Marshalltown Co. at Monday’s meeting. Company Director of Product Sales Nate McCulley said the MHS construction program prepares Bobcat students interested in the construction industry for local career opportunities. 

“We ’re just grateful for these types of programs in our community and we’re glad we can help be a part of this,” McCulley said. 

Arevalo said the tools will play a crucial role in the construction program curriculum. 

“We can have the students learn skills that will really take them a long way in finding a career,” he said. 

Return to Learn update and second semester plans presented
The Marshalltown School Board heard an update on the District’s Return to Learn instruction at Monday’s meeting; parent and guardian learning model preference data for the second semester was also shared.

So far, Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson said most District parents and guardians – about 75 percent – have shared which learning model they prefer for their children.

Stevenson said school staff members have been communicating with families regarding the second semester learning model options, including discussions about which model may best fit each student. The learning model data shared Monday will continue to change as more parents and guardians share their preferences with the District. 

In addition to the second semester preferences data, Miller Middle School co-principals Dave Glenn and Kristyn Kell described the measures being taken to keep fully virtual students engaged in learning, with one example being the new Saturday school beginning Dec. 12.

The middle school administrators said they hope the Saturday school program will be able to expand to include more students who could benefit from increased academic support. 

Marshalltown High School Principal Jacque Wyant said virtual students in need of more academic support have Saturday school as an option this week; support is also offered through the school’s Pier program and Academic Support Center. 

The board will receive another Return to Learn update at the Dec. 21 regular meeting. 

Preliminary designs and cost estimates for MHS, Anson renovation projects approved
Another important step in the upcoming renovation projects at Marshalltown High School and Anson Elementary school was taken Monday. The board approved preliminary designs and cost estimates for the work, which will include the installation of air conditioning at MHS and a new HVAC system at Anson, among other improvements. 

With Monday’s action, construction documents will be reviewed ahead of an expected public hearing for adoption of plans, specifications, and form of contract for the project in January of 2021. 

State Rep.-Elect Sue Cahill, left, and State Sen. Jeff Edler, right, discuss legislative priorities with the Marshalltown School Board.

State lawmakers discuss upcoming legislative session
State Sen. Jeff Edler and state Rep.-Elect Sue Cahill sat down with the school board to discuss goals for the upcoming legislative session.

Edler, who will begin his second term in the Iowa Senate in January, said he has worked to address several key items for K-12 public schools in the last four years, including improving student mental health services, the introduction of the Seal of Biliteracy award, and more. 

Cahill, a veteran educator at Marshalltown Schools, will bring her decades of experience in public education with her to the Iowa House. She said she looks forward to supporting students’ needs as a lawmaker. 

Edler said it is too early to predict what potential per-pupil state funding increase there could be for the 2021-22 school year; he said he will work to ensure the amount of state supplemental aid to schools is decided as early as possible to help school districts plan their budgets for the next fiscal year. 

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte pointed to several key items the legislature could address in the coming session, including continued support for mental health services, increased access to high-quality broadband internet, and incentives to boost interest in the teaching profession. 

Dr. Schutte also said one-time funding to support students who have fallen behind academically during the pandemic would be a big help for schools. 

The 2021 state legislative session will begin Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

All-State music honorees (from left) Elijah Thiessen, Taylor Hoffman, and Rebekah Stone discussed their great accomplishment at Monday’s board meeting.

All-State music honorees recognized
The Bobcats are well represented in this year’s All-State music ensembles, with six talented MHS students earning the distinction. The All-State honorees were recognized at Monday’s board meeting.

Only 1.7% of all high school musicians in Iowa earn an All-State music accolade each school year. This year’s winners – Olivia Adams-Zmolek, Veronica Herrera, Taylor Hoffman, Aaron Seberger, Elijah Thiessen, and Rebekah Stone – join a large group of Bobcat All-State music honorees. 

Board book study discussion features author Jamie Vollmer
The board and District administration team read the final chapters of Jamie Vollmer’s book “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” ahead of Monday’s meeting, and had the opportunity to welcome the author virtually for a book study discussion. 

Vollmer emphasized the importance of building permission and patience within a school district community. He said it is crucial for schools to communicate not only with students, families, staff, and community stakeholders, but also with those who do not have a child in school.

Vollmer said he has enjoyed working with Dr. Schutte as District leadership read and discussed “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” throughout the fall. 

Student School Board representatives Klaudia Hernandez, left, and Itzary Avalos, right, share an update from MHS

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board representatives Itzary Avalos and Klaudia Hernandez shared an update from Marshalltown High School, including the upcoming gingerbread house making contest on Dec. 14 and information about winter sports

Steps taken on student Chromebook replacements, teacher workstations
The District Technology Department will begin working toward replacing teachers’ current PC desktop computer workstations with portable laptop workstations after board action Monday. Director of Technology Amy Harmsen said the laptops will offer teachers more mobility while continuing to provide the necessary power to complete important work tasks. 

Additionally, the board approved the purchase of second-, fifth- and 10th grade student Chromebooks to replace older models, in accordance with the District’s regular Chromebook replacement cycle. Harmsen said the request to seek bids for the new devices had been scheduled to take place in the spring, but the item was brought to the board early to ensure the Chromebooks could be received in a timely fashion. 

2021-22 At-Risk programming and budget discussed
The District’s proposed At-Risk budget for next school year was an important discussion item at the Dec. 7 meeting. At-Risk programming is designed to serve students in need of academic support and to prevent dropping students from dropping out of school. 

Dr. Stevenson said this year’s At-Risk budget will not include any programming increases, meaning the funding will remain consistent with the current year’s budget. She said the recommendation to not increase program funding is to reduce the budget’s property tax impact; however, she said the At-Risk program has shown great growth in the past several years and will continue to provide necessary services to students throughout the District. 

There was no action taken on the 2020-21 At-Risk budget Monday evening.

Update shared on District contributions to COVID-19 dashboards
Marshalltown Schools has contributed data to two important COVID-19 dashboards, one at the national level and the other at the state level. 

Dr. Schutte said the District began sharing COVID-19 data with a national dashboard through a partnership with the School Superintendents Association (AASA) and Brown University earlier this year. In November, the District began voluntarily contributing data toward the Iowa Department of Education’s dashboard.

In looking at the numbers presented by each dashboard, Dr. Schutte said students show a low rate of infection, while the rate is higher among staff members. He said he remains confident that spread is taking place primarily outside of the schools.

Updates on the dashboard data are planned to be shared as numbers continue to be updated. In addition to the state and national dashboards discussed Monday, the District shares weekly COVID-19 positivity numbers on the MCSD website. 

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 – 

  • 300 – Statement of Guiding Principles for Administration (amended, second reading waived)
  • 301.1 (new 302.1) – Superintendent of Schools – Qualifications and Recruitment (amended, second reading waived)
  • 501.3-E1 – Attendance Requirements (amended, second reading waived)
  • 501.3-E2 – Attendance Regulations (amended, second reading waived)
  • 501.5 – Attendance Center Assignment (amended, second reading waived)
  • 705.2-R1 – Suspension and Debarment of Vendors and Contractors Procedure (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 705.1-R2 – Using Federal Funds in Procurement Contracts (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 204.1 – Regular Meetings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 204.2 – Special Meetings (marked as reviewed)
  • 102 – Equal Educational Opportunity (will come back for a first reading)
  • 603.2 – Summer School Instruction (will come back for a first reading)
  • 603.3 – Special Education (will come back for a first reading)
  • 102.E4 – Complaint Form (marked as reviewed)
  • 501.7 – Transfers Out or Withdrawals (marked as reviewed)
  • 504.2 – Student Organizations (marked as reviewed)
  • 505.6 – Early Graduation (marked as reviewed)
  • 603.10 – Global Education (marked as reviewed)
  • 603.11 – Citizenship (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The board and Central Office administrators finished their book study last night. They have been reading and discussing “Schools Cannot Do It Alone,” written by Jamie Vollmer. Animated and thought-provoking discussions have taken place at each meeting.

Directors and administrators have shared impressions and asked each other questions as we have moved through the content of the book. We have all learned ways to engage the full community in discussions that could change the course of our work in increasing student achievement. 

A video conference with Jamie Vollmer last night culminated our book study.  He spoke directly to our needs as a community and school district. He helped us bring our thoughts full circle and gave us momentum and enthusiasm to do the work we need to do.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. The meeting will be available to watch via YouTube live stream. 

Nov. 16, 2020 Board Meeting

17 Nov
Marshalltown Education Partnership (MEP) Coordinator Ryan Flack discusses the collaboration among MCSD, MCC, and local businesses and organizations to provide post-secondary support to first-generation students.

Marshalltown Education Partnership program highlighted
The Monday, Nov. 16 Marshalltown School Board meeting featured a presentation on the Marshalltown Education Partnership (MEP) program, a collaborative effort with Marshalltown Community College which serves several Bobcat students and graduates. 

“We are a college access program for first-generation students,” said MEP Coordinator Ryan Flack. 

The program begins engaging students in eighth grade. At the high school level, MEP supports students with career and college exploration, advising, academics monitoring, college financial aid process assistance, and by offering the MEP Scholarship. 

“When they get to college, they can utilize the MEP Scholarship here at MCC,” Flack said, adding students who earn the scholarship are supported with academic and career advising, four-year transfer advising, college visits, and more; students who choose to attend a four-year college after high school can also find support within the program.

Students may take multiple post-secondary paths with the MEP Scholarship. More than half graduate from MCC with a transfer degree and go on to a four-year college; many students opt to earn a diploma or certification, and still others choose to enter the workforce after graduating with their associate’s degree.

The MEP program is supported by outstanding community partners, including Emerson, JBS Marshalltown, Lennox, and the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation. For more information on the Marshalltown Education Partnership, click here

Board approves purchase of additional internet hotspots
The board approved the purchase of 70 internet hotspots for the next six months at Monday’s meeting, boosting the District’s overall hotspot inventory. The devices are being used to support virtual learning for Bobcat students without reliable home internet access. 

District Director of Technology Amy Harmsen said the temporary transition to required remote continuous learning has increased the need for District-provided hotspots. 

“We consider it very important that our students have internet access as we’re asking them to do remote work,” she said. 

The Technology Department has worked diligently to provide as much home internet access as possible to Bobcat students who require such support.

MHS Tennis athletes hit a volley on the new Marshalltown Court Complex, which will soon receive an additional tennis backboard thanks to generous donations.

Generous donations go toward additional tennis backboard at Marshalltown Court Complex
Generous donations from local families and businesses were accepted and recognized at Monday’s board meeting. The donations, totaling $3,600, will be put toward the purchase of an additional tennis backboard at the incredible new Marshalltown Court Complex

The donations were received from the Lankelma Family, the Lents Family, Shomo/Madsen Insurance, and Strand’s Flooring and Paint. Thank you all!

Authority to temporarily reduce working hours for some hourly employees approved
The board voted to authorize the superintendent to reduce working hours as necessary for hourly District staff members due to the transition to required remote continuous learning through Tuesday, Nov. 24.

“Arriving at these recommendations has not been easy,” said District Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold. “This is just a temporary work shortage, basically, for which benefits are still offered and maintained.”

The temporary transition to virtual learning came in response to rising coronavirus cases in Marshall County, concerns related to health care resource capacity, and an inability to effectively staff District classrooms and buildings due to employee absenteeism; the transition has meant a significant change in District staffing needs while students are away from school buildings. 

“I believe our District has a responsibility to be fiscally responsible while also being empathetic to our employees’ needs,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. 

All general fund hourly employees are being paid for their normal assigned hours on Thursday, Nov. 12 and Friday, Nov. 13. The District transitioned to remote learning on Nov. 12 for grades PK-6; grades 7-12 moved to remote learning on Nov. 16. 

Currently, the District expects to resume in-person and hybrid classes on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The temporary transition to remote learning will be followed by Thanksgiving Break (Nov. 25-27) and there will be no school on Monday, Nov. 30 due to staff professional development.

District voluntary early retirement incentive not to be offered this school year
The MCSD voluntary early retirement incentive program will not be offered this school year after a board decision Monday. Newbold explained why it was recommended not to offer the incentive this year. 

“This is a very unique year, and although we came into the year, in terms of year-end, in a pretty good fiscal position, we have a lot of concerns … relative to what the future holds, particularly as it relates to our tax rate,” she said. 

The voluntary early retirement incentive is funded through property taxes, Newbold said. Due to the District’s need to address the special education deficit and participate in the state budget guarantee program next school year – both of which are also funded through property taxes – she said it was necessary not to offer the early retirement incentive.

“As we do every year, we would revisit [the voluntary early retirement incentive program] in the fall of 2021 to determine if we want to offer it for the 2021-22 school year,” Newbold said.

Presentation shared on school transportation communication tool
A useful new communication tool is coming soon to Bobcat families who use District Transportation services. District Director of Transportation Rex Kozak presented an update on the Stopfinder app, which will make it easier for parents and guardians to keep track of their students’ bus route, pick up and drop off times, and bus stop information. 

One major feature of the app is GeoAlert, which will allow parents and guardians to receive a notification when their students’ bus is within a chosen zone. Kozak said parents may choose for the alert to be sent when their child’s bus is a few minutes away. Important District notifications can also be received through the Stopfinder app. 

The app is currently being developed for MCSD. More information is expected to be shared with families who use District Transportation services in the near future.

Niblock, Heitmann to continue in school board leadership roles
Marshalltown School Board President Bea Niblock and Vice President Sean Heitmann will continue to serve in their respective leadership roles after annual board appointments were decided Monday.

In addition, District Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold will continue to serve as the school board secretary for the 2020-21 school year, while Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. will act in the school attorney role.

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board representatives Itzary Avalos, Klaudia Hernandez and Haley Reed shared an update from Marshalltown High School with the board. Among the updates was a change in this year’s National Honor Society (NHS) induction ceremony, which was rescheduled to take place next spring. The ceremony had been set to take place late last week. 

Also discussed was the Girls State Swim Meet hosted at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA last weekend, where the Bobcats improved on their previous best 200-yard medley relay time this season. Hernandez, one of the four Bobcat competitors at the meet, said it was a unique experience as there were no fans in attendance for safety reasons. 

“It was a little different, but the energy was still there,” she said.

Part IV of “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” discussed
Board members and District administrators discussed Part IV of Jaime Vollmer’s book “Schools Cannot Do It Alone,” Monday. In the reading, Vollmer described “The Great Conversation” Districts must have with the larger community in order to have successful, positive, effective change for the benefit of students.

School Budget Review Committee applications approved
Two applications to the state School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) for supplemental aid received board approval at Monday’s meeting. 

One application requests modified allowable growth regarding open enrollment out of the District which was not part of the fall 2020 enrollment count. The other application is being made to support English language learner (ELL) programming beyond five years.

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 Wednesday, click here.

Policies
First Reading – 

  • 203.10 Board Self Evaluation (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 300 Statement of Guiding Principles for Administration (will come back for a first reading)
  • 301.1 (new 302.1)  Superintendent of Schools – Qualifications and Recruitment (will come back for a first reading)
  • 501.3-E1 Attendance Requirements (will come back for a first reading)
  • 501.3-E2 Attendance Regulations (will come back for a first reading)
  • 501.5 Attendance Center Assignment (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.3 Financial Records (IASB Policy Primer) (marked as reviewed)
  • 705.2-R1 Suspension and Debarment of Vendors and Contractors Procedure (IASB Policy Primer) (will come back for a first reading)
  • 705.1-R2 Using Federal Funds in Procurement Contracts (IASB Policy Primer) (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Last night’s board meeting saw the board, once again, complete. With Bob Untiedt’s resignation in October, the board was left to appoint someone to fill that position until the next election in November 2021. That election will see four seats up to be filled.

The board appointed Niko Aguirre to fill that position. Last night’s meeting was his first meeting.  Niko had served on the board once before. It was a comfortable feeling having him back with us at Monday’s meeting. Welcome back, Niko!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. The meeting will be available to watch via YouTube live stream.

Nov. 2, 2020 Board Meeting

3 Nov
Kevin Eipperle of FEH Design discusses the MHS and Anson improvement projects at Monday’s board meeting.

MHS air conditioning, Anson Elementary improvements & tornado safe room projects move forward
Projects to add air conditioning at Marshalltown High School and improve Anson Elementary School classroom spaces will move forward after Marshalltown School Board action at the Monday, Nov. 2 regular meeting. 

The board adopted a resolution supporting the issuance of approximately $10 million School Infrastructure Sales, Services and Use Tax Revenue Bonds for the projects; the board also approved schematic designs for the planned work at Anson and MHS. 

Along with building-wide air conditioning, MHS would see the addition of energy efficient LED lighting, which is expected to lower overall operating costs. Anson Elementary’s HVAC system is set to be upgraded as well, and several walls are planned to be built in classrooms surrounding the school’s media center area, among other improvements.  

Kevin Eipperle of FEH Design gave an overview of both projects Monday, as well as a presentation on the early plans for a proposed tornado safe room at the MHS Sports Complex. The District is pursuing a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant which, if awarded, would fund 85 percent of the cost to construct a tornado safe room. 

The safe room project would not only provide a secure structure in the event of hazardous weather; it would also provide space for team rooms, new restrooms, concessions, a meeting room, training and first aid rooms, and more. Planning work for the safe room will continue as the District seeks the FEMA grant. 

Aguirre approved to fill school board vacancy
Nicolas “Niko” Aguirre was appointed to serve on the school board at Monday’s meeting; he will take up the seat previously held by former board member Bob Untiedt. 
Aguirre, the Human Resources Director at JBS Marshalltown, has previously served on the board.


MHS student’s achievement in National French Contest highlighted
MHS junior Rebekah Stone was presented with a silver medal and prize check she earned with an impressive performance at the National French Contest last spring. She ranked in the top 10 statewide at level 2A and also earned recognition in the national rankings. This year was the first time MCSD students participated in the contest, titled Le Grand Concours

MHS junior Rebekah Stone, left, donned the silver medal she earned at this year’s National French Contest. MHS teacher Naomi Musal, right, gave Stone the medal during board meeting recognitions Monday.

Preliminary 2020-21 certified enrollment data shared
District Director of Finance Paulette Newbold presented the preliminary certified enrollment numbers for the 2020-21 school year, and the data showed a decrease in certified enrollment equal to 86.5 students.

Newbold said that number represents the decrease in certified enrollment as calculated in the state’s education funding formula; the formula includes weighted funding for various student groups.

The decrease in enrollment comes after a challenging several months for many District families. Newbold said unless the state legislature approves a 2.7 percent increase in state supplemental aid to school districts, MCSD will be on the state Budget Guarantee Program in FY 2022 in order to offset the loss of per pupil funding.

The Budget Guarantee Program relies on property tax funding and Newbold said there will be continued conversations regarding the District’s budget for next fiscal year. 

The enrollment presented Monday data also showed that fewer students open enrolled out of the District this school year, continuing a trend seen over the past four years.

MHS Class of 1960 graduate Anita Elmore presents a donation to high school athletics and fine arts

MHS Class of 1960 presents donation for high school athletics and fine arts
Marshalltown High School Activities Director Ryan Isgrig accepted a generous donation from the MHS Class of 1960 alumni at Monday’s board meeting. The donation, totaling $1,1750.73, was presented by Class of 1960 graduate Anita Elmore and will go toward MHS athletics and fine arts.


Board recognizes District’s military veteran employees
Next Wednesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day, and the school board recognized and thanked MCSD’s military veteran employees for their service. 

Sidewalk Safety Murals project update presented
Marshall County Arts and Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson shared an update on the Sidewalk Safety Mural public art project at school buildings across Marshalltown. Several murals have already been put in place at school buildings, with more expected in the coming days and weeks.

The Sidewalk Safety Murals project honors the memory of Franklin Elementary student Christian Maxon and calls for vigilance and caution from pedestrians and drivers in Marshalltown, especially around school buildings. 

Arts and Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson shares an update on the Sidewalk Safety Murals project happening at multiple MCSD school buildings

MCSD Equity Committee members approved
Dozens of District employees and parents were confirmed as members of the MCSD Equity Committee for 2020-21 Monday. The list of Equity Committee members can be seen here.

Chapters 9-14 of “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” by Jamie Vollmer discussed
Board members and administrators discussed chapters 9-14 of Jamie Vollmer’s book “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” at Monday’s meeting.

The chapters discussed included information on the important relationship between a school district and the larger community. Discussion on further chapters will take place at the Monday, Nov. 16 board 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 Wednesday, click here.

Policies
First Reading
– 203.5 (now 103.1) – School Improvement Advisory Committee (amended, second reading waived)
– 203.7 – Administration in Absence of Policy (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 
– 203.9 (new 217) – Gifts to Board of Directors (marked as reviewed)
– 203.10 – Board Self Evaluation (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“For many years, the district has been looking at how we could achieve AC at the high school.  And, now that time has come.

The board looked at preliminary designs and cost estimates from FEH Architects for AC installation at the high school, HVAC updates at Anson Elementary and a tornado safe area at the sports complex. After some discussion, the board voted to approve the move to the development phase with FEH. 

The board also approved the issuance of $10,000,000 school infrastructure, services and use tax revenue bonds to fund these projects. It looks like much needed AC at the high school and Anson Elementary are in our future.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. The meeting will be held in-person with social distancing and other safety measures in place. The meeting will be available to watch via YouTube live stream. 

Oct. 19, 2020 Board Meeting

20 Oct

Hybrid learning model will stay in place for the rest of the semester
Students in grades 7-12 will continue to learn in a hybrid model for the remainder of the first semester after Marshalltown School Board action Monday evening. The hybrid model was introduced this school year to increase social distancing and allow for a safer learning environment amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The hybrid model – as well as the fully virtual learning model introduced this year as an option for all students and families – were the focus of much discussion Monday. Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson led a presentation about the first six weeks of the school year; she was joined by building administrators from Lenihan Intermediate School, Miller Middle School, and Marshalltown High School during the discussion.

Stevenson said she, the building administrators, teachers and staff are all working diligently to increase student and family engagement in both the hybrid and fully virtual learning models. She said those two models are new this school year and many students are adapting to learning in a new environment. 

The hybrid learning model data showed a significant decrease in behavior incidences and an increase in student attendance at in-person classes this semester. The school leaders also praised the block scheduling strategy put in place as part of the hybrid model at Miller Middle School and Marshalltown High School. 

“I am confident that our staff – our teachers, our counselors, resource specialists, principals – are going to the nth degree to engage these kids,” said Superintendent Dr. Schutte, adding the District may have an opportunity to revisit the learning models later in the school year. 

Aguirre

Recommendation made to fill board vacancy 
Nicolas “Niko” Aguirre was recommended to fill a school board vacancy Monday, with board member Bob Untiedt stepping down. The board did not vote on the appointment during the meeting; that action item is set to appear on a future meeting agenda.

Aguirre has prior experience on the school board, having served in 2019 after being appointed to fill the vacancy of former board member Ross Harris. He is the Human Resources Director at JBS Marshalltown. 

MHS senior Marek Jablonski recognized for National Merit Scholarship success
Marshalltown High School senior Marek Jablonski was recognized by the board for two recent achievements – he was named a scholarship competition semifinalist and a Commendable Student from a Rural School by the National Merit Scholarship Program. 

Jablonski

Jablonski earned his scholarship semifinalist status with an excellent performance on his PSAT exam last school year. He is now looking to become a competition finalist. 

“For the next step, which is ‘finalist,’ you have to go through and submit an essay, a bunch of stuff about my schoolwork, my plans for the future, [and] activities,” he said. “I’ll get to know the results by February.”

Jablonski is also involved in the MHS Math Team and the MHS Botcats robotics team. He is interested in the field of computer engineering. 

Statewide middle school cross country meet a success
MHS Cross Country coach Chad Pietig described the success of the Dick Washburn Middle School Statewide Cross Country meet hosted in Marshalltown last weekend.

The meet is ordinarily held in Ankeny; however, to accommodate social distancing measures, the cross country course at Marshalltown Community College was selected for the annual meet hosted by the Iowa Association of Track Coaches. 

“It was quite a success. We had 1,300 runners divided over 12 races,” Pietig said, adding safety measures like social distancing and wearing of face masks were followed. 

MHS Cross Country coach Chad Pietig discusses last weekend’s successful statewide middle school cross country meet in Marshalltown.

The venue offered ample space for families to snap a photo and watch their child compete while maintaining a safe social distance. Pietig thanked the many volunteer student-athletes, parents, and fellow District coaches and staff who helped with the event.

“I don’t think we would have been able to pull it off as smoothly without Mr. [Eric] Goslinga and his Sea Cadets, because they took over parking,” he said.

Dr. Schutte said it was great to see such a popular school sports event hosted in Marshalltown. 

“Marshalltown has always been really well situated to host such events,” he said.

Student School Board representatives update
Student School Board representatives Klaudia Hernandez and Haley Reed shared an update from Marshalltown High School with board members. Among the topics and events they discussed were:

  • The upcoming Bobcats varsity football playoff game against Urbandale, set for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 at Urbandale
  • The home MHS Girls Diving invite held at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA last weekend
  • The upcoming diving and swimming conference competitions at Fort Dodge set for Tuesday, Oct. 20 and Thursday, Oct. 22, respectively
  • The recent MHS Cross Country boys and girls conference meets last week and the state qualifier meet set for Thursday, Oct. 22 at the MCC cross country course 
  • The recent MHS Band Extravaganza event at Leonard Cole Field
  • The 2020 National Honor Society Blood Drive this Wednesday, Oct. 21 and Thursday, Oct. 22

National School Bus Safety Week kicks off
October 19-23 is National School Bus Safety Week, which serves as an important reminder to practice caution and keep safety in mind near school buses. This year’s theme is “Red Lights Mean STOP!” You can read more about National School Bus Safety Week, including helpful tips for students, parents, educators and community members, here.

Steps taken toward addressing special education deficit
With approval from the school board on Monday, the District will seek authority from the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) for allowable growth and supplemental aid to address a negative balance in special education funding.

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 Wednesday, click here.

Policies
Second Reading – 

  • 209.1 – Development of Policy (adopted)
  • 209.2 – Adoption of Policy (adopted)
  • 209.3 – Dissemination of Policy (adopted)
  • 209.4 – Suspension of Policy (adopted)

First Reading

  • 203.2 – Adoption of Administration Rules and Regulations (amended, second reading waived)
  • 203.4 – Ad Hoc Committees (amended, second reading waived)
  • 208-E1 – Ad Hoc Committees Exhibit (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 203.5 (new 103.1) – School Improvement Advisory Committee (will come back for a first reading)
  • 203.7 – Administration in Absence of Policy (will come back for a first reading)       
  • 314.1 – Administrator Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program (amended, second reading waived)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The board spent 90 minutes discussing the Return to Learn plan for the district. Administrators from Central Office, Lenihan, Miller and the High School shared information about virtual and hybrid learning models.

The board learned about the successes and shortfalls of each model. They heard data about behavior and discipline, attendance and achievement. Questions were asked about the safety of staff and students, the impact of being away from school for six months, professional development, parent and student surveys, and student engagement.  

Members of the board needed to evaluate and weigh all of the information presented and place it in relationship to the health and safety of staff, students and their families. The board decided to ‘stay the course’ with our current plan through the end of first semester. Reevaluation will occur at that time.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. The meeting will be held in-person with social distancing and other safety measures in place. The meeting will be available to watch via YouTube live stream.

October 5, 2020 Board Meeting

6 Oct
CFMC Executive Director Julie Hitchins (right) presents a $9,000 check to MCSD Transportation Director Rex Kozak (left) at Monday’s school board meeting. The grant funds will go toward the partnership between MCSD and Marshalltown Municipal Transit (MTT) for student transportation services. Also pictured is MTT Director Kevin Pigors (center).

MCSD awarded Community Foundation of Marshall County grant for student transportation services
The Community Foundation of Marshall County presented a $9,000 grant for student transportation services at Monday’s school board meeting. 

The grant was funded through generous donations to the Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund, and it will support the partnership between the MCSD Transportation Department and Marshalltown Municipal Transit to ensure Bobcat students get to and from school safely and effectively. 

Marshalltown Schools thanks the Community Foundation of Marshall County for helping meet Bobcat students’ transportation needs! We are grateful to have excellent partners in the CFMC and Marshalltown Municipal Transit. For full details on this generous grant from the CFMC, click here

Proposed Marshalltown High School, Anson Elementary improvement projects discussed, public hearing set on proposed bond issue
Next steps are being taken on two major project proposals at District school buildings after board actions at Monday’s meeting. 

Air conditioning (HVAC) at Marshalltown High School was one of the project proposals discussed; that proposal currently includes alternate bids for fire sprinkler and LED lighting work. 

“This has been a priority for the district for a long, long, long time,” said District Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. 

The second proposed project focuses on improvements at Anson Elementary School. That project would include significant HVAC improvement work, as well as enclosing open-air classroom spaces and potential lighting upgrades. 

The board gave its approval for the District to move forward with initial work on the proposals. Dr. Schutte said project contract language is being worked on, and the finalized contracts will come before the board for approval at a future meeting.

A public hearing on a proposed $10 million bond issue to fund the two project proposals was set for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2. 

District to pursue grant for tornado safe room
A presidential disaster declaration brought millions of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dollars to the state after the August derecho, and some of those funds must be used to help  increase preparedness for potential future incidents.

On Monday, the school board approved the pursuit of a FEMA grant for the construction of a tornado safe room at the MHS Sports Complex. The grant would cover 85 percent of the construction costs for a tornado safe room facility. 

When not being used for an emergency, such a facility could potentially provide space for a team room, concessions, restrooms, an officials room, and/or a first aid station. Dr. Schutte said the grant is set to be awarded in the late winter or early spring of 2021; if MCSD were to receive the grant, he said the proposed projects at MHS and Anson Elementary would be prioritized before starting work on a tornado safe room.

Marshalltown School Board member Sara Faltys reads the board’s declaration of National Principals Month at Monday’s meeting.

Important work of school principals, custodial staff recognized
October is National Principals Month, and the Marshalltown School Board recognized the District’s exceptional team of school principals Monday evening. 

Board member Sara Faltys read aloud a board resolution recognizing National Principals Month, and the District’s principals were commended for their incredible service to Bobcat students and families, especially during the challenging time of the coronavirus. 

Last Friday, Oct. 2, was National Custodial Workers Recognition Day, and the board recognized the incredible work of the District’s custodial staff. MCSD custodial employees have stepped up deep cleaning and sanitation efforts since the pandemic began, and they play a vital role in ensuring student safety and security every day. 

Board accepts $70,000 USTA grant for Marshalltown Tennis Complex project
The Marshalltown Tennis Complex is getting closer to completion every day, and the school board approved a $70,000 United States Tennis Association (USTA) grant which will go toward project construction costs. 

The District is also pursuing a USTA Missouri Valley Section grant for $10,000 to go toward increased tennis curriculum and supplies in physical education classes. The District recently received a similar grant, which brought new, high-quality tennis equipment to each school building. 

MHS senior and Student School Board representative Klaudia Hernandez discusses her selection to the state Board of Education Equity Committee.

MHS senior Klaudia Hernandez’s selection to state Board of Education Equity Committee highlighted
MHS senior and Student School Board Representative Klaudia Hernandez was recently selected as one of seven students statewide to sit on the state Board of Education Equity Committee.

Klaudia will provide an important student voice as the committee discusses how best to provide equity throughout Iowa’s public school system.

Return to Learn update shared with board
Since classes started on Sept. 8, Marshalltown Schools has seen a very few COVID-19 cases reported among staff and students. In his Return to Learn update to the board Monday, Dr. Schutte credited MCSD students, families and staff for their observance of the multiple safety rules put in place this school year, including social distancing and face covering requirements, among others.

“I am extraordinarily proud of our community for doing everything they’ve done to bring the positivity rate to a point that I would have never thought possible back in early August,” he said. 

The District began the school year by giving students and families a choice of learning models, including fully in-person learning for PK-6 students and a hybrid learning model for 7-12 students; both groups had the option to learn in a fully-virtual model. 

The hybrid model is set to be revisited at the end of the first quarter, and Dr. Schutte said he will closely monitor the District’s and Marshall County’s positivity rates as the colder months arrive. He said the District’s learning model recommendation for the second quarter of the school year will depend on public health data and information, with the need to balance student achievement and the health and safety of students, staff, and the larger Marshalltown Community.

Student School Board representatives update
Student School Board representatives Itzary Avalos and Klaudia Hernandez shared an update from Marshalltown High School with board members. The students discussed recent “senior nights” for extracurricular activities, Homecoming festivities, and several upcoming events, including the 2020 Blood Drive on Wednesday, Oct. 21 and Thursday, Oct. 22.

MHS Parking Lot improvement project statement of completion approved
The board approved an official statement of completion from Manatts Inc. regarding the Marshalltown High School parking lot project. The project saw improvements made to Bobcat Boulevard, the auditorium and band parking lots, and the school drive area. 

Part II of Jamie Vollmer’s book “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” discussed
Board members and administrators discussed Part II of Jamie Vollmer’s book “Schools Cannot Do It Alone” at Monday’s meeting. 

Part II describes the history of public schooling in the United States, including how changing economic circumstances and the dawn of the Knowledge Age have impacted students’ academic needs. The discussion was accompanied by a video from Vollmer on the same subject matter.

The Monday, Oct. 19 board meeting will include a discussion on Part III of “Schools Cannot Do It Alone.”

District Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger shares recent legislative decisions and findings regarding dyslexia Monday.

Dyslexia legislation and supports the topic of presentation
District Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger shared a presentation on legislation and research related to dyslexia. He cited the work of an Iowa Department of Education task force which focused on studying the condition and how to best support students with characteristics of dyslexia.

Superintendent and school board goals approved
The 2020-21 school board and superintendent goals got the board’s nod at Monday’s meeting. You can see this school year’s goals 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 Wednesday, click here.

Policies
First Reading

  • 200.2 – Powers of the Board of Directors (approved as amended)
  • 204.9-R1 Board Calendar (approved as amended)
  • 209.1 Development of Policy (will come back for a second reading)
  • 209.2 Adoption of Policy (will come back for a second reading)
  • 209.3 Dissemination of Policy (will come back for a second reading)
  • 209.4 Suspension of Policy (will come back for a second reading)

Initial Review – 

  • 203.2 – Adoption of Administration Rules and Regulations (will come back for a first reading)
  • 203.4 – Ad Hoc Committees (will come back for a first reading)
  • (New) 208-E1 – Ad Hoc Committees Exhibit (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Last night’s meeting saw the board approving the process of providing air conditioning at the high school. As Dr. Schutte said, it’s been a very long, long time since discussions were begun about finding the most cost effective way to do this.

The board approved the beginning work on architectural plans for AC at the high school and Anson Elementary, enclosure of open space classrooms at Anson and the construction of a tornado safe room at the sports complex. In addition, the board approved setting forth the process of bonding for the entire project.

The health and safety of staff and students will be enhanced by completion of these proposed projects.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. The meeting will be held in-person with social distancing and other safety measures in place. The meeting will be available to watch via YouTube live stream.