March 20, 2017 Board Meeting

21 Mar

Hoglan presents during Student/Staff showcase


Hoglan Elementary School students and staff presented to the school board as part of the student/staff showcase on March 20.

Communications Director Andrew Potter presented the Bobcat Pride video. He also recognized Kyley Leger of Vision Marshalltown and Steve Muntz of Marshalltown Community College for their help with the video.

For Personnel items, click here.

Student/Staff Showcase- Hoglan Elementary School
Hoglan Elementary School has 386 students, reported Principal Amy Williams. Williams brought members of her leadership team and students who displayed their learning in stations in and around the board room. Staff members on hand included Amy Pollard, Tamara Murphy, Lacie Moore, Kami Uhde and Sara Nickel.


Each grade level had stations as part of the presentation including:

Kindergarten-  shared Read Across Iowa, which is a way to motivate students to read at home.
First grade- SIOP strategy- Thumb challenge – gets first graders talking about vocabulary words.
Second grade- Number sense activities with beans.
Third grade- Historical fiction writing- created own historical story.
Fourth Grade – Literature discussion model.



MHS Dean of Students Dan Terrones and students in the Marshalltown Area Health Careers Club present to the board.

Marshalltown Area Health Careers Club trip to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
MHS Dean of Students Dan Terrones and MHS students from the Health Careers Club presented an update on the club as well as an out-of-state trip request.
Terrones said the club’s purpose is to  “To give students the opportunity see first hand career opportunities in health care.” Terrones said.
The students talked about activities they have participated in the throughout the school year.
The group requested approval for a trip of 30 students to go to  St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee from April 20-23. Aside from the hospital, the group will also visit the Civil Rights Museum, the Peabody Hotel and the Graceland Mansion.
Funding for the trip comes in the form of a  $2,000 donation from the Central Iowa Healthcare  medical staff and $2,000 from a health careers club fundraiser. The total cost of trip is $3,000 and the group wants to donate $1,000 to St. Jude’s. The board approved the trip.

2017-18 School Calendar
The 2017-18 school calendar was approved by the board. Click here for the calendar.

FEH Contract Contract amendment to professional services agreement
This amendment to the Roundhouse Phase 2 architectural contract is due to the expanded architectural services as part of a reroofing of the auditorium, reworking of the auditorium entryway, and due to some leakage of the Roundhouse roof.

Board Policies
314.1 – Administrator Early Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program – Changes made for timing of board approval from September 30 to October 30.
401.12- Employee Use of Cell Phones- Come back from second reading
401.12-R – Employee Use of Cell Phones- Come back for second reading
402.2- Child Abuse Reporting- Come back
402.2-R- Child Abuse Reporting – Regulation- To come back
407.6 – Licensed Teaching Staff Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program – To come back
413.7- Twelve-Month Secretary Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program – To come back

Initial Review
501.10- Open Enrollment- Receiving District- Changing of deadlines in policy and several other changes to be made-
501.10-R – Open Enrollment Receiving District Regulation – Changes to be made
501.11-  Student Transfer in – Changes to be made to mirror IASB
501.16-  Homeless Children and Youth – Change in former Director of Human Resources name to title, will be brought back.
502.1 – Student Behavior and Discipline – Adding e-cigarettes to portion of policy, several other changes to be made
502.2 – Search and Seizure-  Marked as reviewed

A discussion was held regarding standards based grading and the need for more information to come before the board and the community. A work session will be planned for the board.

The board then held an exempt session for negotiations.

From Board Vice President Janelle Carter
“Our March 20th meeting kicked off with the presentation of the new Bobcat Pride video featuring students and graduates from the district.  The video showcases success stories of graduates from MHS living here and around the country and dreams of our own students and where they want to go.  It is very uplifting and fun to watch. Watch here, it is worth your time! (Bobcat Pride video link)

With a room full of parents and students from Hoglan Elementary, Principal Amy Williams showcased some of the different teaching methods that are being used throughout the district with live demonstrations of students and teachers in action.  The audience was able to move from station to station to witness this traveling classroom and interact with the students as they showcased their lessons.  It was a pleasure to break from the usual board business and witness a piece of the school day in action!

The board meeting coincided with the March 20th Vernal Equinox signaling spring. As we now move into the spring season and round the corner into the last stretch of this school year, we look forward to continuing the work to improve the lives of kids through education. The meeting tonight was full of examples of the hard work that is going on in the district and how we are all trying to pull together to make education the best possible for our students.  The spring season always makes life a little brighter and I hope brings renewed energy to you as you work to fulfill the dreams of our young students.” – Janelle Carter

March 6, 2017 Board Meeting

7 Mar

Roundhouse Phase II project moves forward


Kevin Eipperle of FEH Architects talks about the latest design of the MHS Roundhouse Phase II project. A public open house was held prior to the board meeting on March 6.

Roundhouse Phase II Project
Kevin Eipperle of FEH and Mark Williams of HKS Architects presented an update on Phase II of the MHS Roundhouse, which will include an auxiliary gym and a wrestling room. A public open house was held prior to the board meeting in the board room to go over the latest designs.

Total project cost is estimated at $6.8 million, with the construction portion of the project at $6 million. The timeline of the project includes acceptance of bids in May then moving forward with construction in the summer.

“We would expect by July 1 turning dirt,” Eipperle said.

The project is expected to take 1.5 to 2 years to complete. Board members commended Eipperle and his team for being open with this process and seeking public input into the project.

The board approved the design development phase documents and budget update and approved to proceed with the construction and bidding documents phase of design.


Three members of the Bobcat boys bowling team are pictured with their Class 3A state runner up bowling trophy. From left are Carson Potter, Josh Arment and Richie Thomas.

Recognition – Boys Bowling Team
Members of the MHS boys bowling team were recognized at the meeting. They recently took runner up honors as a team in the Class 3A state bowling tournament.

“It’s not really a team, it’s more of a family,” said team member Richie Thomas.

Personnel items
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.


Marshalltown Learning Academy presented to the board. From left, Principal Eric Goslinga, student Ivan Martinez, teacher Nicole Critchfield and student Jacob Borton.

Student/Staff Showcase – Marshalltown Learning Academy
Marshalltown Learning Academy, led by Principal Eric Goslinga, teacher Nicole Critchfield, and MLA students Ivan Martinez and Jacob Borton, presented about personalized learning at MLA.

Martinez is interested in pharmacy and is job shadowing at NuCara Pharmacy before heading to college this fall. He is working on coursework to become a certified pharmacy technician.

Borton is in a CNA class at Marshalltown Community College. Borton job shadowed paramedics at Central Iowa Healthcare. He also brought to the board an underwater robot he assembled at MLA.

Goslinga said these students are examples of extending learning out in the community as they gain authentic work experience.

“We are trying to get our kids out in the community,” Goslinga said.

MLA has received the Instructional Excellence National Recognition from the Clayton Christensen Institute last spring.

“We are the only Iowa entity to receive that recognition,” Goslinga said.

For the presentation document, click on the link here Personalized learning at MLA.

2017-18 School Calendar
The board was presented the two options that were presented to staff as far as the 2017-18 calendar for discussion only this meeting . There were slight modifications to each since they were presented to staff. For the updated options click here.

There was some discussion on both options and ideas for future calendars.

Prior to spring break, district staff were polled on the two calendars. Option 1 with a full week of spring break was favored by 62 percent of staff while 38 percent favored Option 2. There were 460 respondents to the staff survey.

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said he plans to bring back Option 1 for approval at the next board meeting, which is March 20. Option 1 includes a start date of August 23,2017  a full week of spring break from March 12-16, 2018 and a last day of school on June 4, 2018. Graduation would be May 27, 2018.

Board Policies
314.1 – Early Retirement- Needs changed dates, to come back
401.5- Employee Records- Changed Board Secretary to Human Resources Director as custodian of employee records- Approved
401.8 – Recognition for Service of Employees- Changes to be made after future meeting with MEA – to come back
401.10-R – Credit Cards- No changes- Mark as reviewed
401.11 – Travel Allowance – Marked as reviewed
401.12- Employee Use of Cell Phones – Marked as reviewed
401.12R – Employee Use of Cell Phones Administrative Regulation – Change needed to last paragraph of last section. Josh Wesley will provide a revision.
402.2 – Child Abuse Reporting- Change recommended in second paragraph to mirror with Iowa Association of School Board policy, from come back before board
402.2-R- Child Abuse Reporting Regulation – Changes to be made to mirror Iowa code, Ben Fletcher to provide changes, will come back before board.

Contract agreement
Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis said due to the collective bargaining bill signed by the governor that the teacher contract agreement between the district and Marshalltown Education Association is null and void

“We need to start the process over,” Spurgetis said. “We’ve communicated to MEA that we intend to honor what we agreed to in good faith.”

The next school board meeting is scheduled for March 20 at 5 p.m. in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“It seems that the movement on Phase II of the Roundhouse development has received quite a push forward. The recent months have found the facilities committee working with the architects from FEH Design through a series of designs and options, seeking community input, and deciding on the one best option for the district.

Kevin Eipperle, and fellow architects, from FEH Design presented the design development documents and budget update to the board. Questions were addressed and the board gave approval to proceed with the construction and bidding documents phase of the design process.

With that approval, and the completion of the next phase, we will see dirt turned on the construction of the $6 million project by July 1! It’s exciting to see Phase II moving ahead after the delays we experienced with Phase I of the remodel project at the Roundhouse.” – Bea Niblock

February 20, 2017 board meeting

22 Feb

Lenihan teacher Vanessa Engel introduced flag essay winners Desy Sung, left, and Rogelio Ceren to the board.

Lenihan students Rogelio Ceren and Desy Sung were recognized for their award winning essays on the American flag during a contest held by the American Legion. Teacher Vanessa Engel presented the students. Rogelio and Desy each read their essays and received a certificate of recognition from Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

Personnel items
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Emerge presentation
Lenihan teacher Leah Mattox, Joa LaVille of the Marshalltown Public Library and Lenihan student Mang Sang presented on the Emerge program. emergeoverview
Over 15 years ago, this collaboration was formed between the school district and the library. The program has sixth graders visit the public library once a month. Joa works with the kids and talks about the library’s offerings during Lenihan’s visits.
LaVille said the program is designed to help students become lifelong library learners.
Mang Sang came to U.S. and didn’t know English as a 9 year old. The public library helped him learn more about English. He now visits the library a few times a week.
“He is one amazing student,” Mattox said. “In two or three years his English is excellent.”
Another guest, Marco Andrade, a MHS graduate and current Primary Health Care employee, spoke about how this program helped him.
“I’ve been going to the library ever since Joa came to Lenihan.” Andrade said.
Andrade also spoke about memories of the summer reading program.
Mattox estimated they have reached 5,000 kids in this program in the past 15 years.
Joa LaVille was also thanked by the district with this video and with a certificate of appreciation.

Thought Exchange results
Tristan Read from Thought Exchange, presented via Zoom video. Thought Exchange took the survey results from staff, students and the community and had the groups rank results via stars.

Teachers and staff were by far the most talked about when it came to greatest strengths.
The top two greatest challenges and/or weaknesses were student behavior and discipline and parent involvement.

In the opportunities category, partnerships for career preparation was the leading theme
Under potential partnerships, those that help with career preparation was the leading theme. Under threats, funding and budget was the biggest theme. Read said a website will be ready to share with the community soon so they can look into the results as well.


Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson gives a CBE update with other administrators.

Competency Based Education update
Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Pam Brewer-Michael, Eric Goslinga, Pat Rial, Jacque Wyant, Dave Glenn and Kyle Young, gave an update on the CBE Collaborative.
Brewer-Michael said the biggest shift for her is that learning is the constant- where time and place and pace are not. This is meant to support all students no matter what their pace of learning.
Rial believes with standards based grading “Every kid is going to show more success as Miller.”
Wyant said letter grades at MHS will continue as they move to standards based grading and students will still have grade point averages.
There were several questions from the board on CBE. Board President Bea Niblock suggested that CBE be part of a board work session since there are more questions that need to be answered.

MHS art trip to Chicago
MHS art instructors Kirk Niehouse and Wade Judge asked the board for permission to take the annual art trip to Chicago on Saturday, March 25 to see the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and to Millennium Park to see the “Bean.”  Plans are to take 40-45 students by charter bus.
“We start at 4 in the morning and we’re home by midnight,” Niehouse said. “The kids get a lot out of it. It really puts a lot of meaning to what we do.”
The board approved the trip, which is funded by the students themselves and by fundraising if students can’t afford to go.

Audit Report 2015-16
Jason Doonan from Nolte, Cornman and Johnson presented the audit report. For the subjects he covered at the meeting, click on this document 2016-marshalltown-powerpoint

2017-18 certified budget preview
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz presented this item. The proposed tax rate would decrease two cents from $17.97 to $17.95 per thousand valuation.
Working in favor of the budget is the fact that valuations in the district have increased from $972,576,312 to $1,019,049, 272

Board Policies
102 E-1- Annual Notice of Nondiscrimination- Fixed typo to have it corrected- approved waived second reading
314.1- Administrator Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive- will come back to make sure dates are correct as far as decision dates. – New dates for all early retirement policies.
401.4- Employee Complaints- Marked as reviewed
401.5- Employee Records-Change to be made to custodian of employee records to Director of Human Resources- will come back with that change
401.5-R- Employee Records Regulation- Marked as reviewed
401.8 – Recognition for Service of Employees – Suggested for a rewrite- in process of changing employee recognition.
401.10 –Credit Cards- Marked as reviewed.

“How Not to be a Terrible School Board Member” book discussion
The administration again led a discussion on habits highlighted in the book.

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

Next meeting
The next regular board meeting will be at 6 p.m. on March 6. Prior to the meeting at 5 p.m. will be a Roundhouse Phase 2 design open house meeting in the board room.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“It is always a pleasure for the board to hear from students themselves. And it was a special treat to have the American Legion flag winners read their personal essays. Desy Sung and Rogelio Ceren gave proud readings of their works. They helped each of us, board members and audience alike, to think about our national freedoms and the meaning that our flag stirs in all of us.
Leah Mattox and Joa LaVille helped the board understand the partnership between the public library and the students at Lenihan Intermediate School. Mang Sang shared how important the partnership and the program, Emerge, were to him and helping him become a reader.
Each of these presentations helped the board members to remember our own goal – to make decisions in the best interest of all children in the district.” – Bea Niblock

February 6, 2017 meeting

7 Feb

Anson students showcase a variety of school activities


Anson Elementary School Extended Learning Program students, standing, from left, Shayna Garcia, Jordan Scheid and Olivia Holmgren display a robot to the board. The robot moved around the board room and even told a joke.

Student/Staff Showcase- Anson Elementary

Anson Principal Ronnie Manis, staff and students showcased a wide array of activities going on in school. Manis said every day teachers work hard to inspire students, but the inspiration is also two-way.
“Every day when we work with these kids they inspire us,” Manis said.

Fourth grade teacher Abby Stanfield and students talked about a pen pal program where students are sending actual letters to students in Italy.


Anson fourth grader Chau Thai talks about the pen pal program next to his teacher Abby Stanfield.

ELL teacher Jennifer Janssen talked about ELL strategies and showed a video of first graders telling a story.

Counselor Ashley Chyma and Manis talked about several things going on at the school including ways to produce healthy and happy students. They talked about the walk the entire school did to the high school, the sprinkle happiness event the students did at the corner of Third Avenue and Anson Street, tree planting projects, the Anson gardens project with Hy-Vee and the Anson Food Pantry.

Anson Extended Learning Program teacher Nicole Holman brought three XLP students, Olivia Holmgren, Jordan Scheid and Shayna Garcia. The three showed the robot they programmed to move about the board room – and the robot even told a joke.

For personnel items approved, click here. The personnel items approved two retirements below:

Lynnda (Kathy) Ferguson – 3rd Grade Teacher at Franklin Elementary
Kathy has been with the district for 34 years and is a master educator. Prior to her work at Franklin she taught at Woodbury. She also was a student teacher in the district while enrolled at Iowa State University.

Marilyn Rhodes, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent.
She has retired after 65 years of service. Marilyn started in March of 1952, the same year she graduated from Marshalltown High School. Marilyn worked for seven superintendents.
“Her passion for our district and the Iowa Hawkeyes was second to none,” said Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis.

Look for more information on Marilyn’s career in the future and also a public recognition event is being scheduled for April 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the team room of the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse.

District Culture Study Results
Brad Black, President of HUMANeX, Ventures spoke to the board. The company was utilized to do the district staff culture survey. There were some good indicators as a result of the staff survey.


Brad Black of HUMANeX Ventures

Participation level was 87 percent of staff in the district which Black said “phenomenal” A total of 725 staff members provided input to 88 questions.
Black said results typically would be 1/3 people who describe they are highly engaged , inspired and satisfied in their studies. In MCSD, the survey indicated 55 percent who were highly engaged, inspired and satisfied.

Results: Top 5 full district items- Questions which got the most positive response.

  • I am fully engaged in the work that I do
  • I feel great pride in the wok that I do
  • I am committed to the success of my school district
  • In my role I have the opportunity to do things that I both do well and enjoy
  • I am continuously seeking ways to improve my overall productivity.

Bottom 5 – Received the least positive response

  • I have received meaningful recognition in the past 10 days
  • In the past three months, my principal/supervisor has discussed my successes and progress with me.
  • I am provided personal coaching from my principal/supervisor
  • I am provided the opportunity to spend quality time with my principal/supervisor
  • Marshalltown Community School District has a genuine concern and interest about me as a person.

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said action plans will be worked on to address the areas in need of improvement

To view the presentation document- click the following link marshalltown-insightex-2017-board-presentation-2-2.

New Science Standards Study Team
Dr. Lisa Stevenson and Pam Brewer-Michael presented about the need for new secondary science curriculum to meet the new standards.
Dr. Stevenson said Marshalltown science teachers invested a significant amount of time in this process.
The standards reflect a shift to more “hands on and minds on” science which is reflective in the kinds of things they are requesting.
This was not an action item but in the future it’s anticipated the curriculum could cost $313,629.

Board Book Study
The Board continued its book discussion on “How Not to Be a Terrible School Board Member” This was the third installment of this discussion, each chapter led by a different board member at this meeting.
The board talked about 7 different habits in the book and the lessons learned from each habit.

Forecast 5 License Agreement
This was a request by Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz to approve $11,000 to be spent on financial projection software.
Bartz said this software will make the business office more efficient.
The board approved the license agreement.

E-Rate Funding
Director of Technology Josh Wesley  presented about E-Rate funding and a project proposal.
For 2017, he requested E-Rate funding be utilized for fiber connections between buildings, Internet and phone services, and expansion wireless access points and MHS and Miller
While MCSD would receive $50,000 of services, it is expected to cost the district approximately $10,000, due to E-Rate funding. Click her for more information.
The board approved the proposal.

FEH Contract Amendment
This item will have architect FEH serve as additional construction oversight for the MHS Roundhouse Phase 2, instead of hiring a full construction manager.
This amendment has a cost up to $72,000 for 30 additional visits by the architect as far as construction oversight.
If less is needed, “we can always back off” Dr. Schutte said.
Board members such as Vice President Janelle Carter said this will provide “additional oversight” on the project, without having the cost of a construction manager, which could be three to four times the cost of this amendment.
The board approved the FEH Contract amendment.

Board Policies
There were no policies reviewed at the meeting.

The next Board meeting is at 5 p.m. February 20 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“As you know, I close each board meeting with a quote. I have mentioned it before in my comments to you.
Last night’s quote, in honor of Black History Month, comes from Oprah Winfrey. ‘For every one of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way out. The light doesn’t always necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school.’
We are, indeed, thankful for our public schools and our great teachers. We draw our commitment to quality education from creative teachers, the ones who make it interesting to go to class each day, the ones who smile and know the needs of their students, the ones who come to work each day to make a difference in the lives of Marshalltown’s youth, and the ones who tirelessly push our students to greater achievement.
We are thankful for every staff member – administrator, teacher, para, nurse, secretary, custodian, bus driver or lunch lady – who inspires our youth day after day and loves our children.’ – Bea Niblock

January 17, 2017 meeting

18 Jan

Rosa Yanez speaks to the board on behalf of the Marshalltown High School student group Al Exito. Also pictured, from left, are Isabel Paredes, Guillermo Rivas Alanis, Angel Minjarez and Balthazar Pereznegron.

Al Exito
Marshalltown High School teacher Jocelyn Frohwein brought several members of the student group Al Exito, which has 54 members, to the board meeting.
It is an intensive weekly afterschool leadership and entrepreneurial empowerment program for high school Latino youth.
These youth develop leadership skills, acquire a sense of belonging and help out the community.
A key element to the group is collaboration with entities such as Iowa State University, the Marshalltown Public Library, and meeting with other teens around Iowa.
“We’ve enjoyed it so much and we’ve learned a lot,” said member Rosa Yanez.
Many students said this program has given them inspiration to continue on in school and strive to do well in school. It’s also made them more community-minded.
“It’s a good support group,” said Angel Minjarez.

Personnel items approved can be accessed here.

Retirements effective at end of school year on personnel items approved at the meeting.

Grant Brintnall is currently a Level I Special Ed Teacher at Miller Middle School. He has been a teacher for 33 years. Grant is a Marshalltown High School graduate and a master educator. In addition to teaching Grant has held various coaching positions and was a bus driver in our District from 1978-1981.

Debra Johnson is also a Level I Special Ed Teacher at Miller Middle School and master educator. She has been a teacher at MCSD for 28 years with assignments at Lenihan and Miller.

Bret Lee is the Instrumental Band Director at Marshalltown High School. Bret is also a master educator and has been in this role for the past 18 years.

Mary Oetker is a Kindergarten Teacher at Fisher Elementary. Previous to her 17 years of teaching experience with our District she was a substitute for MCSD. Mary has taught at Fisher and Hoglan and in addition to teaching Kindergarten she has also taught First grade.

Vicki Vopava has been with our District for 25 years first as a Special Education Teacher at Lenihan and Hoglan. Vicki has been the Principal at Fisher Elementary since the 06-07 school year.

Don Wiser has been a teacher for 44 years. He has taught Physical Education for MCSD for the last 39 years. Schools include Anson, Hoglan, Woodbury and two schools that are no longer in operation – Glick and Palmer. Don also held head coaching positions in the following sports: 8th grade volleyball (31 years), 8th grade girls track (39 years), and 8th grade girls basketball (25 years).

“These six retirees have a remarkable 150 years of combined experience to the Marshalltown Community School District. While we hate to see them go I know I speak for the Board, Dr. Schutte and the rest of the MCSD community when I say we wish you the best in retirement and thank you for your service,” said Human Resources Director Anthony Spurgetis.


Casey Moberly, left, and Jay Giannetto

Swing with Kids program
Elmwood Country Club Pro Jay Giannetto, representing Iowa PGA, and Casey Moberly, Lenihan physical education teacher, presented this item to the board. Swing with Kids is an indoor type of golf program to show them what golf is about and lifelong sport. It comes with a curriculum.
“It’s a great opportunity for our students to learn about the game of golf,” Moberly said.
Giannetto said this type of program is starting to launch statewide. It is supported locally from a $5,000 grant from the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation and a donation from Marshalltown golfers totaling $2,925.
“We are excited that Marshalltown Community Schools is on board,” Giannetto said.
The program was approved by the board.

Dual Language Programming CARLA
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented along with Woodbury Principal Anel Garza, Woodbury teacher librarian Sue Cahill, Woodbury teacher Mary Estrada and curriculum director Shauna Smith. The dual language program allows students the opportunity to learn Spanish and English at the same time at Woodbury, Lenihan, Miller and Marshalltown High School.
A team of school staff visited the Center for Advanced Research of Language Acquisition (CARLA) conference in Minnesota in October.
The K-12 dual language program in our school district started during the 2002-2003 school year, said Cahill, who has been at Woodbury that entire time.
Stevenson said they are looking at what professional development can be offered to help the quality programming continue in the dual language program.
Estrada said the CARLA conference was very beneficial for her to receive professional development. Garza said she worked with a dual language principal in Minnesota to bounce ideas of off him.
Work on the dual language program continues with opportunities for professional development into the future and dual language program planning for Miller and MHS, Dr. Stevenson said.
Marketing of the dual language program will continue into the future.
For the presentation document, click here.

2017-18 School Year Course of Studies at Marshalltown High School
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant presented the 2017-18 course guide as they get ready to register students.
For the course guide, click here. Wyant spotlighted some changes and those can be accessed here in the executive summary.
Wyant said MHS is able to offer more dual credit courses at the high school than other area high schools due to the resources of the staff.
The guide is currently being translated into Spanish and will be available on the MHS website.
Extensive conversation was held regarding dual credit courses, the marketing of these courses, and ways to get more students to take dual credit.
The board approved the course guide.

New District Vision and Mission Statements
These new statements reflect work done by the community at a public input meeting on December 1 and the district leadership team in two more meetings and will serve as a foundation for the new strategic plan moving forward. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the meetings were all very productive and collaborative.

“Preparing ALL learners, through an unparalleled culture of excellence, to be productive and engaged citizens in a diverse world.”

“We develop learners who have the knowledge, skills, and positive mindset to successfully pursue a meaningful future through personalized learning experiences.”

The board approved the new mission and vision statements.

Board Book study, part 2
The board and district administrators held a discussion on chapters 8-14 on the book “How Not To Be a Terrible Board Member.” During this meeting administrators led the discussion
Habit 8- Dr. Schutte led the discussion on Habit 8 and talked about the importance of developing a mutually respectful atmosphere at the board table as people will be coming from different viewpoints.
Habit 9 – Speaking for the board and where that fine line is between speaking on behalf of yourself and speaking on behalf of the board.
Habit 10 – Dr. Stevenson talked about building coalition and gave an example of board members meeting in groups of 2-3 to strategize. The book indicates that public business should be in the public.
Habit 11- Discussion led by Anthony Spurgetis. The chapter encourages board members to be deciders and not abstain just because the vote is a tough one.
Habit 12- Discussion led by Matt Cretsinger – The message was be decisive – don’t compromise. Compromise to do what’s best for the district and not yourself.
Habits 13 – Led by Brian Bartz- Be prepared for board meetings was the message of this chapter.
Habit 14- Led by Brian Bartz – Don’t do too much homework. Even though we all have our areas of expertise, other opinions from fellow board members, staff, community and students should factor into decisions.
The discussion on the book will continue at a future meeting.

FEH Design Agreement- update on Roundhouse Phase 2
Kevin Eipperle and Gary Schulte of FEH Design presented an update on the design of Phase 2 of the Roundhouse
“We have completed the schematic design phase,” Eipperle said. For design documents click here.
This is about 25 percent of the design process. The design includes a lower level featuring the wrestling room with the upper level having an auxiliary gym and some classrooms.
The exterior views has bricks which match the auditorium. The north edge of the addition would end where the sidewalk is today. Design development is expected to be completed by February 8. The total expected cost of the addition is nearing $6.8 million
The board held discussion on whether to hire a construction manager as part of the project or utilize FEH as an oversight entity. No decision was made on this aspect of the project
The board approved the schematic design agreement with FEH and move into the design development phase.

Board Policies
201.4- Elections – Marked as reviewed
204.5-R – Organizational Meeting Procedures- Marked as reviewed.
301.4-E – Formal Superintendent Evaluation Report – To be brought back in June
301.4-R – Evaluation of the Superintendent -to be brought back in June-
301-4 – Evaluation of the Superintendent – To be brought back in June once the board has gone through the process.
312.4- Administrator Evaluation – Marked as reviewed.

Reminder:  The first in a series of MEA legislative forums will be at 10 am. Saturday, January 21 in the Marshalltown Public Library. All are invited to talk with area legislators.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“We begin each school board meeting reading the district’s mission statement together. We do that to focus our attention on the reason that we have become board members – providing the best possible educational experience for our students.

At last night’s meeting, the district’s new vision and mission statements were approved by the board. These statements came after many hours of work from our community and finally, our administrative team. Our new charge is to ‘prepare ALL learners’ to be ‘productive and engaged citizens in a diverse world.’ And, we’re going to do that ‘through personalized learning experiences.’ What proudly stated vision and mission statements!

We accept the challenge and will work to provide the necessary support to accomplish these things. We look to our staff to help us develop that culture of excellence in preparing ALL students to be successful in their pursuits.” – Bea Niblock

December 19, 2016 meeting

20 Dec

Laurie Rink, MHS teacher and staff leader of the Mentors in Violence Prevention, talks about MVP to the board. Standing are student leaders in MVP including, from left, Veronica Daniel, Kobe Sandoval, Morgan Van Staalduine and Nalicka Matthew.

Student/Staff Showcase – MHS presentation
Marshalltown High School Principal Jacque Wyant, teacher Laurie Rink and student officers talked about the MHS Mentors in Violence program. Students presenting included Morgan Van Staalduine, Kobe Sandoval, Nalicka Matthew and Veronica Daniel. The MVP program has upper classmen mentor freshman. Currently there are 88 mentors.
Surveys indicate percentages of students who feel safe at MHS has jumped 14 percent in the past two years at MHS.

“What we really try to do is prepare freshmen for the future,” Van Staalduine said.

The students said that they not only serve as mentors, they also become friends with the students.

Daniel said, “it just helps build a better community” at MHS.

For the presentation document, click on this school-board-presentation link.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Guest artist at MHS
Marshalltown High School Principal Jacque Wyant talked about a visit from a guest artist/potter, Jeff Oestreich from Taylor Falls, Minnesota.
He will visit March 17 and 18. He will present to students on March 17 and adults on March 18. There is no cost to the district on the contract as fundraising and adult registration fees will cover the visit.

Dual Language Presentation – Tabled until Jan. 16 meeting.


State Senator-Elect Jeff Edler, left, and State Representative Mark Smith held a discussion with the board.

State Senator-Elect Jeff Edler and State Representative Mark Smith
These two local legislators visited to talk over some of their priorities heading in the 2017 legislative session and to hear from the board.
Edler said one of his campaign trail points was making sure state supplemental aid is set in a timely matter for school districts.
“Revenues continue to tighten, we are going to have a hard job in budgeting money and figuring out where these funds are appropriated,” Edler asid.
Flexibility in categorical spending with the tight budget was also discussed. Smith said the revenue estimating conference met recently showing about 96 million fewer dollars in the state than they had hoped for.
“I think that this is going to be a challenging year with funding,” Smith said.
Smith said the funding has to be there to bring Iowa back to a national leader in education.
“I think that we have to restore Iowa to excellence in education,” Smith said.
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said setting state aid early is a necessity as schools plan for their budgets. Board President Bea Niblock said the state third grade reading proficiency summer school requirement needs to be put off if it is not funded.
Other topics were also discussed with the board members, legislators and Dr. Schutte such as ELL funding, funding for mental health services, flexibility of school funding, Teacher Leadership and Compensation as it relates to the general fund, the proposed shift in some of the statewide penny sales tax for water quality initiatives and more.

Board Book Study
The board held a discussion on the first section of a book they read “How Not to Be a Terrible School Board Member.” The board went through various scenarios presented in the book, mostly were reminders of actions board members should and shouldn’t take regarding their roles.

Employee Culture/Morale Study
Dr. Schutte presented a proposal to go with HUMANeX to help survey staff as part of a method of improving employee culture in the district. Dr. Schutte said he has heard a need to improve employee morale and pride in the district. This will allow us to measure where employees feel the district is at as part of a 15-minute survey.
“It’s a really powerful tool,” Dr. Schutte said.
The survey is expected to be sent to staff in January. The cost is $10,650, which comes from the general fund. The contract was approved by the board.

Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented the following two items to the board.


Josh Wesley

Micrsoft OVS-ES Renewal agreement
Wesley said the Microsoft subscription for Microsoft Office and the Windows Server is in need of renewal. The board approved the three-year agreement for a total cost of $41,092.

“With this agreement it allows us to run the most current version of Office and the server,” Wesley said.

Elementary Lab Replacement
The English Language Proficiency online assessment, ELPA21, has removed support for Windows XP prompting the replacement of the labs at the elementary schools. Wesley recommended the replacement of the PC labs with Chromebox units ($177 each) with a total cost of $55,836.80.
This will include 25 boxes at each of the six of the elementary schools plus one PC to run the projector. This purchase is part of the technology replacement budget. The board approved the purchase.


Board Policy
204.9-R1 – Board Calendar – Adjustments were made on at-risk application. Approved changes made.



The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for 5 p.m. on January 16, 2017.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“At each meeting, I close the meeting with a quote from an individual to help the board focus on what we have accomplished or what we have yet to do. Monday’s quote was from Bob Hope. He said, “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: Loving others.”

As you enjoy the festivities of the season with family and friends I ask that you take just a moment to remember the many children and families who will not be enjoying the traditions that you do. There will be no table laden with the bounty of the season; no mess in the living room from opening presents or even lighted with a Christmas tree; no warm comforters on their beds. Please remember that many of our families do not have the necessities to live happy and healthy lives.

Love your family and be grateful for the life that you cherish. Love others.

Travel safely. Come back to us rested and ready to continue the hard work that you do every day loving the students entrusted to our care.” – Bea Niblock

December 5, 2016 meeting

6 Dec

Lenihan Intermediate Principal Kyle Young, left, introduces the student group Teen Outreach Program (TOP) to the board at the December 5 meeting. Students pictured standing with Young are, from left, April Wills, Taeviss Fite, Cody Garcia, Jayden Harrell, Ryan Ferneau and Preston Duncan. 

Student/Staff Showcase – Lenihan Intermediate School
Lenihan Intermediate School Principal Kyle Young presented a group of sixth graders that meet as part of a partnership between MCSD and Mid-Iowa Community Action known as the Teen Outreach Program (TOP).

“The goal of this group is to promote service learning opportunities and also some life skills,” Young said,

The group will organize a penny war before winter break to benefit the Animal Rescue League and House of Compassion.


Oath of Office
Mike Miller was elected to a one-year term on the board during the general election on November 8. He was given the oath by Board President Bea Niblock at the meeting. Miller was originally appointed by the board last January to fill a vacancy.



Kirk Niehouse, right and Jacque Wyant

Marshalltown High School art educator Kirk Niehouse has been selected to receive the Western Region Art Educator Award from the National Art Educators Association.

MHS Principal Jacque Wyant said Kirk does amazing things for students at the high school level, but also for students throughout the district and brings artists for the community. Niehouse talked about several art-related activities in the district.

Niehouse credited past art teachers and current art teachers at MHS for helping him earn the award.
“It took more than just me to do this,” Niehouse said.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

At Risk- Dropout Budget
Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Director of Instruction, presented the At-risk / dropout budget, which is $2.11 million (includes a 4 percent increase). Dr. Stevenson said there are five general ways we are intervening to address needs of at-risk students including 1. Credit content recovery, 2. Juvenile court liaisons, 3. Marshalltown Learning Academy, 4. In-school support services and 5. Literacy interventionists.

One of the main focal points is reducing the 12 percent of students who are chronically absent. The at-risk budget is funded by 75 percent property tax and 25 percent district funds.

Board members inquired about how the work is being quantified, what is the trend on many of the indicators and how the dollars are being used effectively. The board also talked about the district developing a plan to reach goals as part of the at-risk programming.

The board approved the $1,184,328 million tax portion of the budget.

For the presentation document, click here.

Transfinder License Agreement
Don Meyer, Director of Transportation, presented a proposal on a new transportation routing software program known as Transfinder. The district is paying approximately $12,000 a year for its current routing software.

Meyer said the Transfinder software would be $18,540 for the first year and $6,450 for every year after the first year. This program uses GPS programming to show pick up locations and appears to be more user friendly than the current software. The agreement was approved by the board.

Thank you to the board
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte thanked the board members for their involvement in the Roundhouse Phase 2 design meetings and the strategic planning community input meeting last week. On top of that, board members attended the Iowa Association of School Boards Conference last month.


Next regular meeting
The next board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“When you have a relatively ‘new’ board – 3 directors with just over a year of experience and 2 directors with less than a year of experience – it’s important for the board to learn together. The board has been learning together in a variety of ways.

The most recent of which was attendance at the Iowa Association of School Boards Conference in November. Directors heard nationally recognized speakers engage us on topics of equity, culture, and advocacy for public schools. Each director also attended a variety of break-out sessions during the 2 day conference. Three of the directors shared their learning with the rest of the board at the most recent meeting and 4 individuals will share at the next meeting.

Not only has the board benefited from this conference, but the board and central office staff have begun a book study to continue their learning together. “How Not to be a Terrible School Board Member” will be read and, then, discussed at subsequent board meetings.

Your board continues to learn together and to provide sound leadership for the district.” – Bea Niblock