May 15, 2017 Board Meeting

16 May

Marshalltown High School staff and one student talked about the PIER Program at MHS, which helps students recover credits and puts them on track to graduation. Pictured, from left, are MHS student Alex Pruitt, Dan Terrones, Scott Johannes, Laurie Rink and Lydia Arevalo.

PIER Program at MHS
Dan Terrones, Lydia Arevalo, Scott Johannes, Laurie Rink  and student Alex Pruitt (10th grader) presented on this program which started this school year.
The PIER Program provides support for students who need direction or are at-risk of not graduating as this helps them earn credits. It provides for a smaller learning environment.
The program served 77 students served so far who have earned 668 semester credits.
Before this program, students in the program were surveyed and 65 percent indicated they were in fear of not graduating.
Now, 93 percent of students feel that graduation is going to happen, Johannes said.
“This is really an amazing program to allow students to recoup credits and get back on track as quickly as they have this year,” Arevalo said.
Alex said being able to go at his own pace is beneficial for him.



Founding members of the Marshalltown Auditorium Foundation were recognized at the board meeting. Pictured standing, from left, are Rex Ryden, Fran Hermanson, Dave Norris and Tommy Thompson. (Greg Brown not pictured). Seated are Nan Ryden and Betsy Macke.

Auditorium Foundation
Several Marshalltown Auditorium Foundation founding members were recognized at the board meeting for 35 years of service. A plaque with the founding members of the committee will be placed in the MHS/Community Auditorium.
Honored at the meeting included Tommy Thompson, Fran Hermanson, Rex Ryden, Dave Norris and Greg Brown (not present).
Foundation President Betsy Macke called this group “visionary community leaders” for their support of the first class auditorium facility at the high school.


MHS student Javier Ramirez and teacher Mike Lazere present on the ACE Mentors project.

MHS ACE Mentors project
MHS teacher Mike Lazere and student Javier Ramirez presented about a shelter being designed by the ACE mentors program.
ACE stands for Architecture, Construction and Engineering. Mentors from the community in these fields are working with students on a project to get a shelter designed and built on the cross country course at MCC in honor of retired athletic director Tim Bell.
“The hope is to maybe break ground as early as the fall,” Lazere said.
It’s possible MHS construction students will build the shelter.


Miller Middle School Extended Learning Program teacher Ann Jackson talks next to eighth grader Marek Jablonski. Marek presented his synchronized holiday light display project to the board.

Miller student holiday light display
Miller Middle School eighth grader Marek Jablonski was selected to present at the recent AEA Technology Conference. Marek created a synchronized holiday light display.
It took about four hours of coding per minute of song to program the display.
Marek, who was joined by MIller Middle School Extended Learning Program teacher Ann Jackson, shared the board a video of the display.

Personnel items
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.
Of note, Melissa Keeler is retiring as Franklin Elementary secretary after 41 years in the district.

Out of State Field Trip request (Chicago)
Tim Johnson, MHS teacher asked or permission for an out of state trip to Chicago June 7-9 for a trip of the Delegation for the Advancement of History.
Stops include The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and the Chicago Art Institute. It was approved by board.


MHS junior Jacqueline Wahl with her National History Day exhibit.

Out of State Field Trip Request (Maryland)
MHS teacher Susan Fritzell and Jacqueline Wahl presented. Wahl was named a national qualifier for National History Day, which will be held in College Park, Maryland in June 11-15.
“She has a passion for history, she has a passion for learning,” Fritzell said of Jacqueline.
Jacqueline presented her exhibit to the board.
The board approved the request.

2017 MHS graduates list
Principal Jacque Wyant presented a list of 312 MHS students on track for graduation. Graduation is May 28 at 2:30 p.m. at the MHS Roundhouse. (UPDATED SENIOR LIST AS OF 5-8-2017)

Alliant Energy Community Grant Award
This was a $2,000 grant accepted by the district to secure funds for supplies in the biomedical sciences as part of Project Lead the Way.

K-6 math curriculum adoption
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented the adoption timeline. Go Math was selected by the math curriculum team for  K-6. Adoption is 6 years with a total cost of $320,281. A total of 1,942 students will be served by this program. The budget approval will come back for the next meeting.

Teacher Leadership and Compensation System for 2017-18
Dr. Stevenson presented the list of TLC positions for 2017-18. Approved by the board.

Drivers Education Contractor
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz said they contracted out for a bid for these services. Three proposals were received and Test Drive was selected for a three-year contract to begin with the 2017-18 school year. It is led by Mark Bohan, who is current drivers ed instructor. The contract was approved by the board.

Clarity Survey Results
Instructional Design Specialist David Stanfield from a survey that analyzes technology
“It gives us measures to gauge our technology integration efforts,” Stanfield said.
Respondents included 402 staff and 2,849 students (grades 3-12).

Chromebook Replacement
Director of Technology Josh Wesley sought approval to pursue a purchase 1,805 Chromebooks and licensing and 17 additional carts. There are two different ACER Chromebooks.  Total cost includes $570,275. New replacements are for the elementary 3 & 4 grade students and 7th grade students.  Pre-K through 1st grade would have touch screen Chromebooks.
Concern was brought up by the board about the major expense of these Chromebooks and the problems that occur if students do not have home internet access. Other questions were also presented by the board.
The board approved for the district to pursue a possible purchase of Chromebooks. The board also approved the request by Mr. Wesley to suspend Board Policy 705.1. This would allow for the district to move forward with bids without the 15 day publishing notification.Bids will come back to board for possible approval.

E-Rate Update
Joshua Wesley, presented on the current status of the E-Rate filing process. MCSD has filed five 471 applications for Internet, fiber, telephone, wireless access points and firewall services. MCSD is waiting on funding commitment decision letters from USAC before proceeding with the purchase of a new firewall and wireless access points.

Forecast 5 (3-year agreement)
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented about this agreement. One tool currently being used is a financial forecast. Another tool to access to databases to do comparability studies was approved by the board.

Ratification of Salary Settlement for Food Service for 2017-18
Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis and District Attorney John Veldey presented this item. The total salary package increase is 3.42 percent, for a cost of  $29,891 to the district.

Ratification of Salary Settlement for Paraeducators for 2017-18
Included in this agreement is an overall salary package increase of 7.54 percent for a total cost of $200,778. This was a substantial increase in paraeducators pay this year as the district is on its way to make para pay more fair and equitable.

Board Policies

First reading-
401.8 – Recognition for Service of Employees- Revised to what is happening in the district. Amended and waived second reading
405.6 – Certification and Assignment- Changed to meet IASB standards. Amended and waived second reading
405.7- Transfers – Amended and waived second reading
405.10 – Access to Buildings- Changed to reflect current district practices – Amended and waived second reading
906  – Unmanned Aircraft- Drones- IASB policy and added FAA guidelines – Adopted and waived second reading.
906.R-1 – Unmanned Aircrafts- Drones Regulation – Adopted and waived second reading

Initial Review
405.12 – School Nurse functions- Minor wording adjustments- Will come back next meeting
406.1- Employee Salary Schedule- Added IASB language- Will come back next meeting
406.3- Licensed Employee – Professional Growth -IASB language- New policy replaces – Will come back
406.4- Licensed Employee Compensation for Extra Duty – Additional language added from IASB – Will come back
406.5- Licensed Employee Group Insurance Benefits- Changes made- to come back
406.6- Annuities- Policy will be rewrote by IASB- Tabled until IASB reworks it.
705.1- Purchasing- Taking out 15 days before bid opening publishing – To come back together with other bid policies in front of the board.

The board then went into exempt session for negotiations.

The next regular board meeting is June 5 at 5 p.m. in district offices. The board is planning a  for special board meeting on the strategic plan at 5 p.m on June 1.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The board had the pleasure of hearing from 4 high school staff members and a participating student regarding the PIER Program at MHS.  These individuals gave the board an opportunity to see what standards based instruction and individualized educational opportunities look like in practice.  Those strategies are used in a venue to help students recover credits to move with their class to the next grade or to graduate.

The students served in the program closely mirror the demographics of the high school.  This year, 77 students have been served with 20 seniors on track to graduate.  PIER is another opportunity provided to students in the MCSD who work and learn best in an alternative environment.

Student and parent comments indicated their appreciation for this program and the opportunity to recover credits and to walk across the stage and receive their diploma.” – Bea Niblock  

May 1, 2017 Board Meeting

2 May


Franklin Elementary School third grader Braylon Draisey talks to school board members Ross Harris and Janelle Carter during the student/staff showcase at the board meeting on May 1.

Student/staff Showcase – Franklin Elementary School
Franklin Principal Tim Holmgren led off the presentation and had students and staff introduce themselves. Dozens of students attended as well as their families and Franklin staff.

The presentation then went into Extended Learning Program students displaying the roving robot they programmed and the introduction of the Franklin Battle of the Books team which won the district contest recently.

The students then broke into groups and spotlighted the following at these grade levels.
Kindergarten –  Fluency/word work
1st –  Math fact games
2nd – Poetry and community experience at Iowa Veterans Home
3rd –  Personalized learning/Writing
4th –  Writing Conferences







May is School Board Recognition Month. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte recognized the school board members as part of this month.


Marshalltown School Board

Board President Bea Niblock recognized Andrew Potter for his school public relations association award for the Bobcat Pride 2017 video.

Ms. Niblock also read a proclamation for National Teacher Day which is May 9.

Dr. Theron Schutte said the district will be sending cookies to each of the buildings as part of National Teacher Day next Tuesday.

Thank you teachers and the school board!

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

Strategic Action plan update
Dr. Schutte presented a very preliminary draft of potential strategy areas as work continues on the next strategic action plan.
Input was gathered from community members, staff and students as part of Thought Exchange, also taken from other sources to come up with the very preliminary information.
The board plans to have a special work session on the topic in May as work continues on the plan.

Increase of Student Registration Fees for Miller Middle School and Marshalltown High School
Miller Middle School registration fees to increase from $50.00 to $60.00. Marshalltown High School and MLA registration fees to increase from $50.00 to $70.00. The elementary level will remain at $40.
Dr. Schutte said costs of materials and supplies continue to go up and the fees haven’t been adjusted to match these increases in recent years.
After asking several questions on these fee increases, the board approved them.

Ratification of Salary Settlement for Food Service
This item was tabled to allow time for district attorney to review the agreement, per the request of the board.

Ratification of Salary Settlement for Paraeducators
This item was tabled to allow time for district attorney to review the agreement, pre the request of the board.

MHS Roundhouse Phase II bid issuance
Director of Building and Grounds Brett Purvis and FEH architect Kevin Eipperle presented bid documents on the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse Phase 2 project.
The bid documents will be issued to contractors and posted on the district website with bid opening planned for May 30.
It’s possible board approval on bids will occur at the June 5 board meeting, which will also include a public hearing on the project.
The board approved the bid document issuance and the notice of public hearing.

Board Policies
First Reading
404.1 – Employee Appearance- No changes- Approved
404.1-R – Employee Dress Code – Approved
404.1 -R-2 -Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics Regulation- New regulation incorporating BOEE code of conduct and ethics for licensed employees Approve
404.1-R-3 – Code of Rights and Responsibilities Regulation – New regulation incorporating  BOEE code of conduct and ethics for licensed employees
402.6 – Staff Technology Use/ Social Networking (New) – Adopted
402.6 R- Staff Technology Use/Social Networking Regulation (New) Adopted
604.1 – Student Guidance and Counseling Program –  Changes and additions made in relationship to equity visit – Adopted by board
604.1-.R – Student Guidance and Counseling Program – Regulation -Changes and additions made in relationship to equity visit – Adopted by board

Initial Review
405.5 – Licensed Employee Work Day – Marked as reviewed
405.6 -Certification and Assignment- Changes combination of Certification and Assignment policy from IASB – To come back for reading at next meeting
405.7 -Transfers – Changes made to add part of IASB policy – To come back for next meeting
405.8 – Evaluation-  Marked as reviewed
405.10 – Access to Buildings-  Minor adjustments to wording to match current practices – To come back for next meeting
405.11 – Teacher – Functions-  Marked as reviewed.
906 – Unmanned Aircrafts- Drones- New policy matching IASB policy- To come back next meeting
906.R-1-Unmanned Aircrafts- Drones Regulation

The board then went into exempt session for negotiations.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“A proclamation was issued at the board meeting recognizing all teachers.  National Teachers’ Day, May 9th, is a day that the teachers of the district will be honored.  On that day I ask that you remember the teachers who made a significant contribution to your own life, as well as the teachers in Marshalltown who, daily, take the challenge of educating the youth of our community.
As Rita Pierson, renowned educator, stated, ‘Every child deserves a champion; an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power and connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.’
Thanks, Marshalltown educators.  You are, indeed, champions of children.” – Bea Niblock

April 17, 2017 Board Meeting

18 Apr

Woodbury Elementary School students are pictured presenting to board member Ben Fletcher, left. Reading at center is Nintee Tarr. Also pictured is Woodbury music teacher Sarah Wherry and students Jezell Ruiz and Max Reed. Woodbury students presented in small groups as part of the Student/Staff showcase at the April 17, 2017 board meeting.



Applebee’s general manager Doug Chaloupek presents a check for $5,050 to MHS student Olivia Ryan for the MHS prom.

Doug Chaloupek, general manager of Applebee’s restaurant, presented a check of $5,050 to Olivia Ryan of student senate for MHS prom. The restaurant raised the money during a Bobcat night recently.

Marshalltown High School art teachers Kirk Niehouse and Wade Judge and three MHS students presented a recap of the art trip to Chicago, which was March 25. The group visited The Metropolitan Museum of Mexican Art, The Chicago Art Institute and Millennium Park.


MHS art teachers Wade Judge, left, and Kirk Niehouse, recognize student Jill Podhajsky for her awards from the recent CIML art show.

MHS student Jill Podhajsky was recognized as she received a Best in Show award at the recent CIML conference art show.


The next Fisher Elementary Principal Mark Lee is introduced to the board via Google Hangouts.

The next Fisher Elementary School Principal Mark Lee was introduced via video conferencing from Alaska.
“There’s tremendous opportunity as well as great things going on in Marshalltown as well as Fisher Elementary,” Lee said.
For more information on Mr. Lee’s appointment, click here.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here


Woodbury kindergartner Brooklynn Hazen reads to board member Sean Heitmann.

Student/Staff showcase from Woodbury Elementary School
Woodbury Principal Anel Garza led off the presentation by the school.
“This year we made it a goal to set accelerated growth with every student in our building.” Garza said.
Garza said they have very dedicated teachers at Woodbury.
Students and staff broke into groups and visited board members to talk about their goals and their work at the school.


School librarians including Sue Inhelder and Jeni Sloan (seated) presented to the board.

School librarians presentation
Teacher librarians in the district presented to the board including Sue Cahill, Bruce Lawrence, Jeni Sloan, Beth Steffa, Sue Inhelder, Erin Faas and Alicia Patten. April is school library month.
Hoglan students presented projects including Cuong Nguyen – kindergarten, Thaw Ta Soe – 3rd grade and Lily Marquess – 4th grade.
Sue Inhelder presented a video with photos from Miller and MHS focused on technology in action in learning.

2017-18 STEM Scale-up
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented about the STEM Scale-up grant and an update on STEM teacher positions. Three new STEM K-4 science teachers to implement elementary Project Lead the Way are being hired for the fall. Also, 99 educators will be able to participate in ST math professional development.
More information will come out in the future on how to get teachers trained and curriculum implemented, Stevenson said. The district is investigating options for funding to get this program off and running.

2017-18 Military Science & Leader Education Course (Marshalltown Learning Academy)
MLA Principal Eric Goslinga MHS Principal Jacque Wyant  presented this proposal for a full elective credit class at MLA. Goslinga said 5-7 percent of students might choose the military as a career path.
Wyant also presented addendums to the school course guide that will include this as well as to replace a pre-algebra course to a two-year algebra 1 course.
The course was approved by the board.

MHS Athletic and Activities brochure
Activities Director Rollie Ackerman presented this brochure, which was recently printed.
Ackerman said they were  looking for ways of letting students know about the different activities that go on at Marshalltown High School to get more participation.
The brochure also includes the eligibility policies for student athletes.
“I think we offer enough programs at the high school for every student to find their own niche,” Ackerman said.

Food Service meal prices for the 2017-18 school year
Director of Food Service Lynn Large presented the meal prices for the 2017-18 school year. Elementary meals will again be at no charge for all students.
Secondary breakfast will be up 10 cents from $1.50  to $1.60, Secondary lunch will go up 10 cents from $2.45 to $2.55. Adult breakfast will go up 5 cents to $1.85 and adult lunch will go up 15 cents to $3.65. The board approved the meal prices.

Board policies
501.12- Transfers out or Withdrawals – Approved waived second reading
502.2- Search and Seizure – Approved waived second reading
501.16- Homeless Children and Youth – Approved waived second reading

405.3 – Licensed Employee Individual Contracts- Reviewed
405.4 – Licensed Employee Continuing Contracts – Reviewed

402.6 – Staff technology use/Social Networking- New technology/ soclal media policy based on IASB with some aspects of old MCSD policy mixed in.  Approved
402.6 -R – Staff Technology Use/Social Networking Regulation – New regulation based on IASB. Approved
405.3 – License Employee Individual Contracts – Marked as reviewed
405.4 –  Licensed Employee Continuing Contracts – Marked as reviewed

404.1 -Employee Conduct and Appearance-  to come back for first reading
404.1.R1-Employee Dress Code – To come back for first reading
404.1R2 – Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics Regulation -To come back for first reading
404.1R3 -Code of Rights and Responsibilities Regulation – To come back for first reading
These  policies will be moved to a separate agenda item.

403.5  – Harassment-Employees – Reviewed
403.5- R -Harassment-Employees – (Investigation Regulation)- Reviewed
403.6 – Marked as reviewed
403.6- R1 -Substance-Free Workplace Regulation- Marked as reviewed
403.6 E1- Substance-Free Workplace Notice to Employees- Marked as reviewed

604.1 – Student Guidance and Counseling Program – To come back for first reading
604.1R -Student Guidance and Counseling Program Regulation- To come back for first reading


This Anson Park parking lot will be the future site of the bus transfer for the district.

City of Marshalltown Lease Agreement
This is a lease agreement with the school district and the city to use the Anson Park parking lot on the east side as the next bus transfer location. The current bus transfer location will be the future home of the new police and fire building.
The lease is a $1 per year for 10 years. Initial improvements to the site will be made by the district including the removal of concrete barriers (dividers) in the parking lot.
The city will have to have a public hearing and bring the lease before council for approval.
The school board approved the lease agreement.

Meeting report
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, Board member Janelle Carter and Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis talked about information they received at a Iowa Association of School Board collective bargaining information session.

Exempt session
The board then entered into an exempt session for negotiations.

The next regular meeting of the school board will be at 5 p.m. May 1 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“What a busy, packed agenda we had at last night’s meeting! The seating in the board room was in an overflow capacity. There were many presentations to be made and many students, staff and families were present for those presentations.

That is what makes the board agenda a treat for board members – hearing from the staff and students of the district. Students from the high school art department were present to share the benefits of their trip to Chicago, Jill Podhajsky received art awards, Applebee’s presented a check to the prom committee, students from Woodbury presented their growth goals and achievements to individual board members, students made presentations of media projects that they were working on and we were able to meet the new Fisher Elementary principal, Mark Lee, through the wonders of Google Hangouts.

Isn’t it great for board members to be involved in the wonderful events happening throughout the district?” – Bea Niblock

April 3, 2017 Board Meeting

4 Apr

Rogers Group.jpg

Several Rogers Elementary School staff, students and families are pictured at the school board meeting on April 3. Rogers presented the student/staff showcase at the event.


Donovan Gavagan

Marshalltown High School freshman Donovan Gavagan was recognized for being selected to be part of the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders, which is this summer in Boston.
He was selected for his outstanding academic record and leadership potential. Donovan is interested in working in the medical field.


Lenihan Intermediate School custodian Roger Johnson, right, presents Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte with a plaque at the board meeting. Johnson is a veteran and wanted to thank Dr. Schutte for honoring the veterans last fall.

Veterans Roger Johnson and Matt Tullis recognized Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte for recognizing staff who are veterans on Veterans Day last fall. Johnson is custodian at Lenihan and Tullis is a special education teacher. Johnson had a plaque made to honor Dr. Schutte and gave it to the superintendent at the meeting.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

An addition to the personnel list was the approval of the announcement of the next Fisher Elementary School principal.

That role will go to Mark Lee, who is a current elementary principal in Sitka, Alaska. Lee’s annual salary is $92,000 plus $2,000 in moving expenses if he chooses to reside in district boundaries.

He has a wide rage of previous teaching experience including three years in the Spokane, Washington Public Schools with a background focusing in music, special education and reading.

Mr. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Concordia University and holds three master’s degrees including one in educational leadership and administration from Western Governors University in Washington.

Student/Staff Showcase- Rogers Elementary School
Rogers Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen said he brought  “12 future star” students to the meeting along with staff members. Chelsea Kasal, Julie Underhill, Erin Faas and Deb Christenson. Several Rogers families were also in attendance as part of the busload Rogers brought to the meeting.

Second graders read biographies on famous people such as Helen Keller and  Alexander Graham Bell.


Rogers second graders presented, from left, Sherlyn Gutierrez Arce, Thomas Lian, Van Cin and Alejandra Granados Raya and teacher Julie Underhill and Chelsea Kasal.

Three fourth graders led by Extended Learning Program Teacher Deb Christenson presented a Lego STEM project. They built and programmed a mechanical finish line and race cars.

Rogers Lego.jpg

LEGO STEM presentation by Rogers students, from left, Alexis Garcia Vasquez, Shawn Hagele and Matthew Scharpenter and Rogers Extended Learning Program teacher Deb Christenson.

Erin Faas brought the Battle of the Books team from Rogers, The team answered questions from Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, who himself is a former Rogers Elementary School student. The team will compete in the district Battle of the Books on April 20.


Rogers Battle of the Books team with Rogers teacher librarian Erin Faas.

2017 Bus Bids
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz presented bus bids. The board approved the purchase of two 77-passenger buses and one 65-passenger bus from Hoglund Bus Company of Marshalltown. The district also traded in three buses.
“This is our normal trade-in procedure,” Bartz said.
Total cost was $228,341

Ratification of Salary Settlement for Buildings and Grounds for 2017-18
The wage increase is at 2.77 percent with a total package increase 1.65 percent, as the district is contributing less to insurance on their plan than previously. It was approved by the board

Certified Budget 2017-18
A public hearing for budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year was held. The 2017-18 budget sets the levy rate at $17.9493 per thousand assessed valuation. The levy rate lowered three cents from the current year.
Bartz said this levy rate puts the district in good shape going forward. The board approved certified budget.

Board Policies

Second Reading
314.1       Administrator Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program – Adjusted date to Oct. 30 – Approved
401.12     Employee Use of Cell Phones – adjusted to correlate with current practice – Approved
401.12-R  Employee Use of Cell Phones – Administrative Regulation – Approved
402.2       Child Abuse Reporting – Adjusted to coincide with IASB policy – Approved
402.2-R    Child Abuse Reporting – Regulation – Approved
407.6       Licensed Teaching Staff Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program – Adjusted date to Oct. 30 – Approved
413.7       Twelve-Month Secretary Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program – Adjusted date to Oct. 30 – Approved

First reading
501.10     Open Enrollment – Receiving District – In line with IASB – Approved waived second reading
501.10-R  Open Enrollment – Receiving District Regulation – In line with IASB – Approved, Waived second reading
501.11     Transfers In – In line with IASB – Approved, approved waived second reading
501.16 Old    Homeless Children and Youth – Dropping policy
501.16 New   Homeless Children and Youth – To come back
502.2 Old  Search and Seizure – Dropping policy
502.2 New Search and Seizure – To come back

Initial reading

402.6- R- Employee Social Media Expectations and Guidelines – Working on new policy  table
402.6-R-1- Employee Social Media Expectations and Guidelines – Working on new policy – table
403.1 – Employee Physical Examinations- Marked as reviewed
403.3 – Communicable Diseases – Mark as reviewed
403.4- Hazardous Chemicals to Know – Marked as reviewed

The board then went into an exempt session for negotiations.

The board will meet on Wednesday, April 12 at 5 p.m.  for a work session on standards based grading.

The next regular board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on April 17

From School Board President Bea Niblock

“Spring brings budget work. Budget work brings discussion of property taxes. And discussion of property taxes brings discussion of the certified budget for the 2017-18 school year.

Yesterday’s board meeting was preceded by a public hearing for the 2017-18 budget. Hearing no remarks from the community, the board approved the certified budget as presented by district Finance Director, Brian Bartz.

That approval is the first step in the process of district administration in determining the line item budget for the next academic year. Soon the budget will be completed in all areas and district directors, building administrators and department chairs can begin the process of creating their own individual budgets within the overall certified budget. A long process has just begun.” – Bea Niblock

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