Volume 12 | Issue 4

3 Oct

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STEP introduces high school students to philanthropy

Members of Students Teaching & Empowering Philanthropy or STEP (L to R) Teresa Miller, Riley Willman, Lainey Crawford and Dan Martin, discuss how their organization supports numerous programs in Marshalltown.

Students representing STEP (Students Teaching & Empowering Philanthropy) came before the Board Monday night to discuss their organization’s work in the community.

STEP was formed during the 2010-2011 school year with the goal of engaging youth in philanthropy and giving in the community. The program is sponsored by the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation and the Community Foundation of Marshall County.

Students develop their own grant application process and reach out to local non-profit organizations. Last year the group received five applications and were able to divide their $5,000 between them. Applicants must be agencies with projects or programs that include youth. Preference is given to “applicants that address social, academic, cultural and/or recreational issues.”

In the first year STEP included 20 members ranging from sophomores to seniors at Marshalltown High School. This year the group includes 22 members.

Any MHS student is able to apply to be member.

2010-2011 STEP Grant Recipients

House of Compassion – $1,400 to help stock their Supply Closet

Child Abuse Prevention Services – $1,000 for safety items as part of the Building Healthy Families program

Marshall Co. Conservation Board – $920 for Skis for Kids program

Marshalltown Community Concert Association – $850 for the Star Encore program

Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance – $830 for kids activities at the 2011 Linn Creek Arts Festival


Professional development schedule keeps teachers in the classroom

Dr. Susan Pecinovsky showed the Board detailed plans Monday for District professional development.

“We worked very hard last spring to design professional development that does not pull teachers out of the classroom,” said Pecinovksy, associate superintendent for student achievement.

The District added an additional day of PD to the beginning of the school year in August and added one mid-year on Jan. 2, 2012. Those, combined with the full-day Sept. 30, 2011, and Feb. 3, 2012, in-service days will provide staff with necessary training while keeping them in the classroom providing quality instruction.

Teacher PD focuses on four main areas:

  • Common Unit Design – ensuring students across a grade level/subject area receive the same instruction
  • Sheltered Instruction Operation Protocol (SIOP) – method for structured teaching allowing all students to increase access to curriculum – particularly students with language barriers
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) – Articulate expectations and structures and procedures to create sense of order and community; MMS/MHS starts work in January/February – Elementary schools already on it
  • Language/Literacy Framework – looking at balanced instruction of reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing

Administrators will also have regularly-scheduled PD, which includes work to become stronger leaders, focus on how to use data to inform instruction, and a book study.


Board reviews facilities plans

Work on Fisher Elementary and Marshalltown High School are on schedule, according District Architect Dave Schulze.

Schulze and Buildings & Grounds Director Rick Simpson gave the Board an update on the district facilities plan Monday night. Schulze said work on the MHS second floor classroom addition should be completed on schedule in early 2012 and the Fisher Elementary renovation, remodel and addition should be completed by August 2012.

Schulze and Simpson touched on many of the other projects in the facilities plan as well, including moving Central Office to the Support Services building (formerly Anson Middle School) and renovation of the Miller Middle School Auditorium and MHS Roundhouse.


Change orders approved for Fisher, MHS projects

The Board approved change orders for two ongoing construction projects.

A change order for Phase II of the Fisher Elementary project was approved for $19.462.33. This included lighting and mechanical adjustments and a tree removal and replacement.

A change order for the Marshalltown High School second floor classroom addition was approved for $25,056. This included changes by the fire marshal and other adjustments.



By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

Tonight, Dr. Pecinovsky presented information showing how professional development is an important part of our district improvement effort. Later in the evening the Board of Education demonstrated a similar commitment by choosing to make “Board Development” a regular agenda item for MCSD board meetings.

The Board reviewed its recommendations for the 2012 legislative session, as well as ten questions board members can ask in almost any situation to promote informed decision-making:

1. What is our policy?

2. What is our current practice?

3. If there is a precedent what is it?

4. Is there any legal guidance in this matter?

5. Do we have adequate background information?

6. What input is there from appropriate staff and stakeholders?

7. What are options and alternatives?

8. What is the Administrative recommendation?

9. Does this contribute to our mission and vision

10. Is this in the best interest of MCSD students?



By Kay Beach, Board President

This evening Dr. Susan Pecinovsky outlined the professional development that has been planned for the current school year for both teachers and administrators.

Recently someone asked me, when I mentioned professional development in our conversation about the schools, “Why do they need professional development?  Don’t they already know how to teach?”   Tonight’s presentation answered that question so well, pointing out all of the different strategies that our teachers are employing in reaching students of varying abilities and backgrounds, making sure that all students end up with a sound educational foundation—and that the education is delivered in a safe, secure environment in which learning can thrive.

This year’s program is especially good because much of the material was covered during two days of pre-opening workshops, thus preserving precious in-the-classroom time for teachers.

Administrators, too, are constantly learning the strategies that their teachers use and also studying ways to collect and use data to strengthen instruction.

Improving student achievement means more and harder work for both students and their mentors.




Laurie Buchwald, Fisher Literacy Intervention Tutor, effective Oct. 5, 2011.
Jill Biggs, MHS paraeducator, effective Oct. 5, 2011.


Haley Williams, MHS paraeducator, effective Sept. 2, 2011.


Kristine Fisher, Miller paraeducator, start date: Oct. 3, 2011. Salary: $9.48/hour.
Patricia Nevarez, Franklin paraeducator, start date: Oct. 10, 2011. Salary: $8.47/hour.

Change of Contract

Kayleen Schwartsenburg, Miller paraeducator, start date: Aug. 22, 2011. Change from time sheet to contract.

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