Archive | December, 2011

Vol. 12 | Issue 9

19 Dec

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Durrant Group named architect for Roundhouse project

Durrant Group, Inc., will be the architect for the renovation, refurbishment and expansion of the MHS Roundhouse.

Durrant, a firm with offices in Des Moines, was recommended to the Board by the Design Advisory Committee: a group of board members, community members and district personnel.

The DAC received proposals from seven firms and selected four to interview. Each firm had an hour and a half presentation/interview with the DAC last week before the decision was made.

“This committee and this group of people we’ve met in this experience has been outstanding,” said Mike Lewis, senior vice president of Durrant who will serve as principal in charge of the project. “The Roundhouse is fabulous and we look forward to making it even better.”

District to apply for competency-based instruction waiver

Marshalltown Schools will apply for a competency-based instruction waiver from the Department of Education.

The waiver would allow the district flexibility with the definition of “units” and “credits” as defined in Chapter 12 of Iowa Code. Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement, told the Board this waiver would let the district look at different ways students can earn credits and demonstrate mastery of a subject.

The waiver was just announced by the state on Dec. 8 and is due by Jan. 1. Dr. Pecinovsky told the Board she’s excited for the flexibility to begin looking at new and innovative ways to meet the needs of students at all ability levels and position Marshalltown Schools as leaders in the State of Iowa.

“When we look at this district being a district of choice we want to position ourselves to be ahead of things in the state,” she said.

Once the District receives formal approval, Dr. Pecinovsky said work would begin on developing plans for small-scale pilot programs.

Lego League teams headed to state

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The two FIRST Lego League teams heading to the state competition came before the Board Monday night, sharing some of their presentation and project highlights.

Lenihan’s Extended Learning Program team won the overall Championship, in a field of 32 Central Iowa teams, by earning the highest combined scores in all four competition categories:  Robot Challenge, Technical Interview, Research Presentation, and FLL Core Values.  Members of Team Mu are sixth graders: Joseph Anguiano, Joshua Arment, Lucas Duff, Maggie Grimm, Jill Podhajsky, and Martin Runquist.

The 2011-2012 FLL theme is “Food Factor”. Throughout the fall semester, the team has researched milk production and possible bacterial contamination points.  Based on this research, the students wrote a project presentation, designed an innovative solution to the contamination problem, and compiled an annotated bibliography of their research sources.

The “Space Unicorns” from Miller Middle School won a trophy in Project Presentation, where teams explore an actual problem that scientists are trying to solve, develop an innovative solution, and share their findings.

This year’s theme is “Food Factor”, and the Space Unicorns’ project focused on the use of lasers in chicken processing as a means of reducing microbial contamination. The team includes Mary Drummer, Nick Summers, Whitney Canaday, Juliana Osgood, Tim Potter, Jacob Ramsey Smith, James Drummer, and Ethan Thill.  Joel Thill assists as a tech coach.

Both teams will compete at the state tournament Jan. 14, 2012, at Iowa State University.

Change orders approved

Change orders for the Fisher Elementary project and the MHS second floor addition were approved.

The Fisher project is 60 percent complete and the MHS project is 91 percent complete. Both projects are within the budget set aside in the project to cover change orders.

The Board also approved a change order to add security cameras at the bus barn and the parking lot north of Marshalltown Learning Academy.


By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

A highlight of tonight’s meeting was the opportunity to meet teams from Lenihan and Miller that will compete at the state FIRST LEGO League contest in January.

The students from “Team Mu” and “Space Unicorns” provided informative and entertaining award-winning presentations – and linked academic knowledge with practical experience gained through participation in one of MCSD’s many clubs, teams and organizations.  Continued support of these activities is important to MCSD because they contribute to the development of well-rounded individuals: Researchers report that involved students tend to be more self-confidence and to have higher educational ambitions as the result of increased opportunities to learn how to work together with others, to communicate, to manage time, and to resolve conflict.


By Kay Beach, Board President

One a School Board’s roles is to develop and work toward a vision for the district—a picture of what they have as a goal for their schools—so this evening’s Board Development time was spent brainstorming on that topic.

The ideas that were voiced  included:  “a district of choice—a destination district,”  “a district where diversity is recognized as an opportunity instead of a challenge, “a district that finds each child’s individual gift and then helps them realize their full potential,” “a district that recognizes and nurtures the value of caring adults in each child’s life,” “a district where students are truly and fully engaged in learning,” and “a district which nurtures an atmosphere of respect among students and teachers.”  I believe that all of these attributes are present to some degree in our district right now, and I am confident that we are continually working toward strengthening these positive attributes. I just wish that more people would celebrate the GOOD in our schools and fewer people would dwell on the problems that still exist.


Heather Smith, Rogers paraeducator, Dec. 9, 2011.
Melinda Krull, Hoglan paraeducator, Dec. 4, 2011.
Melody Bennett, Franklin paraeducator, Dec. 6, 2011.
Alyson Rowley, Miller paraeducator, effective Dec. 29, 2011.
Aaron Shipley, Special Olympics Coordinator, effective May 31, 2011.

Megan Morrow, Anson ELL teacher. Start date TBD; Salary: BA Step 5 $38,909.
Jordan Johnson, Franklin paraeducator. Start date: Dec. 20, 2011; Salary: $9.48/hour.
Julie Brewer, MHS paraeducator. Start date: Jan. 3, 2012; Salary: $8.47/hour.
Mary Hassenwinkle, Lenihan paraeducator. Start date: Dec. 20, 2011; Salary: $8.47/hour.
Stephanie Farrell, MHS head cheerleading coach. Start date: Dec. 19, 2011; Salary: $1435.52.
Jessica Hargrave, bus driver. Start date: Nov. 14, 2011; Salary: $3295.30.
Sarah Rodriguez, MLA paraeducator. Start date: Jan. 3, 2012; Salary: $9.48/hour.

Change of Contract
Kara Swaim, Franklin paraeducator. Start date: Dec. 20, 2011. Change to 7 hours/day (6 hours/day on Wednesdays).


First ReadingSecond reading waived.
202.5 Board of Directors’ Conflict of Interest, waive second reading; 401.2 Employee Conflict of Interest; 701.4 Governmental Accounting Practices and Regulations; 705.1 Purchasing.

804.2 and 804.2R Video Surveillance and Electronic Monitoring, change policy so recordings are held 18 days instead of 30 days.

Vol. 12 | Issue 8

5 Dec

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Nine educators take advantage of early retirement program

Nine district employees will take advantage of the voluntary early retirement incentive this year.

Human Resources Director Lisa Koester told the Board the nine early retirements and one regular retirement represented 255 years of educating in Marshalltown Schools. Besides the 10 teachers retiring, there was also one food service retirement.

The window to take the early retirement incentive for 2011-2012 closed Dec. 1. On Nov. 21 the Board approved continuing the early retirement program in the 2012-2013 school year. The deadline to take advantage of that program is Dec. 1, 2012.


Lois Eige
Title I, Woodbury
27 years

Pat Fowler
Math, Miller
32 years

Diane Lewis
Special Ed, Hoglan
21 years

Peggy Lynch
Language Arts, Miller
35 years

Pat Pistorius
Grade 6, Lenihan
17 years

Marcia Plett
K-4 ELP, Fisher/Rogers/Woodbury
26.5 years

Joan Smith
Title I, Woodbury
16 years

Connie Stansberry
Grade 3, Anson
39 years

Carol Webb
Art, Miller
14.75 years

Linda Stephens*
Language Arts, Miller
27 years

Elizabeth Schmidt*
Food Service, MHS
28.5 years

*Regular retirees not part of the voluntary early retirement program

Blue Zones project receives Board support

The Board lent its support to Marshalltown’s Blue Zones Community initiative by passing a resolution Monday night.

“This is an important initiative for our community and I think a unique opportunity for the state of Iowa,” said Carol Hibbs, who with Kim Schryver serves as a co-chair on the Healthier Communities Coalition.

The Blue Zones project stems from work by National Geographic identifying the places in the world where people live long, happy lives. Marshalltown is one of 58 communities invited to compete to be one of three or four selected to work with the Blue Zones team.

West bus barn set for demolition

The Board approved the demolition of the west bus barn.

The building is located along Linn Creek and 12th Street and has not been utilized as a bus barn for some time since newer buses are too large to fit into the bays. The building was on a low priority list for demolition until the July windstorm damaged it.

Part of the building will remain as storage for snowplow blades and some buildings and grounds storage.

Board discusses Instructional Support Levy

The Board discussed the Instructional Support Levy Monday night.

The Instructional Support Levy provides support for general fund programs. In Marshalltown Schools the primary use is for the purchase of textbooks and related instructional materials ($340,000), funding the student information system ($50,000), funding building budget allocations ($990,000), and information technology ($617,000).

Director of Business Operations Kevin Posekany told the Board Marshalltown Schools have had the levy in place for many years and about 98 percent of schools in Iowa do as well.

Notes from the Superintendent

By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

Recent research indicates that physical and emotional health issues of students are seriously impacting attendance, academic performance, school safety and dropout rates across the country. Our district is addressing these concerns with efforts such as Safe Schools/Healthy Students – and tonight’s Board Resolution in support of Marshalltown becoming a Blue Zones Community.

If Marshalltown is selected as one of the three or four initial Blue Zones Communities, national experts will provide us with substantial assistance in developing a plan that will improve the quality of life for our students, their families and our entire community.

A key criteria for selection is support from 25 percent of community members who are 13 years or older. You can help our community meet this goal by adding your name to the list of residents who support Marshalltown as a Blue Zones Community. There is no financial cost and the only commitment of time is a few minutes to go online or to send a text.

I encourage you to join thousands of other Marshalltown residents who have committed to the Blue Zones Project. By strengthening partnerships with our community, MCSD significantly increases its ability to help our children thrive academically, physically, socially and emotionally.

Support the Blue Zones Project

Go to
Click on “I’m a Citizen”
Answer the questions
Remember to include our 50158 zip code

Text BZP to 772937

Notes from the Board

By Kay Beach, Board President

For quite a few years now MCSD has been offering qualifying teachers an early retirement incentive, and this year nine veteran teachers have indicated a desire to take advantage of this program at the end of this school year.  A total of ten teachers have indicated that they intend to make this their last year of teaching.  These ten teachers represent a total of 255 years of teaching experience!  It is mind-boggling to contemplate the number of lives that have been positively impacted by these professional educators.  The professional expertise, the wisdom, and the dedication represented by this kind of longevity in a profession are not easy to replace; and, on behalf of all the Board, I want to thank each of these teachers for their service to our community.  Education offers the pathway to success in life, and those responsible for guiding our young people along that pathway provide an invaluable contribution, not only to their students, but to society as a whole.


Second Reading: 804.2, 804.2-R, 804.2-E Video Surveillance and Electronic Monitoring (policy, regulations & exhibits), approved.
First Reading: 204.3 Closed Sessions, changes made to reflect changes in Iowa Code, waive second reading.


Deb Harrelson, Bus Monitor, effective Nov. 1, 2011.
Ashley Martinez, Franklin paraeducator, effective Nov. 28, 2011.
Tabitha Meyers, Lenihan paraeducator, effective Dec. 9, 2011.

Ryan Williams, MHS Drum line Coach/Instructor. Start date: Sept. 15, 2011; Salary: $1675/year.
Stephanie Ferguson, MHS paraeducator. Start date: Dec. 6, 2011; Salary: $9.48/hour.
Yawo Sassouvi, MHS custodian. Start date: Dec. 6, 2011; Salary: $12.50/hour 12/6/11-6/5/12; $13/hour 6/6/12-6/30/12.
Aimee Eitel, Franklin paraeducator. Start date: Jan. 3, 2012. Salary: $8.47/hour.
Shontell Stanton: Franklin paraeducator. Start date: Dec. 6, 2011; Salary: $9.48/hour.
Tayler Bovenmyer, MHS paraeducator. Start date: Jan. 3, 2012; Salary: $9.48/hour.
Ashlea Dall, MHS paraeducator. Start date: Dec. 6, 2011; Salary: $9.48/hour.

Change of Contract
Alison Brezina, bus driver. Start date: Nov. 8, 2011. Change to $755.91/month.
Dick Paxson, bus driver. Start date: Nov. 15, 2011. Change to $9.85/hour.
Celene Anderson, Woodbury paraeducator. Start date: Nov. 16, 2011; Salary to $8.47/hour, 6.5 hours/day Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 5.5 hours Wednesday.