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.

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