Vol. 12 | Issue 10

2 Jan

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MAP assessments used to inform instruction

The Board learned about the MAP assessment – or Measure of Academic Progress – during Monday’s meeting.

Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement, explained the tests to the Board, which have been used at secondary levels for several years in the district, but in the last three years have been given to students in grades 2 through 11.

“It’s a computerized adapted test,” Pecinovsky said. “[That] means students take them online and as students score them correctly they become more challenging and as they score incorrectly they become less challenging.”

Since each student receives different questions depending on how they answer, scores aren’t compared student-to-student. Instead, they’re compared to national norms called RIT scores.

Data collected on the MAP test is used to inform instruction. Teachers can look at a student’s RIT score in a subject area and using the Des Cartes Learning Continuum map out the skills and concepts they need to work on to be successful.

“We don’t have any other assessment we give that is online and is responsive to the students’ knowledge base,” Pecinovsky said.

The district is improving how it uses MAP assessments, including examining if data from MAP assessments can be used to predict performance on other exams like the Iowa Assessment.

District facilities projects remain on schedule

The hallway in the Fisher Elementary addition just days before students moved into the space in November. Students occupied the new addition so work could begin remodeling the original building.

Work on three district facilities projects remains on schedule.

District architect Dave Schulze and Buildings & Grounds Director Rick Simpson updated the Board on work at Fisher Elementary, Miller Middle School and Marshalltown High School Monday night.

Fisher Elementary, which is undergoing a major renovation, remodeling and addition, is still on track for completion of all site work by Aug. 10, 2012. In November part of the new addition was opened, with classes moving into the new space so work could continue in the existing building. Simpson said the process of phasing students into the new space is working well, allowing them to spot any issues in the new space a little at a time while students and teachers get acclimated.

Work on the second floor addition at MHS is on schedule for substantial completion on Jan. 20, with occupancy by Jan. 25.

The security and surveillance project at Miller and MHS is also on track, with current work including final adjustments on camera angles and preparation to formally train selected staff for use of the equipment.

Professional development day held Jan. 2

Monday, Jan. 2, wasn’t a school day for students, but instead a day of learning and collaboration for teachers.

Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement, told the Board about the many professional development sessions scheduled during the day, all connected to the five areas of the district Strategic Action Plan.

Many Sessions focused on Common Unit Design, literacy, and the Iowa Assessment (formerly the Iowa Test of Basic Skills). In the Iowa Assessment sessions, participants were able to work through the exam and how it is administered, with follow-up conversations about what it means for instruction.

“That was a great conversation today I had the opportunity to be a part of,” Pecinovsky said.

The District used EdJobs funding to pay teachers for their time. The full-day session was planned in order to keep teachers in the classroom with students instead of pulling them out intermittently throughout the year for training.


By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

In education we tend to speak more about the school year than the calendar year, yet tonight’s meeting included several references to the start of a new year – especially in the areas of construction and educational programs.

Construction in 2012 will include completion of the MHS second floor addition, the Fisher Elementary expansion and remodeling project, design work for renovating the Roundhouse, and an update to our long-term Capital Improvements Project list.

Educational programming will include expansion of preschool classrooms into all six elementary schools; and continued implementation of Common Unit Design, Sheltered Instruction, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, Response to Instruction and Intervention, and our Language Literacy Framework.  Additionally, the District’s Strategic Action Plan will remain the driving force behind District continuous improvement efforts – including reform plans of Marshalltown High School, Miller Middle School and Lenihan Intermediate School.

Much more will be accomplished in 2012 than was presented on this short list of items mentioned this evening.  I look forward to the challenge of MCSD exceeding community expectations during the new year as we “nurture students to become intellectually and personally empowered for citizenship in a changing world.”

Happy New Year.


By Kay Beach, Board President

As we listened to the reports regarding the progress of building/renovation projects currently underway in our schools, I couldn’t help feeling an immense sense of pride in the patrons of our district.

It’s been nearly ten years since voters passed a twenty-five million dollar bond issue for the purpose of upgrading facilities in the district.  I see that as a turning point in the history of Marshalltown; it was then that we as a community came together and said, in essence, that we believe in the future of Marshalltown. And with that vote we also indicated our belief in the value of education.

Today as we near the end of that long list of major facilities improvements, our educators are also coming together in a very purposeful way to make major improvements in the education that’s being delivered within those improved walls.  There is a sense of urgency and a strong renewal of the commitment to excellence in every facet of the educational program in our district.  Hang on to your hats; MCSD is taking off!


Ana Huerta, Fisher Bilingual Tutor; effective Dec. 16, 2011.

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