Archive | June, 2012

Vol. 12 | Issue 21

18 Jun

View PDF version here.

District begins partnership with UNI’s Jacobson Center

The University of Northern Iowa’s Richard O. Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy has selected Marshalltown Schools to take part in its Partnership in Comprehensive Literacy (PCL).

“We’re one of the few districts in the state that’s going to be moving this work forward,” said Dr. Susan Pecinovksy, associate superintendent for student achievement.

Pecinovsky and several principals and literacy coaches traveled to Council Bluffs earlier this year to see the positive impact of the literacy program. Council Bluffs schools, while twice the size of Marshalltown, have similar demographics and were also had several Schools In Need of Assistance (SINA). There, the district partnered with the University of Arkansas to reconfigure literacy instruction. The result was dynamic instruction and student learning that consistently pushed scores up and the buildings off SINA lists.

The research from Arkansas is the foundation of the work at the Jacobson Center. So far Marshalltown has received funding to train three literacy coaches and one district-level coach. The District has applied for funding to train three additional teachers.

The PCL model has 10 distinct features: a framework for literacy, model classrooms, high standards, comprehensive assessment system, system interventions, collaborative learning teams, well-designed literacy plan, technology for learning and spotlighting and advocacy.

This fall the three trained coaches will being working at Hoglan, Anson and Franklin elementary schools, with the goal of adding three more (or one per elementary) by 2013-2014.

More information about the Jacobson Center can be found at

New math courses designed for Special Education students

Newly configured math instruction will help meet the diverse needs Special Education students.

Dr. Ken Hayes, associate principal at Marshalltown High School, and Pam Brewer-Michael, MHS chemistry teacher and Common Unit Design facilitator, described the revamped curriculum to the Board. It relies on the use of Wikis, or online sites to allow students with different skill levels in different areas of mathematics to work in the same classroom.

Brewer-Michael said a curriculum team comprised of Special Education teachers from MHS and Miller and math content teachers did lot of research while developing these wikis, including studying district data, examining other models and reading about best practices.

“This new system is going to allow students to start where they need to be and if they can advance quickly through an algebra strand they’ll be able to do that,” Brewer-Michael said.

Students will have online accounts where they can access teacher-created instructional videos designed for specific content and skill-level. Pre- and post-testing will help teacher monitor progress. When students aren’t making the expected progress, small-group and one-on-one teaching will take place in the same classroom.

There will be seven sections of the class this fall, with no more than 17 students in a section. Hayes said the structure has made scheduling simpler for these students, since the diversified online instruction allows students at various skill levels to be in the same section.

Board reviews baseline data on kindergarten readiness

Associate Superintendent Susan Pecinovksy presented baseline information on kindergarten readiness, one of the facets of the Strategic Action Plan.

Objective 1 of the SAP is to improve academic performance, so monitoring kindergarten readiness as defined and measured by the Gold Assessment gives the district a clear picture how students are prepared for learning.

The Gold Assessment is given to all students in the District preschool program and measures age-appropriate skills including social-emotional development, physical/fine motor skills, language, cognitive skills, literacy and mathematics.

Pecinovksy said breaking the Gold Assessment down into these categories allows the District to identify specific areas where more instruction needs to occur.

Memberships, admin salaries approved

Salary increases for district administrators and the superintendent were approved Monday night, as well as membership in the Urban Education Network and Iowa Association of School Boards.

Administrators were given a 3.63 percent total package increase, which includes a 3.59 percent salary increase and the remainder reflecting mandatory IPERS increases. This package increase was the same as given to the certified teaching staff.

Superintendent Marvin Wade was also given a 3.59 percent salary increase and had his contract extended an additional year to June 30, 2015.

The Board also approved membership in the UEN for $5,000 and IASB for $10,459.

Fisher change orders approved

The Board approved three change orders on the Fisher Elementary construction project Monday night.

The change orders total $36,400.75 and include some HVAC, masonry work and door transom repairs.

Architect Dave Schulze told the board the change order costs still fall below the 5 percent contingency built into the project budget. The project is slated for completion before school begins this fall.



Jennifer Dwyer, Franklin teacher librarian, effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
Brianna Yates, Grade 5-8 vocal music, effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
Kathy Stalzer, Miller paraeducator, effective June 1, 2012.
Wendi Hunt, Woodbury paraeducator, effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
Jim Lewis, Lenihan custodian, effective July 5, 2012.
Blair Benefield, 8th Grade volleyball coach, effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.
Tyler Hellmann, 8th Grade assistant volleyball coach, effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.


Mallory Kern, Fisher preschool. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA Step 5.
Collette Murphy, Anson 1/2 Special Ed, 1/2 Title I. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA+15 Step 5.
Blake Cutright, Hoglan PE (0.5 FTE). Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA Step 5.
Jacob Borton, Miller Language Arts. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA Step 5.
Jade Musgrave, Franklin Grade 4. Start date: Aug.15, 2012; Salary: BA Step 5.
Tracy Steere, Hoglan Special Ed. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA+15, Step 11.
Cheri Bolar, Title I at Hoglan (1/2) and Franklin (1/2). Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA Step 7.
Mark Krukow, District Network Specialist. Start date: June 11, 2012; Salary: $51,295.
Craig Luttrell, MHS speech director. Salary: $957/year.
Dana Craft, Anson paraeducator. Start date: Aug. 16, 2012; Salary: $9.48/hour.
Bruce Vopava, 7th grade boys track coach. Salary: $2474/year.

Change of Contract

Debra Christenson, Fisher, Rogers, Woodbury ELP (change from Franklin Grade 4), start date: Aug. 15, 2012.
Cindy Martin, .75 FTE Hoglan Homebound Special Ed Level III (change from Anson Special Ed), start date: Aug. 15, 2012.
Julie Thede, Anson Grade 2 (from Anson Grade 1), start date: Aug. 15, 2012.
Lacie Moore, Hoglan Grade 3 (from Anson Grade 1), start date: Aug. 15, 2012.
Katie Troskey, Franklin Special Ed (from Franklin preschool), start date: Aug. 15, 2012.
Stephanie Goos, Hoglan Kindergarten (from Franklin Special Ed), start date: Aug. 15, 2012.
Gladis Gonzalez, Woodbury Grade 2 Spanish (from Lenihan Grade 6), start date: Aug. 15, 2012.
Maiea Milot, Woodbury paraeducator (from Woodbury bilingual tutor), start date: Aug. 16, 2012.
Martha Munoz, Woodbury paraeducator (from Woodbury bilingual tutor), start date: Aug. 16, 2012.
C’Yanna Ochoa, Fisher paraeducator (from Woodbury paraeducator), start date: Aug. 16, 2012.


First Reading
203.5 School Improvement Advisory Committee, waive second reading.
203.6 Legal Counsel, waive second reading.

Initial Review
203.9 Gifts to Board of Directors, mark reviewed
203.10 Board Self Evaluation, mark reviewed

Vol. 12 | Issue 20

4 Jun

View PDF version here.

Summer School underway

Summer school programs are underway across the District in the month of June.

All elementary schools are offering Ladders to Learning, a summer learning program facilitated by Area Education Agency 267. The program offers reading and math instruction, though schools are offering one or both based on student needs.

Lenihan Intermediate and Miller Middle schools are offering summer tutoring sessions for reading, math and academic vocabulary. Marshalltown High School has credit recovery sessions for English, math, science, social studies and English Language Learners.

Rogers Elementary will also host its Rogers University.

MHS cheerleaders set to perform at Chiefs game

Marshalltown High School Cheerleaders will perform at a Kansas City Chiefs football halftime show Aug. 10. 2012.

Stephanie Farrell, MHS cheerleading coach, said the team will participate in the Chiefs’ Spirit Day halftime. On Aug. 4 the 16 cheerleaders will travel to Kansas City to learn the routine. They will return to Kansas City on Aug. 10, to perform at halftime.

Farrell said the team plans to do some fundraising this summer.

Board approves MEA contract settlement

The Board approved a settlement with the Marshalltown Education Association for a 3.6 percent total package increase in 2012-2013.

The agreement provides a $605 increase on the base salary, with a new teacher earning a minimum salary of $34,962 (BA Step 5) and continuation of health, dental and vision insurance.

The total increased cost to the district is $756,000.

Agreement reached with paraeducators

The Board approved an agreement with Local No. 238 of the Teamsters Union representing district paraeducators.

The agreement gives a 2.25 percent increase for 2012-2013. A new longevity pay schedule will also be placed in effect for employees with at least seven years of service. Employees in this category will not receive the 2.25 percent wage increase, but instead receive longevity pay ranging from 35 cents per hour to 80 cents per hour.

The total additional cost to the district is approximately $102,500.

2013-2014 calendar approved

The Board approved the calendar for the 2013-2014 school year.

School will begin Aug. 20, 2013. Instead of a full week of spring break, there will be an extended break around Easter (April 17 & 18, 2014). One of the in-service days previously held before school starts will be scheduled Jan. 17, 2014. The last day of school will be May 29, 2014.

The district has received an Innovative Calendar Waiver for 2013-2014, so there will be another calendar created later for one or more buildings.

The Board also approved a waiver for an early start for the 2012-2013 school year, which begins Aug. 21, 2012.

Discipline, attendance data review

The Board reviewed a report on district discipline and attendance Monday night.

Lisa Koester, director of human resources and student issues, presented numbers for the 2011-2012 school year, noting some areas of celebration and some places where more work is needed. Incidents of in-school suspensions decreased from 2010-2011, as did expulsions. Incidents of out-of-school suspensions increased this school year. Koester said part of the reason could be the increased accountability and work to crack down on inappropriate behavior. Board members expressed the desire to see the continued expansion and implementation Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports throughout the district to help decrease incidents of misbehavior.

District attendance rates saw an jump from 2010-2011, going from 93.42 percent last year to 94.37 percent this year. All elementary schools were above the Strategic Action Plan’s overall goal of 95 percent.

Notes from the Board

By Kay Beach, Board President

Just a few years ago Marshalltown schools were perceived as being unsafe for students.  All kinds of reasons were given for this perception, but the bottom line is that it was believed by a huge number of people in our community.  This was a serious situation for at least two huge reasons:  (1) No one wants children in an unsafe environment, and (2) Parents, consequently, began sending their children out of our district.  Our school leaders realized that this perception/situation required major attention and serious action.  Tonight we received a report that clearly indicates that in the realm of behavior, things are turning around and looking up.  In all our schools children are given clear explanations of the behavior that is expected in the school setting and also a clear explanation of the consequences of unacceptable behaviors.   A positive, safe environment is essential to good learning; and if we are to be a “district of choice” (which is our goal,) we absolutely must provide that kind of environment.  Congratulations and thanks to all of our district administrators, teachers, support staff, and students for making great strides in improving the climate of our schools.  Keep up the good work!



Anel Garza de Sandoval, Woodbury kindergarten, effective June 1, 2012.

Kylee Vopava, Lenihan Grade 6 teacher and 7th grade volleyball coach, effective at the end of the school year.

Kelley Dickey, MHS social studies teacher and assistant girls golf coach, effective July 31, 2012.

Eric Hunerdosse, Woodbury Learning Supports Specialist, effective July 20, 2012.

Sara Reed, Miller drama coach, effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

Nicole Clark, Franklin paraeducator, effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

Alicia Nunez, Lenihan paraeducator, effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

Kelsey Sawtelle, MHS paraeducator, effective June 1, 2012.

Jordan Johnson, Franklin paraeducator, effective June 1, 2012.


Erin Hoskins, Woodbury paraeducator, effective May 2, 2012.


Matt Cretsinger, Director of Special Services. Mr. Cretsinger is currently program assistant for special eduation at Heartland Area Education Agency. He has also been team leader for Behavioral Supports and a school psychologist. Start date: July 1, 2012. Salary: $89,000.

Jacy Large, Miller principal. Mr. Large is currently director of support services in Ankeny. Previously, he was principal of South Hamilton Middle School/High School in Jewell, Iowa. Start date: July 1, 2012. Salary: $99,000.

Mallori Ghent, Franklin Grade 3. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA Step 5.

Jhanell AlSamhan, MHS art. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: MA Step 5.

Naomi Terbetski, MHS ESL. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: MA Step 5.

Caitlin Toppler, MHS ESL. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA Step 5.

Natalie Elliot, Franklin Grade 1. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA Step 5.

Morgan Boehmer, Miller Grade 7 Reading/Language Arts. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: BA Step 5.

Stacey Tool-Crawford, Rogers school nurse. Start date: Aug. 15, 2012; Salary: 3 year Step 11.

Diane Peden, MHS 10-month counseling secretary. Start date: Aug. 13, 2012; Salary: $9.65/hour.

Alicia Nunez, Lenihan 10-month secretary. Start date: July 25, 2012; Salary: $9.65/hour.

Change of Contract

Susan Baker, Special Education Level II LD/BD. Change from Miller to Rogers Aug. 15, 2012.

Jessica Cakrasenjaya, change from MHS ELL to English/Language Arts Aug. 15, 2012.

Karen Roessler, change from Lenihan ELP to Woodbury/MACS Title I Aug. 15, 2012.

Pam Atcher, change from 10-month vault secretary to 10-month counseling secretary at MHS, Aug. 9, 2012.


Second Reading: 701.5 Post-Issuance Compliance Policy for Tax-Exempt Obligations approved as presented

First Reading: 203.1 two sentences added, waive second reading

Initial Review: 203.5 School Improvement Advisory Committee, make it comply with Iowa Code 280.12, change to say final selection shall be approved by the Board and superintendent shall appoint an administrative representative; 203.6 Legal Counsel, mark reviewed; 203.7 Administration in Absence of Policy, mark reviewed.