Archive | August, 2012

Vol. 13 | Issue 2

20 Aug

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AYP gains take district off math DINA list

Anson drops SINA designation in math, Franklin completely off SINA list

The hard work over the last few years to improve math instruction in the district is paying off in a big way.

The Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report for last year saw math scores continuing to improve, resulting in Marshalltown losing the District In Need of Assistance (DINA) designation in the area of mathematics.

Two elementary schools were also removed from the School In Need of Assistance (SINA) list in math – Anson Elementary and Franklin Elementary. Franklin is completely removed from the SINA list.

Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement, said this results from the hard work of District staff, who have been critical in implementing new math curriculum and tightening the alignment of programs.

Pecinovsky said the District is now focusing on improving reading scores. Last year the District purchased new K-6 reading materials with specific components for Special Education and English Language Learners. This year each elementary building will also have a literacy coach and all students will receive 120 minutes of core literacy instruction daily.

The District is also partnering with the University of Northern Iowa Jacobsen Center to establish demonstration classrooms where teachers can see best practices in action.

District attendance topped 94 percent in 2011-2012

A report a Monday’s Board meeting showed District attendance for the 2011-2012 school year at 94.37 percent, ahead of the annual projected target in the Strategic Action Plan.

Lisa Koester, director of human resources and student issues, noted that all elementary schools were above 95 percent attendance, with some at 96 and nearly 97 percent. The district goal is to hit 95 percent by 2015.

Koester said the District will continue working toward that goal.

Facilities ready for school year

 Between construction projects, summer school, RAGBRAI, and a presidential visit, there was a lot going on this summer in and around Marshalltown Schools, yet district support staff worked ahead of, through, and around it all to prepare facilities for the first day Aug. 21.

“People were willing to help each other out,” said Pat Hemming, operations supervisor for the district. “We’re ready.”

Green Cleaning Initiative

Hemming also told the Board about the green cleaning initiative adopted by the Iowa legislature in 2010. The bill asked schools to go with environmentally safe cleaning projects or asked to opt out. Two years ago the District began testing products and are switching to green products as supplies of old chemicals are exhausted.

Hemming noted that the green initiative is only for cleaning products and the district still uses chemical disinfectants and some lawn care products.

Board receives update on SAP Strategy 5

District administrators gave an informal overview of Strategy 5 of the Strategic Action Plan at Monday’s Board meeting.

Strategy 5 focuses on improving student achievement through efficient stewardship of district resources. It has five primary actions:

• Promote continuous improvement through alignment of district policies, plans and handbooks with the strategic action plan.

• Implement a data-informed and results-driven process for decision making within the district.

•  Identify funding priorities and allocate resources for attainment of district goals.

•  Identify funding priorities and allocate resources for attainment of district goals.

• Ensure student and staff access to technology necessary for increased academic achievement.

An update on the progress of all parts of the Strategic Action Plan will be included in a community-wide report in October.

Board sets legislative priorities

The Board set their legislative priorities for 2012-2013 during Monday’s meeting.

The Board reviewed a list of legislative priorities provided by the Iowa Association of School Boards, then selected the five they would like to see IASB lobby for at the statehouse.

The five priorities included continued development of rigorous content standards with funding for all components, support of adequate and on-time funding for English Language Learners, funding for quality 4-year-old preschool programs, setting an allowable growth rate that encourages continuous school improvement, and supporting legislature that provides greater flexibility to districts to meet their changing needs.

West bus barn demo complete

The Board recognized substantial completion of the west bus barn Monday night.

The project included the demolition of the structure and subsequent site work with lighting and fencing.


By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

Tonight’s board meeting included reports that last year’s student attendance exceeded expectations and that progress has been made in several categories of Adequate Yearly Progress. On Wednesday, August 22, scores will be released from last spring’s administration of the ACT. All three reports are important to MCSD because they give us externally-provided evidence that our emphasis on higher expectations, narrowed focus and increased accountability are making a difference. I look forward to this new school year knowing that 2012-2013 will provide us with many opportunities to celebrate the continued success of our students and district.


By Kay Beach, Board President

One of the benefits of membership in the Iowa Association of School Boards is their very active role in lobbying the legislature on behalf of education in general and school boards in particular.  This evening the Board spent some time determining where our board would like IASB’s lobbying efforts to focus.  Our priorities include (1) greater flexibility for schools, especially in regard to school calendars (2) developing rigorous curriculum content standards and high-quality assessments—and fully funding their implementation, (3) funding for ELL programs until students reach proficiency, (4) continued funding of preschool for 4-year-olds, and (5) reasonable, fully-funded allowable growth.  As always, the goal of all of these efforts is to support increased student achievement.



First Reading

204.3 Closed Sessions, change to clarify who keeps detailed minutes, waive second reading.

204.4 Annual Meeting, eliminated some redundancy, waive second reading.

Initial Review

204.5 Organizational Meeting, change to say board secretary calls meeting to order

204.5-R Organizational Meeting Procedures

204.6 Notice of Board Meetings, bring back for first reading.