Vol. 13 | Issue 11

4 Feb

View PDF version here.

District works to graduate more students on time

While it’s too early to calculate the actual graduation rate for 2013, district administrators told the Board they are working hard to ensure more students earn a Marshalltown High School diploma in four years and the data so far is promising.

In the first semester at MHS attendance increased over the same period last year, with fewer in-school and out-of-school suspensions. Students are also failing fewer classes and fewer are credit deficient. Principal Aiddy Phomvisay said many of the credit deficient students are currently enrolled in classes to put them back on track. The students are on “critical watch lists” in their Smaller Learning Communities, with case managers tracking progress.

“We really can’t reach into the bag and pull out a hard and fast number today, but from all the indicators we’re hearing – what we’re doing is working,” said Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement.

Graduation rates are calculated by the Department of Education and impact District In Need of Assistance and School In Need of Assistance designations. The 2013 target in the Strategic Action Plan is 89 percent. Dr. Marvin Wade, superintendent of schools, told the Board he wants the community to be aware that increasing graduation rate means increasing student achievement, not decreasing standards.

“We won’t get the graduation rate up by lowering the bar,” he said. “That’s non-negotiable.”

Scholarship established in memory of Donna Hoop

Adam and Jared Hoop were present at the Board meeting Monday night to establish a scholarship in memory of their mother, Donna Hoop.

The Donna Hoop Memorial Scholarship will be a $1000 annual scholarship going to one student or one male and one female. Students must have a 3.5 GPA, be a varsity student athlete, plan to enroll in a two- or four-year degree program in Iowa, and submit a 400-word essay reflecting on athletic participation and the vital role families play in supporting their students.

The Hoop Family gave $10,000 to establish the scholarship.

They’ve always been so gracious to our school and community,” High School Principal Aiddy Phomvisay said.

Donna Hoop passed away Jan. 11, 2013, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Low-interest loans available through Frank Pierce Trust 

Frank Pierce was 25 when he became mayor of Marshalltown in 1896. He and his wife devoted their lives to the city and when they died they established a trust to ensure future generations of Marshalltown youth could afford quality college education.

Established in 1950, the Frank Pierce Trust is a revolving education fund that offers loans to Marshalltown High School graduates at 2 percent less interest than the Federal student loan rate. Since its inception, the trust has dispensed 939 loans, loaning about $200,000 a year.

“This is huge,” said Board President Sherm Welker.

Loans are available only to MHS graduates going to an Iowa college. Applications are available at Grimes Law Firm or in the MHS Counseling Office. Applicants go through an interview process with trustees and can reapply for funds every year. Repayment begins upon graduation or end of schooling and must be repaid in 10 years.

To date there is $1.84 million in outstanding loans from the trust and another $636,000 available to make new loans.

District seeks more opportunities to offer college-level courses

One in five students at Marshalltown High School this year is enrolled in some form of college-level coursework and the district would like to see that number increase.

Increasing participation in college-level coursework is one part of the Strategic Action Plan. In 2012-2013 20 percent of MHS students are enrolled in classes that could earn them college credit, a decrease from 21.8 percent last year.

“It does mean we have work to do,” said Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement.

Pecinovsky said the district is looking at new ways to offer coursework outside of the traditional school day, including online classes.

“We are continuing to look for opportunities that fall outside of seat time,” she said.

New programs coming to MHS, like Project Lead The Way, will also offer more opportunities for college credit.

High School Principal Aiddy Phomvisay noted that the class of 2012 earned 400 college credits while at MHS, equating to about $55,600 in tuition parents and students saved by taking the classes while in high school.


By Sherm Welker, Board President

A new scholarship was presented to the District tonight from the family of Donna Hoop. The new scholarship will provide funding to Marshalltown High School student athletes pursuing further education at an Iowa college or university. Many thanks to the Hoop family for their donation to the future of our students.

We also heard tonight about the Frank Pierce Trust that provides college loan to MHS students. The Trust was established in 1950 and has provided 939 loans to college students since it was stated. The current loan balance is $1.8 million and the trust has an ample balance for more loans. The interest rate is set at 2 percent below the Federal student loan rate and payments are delayed until the student completes their college education. To qualify, MHS graduates must be attending an Iowa college or university and maintain a 2.0 GPA. This fund should be the first choice for any student needing to borrow for their advanced education, as the interest rate is well below other funds that are available. Please see your guidance counselors or contact the Grimes Law Office for application details.

As with both of these funds, MHS students have many opportunities to continue their education and advance their goals and dreams. This is just another reason that Marshalltown is the school district of choice.


By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

Increasing student achievement and maintaining a safe/supportive learning environment are two district objectives frequently discussed by the Board. Tonight’s education portion of the meeting focused entirely on the third MCSD objective –  increasing readiness for further education and employment. The Board heard about student development of workplace competencies, completion of challenging curriculum, and graduation from high school.

Particularly impressive is the number of opportunities for Marshalltown High School students to earn college credits though Postsecondary Enrollment (PSEO), Concurrent Enrollment, and Advanced Placement classes. We’d like to see more students take advantage of the chance to earn college credits while in high school, so please encourage students who will attend MHS next year (and their parents) to strongly weigh the educational and financial benefits of PSEO, Concurrent Enrollment and Advanced Placement as course selections are made in the near future.


First Reading

600.1 Nondiscrimination, amended based on Site Visit recommendations, waive second reading

603.12 Internet – Appropriate and Safe Use, amended based on Site Visit recommendations, waive second reading

Initial Review

402.2/E/R Child Abuse Reporting, note that it’s an approved training course

402.3/E1/E2/R Abuse of Students by School District Employees, mark reviewed

402.4 Gifts to Employees, mark reviewed

402.5 Public Complaints About Employees, mark reviewed

PERSONNELClick here.

%d bloggers like this: