Vol. 13 | Issue 12

18 Feb

View PDF version here.

Interest in Project Lead the Way growing

Interest in Project Lead the Way is high among students, parents, and community leaders, says Aiddy Phomvisay, principal at Marshalltown High School.

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is “the leading provider of rigorous and applied science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum in the United States”. Gateway to Technology (GTT), the middle school component of PLTW, began at Miller last fall, replacing the old Modular Tech curriculum. In GTT, students participate in eight independent units focused on design and modeling, automation and design, and other STEM areas.

PLTW expands to Marshalltown High School in fall 2013, with the introduction of the Pathway To Engineering (PTE) and Biomedical Sciences Program (BMS).

Course offerings at MHS will include Principles of Biomedical Science, Introduction to Engineering, and Principles of Engineering. Each course in the PLTW program will earn students college credit.

“These are the things the kids are interested in and want to be involved in,” Phomvisay said.

To prepare for PLTW courses, MHS will receive two new state-of-the-art computer labs with the latest in software and technology. The school has received a $35,000 grant to start the PLTW program at the high school level and at Monday’s Board meeting accepted checks from a number of local business and organizations to support PLTW implementation.

Emerson Process Management – Fisher Division has pledged $75,000 over three years to PLTW. The Marshalltown Economic Development Committee (MEDIC) is giving $60,000. Lennox Industries has pledged $30,000 over three years and the Iowa Veterans Home is giving $2,500.

Phomvisay said Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center has also pledged support, though the amount has not been finalized. There is also a partnership with Marshalltown Community College to provide college credit for the PLTW courses.

Students are in the process of signing up for fall 2013 courses at MHS right now and Phomvisay says interest in both Pathways to Engineering and Biomedical Sciences is great.

Anzis a US Presidential Scholar candidate 

Marshalltown High School senior Ben Anzis is a candidate for the prestigious US Presidential Scholars program.

Established in 1964 by presidential order, the program honors the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors. Anzis is currently among a pool of elite high school students who will vie for one of 560 semifinalist positions. Each year up to 141 students are named Presidential Scholars.

In order to be eligible for this recognition, students must be high school seniors who “score exceptionally well on either the SAT of the College Board or the ACT of the American College Testing Program or be nominated by their Chief State School Officer (CSSO) based on outstanding scholarship.”

Semifinalists will be announced in early April, with the Presidential Scholars being named in May.

Anzis was recognized before the School Board at Monday night’s meeting. He told the Board he plans to attend MIT or Cal Tech after grauating from MHS.

“I just want to say a big thank you to everyone here for supporting me and students like me in our academic endeavors,” Anzis told the Board.

Board looks at needs assessment results

Results of the Community Needs Assessment show nearly 85 percent of people feel Marshalltown Schools provide a safe learning environment.

The survey, conducted last fall in the months leading up to the Department of Education Site Visit, had 928 responses, with 85 percent being parents of current MCSD students.

Jason Staker, director of communications for Marshalltown Schools, shared the survey results with the Board during Monday’s regular meeting. The survey gauged opinions on academic programs, special programs, supplemental programs and environment, as well as learning about how and where people like to receive information about schools.

In almost every category the majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed Marshalltown Schools were providing good academic programs, extra-curricular activities, etc. In the category of supplemental programs more responses were in the “Don’t Know” category. Staker told the Board this was probably due to the fact these specific programs – like English Language Learner services and At-Risk programming – were not experienced by some of the individuals answering the survey.

Several themes emerged from among the comments on the survey. First was the positive changes being seen at Marshalltown High School. Staker said numerous comments noted parents and students noticing a positive environment and an appreciation for the dedication and enthusiasm of principal Aiddy Phomvisay. Other comments suggested looking at more times and opportunities for parent involvement and ways to connect families with community resources.

Staker said the next step is to examine current district practices to determine how they can be altered to meet the needs addressed in the survey. Feedback from the Site Visit report will also factor in to this process. Staker also said he plans to create a shorter version of the needs assessment to complete annually in order to track progress.

Art Club traveling to Chicago March 16

The Board approved a trip to Chicago for the Marshalltown High School Art Club Saturday, March 16.

Students will visit the Art Institute to see a Picasso exhibit and see the National Museum of Mexican Art. Some funding for the trip will be from Art Club fundraising, while some will be from students. Cost will be $50-75 per passenger.

Health Careers Club plans trip

The Marshalltown Area Health Careers Club will visit the Robert Lurie Cancer Treatment Center at Northwestern University March 8-9, 2013.

The Board approved the trip Monday night, which includes a half day with doctors, nurses, students and others who are responsible for the care and treatment of patients with cancer. Thirty-two MHS students will participate, as well as two from South Tama.

Chaperones will be Dan Terrones and Lisa Wunn, MHS Deans of Students, Erin Weatherly, MHS Teacher, and John Hughes, CEO at MMSC.

Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center will sponsor this trip. GEAR UP funds will also be used to cover some of the costs for 11th grade students. Students will provide money for eating and any shopping expenses they may incur.

NOTES FROM THE BOARD

By Sherm Welker, Board President

Tonight the Board was asked to expand our curriculum at MHS to include Engineering and Health Science electives that will provide added opportunities for college credits. This new program, called “Project Lead the Way,” is centered on Engineering and Health Sciences that are vital to our local economy and fully supported by our partner business leaders. We also accepted major donations from Emerson Process Management – Fisher Division, MEDIC, Lennox and the Iowa Veterans home. These partners and others, including Marshalltown Community College and Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, will help support and fund this program for the next three years and beyond. This is just another factor that make Marshalltown a great place to live and educate our students. Thank you again to our business partners for your trust and support!

NOTES FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

Last month’s site visit by the Iowa Department of Education provided feedback to the district from educational experts from across the state. Monday evening’s presentation of the 2012 Community Needs Assessment provided us with additional input from 928 residents of our community. We greatly appreciate the individuals who contributed to these efforts – the compliments and concerns from both sources are important to the continuous improvement effort of our district.

It is always great to have one or more of our outstanding students at a board meeting, so the recognition of MHS senior Ben Anzis was a highlight of the evening. His nomination for the prestigious US Presidential Scholars program is a great honor and we wish him much continued success.

POLICY

First Reading

402.2 Child Abuse Reporting, waive second reading

703.4/703.4-E Fiscal Management – Performance Measures, return for second reading

Initial Review

403.1 Employee Physical Examinations

403.3 Communicable Diseases – Employees, mark reviewed

403.4 Hazardous Chemical Right to Know

403.5 Harassment – Employees, change that superintendent or designee shall develop a schedule for annual ongoing training.

703.5 Finance Committee, change portion about casualty and worker’s comp insurance section so it states the board acts on a recommendation made by administration.

PERSONNELClick here to view.

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