Vol. 14 | Issue 3

19 Aug

Rigorous cleaning schedule prepares buildings for school

After several months, 550 gallons of floor wax, and even more elbow grease, 925,460 square feet of school facilities are cleaned ready for the school year.

Pat Hemming, building operations supervisor, gave a status report to the Board Monday night. He said 68 personnel worked from June 3 until Aug. 18 to complete the summer cleaning schedule, the work beginning and ending at Miller Middle School as the 1957 wing was prepared for renovation in June, then prepared for students in August.

Besides the work at Miller, other major summer projects included polishing the terrazzo floors in Anson and Woodbury elementary school hallways and sanding and repainting the Rogers Elementary gym floor.

Average Daily Attendance on track with Strategic Action Plan projections

Average daily attendance in 2012-2013 was 94.32 percent, meeting the 94.1 percent target in the Strategic Action Plan.

Lisa Koester, director of human resources and student issues, reported on attendance, noting all six elementary buildings and Lenihan had attendance above 95 percent. Marshalltown High School had attendance at 92.12 percent, while Miller Middle School was at 93.67 percent.

The five-year target in the Strategic Action Plan is 95 percent by the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Board reviews Adequate Yearly Progress report

Initial analysis of Adequate Yearly Progress shows areas of growth and areas that need more focus.

“Yes, we’re making progress,” Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement, told the Board Monday. “We have some areas that need attention. That will be drilled down at the building level with the principals.”

AYP is based on Iowa Assessments scores and is used to identify Schools and Districts In Need of Assistance (SINA, DINA) as part of No Child Left Behind. NCLB legislation requires 100 percent of students nationwide are proficient by 2015. Pecinovsky said steeply increasing requirements in NCLB are pushing more and more schools into SINA and DINA designations. She reported that Area Education Agency 267 saw twice as many schools designated as SINA this year.

Even with increasing requirements in NCLB Marshalltown schools are seeing progress. Several schools are off the SINA list in math. Anson, Fisher and Franklin elementary schools are on the “watch list” in math, meaning they have only missed AYP one year and are not designated as SINA. Hoglan Elementary met AYP in math last year and has been removed from SINA in that category.

“I think we’re doing the right work to continue moving the math progress forward,” Pecinovsky said.

Woodbury Elementary is also on watch for math and met AYP in reading, meaning it is no longer a SINA building.

Pecinovksy said the next steps will be delving deeper into the subgroup identifications and working with principals at the building level to determine what work needs to be done.

Work moves forward with district-wide initiatives

All Marshalltown schools are involved in five district initiatives geared toward increasing student achievement and Monday night the Board heard and update on the work in each.

The five initiatives are Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Response To Intervention and Instruction (RTI), Language/Literacy Framework (LLF) and Common Unit Design (CUD). Buildings are at different levels of implementation for each initiative, though all are in at least year two or three of each, with some in year four of their work.

Elementary buildings and Lenihan are also in year one or two of the Comprehensive Literacy Model (CLM) that fits with the LLF initiative.  This year these buildings will have pilot classrooms and all buildings will have professional earning about CLM structures.

See a full list of the work planned for 2013-2014 in each initiative here.

PPEL information meetings scheduled at Miller, MHS

Information sessions about the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) are scheduled Monday, Aug. 26, in the Marshalltown High School library and Thursday, Aug. 29, in the Miller Middle School Library. Both sessions will begin at 5:30pm.

On Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, voters in the Marshalltown Community School District will be asked to vote on the renewal (whether to renew) the PPEL program which allows school district across Iowa to collect revenue for specific uses within their district.

In MCSD, PPEL has been used for a number of projects over the course of the years, including:

  • Playground resurfacing
  • Bobcat Boulevard
  • Roof replacements
  • Parking lot improvements
  • Bus replacements
  • Technology infrastructure upgrades
  • Classroom remodeling

The levy cannot be used for staff salaries or supplies.

Renewal of the PPEL will not increase property taxes. The district is asking for approval to continue the voter-approved rate that has been in place for the past 10 years so that we may continue to fund maintenance and upgrades to district facilities. The question on the ballot is whether to continue the approved rate that has been in place for the past 10 years.  The funds will be used for maintenance and upgrades to district facilities.  The current rate is $0.67 per $1,000 of taxable property valuation.

The current levy expires June 30, 2016. The voter-approved PPEL program provides approximately $676,000 per year for district upgrades and maintenance.

Board maintains previous stance on buses from outside districts

The Board voted down a request from a family wanting buses from another district to enter Marshalltown district boundaries by a vote of 5-2.

The family, who lives on the southwest edge of the Marshalltown district, was seeking allowance for a bus from the Baxter School District to enter Marshalltown boundaries and pick up their two children. They said their reason for requesting it was convenience as both parents worked out of town and Baxter was geographically closer to their new home than Marshalltown.

Several years ago a group open-enrolled to East Marshall requested a similar allowance. State law dictates it’s at the discretion of the local school board to determine if buses from outside districts are allowed. At that time the Board determined it would not allow it.

Two Board members, Jason Jablonski and John Johnson, voted to allow the buses, saying they felt it was in the best interest of the kids. Board President Sherm Welker encouraged the family to consider enrolling in Marshalltown, stating the District offered opportunities for diverse education.

NOTES FROM THE SCHOOL BOARD

By Sherm Welker, Board President

Tonight the staff reported to the Board on the some education indicators that show our district is advancing as planned. The business plan sets goals for each of the next 3 years so that we can monitor progress and move resources where they will can have the largest impact on student achievement here in Marshalltown.

We all know and expect that students in the classrooms achieve at a higher rate than do those that are absent from class. Our attendance last year was 94.32 percent and our goal was 94.1 percent. Our goal for attendance this next school year (2013/14) is at 94.5 percent and the following year (2014/15) is 95 percent

We also have an increase in the number of areas where adequate yearly progress was achieved in our district. This measure is from the No Child Left Behind legislation and tracks each district and buildings progress. While many districts saw an increase in the number of areas of concern, Marshalltown has decreased the number of concerns and will continue to move forward for our students.

We can accomplish our mutual goals with a good plan, use of data on progress, and being excellent in our pursuit of the goals. We have 5 district Initiatives that are in various stages of implementation throughout MCSD and are on track to complete the full measure as scheduled by 2015.

Thank you for your support for our administration, staff and students. We are dedicated to continual improvement and make Marshalltown, “the district of choice.”

NOTES FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

With school starting Aug. 20, a significant portion of the August 19 board meeting was devoted to a discussion about facilities. The Board of Education expressed appreciation for the large number of certified, classified and contracted staff who worked tirelessly to get the schools ready for the first day of school. It was also reported that the electric service upgrade work at Marshalltown High School continues and will not interfere with the start of school, the remodeled portion of Miller Middle School may now be used, and Project Lead the Way classes will be taught beginning the first day of school (though the Biomedical and Engineering labs will not be available until Oct. 11).

Also during the meeting, the Board of Education made plans to have one board meeting per month in the schools, as per the following schedule:

  • Oct. 7, 2013 – Fisher Elementary School
  • Nov. 4, 2013 – Franklin Elementary School
  • Dec. 2, 2013 – Hoglan Elementary School
  • Jan. 6, 2014 – Rogers Elementary School
  • Feb. 3, 2014 – Anson Elementary School
  • March 3, 2014 – Woodbury Elementary School
  • April 7, 2014 – Lenihan Intermediate School
  • May 5, 2014 – Miller Middle School
  • June 2, 2014 – Marshalltown High School

Finally, The Board of Education scheduled meetings to explain the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) that is on the September 10 election ballot. These information meetings will be Monday, Aug. 26, in the Marshalltown High School library and Thursday, Aug. 29, in the  Miller Middle School Library. Both sessions will begin at 5:30pm.

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