Archive | February, 2014

Vol. 14 | Issue 13

17 Feb

Board hears update on At-Risk services, Four Oaks

Smoother transitions and local control are two of the continuing benefits outlined by Matt Cretsinger, director of special services, when he updated the Board on Four Oaks and At-Risk services Monday.

Four Oaks Family & Children Services provides three classrooms to support up to 35 students, primarily with Special Education services. Currently 20 students are enrolled, with two from out of the district and 18 Marshalltown students.

“We found we had a lot of students with intense behavioral needs and couldn’t meet their needs,” Cretsinger told the Board, outlining the decision last year to restructure services and contract with Four Oaks. “Often the needs had to be met out of district.”

Cretsinger said without Four Oaks 11 of the 20 students being served there would have required out-of-district services previously. Having Four Oaks in-district allows students to stay in district, allowing for better progress monitoring and the ability to transition students back into the regular school setting when appropriate.

“We have the ability to know what’s going on with those students,” Cretsinger said.

Cretsinger also discussed At-Risk services, which were restructured this year to align with Response to Intervention (RTI), provide services at schools prior to seeking off-site services, and focus the services at Marshalltown Learning Academy to target specific At-Risk needs. The restructuring also takes advantage of online learning opportunities, including Edgenuity and NET High.  The District has 30 Edgenuity software licenses that are being used regularly, Cretsinger said.

After one semester MLA students have earned or recovered 60 credits in core subject areas and eight At-Risk students have graduated. Cretsinger said it’s difficult to compare these numbers to last year since the restructuring has changed where students receive services (MLA, Four Oaks, or at their regular school).

Cretsinger said the District will continue to look at how to best utilize resources to support At-Risk students, including expanding Edgenuity licenses to meet the demand and look at ways to increase credit recovery.

Board approves revised 2014-2015 calendar

The Board approved a slight revision to next year’s school calendar Monday, swapping two days of vacation from April and placing them in December.

This change was actually the calendar posted on BoardDocs at the Feb. 3 Board meeting. At the time Lisa Koester, director of human resources, told the board that version of the calendar was incorrect and the board voted to approve a different calendar. After the meeting, reexamination of vote tallies showed this calendar was correct.

The calendar approved Monday was the option receiving the most votes from the Marshalltown Education Association. It was one of two options presented by the calendar committee, which consists of teachers, administrators and Board members.

The only difference between the two calendars is two vacation days. The correct calendar has Dec. 22-23 as vacation days and April 1-2 as school days. In the calendar approved Feb. 3 those were reversed.

The updated 2014-2015 calendar is available on the district website under “Calendars” or by following this link.

Board approves purchase of pedometers

The Board voted 5-1 to purchase 4,200 pedometers from US Games for $28,980.

The pedometers will be used to gather baseline data for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant. Board member John Johnson voted against the purchase, citing that he wanted to know what other equipment was to be purchased in the grant before he approved the pedometers. He also wanted to be able to discuss the bids when Matt Tullis, director of equity and learning supports and grant coordinator, was able to be present.


By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

Monday’s Board of Education meeting was held at Rogers Elementary despite the cancellation of school due to poor weather conditions.  With the last day of school currently Thursday, June 5, it seems fitting to remind staff not to schedule major commitments during the second week in June.


By Sherm Welker, Board President

Tonight the report on the Marshalltown Learning Academy and Four Oaks programs were reviewed.

The Four Oaks program is new to Marshalltown and allows us to meet the special education needs of students within our district and minimize the out of district services that we were previously using. We also have capacity for students from the surrounding districts that helps minimize travel for those districts as well. This provides better control of the work done for these students, while being more efficient with the costs of the program. While the recent bad weather strikes all of our facilities and busing routes, it is nice to know we are minimizing the travel requirements by having this program here.

The Four Oaks program has changed the way we deliver services at MLA as some of the students are now in the new program. While we still serve many students through the MLA center, much of our program is now on site based at MHS and Miller.

We remain committed to engaging our students even when they need alternatives to the main stream education process. Both of these programs demonstrate that Marshalltown is leading educational services in this area.


Initial Review

504.6 – Work Permits, mark reviewed.
604.7 – Emergency School Closings, add website to list of announcements.
504.8 – Student Insurance, General, mark reviewed.
504.9 – Student Insurance, Athletic, mark reviewed.
504.10 – School Safety Patrols, mark reviewed.

PERSONNELClick here.

Vol. 14 | Issue 12

3 Feb

2014-2015 school calendar approved

The 2014-2015 school year will begin for students on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, according to the calendar approved by the Board Monday night.

The last day of school will be Friday, May 29, 2015. Graduation will remain on Memorial Day weekend, with commencement exercises Sunday, May 24, 2015.

To view the full academic calendar visit the “Calendars” page of the District website or click here.

Status report shows formerly expelled students working toward graduation

A report on students who were expelled during the 2011-2012 school year showed most are re-enrolled in Marshalltown Schools and working toward graduation.

The status report focused on the 2011-2012 school year because no students were expelled in 2012-2013. Lisa Koester, Director of Human Resources and Student Issues, told the board nine students were expelled in 2011-2012 and three were serving out expulsions from the 2010-2011 school year. Of those 12 students, seven are now enrolled in Marshalltown Schools.

Out of the remaining five students, one moved out of district, one dropped out, one was placed in foster care outside the district, one is incarcerated and one enrolled in Job Corps in Dennison, Iowa.

Contracts approved for Roundhouse Phase 2 project manager, architect

Roundhouse groundbreaking ceremony in November 2013.

Roundhouse groundbreaking ceremony in November 2013.

The Board approved CPMI as project manager and RDG as architect on Phase 2 of the Roundhouse project, taking the first step toward completing the community-funded portion of the project.

Phase 2 includes an auxiliary gym and wrestling room with estimated cost of $3.8 million. Jennifer Wilson, Board vice president and member of the District Design Advisory Committee, said the fundraisers have almost reached the $1 million needed for the matching grant from the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation. The DAC agreed fundraising had progressed enough to move forward with these contracts, which pave the way for design development and drawings.

Work on the first phase of construction is currently underway.


By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

During Monday’s meeting the Board of Education approved two contracts that are important to the many individuals involved in the Renovate the Roundhouse effort.

The contracts authorize CPMI (Project Management) and RDG (Architectural and Engineering) to begin designing for new construction of an auxiliary gymnasium and wrestling room at the Roundhouse. These much-needed additional structures are being funded by generous donations from individual, corporate and foundation supporters of the Bobcats from all across the country. Although additional funds need to be raised before construction can begin, the Board expressed confidence that the design process should begin now – so construction can be started, without interruption, as soon as fundraising targets are met. The ability to extend the scope of the Roundhouse renovation/expansion is just the latest in a long list of projects demonstrating Marshalltown’s strong commitment to the education and health of its residents.


By Sherm Welker, Board President

Tonight the Board was updated on the status of expulsions for the 2011-12 school year. Of the 12 students that were expelled that year, seven have continued their education here at MCSD and are on track to graduate. The remaining five students have left the district or have extenuating circumstances that prevent them from finishing their degree requirements here.

We struggle with expulsions when they occur, but know the discipline and standards must be high to ensure the well being and safety of our schools. The great news is that for both the 2012-13 and the current 2013-14 school years we have zero expulsions to track. The district has implemented the PBIS (Positive Behavior Instruction Support) model and the students have accepted the challenge to raise the bar on behavior and attitude. Thanks to all of the students, staff, and administration for your efforts.


First Reading

503.7 Attendance at Events Outside of School, deleted.
503.8 Student Honors and Awards, waive second reading.

Initial Review

503.2 Student Organization, bring back IASB policy
503.3 School Publications, bring back with corresponding regulation.
503.6 Interscholastic Competition, discuss with Mr. Huegel
504.1 Student Health and Immunization Certificates, mark reviewed.
504.2 Exclusion for Communicable Diseases, mark reviewed.
504.3 Injury or Illness at School, mark reviewed.
504.4 Use of Bicycles, mark reviewed.
504.5 Use of Motor Vehicles, mark reviewed.

PERSONNEL – Click here.