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.

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