Vol. 14 | Issue 16

5 May

Envirothon students heading to Chicago

State Envirothon champions (L to R): Sean Finn, Abby Snyder, Adam Willman, Dayana Carrera, Chandler Fisher.

State Envirothon champions (L to R): Sean Finn, Abby Snyder, Adam Willman, Dayana Carrera, Chandler Fisher.

Marshalltown High School’s state championship Envirothon team will compete in the 2014 Stewardship Challenge held Aug. 4-7 at Loyola University in Chicago.

This year’s national Envirothon was cancelled due to a change in sponsorship, so the contest in Chicago is a chance for Midwest teams to still compete on a regional/national level.

Susan Fritzell, MHS Extended Learning Program teacher and Envirothon sponsor, was present at the Board meeting along with four of the five team members: Chandler Fisher, Abby Snyder, Adam Willman and Sean Finn (Dayana Carrera was unable to attend).

“They’re really smart and really capable, but they also work really hard,” Fritzell said.

Two of the teammates, Snyder and Willman, will be unable to attend due to their designation as World Food Prize Interns. Snyder will be conducting research in Nepal and Willman will be in Turkey.

Read more about the state Envirothon championship here.

Digital Conversion bringing Chromebooks to Lenihan, Miller

C720-zoom-bigAll students at Lenihan Intermediate and Miller Middle schools next year will have Acer C720 Chromebooks beginning in the fall. The rollout of devices is the next phase of the District’s Digital Conversion initiative started this year.

In January of this year sets of Samsung Chromebooks were issued to all District third and fourth grade and 7-12 science classrooms. Initial plans for next year’s rollout included devices in sixth grade, but skipped fifth grade. The new plan allows for students already using Chromebooks to continue with them next year.

“We want the devices to follow the students,” said Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement.

Acer Chromebooks have a faster process which equates to a longer battery life, said Jeff Weinberg, director of information technology. They also have a more solid build quality.

The new Chromebooks will be student issued, meaning students will carry a Chromebook with them during the day instead of utilizing a classroom set. Devices will remain at school for next year while the District continues exploring ways to provide anytime, anywhere access for students and enable 24/7 learning.

The cost of next year’s Chromebook rollout is approximately $442,705, which will be covered through textbook adoption funds and computer replacement funds.

Board reviews Iowa Assessments

The Board reviewed Iowa Assessments results Monday night and discussed how to increase student achievement.

Results were reported according to District Strategic Action Plan indicators, which look at increasing percent proficient in grades 4, 8, and 11 for math and reading and increasing students scoring advanced in the same grades and subjects. The 2013-2014 results showed growth in three of six areas, but only 8th grade reading scores increased enough to meet SAP projections.

Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent for student achievement, said one area of growth not seen in the SAP indicators is Lenihan, where students met all but one target this year.

“The things we’re doing in the elementary buildings are gaining some momentum,” she said.

Among advanced students the District met four of six SAP indicators, increasing the percent of students scoring advanced for math and reading in both fourth and eighth grades.

Once challenge the District faces is the alignment of test items to the Iowa Core Curriculum. Less than 40 percent of math and 50 percent of reading test items align to the Iowa Core, which all schools in Iowa are required to implement beginning next school year.

“It’s a challenge,” Pecinovsky said.

She told the Board the next step is to review the assessments results at the building level, conducting item analysis and determining next steps for the District. The Board asked to review data for each building, as well as their attendance center plans and how they’ll work to increase student achievement.

Three buses purchased from Hoglund

Marshalltown Schools will purchase three new buses from Hoglund Bus Company.

The total cost is $236,514 to purchase a 35-passenger, a 65-passenger, and a 71-passenger bus. The price is after a $3,000 reduction for trading in a bus.

Contract settlement reached with B&G, transportation mechanics

The Board approved a settlement with union representing buildings and grounds employees and transportation mechanics.

The settlement is a 3.67 percent total package increase, with a 2 percent across-the-board wage scale increase and an increase in insurance.

Bid approved for Roundhouse track asbestos abatement

REW Services Corporation of Ankeny will complete the asbestos abatement at the MHS Roundhouse interior track.

The company had the low bid of $153,454. Removing the track is part of the overall Roundhouse project and should be completed during the month of June.

Security vestibule project sent to bid

The Board will upgrade the entrances to four schools this summer, installing security vestibules similar to systems used at Anson and Fisher elementary schools.

Franklin Elementary, Woodbury Elementary, Hoglan Elementary and Marshalltown Learning Academy will each receive upgrades to their main entrances. The anticipated cost for the project is $180,000 and is scheduled for completion at the start of the 2014-2015 school year.


By Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent of Schools

Monday’s Board of Education meeting included a comparison of Iowa Assessment results to performance targets of our Strategic Action Plan. Some scores prompted celebration, and others elicited frustration or anger, but no score was received without some form of emotional reaction. I hope others recognize these responses as an expression of strong concern for the academic success of every student in Marshalltown Schools. Each board member knows the limitations of the Iowa Assessment, yet is well aware that scores on this assessment have been identified as important indicators of our progress as a district: if we are doing the right things then scores should go up (some did); if scores are not going up (some did not), we must question the validity of the practices we have in place. As most of you know, these conversations are already occurring in small and large group settings throughout Marshalltown Schools. Dedicated teachers are working together to analyze Iowa Assessment results and to adjust our curriculum where necessary – while keeping in mind the Iowa Core must be implemented K-12 next year. The Board and I recognize the employees of Marshalltown Schools work tirelessly toward the goal of increased student learning. Thank you for your professionalism, compassion and commitment – during this 2014 National Teacher Appreciation Week and throughout the year.


Initial Review

601.2 School Calendar, bring back for first reading.
601.3 School Day, bring back with wording from Dept. of Education.
602.1 Elementary Curriculum, mark reviewed.
602.2 Middle School Curriculum, mark reviewed.
602.3 Senior High School Curriculum, bring back for first reading.

PERSONNEL – Click here.

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