October 19, 2015 board meeting

20 Oct


Mary Abbe, secretary at Woodbury Elementary School who is in her 42nd year, was honored by Woodbury Principal Anel Garza at the start of the meeting.


Woodbury Elementary School Principal Anel Garza, left, honors secretary Mary Abbe during the Oct. 19 board meeting.

“She knows everything about our school,” Garza said. “She knows all the students, their parents and their grandparents.”

Mary received a standing ovation from the board and guests at the meeting. She said she loves the staff, which is why she has stayed at the school. Several members of the Woodbury staff were at the meeting to show their support.

Golf video

Lucas Johnson, Marshalltown High School boys’ golf coach and Miller Middle School teacher shared his video of the golf team.

Johnson thanked the local golf courses for their support of the team and said the team had a great season. To view the video Johnson produced, click here.

Continuous Learning Calendar Committee

Arlene McAtee gave an update on the work the committee has been doing. She said the committee is looking at a different type of break schedule which would include more frequents breaks of length and a shorter summer break to help cut back on summer learning loss.

There are 24 members of the committee who meet monthly. The members include parents, representatives from community groups, teachers, school board members and administrators in the school district.

The next step the committee will take is to interview 10 districts across the country which have been successful in implementing a continuous learning calendar. The board confirmed they want the committee to continue its work and come back to the board for a recommendation in March 2016.

Board President Bea Niblock asked them to also interview those districts that were not successful with this continuous calendar implementation. President Niblock said many community members would like to have public forums on this topic as well.

New board members Ben Stansberry and Ross Harris would like to serve on the committee and board member Kendall Derby will remain on the committee as well.


Matt Cretsinger, director of special services with the district, gave an update on Medicaid reimbursements. Cretsinger talked about the claiming process and who is eligible to receive Medicaid.

“We continue to show an increase in reimbursements over the years,” he said.


Mary Jane Vens, of the Iowa Association of School Boards, talked to the board about what IASB does and how it can assist board members.

Vens had the board members write down what their greatest accomplishment would be 8 years from now and two hallmarks of this board. Most board members talked about the goal of increasing student achievement.

Supplemental Education Services

Dr. Susan Pecinovsky, associate superintendent, updated the board on what supplemental services are available to elementary students and how they qualify for these services. This was an information item only.

Data Access

Lisa Koester, director of human resources, presented educational data available to board members, which is quite extensive. She focused on how to navigate certain websites. One site being the Iowa Department of Education website, where anyone can access the  public reporting website for testing data, demographics, enrollment, financial information and more. The second website she focused on was the district website and how to access board policies. The third website she displayed was the Iowa Association of School Boards site.

Annual Report to Community

Andrew Potter, communications director, presented the annual report to the community, which is part of the Fall newsletter. It will be printed and distributed later this week at the schools and several community locations including the Fisher Community Center, Marshalltown Public Library and Albion Public Library. The report will also be available on the MCSD website.

Demolition at the Rogers Elementary School site and demolition of 317 Columbus Drive

Rick Simpson, director of Buildings and Grounds and Dave Schulze, district architect with TSP, presented to the board on the demolition of homes in the Rogers Elementary School area and also the demolition of the former district office.

Simpson said this has made the Rogers site safer and opens it up for future school projects. For photos of before and after work on the projects, click here.

The board accepted the projects as substantially complete.

Anson Elementary Equity Remodeling

This project included restroom remodeling and addressing accessibility issues. The board approved the project as substantially complete.

Boardroom audio and visual

A discussion was held regarding the audio/visual presentation of the board room. Schulze and Simpson spoke to the board on this issue to attempt to fix some problems in the board room regarding sound and display of items being discussed. Schulze said the proposed cost of the improvements is estimated at $20,000.This was a non-action item with a formal proposal planned to come before the board in November.

Board Policies

603.12 R- Electronic Resources and Electronic Mail Appropriate Use Regulation – Marked with a review date.

310.4 –MCSD Organizational chart– The current district chart was passed out to the board.

204-5 R- Organizational Meeting Procedures– Marked as reviewed

705.4 – Receiving Supplies and Equipment – Marked as reviewed

802.7-R – Energy Conservation Guidelines– Central office staff to prepare draft on this and will be brought back to the board.


For personnel items, click here.

The board then went into closed session for a superintendent evaluation. The next regular meeting of the board is planned for 5 p.m. on Nov. 2 in district offices

From Board President Bea Niblock

“The board had the opportunity to have Mary Jane Vens, Board Development Director for the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) make a presentation to them during the board meeting. During this presentation she explored the board’s direction, goals and teamwork. Ms. Vens gave the board her insight and provided us with suggestions for working together for the common good of the students in the district.

Our board is a working and learning board. Not only does the board have the charge to be a visionary team, but to provide effective leadership for quality instruction and high, equitable student learning and to foster a culture that enables excellence and innovation. To that end, the board will spend time together learning, planning, growing and leading. “ – Bea Niblock

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