Archive | January, 2016

Jan. 18, 2016 meeting

19 Jan

Oath of Office

New board member Mike Miller took the oath of office, given by Board President Bea Niblock. Miller was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy.



Graphic Design project

MHS Art Instructor Kirk Niehouse talked about a recent graphic design project with two students, Dakota Sinclair (above left) and Michael Snyder (above right). Sinclair designed a bookmark and Snyder designed the banner with the theme “Is it Good for Kids?” as part of a project requested of Niehouse by Board President Bea Niblock. The banner is on display in the board room and the bookmarks were distributed to the schools.

Marching Band trip

MHS Director of Instrumental Music Bret Lee, Associate Director Brett Umthun and student Nate Harris, the senior drum major, presented about the MHS marching band trip to Arizona and the Fiesta Bowl parade, which was held over the holiday break.

“It’s something we’ll definitely remember for the rest of our lives,” Harris said.

Mr. Lee said the MHS students represented the state, school and band program with excellence.


MHS music department teachers Brett Umthun, left, and Bret Lee, right, join student Nate Harris, center, reporting on the recent marching band Fiesta Bowl trip to Arizona.


Fisher staff.jpg

Presenting the Fisher Elementary School attendance center plan was, from left, Mary Pepper, Vicki Vopava, Jennifer August, Courtney Albee, Marcie Sienknecht and Myriam Montiel-Arrelano

Fisher Elementary Attendance Center plan

Fisher Principal Vicki Vopava and staff members Jennifer August, Courtney Albee, Mary Pepper, Marcie Sienknecht and Myriam Montiel-Arrelano presented the annual attendance center plan from Fisher.

The presentation talked about Sheltered Instruction Observational Protocol (SIOP) , the Comprehensive Literacy Model and professional learning surrounding these two. Mrs. Vopava said SIOP supports all students at Fisher.

The staff talked about directing instruction to students of different language levels in the same classroom.

Family Engagement Plan

Director of Equity and Learning Supports Matt Tullis shared this plan that is a result of an increased effort to get parents engaged in the work of the district. Portions of the plan come from ideas from a series of parent rallies held last year with a wide variety of parents who have given valuable input. The goal is not only to get staff more involved but also to build parent leaders in the district.

“We understand the importance of partnering with our families,” Tullis said.

The plan also calls for welcome centers/resource centers at Anson Elementary and Hoglan Elementary to start out.

There are several other aspects of the plan including looking at communication with families, transportation challenges, ESL classes for parents and professional development for staff. Tullis said this engagement work is ongoing.

Safe Schools Update

Mr. Tullis, Superintendent Dr. Marvin Wade, Buildings and Grounds Director Rick Simpson and Architect Dave Schulze gave an update on projects in regards to safety including safety and security vestibule work at Hoglan, Franklin, Woodbury and the Marshalltown Learning Academy, which have been behind schedule.

Dr. Wade and Mr. Tullis talked about ALICE training for staff, which will be on Jan. 29 during a staff in-service day. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate on dealing with a threatening intruder.

Instructional Support Levy

The board approved the resolution to continue the participation in the Instructional Support Levy Program for another five years.More information on this program is in President Niblock’s report below.

Bid Recommendations for Chromebooks

The board approved the purchase of 195 Dell Chromebooks from Hypertec Direct of Scottdale, Arizona for $43,485 as presented by Technology Director Jeff Weinberg. They will be issued to teachers throughout the district, since there is a need for staff to be able to have interactive instruction with students in the district who have Chromebooks.

Board Room Audio Visual

Mr. Schulze and Mr. Simpson presented the revised recommendation on this project after value adjustments for the board room audio and visual upgrades. The board did not approve the project of $64,855 from Tri-City Electric Company of Davenport, Iowa, with 5 votes against the project and 2 for it.

MCSD Equity Project at Woodbury Elementary

Mr. Schulze and Mr. Simpson presented the Woodbury project as substantially complete. The project upgrades included restroom remodeling, stage removal, food service serving kitchen development, delivery loading dock installation and other related equity upgrades to the facility. The board approved the project as substantially complete.

For personnel items, click here.

Board Policies

New Board Policy – 504.33 – Life Threatening Allergies

MHS nurse Renee Mathews and Rogers Elementary nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford nurse presented a new policy titled Life Threatening Allergies.

There are 51 students in the district with life threatening allergies. The nurses want a standardized policy in place throughout the district. The board will bring this policy back as a first reading. Click here to view the proposed policy.

905.1 – Community Use of School Facilities – Adopted as first reading, waived second reading.

905.1-R2 – Fees for Use of School Facilities – Approved as amended, waived second reading.

905.1-R3 – Regulations Concerning the Use of School Facilities – Approved as amended, waived second reading.

201.8 – Vacancies – Policy updated with new statute to have opportunity for election. Approved as amended, waived second reading.

The next regular meeting of the board is planned for Feb. 1 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Nibl0ck

“At Monday’s board meeting, the board voted to continue the district’s participation in the Instructional Support Levy (ISL) program for the next five years. Nearly all school districts in the state have an ISL. This levy will generate approximately $2 million annually to increase the spending authority of the General Fund.

The General Fund is the primary fund that supports the teaching and learning for our students. The district could not continue to offer the current level of programming for students without this additional spending authority.

The ISL will allow the district to continue to offer a comprehensive program to all students.” – Bea Niblock








January 4 & 5, 2016 meetings

6 Jan

Mike Miller

Board selects Mike Miller as new member 

The MCSD Board of Education selected Mike Miller to join as the newest board member. Miller will serve until fall 2017, which is the remaining term left after the recent resignation of Jennifer Wilson.

Miller, a Marshalltown native, is President and CEO of RACOM in Marshalltown.

Miller told the board he was honored by their selection Tuesday. The board conducted interviews with six candidates over the course of two nights and made a decision on Tuesday.

Thanks to all the candidates who gave of their time to this process.

From Board President Bea Niblock

“After two evenings of interviews, the board of directors is once again complete. Thank you to the board members for their time commitment and diligence in working the process.

The board was fortunate in being able to interview 6 candidates from the community. The recent interest is unprecedented in past year’s board elections. It is a great thing that so many people are interested in what is happening in this district.

The process of open interviews made the process transparent to all. And with the first ballot, Mike Miller was selected to serve the remaining time of the vacant position. He will be seated at the January 18th meeting. Congratulations to Mike!” – Bea Niblock

Jan. 4, 2016 meeting

MHS Health Careers Club trip


Marshalltown High School Dean of Students Dan Terrones talks to the school board about a Health Careers Club tip to San Antonio, Texas slated for February. Also presenting as part of the group were students, from left, Carina Magana, Samantha Lammert and Norma Ibarra.

The Marshalltown High School Health Careers Club, led by Dean of Students Dan Terrones, was approved for an out-of-state trip by the school board.

The club’s leadership team of students will travel to San Antonio, Texas in February where they will visit a health careers high school, learn more about care for veterans and visit some tourist sites.

“It will be a great learning experience for the kids,” Terrones said.

Nine students and two adult chaperones will be on the trip, which is paid for by Central Iowa Healthcare, a partner of the club. The group will travel by van to San Antonio. In accordance with policy, the board must approve all school-sponspored out of state trips.

Board room audio/visual updates

The board received an update on the board room audio and visual update project. Buildings and Grounds Director Rick Simpson and Architect Dave Schulze brought forth some cost-saving measures for the project. This was an information item only with the item expected to come back to the board for possible action at the Jan. 18 meeting.

The Jan. 4 board meeting was abbreviated in order to start candidate interviews for the school board vacancy.

For personnel items, click here.