Archive | April, 2016

April 18, 2016 board meeting

19 Apr



Marshalltown High School Principal Jacque Wyant, right, talks during the attendance center plan at the board meeting on April 18. Also seated at the table pictured are MHS staff members, from left, Justin Boliver, Naomi Musal and Sue Inhelder.

Marshalltown High School attendance center plan
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant led this annual presentation, which also included MHS staff members Justin Boliver, Deb Holsapple, Brad Weidenaar, Dee Burt, Laurie Rink, Sue Inhelder, Naomi Musal, Theresa Theis and student Morgan Van Staalduine.

Math scores from the Iowa Assessment data have shown growth, while reading scores show “an area for improvement,” Wyant said.

Graduation rate was up from 81.59 percent in 2013 to 87.06 percent in 2014. The 2015 graduation rate has yet to be reported from the state. Wyant said they are pretty confident they are close to 90 percent for the graduation rate for 2015.

The plan also reported on instructional practices inventory, sheltered instruction, student behavior (office referrals down significantly from previous year as well as in school suspensions), career pathways, Mentors in Violence Prevention, improved communication (for example meeting parents at JBS), teacher leadership, instructional coaches, model classroom teachers, MHS student demographics, the perspective of a classroom teacher and Competency-Based Education.

Wyant said MHS strives to have a climate where “everybody belongs and everybody is welcome.”


Teacher librarians, from left, Alicia Patten, Jeni Sloan and Sue Cahill

Teacher librarians Sue Cahill of Woodbury Elementary and Jeni Sloan of Hoglan Elementary were honored for their recent Outstanding School Library Award from the Iowa Association of School Librarians.

“We were honored that the board and the school district has taken the role of teacher librarian and kept that at the forefront of our learning,” Cahill said.

For personnel items, click here.

Public Comment
Lynne Carroll of Heart of Iowa Big Brothers Big Sisters, presented information on her agency, specifically the school-based mentors throughout the district. Twenty-one percent of the BBBS Marshall County budget comes from the Marshalltown Community School District.


Shedd Aquarium, Chicago

Out of state trip to Chicago
MHS teacher Tim Johnson, along with students Emma Alman and Hannah Lindgren requested board approval for a trip to Chicago as part of the Delegation of The Advancement of History. The trip, which includes a group of 10, is April 22-24 with expected stops at The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier and the Art Institute. The trip was approved.

School handbooks for 2016-17
Director of Human Resources Lisa Koester presented five different levels of handbooks, along with building administrators.
MHS– Associate Principal Dr. Kenneth Hayes presented minor changes. Click here for the handbook.
Marshalltown Learning Academy – Principal Eric Goslinga proposed minor changes. Click here for the handbook.
Miller– Principal Jacy Large presented minor changes. Click here for the handbook.
Lenihan Intermediate School – Principal Kyle Young presented minor changes. Click here for the handbook.
Elementary – Woodbury Principal Anel Garza presented minor changes. For this proposed handbook, click here.

The handbooks will be brought back for final approval by the board at the May 2 meeting.

Fiscal year 2017 budget development
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz presented the list of reductions previously approved by the board, the at-risk dropout prevention budget and budget worksheet.

With supplemental aid from the state now set approved at 2.25 percent, Bartz said the tax rate will go to under $18.00 per thousand (which will be lower than current rate of $18.33), with negotiations still to be determined.

The board did not indicate the need to see a list of additional staff reductions at this time.

Board Policies
204.11 – General Complaints by Citizens – Marked as reviewed – no changes
204.12 – Minutes of Meetings- Publication of Proceedings –Marked as reviewed
205.1 – Compensation for Expenses – Marked as reviewed
205.3 – Board of Directors and Elected Officials – Marked as Reviewed
206.1 – New Board Member Orientation – Marked as reviewed

310.4 – Organizational Chart – Two organizational charts were presented. One proposed from the board that was handed out at the last board meeting (April 4) and one from the superintendent as his recommendation (presented for first time April 18). A lengthy discussion was held on these proposed charts between board members, Superintendent Dr. Marvin Wade and Director of Human Resources Lisa Koester. Focus was on the difference of charts, especially with the ranking of associate superintendent (in the superintendent’s chart) or director of instructional services (in the board’s chart).

Staff were asked to address the issue brought up of the possible change of the title of the associate superintendent to director of instructional services.

Many district staff members commented, including several elementary principals, who spoke of this being a crucial time in the district, which is in the middle of several initiatives with the associate superintendent taking the lead.

The board will bring back the organizational chart as a first reading May 2 with more discussion possible before any approval.

Associate Superintendent Dr. Susan Pecinovsky said a film crew will be in the district on April 27 to spotlight the Compentency-Based Education program. MCSD was selected for being a state leader in CBE. Dr. Pecinovsky said this will “showcase the great work going on in Marshalltown Schools in CBE.”

Superintendent Search update
Dick Sundblad and Mike Billings from the superintendent search firm McPherson and Jacobson updated the board on the search. There will be a closed meeting on May 2 after the regular meeting to go over applicants for the position. They received 23 applicants for the position.
The duo went over the school and community input received from the meetings on March 29 as well as the online survey offered. Billings said “you’ll find very strong support for your district,” in the comments. Every group sees Marshalltown as a very strong community (with history and pride), a lot of collaboration, and that diversity is an asset.

Interview schedule – Superintendent Search
Billings and Sundblad provided a sample interview schedule for candidates, which is flexible depending on what the board wants. The board wanted to have an open house for the community and the press and also gave other input on the schedule.
The board will work to create a list of interview teams including, students, administrators, community business leaders, teachers and support staff, and community group and parents. Many of these teams will be based on those who expressed interest at the March 29 community meetings with McPherson and Jacobson.

Interview questions – Superintendent Search
The board went over possible interview questions and how the questions will come about. The board will contact Board Vice President Janelle Carter with changes to proposed questions or additions and deletions.

Compensation for next superintendent – Superintendent Search
The board was provided with superintendent salaries of similar sized districts. The board previously gave the search firm a proposed salary range of $180,000 to $210,000 for the next MCSD superintendent and the board confirmed that is still the case. The final decision on salary will be made after interviews.

Agenda for next meeting between board and search firm on May 2 – Superintendent Search
The board will get a list of applicants in a packet prior to the May 2 meeting. During a closed meeting following the regular May 2 meeting, the board will narrow down the candidate list down to who it will interview. Proposed candidate interview days are May 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Monday’s board meeting saw yet another request for students to take the classroom experience outside of the 4 walls of the school room. Tim Johnson, teacher at MHS, requested that the Delegation for the Advancement of History be given permission to take a trip to Chicago to experience the culture of the area and to visit a number of historical exhibits and locations.

The learning of students can only be enhanced when they are moved into a rich learning environment outside of the regular classroom. An overnight stay in Chicago immersing oneself in the culture of the area and going to such sites as the Art Institute, the Aquarium and museums can provide significant educational value to the lives of the students participating.” – Bea Niblock


April 4, 2016 Board Meeting

5 Apr

Anson Elementary Preschool teacher Samantha Randall talks to the school board about tablet use by preschool students in the district on April 4. Demonstrating tablet use are Zoey, left, and Quinlan Pals, preschool students at Anson.

District Preschool Program Coordinator Emily Banks, along with Anson Elementary Preschool teacher Samantha Randall, led demonstrations of tablet use in preschools as part of the Digital Conversion in the district. Also taking part in the demonstration were preschool students Quinlan Pals and Zoey Pals.

“Tablets help us with problem solving and learning the sequence of events,” Randall said.

Public Hearing on the fiscal year 2017 certified budget
No one from the public commented during this budget public hearing.

For Personnel items, click here.

Miller Middle School attendance center plan
Miller Principal Jacy Large delivered this presentation. He said technology is a major thrust at Miller, where there are 780 students.

Teachers are using technology up to 80 percent of the time during class to deliver instruction.


Jacy Large 

Large said “creativity is allowed” when it comes to teachers presenting their lessons at Miller. Large said he often asks staff, “What are we doing to make a student want to come back?”

His presentation included videos made by the students of the recent Career Fair at the school and the corresponding Project Day. Each student the past two years has been exposed to 26 different careers during these career fairs,Large said. Large also talked about Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports and other strategies utilized at Miller.

Explanation of Financial Statements
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz went over a current snapshot of the financial statements including revenues and expenses. Bartz said the budget is right on target as far as the revenues.

Actions Based on Audit Report
Bartz gave an update on findings from the audit report and the changes that have been made since that report to rectify each issue.
For more information on this item, click here.

Purchase of New School Buses
Director of Transportation Don Meyer requested the purchase of three new buses as part of the replacement schedule. Three new buses were approved for purchase from School Bus Sales and Hoglund Bus Company, including an 11-passenger (from Hoglund) and a 65-passenger and 77-passenger (both from School Bus Sales). The total cost of the three buses is $218, 369, including trade-ins of four buses.

Budget Guarantee
Bartz said this allows the school district to receive 1 percent new money if for some reason the 2.25 percent increase in state aid is not approved by the governor. The board approved this.

Fiscal Year 2017 Certified Budget
The board approved the fiscal year 2017 certified budget, presented by Brian Bartz. Districts in the state are still waiting on the governor’s signature on the proposed 2.25 percent supplemental aid increase for schools, which has been approved by the Iowa House and Senate. If that approval goes through, the tax rate is expected to be $17.93 per $1,000 valuation, a decrease of 40 cents from the current rate of $18.33. If there is no supplemental aid increase, the tax rate would be approximately $18.69.

Board polices
603.12-RElectronic Resources and Electronic Mail – Appropriate Use Regulation- Approved, waived second reading.
603.12 – Internet – Appropriate and Safe Use – Approved, waived second reading
204.1 – Regular Meetings– Marked as reviewed
204.2 – Special meetings –Marked as reviewed
204.3 – Closed Sessions – Marked as reviewed
204.4 – Annual Meeting – Marked as reviewed
204.5 – Organizational Meeting –Marked as reviewed
310.4- Organizational Chart – A new chart from the board was proposed as a platform for discussion. Board member Mike Miller said he would like to get the new superintendent on board before moving forward with the chart. No action was taken by the board, with future discussion planned.

Committee report
Board member Ben Stansberry said the Roundhouse public art committee has made the selection of “Drills” by Gail Folwell, a sculptor from Colorado. He said it could be installed as early as November outside of the Roundhouse. This is being paid for by an Iowa Great Places grant.

From Board Vice President Janelle Carter
“Tonight the board continued with the budget process begun at the last meeting. Following the public hearing, the board voted to increase the district’s levy from $18.33 per thousand dollar valuation to $18.69 per thousand. This represents an increase of $.36 in property taxes for those within the district for the next fiscal year. In the absence of supplemental growth, which is where we are right now, the increase is something the board felt was necessary to allow the district the ability to levy should there be no increase. That done, should the state come through with the Iowa House and Senate approved 2.25 percent increase, the levy will be lowered to approximately $17.93 per thousand. So, what looks like a tax increase today, will potentially be a decrease upon the signing of the 2.25 percent increase in supplemental aid by Governor Branstad. The budget process will, however, continue over the next several meetings.

On a lighter note, the board heard an uplifting report from Miller Middle School Principal Jacy Large on many of the exciting projects and programs happening at MMS this year. Included in this report were video clips from students broadcasting daily announcements and field reports on Bobcat Broadcast, a report on the recent Career Fair and Project Day, and also updates on progress and goals for MMS. Also guests tonight with District Preschool Coordinator Emily Banks and Anson preschool teacher Samantha Randall, were preschoolers Quinlan and Zoey to help demonstrate some of the uses of tablets in the classroom.” – Janelle Carter