Archive | December, 2016

December 19, 2016 meeting

20 Dec

Laurie Rink, MHS teacher and staff leader of the Mentors in Violence Prevention, talks about MVP to the board. Standing are student leaders in MVP including, from left, Veronica Daniel, Kobe Sandoval, Morgan Van Staalduine and Nalicka Matthew.

Student/Staff Showcase – MHS presentation
Marshalltown High School Principal Jacque Wyant, teacher Laurie Rink and student officers talked about the MHS Mentors in Violence program. Students presenting included Morgan Van Staalduine, Kobe Sandoval, Nalicka Matthew and Veronica Daniel. The MVP program has upper classmen mentor freshman. Currently there are 88 mentors.
Surveys indicate percentages of students who feel safe at MHS has jumped 14 percent in the past two years at MHS.

“What we really try to do is prepare freshmen for the future,” Van Staalduine said.

The students said that they not only serve as mentors, they also become friends with the students.

Daniel said, “it just helps build a better community” at MHS.

For the presentation document, click on this school-board-presentation link.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Guest artist at MHS
Marshalltown High School Principal Jacque Wyant talked about a visit from a guest artist/potter, Jeff Oestreich from Taylor Falls, Minnesota.
He will visit March 17 and 18. He will present to students on March 17 and adults on March 18. There is no cost to the district on the contract as fundraising and adult registration fees will cover the visit.

Dual Language Presentation – Tabled until Jan. 16 meeting.


State Senator-Elect Jeff Edler, left, and State Representative Mark Smith held a discussion with the board.

State Senator-Elect Jeff Edler and State Representative Mark Smith
These two local legislators visited to talk over some of their priorities heading in the 2017 legislative session and to hear from the board.
Edler said one of his campaign trail points was making sure state supplemental aid is set in a timely matter for school districts.
“Revenues continue to tighten, we are going to have a hard job in budgeting money and figuring out where these funds are appropriated,” Edler asid.
Flexibility in categorical spending with the tight budget was also discussed. Smith said the revenue estimating conference met recently showing about 96 million fewer dollars in the state than they had hoped for.
“I think that this is going to be a challenging year with funding,” Smith said.
Smith said the funding has to be there to bring Iowa back to a national leader in education.
“I think that we have to restore Iowa to excellence in education,” Smith said.
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said setting state aid early is a necessity as schools plan for their budgets. Board President Bea Niblock said the state third grade reading proficiency summer school requirement needs to be put off if it is not funded.
Other topics were also discussed with the board members, legislators and Dr. Schutte such as ELL funding, funding for mental health services, flexibility of school funding, Teacher Leadership and Compensation as it relates to the general fund, the proposed shift in some of the statewide penny sales tax for water quality initiatives and more.

Board Book Study
The board held a discussion on the first section of a book they read “How Not to Be a Terrible School Board Member.” The board went through various scenarios presented in the book, mostly were reminders of actions board members should and shouldn’t take regarding their roles.

Employee Culture/Morale Study
Dr. Schutte presented a proposal to go with HUMANeX to help survey staff as part of a method of improving employee culture in the district. Dr. Schutte said he has heard a need to improve employee morale and pride in the district. This will allow us to measure where employees feel the district is at as part of a 15-minute survey.
“It’s a really powerful tool,” Dr. Schutte said.
The survey is expected to be sent to staff in January. The cost is $10,650, which comes from the general fund. The contract was approved by the board.

Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented the following two items to the board.


Josh Wesley

Micrsoft OVS-ES Renewal agreement
Wesley said the Microsoft subscription for Microsoft Office and the Windows Server is in need of renewal. The board approved the three-year agreement for a total cost of $41,092.

“With this agreement it allows us to run the most current version of Office and the server,” Wesley said.

Elementary Lab Replacement
The English Language Proficiency online assessment, ELPA21, has removed support for Windows XP prompting the replacement of the labs at the elementary schools. Wesley recommended the replacement of the PC labs with Chromebox units ($177 each) with a total cost of $55,836.80.
This will include 25 boxes at each of the six of the elementary schools plus one PC to run the projector. This purchase is part of the technology replacement budget. The board approved the purchase.


Board Policy
204.9-R1 – Board Calendar – Adjustments were made on at-risk application. Approved changes made.



The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for 5 p.m. on January 16, 2017.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“At each meeting, I close the meeting with a quote from an individual to help the board focus on what we have accomplished or what we have yet to do. Monday’s quote was from Bob Hope. He said, “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: Loving others.”

As you enjoy the festivities of the season with family and friends I ask that you take just a moment to remember the many children and families who will not be enjoying the traditions that you do. There will be no table laden with the bounty of the season; no mess in the living room from opening presents or even lighted with a Christmas tree; no warm comforters on their beds. Please remember that many of our families do not have the necessities to live happy and healthy lives.

Love your family and be grateful for the life that you cherish. Love others.

Travel safely. Come back to us rested and ready to continue the hard work that you do every day loving the students entrusted to our care.” – Bea Niblock

December 5, 2016 meeting

6 Dec

Lenihan Intermediate Principal Kyle Young, left, introduces the student group Teen Outreach Program (TOP) to the board at the December 5 meeting. Students pictured standing with Young are, from left, April Wills, Taeviss Fite, Cody Garcia, Jayden Harrell, Ryan Ferneau and Preston Duncan. 

Student/Staff Showcase – Lenihan Intermediate School
Lenihan Intermediate School Principal Kyle Young presented a group of sixth graders that meet as part of a partnership between MCSD and Mid-Iowa Community Action known as the Teen Outreach Program (TOP).

“The goal of this group is to promote service learning opportunities and also some life skills,” Young said,

The group will organize a penny war before winter break to benefit the Animal Rescue League and House of Compassion.


Oath of Office
Mike Miller was elected to a one-year term on the board during the general election on November 8. He was given the oath by Board President Bea Niblock at the meeting. Miller was originally appointed by the board last January to fill a vacancy.



Kirk Niehouse, right and Jacque Wyant

Marshalltown High School art educator Kirk Niehouse has been selected to receive the Western Region Art Educator Award from the National Art Educators Association.

MHS Principal Jacque Wyant said Kirk does amazing things for students at the high school level, but also for students throughout the district and brings artists for the community. Niehouse talked about several art-related activities in the district.

Niehouse credited past art teachers and current art teachers at MHS for helping him earn the award.
“It took more than just me to do this,” Niehouse said.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

At Risk- Dropout Budget
Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Director of Instruction, presented the At-risk / dropout budget, which is $2.11 million (includes a 4 percent increase). Dr. Stevenson said there are five general ways we are intervening to address needs of at-risk students including 1. Credit content recovery, 2. Juvenile court liaisons, 3. Marshalltown Learning Academy, 4. In-school support services and 5. Literacy interventionists.

One of the main focal points is reducing the 12 percent of students who are chronically absent. The at-risk budget is funded by 75 percent property tax and 25 percent district funds.

Board members inquired about how the work is being quantified, what is the trend on many of the indicators and how the dollars are being used effectively. The board also talked about the district developing a plan to reach goals as part of the at-risk programming.

The board approved the $1,184,328 million tax portion of the budget.

For the presentation document, click here.

Transfinder License Agreement
Don Meyer, Director of Transportation, presented a proposal on a new transportation routing software program known as Transfinder. The district is paying approximately $12,000 a year for its current routing software.

Meyer said the Transfinder software would be $18,540 for the first year and $6,450 for every year after the first year. This program uses GPS programming to show pick up locations and appears to be more user friendly than the current software. The agreement was approved by the board.

Thank you to the board
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte thanked the board members for their involvement in the Roundhouse Phase 2 design meetings and the strategic planning community input meeting last week. On top of that, board members attended the Iowa Association of School Boards Conference last month.


Next regular meeting
The next board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“When you have a relatively ‘new’ board – 3 directors with just over a year of experience and 2 directors with less than a year of experience – it’s important for the board to learn together. The board has been learning together in a variety of ways.

The most recent of which was attendance at the Iowa Association of School Boards Conference in November. Directors heard nationally recognized speakers engage us on topics of equity, culture, and advocacy for public schools. Each director also attended a variety of break-out sessions during the 2 day conference. Three of the directors shared their learning with the rest of the board at the most recent meeting and 4 individuals will share at the next meeting.

Not only has the board benefited from this conference, but the board and central office staff have begun a book study to continue their learning together. “How Not to be a Terrible School Board Member” will be read and, then, discussed at subsequent board meetings.

Your board continues to learn together and to provide sound leadership for the district.” – Bea Niblock