Archive | February, 2017

February 20, 2017 board meeting

22 Feb

Lenihan teacher Vanessa Engel introduced flag essay winners Desy Sung, left, and Rogelio Ceren to the board.

Lenihan students Rogelio Ceren and Desy Sung were recognized for their award winning essays on the American flag during a contest held by the American Legion. Teacher Vanessa Engel presented the students. Rogelio and Desy each read their essays and received a certificate of recognition from Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

Personnel items
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Emerge presentation
Lenihan teacher Leah Mattox, Joa LaVille of the Marshalltown Public Library and Lenihan student Mang Sang presented on the Emerge program. emergeoverview
Over 15 years ago, this collaboration was formed between the school district and the library. The program has sixth graders visit the public library once a month. Joa works with the kids and talks about the library’s offerings during Lenihan’s visits.
LaVille said the program is designed to help students become lifelong library learners.
Mang Sang came to U.S. and didn’t know English as a 9 year old. The public library helped him learn more about English. He now visits the library a few times a week.
“He is one amazing student,” Mattox said. “In two or three years his English is excellent.”
Another guest, Marco Andrade, a MHS graduate and current Primary Health Care employee, spoke about how this program helped him.
“I’ve been going to the library ever since Joa came to Lenihan.” Andrade said.
Andrade also spoke about memories of the summer reading program.
Mattox estimated they have reached 5,000 kids in this program in the past 15 years.
Joa LaVille was also thanked by the district with this video and with a certificate of appreciation.

Thought Exchange results
Tristan Read from Thought Exchange, presented via Zoom video. Thought Exchange took the survey results from staff, students and the community and had the groups rank results via stars.

Teachers and staff were by far the most talked about when it came to greatest strengths.
The top two greatest challenges and/or weaknesses were student behavior and discipline and parent involvement.

In the opportunities category, partnerships for career preparation was the leading theme
Under potential partnerships, those that help with career preparation was the leading theme. Under threats, funding and budget was the biggest theme. Read said a website will be ready to share with the community soon so they can look into the results as well.


Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson gives a CBE update with other administrators.

Competency Based Education update
Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Pam Brewer-Michael, Eric Goslinga, Pat Rial, Jacque Wyant, Dave Glenn and Kyle Young, gave an update on the CBE Collaborative.
Brewer-Michael said the biggest shift for her is that learning is the constant- where time and place and pace are not. This is meant to support all students no matter what their pace of learning.
Rial believes with standards based grading “Every kid is going to show more success as Miller.”
Wyant said letter grades at MHS will continue as they move to standards based grading and students will still have grade point averages.
There were several questions from the board on CBE. Board President Bea Niblock suggested that CBE be part of a board work session since there are more questions that need to be answered.

MHS art trip to Chicago
MHS art instructors Kirk Niehouse and Wade Judge asked the board for permission to take the annual art trip to Chicago on Saturday, March 25 to see the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and to Millennium Park to see the “Bean.”  Plans are to take 40-45 students by charter bus.
“We start at 4 in the morning and we’re home by midnight,” Niehouse said. “The kids get a lot out of it. It really puts a lot of meaning to what we do.”
The board approved the trip, which is funded by the students themselves and by fundraising if students can’t afford to go.

Audit Report 2015-16
Jason Doonan from Nolte, Cornman and Johnson presented the audit report. For the subjects he covered at the meeting, click on this document 2016-marshalltown-powerpoint

2017-18 certified budget preview
Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz presented this item. The proposed tax rate would decrease two cents from $17.97 to $17.95 per thousand valuation.
Working in favor of the budget is the fact that valuations in the district have increased from $972,576,312 to $1,019,049, 272

Board Policies
102 E-1- Annual Notice of Nondiscrimination- Fixed typo to have it corrected- approved waived second reading
314.1- Administrator Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive- will come back to make sure dates are correct as far as decision dates. – New dates for all early retirement policies.
401.4- Employee Complaints- Marked as reviewed
401.5- Employee Records-Change to be made to custodian of employee records to Director of Human Resources- will come back with that change
401.5-R- Employee Records Regulation- Marked as reviewed
401.8 – Recognition for Service of Employees – Suggested for a rewrite- in process of changing employee recognition.
401.10 –Credit Cards- Marked as reviewed.

“How Not to be a Terrible School Board Member” book discussion
The administration again led a discussion on habits highlighted in the book.

Superintendent evaluation
The board then went into a closed session for the quarterly evaluation of the superintendent.

Next meeting
The next regular board meeting will be at 6 p.m. on March 6. Prior to the meeting at 5 p.m. will be a Roundhouse Phase 2 design open house meeting in the board room.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“It is always a pleasure for the board to hear from students themselves. And it was a special treat to have the American Legion flag winners read their personal essays. Desy Sung and Rogelio Ceren gave proud readings of their works. They helped each of us, board members and audience alike, to think about our national freedoms and the meaning that our flag stirs in all of us.
Leah Mattox and Joa LaVille helped the board understand the partnership between the public library and the students at Lenihan Intermediate School. Mang Sang shared how important the partnership and the program, Emerge, were to him and helping him become a reader.
Each of these presentations helped the board members to remember our own goal – to make decisions in the best interest of all children in the district.” – Bea Niblock

February 6, 2017 meeting

7 Feb

Anson students showcase a variety of school activities


Anson Elementary School Extended Learning Program students, standing, from left, Shayna Garcia, Jordan Scheid and Olivia Holmgren display a robot to the board. The robot moved around the board room and even told a joke.

Student/Staff Showcase- Anson Elementary

Anson Principal Ronnie Manis, staff and students showcased a wide array of activities going on in school. Manis said every day teachers work hard to inspire students, but the inspiration is also two-way.
“Every day when we work with these kids they inspire us,” Manis said.

Fourth grade teacher Abby Stanfield and students talked about a pen pal program where students are sending actual letters to students in Italy.


Anson fourth grader Chau Thai talks about the pen pal program next to his teacher Abby Stanfield.

ELL teacher Jennifer Janssen talked about ELL strategies and showed a video of first graders telling a story.

Counselor Ashley Chyma and Manis talked about several things going on at the school including ways to produce healthy and happy students. They talked about the walk the entire school did to the high school, the sprinkle happiness event the students did at the corner of Third Avenue and Anson Street, tree planting projects, the Anson gardens project with Hy-Vee and the Anson Food Pantry.

Anson Extended Learning Program teacher Nicole Holman brought three XLP students, Olivia Holmgren, Jordan Scheid and Shayna Garcia. The three showed the robot they programmed to move about the board room – and the robot even told a joke.

For personnel items approved, click here. The personnel items approved two retirements below:

Lynnda (Kathy) Ferguson – 3rd Grade Teacher at Franklin Elementary
Kathy has been with the district for 34 years and is a master educator. Prior to her work at Franklin she taught at Woodbury. She also was a student teacher in the district while enrolled at Iowa State University.

Marilyn Rhodes, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent.
She has retired after 65 years of service. Marilyn started in March of 1952, the same year she graduated from Marshalltown High School. Marilyn worked for seven superintendents.
“Her passion for our district and the Iowa Hawkeyes was second to none,” said Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis.

Look for more information on Marilyn’s career in the future and also a public recognition event is being scheduled for April 14 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the team room of the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse.

District Culture Study Results
Brad Black, President of HUMANeX, Ventures spoke to the board. The company was utilized to do the district staff culture survey. There were some good indicators as a result of the staff survey.


Brad Black of HUMANeX Ventures

Participation level was 87 percent of staff in the district which Black said “phenomenal” A total of 725 staff members provided input to 88 questions.
Black said results typically would be 1/3 people who describe they are highly engaged , inspired and satisfied in their studies. In MCSD, the survey indicated 55 percent who were highly engaged, inspired and satisfied.

Results: Top 5 full district items- Questions which got the most positive response.

  • I am fully engaged in the work that I do
  • I feel great pride in the wok that I do
  • I am committed to the success of my school district
  • In my role I have the opportunity to do things that I both do well and enjoy
  • I am continuously seeking ways to improve my overall productivity.

Bottom 5 – Received the least positive response

  • I have received meaningful recognition in the past 10 days
  • In the past three months, my principal/supervisor has discussed my successes and progress with me.
  • I am provided personal coaching from my principal/supervisor
  • I am provided the opportunity to spend quality time with my principal/supervisor
  • Marshalltown Community School District has a genuine concern and interest about me as a person.

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said action plans will be worked on to address the areas in need of improvement

To view the presentation document- click the following link marshalltown-insightex-2017-board-presentation-2-2.

New Science Standards Study Team
Dr. Lisa Stevenson and Pam Brewer-Michael presented about the need for new secondary science curriculum to meet the new standards.
Dr. Stevenson said Marshalltown science teachers invested a significant amount of time in this process.
The standards reflect a shift to more “hands on and minds on” science which is reflective in the kinds of things they are requesting.
This was not an action item but in the future it’s anticipated the curriculum could cost $313,629.

Board Book Study
The Board continued its book discussion on “How Not to Be a Terrible School Board Member” This was the third installment of this discussion, each chapter led by a different board member at this meeting.
The board talked about 7 different habits in the book and the lessons learned from each habit.

Forecast 5 License Agreement
This was a request by Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz to approve $11,000 to be spent on financial projection software.
Bartz said this software will make the business office more efficient.
The board approved the license agreement.

E-Rate Funding
Director of Technology Josh Wesley  presented about E-Rate funding and a project proposal.
For 2017, he requested E-Rate funding be utilized for fiber connections between buildings, Internet and phone services, and expansion wireless access points and MHS and Miller
While MCSD would receive $50,000 of services, it is expected to cost the district approximately $10,000, due to E-Rate funding. Click her for more information.
The board approved the proposal.

FEH Contract Amendment
This item will have architect FEH serve as additional construction oversight for the MHS Roundhouse Phase 2, instead of hiring a full construction manager.
This amendment has a cost up to $72,000 for 30 additional visits by the architect as far as construction oversight.
If less is needed, “we can always back off” Dr. Schutte said.
Board members such as Vice President Janelle Carter said this will provide “additional oversight” on the project, without having the cost of a construction manager, which could be three to four times the cost of this amendment.
The board approved the FEH Contract amendment.

Board Policies
There were no policies reviewed at the meeting.

The next Board meeting is at 5 p.m. February 20 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“As you know, I close each board meeting with a quote. I have mentioned it before in my comments to you.
Last night’s quote, in honor of Black History Month, comes from Oprah Winfrey. ‘For every one of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way out. The light doesn’t always necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school.’
We are, indeed, thankful for our public schools and our great teachers. We draw our commitment to quality education from creative teachers, the ones who make it interesting to go to class each day, the ones who smile and know the needs of their students, the ones who come to work each day to make a difference in the lives of Marshalltown’s youth, and the ones who tirelessly push our students to greater achievement.
We are thankful for every staff member – administrator, teacher, para, nurse, secretary, custodian, bus driver or lunch lady – who inspires our youth day after day and loves our children.’ – Bea Niblock