Archive | November, 2017

November 20, 2017 board meeting

21 Nov

Fisher students read their short stories at the board meeting


Fisher Elementary School fourth graders, from left, Lucas Hagen, Quinn Eastman and Emerson Eastman talk to their teacher Julie Preston, right, during a presentation to the school board on November 20. Also pictured is school board member Ben Fletcher.

Fisher Elementary School Presentation
Princpal Mark Lee and Instructional Coach Jennifer August presented this overview of things going on at Fisher.
“It’s been a fantastic whirlwind,” Lee said of his first year at Fisher.
The board was then able to catch a glimpse of what goes on during an author party at the school. Three students each from Mary Pepper’s first grade class and Julie Preston’s fourth grade class read their short stories and talked about each other’s work.

!st Grade

Maximus Leger reads to fellow first graders Celeste Heald, left, and Andrea Cabrera at the board meeting.



Director of Foodservice Lynn Large (left) recognized Kendra Bueghly of Farm Credit Services of America for the company’s recent donation of $5,000 to the backpack program. The program  provides food to take home for 200 kids each week.
“One of our missions is nutrition,” Bueghly said.


Dr. Theron Schutte, left, congratulations Lucas Johnson on his coach of the year award for boys golf.

Marshalltown High School boys golf coach and Miller Middle School teacher Lucas Johnson was recognized as he was named Class 4A coach of the year by the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association. Johnson helped guide the Bobcats to the Class 4A title.
“It’s a nice honor,” Johnson said.

The board itself was also recognized for earning awards for their own learning development from the Iowa Association of School Boards. More on the board honor here.

For personnel items approved by the board click here.

Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis pointed out the four current retirements in the district and gave some information on their work in the district including:

Penny Duer – Current Special Education Instructional Coach who has 31 years of service to district

John Fitzgerald – Current MHS counselor who has 38 years of service to the district.

Bev Fisher- Current Miller Middle School math teacher with 19 years of service.

Mark Chardoulias – Current Lenihan counselor with 25 years of service to the district.

“We we miss the individuals greatly,” said Board President Bea Niblock

At-Risk update
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented preliminary information on the at-risk budget. She will come back at the December 4 board meeting with the budget. The board finance committee will meet on November 27 to present clearer budget figures.

First Quarter report
Dr.  Stevenson and Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger presented this document as an update with data from the first quarter.

While some numbers such as chronic absenteeism were not what the district wanted, there were some other numbers that showed promise, including a 11 percent jump in reading proficiency on the FAST test throughout the elementary level.

Behavior referrals were also discussed. The board had several questions for the two and also would like to see the data on how it stacks up to past years and state averages.
More data is expected to be presented to the board in the future.

The following 4 finance items were resolutions for refinancing of bonds and for the Roundhouse Phase II construction project – All were approved by board

  • Resolution Appointing Paying Agent, Bond Registrar, and Transfer Agent, Approving the Paying Agent, Bond Registrar and Transfer Agent Agreement and Authorizing the Execution of Same.
  • Approval of Tax Exempt Certificate
  • Resolution Authorizing the Terms of Issuance and Providing for and Securing the Payment of School Infrastructure Sales, Services and Use Tax Revenue and Refunding Bonds
  • Resolution Appointing A Successor Paying Agent, Bond Registrar, and Transfer Agent; Approving the Paying Agent, Bond Registrar and Transfer Agent Agreement and Authorizing the Execution of Same –

Franklin Elementary and Miller Middle School Easements
Working with Alliant Energy, this agreement allows the company to take above ground power lines below ground at Franklin and Miller,paid for by Alliant-  Board Approved

Board Policies
501- 1R to become 510.3-E2 – Attendance Regulations. Will come back with changes- being reworked again

First reading
705.9- Death of Student, Staff Member, or Board Director. Added phrase at end. Approved, waived second reading

Initial review
501.1-Resident Students- Recently reviewed- marked as reviewed again
501.2- Non-Resident Students- Change to the date in last paragraph- to October 1. To come back as first reading
501.7- Foreign Students- to change number to 604.8- to mirror IASB policy number – Integrate IASB policy and will be run by legal counsel – Policy to come back before board
501.8-Attendance Records – Marked reviewed.
501.9 -Open Enrollment- Sending District- number changed to 501.14 to reflect IASB number – Marked as amended.
501.9-R- Open Enrollment – Sending District Regulation-  Number changed to 501.14R – Phase III references removed. Accepted as amended.

The next regular school board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on December 4 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“It won’t be long and you’ll soon be off and enjoying some time away from the educational setting.  So, let me share with you the quote that I used at the end of the board meeting yesterday.  

“I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.”   Henry David Thoreau

May you, too, be perpetually thankful!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!” – Bea Niblock


November 6, 2017 Board Meeting

7 Nov

Board learns of personalized learning going on at Miller Middle School 


Miller Middle School student Samya Huerta speaks as part of the school presentation to the school board on November 6. The students talked about a cookbook they are publishing as part of a personalized learning class.

Miller Middle School presentation
This school presentation included students from a personalized learning class at Miller and also featured teacher Lisa LaVelle, Principal Pat Rial and Associate Principal Dave Glenn. The students presented work they are doing to publish a cookbook along with some of the goodies they are working on as part of the book.
The cookbook will feature 169 recipes, many are favorites of the Miller staff. This project is just one of many at Miller where students are learning real-world skills.
“A lot of hands on stuff going on,” Rial said.

For a cookbook order form, click here.


From left, veterans Ross Harris, Chuck Springer and Brian Bart.z

Honoring veterans
Board member Ben Fletcher read the proclamation that honored veterans as Saturday is Veterans Day and three veterans in attendance were recognized including Board member Ross Harris,  Director of Buildings and Grounds Chuck Springer, and Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz.
Other district veterans will also be honored this week by Central Office administrators.


Luke Pedersen and Kassie Wilkins performed a number from the upcoming musical “Cinderella.”

MHS musical sampling
MHS will present the musical “Cinderella” at 7 p.m. on Friday November 10 and Saturday, November 11. Cast members Luke Pedersen and Kassie Wilkins along with vocal director Amy Ose on keyboard presented a number from the show.


District Buildings and Grounds Director Chuck Springer, second from left, recognized the hard work of, from left, Travis James, Todd Goulding and Jennifer Gray.

B&G staff honored
Three Buildings and Grounds staff workers were recognized at the meeting for their help in guiding the department through a leadership change recently. Recognized were Jennifer Gray, Travis James and Todd Goulding.


Marshalltown High School student Nayeli Barajas speaks about the recent Latinx Conference attended by MHS students.

Latinx Conference students recognized
Marshalltown High School students who attended the recent Latinx Conference at the University of Iowa were recognized. A group of them took third place in the history contest while others presented at the conference along with MHS teacher Jocelyn Frohwein.
The group also thanked MHS Principal Jacque Wyant for her support. For more information on the conference, click here.

For personnel items approved by the board click here.
Additions were added to the personnel list including two early retirements from longtime staff members. Special Education Instructional Coach Penny Duer and MHS counselor John Fitzgerald had their early retirement requests approved, effective at the end of the school year.

Iowa STEM Best grant
Marshalltown Learning Academy Principal Eric Goslinga, talked about being a recipient of the STEM Best grant from the state in the amount of $25,000.
“It’s a nice honor for a program of our size,” Goslinga said.
Goslinga said this grant will help MLA increase STEM programming and also will lead to more connections with local businesses, especially as they seek apprenticeship opportunities for students. The board accepted the STEM best grant award.

Title I Chromebooks
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented bids for 131 Acer Spin Chromebooks,with carts and headphones for TItle I program use. The board approved the awarding of the bids to GovConnections in the amount of $58,072.

Refunding of current bond issues- New bond issue to cover Roundhouse Phase II
Presented by Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz. This item combines the refinancing of current bonds with the sale of bonds for the Roundhouse Phase II project.
The refinancing rates came back better than expected and will allow for a savings of just under $300,000 over five years.
The total sale of bonds is $9.9 million with $5.5 million of that going to the Roundhouse Phase II project and the remaining being refinanced to pay off previous bonds.
The board approved the refinancing and new bond issue.

Application to the School Budget Review Committee for 2017 Modified Supplemental Funding for Increasing Enrollment, Open Enrollment Out and Limited English Proficiency Instruction Beyond Five
Since enrollment is up 23.2 students, the state allows the district to recapture spending authority for these students since money is behind on this, noted Brian Bartz. Approved by board.

Board Policies
(Continue renumbering to bring polices in line with Iowa Association of School Board policies)
500.1- change to 500 – – Objectives of Equal Educational Opportunities for Students- Number change, Reordered protective classes and change in equity director, approved, waived second reading
501.1-(changed to 501.3-E1)- Attendance requirements- Minor wording changes approved, waived
501.3-E 2 (Formerly 501.1R)- Attendance Regulations  – Policy to run by county attorney on chronic absenteeism- To come back before board.
501.5 (Formerly 501.3)- Numbering change- change responsibility to superintendent vs. the board in regards to attendance center assignments- Approved, waived seond reading
501.3-Compulsory Attendance – No recommended changes (IASB format)- new policy- Approved
501.8- (Formerly 501.4) -Attendance Records- Adjustment made on primary responsibility for caretaker of records to principals. Approved, waived second reading
501.9 – Student Absences-Excused -New policy – IASB policy – Approved waived second reading
501.10 -Truancy- Unexcused Absences-New Policy – IASB policy-Approved, waived second reading

705.9 -Death of a Student, Staff Members, or Board Director- Change to be brought back- added “which may include purchase of flowers or a plant.”

The following 400 level policies were reviewed and are in alignment with IASB policy numbers. There were all marked as reviewed.
402.2- Child Abuse Reporting
402.2R – Child Abuse Reporting Regulation
402.2-E – Reporting Child Abuse When Suspected by “Caretaker”
402.3- Abuse of Students by School District Employees
402.3E1 – Abuse of Students by School District Employees- Complaint
402.3E2 – Abuse of Students by School District Employees- Investigation
402.4 – Gifts to Employees
402.5 – Public Complaints About Employees
415.5 – Classified Substitutes

The next regular meeting of the school board  is at 5 p.m. on Monday, November 20 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Our board meeting was filled with students and staff making presentations or being recognized for remarkable things.  What a perfect way to remind the board of the real reason that we are sitting at the table when surrounded with the financial and policy decisions that we must deal with at every meeting.

Al Exito students shared their experiences from a recent Latinx Conference.  Cast members performed a number from the upcoming MHS musical, “Cinderella.”  MMS students brought samples for the board to try from their soon-to-be published cookbook.  Staff members who have served our country in the armed forces were recognized.  Employees from Buildings and Grounds who stepped up and took on extra responsibilities during the search for a new department director were recognized.  And, Eric Goslinga shared the receipt of a $25,000 STEM grant awarded to MLA.  What a night!

Remember the musical performances on Friday and Saturday at the MHS/Community Auditorium.  And watch your emails for a chance to purchase a cookbook from MMS.  The samples that we tasted were great!  Great things are happening in the MCSD!” – Bea Niblock