Archive | December, 2017

December 18, 2017 Board Meeting

19 Dec

Lenihan Intermediate School sixth graders spoke to the board about learning language fluency. From left, are Natalie Salas, Elazia Davison, Colten Ricken and Chase Gustafson.

Lenihan Intermediate School presentation

Lenihan Principal Kyle Young and Assistant Principal Liz Jurgensen delivered this presentation to update the board.

“The year has been filled with a lot of new learning,” Young said.

There has been a new focus of trying to get more students connected to the school with one way being the new intramural program. Basketball is the first activity of the intramural program.

“Our goal is to work beyond athletics as we grow this program,” Young said.

Lenihan has also added new leadership opportunities for students to go along with others already established including Ricochet and Teen Outreach Program.  New additions have also been added on the academic side, including ST Math.

“I’ve been really proud of our staff,” Young of putting ST Math into place.

Four Lenihan sixth grade students talked about dimensions of fluency and read poetry examples.


Victoria Johnson

Marshalltown High School senior Victoria Johnson was recognized for being nominated by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst  to be considered for appointment for the United States Military Academy at West Point and by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley to be considered for appointment in the Naval Academy.  Victoria said she wants to study nuclear engineering in the Navy.

For Personnel items approved by the board click here.

Included in the items were two retirements including: Dee Coulter, special education teacher at Miller Middle School who has 29 years of service to the district and Karen Roessler, Title I teacher at Hoglan who has 33 years of service with the district.


Mark Smith

Visit from State Representative Mark Smith
State Representative and Iowa House Minority Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown visited with the board. During the previous meeting, three other legislators visited with the board, Smith was unable to attend then and spoke at the December 18 meeting.

The board presented Smith its priorities. The 2018 legislative session will focus on budget, Smith said. He said the state budget is not in good shape.

The board held a discussion with Smith around various topics including state supplemental aid, SAVE, unfunded mandates, graduation rates, school calendars,

ST Math Update
PK-6 Curriculum Leader Erica Finders and Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this update on ST Math which was implemented this fall in Pre-K through 6.

“Students move through the curriculum at their own pace individually,” Finders said.

Professional Development Delivery Model Calender Survey Update
The district is researching the how professional development is delivered as we develop the 2018-19 calendar. Staff were surveyed for their preference in either keeping the current structure for early dismissals on Wednesday or adding 8 additional full days of professional development.
Director of Communications Andrew Potter presented both staff and parent survey results. Staff in favor of going to full day PD was 54.4 percent while 51 precent of parents also favored this method.
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this pros and cons list of each calendar option. The next step will be to survey staff and parents on whether or not to have a spring break.
This was an information item only as board approval of the calendar will come at a later date.

Application to SBRC
The board approved the Marshalltown Community School District application to the School Budget Review Committee in the amount of $3,020.71 for special education administrative costs associated with River Hills Consortium program for the 2018-19 school year as presented.

Rescinding of Vote on At-Risk Plan
Board member Karina Hernandez sent this letter regarding rescinding her vote on the at-risk plan that was approved by the board at a special meeting on December 11. It was approved by the board

Marshalltown High School Roundhouse Phase II Asbestos Abatement
Director of Buildings and Grounds Chuck Springer presented a bid as asbestos was revealed during the Phase II work.
“We found that have some asbestos containing material on north face of Roundhouse,” Springer said.

The board accepted the bid from Controlled Asbestos, Inc. of Ankeny  for asbestos removal for the Roundhouse Phase 2 Project, at a cost of $13,063.

Board Policies
501.3-E2- Attendance Regulations – One adjustment- on last line referenced an old policy. Approved as amended
502.2 – Search and Seizure- changed number to 502.8- and number changes on cross references- Marked as reviewed.
502.2- E – Search and Seizure Checklist – Number change to 502.8- E- Marked as reviewed.
502.2-R -Search and Seizure- now 502.8R- a number of change in it to mirror IASB policies- To come back before board.
502.3 -Interviews of Students by Law Enforcement and Outside Agencies- Change number to 502.9- title changes, and generally same content with minor wording changes. To come back to board.
502.4 -Physical Restraint (Corporal Punishment) -Change number to 503.5- and title change, from IASB. To come back before board.
502.4-E – Physical Restraint or Physical Confinement Documentation- Change number to 503.5E- Marked as reviewed.
502.5 – Student Appearance –  Change number to 502.1- Change in cross references- Marked as reviewed.
503.1 – Student Conduct- From our policy and IASB policy – (was formerly 502.1)- To come back at next meeting.
503.1R1- Disciplinary Procedures and/or Penalties (Responsibility). Moved from another portion of conduct policy – To come back at next meeting.
502.9 – Gangs- Change number to 502.11 – Marked as reviewed.
502.9-R- Gangs- Number change to to 502.11R. Marked as reviewed.
502.10 – Weapons- Number change to 502.6. Marked as reviewed.
502.11- Violence- Number change – 502.12- Marked as reviewed.
307 – Communication Channels-  New policy – To come back before board
502.4 – Student Complaints and Grievances- To come back before board.
502.8-R-Student Expulsion – Number change to 503.2R. To come back.
503.2- Student Expulsion- Adopting from IASB- New policy, to come back.
503.1-R2- Student Suspension-New policy to come back before board.

NOTE: Next Board Meeting
The next board meeting will be Tuesday, January 16 at 5 p.m. in district offices. This is a move of one day from the original schedule of Monday, January 15 due to the MLK holiday.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The audience at the board meeting and the community members, who listen to the delayed broadcast of board meetings, all received a wonderful gift at Monday’s board meeting! The improved audio and video updates have been completed and were used for the first time.

For years, many have complained about not being able to see or hear what was happening during board meetings. The situation has been remedied. When asked of those sitting in the back of the board room, “Can you hear us?” the answer was a resounding ‘yes!’

May you all have the gift of time and relaxation during the upcoming holiday season. Enjoy your time away from the rigors of the job. Relax and find happiness with your loved ones. No matter how you celebrate the holidays, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Bright Blessings, Happy Hanukkah – Chag Sameach, or Happy Kwanzaa – Heri za!” – Bea Niblock







December 4, 2017 Board Meeting

5 Dec

MHS student displays robot he built and programmed


Marshalltown High School sophomore Keaten Collinson displayed a robot he built and programmed to the school board at the December 4 meeting.

Marshalltown High School sophomore Keaten Collinson presented to the school board a robot he designed, built and programmed.

“He’s really gifted with technology,” said Susan Fritzell, who is Keaten’s Extended Learning Program teacher at MHS.

The robot can be controlled by anyone over the internet. Keaten said he spent a few hundred hours of work on the project both in his Extended Learning Class at MHS and at home.

Keaten will be presenting as part of the district-wide Family Coding Night at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6 at Miller Middle School.

Mrs. Fritzell said she sees great collaboration in her class, especially when it comes to students experimenting with technology.

“It’s really neat that they are teaching each other and encouraging each other,” Fritzell


Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, thanks Sharon Baughman, center and Stacey Mommer for their work on the certified enrollment to receive a Platinum Award.

Recognition- Platinum Award
District Registrar Stacey Mommer and Director of Instruction Administrative Assistant Sharon Baughman received the Platinum Award from the Department of Education for their work on the district’s certified enrollment.

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the two showed significant commitment and effort to achieve this honor.

“This is the top recognition,” Schutte said.

For personnel items approved by the board, click here

Two retirements were shared by Director of Human Resources Anthony Spurgetis.

Larry Kadner – Kadner was a longtime industrial arts teacher before retiring and then coming back two years ago to help fill a need at MHS.

Cindy Wirkler-S he is secretary in Human Resources who has worked for the district for 15 years. A recent Employee of the Quarter award winner, Wirkler’s retirement will be effective at the end of June.

Carpenter Travis James has been named custodial supervisor for the district.


Travis James


Speaking at the board meeting were state legislators, from left Jeff Edler, Dean Fisher and Walt Rogers.

Update from legislators
Three state legislators visited the school board including State Senator Jeff Edler, State Representative Dean Fisher and State Representative Walt Rogers.

The legislators gave an update on the state finances and past and potential legislation. The board and Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented priorities for the upcoming session and also had discussed several matters with the legislators. Budget was one of the items discussed.

“We all know that the budget is a driving issue of what we have to do,” Edler said.  

Fisher  said they expect a tight budget yet again. Rogers, from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, is  chair of House education committee. He said there are no plans to change IPERS.  “It’s a good program we don’t plan on doing anything (with it),” Rogers said.

Dr. Schutte said extending SAVE is one of the priorities for the district due to facility needs.

“In our district we’ve always had a plethora of needs as well as wants,” Schutte said.,

On the topic of state supplemental aid, Board President Bea Niblock said it is very important to get that number from the legislature in a timely manner.  Several other topics were discussed including collective bargaining, school calendars, underfunded mandates and more.  State representative Mark Smith is expected to speak at the December 18 school board meeting.

IASB Director Vote
The board voted for Mary Poulter from the Colfax-Mingo School District as director for District 5 for the Iowa Association of School Boards

Microsoft Open Value Subscription- Agreement for Education.
Director of Technology Josh Wesley presented this renewal agreement for approval.The cost to renew this year $28,539. The board approved the agreement after a discussion.

At-Risk Budget
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented this budget  as a discussion item. It will come up for a board vote during the special meeting on December 11. This is a follow up to information Dr. Stevenson presented at the last board meeting.

Also presenting was Director of Business Operations Brian Bartz, who presented this document on specific figures.

There is an Increase in the budget of $197,000 from the current year, with a potential property tax rate increase of 20 cents. Bartz said that tax rate figure will have more clarity in the spring as they do the certified budget.

As part of this new budget, there will be an opportunity to expand the summer school offerings in the district.

Board Policies
501.1 R-(number change to 501.3-E2)0 Attendance Regulations- Many changed made were already discussed. One item that needs fixed is a reference to a student grievance policy (503.3) that does not exist. Policy will come back before board.
501.2- Non-Resident Student- Minor change to reflect Iowa code student count date Approved as amended.
501.7- (number changed to 604.8) Foreign Students – Approved as amended waived second reading.

The following six policies have been reviewed already this year. The only changes are numbering changes to reflect IASB numbering. All the following six policies were marked at reviewed.

501.10 (number changed to 501.15) – Open Enrollment- Receiving District
510.10-R (number changed to 501.15R)- Open Enrollment – Receiving District Regulation
501.11 – (number changed to 501.6)- Student Transfers In
501.12- (number changed to 501.7) – Transfers Out of Withdrawals
501.13- (number changed to 501.12)- Pregnant Students
501.16- Homeless Children and Youth

Next meetings
A special board meeting will be held on Monday, December 11 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The meeting will include a presentation by the company RSP  and the at-risk budget will be up for approval.

The next regular full board meeting will be a 5 p.m .on December 18.

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

From Board President Bea Niblock
“State Senator Jeff Edler, Representative Dean Fisher and Representative Walt Rogers (Education Committee Chair) met with the board at last night’s meeting.  Representative Mark Smith was unable to attend, but will join us at the December 18th meeting.

This allowed the board, administration, and members of the audience to hear what the legislators held for their visions for the upcoming legislative session.  It also gave the board the opportunity to share our concerns and hopes for the session as well.  The board brought many ideas to the table, including the timeliness of the state supplemental aid and unfunded (or underfunded) mandates.  Discussion was held around the SAVE statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure and collective bargaining.  Other topics were also broached.

Senator Jeff Edler stayed to hear the discussion of our at-risk budget, later in the board agenda.  That allowed him to hear about budget concerns, staff salaries/wages and the tax asking for the district – all good topics for him to hear.

Take the opportunity to visit with your state legislators.  Their work affects our work.” – Bea Niblock