December 16, 2019 Board Meeting

17 Dec
Lunches WEB.jpg

Brothers John Wise, right, and Tom Wise, left, speak about their part in an effort to raise funds to pay off outstanding student lunch account debt.

Community members recognized for addressing school lunch debt
Marshalltown residents Tom and John Wise were recognized for helping raise funds toward outstanding school lunch accounts as of Monday afternoon. The Wises followed the example set by Alfonso Medina, Jr., owner of La Carreta Mexican Grill. Several other community members and businesses have also contributed to the lunch account effort. Read more about their generous endeavor here

Next step taken on tennis court project
Marshalltown Schools took another step toward a project to replace and upgrade the community tennis courts at Marshalltown High School at Monday’s school board meeting. A public hearing for the proposed use of SAVE state sales tax funds for the project was held; the board subsequently voted to allow the use of SAVE revenue to pay for the project. Tentative plans, specifications, form of contract and estimated total cost of the project were also approved and a public hearing regarding those details was set for 5 p.m. Jan. 13, 2020.

For more information about the tennis courts project, click here

Woodbury kids WEB

Woodbury Elementary students showed off their literary skills in both English and Spanish at Monday’s board meeting. Woodbury is home to an excellent dual-language program. Pictured, from left: students Erandy Ibarra Madrigal, Sahily Gonzalez, Tate Williams, Maritza Barajas Hernandez, Aaron Tafolla, Theodore Lewis, Liliana Nunez and Woodbury Principal Anel Garza, standing. 

Woodbury Elementary School showcase
Woodbury Elementary Principal Anel Garza, counselor Heidi Williams and instructional coach Julie Thede brought a talented group of students to showcase their skills at Monday’s board meeting. 

The second- to fourth grade students each gave part of the presentation, some in English and some in Spanish. Woodbury is home to an incredible dual language program where students learn in both English and Spanish each day in class. 

The school’s presentation included an overview of the new Into Reading/Arriba la lectura curriculum and how it works to bridge new learning from one language to the other. The connection of concepts between the two languages contributes to increased biliteracy. 

First round of ISASP data released
Marshalltown Schools joined school districts statewide in the 2018-19 school year in implementing the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) assessment in grades 3-11. District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson shared data from that first year of implementation at Marshalltown Schools. 

The ISASP was developed to align with Iowa Core educational standards and to ensure students of all backgrounds and abilities can take the test. For more information, click here

VM WEB.jpg

Vision Marshalltown co-chair Terry Buzbee, right, and Executive Director Kyley Leger, left, share information about post-2018 tornado growth strategies for Marshalltown. 

Vision Marshalltown leaders provide network update
Vision Marshalltown Executive Director Kyley Leger and co-chair Terry Buzbee shared a report from the network on its post-2018 tornado community growth strategies. Buzbee said Marshalltown is in a prime position to grow in the coming years and said MCSD will be a key part of future success. 

“With what you as leaders and what the administration has done, what the staff has done, we’re in a whole new place relative to education,” he said to school board members. “In my opinion, we very much have a great opportunity to grow.” 

Leger said Vision Marshalltown leaders met in July to revise the network’s strategies post-tornado. Along with education, she said other key focuses include growing housing, growing Marshalltown’s downtown area and growing community pride. 

Report shared on first year of Full Service Community Schools program
Allison Wilson and Sarah Kenkel of Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) went over facts and figures from the first year of the Full Service Community Schools grant implementation at MCSD. 

The federal grant of $500,000 for five years (totaling $2.5 million) was awarded to MICA in 2018, and the local non-profit is investing those funds into programs at Anson, Rogers and Woodbury elementary schools. Wilson and Kenkel described how the programming strives toward three key outcomes: 

  • All children enter school ready to learn
  • Students are academically proficient
  • Students are safe, healthy and supported by engaged parents

Some strategies and programs designed to meet the above outcomes include the Bobcat University summer learning program, focusing on the transition from early childhood education to school, developing individual family attendance plans, referring families to community-based support services, among many others. 

For more information about the first year of the Full Service Community Schools grant implementation at MCSD, click here.

Voluntary early retirement program approved
The Marshalltown School Board voted to continue offering voluntary early retirement to qualifying district employees for the current school year. Eligible employees may submit a written application for voluntary early retirement to the superintendent by 5 p.m. Feb. 28, 2020.

Student school board WEB

Student School Board members Mia Barajas, left, and Carmen Araiza, right, share their report on the happenings at Marshalltown High School and around the district. 

2020-21 at risk budget proposal presented
Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented the at-risk budget proposal for the 2020-21 school year. The new budget, if approved at the Jan. 13 board meeting, would be increased to a total of about $2.4 million. 

Stevenson also shared data showing how the at-risk budget has helped Marshalltown students in recent years, including: 

  • An increase in graduation rate
  • A decrease in the number of students who drop out
  • A decrease in major behavior referrals/suspensions
  • A decrease in reports of bullying/harassment

For more information about the at-risk budget’s impacts, click here. For specifics about the proposed at-risk budget, click here.

School board supports research project
The board approved a letter of support regarding a wireless technology research grant being pursued by Brian Cox of the Iowa State University Research Foundation Inc. and a team of researchers. Cox said the research would be in partnership with MCSD as well as the local business community and would work toward developing an advanced wireless network. 

For more details about the research proposal, click here

Communications Director Adam Sodders reviewed the good news from the district by sharing newspaper articles as well as school communications articles. That list can be seen here

Personnel items
For a list of personnel items approved Monday, click here

Gifts and bequests accepted
A $10,000 STEM BEST Program Enhancement Fund grant from the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council awarded to Marshalltown Learning Academy was approved, as were donations from the community toward outstanding lunch account balances. 

Initial review – 

  • 903.5-R1 Distribution of Materials Regulation (changes needed, will come back before board)
  • 903.7 Parent-Teacher Associations (deleted due to redundancy, except for the last line which was added to 903.1)
  • 903.1 School-Community Groups (Last sentence from previous policy 903.7 added, will come back before the board)
  • 904.2 Sales Promotion Prohibited (Will come back for a first reading)

First reading –

  • 903.4 Public Conduct on School Premises-Conduct Counts (approved as amended, second reading waived)
  • 903.5 Distribution of Materials (approved as amended, second reading waived)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The countdown has begun. Four more days until winter break! A well-deserved break for our district employees.

Time away from books, lesson plans and meetings for relaxation and rejuvenation. Working with young people is rewarding, albeit challenging and demanding. It is our lifework and the joys constantly outweigh the difficulties.

I wish for you the happiest and most restful holiday season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, or whatever you and yours celebrate. Return to us rested and enthusiastic to continue the remarkable work you do with the young people entrusted to our care.” – Bea Niblock. 

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday Jan. 13, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. Third Ave. It will be the only regular school board meeting in January. 

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