Archive | February, 2020

February 4, 2020 Board Meeting

5 Feb
Check presentation WEB

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, left, accepts a check from Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Board members Larry Pfantz, center, and Bill Fitzgerald, right.

Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Board representatives recognized for Fine Arts Honor Wall display
A new Fine Arts Honor Wall is on display at the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center (previously called the MHS/Community Auditorium), and the addition was installed thanks to the generosity of the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Board and donors. 

Board representatives Bill Fitzgerald and Larry Pfantz discussed the decision to install the Honor Wall, as well as a public art project being planned by the Performing Arts Center Board. Pfantz said Phase II of the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse project next door to the auditorium was positive, but it meant the Performing Arts Center lost a few windows, leaving a blank space on the south side of the lobby. 

Thanks to several donors, the board raised $4,841 to pay for the Honor Wall that now occupies the space and recognizes Bobcats past and present to earn all-state plaudits in chorus, band, orchestra and theatre. 

Pfantz also said the board is planning a public art project at the Performing Arts Center to celebrate the arts, similar to the Drills sculpture celebrating athletics on the south side of the Roundhouse. 

MCSD receives clean audit for Fiscal Year 2019
The Fiscal Year 2019 audit report for the school district came back clean, according to Dennis Muyskens of Hogan-Hansen, CPA’s and Consultants. 

“There was nothing that we found on the school district’s financial statements that had anything misstated or anything that looked inappropriate,” he said. 

After an issue with payroll reporting discovered in a previous school year audit, Muyskens said he took particular care to ensure the payroll processes at the district were sound. 

“I personally looked at every single payroll deposit for the year and didn’t see anything out of line after the misstatements that had happened the previous year,” he said. 

Muyskens also complimented the district’s success in receiving more than $640,000 in refunds from the Internal Revenue Service regarding the previously-discovered payroll issue. 

District Finance Director Paulette Newbold said she has full confidence in Muysken and Hogan-Hansen’s audit. She has led the business office in a comprehensive review of oversight and reporting processes for all aspects of district finance. 

The full FY2019 audit can be found here

Audit WEB

Dennis Muyskens of Hogan-Hansen, CPA’s and Consultants gives an overview of the FY2019 school year financial audit.

School counselors’ important work acknowledged
It is National School Counseling Week and district Human Resources Director Dr. Nora Ryan read out a proclamation recognizing the incredible work done by MCSD school counselors and counselors all over the country. Counselors Ashley Chyma and Valerie Corson were also present during the recognition. 

Health Care Careers Club field trip approved
Representatives from the Marshalltown Area Health Care Careers Club gained board approval for an out-of-state trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. in March. The trip will allow students to hear personal testimonies from Mayo Clinic staff, visit historic clinic buildings, and learn more about certification and degree programs in areas like nursing, diagnostic imaging, oncology, surgery and more. 

Funds from TRIO and Gear Up, as well as money raised by the club, will cover the cost of food, lodging and transportation for the trip. 

The club has participated in many learning and volunteer activities with local organizations, including the Iowa Veterans Home, McFarland Clinic, UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown, Pilgrim Heights, Grandview Nursing Home, Iowa Valley Community College District, the Marshalltown Fire and Police departments, and others. 

Field Trip WEB

Marshalltown High School Dean of Students Dan Terrones, left, and Marshalltown Area Health Care Careers Club students Arlette Yepez (second from left) Taylor Duff (second from right) and Aida Almanza (right) speak about their upcoming trip to the Mayo Clinic.

Exciting new offerings added to Marshalltown High School course manual
The school board approved the 2020-21 MHS Course Guide Tuesday, and principal Jacque Wyant introduced several new areas of coursework that will be available to high school students next school year. Additionally, existing areas of coursework will offer additional options for students to explore career pathways. New and enhanced course areas include:

  • Speech
  • Industrial Arts Technology (welding, machining, small engines/basic automotive maintenance)
  • Computer Science through Project Lead the Way, including the new cybersecurity capstone class
  • Agriculture
  • Fire Science in collaboration with Kirkwood Community College
  • Technical math for areas like the medical field, industrial arts and more

Wyant said the new course guide also includes information about the Bobcat Ready initiative and some more minor changes. 

Board approves Bobcat High School Ready indicators
The district’s Bobcat Ready initiative seeks to ensure all students are college and career-ready by the time they graduate high school. Now, that same focus on ensuring readiness will be directed toward Miller Middle School eighth graders entering high school. 

Like the original Bobcat Ready initiative, the tentative Bobcat High School Ready indicators approved by the board Monday will help determine a student’s readiness for high school. Those indicators include, among others:

  • No failing grades in core classes (English, Math, Science and Social Studies)
  • Grade-level proficiency in English-language arts, Math and Science
  • An attendance rate of 90 percent or better
  • Participation in two or more organized co-curricular activities
  • 10 or more hours of community service

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the indicators were decided based on established knowledge about the importance of student readiness and on national research. In addition to meeting some or all of the life- and academics-based indicators, Dr. Schutte said eighth graders would also be expected to identify potential post-secondary or career interests.

For more information on the Bobcat High School Ready indicators, click here

Anson WEB

Anson staff members share positive highlights from their building. Pictured, from left: counselor Ashley Chyma, third grade teacher Jocelyn Schmidt, principal Ronnie Manis and first grade teacher Jennifer Estabrook.

Anson Elementary School showcase
There are a lot of good things going on at Anson Elementary School, and principal Ronnie Manis was joined by Anson staff members to outline some of those positive efforts Tuesday. 

One major area of growth for the school has come in students’ math performance. First grade teacher Jennifer Estabrook said that more than a year ago, a fall semester screener test showed only 33 percent of students were proficient in math; Estabrook and fellow first grade staff knew improvement was needed, and decided to do a book study over Jessica Shumway’s “Number Sense Routines.” 

After adding a 5-10 minute period of time for students to rearrange, organize, combine, separate and otherwise interact with numbers on a daily basis, the next screener test showed the number of first graders who were proficient in math shot up to 71 percent; the next test showed 77 percent proficiency. The students kept up that proficiency into second grade, where another screener showed 76 percent of students were proficient in math. Number Sense strategies are now being used across the building due to their success. 

Additionally, counselor Ashley Chyma discussed the school’s Positive Action initiative.

“The main focus of Positive Action is to start with a positive thought that leads to a positive action that then leads to a positive feeling and then goes back to a positive thought, so it’s a circle,” she said. 

A third grade Kindness Club was formed to promote Positive Action. Among other generous efforts, the students put together treat bags for Marshalltown firefighters and police officers to thank them for their service.

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board Representatives Carmen Araiza and Mia Barajas shared these updates from around the district at Tuesday’s meeting. Highlights include: 

  • A review of the Jam in the Gym event Feb. 1, where two MHS seniors won $500 Marshalltown Community College scholarships. 
  • The Words of Encouragement project at MHS, mostly directed at high school seniors, is focusing on helping students stay focused through the end of the school year. 
  • An MHS After Prom Tip Night will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Pizza Ranch,  2305 S. Center St. All tips given at that time will go toward the upcoming MHS After Prom events. 

Communications
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 Tuesday, click here

Policies
First reading of:

  • 407.3 Licensed Employee Retirement (approved as amended)
  • 504.5 Student Fundraising (approved as amended)
  • Old 905.1 Community Use of School Facilities (deleted)
  • New 905.1 Community Use of School Facilities and Equipment (approved)
  • 905.1-R3 Community Use of School Facilities and Equipment Regulation (will come back for a first reading)

Initial review of: 

  • New Policy 303.5 Administrator Duties (will come back)
  • New Policy 303.8 Administrator Civic Activities (will come back)
  • New Policy 401.9 Employee Political Activity (will come back)
  • New Policy 405.9 Licensed Employee Probationary Status (will come back)
  • New Exhibit 407.3-E1 Application for Retirement (will come back)
  • 905.1-R1 Application for Use and Approval (will come back)
  • 905.1-R2 Fees for Use of School Facilities (will come back)
  • 905.1-E2 (new E1) Use of School Facilities-Application Form (will come back)
  • 905.1-E3 (new E2) Use of School Facilities and Equipment-Indemnity and Liability Insurance Agreement (will come back)
  • 905.1-E1 (new E3) Use of School Facilities-Rental Contract (marked as reviewed)
  • 905.2 Parent Teacher Organization Building Use (deleted)
  • 905.4 Gratuities to Personnel (deleted)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.” – Anonymous

 “The board saw repeated presentations at Tuesday’s meeting showing the excellence that abounds in the district.

  • Board members from the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center presented the district with a check to cover the expense of the new recognition wall in the Community Auditorium lobby.
  • The auditors shared a clean audit report for the district. That was certainly a spot of excellence after the problems encountered over a year ago.
  • The high school course offerings manual was shared showing the many pathways that students may choose, from college prep to apprenticeships to technology and many more. 
  • Anson staff shared a book study being undertaken by staff to increase number sense with increased scores to substantiate the work. 
  • Bobcat High School Readiness Indicators were approved for implementation at Miller Middle School.
  • The board began its annual book study. The board continues to grow and learn together through workshops, seminars and the book study.

Excellence is widespread throughout the district.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S.Third Ave.