February 17, 2020 Board Meeting

18 Feb
Rogers WEB

Rogers Elementary staff members (from left) Sabrina Russell, Angela Pelham, Kara Elsberry and Mark Church discuss the school’s focus on student social-emotional health and education.

Rogers Elementary staff showcase student engagement efforts
Rogers Elementary School Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen and several school staff members showcased highlights from the school’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan at Monday’s Marshalltown School Board meeting. 

Social-emotional learning is playing a large role in the Rogers ESSA plan. One way students are being supported in that area this year is with an additional full-time social worker, Kara Elsberry.

“Building trust and individual relationships with the kids, I can’t even express to you how important that is for the kids,” Elsberry said.

She said school officials have been working in small groups with students to help grow leadership, social, and life skills. Additionally, Elsberry said she has focused on building positive relationships with parents. 

School counselor Mark Church said Elsberry and other staff members’ work means more students get the support they need.

“What has happened is we identified students that are in need, and I can run small groups, the social workers can run small groups as well, and we can get more students served,” he said. 

The staff members said they are seeing positive results after a semester of the ESSA plan implementation. In the fall, 125 Rogers students were considered “at-risk” after taking the Social, Academic, and Emotional Behavior Risk Screener (SAEBRS). A winter screener showed the number of at-risk students drop to 102, indicating a trend in the right direction. 

Additionally, the school has seen a 54 percent drop in the number of minor behavioral referrals and a 59 percent drop in the number of major behavior referrals since bringing extra focus to students’ social-emotional skills and health. 

“We are a school that not only looks for tomorrow but we also look down the road a number of years for kids’ success,” Jurgensen said. “I think we’re making some good progress at trying to ensure kids have a good, positive outlook on learning, and supporting their families in that regard as well.” 

Tennis court project bid decision tabled until March
The board voted to delay making a decision on which of three bids to approve for the community tennis court renovation project at Marshalltown High School. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte recommended tabling the decision to allow the Marshalltown City Council to reconsider supporting the project. 

“We would anticipate that the city would take action on whether to approve this as one of their projects for the near future at their March 23 regular city council meeting,” he said. 

The project bids are set to come up for a vote at a tentative March 24 special school board meeting.

“The base bid for the six new tennis courts, as well as for the three pickleball courts – with or without lights – came in a bit above what the projected cost was going to be,” Dr. Schutte said.  “But, with the alternate bids – particularly as it relates to the parking lot and the reconstruction of the eight existing courts and six new courts with restrooms, with storage facilities – came in significantly under (the projected cost).”

Strategic Plan WEB

District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson, left, and Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger, right, share updates on the 2017-2023 district strategic plan with the board Monday.

School leaders share strategic plan updates
MCSD Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger, Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold, Director of Human Resources Dr. Nora Ryan and Director of Communications Adam Sodders presented updates on the district’s 2017-2023 strategic plan at Monday’s meeting. 

The strategic plan was unveiled in October of 2017. Past survey research, open forums and a Thought Exchange survey helped shape the direction of the plan. The plan has five primary goals: student achievement, staff development, communication & engagement, learning environments and resources.

Transportation employees recognized for their work
The week of Feb. 10-14 was Love the Bus Week, when bus drivers and other transportation personnel are recognized for their crucial role in the public education system. Special recognition was given to MCSD bus drivers, bus monitors, supervisors and shop personnel Monday evening for their hard work ensuring students are safely transported to and from school every school day. 

Student School Board WEB

Student School Board representatives Carmen Araiza, Mia Barajas and Diana Sanchez share updates on the happenings around Marshalltown high School and the district.

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

  • Students in the upcoming Marshalltown High School spring play, William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” are seeking donations of wood materials and fake flowers for the production of the play. The play is scheduled to take place April 3 and April 4. 
  • MHS students taking part in the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundations Students Teaching and Empowering Philanthropy (STEP) program are reviewing 10 grant applications to determine how to give $10,000 in grants to community efforts. 
  • An update on Society of Women Engineers (SWE) projects. 

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

First reading: 

  • New Policy 303.5 Administrator Duties (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 303.8 Administrator Civic Activities (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 401.9 Employee Political Activity (will come back as a first reading)
  • New Policy 405.9 Licensed Employee Probationary Status (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Exhibit 407.3-E1 Application for Retirement (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 905.1-R1 Application for Use and Approval (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-R2 Fees for Use of School Facilities (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-R3 Community Use of School District Facilities & Equipment Regulation (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-E2(new E1) Use of School Facilities-Application Form (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-E3(new E2) Use of School Facilities and Equipment-Indemnity and Liability Insurance Agreement (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-E1(new E3) Use of School Facilities-Rental Contract (amended and second reading waived)

Initial review: 

  • 905.5 Supervision by School Personnel (deleted)
  • 905.6 Loan of School Equipment (deleted)

From Board President Bea Niblock
PSW WEB“Recognition was given to Public Schools Week, February 24-28, at last night’s board meeting. The week is supported by NSBA, NEA, PTA and all of the professional educational organizations. Dr. Nora Ryan read a proclamation for the week.

Public Schools Week honors the 50.8 million students, plus 3.2 million teachers and hundreds of thousands of specialists, administrators and support staff working in public schools today. Public schools educate 9 out of every 10 students. Public schools are the great equalizer for children. They have lifted generations of students out of poverty and from middle income to higher income, helping to set young adults on a path to a fulfilling life. 

This national celebration highlights the great things happening in our public schools and shows the strength and potential of them in a democratic society. You can sign the Pledge for Public Schools at www.publicschoolproud.org.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, March 2, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S.Third Ave.


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