April 20, 2020 Board Meeting

21 Apr
NHD state qualifiers

Three MHS students will compete in the National History Day state contest on May 4. They are, from left: Klaudia Hernandez, Averi Bolar and Jason Strand.

Three MHS students talk qualifying for National History Day state competition
The Marshalltown School Board heard from three Marshalltown High School students who qualified for the state-level National History Day contest recently. The students – junior Klaudia Hernandez and freshmen Jason Strand and Averi Bolar – discussed their “Breaking Barriers in History” projects. 

“I did my paper over Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz,” Klaudia said of her research project. “She’s considered one of the first feminists during her time. She was really an advocate for breaking barriers for women in colonial Mexico.” 

Averi and Jason described their performance project titled “Alice Paul: Breaking Barriers in Political Inequality.” The students said they chose to spotlight Paul because of her crucial role in the movement to allow women to vote in the early 20th century.

“This year, 2020, we celebrate 100 years of women being able to be politically involved,” Averi said.

Marshalltown High School XLP teacher Susan Fritzell said she is proud of Klaudia, Jason and Averi, as well as all the students at the intermediate, middle- and high school levels who took part in National History Day this year. The state National History Day contest will take place May 4. The students will record their projects on video to be sent to contest judges.  


MMS co-principals

Dave Glenn, right, has been an associate principal at Miller Middle School for four years and will take up a co-principalship role at the building next school year. Kristyn Kell, left, will return to MCSD to lead as a co-principal at Miller after five years as the BCLUW High School principal. 

New Miller Middle School co-principals hired
Exciting news was announced at Monday’s meeting regarding leadership at Miller Middle School for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

Current Miller Associate Principal Dave Glenn and current BCLUW High School Principal Kristyn Kell will team up as co-principals at the middle school beginning next school year. Current Miller Principal Pat Rial will take up an associate principalship at Marshalltown High School next school year, replacing outgoing Associate Principal Justin Boliver. Both administrators said they are excited to start their co-principalship journey. 

“I’m really excited to continue the good things going on at Miller and I’m excited for Dave and I to take it to the next level,” said Kell, who previously worked at MCSD as a teacher and teacher leader at the middle- and high school levels. “I’m really excited to be back in Marshalltown. It will be nice to be back home.”

Glenn said he looks forward to continuing his work at Miller. 

“I think we’re going to make a great team,” he said. 

MCSD administrators offer COVID-19 closure updates
Several district administrators shared COVID-19 response updates from their departments with the board Monday.

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment:
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson shared information about the launch of the MCSD Learn From Home website, as well as the creation of educational paper packets for students and families without access to the internet at home.

“We know it is important to keep kids in a routine of learning,” Stevenson said. “Even though this is considered voluntary, it is critical to get this practice and continue learning.” 

She also thanked the hundreds of teachers and district staff who develop new, high-quality educational materials for the website and paper packets on a weekly basis. 

Director of Technology Amy Harmsen shared data from the ongoing effort to share district Chromebooks with PK-6 students during the school closure. So far, she said 1,891 devices have reached those students, including the majority of elementary students and Lenihan Intermediate School students. 

Harmsen also said many families do not have access to the internet at home; a survey on internet access was sent to district families and has so far received answers from 85 percent of those families. Harmsen said her department is working hard to ensure the remaining 15 percent of families are able to share information about their access to the internet. 

“We are still continuing to do the work to get people more access,” she said.

Harmsen said one major priority is ensuring MHS students dual-enrolled in classes at Marshalltown Community College have a digital device and access to the internet. The Technology Department is continuing to investigate ways to help provide internet for families who do not currently have such access. 

Food Service:
Director of Food Service Lynn Large gave an update on the district’s efforts to share meals with as many students as possible during the school closure. Since March 16, children 18 years old and younger have been able to pick up meals at district school building sites. Since March 23, six bus routes have been running throughout the district to deliver meals to children

Large commended district Food Service employees for their hard work through this challenging time. 

“They’ve been really excited to try new things and do whatever it takes to get these meals into the hands of kids,” she said, adding the district’s Transportation employees have also been fantastic in helping deliver the meals. 

Large said around 1,400 children are being served meals per day through the feeding programs, with a rough split of 900 served through the bus routes and 500 served through the school sites.

Marshalltown High School student grading and credit options approved
The global pandemic has created a challenging situation for students of all ages. That is especially true for seniors, whose final year of high school is presenting significant challenges. 

MHS Principal Jacque Wyant presented a guide for students regarding grading and credits for the remainder of the current school year. She said students have three options when it comes to the classes in which they are currently enrolled, and each option would only impact students’ high school transcripts.

Option 1 would allow students who did not complete all of this semester’s school work prior to March 6 a chance to re-learn and finish that work with the help of their teachers. Once that work is complete, the grade they earn would be recorded and impact their GPA and receipt of high school credit. A failing grade would carry no credit, while a passing grade would add credit.

Option 2 would convert the regular grading scale to a pass-no pass scale. A “pass” would mean the student gets credit for the class, but their GPA would not be impacted. A “no pass” would mean the student does not get credit and there would be no impact on their GPA. 

Option 3 allows a student to drop a given class. However, Wyant said students will have to think carefully and work with their school counselor before dropping a class. Some classes are required in order for a student to graduate. 

The guide, which was sent out online, via letters to families, and via video, goes into more detail about options students have in regards to grading and credits. The guide includes information for dual-enrolled students who are taking classes through MCC. 

School day start and end times changed for 2020-2021 school year
Dr. Stevenson shared a proposal to change school day start and end times for next school year at the April 6 board meeting. After consideration, the board unanimously approved the school day time changes at Monday’s meeting. 

The action means the school day for K-4 students will be 10 minutes longer and the school day for Lenihan Intermediate School, Miller Middle School and Marshalltown High School students will be 5 minutes longer.

Buildings and Grounds summer project list approved
The annual list of Buildings and Grounds summer projects got the board’s nod. The projects listed amount to a total estimated cost of $429,000 and include a steam pipe replacement at Miller Middle School, parking lot work at Marshalltown High School and more.

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:

  • 401.3 Nepotism (adopted, second reading waived) 
  • 404.2 Fraternization (adopted, second reading waived) 
  • 404.7 Resignations of Certified Personnel (adopted, second reading waived) 
  • 711.2 Student Conduct on School Transportation (amended, second reading waived)
  • New Regulation 711.2-R1 Student Conduct on School Transportation Regulation  (adopted, second reading waived) 
  • New Regulation 711.2-R2 Use of Recording Devices on School Buses (adopted, second reading waived) 
  • 711.3 Extracurricular Activities Bus Services (amended, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 711.7 School Bus Safety Instruction (adopted, second reading waived) 
  • New Policy 711.9 District Vehicle Idling (adopted, second reading waived) 
  • 907.R.1(new 907-R1) United States Flag Procedure for Displaying the Flag and Respect for the Flag (amended, second reading waived)

Initial review:

  • 206.3 (new 260.4) Secretary-Treasurer (marked as reviewed)
  • 211 Open Meetings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.10 School Bus Passenger Restraints (will come back for a first reading)
  • 201.7 (new 200.1) Organization of the Board (will come back for a first reading)
  • 201.8 (new 202.4) Vacancies (will come back for a first reading)
  • 204.4 (new 210.1) Annual Meeting (will come back for a first reading)
  • 204.5-R (new 200.1-R1) Organizational Meeting Procedures (will come back for a first reading)
  • 204.6 (new 210.5) Notice of Board Meetings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 204.9 (new 210.10) Agenda and Order of Regular Business Meetings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 204.7 (new 210.6) Quorum for Meetings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 204.12 (new 215) Minutes of Meetings-Publication of Proceedings (will come back for a first reading) 
  • 206.1 (new 216.2) New Board of Directors’ Member Development Training (will come back for a first reading)
  • 404.1-R2 (new 404.1-R1) Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics Regulation (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Our second Zoom board meeting is now over. And, when technology works the way you expect, everything is fine. But, when it doesn’t, we just shake our heads and problem solve.

Tonight’s board meeting saw the approval of the purchase of curricular materials, the purchase of Human Resources Department solutions platform, the review of various handbooks, an update on COVID-19 continuous learning options, and new HS grading policies due to closure caused by COVID-19. The list of those things tackled by the board last evening is long.

In addition to the regular work of the board, school closure due to COVID-19 has increased the work of the administration and the directors. But, ever mindful of what is best for students and staff, we forge ahead with our decision making. We will be successful in continuing to make MCSD a place of sound learning and great pride!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, May 4, 2020. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and a live stream of the meeting will be available via YouTube. 

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