June 1, 2020 Board Meeting

2 Jun

Bobcat baseball and softball are set to return to action this summer. To ensure safety amid ongoing public health concerns, the MHS Activities/Athletic Department has several rules and guidelines for student-athletes, parents, coaches, and fans to consider.

Update shared on summer sports return and safety measures
School sports were among the many areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; in May, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the return of baseball and softball summer seasons. While it is exciting to know Bobcat student-athletes will return to action, MHS Activities/Athletics Director Ryan Isgrig said safety is still the top priority as summer sports begin and many details are still being determined. 

“There are several guidelines and regulations out there,” Isgrig said, adding a summer sports parent meeting was held last week. “It’s a collaborative effort.” 

A wide variety of actions are being taken to ensure the safety of student-athletes, parents, fans, coaches and everyone involved in summer sports, including (but not limited to):

  • Posting signs around sports facilities communicating safety expectations
  • Equipment cleaning before and after practice
  • Coaches screening student-athletes’ temperatures before practice 
  • Limited fan seating
  • Encouragement of social distancing among all parties
  • Closure of concession stands

District Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said because Marshall County is still among Iowa’s top-ranking counties in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases, MCSD is surpassing the safety expectations set at the state level. 

“We’ve taken those minimum expectations and I think, in a reasonable way, expanded them,” he said. 

For more information on MCSD summer sports guidelines, rules and information, click here

Dual-graduate and Biliterate Bobcats’ accomplishments recognized
Bobcat Pride is running high even amid a difficult public health situation. The board recognized two sets of great student accomplishments at Monday’s meeting. 

Nine Marshalltown High School students will graduate with both their high school diploma and an associate’s degree, including: Carmen Araiza, Mia Barajas, Olivia BiliteracySeal2020-webimage-250x250Brintnall, Grace Fisher, Saylor Hempy, Amanda Hoffman, Trevor Ketcham, Kaci Uhde, and Liz Vargas.

“I really appreciate everything that MHS and MCC have done for us,” Ketcham said. “It gave all nine of us a way to push ourselves and get ready for college.” 

Fellow dual-graduate Carmen Araiza said the college coursework was challenging and rewarding. 

“It’s been a really fantastic opportunity,” she said. “Time management was a huge thing for me since I had a lot of classes first semester.”  

All nine students can take these academic accomplishments and look to their future education and careers with confidence.  

Also spotlighted were the 54 students who earned a Seal of Biliteracy this year. Students earn the honor by demonstrating proficiency in both English and at least one other world language. Nearly four times as many Bobcat students earned the Seal of Biliteracy compared to last year, when the seal was introduced. 

Board takes action to provide internet to hundreds of district families
After several weeks of dedicated research and surveying district families by the MCSD Technology Department, the school board approved a contract with Mediacom to provide low-cost internet to 437 families for six months.

Director of Technology Amy Harmsen said those families were deemed by Mediacom to qualify for the company’s low-cost internet program, and her department will continue to survey families, seek internet solutions and provide any other support necessary to get students connected to high-quality digital learning. 

The contract with Mediacom to provide low-cost internet to families for six months can be viewed here

Strong MCSD employee culture survey shows across-the-board growth
Board members heard a summary of the 2020 MCSD employee culture survey from Brad Black, CEO of Humanex ventures – the results showed positive growth in the district’s work culture since the 2018 survey. 

In the survey, Humanex used 15 dimensions to measure the work culture at MCSD. All of the dimension scores increased in 2020, continuing a trend of positive feedback from previous surveys. More than 80 percent of all district employees shared their perspectives in the survey. 

Resolution calling for a safe, healthy, district-specific reopening process adopted
As various parts of Iowa society begins to open up for the first time in months, MCSD joined the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) in adopting the “Resolution in Support of a Safe, Healthy, and District-Specific Reopening Process Informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines.” 

The full policy is available here

List of Class of 2020 graduates approved
A total of 375 Marshalltown High School and Marshalltown Learning Academy students are set to graduate in June. The board approved the student list Monday, and MHS Principal Jacque Wyant said more students may soon be joining the graduating ranks in coming days and weeks. 

For information on the tentative Class of 2020 graduation ceremony plan, click here. 

Per diem pay for certified substitute teachers increased
Certified substitute teachers provide important and valuable support and services throughout the school year. The board approved an increase in certified substitute teacher pay from $115 to $120 Monday, ensuring a regionally competitive pay rate.   

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:

  • 312-3-E1 Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors (amended and second reading waived)

Initial review

  • No policies were up for initial review at the June 1 board meeting.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Recognitions filled the first part of our meeting.  Students were recognized for graduating from high school with a diploma from MCSD and an AA degree from MCC. What an accomplishment!  And 54 students were recognized for receiving the Seal of Biliteracy at graduation. What a tremendous accomplishment – being literate in 2 languages! All of the students are well positioned for a successful college career.

Each year, more and more opportunities are afforded to the students in the Marshalltown district. Project Lead the Way continues to grow. Internships have been added to our curriculum.  And, our students continue to receive accolades at the state and national levels.  

And, our teachers spend countless hours challenging students at every grade level. Special education, gifted education and supports for all students help each child succeed at his/her own level. Where else would you want parents to send their children? Nowhere but the Marshalltown School District!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, June 15, 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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