4 Aug

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MCSD Return to Learn plan for 2020-21 school year approved
After several months of discussions, data-gathering and planning, the Marshalltown School Board voted to approve the Marshalltown Community School District Return to Learn plan for the 2020-21 school year. 

We are excited to get back to a new normal,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. “In light of the information that was provided Thursday via the governor, the Director of (the Department of) Education, and the Department of Public Health, we’ve been taking a further look at one of the teaching and learning modalities that we had to plan for by July 1.”

The major points of the MCSD Return to Learn plan are as follows: 

  • Students in preschool to sixth grade (PK-6) will go to school on-site at District school buildings, with multiple safety measures in place to minimize risk due to the coronavirus pandemic. These students have the option to learn fully online (virtual learning) for at least the first semester of the 2020-21 school year if they do not want to return to school on-site.

  • Students in grades 7-12 will learn in a hybrid model through the first quarter of the school year (the first nine weeks), after which the model will be re-evaluated. That means the middle- and high school student population will be split roughly in half, with each half alternating between on-site and online learning during the school week. For instance, one half of students will attend classes at their school building for certain days of the week, while their peers in the other half learn online. The groups would then switch to the opposite learning environment later in the week. These grade 7-12 students have the option to learn fully online (virtual learning) for at least the first semester of the 2020-21 school year if they do not want to return to school in the hybrid model. 

The MCSD Return to Learn plan is designed to bring high-quality learning to young Bobcats across all age groups, ability levels, and life situations; the plan also focuses on ensuring the highest possible level of safety for all students and staff. 

On-site learning will include a multi-layered safety and sanitation strategy. Face-masks and face shields will be provided to staff and students, and will be required to be worn during the school day; frequent, enhanced deep cleaning will take place at all school buildings; desk shields will be in place; hand sanitizer will be abundantly available throughout all school buildings; staff and students will have their temperatures screened regularly; social distancing rules – as recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) – will be in place and enforced; and signs will be placed throughout school buildings to ensure clear communication of safety rules and expectations. 

Virtual learning will be provided by MCSD teachers through the Edgenuity (grades PK-5) and Edmentum (grades 6-12) online learning programs. These virtual learning programs are designed to ensure students who learn online this year have access to high-quality, standards-based learning. The deadline for parents and guardians to elect this option for their child(ren) is August 5th.  

For more information on the MCSD Return to Learn Plan, please visit the MCSD Return to Learn webpage.

MCSD Food Service gets boost thanks to generous donation

State Farm WEB

Local State Farm agents Mike Peschong (left), Jeff Linton (center), and Phyllis Mazour (right) present a check for $3,000 toward the MCSD Food Service Department at Monday’s meeting.

Local State Farm insurance agents Phyllis Mazour, Jeff Linton and Mike Peschong received recognition for presenting a $3,000 check toward the MCSD Food Service Department. 

“As State Farm agents, we collectively got together and decided that we wanted to do something for the Marshalltown community, and wanted to be able to touch as many citizens as we could in the community,” Mazour said. “We just want to say thank you for everything you do. Thank you for making this community much better. Together, we make this a community that stands out in the state of Iowa.” 

MCSD Food Service Director Lynn Large said the donation is a generous gesture and will go toward ensuring young Bobcats have food security.

“Your generosity means so much to me and the Nutrition Department, but more importantly, it means so much to the kids in the community who rely on the schools for the meals,” she said. “Thank you for supporting the work that we are all doing here in Marshalltown.” 

The Food Service Department has provided free meals to students 18 years old and younger throughout the coronavirus pandemic situation, which began in March. Additionally, meals have been provided throughout the community this summer and in several previous summers, all in an effort to fight student hunger and food insecurity during when school is not in session. 

District Employee recognized for building several plexiglass barriers

Employee plexiglass web

Buildings and Grounds employee Chris Blanchard has made dozens of plexiglass barriers (like the one shown here) for school buildings.

Marshalltown Schools Buildings and Grounds employee Chris Blanchard was recognized by the board for his effort to build dozens of plexiglass desk shields for schools. He said he knew it would be helpful and cost-effective for him to build the barriers. 

“I looked at how they were built, and I thought ‘Man, this can’t be too tough,’” Blanchard said.

Dr. Schutte said the District appreciates Blanchard’s ingenuity and initiative in adding to the significant safety measures being put in place for the upcoming school year. 

2019-20 End-of-Year report shared
Dr. Stevenson shared the annual MCSD End-of-Year report for the 2019-2020 school year. The presentation touched on key areas of the District’s strategic plan, including metrics on student achievement and learning environments. 

Stevenson said the early end to the 2020-21 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic in March impacted the data collected for the report.

MCSD Security Management System change orders approved
The board approved four change orders for the MCSD Security Management system Monday. Those change orders include adding lockdown buttons, upgrading of cameras, an additional card reader replacement, and deduction of allowances.

The change orders will add an estimated $13,600 to the roughly $530,000 system contract, and funding for the change orders will come from sales tax funding.  

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: There were no policies up a first reading at the Aug. 3 board meeting
Initial Review:
Marked as reviewed –

  • 200 – Statement of Guiding Principles
  • 409.3 – Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave 
  • 409.3-E1 – Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave Notice to Employees 
  • 409.3-R2 – Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave- Definitions 
  • 604.12 – Temporarily Disabled Students 
  • 908 – United States Flag Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
  • 908-R1 – United States Flag Procedure for Displaying the Flag and Respect for the Flag

Will come back for a first reading –

  • 105 – Discrimination and Harassment Based on Sex Prohibited 
  • 201.2 (new 200.2) – Legal Status of the Board of Directors 
  • 409.3-E2 – Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave Request Form
  • 409.3-R1 – Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave – Regulation 
  • 601.2 – School Day (Primer) (will come back for a first reading)
  • 604.11 – Appropriate Use of Online Learning Platforms (Primer)
  • 907 – District Operation During Public Emergencies (Primer) 
  • 907-R1 – District Operations During a Public Health Emergency Regulation (Primer)

Deleted – 

  • 403.5 – Harassment-Employees 
  • 403.5-R – Harassment- Employees (Investigation Regulation)
  • 403.5- E1 – Harassment Complaint Form
  • 403.5-E2 – Witness Disclosure Form
  • 414.3 – Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave
  • 414.3-R1 – Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave -Regulation
  • 414.3-R2 – Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave -Definitions
  • 414.3-E1 – Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave Notice to Employees
  • 414.3-E2 – Classified Employee Family and Medical Leave – Request Form 

From Board President Bea Niblock
“August has arrived and school, in a variety of forms, will begin soon. The Return to Learn plan was discussed at length at the board meeting last night. Different ideas and varying perspectives were shared and debated. After much deliberation, the board approved the plan presented by administration.

Twelve-month staff returned to work in the buildings on Monday. Staff and students will follow later in the month. And, the board will hold in-person meetings beginning with a work session on August 6th and their regular meeting on August 17th. In an effort to keep everyone safe, a new normal will be seen in all buildings and the board room. 

We proceed with an abundance of caution knowing that procedures could change again as we learn more about the coronavirus.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. The meeting will be held in-person at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave., with social distancing and other safety measures in place. The meeting will be available to watch via YouTube live stream. 

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