August 19, 2020 Board Meeting

20 Aug

Adjusted 2020-21 school year calendar approved

2020-21 Adjusted Calendar English

To view the newly-adjusted 2020-21 school year calendar, click on the image above. 

The powerful derecho that blew through Marshalltown and much of Iowa on Aug. 10 caused widespread damage and power outages. With many Bobcat families recovering from the storm, the Marshalltown School Board approved an adjusted 2020-21 school calendar Wednesday, with the first day of school set for Tuesday, Sept. 8. 

“The last day for students would be moved to Friday, June 4, which means that of the nine days that we’ve pushed things forward, we’re having students make up four of those nine days,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, adding total student contact hours will still exceed the minimum hours required by the state.

Other events, such as fall and spring parent-teacher conferences and some end-of-quarter dates, have been rescheduled in accordance with the adjusted calendar. Visit the MCSD school year calendars webpage to view the adjusted 2020-21 calendar at any time.

(Please note: Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all school events and schedules are subject to change)

Additional internet hotspots to increase digital learning access for students
More support is on the way for Bobcat students who need home internet access for learning this school year. 

The school board approved the purchase of 150 additional hotspots Wednesday, bringing the total number of District hotspots up to 450. The board also approved activation of all hotspots through December of 2020.

District Technology Director Amy Harmsen said the recent storm impacted an agreement with Mediacom to provide low-cost, high-speed home internet access to more than 400 District families. 

Mediacom had installed internet in a small portion of the families’ homes prior to the storm, and it is unknown when the company will be in a position to continue installing new home internet accordance with the agreement. Harmsen said the new hotspots and extended activation will help meet families’ needs until Mediacom can resume installation work.

Both the hotspots and the agreement with Mediacom are helping to bridge internet access gaps for hundreds of young Bobcats, allowing them to use high-quality digital learning programs provided by the District. 

MCSD Return to Learn health and safety video series launched
Marshalltown Schools is excited to welcome students back to class this fall, and a new District video series is focusing on ensuring young Bobcats and their families are informed on how to have a safe and successful school year. 

“Altogether, we will have seven videos in the series for parents and families to view and help prepare students for what’s expected for the fall,” said MHS teacher and series producer Jocelyn Frohwein. “We want our families and the community to feel really comfortable with all of the steps and procedures that the administration put in place.”

The first two videos in the series premiered at Wednesday’s board meeting, including an introduction to District nursing staff and an overview of new school bus safety guidelines. Those videos, as well as several others being produced for the series, will be released and available on the MCSD YouTube channel.

Combo image

Click here to see Episode 1 of the MCSD Return to Learn video series, which focuses on District Health Services staff. Episode 2, which discusses school bus safety, also premiered Wednesday and is available here.

MCSD Digital Learning plan progress highlighted

The board also heard an update on the District’s Digital Learning Plan from Harmsen and Instructional Design Specialist Dave Stanfield. Stanfield said the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic last spring impacted the plan in several ways.

“In some ways our digital learning plan was halted … in other areas, it was accelerated very quickly,” he said. “We were able to quickly get a voluntary learning plan in place, and our Return to Learn plan for this upcoming year was a lot easier to come up with because of the work we’ve done over the last several years,” 

Progress on the Digital Learning Plan’s five major goal areas – leadership, teaching, learning, assessment, and infrastructure – were discussed during the presentation. Highlights included:

Computer Science

A Computer Science is Elementary grant brought computer science education opportunities to Lenihan Intermediate School students last year. That was one of several highlights shared during the MCSD Digital Learning Plan update Wednesday.

  • Lenihan Intermediate School was awarded a Computer Science is Elementary grant last year; as a result, computer science education has now been implemented District-wide. 
  • About 220 MCSD employees earned Google Certified Educator Level 1 credentials last school year. 
  • All Bobcat students in grades PK-12 will have access to a digital learning device this school year, meeting a long-term District goal of achieving a 1-to-1 student-to-Chromebook ratio. 
  • MCSD is helping bridge the digital divide through a low-cost internet agreement with Mediacom and the acquisition of 450 internet hotspots, meaning more Bobcat students will have access high-quality digital learning at home.

Stanfield and Harmsen said work on achieving Digital Learning Plan goals will continue, adding the plan will be monitored and updated in accordance with the needs of MCSD students and employees. 

MHS Parking Lot improvement project change order approved
A change order for the Marshalltown High School Parking Lot improvement project was approved by the board Wednesday. Interim Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding said about 235 square yards of the parking lot pavement will need full-depth patching.

The change order adds about $28,260 to the project cost, bringing the total cost to about $221,300. Despite the cost increase, Goulding said the project is still under the $233,000 originally budgeted for the parking lot improvements. 

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 Wednesday, click here.

First Reading

  • 201.2 (new 200.2) – Legal Status of the Board of Directors (amended, second reading waived)
  • 409.3-E2 – Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave Request Form (amended, second reading waived)
  • 409.3- R1- Licensed Employee Family and Medical Leave – Regulation (amended, second reading waived)
  • 601.2 – School Day (Primer) (amended, second reading waived)
  • 105 – Discrimination and Harassment Based on Sex Prohibited (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 501.9-E1 – Request for Remote Learning Form (adopted second reading waived)
  • 907 – District Operation During Public Emergencies (Primer) (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 907-R1 – District Operations During a Public Health Emergency Regulation (Primer) (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 604.11 – Appropriate Use of Online Learning Platforms (Primer) (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review

  • 409.1 – Licensed Employee Vacation-Holidays-Personal Leave (will come back for a first reading)
  • 409.2 – Licensed Employee Personal Illness Leave (will come back for a first reading)
  • 415.4 (New 414) – Classified Staff Professional Development Leave (will come back for a first reading)
  • 409.2-E1- Emergency Paid Sick Leave Request Form Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (will come back for a first reading)
  • 409.2-E2 – Expanded Family and Medical Leave Request for Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (will come back for a first reading)
  • 409.7 – Licensed Employee Military Service (deleted)
  • 409.8 – Licensed Employee Unpaid Leave (deleted)
  • 414.1- Vacation-Classified (deleted)
  • 414.4 – Classified Employee Bereavement Leave (deleted)
  • 414.6 – Classified Employees Jury Duty (deleted)
  • 414.7 – Military Service (deleted)
  • 414.8 – Absence Without Pay-Classified (deleted)

Due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, Sept. 7, the next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. The meeting will be held in-person with social distancing and other safety measures in place. The meeting will be available to watch via YouTube live stream. 



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