Sept. 8, 2020 Board Meeting

9 Sep
Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) leadership members presented an Outstanding Partner award to MCSD Tuesday. Pictured, from left: iJAG President and CEO Laurie Phelan, Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, iJAG Director of Strategic Advancement Carly Voltz, MHS iJAG specialists Mary McCann Fuchsen and Chad Weir, and iJAG Director of Program Advancement Bob Reid.

MCSD named Outstanding Partner by Iowa Jobs For America’s Graduates (iJAG)
Representatives from Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) presented Marshalltown Schools with an Outstanding Partner award at Tuesday’s meeting. 

The partnership between MCSD and iJAG began three years ago at the 11th- and 12th grade levels. Now, the program has been implemented at all grade levels, with the exception of the elementary level. 

“We wanted to recognize Dr. Schutte and you all for what we call True North Leadership – that is, you’re laser-focused on young people, and that all young people, not just some, can be successful,” said Laurie Phelan of iJAG.

Since iJAG came to Marshalltown Schools, Phelan reported that 100 percent of students who participated in the program graduated. 

“I think the most critical piece of the puzzle is having the right people running these programs in the classroom,” Dr. Schutte said. “I’m excited to hear that we have 100 percent graduation. I’m really looking forward to hearing what happens with those young people post-high school.” 

Board approves agreement with Mechdyne Corp. for Bobcat Helpline
The start of a new school year is an exciting – as well as potentially stressful – time for many students and families. Combined with the coronavirus pandemic and the recent derecho that interrupted life in the Marshalltown Community, MCSD families have many questions about the 2020-21 school year.

Bobcat Helpline postcardTo ensure families have quick, easy access to answers during this time, the Marshalltown School Board approved a three-month agreement with the local technology company Mechdyne Corporation to facilitate the Bobcat Helpline – (641) 754-1001.

“As we put together a full picture, we saw that we really had a need for a centralized help desk,” said District Director of Technology Amy Harmsen. “We’ve already realized so much of the benefit of [Mechdyne] being a community company. They know our school district, they know who to route to, they know some of the resources that we’re already working on.”

Harmsen said the helpline proved useful on day one, with 257 out of 300 calls directly resolved. The remaining calls were routed to the District for confidentiality and security purposes.

MCSD Employees (front row, from left) Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Jennifer Harrington, Stacey Tool-Crawford, and Jennifer Gray earned a special recognition for going above and beyond in their work duties since the coronavirus pandemic began in the spring. Also pictured in the back row, from left, are Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, Director of Technology Amy Harmsen, MHS Principal Jacque Wyant, and Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding.

District staff recognized for going above and beyond
Tuesday’s Marshalltown School Board meeting featured four outstanding Marshalltown Schools employees who were recognized for the incredible efforts they have put forth since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic last spring.

Buildings and Grounds administrative assistant Jennifer Gray, Student Technology Device Coordinator Jennifer Harrington, District Lead Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford, and District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson earned the special recognition through hard work and dedication during the challenging time since March.

“We try to every quarter recognize employees who go up and beyond the call of duty in their respective roles,” said District Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. “I wanted to turn that recognition into a special recognition for people who have really gone, in my opinion, way up and above the call of duty as it relates both to our COVID-related closure from the spring to the summer planning to the new school year.”
Read more about the great efforts of each of Tuesday’s award winners here.

Marshalltown Legends American Grill restaurant Manager Brady Ridout presents a $1,000 check to MHS Activities/Athletics Director Ryan Isgrig. Each Legends Bobcat Burger sold added $1 to the donation.

Legends American Grill “Bobcat Burger” donation goes to MHS Activities
Bobcat Pride was on full display Tuesday as local Legends American Grill restaurant manager Brady Ridout presented a check for $1,000 toward the Marshalltown High School Activity Fund to MHS Director of Activities/Athletics Ryan Isgrig. 

“We wanted to give back to the community somehow,” Ridout said before presenting the generous donation at Tuesday’s meeting. The funds came from the sale of the Legends “Bobcat Burger,” with $1 of each purchase going toward the activity fund; Ridout said Legends sold 1,000 Bobcat Burgers in less than a year. 

Newly-appointed building administrators introduced themselves to the Marshalltown School Board Tuesday. Pictured, from left: Miller Middle School co-principals Kristyn Kell and Dave Glenn, and MHS associate principals Michael Bale and William Terry.

Newly-appointed Miller Middle School and MHS administrators introduced
The 2020-21 school year brings a group of new faces to building administration positions at Miller Middle School and Marshalltown High School, and the board heard from each Tuesday.

“We welcomed kids with music and open arms, and we thought it was a smooth day,” said Miller Co-Principal Kristyn Kell of the first day of classes. “I’m excited to be back. I was in the District for 9 years … it’s great to be back home.”

Fellow Miller Co-Principal Dave Glenn is also familiar with Marshalltown Schools, with several years of experience as associate principal at Miller.
“Empty buildings aren’t right when you think about school, so it was great to see kids back in school,” Glenn said. “They knew that we were ready for them to be there … their teachers were excited to see them.”

Marshalltown High School welcomed associate principals Michael Bale and William Terry this summer.

“It was great to get out in the classrooms,” Bale said. “Our kids have been awesome, they’ve really been the most flexible out of all of this.”

Terry, who wrote and performed a rap song educating students on health and safety measures this school year, said he was also excited to see students during the start of classes.

“The first two months have been absolutely scary and wonderful at the same time,” he said. “The whole District has been very helpful and supportive.”

Marshalltown Performing Arts Center flooring project agreement approved
With new flooring needed in the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center (formerly known as the MHS/Community Auditorium), the Marshalltown School Board approved an agreement with the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Foundation to pay for the work. 

MCSD Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding said the Foundation will cover the majority of the project costs, with MCSD covering about $4,500 of the work. The District’s cost will be paid using PPEL funds. Strand’s Flooring and Paint has been contracted for the work. 

New board book study to focus on building support for public schools
The beginning of the new school year Tuesday also saw the Marshalltown School Board and District Administrative Cabinet prepare to embark on a new book study. The book in question – Jamie Vollmer’s “Schools Cannot Do It Alone: Building Public Support for America’s Public Schools” – discusses the multi-faceted role public schools play in their local communities, as well as how to build support for public schools to achieve greater student success. 

Miller Middle School heating and cooling system project gets board’s nod
The Miller Middle School heating and cooling system will be upgraded after the school board approved an agreement to convert the current steam system to a new, water-based system at the building. Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding said a water-based temperature control system would be an improvement over the current, aging system. Woodman Controls Company was approved to perform the work.  

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

  • 409.1 Licensed Employee Vacation-Holidays-Personal Leave (amended, second reading waived) 
  • 409.2 Licensed Employee Personal Illness Leave (amended, second reading waived)
  • 415.4 (New 414) Classified Staff Professional Development Leave (amended, second reading waived)
  • 409.2-E1 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Request Form Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 409.2-E2 Expanded Family and Medical Leave Request for Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review

  • 201.3 Responsibilities of the Board of Directors (will come back for a second reading)
  • 201.5 Membership (Deleted)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The journey has begun!  First day of school; first in-person board meeting since March.  

The school year started with some students sitting in seats and some students learning online in their homes. And because of the high volume of questions regarding online learning and the use of technology, the district has developed a work agreement with Mechdyne Corporation to field those calls. The very first day had 300 calls!  A win-win situation with our families having their questions answered promptly and freeing up our staff to deal with infrastructure issues and confidential questions.

My quote at the meeting was from Jenny Han, an American author of children’s and young adult books. “I’ve always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school. Firsts are best because they are beginnings.” Hoping that your beginning brings many happy and fulfilling days!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, 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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