Feb. 15, 2021 Board Meeting

16 Feb

Marshalltown Virtual Academy approved for next school year
The Marshalltown CSD is delighted to introduce the Marshalltown Virtual Academy (MVA) for the 2021-22 school year and beyond!

The Marshalltown Virtual Academy recently received Iowa Department of Education approval, and the Marshalltown School Board granted its approval of the exciting new, permanent virtual learning program at the Monday, Feb. 15 regular meeting.

Dr. Stevenson discusses the exciting new Marshalltown Virtual Academy.

“We’re excited … to be able to continue to offer this learn from home option, not only to kids who live in Marshalltown, but kids who may live in other parts of Iowa,” said District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson. 

Students in grades PK-12 from anywhere in Iowa are able to enroll in the Marshalltown Virtual Academy. MVA students will not only receive a flexible, personalized, and enriching educational experience, but they will also be able to fully participate in school sports, fine arts, clubs, and other activities along with their fellow Bobcat students. 

With Monday’s approval, the MVA is now accepting student enrollment applications. Parents and guardians interested in the Marshalltown Virtual Academy are asked to take this brief MVA interest survey. (PLEASE NOTE: students in grades 1-12 who will be new to the Marshalltown CSD in the 2021-22 school year must enroll by March 1)

To learn more about how the Marshalltown Virtual Academy will provide an excellent environment for students to grow and thrive, visit https://www.marshalltown.k12.ia.us/marshalltown-virtual-academy/

Board earns prestigious IASB Team Achievement Award
The Marshalltown School Board is one of just five board teams statewide to earn a 2019-20 Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) Team Achievement Award; that outstanding accomplishment was celebrated at Monday’s meeting.

The 2019-20 Marshalltown School Board members honored include: Board President Bea Niblock, Vice President Sean Heitmann, Mike Miller, Karina Hernandez, Sara Faltys, Jan McGinnis, and former member Bob Untiedt.  

In addition to the Team Achievement Award, Niblock, Heitmann, Hernandez, Faltys, McGinnis, and Untiedt earned Individual Achievement Awards from IASB. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte was also recognized for being one of seven education leaders statewide to earn an Award of Honor from IASB for 2019-20. 

Learn more about these incredible achievements by District leaders here!

Amy Harmsen shares information on a new partnership with the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program

Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program to bring mobile hotspots, learning environment support to MCSD
The Marshalltown CSD is partnering with the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program to support and create innovative learning environments after board action Monday.

Marshalltown Schools is one of only 30 districts nationwide, and one of only two in Iowa, to be selected for the exciting Verizon Innovative Learning Schools initiative.

The program provides free internet access in the form of hotspots to students who qualify for free/reduced lunches and identify as not having high-quality internet access. In addition to free access, the program provides training and classroom technology integration support for school staff. 

District Director of Technology Amy Harmsen said the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program will allow MCSD to continue providing internet access to students for the foreseeable future.

Bid approved for major MHS, Anson air-conditioning projects
Projects for new and upgraded air conditioning at Marshalltown High School and Anson Elementary School took another big step forward Monday. The board approved a bid from Garling Construction, Inc. for the work, and project costs are set to be much lower than originally expected. 

The bid to complete the upgrades at MHS and Anson, along with four additional alternates, was approved at $5,253,000. That figure is more than $2.5 million less than the initial estimated cost for the project. 

The alternates approved as part of the bid include LED lighting upgrades, pool HVAC/dehumidification work, and classroom flooring replacement work at MHS, as well as south window replacement work at Anson. All project costs will be paid for with bond proceeds from the issuance of School Infrastructure Sales, Services, & Use Tax (SAVE) Revenue bonds.

MHS student’s Know Your Constitution program achievement recognized
MHS sophomore Yessenia Alvarez Zamora was recently named as a Finalist in the Iowa State Bar Association’s Know Your Constitution program. Yessenia’s accomplishment was recognized at Monday’s meeting, and she described her experience in the program. 

“It pushes you to do your own research and be educated on issues … to have your own opinion based on facts,” Yessenia said of the competition, which included a 50-question quiz and an essay focusing on felon voting rights.

Yessenia said she does not plan to pursue a career in law, but found the competition both fun and informative. She said she became interested in the competition by participating in MHS Youth for Awareness activities; she added she would recommend the Know Your Constitution competition to her peers.

Discussion held on potential CIML scheduling realignment
MHS Activities Director Ryan Isgrig shared an update with the board on the schedule realignment discussions happening within the Central Iowa Metropolitan League (CIML), of which MCSD is a member district. 

The realignment has been called for by some districts in the CIML with the intent to ensure fair, healthy competition between and among school sports programs. The current proposal would see the 19 CIML schools move into two conferences, one with 10 schools and the other with nine schools, to provide better competition and equity.

“It would still be the CIML conference, but the 10-team pod would consist of Ames, the five Des Moines public schools, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, and Mason City, as well as Ottumwa,” Isgrig said, adding there would still be opportunities to play against the large suburban schools within the CIML, including Waukee, Ankeny, West Des Moines, and others.

He said such a change “would be a step in the right direction” for Marshalltown Schools. 

Discussions among CIML school districts and leaders are ongoing, and other proposals could still be made before a final plan is approved within the League. If changes are approved, they would be set to take effect in the 2022-23 school year.

The Marshalltown School Board did not take action on this topic at Monday’s meeting; the item was for information and discussion only.

Revised COVID-19 Pandemic Response policy adopted
Updates to the District’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response supplemental policy were adopted by the board Monday. The revised language reflects the extension of emergency paid sick leave for staff through March 31, 2021, despite the end of federal support for such leave at the end of 2020. 

The document also includes the District’s multiple safety measure requirements to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Board adopts resolution on state SF 159 legislation
A resolution opposing a state legislative bill was adopted at Monday’s meeting. The bill referenced in the resolution is Senate File 159 – Scholarship Funds, Vouchers, Education Savings Accounts and Expanded Tax Credits.

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 – 

  • 403.3-E1 Hepatitis B Vaccine Information and Record (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 501.4 Entrance Requirements-Evidence of Age (amended, second reading waived)
  • 502.8 Search and Seizure (amended, second reading waived)
  • 502.8E1 (new 502.8-E1) Search and Seizure Checklist (amended, second reading waived)
  • 507.2-E1 Authorization Asthma or Airway-Constricting Disease Medication or Epinephrine Auto Injector Self-Administration Consent Form (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 603.1 Basic Instruction Program (amended, second reading waived)
  • 604.6 Instruction at a Post-Secondary Education Institution (amended, second reading waived)
  • 605.4-R (new 505.5) Graduation Requirements (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 301.2 (new 302.2) Superintendent of Schools-Contract and Contract Non-Renewal (will come back for a first reading)
  • 302.2 (new 301.1) Associates to the Superintendent-Qualifications (marked as reviewed)
  • 507.2-E2 Parental Authorization and Release Form for the Administration of Prescription Medication to Students (will come back for a first reading)

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, March 1, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

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