Archive | May, 2021

May 17, 2021 Board Meeting

18 May

MCSD keeps COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place for remainder of school year
The Monday, May 17 Marshalltown School Board meeting featured an update from Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte on COVID-19 mitigation strategies after major announcements by both the Iowa Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control last week.

“I’m recommending that we stay the course,” Dr. Schutte said of current safety measures, including required face masks, desk shields, frequent sanitation, and social distancing wherever possible, among others. “Our kids and our staff have done an unbelievable job of complying and doing what they need to do to keep themselves, their families and each other safe.” 

The announcement came with just 15 days left in the school year; students’ final day of classes is set for Tuesday, June 8.

Dr. Schutte added there are tentative plans to ease some measures after this school year ends, depending on the situation with the pandemic. One potential change may be to make face masks optional for students in grades 7-12 and their families; no longer using desk shields has also been seriously considered. Changes for younger students are harder to predict, as COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been approved for children under 12 years of age.

A reminder of the two student vaccine clinics the District is hosting this week was also shared. The Friday, May 21 clinic will offer vaccines to Bobcat students ages 12 and older. The Saturday, May 22 clinic will take place at the MHS Roundhouse from 8 a.m. to noon; students from Marshalltown, East Marshall, West Marshall,  and Green Mountain-Garwin public schools, as well as St. Francis Catholic School, are welcomed to register!

Follow-up vaccinations for this week’s clinics are being planned, and students who got a vaccine at the Friday, May 14 clinic will get their second dose on Friday, June 4.

Director of Instruction’s service spotlighted in farewell recognition
Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson has made several positive impacts since arriving at Marshalltown Schools in 2016; she was recognized Monday evening as she prepares to take up an administrative position at Davenport Community Schools this summer.

“Lisa is one of the most knowledgeable people I know in education,” said Dr. Schutte, who has worked with Dr. Stevenson for more than a decade at MCSD and Bettendorf CSD.

“I want to thank her for the stellar work that she’s done for the District. As much as I hate to see her go from the District, I wish her the best in the new position that she’s undertaking.” 

Dr. Stevenson said she is proud her five years in Marshalltown, especially amid challenges like the 2018 tornado, the 2020 derecho, and the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t think there’s a place in Iowa that’s in a better position to move forward than we are in Marshalltown right now,” she said, adding she has grown close with the Marshalltown community during her time at the District.

Dr. Stevenson’s resignation was approved Monday and will be effective on June 30.

Miller Middle School teacher Lucas Johnson named Pre-AP National Faculty member
Also recognized at the May 17 board meeting was Miller Middle School language arts teacher Lucas Johnson, who was recently named a Pre-AP National Faculty member. 

Pre-AP National Faculty members are College Board-endorsed educators who facilitate professional learning experiences across the United States and around the world. They’re stewards of the College Board’s mission to clear a path for all students to own their future by promoting excellence and equity in education.

MHS students (from left) Haley Reed, Klaudia Hernandez, and Itzary Avalos give their final student school board representatives update as a group Monday, with Hernandez and Avalos set to graduate later this month. All three have done an excellent job as student board representatives this year!

Student School Board Representatives update
Student School Board representative Klaudia Hernandez, Itzary Avalos, and Haley Reed shared an update on the happenings at Marshalltown High School Monday evening. The update carried extra significance – it was the group’s last before seniors Hernandez and Avalos graduate later this month; as a junior, Reed is set to continue with updates through the end of the school year.

“We hope it’s been a good learning experience” Dr. Schutte said. “We want to wish those of you that are graduating well as you go on to the next step of your journey, and we want to encourage Haley to pursue continuing with us for another year.”

Here are the key highlights from Monday’s student school board presentation: 

  • Bobcat Sports:
    • Girls Track & Field: Student-athletes Lily Duff (discus) and the 4×800-meter relay team of Phoebe Hermanson, Micha Blevins, Grace Rasmussen, and Rachel Smith qualified for state this year
    • Boys Track & Field: Student-athletes Deonte Dean (100- and 200-meter dash), Dwight Joar (high-jump and 100-meter hurdles), and the 4×100-meter relay team of Malachi Holmes, Mannie Kparyea, Jaiden Buchanan, and Dean qualified for state this year.
  • NHS recently designed new Bobcat Pride t-shirts which feature descriptions of the wearers’ important roles or activities (i.e. soccer player, musician, teacher)
  • Important senior student dates:
    • Senior Awards Night is Thursday, May 27
    • Finals week for seniors runs from May 25-27
    • The Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 30 at Leonard Cole Field

District moves forward with relocation, sign-on bonus incentives
Two great employee incentives were approved Monday.

One new incentive offers a reimbursement of up to $2,500 toward qualified moving expenses for new certified teaching staff who relocate to the Marshalltown CSD. Such a move must be made within three years for the relocation incentive to be given. 

New teachers hired in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years who have not yet moved into the Marshalltown CSD are also eligible for this relocation incentive through August 1, 2024!

A sign-on bonus of up to $5,000 for new hires or internal transfers to specific, key certified teaching positions was also approved Monday. The sign-on bonus incentive requires a three-year commitment.

Board stamps approval of official Class of 2021 graduates list
The Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony is right around the corner for hundreds of Bobcat students, and the board approved the official list of students set to graduate on May 30 Monday evening.

The list includes a total of 346 soon-to-be Bobcat graduates. For more information on this year’s commencement ceremony, click here!

Personnel agreements gain board approval
Four District employee salary/benefits agreements were approved Monday, including: 

  • Buildings & Grounds tentative agreement: One-year agreement includes step advancement, longevity, and a $0.05 per hour wage increase for each employee. Also added were new grades for skilled trades positions.
  • Secretarial staff benefits: Approved to use five personal illness days for family members under the same conditions as “family illness days,” as cited in Appendix E of the Employee Handbook.
  • Marshalltown Education Association tentative agreement: Three-year agreement includes step and lane advancement, longevity, and an addition of $140 to the base salary schedule.
  • Administrators, Directors, Building Principals, & Other Professionals salaries & benefits: Changes include a 2.03 percent salary increase, as well as the availability of five more family illness days (deducted from personal sick leave), which can be accessed for extenuating circumstances with superintendent or designee’s approval.

2021-22 MLA student handbook given nod
Next school year’s Marshalltown Learning Academy student handbook gained board approval Monday. The updated handbook had previously been presented to the board, as were the 2021-22 preschool, elementary, Lenihan Intermediate School, Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School, and Transportation student handbooks.

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

  • 312.1 (new 303.3) Administrative Personnel Employment-Individual Contracts (amended, second reading waived)
  • 403.3-R1 Exposure Control Plan (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 501.3-E2 Attendance Regulations (amended, second reading waived)
  • 707.5 Internal Controls (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 312.3 (new 303.4) Administrative Personnel – Compensation/Benefits (will com back for a first reading)
  • 312.3-E1 (new 303.4-E1) Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors (marked as reviewed) 
  • 312.3-E2 (new 303.4-E2) Fringe Benefits-Administrators/Supervisors-Request Form (marked as reviewed)
  • 404.1-R1 (new 404.1-R2) Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics Regulation (marked as reviewed)
  • 405.4 Licensed Employee Continuing Contracts (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.2 Transfer of Funds (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.3 Financial Records (will come back for a first reading)
  • 706.2 Payroll Deductions (will come back for a first reading)
  • 803.1 Disposition of Obsolete Equipment (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“At Monday’s board meeting, the negotiated contracts and salaries for all sub-groups of employees were approved.

This has been a difficult year for negotiations as the district was faced with budget guarantee due to declining enrollment. Because of that fact, our district received a very restrictive amount of new money. That makes it extremely difficult to give significant raises to all of our employees and show them that they are valued and appreciated.

But, negotiations have been completed. We are ready to issue contracts and move forward to a productive new year serving the youth of our community. Thanks to each of you for the time and effort each of you give toward that purpose.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, June 7, 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.

May 3, 2021 Board Meeting

4 May

Special recognitions given to teachers, school board members
The arrival of May brings with it several celebrations of school leaders and staff who are essential to the success of students.

May is School Board Recognition Month, and the seven members of the Marshalltown School Board were commended by Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte on behalf of the District at the Monday, May 3 regular board meeting.

“Being on the board is a lot more than just attending two board meetings a month,” he said. “There’s a lot of subcommittee work, a lot of meetings and workshops that the board is engaged in.”

Dr. Schutte added the board members have also invested considerable time and energy into developing as leaders.

Also celebrated were the District’s hundreds of dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring teachers. This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, and Board President Bea Niblock read a statement from President Joe Biden honoring the teachers of America, all of whom have had to adapt to meet the needs of students during the pandemic this school year.

“May I extend the board’s thanks to our teachers for all they have done this year to keep us afloat during the pandemic and all of the stresses,” said Niblock, herself a retired educator and school administrator. “We do appreciate your work.”

Board announces vacancy, encourages letters of interest to fill seat
The Marshalltown School Board is seeking letters of interest from District community members who would like to take up an important leadership role; board member Niko Aguirre announced his resignation from the board effective this week.

To be considered for appointment to the board, an interested individual must send a letter of interest to Board Secretary Paulette Newbold, 1002 S. 3rd Ave., Marshalltown, IA 50158. Letters of interest will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 14.More information about the process to fill this board vacancy can be found here. For questions, please contact Newbold at (641) 754-1000 or email

Bobcat success at state Poetry Out Loud contest celebrated
Two Marshalltown High School students gave exceptional performances at this year’s state Poetry Out Loud contest, and their achievements were recognized at Monday’s meeting.

MHS seniors Elijah Thiessen and Olivia Adams-Zmolek won first place and third place, respectively, at the state competition. Thiessen also performed at the national level, where he placed 24th overall and eighth regionally.

“I ended up really enjoying it,” Thiessen said of participating in Poetry Out Loud. “In literature, you have this opportunity to learn things about other people and their experiences … especially when you have to memorize it the way I did for Poetry Out Loud.”

Ben Barker shares a check for $9,806 toward the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project from generous community members Monday

Generous donation goes toward MHS Pool Ceiling & Lighting project
More than four dozen local businesses, families, and individuals banded together to provide the District with a check for $9,806 toward the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project. Community member Ben Barker presented the check on behalf of the generous donors Monday.

“Thank you for letting this project come to life,” Barker, an MHS alum, said. “With the overwhelming support, it wasn’t really all that difficult to raise the funds.”

MHS Agriculture students (from left) Drew Carson, Kaylee Tyda, and Kyran Stanfield join Agriculture program instructor Tara Leytham (right) for a presentation at the May 3 board meeting.

MHS Agriculture program highlighted
Several Marshalltown High School students have enjoyed an exciting addition to the school’s course offerings this year – the MHS Agriculture program has given students several enriching experiences, from hatching chickens to creating and marketing their own brands of beef jerky. 

MHS Agriculture instructor Tara Leytham brought three students from the program to showcase what they had learned in the past several months.

“My favorite part was the beef jerky project. We got five pounds of beef and we had to cut it and marinate it and come up with the recipe in our group,” said MHS senior Kaylee Tyda. “We had to create the packaging for it, the logo for it, who our buyers were going to be, and then we had to actually go out and sell it.”

Fellow Ag students Drew Carson, a senior, and Kyran Stanfield, a freshman, agreed that they enjoyed the beef jerky project. The students also discussed hatching chicks, dissections, DNA extraction, and other key activities from the program.

Leytham said one goal for the MHS Ag program is to start an official Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter for MCSD. She said she hopes to see the program’s enrollment grow in the coming years.

Student School Board Representative Haley Reed, right, and MHS English teacher Jo Frohwein, left, share information on the recent Triangle of Excellence project undertaken by the MHS Mentors in Violence Prevention program.

Student School Board Representatives update
Student School Board Representative Haley Reed shared an update on the happenings at Marshalltown High School Monday evening. Here are the key highlights from the presentation: 

  • Bobcats Sports: 
    – Bobcat Track & Field student-athletes Malachi Holmes, Jaiden Buchanan, Jayzek Lee, and Deonte Dean featured in this year’s Drake Relays. All four ran in the 4×100 relay, and Dean placed 6th in the individual 100-meter sprint.
    – The upcoming schedules for the MHS Girls Track & Field, Girls & Boys Tennis, and Girls & Boys Soccer programs were also shared.
  • Prom: This spring saw the return of Prom after the event was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The students had fun while following important safety measures.
  • Bobcat Bands: A busy, exciting schedule lays ahead for band students, with several events coming up in May. The Band program will host two fundraisers, the Jazz Band Coffee Concert, the Band Awards Banquet, and will perform at the MHS Commencement Ceremony on May 30.
  • Mentors in Violence Prevention: The MVP program, which seeks to mentor freshmen students as they transition into high school, introduced a big project last week. The Triangle of Excellence, a project to build empathy, was presented to freshmen students. The students were given hypothetical scenarios and were asked to identify which portion of the Triangle fits them best, based on how they would react to the scenario.
  • National Honor Society induction: A ceremony was recently held for both the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 National Honor Society inductees

Summer facilities projects, operations sharing agreement discussed
District Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding presented this year’s list of summer facilities projects Monday evening. He said he has been conducting building walk-throughs and receiving input from building administrators regarding future needs.Additionally, the board approved an operations sharing agreement with East Marshall Schools. The agreement will see Goulding assist with EMCSD’s operations for a portion of each week for one year; the arrangement will be revisited at the end of the one-year period to determine next steps.

2021-22 Student Handbooks approved, MLA handbook presented
The board voted to approve several 2021-22 school year student handbooks Monday. The handbooks for the preschool and elementary levels, Lenihan Intermediate School, Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School, and District Transportation were all presented at the April 19 meeting. Additionally, the board heard an update on the 2021-22 Marshalltown Learning Academy student handbook from Principal Eric Goslinga. The MLA handbook will be up for board approval at the next regular meeting.

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

  • 905.9 (new 905.2) Smoking and Tobacco Use on School District Facilities (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review

  • 310.4 MCSD Organizational Chart (marked as reviewed)
  • 312.1 Administrative Personnel Employment-Individual Contracts (will come back for a first reading)
  • 403.3-R1 Exposure Control Plan (will come back for a first reading)
  • 501.3-E2 Attendance Regulations (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.1 Depository of Funds (marked as reviewed)
  • 704.5 School Activity Fund (marked as reviewed)
  • 707.5 Internal Controls (will come back for a first reading)
  • 708-R1 Care, Maintenance and Disposal of School District Records (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Monday’s meeting found us celebrating a number of recognitions. Two among those were Teacher Appreciation Week and School Board Recognition Week – 2 groups so appropriate to share a week!

All school board members are elected from their communities and volunteer their time. My fellow board members give of their time to oversee the happenings within the district. Many more hours are given than the time needed for two meetings a month. With pride, I thank my colleagues for the service given to make MCSD a great place for staff and students.

A proclamation by President Biden was shared to kick off Teacher Appreciation Week. This week, and every week, we honor and celebrate the teachers in our district for their dedication and passion for helping students succeed. It is with admiration, appreciation and gratitude that we thank you for your hard work in helping MCSD become the ‘district of choice.’” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, May 17, 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.