Archive | June, 2021

June 21, 2021 Board Meeting

22 Jun
New MCSD Director of Learning Shauna Smith was introduced at Monday’s school board meeting. Smith has previous experience at MCSD, as well as South Tama Schools and Bondurant-Farrar Schools.

New Director of Learning introduced
Marshalltown Schools is excited to welcome new MCSD Director of Learning Shauna Smith to the District leadership team.

During her formal introduction at the Monday, June 21 Marshalltown School Board meeting, Smith said she is excited to again serve Bobcat students.

“I’m really honored to get to serve the community,” Smith said. “We live in the community, my children go to school here. We’re very much committed and invested in the Marshalltown Community School District.”

Smith returns to MCSD from South Tama County Community School District, where she has served as director of curriculum and student services. Prior to her time at South Tama, Smith served as an assistant principal and dean of students at Bondurant-Farrar Schools. During her previous tenure at Marshalltown Schools, Smith served as PK-6 Curriculum and Professional Development Leader and as a teacher. 

“I’m really excited to develop a relationship with all of you and to continue serving our students to the best of our ability,” Smith said. “I feel like I’m finally home.” 

Monday’s meeting was current Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson’s last in Marshalltown before her departure at the end of June, and she was thanked for her incredible service to Bobcat students since 2016.

“I hope your years here have been enjoyable years,” said Board President Bea Niblock to Dr. Stevenson.

Student school board representatives, board meeting schedule decided for 2021-22
Four Bobcat students were chosen as next school year’s student school board representatives at Monday’s meeting, including Phoebe Hermanson, Taylor Jones, and Aaron Seberger. Returning as a student representative will be Haley Reed.

Also approved was the 2021-22 regular school board meeting schedule. Marshalltown School Board meetings take place at 5 p.m. on the third floor of the MCSD Central Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave., on the first and third Monday of the month, except for Labor Day in September (meeting moved to the first Tuesday) and the single meetings in the months of January and July.

District Lead Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford presents the annual Health Services Report for 2020-21

District Nurse shares 2020-21 Health Services report
The MCSD Health Services team stepped up in a major way during the 2020-21 school year, which was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. District Lead Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford had high praise for her team during her annual Health Services report on Monday. 

“They’ve all taken on more leadership in their buildings, helping to navigate through this pandemic,” she said of the District’s school nurses and health aides. 

Tool-Crawford described how the Health Services team performed contact-tracing, educated staff and families about the coronavirus, tracked positivity rates within buildings, and ensured that the District’s safety measures were followed during the school year. 

COVID-19 vaccinations have been another area of success for Marshalltown Schools. Tool-Crawford reported that more than 80 percent of staff members were vaccinated through a partnership between MCSD and Hy-Vee earlier this year. About one-fifth of Bobcat students have also been vaccinated since May, thanks to the support of Hy-Vee and Meskwaki Health Services.

Tool-Crawford said it is very likely that the vaccination rate among both staff and students is higher than District data shows, due to the availability of other vaccine clinics locally. She said work will be done next school year to gain insight into vaccination rates at MCSD.

“This past school year has been one of constant change,” Tool-Crawford said, adding that strong leadership and dedication from MCSD staff and students helped minimize the impact of the pandemic. “We were leaders in the area in maintaining those mitigation strategies,” 

Culture survey overview presented
Marshalltown Schools staff members were asked to give their feedback in a District-wide culture survey recently, and the results came back strong despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

HUMANeX Ventures CEO Brad Black gave an overview of this year’s culture survey, including the District’s top-rated dimensions: Engage-Inspire, Pride, Continuous Improvement, Innovation, and Quality. He said the survey showed a slight decline in overall score, but added MCSD continues to have impressive results.

“You have a very resilient, strong staff,” Black said. “You’ve got a solid, strong culture,”

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said this year’s culture survey was an excellent opportunity to learn about the experiences of District employees in 2020-21. 

“I’m really glad that we did this to see what kind of impact this past year had, knowing that it was going to be extraordinarily challenging for everybody,” he said. “What I’m really going to be interested in seeing is how our scores next year look, compared to even a year ago.”

James Christensen describes the successful USTA Iowa Adult League District Championships hosted at the Marshalltown Court Complex this month.

Successful tennis tournament at Marshalltown Court Complex celebrated
Hundreds of spectators and tennis players gathered at the beautiful new Marshalltown Court Complex facility this month for the USTA Iowa Adult League District Championships.

MHS Tennis coach and Bobcat Tennis Academy Director James Christensen did an excellent job managing the tournament, and he was pleased to share the praise given to the new Court Complex and the city of Marshalltown at the event. 

“They really loved the facility,” he said. “We really got to test out the capabilities … having that many people there at that high level of tennis was a big test.” 

The tournament also had a positive impact on the local economy, and Christensen said visitors from around the state stayed in hotels and complimented the variety of high-quality restaurants offered in Marshalltown.

“It was really nice to be considered a great place to host,” he said, adding tennis action will return to the Marshalltown Court Complex June 29-30 and on July 21.

Board approves MasteryConnect platform to support student learning
A powerful new tool to support student learning was approved by the school board Monday evening. 

MHS Principal Jacque Wyant said the MasteryConnect platform will dovetail with the District’s existing programming to help identify learning gaps resulting from pandemic-related challenges. The platform cost will be covered by federal ESSER funding.

2021-22 MHS Course Manual, Student Handbook approved
The MHS Course Manual and Student Handbook for the upcoming school year also gained board approval Monday, and Wyant said there were a few notable updates in each document. 

In the Course Manual, changes were made to reflect a new state law regarding dual-credit college coursework for high school students; specifically, there are now alternative measures students can take to participate in dual-credit courses.

In the Student Handbook, updates were made to the MHS school day schedule to reflect block scheduling. A third 45-minute “C” lunch period and a 5-minute passing time between classes were included as well.

Also emphasized was the school’s open campus policy, which allows only students in grades 11-12 who are in good standing to participate in the open campus lunch period.

Change orders approved for facilities projects
Several facilities projects are underway across the District this summer, and a group of change orders were approved for three of those projects Monday.

One of the change orders had to do with the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project, specifically related to duct work. Another change order was for upgraded cameras to be installed as part of the Lenihan AV/Intercom upgrade project; the cameras are intended to be used to support virtual learning in 48 Lenihan classrooms.

The remaining change orders approved on Monday ensured that Davis-Bacon wages would be paid for the Lenihan AV/Intercom project, the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project, and the MHS Air-Conditioning project. Those change orders follow similar actions taken at the June 7 board meeting; by paying Davis-Bacon wages, MCSD qualifies for pre-approved federal ESSER funds to use toward the projects.

Wall panel repairs to take place at Marshalltown Performing Arts Center
Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding updated the board on wall panel repair work at Marshalltown Performing Arts Center. The panels were damaged by the powerful 2020 derecho winds.

MCSD moves forward with EAB District Leadership Forum partnership
The board approved a District Leadership Forum partnership with renowned educational research firm EAB, a move which will provide MCSD leaders with access to valuable research materials, toolkits, webinars, and unlimited consultative support.

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

  • 312.5 (new 303.7) Administrative Personnel-Professional Development (amended, second reading waived)
  • 303.4-E1 Fringe Benefits-Administrators (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 314.2 Administrative Personnel Contract Termination-Resignation (deleted)
  • 314.3 Administrative Personnel Contract Terminations-Dismissal (deleted)
  • 403.1 Employee Physical Examinations (will come back for a first reading)
  • 404.1-R1 Employee Dress Code (will come back for a first reading)
  • 605.6 Internet-Appropriate and Safe Use (will come back for a first reading)
  • 703.1 Budget Planning (will come back for a first reading)
  • 704.1 Local-State-Federal-Miscellaneous Revenue (will come back for a first reading)
  • 704.6 Online Fundraising Campaigns – Crowdfunding (will come back for a first reading)
  • 707.2 Treasurer’s Annual Report (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The June board meetings are a time when the board hears many end-of-the-year reports. One of those reports at last night’s meeting was the Student Health Services report given by Stacey Tool-Crawford, district lead nurse.

The impact of the Covid pandemic was obvious in the statistics of the report. One result, disconcerting even though expected, was the dramatic increase in the number of students diagnosed with anxiety issues. The year’s stress took its toll on our staff and students. And, yet our nurses provided input to mitigation efforts and contact tracing which kept our Covid numbers quite low. Vaccine clinics were arranged and staffed by our nurses to provide vaccinations to all staff and, later, to students 12 years of age and older.

All of this, in addition to their regular duties, show us how important our entire nursing staff is to the health and safety of staff and students.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, July 19, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. It will be the only regular board meeting in the month of July. The meeting will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

June 7, 2021 Board Meeting

9 Jun
MHS graduates Ruth Tha, left, and Diana Espinoza, right, discuss their experiences earning both a high school diploma and a college degree this spring. Other Bobcat dual grads this year are Madison Hunter and Klaudia Hernandez.

Class of 2021 dual graduates recognized
Four outstanding Bobcat dual graduates were highlighted at the Monday, June 7 Marshalltown School Board meeting; Diana Espinoza, Klaudia Hernandez, Madison Hunter, and Ruth Tha each earned an associate’s degree from Marshalltown Community College this spring, in addition to their high school diplomas.

Espinoza and Tha shared their experiences in the dual-credit program. Diana Espinoza’s mother, Melissa Espinoza, also spoke highly of MCSD’s dual-credit opportunities; she said the program – which allows students to take college courses at no cost to them – saved money and gave her daughter an edge as she looks to continue her college education.

To learn more about these excellent students and the valuable dual-credit program with MCC, click here!

Lenihan staff show benefits of Computer Science is Elementary programming
Lenihan Intermediate School welcomed Computer Science Is Elementary programming in 2019-20, and staff members gave an overview of the great computer science learning fifth- and sixth-grade students receive at Lenihan.

Computer science curriculum, integration of computer science into other core subject areas, and the District-wide efforts to expand computer science learning were key areas touched upon. Examples of students’ computer science projects were also shared, including a fifth grade student’s digital rendition of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Thirty-five Bobcat graduates earn Seal of Biliteracy
Also recognized Monday were 35 Bobcat graduates who earned a State of Iowa Seal of Biliteracy this year. The Seal signifies that a student displays proficiency in two or more languages by the time they graduate high school.

We are incredibly proud of this year’s Seal of Biliteracy honorees – learning and becoming proficient in a different language takes much study and practice.

The biliterate skill set these students bring with them after high school will help them not only in career paths, but also in connecting with others. Congratulations!

New board member Bonnie Lowry participates in first meeting
Former MHS principal and longtime educator Bonnie Lowry officially took her seat on the Marshalltown School Board at Monday’s meeting. Lowry was appointed to replace former member Niko Aguirre in May, and she said she is excited to continue serving MCSD students.

Modern Woodmen donation to assist MHS Pool Ceiling/Lighting project
One of the many exciting facilities upgrades taking place this year is the MHS Pool Ceiling and Lighting project, and MHS Swimming Coach Mike Loupee graciously accepted a $500 Modern Woodmen of America donation toward LED lighting for the project at Monday’s meeting.

MHS senior and swimmer Stephen Blom presented the donation to his coach during the recognition. We are grateful to the Modern Woodmen for this generous donation!

MHS Swimming Coach Mike Loupee, left, accepts a $500 check from the Modern Woodmen of America on behalf of the District. MHS student and swimmer Stephen Blom, right, presented the check to his coach. The funds will go toward the MHS Pool Ceiling/Lighting Project.

Student’s impressive showing at National French Contest spotlighted
MHS sophomore Denise Montealegre had a successful performance at this year’s Le Grand Concourse (the National French Contest). She placed second statewide in level 2A of the contest. 

MHS French teacher Naomi Musal said she is incredibly proud of Denise and all of the French students who took part in Le Grand Concourse this year. 

MHS French teacher Naomi Musal, right, hands student Denise Montealegre, left, a check she won at this year’s National French Contest. Denise placed second statewide in the contest’s 2A level.

Discussion held on MasteryConnect platform
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant shared information on the MasteryConnect platform with the board on Monday. The program compiles student data to identify gaps in student learning as a result of quarantine due to COVID-19; professional development is also included with the program.

No action was taken regarding MasteryConnect Monday evening, and the board is set to vote on the recommendation at the June 21 board meeting.

Master contract with MEA approved
A master contract between the Marshalltown CSD and the Marshalltown Education Association (MEA) gained board approval. The agreement spans the 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2023-24 school years.

Wage changes for facilities projects allow federal funding access
In order to access federal funding for eligible HVAC improvements at MHS and Anson Elementary, the board voted to approve payment of Davis Bacon Act wages for the projects. That action will allow the use of American Rescue Plan (or ESSER III) funding to support those important projects.

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

  • 312.3 (new 303.4) Administrative Personnel – Compensation/Benefits (amended, second reading waived)
  • 405.4 Licensed Employee Continuing Contracts (amended, second reading waived)
  • 701.2 Transfer of Funds (amended, second reading waived)
  • 701.3 Financial Records (amended, second reading waived)
  • 706.2 Payroll Deductions (amended, second reading waived)
  • 803.1 Disposition of Obsolete Equipment (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 312.4 Administrator Evaluation (will come back for a first reading)
  • 312.5 Administrative Personnel-Professional Development (will come back for a first reading)
  • 303.3 (new 303.12) Building Principals an Associates (will come back for a first reading)
  • 303.4-E1 Fringe Benefits-Administrators (will come back for a first reading)
  • 907-R1 District Operations During a Public Health Emergency Regulation (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 908 United States Flag Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 908-R1 United States Flag Procedure for Displaying the Flag and Respect for the Flag (adopted, second reading waived)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“If June, July and August are summer months, then we had our first board meeting of the summer last night. My meeting quote came from author, Harper Lee:

‘Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape.’

It’s been a challenging year for everyone. The board thanks each and every one of you for your hard work and the extra effort that you put forth to make this year a success.

Wishing you a delightful summer away from lesson plans and school challenges. May your summer be filled with happy memories of summers past and the opportunities to make happy memories.” – Bea Niblock

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