Aug. 16, 2021 Board Meeting

17 Aug

COVID-19 mitigation strategies for the upcoming school year presented
Student, staff and community safety continues to be the top priority of the Marshalltown CSD as the 2021-22 school year begins. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte shared updated health and safety guidelines with the Marshalltown School Board at the Monday, Aug. 16 regular board meeting.

The updated guidelines include information on face coverings, which will be highly recommended, though not required, for use by students and staff. Each staff member and student will be provided with a cloth face mask; an appropriate face covering of choice may also be used, if desired.

Social distancing measures will continue to be highly encouraged and expected as well, where and when possible. Additionally, school day schedules have been adjusted to minimize student and staff crossover.

Dr. Schutte said he continues to work with District Health Services and Marshall County Public Health to monitor the pandemic situation in Marshall County, particularly with recent concerns about the Delta variant.

To see the full guidelines, including those regarding school visitors, large gatherings, vaccines, and more, click here.

Former MHS student-athlete Jarret Heil, center, presents a generous donation from fellow Bobcat Boys Cross Country alumni at Monday’s meeting. Also pictured, from left: former MHS AD and Boys Cross Country Coach Tim Bell, MHS Activities Director Ryan Isgrig, Boys Cross Country Coach Chad Pietig, and Deanna Bell.

Boys Cross Country program receives generous gift
Former MHS Boys Cross Country coach and MHS Activities Director Tim Bell, his wife, Deanna, and MHS alum Jarret Heil presented generous donations to the MHS Boys Cross Country program Monday evening.

The gifts, which totaled $2,500, were shared to support the continued growth of the Cross Country program, which has a rich history at Marshalltown Schools.

“Cross country is a tough sport. It builds a lot of character,” said Heil, who was a student-athlete in the program under Bell, adding a portion of the funds were raised during a recent reunion of past Bobcat Boys Cross Country athletes from the graduating classes of 1981-2013.

MHS Activities Director Ryan Isgrig and Boys Cross Country Coach Chad Pietig accepted the donations on Monday.

Rogers Elementary Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen, left, Franklin Elementary Principal Tim Holmgren, center, and Anson Elementary Principal Ronnie Manis, right, share an overview of the Ladders to Learning program at Monday’s board meeting.

Ladders to Learning program finds success
The return of the Ladders to Learning has had a positive impact on participating students, according to data shared at Monday’s board meeting. The program focuses on helping students fill learning gaps by meeting targeted, individualized goals.

“When we look at goals for kids, we’re looking at what does this specific student need?” said Rogers Elementary Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen, one of the leaders of the Ladders to Learning program in the 2020-21 school year.

Anson Elementary Principal Ronnie Manis and Franklin Elementary Principal Tim Holmgren also helped lead Ladders to Learning; the three administrators said the program saw many student goals met. They said later assessments may reveal more about how the students’ proficiency improved after participating in Ladders to Learning.

“We can see the growth kids are making … it’s kind of a win-win for both our kids and our building,” Dr. Jurgensen said.

Three elementary buildings chosen for Iowa Total Care “100 Schools in Iowa” initiative
Anson, Franklin, and Rogers elementary schools have been chosen to take part in the Iowa Total Care “100 Schools in Iowa” literacy program. Each school will receive $500 for books and a toolkit to support students’ literacy advancement.

The selection of the three school buildings as part of this great Iowa Total Care program was recognized at Monday’s board meeting.

Director of Instruction Shauna Smith presents the Amplify Reading program

Amplify Reading literacy program approved for grades K-4
A new, personalized literacy learning program will be available for elementary-level Bobcat students after board action Monday.

Director of Instruction Shauna Smith said the Amplify Reading program aligns with current District curriculum and will meet the needs of students in grades K-4. She said remaining licensing for Lexia CORE 5 will be put toward Lexia PowerUp Literacy programming at Lenihan Intermediate School and Miller Middle School.

Update shared on 2021-22 school registration
Smith also presented an update on school registration for the upcoming school year with the board. She reported that nearly 90 percent of students have registered, with several more who have begun the registration process. 

“I think we’re in a great place,” Smith said, adding there is still work to be done. 

To learn more about registering for the 2021-22 school year, visit

REMINDER: The first day of school is next Tuesday, Aug. 24. Register your child today if they are not already registered!

Major HVAC projects at MHS, Anson continue to progress
Important work to install and upgrade HVAC systems at Marshalltown High School and Anson Elementary School continues, with many aspects of the projects nearing completion. However, supply chain challenges are expected to cause a delay in the arrival of key parts.

“We do have some components, some of the air handlers, that will be a little delayed,” said Buildings and Ground Director Todd Goulding, adding some work-arounds have been found to provide air cooling in the short-term, specifically at Anson. 

However, officials from Garling Construction said shipping delays will mean the new air conditioning system at MHS will become operational in the fall, later than initially planned.

Marshalltown Virtual Academy handbooks approved
Student handbooks for grades K-6, 7-8, and 9-12  at the new Marshalltown Virtual Academy (MVA) received school board approval Monday evening. 

One of the highlights shared during the handbook presentation focused on attendance policy. MVA PK-6 Principal Ronnie Manis said great care will be taken to ensure students are actively engaged in virtual schoolwork. During the K-6 handbook presentation, Manis said students will meet in a live virtual session with their teacher every morning; he added that students’ activity and engagement with school work will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Summary shared on federal pandemic funding
Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold and Dr. Schutte provided an overview of the federal funding provided to MCSD during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The presentation covered not only various Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) revenues, but also the FEMA Disaster Assistance, the USDA Child Nutrition Program, and the state-level Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEERS) program.

Marshalltown Schools has and will continue to use the designated funds for a wide range of pandemic-related expenses and supports. 

Major health and safety efforts have been made possible through the funding, including internet hotspots and additional tech support, desk shields, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, helpdesk services, paid COVID-19 sick leave for staff, several digital learning programs, and much more.

Newbold said available federal funding will continue to be used for COVID-related expenses going forward.

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

  • 200.3 Responsibilities of the Board of Directors (amended, second reading waived)
  • 206.1 President (amended, second reading waived)
  • 206.2 Vice President (amended, second reading waived)
  • 213 Public Participation in Board Meetings (amended, second reading waived)
  • 213.1 Public Complaints (amended, second reading waived)
  • New 401.14 Employee Expression (amended, second reading waived)
  • 606.2 School Ceremonies and Observances (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 701.2 Transfer of Funds (amended, second reading waived)
  • 803.1 Disposition of Obsolete Equipment (marked as reviewed)

Initial Review – 

  • 400 Role of Guiding Principles for Employees (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.1-E Equal Employment Opportunity Grievance Form; Affirmative Action Grievance    Form; Title VI Compliance, Grievance Form; Title IX Compliance, Grievance Form; Section 504 Compliance, Grievance Form (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.4 Employee Complaints (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.13 Staff Technology Use/Social Networking (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The start of a new school year is upon us. Staff will participate virtually in ‘Welcome Back’ activities on Wednesday and will then greet students next Tuesday. I will have the opportunity to address staff on Wednesday for the last time. It is with pleasure and honor that I do that.

I hope that you have enjoyed your time away from lesson plans and grades. Summer is a time to refuel. And summers in Marshalltown, in the recent past, have had their own stresses. But as Buddha tells us, ‘No matter how hard the past is, you can always begin again.’ 

Best wishes for a great year filled with successes and happy memories.” – Bea NiblockThe next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. 3rd Ave. The meeting will be held on a Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, Sept. 6, and will be available to watch via live stream through the Bobcat News Network (BNN) YouTube channel.

%d bloggers like this: