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Nov. 15, 2021 Board Meeting

16 Nov

To watch the full board meeting discussion of the below items, please click the “watch recording” link next to each item. The links will take you to the start of each of the below agenda items/topics from the board meeting recording.

Two new members joined the Marshalltown School Board on Monday evening. The board includes (back row, from left): Leah Stanley, Jan McGinnis, Bonnie Lowry, Karina Hernandez, Vice President Sara Faltys, President Sean Heitmann (front row, second from left), and Zach Wahl (front row, right). Also pictured are Board Secretary Paulette Newbold (front row, left) and Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte (front row, second from right).

New school board members sworn in, outgoing members honored
A significant transition took place the evening of Monday, Nov. 15, as two experienced Marshalltown School Board members attended their final meeting and two new members were sworn into office.

Miller, left, and Niblock, right, attended their last school board meeting as directors Monday evening.
  • For former Board President Bea Niblock, it was the end of another chapter in her 49-year career in public education – she served on the board for 8 years. Former board member Mike Miller’s 6-year tenure on the board also came to a close Monday evening. Both valued leaders, who chose not to run for office in 2021, were honored at Monday’s meeting.
    (watch recording)
  • The board gained two new members in this year’s election – Leah Stanley and Zach Wahl. Two sitting board members, Karina Hernandez and Bonnie Lowry, were reelected. All four were sworn into office at the board’s Annual Meeting, followed by the election of Sean Heitmann as the new Board President and Sara Faltys as the new Board Vice President. (watch recording)

Marshalltown Company recognized as a “Career Readiness Partner” – watch recording
Marshalltown Company’s outstanding support and service to Bobcat students, their parents and District staff in career readiness efforts was highlighted at Monday’s board meeting. Marshalltown Company Chief Financial Officer, John Landherr, accepted an MCSD “Career Readiness Partner” award on behalf of the local company from Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. Thank you for your support of our Bobcat Ready efforts!

Dr. Schutte, right, presents the MCSD “Career Readiness Partner” award to John Landherr of Marshalltown Company.

OSHA emergency rule regarding vaccinations discussed – watch recording
Proposed policies related to an emergency rule on employee COVID-19 vaccinations published by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) were discussed Monday evening. The board voted to table action on the policies as the rule undergoes legal challenges.

Miller Middle School KBRM program makes successful return – watch recording
Miller Middle School students are getting hands-on experience in multimedia production through the school’s KBRM newscast program. From shooting and editing video to writing scripts and performing interviews, these students are having fun while learning valuable skills! Learn more about KBRM here.

Anson Elementary leaders share ongoing efforts to build positive relationships and a sense of community within classrooms. Pictured, from left: Anson teacher Tara Klaas, Anson Principal Ronnie Manis, Anson teacher Molly Neese, and Anson school counselor Ashley Chyma.

Anson Elementary School staff present building showcase – watch recording
Anson Elementary staff have been leaders in District social-emotional learning (SEL) programming, and those efforts were highlighted in a presentation at Monday’s board meeting.

Anson school counselor Ashley Chyma said the Responsive Classrooms program supports positive relationships through Morning Meeting, Closing Circle, learning about parents’ Hopes and Dreams for their children, following the CARES system, and other community-building efforts.

American Education Week highlighted – watch recording
This week, Nov. 15-19, is American Education Week, a time to celebrate the incredible work done every day by teachers, bus drivers, paraeducators, custodians, food service staff, and all other school employees who provide great learning environments for students. Learn more here.

Student School Board representatives’ report and Iowa Youth Congress presentation – watch recording
Student School Board representatives Haley Reed, Phoebe Hermanson and Aaron Seberger shared the latest happenings and upcoming events at Marshalltown High School, including:

Student Board Rep Haley Reed presents on her Iowa Youth Congress experiences.
  • The MHS Fall Musical, “All Together Now!”, entertained audiences last weekend at the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center.
  • Thirty-one students were selected to participate in Rotary Club meetings throughout the rest of the school year.
  • Highlights from the recent Girls State Swim Meet

Additionally, Reed shared her experiences with the Iowa Youth Congress with the board, including her committee’s development of a position statement which supports having at least one non-voting student school board representative in place on each Iowa school board.

All-State Music students recognized – watch recording
MHS students Eric Santana, Rebekah Stone, Veronica Herrera, and Aaron Seberger were recognized for their All State Music selections this year. The All State Music Festival takes place at Hilton Coliseum in Ames this weekend.

New program to help identify students in need of supports – watch recording
The board approved the purchase of the Early Warning System to aid school staff in identifying students in need of key supports. ESSER funds will be used to cover the cost of the new program.

District employee health plan update presented – watch recording
An update on the District’s self-funded employee health plan was presented to the board Monday evening. The data shows the District’s plan is in good shape.

Communications
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.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 401.4 Employee Complaints (amended, second reading waived)
  • 402.3-R Abuse of Students by School District Employees Regulation (amended, second reading waived)
  • 502.4 Student Complaints and Grievances (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 402.4 Gifts to Employees (marked as reviewed)
  • 403.4 Hazardous Chemical Right to Know (marked as reviewed)
  • 404.1 Employee Conduct and Appearance (will come back for a first reading)
  • 407.3-E1 Application for Retirement (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Last night’s board meeting was the last time that I would call a meeting to order. It also marked the end of 25 years of serving the students, staff and community of Marshalltown as a principal and board member.

It has been a pleasure serving in this community. The relationships that I have had and the experiences that I have enjoyed have been a huge part of my life. Your faith and trust in me has been humbling.

My quote at the meeting was a fitting statement of my feelings at this time. As Winnie the Pooh said to Piglet, ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’ I wish all of you success in your endeavors. Goodbye…” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 6, 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.

Nov. 1, 2021 Board Meeting

2 Nov
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, left, presented an MCSD Career Readiness Partner award to JBS Marshalltown at Monday’s meeting. JBS Marshalltown HR Director Patrick Brue, right, accepted the award.

Longtime JBS partnership celebrated – watch recording
The Marshalltown CSD has many strong community relationships, and Marshalltown’s largest employer is among the District’s key partners. JBS Marshalltown Human Resources Director Patrick Brue accepted a Career Readiness Partner award from MCSD on behalf of the company at the Monday, Nov. 1 board meeting. 

“Marshalltown is extraordinarily well-known for having longstanding and strong relationships,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. “JBS is our largest employer in the community. They’ve been an extraordinary partner.”

Dr. Schutte gave several examples of how JBS has proven to be a great community partner, from sharing water bottles and face masks with District students and staff to offering the “Better Futures” post-secondary education funding program with their thousands of local employees.

Joa LaVille of the Marshalltown Public Library, right, and Lenihan Instructional Coach Tonya Gaffney, left, present on the EMERGE program.

EMERGE program connects Bobcat students with their local library – watch recording
Marshalltown Public Library Youth Manager Joa LaVille and Lenihan Intermediate School Instructional Coach Tonya Gaffney shared an overview of the EMERGE program partnership Monday evening.

The long-standing program brings 6th-grade Bobcat students into the Marshalltown Public Library to learn about searching for library materials and keeping up with a library account. The program also engages students’ literary skills and interests.

Staff members’ military service recognized – watch recording
Veterans Day is next Thursday, Nov. 11, and the Marshalltown CSD took time to thank 16 staff members for their service in the U.S. military. The recognition includes individual thank-you cards for each of the veteran staff members, including:

NameBranchRole at MCSDBuilding
Brett ComegysMarine Corps & Nat’l GuardTeacherMMS
Marvin DetrickMarine CorpsBus DriverBus Barn
Jerry FlathersArmyMechanicBus Barn
Nicole GaughanArmyBehavior StrategistCentral Office
Richard GoshonNational GuardBus DriverBus Barn
Michael HinesArmyCitizen CoachMHS
Kenneth HoffmanNavyBus DriverBus Barn
Marsha JohnsonAir Force & ArmyTeacherMHS
Tim JohnsonArmyTeacherMHS
David MurphyNational GuardCustodian/GroundsMHS
Pete NielandArmyTeacherMMS
Scott RandallArmyCustodial SupervisorCentral Office
Bill RobertsArmyHealth AideLIS
Greg RodrigueNavyTeacherMHS
Theresa TheisAir National Guard & NavyTeacherMHS
Matt TullisArmyTeacherLIS
Matt Tullis, Bill Roberts, David Murphy, and Scott Randall are four of the 16 military veteran employees recognized at Monday’s board meeting. Thank you all!

Lenihan Intermediate School staff present building showcase – watch recording
Leaders from Lenihan Intermediate School shared a showcase of the building’s robust academic reading and math academic support programs. Other Lenihan programs discussed included intramural sports, gardening with 4-H, Ricochet student leadership activities, and more.

Voluntary Early Retirement incentive approved for 2021-22 – watch recording
The board approved the Voluntary Early Retirement incentive for the 2021-22 school year on Monday evening. The incentive had not been offered in the previous school year. Updated Voluntary Early Retirement policy language also gained board approval after initial review at the Oct. 18 meeting.

Student School Board representatives’ report – watch recording
Student School Board representatives Phoebe Hermanson and Aaron Seberger shared the latest happenings and upcoming events at Marshalltown High School, including

Successful Anson Elementary building renovation discussed – watch recording
A large area of Anson Elementary School has seen major upgrades in recent months. 

At the heart of that work has been the school’s media center, which Principal Ronnie Manis described as looking like new construction. He said the new and improved space will serve as a great learning environment for Anson students. A statement of substantial completion for the project was approved by the board at the Oct. 18 meeting.

District Technology program overview shared – watch recording
Director of Technology Amy Harmsen presented an overview of her Department’s important work at Monday’s meeting. Information on school devices, key safety software, internet hotspots, tech support, and more featured in the presentation.

Communications
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.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 200.1 Organization of the Board of Directors (amended, second reading waived)
  • 210.10 (new 210.8) Agenda and Order of Regular Business Meetings (amended, second reading waived)
  • 212 Closed Sessions (amended, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 212.1 Exempt Meetings (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 402.2-R Child Abuse Reporting Regulation (amended, second reading waived)
  • 606.6 Insufficient Classroom Space (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 402.3-R Abuse of Students by School District Employees Regulation (will come back for a first reading)
  • 402.3-E1 Abuse of Students by School District Employees (Complaint of Injury or Abuse) (will come back for a first reading)
  • 402.3-E2 Abuse of Students by School District Employees (Report of Level 1 Investigation) (will come back for a first reading)
  • 307 Communication Channels (deleted)
  • 401.4 Employee Complaints (will come back for a first reading)
  • 502.4 Student Complaints and Grievances (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“One of the joys of board meetings is the individual school presentations. The board began its schedule of school presentations at our last meeting in October. 

Franklin Elementary staff members were the first to present to the board this year. And Lenihan Intermediate School presented last night. Each presentation is a short one that highlights a specific process of instruction or curriculum item. Staff members share the reason that particular procedure/curricula was chosen for building focus, the steps taken to alleviate the issue and the results of the intervention. 

The board’s first goal is to monitor and increase student achievement. These building presentations keep the board informed about progress toward increased achievement. We look forward to the next presentation and hearing about the strides being made toward increased student achievement and closing the learning gap.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15, 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.

Oct. 18, 2021 Board Report

19 Oct

To watch the full board meeting discussion of the below items, please click the “watch recording” link next to each item. The links will take you to the start of each of the below agenda items/topics from the board meeting recording.

COVID-19 stipend approved for MCSD staff – watch recording
The Marshalltown School Board approved a special COVID-19 stipend for District staff at the Monday, Oct. 18 regular meeting. The stipend will be equivalent to one day’s pay for qualifying employees. 

By offering the stipend, Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte the District is “recognizing all of the hard work, effort, extra time, stress, and anxiety our education professionals in all classifications have had to deal with since COVID hit.”

New District website service approved – watch recording
The Marshalltown School Board approved a 5-year agreement for web services with Juicebox Interactive at Monday’s board meeting. Director of Communications Adam Sodders said the new, upgraded District website is planned to launch in the spring semester of the current school year.

Franklin Elementary Principal Tim Holmgren shares information on the school’s social-emotional learning programming. Franklin school counselor Dani Minkel, center, and instructional coach Elizabeth Overstake, right, also presented on the topic.

Franklin Elementary staff showcase social-emotional learning efforts – watch recording
Franklin Elementary Principal Tim Holmgren, instructional coach Elizabeth Overstake, and school counselor Dani Minkel showcased the building’s ongoing social-emotional learning (SEL) efforts Monday evening.

Principals’ important work recognized – watch recording
October is National Principals Month, and the Marshalltown School Board took time to recognize the essential work the District’s school principals do every day on behalf of Bobcat students. Thank you to all of our excellent principals!

Board discusses Voluntary Early Retirement incentive, approves Early Notification incentive – watch recording
Discussion was held on the District’s Voluntary Early Retirement incentive and related policies Monday evening. No action was taken to reactivate the Voluntary Early Retirement incentive at Monday’s meeting, and four related policies will come back for a first reading at the Nov. 1 meeting.

Additionally, the board approved a new Early Notification employee incentive for the current fiscal year. The goal of the incentive is to post the positions of those who have already made the decision to leave in January, allowing more time to help ensure highly-qualified applicants are hired earlier in the year than normal. 

Student Board reps Phoebe Hermanson, right, and Haley Reed, left share an update with the board.

Student School Board representatives’ report – watch recording
Student School Board representatives Phoebe Hermanson, Taylor Jones, and Haley Reed shared the latest happenings and upcoming events at Marshalltown High School.

Chromebooks, hotspots purchased – watch recording
A purchase of 75 Chromebooks and 450 internet hotspots gained board approval at Monday’s meeting. Director of Technology Amy Harmsen said 100 percent of the purchase cost will be reimbursed through the federal Emergency Connectivity Fund.

Communications
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.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 412.3 Insurance (amended, second reading waived)
  • 506.4 Student Library Circulation Records (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 402.2-R Child Abuse Reporting Regulation (will come back for a first reading)
  • 402.2-E Reporting Child Abuse When Suspected by “Caretaker” (deleted)
  • 402.3 Abuse of Students by School District Employees (marked as reviewed)
  • 402.2 Child Abuse Reporting (marked as reviewed)
  • 200.1 Organization of the Board of Directors (will come back for a first reading)
  • 210.10 (new 210.8) Agenda and Order of Regular Business Meetings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 212 Closed Sessions (will come back for a first reading)
  • 606.6 Insufficient Classroom Space (will come back for a first reading)
  • 212.1 Exempt Meetings (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“At each board meeting, it is a pleasure to hear from our student board representatives. Last night Haley Reed, Taylor Jones and Phoebe Hermanson made the powerpoint presentation. Aaron Seberger was attending an event.

Each presentation gives the board a look at what’s happening at the high school. Students share events that have happened, upcoming events and victories/awards. Students take turns sharing and offering their personal comments. They do a remarkable job of giving the board directors an inside look at activities at the high school. Thanks to our student board representatives.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 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.

Oct. 4, 2021 Board Meeting

5 Oct

To watch the full board meeting discussion of the below items, please click the “watch recording” link next to each item. The links will take you to the start of each of the below agenda items/topics from the board meeting recording.

MHS College & Career Readiness counselor Miracle Mallory, left, presents on the Bobcat Ready program at Monday’s board meeting. Also pictured are College & Career Readiness Curriculum and Professional Development Leader Jenny Allen, center, and MHS Principal Jacque Wyant, right.

Bobcat Ready report shows positive impacts – watch recording
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant, MHS College & Career Readiness counselor Miracle Mallory, and District College & Career Readiness Curriculum and Professional Development Leader Jenny Allen shared how the Bobcat Ready  program helps prepare students for postsecondary success at Monday’s school board meeting. 

The presenters also shared data on Bobcat graduates’ post-secondary paths, including enrollment at, and graduation from, higher education institutions. Since 2019, the Marshalltown CSD has implemented the Bobcat Ready program to encourage students to be college- and career ready upon graduation. 

Brenda Severson of McFarland Clinic shares about an ongoing effort to deliver books from Sesame Street in Communities to Bobcat students.

Local effort to deliver books to students underway – watch recording
Brenda Severson of McFarland Clinic and Betsy Macke of Reach Out and Read, in partnership with the Marshalltown Public Library, are working to deliver books to Bobcat students. The books were provided to McFarland Clinic by Sesame Street Communities. Check out the full story on this generous effort here!

Important school survey data presented watch recording
Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger presented data from the 2021 Conditions for Learning survey of students, staff, and parents, as well as a school stakeholders survey, at Monday’s meeting. 

Additionally, Cretsinger shared information about the District’s special education budget. The board approved seeking authorization from the School Budget Review Committee to for allowable growth and supplemental aid for the District’s special education deficit.

District custodians recognized – watch recording
The board recognized the exceptional work of the District’s custodial team Monday evening. National Custodian Day was celebrated on Oct. 2. For more information on our great custodial team, click here.

Student School Board representatives’ report – watch recording
Student School Board representatives Aaron Seberger, Phoebe Hermanson, and Taylor Jones shared the latest happenings and upcoming events at Marshalltown High School.

Student School Board representatives (L-R) Aaron Seberger, Taylor Jones, and Phoebe Hermanson share an update from MHS at Monday’s board meeting.

FY2021 financial report shared – watch recording
Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold presented a financial overview of the District for Fiscal Year 2021. One highlight from the report was that the District’s solvency ratio has increased significantly, a good sign of financial health.

“We have made considerable progress in regards to the board’s fiscal management goals,” Newbold said.

Communications
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.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 401.7 Employee Travel Compensation (amended, second reading waived)
  • 401.10 Credit Cards (amended, second reading waived)
  • 804.6 Video Surveillance (amended, second reading waived)
  • 711.2-R2 (new 804.6-R1) Use of Recording Devices on School Buses (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 401.10-R Credit Cards (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.12 Employee Use of Cell Phones (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.12-R Employee Use of Cell Phones Administrative Regulation (marked as reviewed)
  • 412.3 Insurance (will come back for a first reading)
  • 703.4 Fiscal Management-Performance Measures (marked as reviewed)
  • 703.4-E Fiscal Management-Performance Measures (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“One day last week, I opened the blinds to see one branch of red leaves peeking through the green on the flame red maple tree in my backyard. Fall is beginning to show its color! And I complimented that discovery with a cup of pumpkin spice tea.

As I was enjoying my tea, I reflected on the fact that this is the second fall we have entered fighting Covid!  We have been monitoring, struggling with, and stressed by Covid for 18 months!  Please understand that the board knows that the continued stress is draining and exhausting.   The mitigation strategies and the teacher/substitute shortage make the situation even more trying.

We are very proud of the entire staff in the MCSD. Day after day, each of you come to work to make a difference in the lives of our youth. We are appreciative of all that you do to keep the ship on course and moving forward in these difficult times. Thank you!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18, 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.

Sept. 20, 2021 Board Meeting

21 Sep

New feature: To watch the full board meeting discussion of the below items, please click the “watch recording” link next to each item. The links will take you to the start of each of the below agenda items/topics from the board meeting recording.

Face mask mandate put in place for PK-6 staff and students – watch recording
The Marshalltown School Board approved a face mask mandate for PK-6 students and staff while indoors at school. The mandate covers Anson, Fisher, Franklin, Hoglan, Rogers, and Woodbury elementary schools, as well as Lenihan Intermediate School; it will take effect on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

This measure does not affect students or staff at the 7-12 level, where vaccines have been approved and made available to those able and willing. Face masks will continue to be highly recommended, not required, at Miller Middle School, Marshalltown High School, and Marshalltown Learning Academy.

District data on COVID-19 from both the current and previous school years was also shared at the meeting.

MCSD takes step toward upgraded website – watch recording
An important step was made toward a new and improved Marshalltown CSD website at the Sept. 20 board meeting. A request for proposal document was approved, and vendors have until 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8 to submit proposals. 

“One of the recommendations from the [Communications] Audit report was that multi-authoring ability, so that we could more easily delegate certain pages’ directories… to other people throughout the district,” said District Director of Technology Amy Harmsen, adding she worked closely with Director of Communications Adam Sodders in forming the RFP document approved Monday.

Discussion of a District website upgrade, as well as the broader MCSD Communications Audit report, was held at a recent school board work session.

The District Technology team was recognized at the Sept. 20 Marshalltown School Board meeting. Pictured, from left: tech support specialists Janet Merlos Garcia, Alex Bartels, and Ricardo Garcia, Chromebook technician Jose Ramirez, network and security specialist Andrew Claseman, tech support specialist Gabriela Dubon, server specialist Sebastian Ramirez, and director Amy Harmsen. Not pictured: technology coordinator Jennifer Harrington.

District IT professionals celebrated – watch recording
The Marshalltown CSD’s excellent Technology Team was recognized at Monday’s meeting ahead of National IT Professionals Day on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Read more here!

New Student School Board representatives introduced – watch recording
Two of this year’s new Student School Board representatives – Taylor Jones and Phoebe Hermanson – introduced themselves to the board. The students also shared their regular meeting presentation.

Hermanson and Jones are joined in their Student Board representative roles by Aaron Seberger and second-year rep Haley Reed. The student leaders will hold regular presentations to the board this school year, outlining important happenings at MHS.

Important committees approved for 2021-22 – watch recording
The membership of two important school committees gained board approval Monday evening, The board approved the Equity Committee, as well as the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC), for the 2021-22 school year. The committees include not only school staff and administrators, but also District parents and guardians.

Communications
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.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 401.5 Employee Records (amended, second reading waived)
  • 501.14 Open Enrollment-Sending District (amended, second reading waived)
  • 501.15 Open Enrollment-Receiving District (amended, second reading waived)
  • 505.5 Graduation Requirements (amended, second reading waived)
  • 508.5 Activity Ticket Funds (tabled)
  • 603.6 Physical Education (amended, second reading waived)
  • 604.1 Private Instruction (amended, second reading waived)
  • 711.2 Student Conduct on School Transportation (amended, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 205.4 Lifetime Activity Passes (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 502.3 Student Expression and Student Publications (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Regulation 502.3-R1 Student Expression and Student Publications Code (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 905.3 Weapons in the School District (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial Review

  • 401.7 Employee Travel Compensation (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.8 Recognition for Service of Employees (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.10 Credit Cards (will come back for a first reading)
  • 804.6 Video Surveillance (will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.2-R2 (new 804.6-R1) Use of Recording Devices on School Buses (will come back for a first reading)
  • 804.6-R (new 804.6-R2) Video Surveillance Regulation (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
September 22nd (Wednesday) will see the first day of fall and the wearing of masks by all students and staff from PK- 6th grade while indoors. 

Last night’s board meeting was filled with a discussion regarding masks/no masks in our district buildings. Data was presented regarding the increasing number of Covid cases, attendance data and CDC and public health recommendations. Parents spoke, emails were read and survey data was shared. The board had much to discuss from all of that input.

After a recommendation for a full mask mandate district-wide was defeated, the board approved a proposal to institute a mask mandate for grades PK6. This was passed largely due to the fact that vaccine is not yet available to students of that age group. After a vaccine is available and students have had an opportunity to become vaccinated and develop an immunity, this mandate will be revisited.

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 4, 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.

Sept. 7, 2021 Board Meeting

8 Sep

Note on new feature: Watch the full board meeting discussion regarding each of the below items by clicking the “watch recording” link. The link will take you directly to the beginning of the chosen agenda item/topic in the video recording of the meeting.

Orpheum Theater, parking lot set to become part of MCSD – watch recording
The Marshalltown School Board approved a letter of intent to purchase the Orpheum Theater Center, an important Marshalltown landmark, at the Sept. 7 Marshalltown School Board meeting. The Orpheum is set to become part of the District after several years of Iowa Valley Community College District operation.

Additionally, the board approved an agreement to acquire the parking lot next to the Orpheum from UnityPoint Health. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the facility is planned for educational use by Bobcat students.

Students share Great Debate experiences – watch recording
MHS students Vania Madrigal Ibarra and Edgar Tellez strengthened several important skills as they took part in the National Hispanic Institute’s Great Debate. The students shared their experiences from the event at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Vania said she was able to share about her life experiences using self-expression skills. Edgar said he developed strong points and counter arguments on an assigned topic during the event.

MHS students Vania Madrigal Ibarra, left, and Edgar Tellez, right, share their experiences from the recent National Hispanic Institute Great Debate.

School supply donation efforts highlighted – watch recording
Hundreds of pens, pencils, notebooks, crayons, and more were recently donated to the Marshalltown CSD through two generous efforts

House of Compassion Director Chad Hammar and MPD Officer Andrew Cole, representing the Fraternal Order of Police, partnered to provide large numbers of supplies for this year’s Stuff the Bus effort. Additionally, hundreds of supply-stuffed backpacks were provided by O’Brien Family McDonald’s, which includes the local McDonald’s location.

These donation efforts help to ensure all students have access to essential school supplies as the new year begins.

Ridout, right, presents a donation to Isgrig, left.

Proceeds from Bobcat Burger sales donated to MHS Activities Department – watch recording
MHS Activities Director Ryan Isgrig accepted a generous donation from local Legends American Grill Manager Brady Ridout at Tuesday’s meeting. The donation of more than $1,500 was raised through sales of the restaurant’s signature Bobcat Burger. For each Bobcat Burger purchased, $1 was added to the donation funds.

2021-22 Student School Board representatives share first update – watch recording
Student School Board representatives Haley Reed and Aaron Seberger shared the first of many school year updates with the school board Tuesday evening. 

Reed returns as a representative after serving last school year; Seberger, one of the new student board reps this year, introduced himself to the board. Fellow student representatives Taylor Jones and Phoebe Hermanson will also share updates at school board meetings this year.

Student School Board representatives Haley Reed, left, and Aaron Seberger, right, share the first student representative update of the 2021-22 school year.

Communications
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.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 401.13 Staff Technology Use/Social Networking

Initial Review – 

  • 401.5 Employee Records (will come back for a first reading)
  • 401.5-R1 Employee Records Regulation (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.6 Limitations to Employment References (marked as reviewed)
  • 501.14 Open Enrollment-Sending District (will come back for a first reading)
  • 501.15 Open Enrollment-Receiving District (will come back for a first reading)
  • 505.5 Graduation Requirements (will come back for a first reading)
  • 508.5 Activity Ticket Funds (will come back for a first reading)
  • 603.6 Physical Education (will come back for a first reading)
  • 604.1 Private Instruction (will come back for a first reading)
  • 711.2 Student Conduct on School Transportation (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 205.4 Lifetime Activity Passes (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 502.3 Student Expression and Student Publications (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Regulation 502.3-R1 Student Expression and Student Publications Code (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 905.3 Weapons in the School District (will come back for a first reading)
  • 504.3 School Publications (deleted)
  • 504.3-R1 Student Publications Code (deleted)

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 20, 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.

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 www.marshalltown.k12.ia.us/parents/online-school-registration-2021-22/

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
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.

Policies:
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.

Aug. 2, 2021 Board Meeting

3 Aug
Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson, left, speaks about the new sculpture coming to the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center. Also pictured is Marshalltown Public Art Committee Chairman Ben Fletcher. BELOW: A rendition of “Scherzo” was shared at Monday’s meeting.

Public art to be installed at Marshalltown Performing Arts Center this fall
A large, colorful, expressive public sculpture will soon greet visitors outside the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Auditorium.

The Marshalltown Community School District and Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Foundation, in partnership with the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance, announced artist Stephen Johnson as the finalist whose sculpture – “Scherzo” – will be displayed at the Performing Arts Center. Examples of Johnson’s public art can be found across the U.S., from Brooklyn and Los Angeles to Dallas and Kansas City.

The colorful sculpture will feature abstract forms based on music notations. The piece’s emphasis on music, rhythm, movement, and color will serve as an excellent complement to the beautiful Marshalltown Performing Arts Center.

“[Johnson] is a really amazing and talented artist,” said Arts & Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson at the Monday, Aug. 2 Marshalltown School Board meeting. “We’re really excited to show the community how beautiful this facility is and welcome them into the Performing Arts Center.”

Danielson said “Scherzo” is expected to be installed later in the fall of this year. Once in place, the sculpture will join many excellent pieces of public art on display across the Marshalltown CSD, including “Drills” at the MHS Roundhouse and the Sidewalk Safety Murals at multiple schools.

Generous donation to Miller Auditorium renovation highlighted
Members of the Marshalltown Community Theatre Board of Directors presented a donation of $1,750 toward renovations at the Miller Middle School Auditorium at Monday’s meeting.

Theatre Board President Lisa Naig said proceeds for the donation were raised during a recent performance of “Unconditional Surrender: A Visit with Ulysses S. Grant” at the Miller Auditorium.

“The District really appreciates the thought and effort to raise money to improve the Miller Auditorium. It’s on our radar as one of a number of larger-scale projects we wish to embark on, hopefully, in the future,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

The Miller Auditorium has served as a temporary home for Marshalltown Community Theatre after the organization was displaced from its usual venue – the Fisher Community Center Auditorium – due to the 2020 derecho. Naig said another performance is scheduled at the Miller Auditorium in October.

MCSD Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, left, accepts a generous donation from members of the Marshalltown Community Theatre Board of Directors. Also pictured (from left): Theatre Board President Lisa Naig, Theatre Board member Bill Roberts, performer Pete Grady, Theatre Board Vice President Hobz Hooley, and Theatre Board members Barb Lageschulte and Rick Gooding.

Finken ready to bring wealth of education experience to MHS
Marshalltown High School will welcome new Associate Principal Mark Finken this fall. Finken brings considerable teaching and leadership experience with him to Marshalltown, and will be a great addition to the MHS and District teams. 

Finken previously taught language arts at Waukee Community School District for 14 years, and worked at Des Moines Community Schools prior to his time in Waukee. Along with teaching, Finken has received praise for his work in curriculum development as a teacher leader.

New MHS Associate Principal Mark Finken, right, was introduced to the school board Monday evening. Also pictured is MHS Principal Jacque Wyant, left.

Parking lot repair project moves forward
Repairs are coming to the parking lot outside the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center after board action on Monday. 
Des Moines Asphalt and Paving was approved to perform asphalt repair work on the parking lot, located on the north side of the MHS Roundhouse. District Director of Buildings and Grounds Todd Goulding said funds for the work were built into the District’s summer projects budget.

2021-22 school board, superintendent goals approved
The Marshalltown School Board and superintendent goals for the 2021-22 school were approved Monday evening. The goals can be seen here.

Communications
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.

Policies
First Reading

  • 702 Cash in School Buildings (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 706.3 Pay Deductions (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 706.3-R1 Pay Deduction Regulation (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 203 Board of Directors Conflict of Interest (amended, second reading waived)
  • 707.4 Audits (amended, second reading waived)
  • 707.5-R1 Internal Controls Procedures (amended, second reading waived)
  • 801.4 Site Acquisition (amended, second reading waived)


Initial Review – 

  • 200.3 Responsibilities of the Board of Directors (will come back for a first reading)
  • 206.1 President (will come back for a first reading)
  • 206.2 Vice President (will come back for a first reading)
  • 213 Public Participation in Board Meetings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 213.1 Public Complaints (will come back for a first reading)
  • 401.14 Employee Expression (will come back for a first reading)
  • 606.2 School Ceremonies and Observances (will come back for a first reading)
  • 701.2 Transfer of Funds (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
“August is the month where we start afresh – a new year for each of us; a chance to start again. We started the new year in the boardroom with new equipment – cameras and microphones.

We strive to be available to the community and transparent to our stakeholders. The new microphones make everything audible and the new cameras allow everyone to be seen. You don’t see anyone’s back nor just see their lips move. The new equipment is remarkable for our use.

Amy Harmsen, Director of Technology, is masterful at making sure everything functions as it should. Seeing and hearing all of the speakers will make the audience watching live streaming or delayed broadcast more enjoyable – almost as if you are in the boardroom!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, 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.

July 19, 2021 Board Meeting

20 Jul
MCSD Food Service Director Lynn Large shares the annual Food Service Department update at the July 19 board meeting

Food Service director commends staff in annual report
Over the past 16 months, the MCSD Food Service Department has continued to provide excellent service to Bobcat students, both at school and in the neighborhoods of Marshalltown. 

In her annual departmental report at the Monday, July 19 Marshalltown School Board meeting, Food Service Director Lynn Large highlighted staff members’ incredible teamwork and dedication during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m really proud of the Food Service team and how we handled all those challenges,” Large said.

Despite the challenges, she added there were plenty of positive accomplishments from the end of the 2019-20 school year and into the 2020-21 school year, including:

  • Meals were provided at no cost for all students ages 18 and younger
  • Grab-and-Go meals were served to hybrid and virtual students
  • The Meals Close to Home program ensured students had access to nutritious meals during school closure
  • Staff members grew their skills with cross-training opportunities
  • The department grew stronger as a team

Large said the USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program also continued last school year, and Food Service staff were celebrated during Lunch Hero Day 2021. She said she is excited for the upcoming school year.

2021 Bobcat Golf Fundraiser a massive success
The Bobcat Golf Fundraiser returned stronger than ever in 2021 after being cancelled last summer.

MHS Activities/Athletics Director Ryan Isgrig said the June outing brought together community members and Bobcat alumni at the American Legion Golf Course, all for the benefit of Bobcat students. In total, more than $25,000 was raised for Bobcat activities/athletics.

To see the full story on this year’s record-breaking Bobcat Golf Fundraiser, plus more photos and results, click here.

MHS Activities/Athletics Director Ryan Isgrig shares details from the this year’s record-breaking Bobcat Golf Fundraiser.

Legislative priorities set for 2021
The board approved the District’s legislative priorities for 2021 at Monday’s meeting. The areas of equity for all children, mental health, school funding policy, supplemental state aid, and COVID-19 remediation were emphasized on this year’s list.

Key construction projects discussed, change orders approved
Several exciting facilities projects are underway across the District this summer, with contractors, architects, and District staff working hard to ensure their timely completion.

Some obstacles have come up as the projects progress, including delays in the delivery of certain pieces of equipment and parts, as well as work reflected in recent change orders.

Superintendent Dr. Schutte said the District built contingency funds into the project budgets to address such change orders, and that a small portion of the projects’ contingency funding has been used thus far.

In addition to hearing the projects update, the board approved change orders for projects at MHS and Anson Elementary at Monday’s board meeting.

Update, follow-up steps shared regarding recent personnel matters
Dr. Schutte expressed the District’s extreme disappointment following two separate allegations regarding improper employee-student relations announced recently, as well as the significant follow-up steps the District is taking to ensure the safest, most enriching learning environment is provided for students.

“These allegations fly in the face of the law, our employee code of conduct, and the foundation of what our District stands for,” he said.

While the District’s selection and hiring processes and procedures were found to be thorough and robust upon review, Dr. Schutte said extensive efforts will be made to strengthen those processes wherever possible.

“We will still leave no stone left unturned as we evaluate all of our policies, practices, and procedures to make sure that our employees fully know and understand District expectations and conduct themselves in an appropriate and professional fashion at all times,” he said.

The District is looking into providing trainings on employee ethics and responsibilities, as well as proper use of social media, both of which have been presented to staff in recent years. The District is also investigating ways to strengthen policies and practices related to employee-student communications, and to ensure students are informed about reporting and getting help if a concerning situation were to arise.

“We have a wealth of community agencies that provide support in a variety of ways,” Dr. Schutte said. “We’ll be reaching out to CAPS – Child Abuse and Prevention Services – to access and take advantage of any other student and/or employee supports.”

He said the many action steps outlined Monday will be part of an ongoing process in alignment with the District’s number one priority – student safety.

District staffing needs discussed, employee handbooks approved
Human Resources Director Dr. Nora Ryan shared an overview of the District’s current staffing needs Monday evening.

She said MCSD is experiencing the same challenges in filling open positions as many other schools. Despite the challenges, Dr. Ryan said strong efforts are being made to proactively reach out to potential candidates. 

The District’s available positions can be viewed at https://iowa.schoolspring.com/ (search the Marshalltown zip code – 50158 – to see our career opportunities), as well as at https://marshalltown.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx

Additionally, the 2021-22 employee handbook presented by Dr. Ryan in June received the board’s approval on Monday evening.

Small vehicle purchases strengthen District fleet
The board approved the purchases of two vans at the July 19 meeting, both part of the Transportation Department’s annual replacement cycle. Transportation Director Rex Kozak said PPEL funding will be used to fund the purchases.

Communications
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.

Policies:
First Reading

  • 403.1 Employee Physical Examinations (amended, second reading waived)
  • 404.1-R1 Employee Dress Code (amended, second reading waived)
  • 605.6 Internet-Appropriate and Safe Use (amended, second reading waived)
  • 703.1 Budget Planning (amended, second reading waived)
  • 704.1 Local-State-Federal-Miscellaneous Revenue (amended, second reading waived)
  • 704.6 Online Fundraising Campaigns – Crowdfunding (amended, second reading waived)
  • 707.2 Treasurer’s Annual Report (amended, second reading waived)

Initial Review – 

  • 702 Cash in School Buildings (will come back for a first reading)
  • 706.3 Pay Deductions (will come back for a first reading)
  • 706.3-R1 Pay Deduction Regulation (will come back for a first reading)
  • 203 Board of Directors Conflict of Interest (will come back for a first reading)
  • 707.4 Audits (will come back for a first reading)
  • 707.5-R1 Internal Controls Procedures (will come back for a first reading)
  • 801.4 Site Acquisition (will come back for a first reading)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“During the summer meetings, the board hears reports from the various departments throughout the district. Last night’s meeting heard the Nutrition Services report.

It seems that the pandemic has reached near and far and impacted everyone. Because no students attended school for several months, food service employees took meals ‘on the road’ to be sure that all students still had the opportunity to receive meals as they would have in school.

And when we returned to school in the fall, many students chose to continue to learn online or only came to school every other day in a hybrid model. This necessitated decreasing the food service work staff as revenue decreased by nearly $46,000. We have high hopes that the fall will see nutrition services return to near normal.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2, 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.

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
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.

Policies:

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.