March 2, 2020 Board Meeting

3 Mar
Bowling WEB

The state 3A runner-up MHS Boys Bowling team was recognized at Monday’s board meeting for their accomplishments this season. Head coach DJ Wilder, center, spoke about the team’s appreciation for the community’s support.

MHS Boys Bowling Team recognized for impressive state performance
Members of the Marshalltown High School Boys Bowling Team and head coach DJ Wilder came before the Marshalltown School Board Monday for recognition. The team had an impressive showing at the 3A state-level competition late last month, placing second overall as a team. 

Individually, MHS senior Lucas Kramer took home first place in the state meet. Team member Logan Proffitt earned a sixth-place individual finish. 

“The support we have from the entire town … honestly, it’s kind of insane,” Kramer said. 

That support was evident at Wayward Social during home meets, when the venue filled with Bobcats fans eager to cheer on the bowlers. 

Wilder said he is incredibly proud of both the boys and girls bowling programs, both of which had strong seasons.

“It’s been a great experience over the past few years, and I’m looking forward to doing it some more,” he said. “I expect us to be right back in this same position this time next year.” 

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said he was proud to see the Bobcats well-represented at the state bowling meet. He said the boys and girls bowling teams display extraordinary camaraderie and praised the coaching and development of young bowlers.   

“Congratulations on a phenomenal season,” Dr. Schutte said. 

Board approves generous donation from the Brown family
Craig and Michelle Brown made a generous donation to the MHS boys and girls track programs for warm up attire. The family gave $4,029 and the donation got the board’s approval Monday. Craig and Michelle are the parents of late MCSD student Corey Brown. 

Nora WEB

Director of Human Resources Dr. Nora Ryan presents details on the new employee handbook at Monday’s school board meeting.

MCSD Employee Handbook approved
After months of intensive work, Human Resources Director Dr. Nora Ryan brought a comprehensive MCSD Employee Handbook before the board Monday evening for approval, which the board granted. 

“It’s applicable to all staff members,” Dr. Ryan said. “It covers a lot of basic practices and policies that we have here.” 

She said the Human Resources Department worked hard to gain feedback from several employee groups before finalizing the handbook that was brought to the board. 

Licensing purchase to save money on technology
Director of Technology Amy Harmsen recommended the board’s approval of 1,380 Google licenses for Chromebooks due to a licensing price increase. Harmsen explained the licenses enable management for the Chromebooks that are purchased annually according to the the district’s Chromebook replacement cycle. As a result of the board’s approval of the licensing on Monday, Harmsen said savings of around $18,000 are likely as the board considers the purchase of the Chromebooks.

Board takes action on the MCSD self insurance plan
The school board approved changes to the district’s self insurance plan for the current school year. The approval includes a 10 percent increase for the health plan. 

Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold explained how the insurance plan will include a new HMO Employee+1 option and adds coverage for routine vision exams to both the HMO and PPO plans. 

Additionally, the approval means the district’s fully-insured Avesis vision plan will change to a materials-only vision plan with voluntary employee participation. The changes approved Monday will not impact dental insurance costs or plan design. 

Newbold said one long-term goal related to district insurance is to improve the financial health of the plan. For more details on the district’s self insurance plan, as well as background on changes made to the district’s insurance last year, click here

Student school board WEB

Student School Board members Mia Barajas, left, and Diana Sanchez, right, share updates from around the district with Marshalltown School Board members.

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board Representatives Diana Sanchez and Mia Barajas shared these updates from around the district at Monday’s meeting. Highlights include: 

  • Students Teaching and Empowering Philanthropy (STEP) students have made their final grant decisions, and six area non-profits will receive checks on March 24. 
  • The MHS Prom is set for Saturday, April 25 and will feature a “Roaring ‘20’s” theme. Final decoration choices will be decided this week, and students have been talking to a DJ and photographers in preparation for the big night. 
  • Students in the Science Bound program took a trip to Iowa State University for Science Bound Saturday last weekend. They participated in a writing workshop and several other learning activities with students from across the state. 

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 of:

  • New Policy 401.9 Employee Political Activity (adopted, second reading waived)

Initial review of: 

  • 104 Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Policy (will come back for a first reading)
  • 104-R1 Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Investigation Procedures (will come back for a first reading)
  • 401.1 Equal Employment Opportunity (marked as reviewed)
  • 401.2 Employee Conflict of Interest (marked as reviewed)
  • 402.2 Child Abuse Reporting (will come back for a first reading)
  • 403.3 Communicable Diseases-Employees (will come back for a first reading)
  • New Policy 604.3 Program for Talented and Gifted Students (will come back for a first reading)
  • 905.7 Motorized Vehicle Use of School Property (deleted)
  • 905.9 Smoking and Tobacco Use on School District Facilities (marked as reviewed)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“It is the time of the year when board members are involved in making difficult budget decisions – including curricular purchases, insurance rates, negotiations, and tax rates, just to name a few.  

Fiscal oversight is one of the major responsibilities of the board. It is a hard job to make finite dollars stretch into an infinite number of needs for the district. The very small state supplemental aid received annually makes the board’s job even more difficult. And the low state aid received over the last 6-8 years only compounds the problem.

Fiscal oversight is taken seriously by this board. The board listens and hears what individuals say. It is, indeed, a tenuous balancing act.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, March 16, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S.Third Ave.

February 17, 2020 Board Meeting

18 Feb
Rogers WEB

Rogers Elementary staff members (from left) Sabrina Russell, Angela Pelham, Kara Elsberry and Mark Church discuss the school’s focus on student social-emotional health and education.

Rogers Elementary staff showcase student engagement efforts
Rogers Elementary School Principal Dr. Mick Jurgensen and several school staff members showcased highlights from the school’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan at Monday’s Marshalltown School Board meeting. 

Social-emotional learning is playing a large role in the Rogers ESSA plan. One way students are being supported in that area this year is with an additional full-time social worker, Kara Elsberry.

“Building trust and individual relationships with the kids, I can’t even express to you how important that is for the kids,” Elsberry said.

She said school officials have been working in small groups with students to help grow leadership, social, and life skills. Additionally, Elsberry said she has focused on building positive relationships with parents. 

School counselor Mark Church said Elsberry and other staff members’ work means more students get the support they need.

“What has happened is we identified students that are in need, and I can run small groups, the social workers can run small groups as well, and we can get more students served,” he said. 

The staff members said they are seeing positive results after a semester of the ESSA plan implementation. In the fall, 125 Rogers students were considered “at-risk” after taking the Social, Academic, and Emotional Behavior Risk Screener (SAEBRS). A winter screener showed the number of at-risk students drop to 102, indicating a trend in the right direction. 

Additionally, the school has seen a 54 percent drop in the number of minor behavioral referrals and a 59 percent drop in the number of major behavior referrals since bringing extra focus to students’ social-emotional skills and health. 

“We are a school that not only looks for tomorrow but we also look down the road a number of years for kids’ success,” Jurgensen said. “I think we’re making some good progress at trying to ensure kids have a good, positive outlook on learning, and supporting their families in that regard as well.” 

Tennis court project bid decision tabled until March
The board voted to delay making a decision on which of three bids to approve for the community tennis court renovation project at Marshalltown High School. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte recommended tabling the decision to allow the Marshalltown City Council to reconsider supporting the project. 

“We would anticipate that the city would take action on whether to approve this as one of their projects for the near future at their March 23 regular city council meeting,” he said. 

The project bids are set to come up for a vote at a tentative March 24 special school board meeting.

“The base bid for the six new tennis courts, as well as for the three pickleball courts – with or without lights – came in a bit above what the projected cost was going to be,” Dr. Schutte said.  “But, with the alternate bids – particularly as it relates to the parking lot and the reconstruction of the eight existing courts and six new courts with restrooms, with storage facilities – came in significantly under (the projected cost).”

Strategic Plan WEB

District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson, left, and Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger, right, share updates on the 2017-2023 district strategic plan with the board Monday.

School leaders share strategic plan updates
MCSD Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger, Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold, Director of Human Resources Dr. Nora Ryan and Director of Communications Adam Sodders presented updates on the district’s 2017-2023 strategic plan at Monday’s meeting. 

The strategic plan was unveiled in October of 2017. Past survey research, open forums and a Thought Exchange survey helped shape the direction of the plan. The plan has five primary goals: student achievement, staff development, communication & engagement, learning environments and resources.

Transportation employees recognized for their work
The week of Feb. 10-14 was Love the Bus Week, when bus drivers and other transportation personnel are recognized for their crucial role in the public education system. Special recognition was given to MCSD bus drivers, bus monitors, supervisors and shop personnel Monday evening for their hard work ensuring students are safely transported to and from school every school day. 

Student School Board WEB

Student School Board representatives Carmen Araiza, Mia Barajas and Diana Sanchez share updates on the happenings around Marshalltown high School and the district.

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board Representatives Carmen Araiza, Diana Sanchez and Mia Barajas shared these updates from around the district at Monday’s meeting. Highlights include: 

  • Students in the upcoming Marshalltown High School spring play, William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” are seeking donations of wood materials and fake flowers for the production of the play. The play is scheduled to take place April 3 and April 4. 
  • MHS students taking part in the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundations Students Teaching and Empowering Philanthropy (STEP) program are reviewing 10 grant applications to determine how to give $10,000 in grants to community efforts. 
  • An update on Society of Women Engineers (SWE) projects. 

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: 

  • New Policy 303.5 Administrator Duties (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 303.8 Administrator Civic Activities (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 401.9 Employee Political Activity (will come back as a first reading)
  • New Policy 405.9 Licensed Employee Probationary Status (adopted, second reading waived)
  • New Exhibit 407.3-E1 Application for Retirement (adopted, second reading waived)
  • 905.1-R1 Application for Use and Approval (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-R2 Fees for Use of School Facilities (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-R3 Community Use of School District Facilities & Equipment Regulation (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-E2(new E1) Use of School Facilities-Application Form (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-E3(new E2) Use of School Facilities and Equipment-Indemnity and Liability Insurance Agreement (amended and second reading waived)
  • 905.1-E1(new E3) Use of School Facilities-Rental Contract (amended and second reading waived)

Initial review: 

  • 905.5 Supervision by School Personnel (deleted)
  • 905.6 Loan of School Equipment (deleted)

From Board President Bea Niblock
PSW WEB“Recognition was given to Public Schools Week, February 24-28, at last night’s board meeting. The week is supported by NSBA, NEA, PTA and all of the professional educational organizations. Dr. Nora Ryan read a proclamation for the week.

Public Schools Week honors the 50.8 million students, plus 3.2 million teachers and hundreds of thousands of specialists, administrators and support staff working in public schools today. Public schools educate 9 out of every 10 students. Public schools are the great equalizer for children. They have lifted generations of students out of poverty and from middle income to higher income, helping to set young adults on a path to a fulfilling life. 

This national celebration highlights the great things happening in our public schools and shows the strength and potential of them in a democratic society. You can sign the Pledge for Public Schools at www.publicschoolproud.org.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, March 2, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S.Third Ave.

 

February 4, 2020 Board Meeting

5 Feb
Check presentation WEB

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, left, accepts a check from Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Board members Larry Pfantz, center, and Bill Fitzgerald, right.

Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Board representatives recognized for Fine Arts Honor Wall display
A new Fine Arts Honor Wall is on display at the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center (previously called the MHS/Community Auditorium), and the addition was installed thanks to the generosity of the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center Board and donors. 

Board representatives Bill Fitzgerald and Larry Pfantz discussed the decision to install the Honor Wall, as well as a public art project being planned by the Performing Arts Center Board. Pfantz said Phase II of the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse project next door to the auditorium was positive, but it meant the Performing Arts Center lost a few windows, leaving a blank space on the south side of the lobby. 

Thanks to several donors, the board raised $4,841 to pay for the Honor Wall that now occupies the space and recognizes Bobcats past and present to earn all-state plaudits in chorus, band, orchestra and theatre. 

Pfantz also said the board is planning a public art project at the Performing Arts Center to celebrate the arts, similar to the Drills sculpture celebrating athletics on the south side of the Roundhouse. 

MCSD receives clean audit for Fiscal Year 2019
The Fiscal Year 2019 audit report for the school district came back clean, according to Dennis Muyskens of Hogan-Hansen, CPA’s and Consultants. 

“There was nothing that we found on the school district’s financial statements that had anything misstated or anything that looked inappropriate,” he said. 

After an issue with payroll reporting discovered in a previous school year audit, Muyskens said he took particular care to ensure the payroll processes at the district were sound. 

“I personally looked at every single payroll deposit for the year and didn’t see anything out of line after the misstatements that had happened the previous year,” he said. 

Muyskens also complimented the district’s success in receiving more than $640,000 in refunds from the Internal Revenue Service regarding the previously-discovered payroll issue. 

District Finance Director Paulette Newbold said she has full confidence in Muysken and Hogan-Hansen’s audit. She has led the business office in a comprehensive review of oversight and reporting processes for all aspects of district finance. 

The full FY2019 audit can be found here

Audit WEB

Dennis Muyskens of Hogan-Hansen, CPA’s and Consultants gives an overview of the FY2019 school year financial audit.

School counselors’ important work acknowledged
It is National School Counseling Week and district Human Resources Director Dr. Nora Ryan read out a proclamation recognizing the incredible work done by MCSD school counselors and counselors all over the country. Counselors Ashley Chyma and Valerie Corson were also present during the recognition. 

Health Care Careers Club field trip approved
Representatives from the Marshalltown Area Health Care Careers Club gained board approval for an out-of-state trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. in March. The trip will allow students to hear personal testimonies from Mayo Clinic staff, visit historic clinic buildings, and learn more about certification and degree programs in areas like nursing, diagnostic imaging, oncology, surgery and more. 

Funds from TRIO and Gear Up, as well as money raised by the club, will cover the cost of food, lodging and transportation for the trip. 

The club has participated in many learning and volunteer activities with local organizations, including the Iowa Veterans Home, McFarland Clinic, UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown, Pilgrim Heights, Grandview Nursing Home, Iowa Valley Community College District, the Marshalltown Fire and Police departments, and others. 

Field Trip WEB

Marshalltown High School Dean of Students Dan Terrones, left, and Marshalltown Area Health Care Careers Club students Arlette Yepez (second from left) Taylor Duff (second from right) and Aida Almanza (right) speak about their upcoming trip to the Mayo Clinic.

Exciting new offerings added to Marshalltown High School course manual
The school board approved the 2020-21 MHS Course Guide Tuesday, and principal Jacque Wyant introduced several new areas of coursework that will be available to high school students next school year. Additionally, existing areas of coursework will offer additional options for students to explore career pathways. New and enhanced course areas include:

  • Speech
  • Industrial Arts Technology (welding, machining, small engines/basic automotive maintenance)
  • Computer Science through Project Lead the Way, including the new cybersecurity capstone class
  • Agriculture
  • Fire Science in collaboration with Kirkwood Community College
  • Technical math for areas like the medical field, industrial arts and more

Wyant said the new course guide also includes information about the Bobcat Ready initiative and some more minor changes. 

Board approves Bobcat High School Ready indicators
The district’s Bobcat Ready initiative seeks to ensure all students are college and career-ready by the time they graduate high school. Now, that same focus on ensuring readiness will be directed toward Miller Middle School eighth graders entering high school. 

Like the original Bobcat Ready initiative, the tentative Bobcat High School Ready indicators approved by the board Monday will help determine a student’s readiness for high school. Those indicators include, among others:

  • No failing grades in core classes (English, Math, Science and Social Studies)
  • Grade-level proficiency in English-language arts, Math and Science
  • An attendance rate of 90 percent or better
  • Participation in two or more organized co-curricular activities
  • 10 or more hours of community service

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the indicators were decided based on established knowledge about the importance of student readiness and on national research. In addition to meeting some or all of the life- and academics-based indicators, Dr. Schutte said eighth graders would also be expected to identify potential post-secondary or career interests.

For more information on the Bobcat High School Ready indicators, click here

Anson WEB

Anson staff members share positive highlights from their building. Pictured, from left: counselor Ashley Chyma, third grade teacher Jocelyn Schmidt, principal Ronnie Manis and first grade teacher Jennifer Estabrook.

Anson Elementary School showcase
There are a lot of good things going on at Anson Elementary School, and principal Ronnie Manis was joined by Anson staff members to outline some of those positive efforts Tuesday. 

One major area of growth for the school has come in students’ math performance. First grade teacher Jennifer Estabrook said that more than a year ago, a fall semester screener test showed only 33 percent of students were proficient in math; Estabrook and fellow first grade staff knew improvement was needed, and decided to do a book study over Jessica Shumway’s “Number Sense Routines.” 

After adding a 5-10 minute period of time for students to rearrange, organize, combine, separate and otherwise interact with numbers on a daily basis, the next screener test showed the number of first graders who were proficient in math shot up to 71 percent; the next test showed 77 percent proficiency. The students kept up that proficiency into second grade, where another screener showed 76 percent of students were proficient in math. Number Sense strategies are now being used across the building due to their success. 

Additionally, counselor Ashley Chyma discussed the school’s Positive Action initiative.

“The main focus of Positive Action is to start with a positive thought that leads to a positive action that then leads to a positive feeling and then goes back to a positive thought, so it’s a circle,” she said. 

A third grade Kindness Club was formed to promote Positive Action. Among other generous efforts, the students put together treat bags for Marshalltown firefighters and police officers to thank them for their service.

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board Representatives Carmen Araiza and Mia Barajas shared these updates from around the district at Tuesday’s meeting. Highlights include: 

  • A review of the Jam in the Gym event Feb. 1, where two MHS seniors won $500 Marshalltown Community College scholarships. 
  • The Words of Encouragement project at MHS, mostly directed at high school seniors, is focusing on helping students stay focused through the end of the school year. 
  • An MHS After Prom Tip Night will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Pizza Ranch,  2305 S. Center St. All tips given at that time will go toward the upcoming MHS After Prom events. 

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 Tuesday, click here

Policies
First reading of:

  • 407.3 Licensed Employee Retirement (approved as amended)
  • 504.5 Student Fundraising (approved as amended)
  • Old 905.1 Community Use of School Facilities (deleted)
  • New 905.1 Community Use of School Facilities and Equipment (approved)
  • 905.1-R3 Community Use of School Facilities and Equipment Regulation (will come back for a first reading)

Initial review of: 

  • New Policy 303.5 Administrator Duties (will come back)
  • New Policy 303.8 Administrator Civic Activities (will come back)
  • New Policy 401.9 Employee Political Activity (will come back)
  • New Policy 405.9 Licensed Employee Probationary Status (will come back)
  • New Exhibit 407.3-E1 Application for Retirement (will come back)
  • 905.1-R1 Application for Use and Approval (will come back)
  • 905.1-R2 Fees for Use of School Facilities (will come back)
  • 905.1-E2 (new E1) Use of School Facilities-Application Form (will come back)
  • 905.1-E3 (new E2) Use of School Facilities and Equipment-Indemnity and Liability Insurance Agreement (will come back)
  • 905.1-E1 (new E3) Use of School Facilities-Rental Contract (marked as reviewed)
  • 905.2 Parent Teacher Organization Building Use (deleted)
  • 905.4 Gratuities to Personnel (deleted)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.” – Anonymous

 “The board saw repeated presentations at Tuesday’s meeting showing the excellence that abounds in the district.

  • Board members from the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center presented the district with a check to cover the expense of the new recognition wall in the Community Auditorium lobby.
  • The auditors shared a clean audit report for the district. That was certainly a spot of excellence after the problems encountered over a year ago.
  • The high school course offerings manual was shared showing the many pathways that students may choose, from college prep to apprenticeships to technology and many more. 
  • Anson staff shared a book study being undertaken by staff to increase number sense with increased scores to substantiate the work. 
  • Bobcat High School Readiness Indicators were approved for implementation at Miller Middle School.
  • The board began its annual book study. The board continues to grow and learn together through workshops, seminars and the book study.

Excellence is widespread throughout the district.” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S.Third Ave.

January 13, 2020 Board Meeting

14 Jan

New Technology Director hired

Harmsen WEB

Amy Harmsen, pictured, is set to take over at the district Director of Technology in February. She spoke at Monday’s board meeting.

The school board approved the hire of Amy Harmsen as the district’s new Director of Technology Monday. Harmsen comes to the district with exceptional education and experience, She will take up the position after previous Director Josh Wesley assumed a similar position at Waukee Community School District. 

“I was raised around here, so I’m glad to be back,” Harmsen said.

She said she is excited to get started as a member of the district administrative team. 

“Amy and the other candidates went through a very rigorous selection process,” said district Dr. Schutte said. “She has been the Director of Technology for Grinnell-Newburg Community Schools for the past 3½ years. She had previously served in Marshalltown as the Technology Services Coordinator with the Central Rivers Area Education Agency, working with our’s and other technology directors, providing support in both technical and education technology services.” 

Harmsen’s anticipated start date is Thursday, Feb. 13. 

Marshalltown Schools Tennis Court Project plans adopted
There were several major announcements and decisions at January’s sole Marshalltown School Board meeting Monday, including the formal adoption of plans, specifications, form of contract and the estimated total cost of the Marshalltown Community School District Tennis Court Project.

The base bid for the project will include six new tennis courts to the south of the existing eight courts at Marshalltown High School. In addition, the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation generously gave $150,000 to cover the estimated cost of installing three pickleball courts in the tennis court area. 

Other aspects of the project, such as replacing the 45-year-old existing courts with six new courts, adding lighting, a restroom facility and a parking lot along South 2nd Avenue, will be bid as project alternates. 

“We’re bidding out the entire package in the event that the bids come in to where there’s a choice to take on one of the alternates,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. “What we need, at a bare minimum, are the six courts so we can use those courts in conjunction with the courts that are still competitively playable and safe with the existing facility.” 

Bids on the project are due by 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6. The awarding of the contract is scheduled to take place at the Monday, Feb. 17 school board meeting. Project cost information can be found here and a project design can be found here

A report from the Lenihan Lego League Wizard Engineers

Wizard Engineers WEB

Volunteer Lego League coach and Lenihan teacher Laura Fricke introduces the Wizard Engineers team during their presentation on splash pads Monday. The team will compete at the state level this weekend.

The Wizard Engineers, a Lego League team from Lenihan Intermediate School, shared a project presentation with the board. The team includes sixth grade students Max Reed, Sam Hatcher, Lucas Hagen, Anessa Morrison, Millie Heitmann, Leah Kurian, Josiah Kurian, Porter Niedermann, Harper Wilson and Ariana Campos. 

Each student spoke about the team’s project: providing splash pads as a safe, affordable way to have fun in the water. The students said the splash pads would offer an alternative to the dangerous Iowa River during hot summer says, particularly for families unable to afford a membership at local swimming pools. They discussed adding a solar-powered splash pad in downtown Marshalltown, financed by donations and grants. 

The Wizard Engineers will give their Global Innovative State Finalist presentation at Sukup Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18. The competition schedule is available here 

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board Representative Diana Sanchez shared these updates from around the district at Monday’s meeting. Highlights include: 

  • More Marshalltown High School students are attending college classes at Marshalltown Community College this semester
  • An update on first semester finals taking place at the high school from Jan. 14-16
  • Information about upcoming band and sports events, including the Bobcat Marching Band Pasta Dinner fundraiser set for 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28 in the Marshalltown High School cafeteria. The funds will go toward the marching band’s trip to Orlando, Florida later this year. 

 

2020-21 at risk budget proposal approved
After a presentation at the December 16, 2019 board meeting, the board approved the 2020-21 at risk budget. The budget will be geared toward curbing chronic absenteeism, increasing graduation rates, lowering the number of students who drop out, and much more.

Data from previous years’ at risk programming shows the following results:

  • An increase in graduation rate
  • A decrease in the number of students who drop out
  • A decrease in major behavior referrals/suspensions
  • A decrease in reports of bullying/harassment

For specifics about the approved budget, click here.

Marshalltown High School showcase

Industrial Arts WEB

Marshalltown High School students and teachers present share information on the school’s industrial arts programs with the board Monday evening. Front row, from left: students Emily Diggins, Roxy Orellana, Ana Nolasco and George Melendez. Back row, from left: student Keaghan Gorsuch and teachers Lester Kadner and Raul Arevalo.

Marshalltown High School’s many high-quality industrial arts courses were on display at Monday’s meeting, with students sharing their experiences from classes in construction technology, metals, electrical and plumbing, and more. 

“We got to learn how to install windows and doors, how to safely remove walls and cabinets and apply drywall,” said Construction Technology II student George Melendez. “We can use that in the future.” 

Fellow student Ana Nolasco said safety was the first priority when it came to her Intro to Construction class. 

“After learning about safety, we went around and learned how to use every single saw or piece of machinery that was there,” she said. 

The students showed off some of the products of their hard work, including a small hardwood bench. They also discussed building a bathroom vanity, learning how to electrically wire a house, and other skills they learned in class. 

Teacher Lester Kadner said the things students learn in industrial arts classes will stay with them for the rest of their lives when they need to make repairs and solve everyday problems.

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 of:

  • 903.1 School Community Groups (approved as amended)
  • 903.5-R Distribution of Materials regulation (approved as amended)
  • 904.2 Sales Promotion Prohibited (approved as amended

Initial review of:

  • 314.1 Administrator early retirement incentive program (approved as amended, second reading waived)
  • 407.3 Retirement (coming back for a first reading)
  • 407.6 Licensed Teaching Staff voluntary early retirement incentive program (approved as amended, second reading waived)
  • 413.7 Twelve-month secretary voluntary early retirement incentive program (approved as amended, second reading waived)
  • 413.8 Twelve-month operations, maintenance and transportation voluntary early retirement incentive program (approved as amended, second reading waived)
  • 504.5 Student Fundraising (last line from previous policy 904.4 added, will come back at the next meeting)
  • 904.4 Money Raising Activities in the Schools (deleted due to redundancy)
  • Old 905.1 Community use of School Facilities (will come back at the next meeting for deletion)
  • New 905.1 Community use of School Facilities and Equipment  (will come back at the next meeting)
  • 905.1-R3 (new 905.1-R1) Community Use of the School District Facilities & Equipment Regulation (will come back at the next meeting)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Last night’s meeting was a busy one with many items on the agenda. But, the highlight of any meeting is getting to interact with students in the district. 

We, first, got to hear from Industrial Arts teachers, Raul Arevalo and Lester Kadner, and some of their students. In addition to a PowerPoint presentation, the students shared the focus of their coursework and individual projects they had completed. Amazing opportunities for our students and remarkable products capped their presentation!

Then, we heard from the Wizard Engineers Lego League Team from Lenihan. They shared the process that they took in problem solving in competition. Their excitement and enthusiasm was contagious. We wish them well in their state competition bid this weekend!” – Bea Niblock

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m.Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S.Third Ave. The meeting was moved from its normal Monday time due to the Iowa caucuses Feb. 3. 

December 16, 2019 Board Meeting

17 Dec
Lunches WEB.jpg

Brothers John Wise, right, and Tom Wise, left, speak about their part in an effort to raise funds to pay off outstanding student lunch account debt.

Community members recognized for addressing school lunch debt
Marshalltown residents Tom and John Wise were recognized for helping raise funds toward outstanding school lunch accounts as of Monday afternoon. The Wises followed the example set by Alfonso Medina, Jr., owner of La Carreta Mexican Grill. Several other community members and businesses have also contributed to the lunch account effort. Read more about their generous endeavor here

Next step taken on tennis court project
Marshalltown Schools took another step toward a project to replace and upgrade the community tennis courts at Marshalltown High School at Monday’s school board meeting. A public hearing for the proposed use of SAVE state sales tax funds for the project was held; the board subsequently voted to allow the use of SAVE revenue to pay for the project. Tentative plans, specifications, form of contract and estimated total cost of the project were also approved and a public hearing regarding those details was set for 5 p.m. Jan. 13, 2020.

For more information about the tennis courts project, click here

Woodbury kids WEB

Woodbury Elementary students showed off their literary skills in both English and Spanish at Monday’s board meeting. Woodbury is home to an excellent dual-language program. Pictured, from left: students Erandy Ibarra Madrigal, Sahily Gonzalez, Tate Williams, Maritza Barajas Hernandez, Aaron Tafolla, Theodore Lewis, Liliana Nunez and Woodbury Principal Anel Garza, standing. 

Woodbury Elementary School showcase
Woodbury Elementary Principal Anel Garza, counselor Heidi Williams and instructional coach Julie Thede brought a talented group of students to showcase their skills at Monday’s board meeting. 

The second- to fourth grade students each gave part of the presentation, some in English and some in Spanish. Woodbury is home to an incredible dual language program where students learn in both English and Spanish each day in class. 

The school’s presentation included an overview of the new Into Reading/Arriba la lectura curriculum and how it works to bridge new learning from one language to the other. The connection of concepts between the two languages contributes to increased biliteracy. 

First round of ISASP data released
Marshalltown Schools joined school districts statewide in the 2018-19 school year in implementing the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) assessment in grades 3-11. District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson shared data from that first year of implementation at Marshalltown Schools. 

The ISASP was developed to align with Iowa Core educational standards and to ensure students of all backgrounds and abilities can take the test. For more information, click here

VM WEB.jpg

Vision Marshalltown co-chair Terry Buzbee, right, and Executive Director Kyley Leger, left, share information about post-2018 tornado growth strategies for Marshalltown. 

Vision Marshalltown leaders provide network update
Vision Marshalltown Executive Director Kyley Leger and co-chair Terry Buzbee shared a report from the network on its post-2018 tornado community growth strategies. Buzbee said Marshalltown is in a prime position to grow in the coming years and said MCSD will be a key part of future success. 

“With what you as leaders and what the administration has done, what the staff has done, we’re in a whole new place relative to education,” he said to school board members. “In my opinion, we very much have a great opportunity to grow.” 

Leger said Vision Marshalltown leaders met in July to revise the network’s strategies post-tornado. Along with education, she said other key focuses include growing housing, growing Marshalltown’s downtown area and growing community pride. 

Report shared on first year of Full Service Community Schools program
Allison Wilson and Sarah Kenkel of Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) went over facts and figures from the first year of the Full Service Community Schools grant implementation at MCSD. 

The federal grant of $500,000 for five years (totaling $2.5 million) was awarded to MICA in 2018, and the local non-profit is investing those funds into programs at Anson, Rogers and Woodbury elementary schools. Wilson and Kenkel described how the programming strives toward three key outcomes: 

  • All children enter school ready to learn
  • Students are academically proficient
  • Students are safe, healthy and supported by engaged parents

Some strategies and programs designed to meet the above outcomes include the Bobcat University summer learning program, focusing on the transition from early childhood education to school, developing individual family attendance plans, referring families to community-based support services, among many others. 

For more information about the first year of the Full Service Community Schools grant implementation at MCSD, click here.

Voluntary early retirement program approved
The Marshalltown School Board voted to continue offering voluntary early retirement to qualifying district employees for the current school year. Eligible employees may submit a written application for voluntary early retirement to the superintendent by 5 p.m. Feb. 28, 2020.

Student school board WEB

Student School Board members Mia Barajas, left, and Carmen Araiza, right, share their report on the happenings at Marshalltown High School and around the district. 

2020-21 at risk budget proposal presented
Dr. Lisa Stevenson presented the at-risk budget proposal for the 2020-21 school year. The new budget, if approved at the Jan. 13 board meeting, would be increased to a total of about $2.4 million. 

Stevenson also shared data showing how the at-risk budget has helped Marshalltown students in recent years, including: 

  • An increase in graduation rate
  • A decrease in the number of students who drop out
  • A decrease in major behavior referrals/suspensions
  • A decrease in reports of bullying/harassment

For more information about the at-risk budget’s impacts, click here. For specifics about the proposed at-risk budget, click here.

School board supports research project
The board approved a letter of support regarding a wireless technology research grant being pursued by Brian Cox of the Iowa State University Research Foundation Inc. and a team of researchers. Cox said the research would be in partnership with MCSD as well as the local business community and would work toward developing an advanced wireless network. 

For more details about the research proposal, click 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

Gifts and bequests accepted
A $10,000 STEM BEST Program Enhancement Fund grant from the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council awarded to Marshalltown Learning Academy was approved, as were donations from the community toward outstanding lunch account balances. 

Policies
Initial review – 

  • 903.5-R1 Distribution of Materials Regulation (changes needed, will come back before board)
  • 903.7 Parent-Teacher Associations (deleted due to redundancy, except for the last line which was added to 903.1)
  • 903.1 School-Community Groups (Last sentence from previous policy 903.7 added, will come back before the board)
  • 904.2 Sales Promotion Prohibited (Will come back for a first reading)

First reading –

  • 903.4 Public Conduct on School Premises-Conduct Counts (approved as amended, second reading waived)
  • 903.5 Distribution of Materials (approved as amended, second reading waived)

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The countdown has begun. Four more days until winter break! A well-deserved break for our district employees.

Time away from books, lesson plans and meetings for relaxation and rejuvenation. Working with young people is rewarding, albeit challenging and demanding. It is our lifework and the joys constantly outweigh the difficulties.

I wish for you the happiest and most restful holiday season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, or whatever you and yours celebrate. Return to us rested and enthusiastic to continue the remarkable work you do with the young people entrusted to our care.” – Bea Niblock. 

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday Jan. 13, 2020 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. Third Ave. It will be the only regular school board meeting in January. 

Dec. 2, 2019 Board Meeting

3 Dec
Robotics WEB

MHS Robotics Team member Jacob Swartz discusses the FIRST Tech Challenge with the board. He is accompanied by Robotics Team coach and MHS teacher Dori Pinkerton, left. The team received a $1,500 grant award from the Alliant Energy Foundation Monday. 

District reimbursed by IRS
Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte and district Business Director Paulette Newbold were happy to announce the entirety of more than $642,000 in fines charged to the district by the Internal Revenue Service in 2018 was reimbursed Monday. Read more here

Certified Enrollment Count and Open Enrollment numbers show good signs
Marshalltown Community School District’s certified enrollment this school year is higher than in 2018-19. The enrollment numbers from Oct. 1 show a rebound since the same time last year, when around 90 students left the district due in large part to the July 19, 2018 tornado that devastated much of Marshalltown. 

“Once a year on Oct. 1,  we count all of our students and gather all this data,” Newbold said. 

She said the “certified enrollment” figure is determined by taking a headcount of all students and then applying certain Iowa Department of Education weightings, depending on some students’ classifications. 

There is also the “served enrollment,” which denotes all resident students, plus those who open enroll into the district but live outside the district, minus students who live within the district but open enroll out to a different district. 

Certified enrollment is important to school districts because the count determines how much funding districts get in the next school year. 

Takeaways from the enrollment count for 2019-20 include:

  • The number of students who open enrolled out of the district has gone down. 
  • The number of district elementary school students is down slightly since last year, but the number of middle school and high school students has increased. 
  • The grade with the largest number of students this year is sixth grade. 
  • The total certified enrollment county for MCSD this school year is 5,420 students

For more information and data, click here

Alliant Energy grant helps power MHS Robotics Team
An Alliant Energy Grant Foundation Award in the amount of $1,500 was accepted by the board Monday, and Marshalltown High School student and Robotics Team member Jacob Swartz shared how the funding fueled his team at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge League Competition.

“This organization wants to inspire young people to be more interested in technology,” Jacob said of FIRST. 

Community tennis court project discussed
The board was given an estimated timeline on a construction project to upgrade the community tennis courts at Marshalltown High School. The next step is for the board to hold a public hearing on the potential project 5 p.m. Tuesday Dec. 16. After the hearing, the board will consider the approval of tentative plans, specifications, form of contract and an estimated total project cost. 

If those details are approved, there will be a 14-day waiting period in which the public may submit a petition to have the tennis court project – which would use state SAVE sales tax funding – on the March 3, 2020 ballot for voters’ consideration. Such a petition would have to include at least 914 signatures from eligible district electors and be turned in to Newbold, the board secretary. 

For more timeline details, click here

Board approves 2020-2021 school calendar
The MCSD 2020-2021 school year calendar was approved Monday night after board consideration and a survey of district staff. There were two calendar options presented for the board’s consideration. One option included a full spring break in March and a school year end date in early June. 

The other option, which the board approved Monday, does not include a spring break in March but instead has more days off around the Easter Holiday and comes with an end date of May 28, 2021, pending make-up days for weather. 

The staff survey showed a preference toward the no spring break option (55 percent) compared to those who preferred to keep spring break next school year (45 percent). 

More information on the survey and calendar can be found here

Lawmakers WEB

State lawmakers Rep. Mark Smith, left, and Sen. Jeff Edler, right, talked about the upcoming legislative session with the school board Monday.

State lawmakers talk upcoming legislative session
Local legislators shared their thoughts on the upcoming state legislative session in January. State Rep. Mark Smith and state Sen. Jeff Edler both discussed their intention to push for the amount of state supplemental aid to schools – which makes up a large portion of public school funding in Iowa – to be set early on in the session. Doing so makes it easier for school boards to set a budget for the upcoming school year. 

Edler and Smith also discussed mental health care access in the state, as well as the decision in the previous session to extend the SAVE sales tax sunset date to 2049, an increase of 20 years over the previous sunset date. The state law requiring a school start date on or after Aug. 23 was also discussed. 

Student School Board Representative update
Student School Board members Carmen Araiza, Mia Barajas and Diana Sanchez shared an excellent presentation on happenings across the district. Major takeaways include: 

  • Spotlights on Marshalltown High School students Kaci Uhde and Olivia Brintnall, both of whom are taking dual-credit college courses through the district’s partnership with Marshalltown Community College. 
  • An update on the recent poinsettia sales, with funds going toward improvement of the MHS Greenhouse. 
  • A recap of the Nov. 25 Science Bound meeting, which included a visit from an Iowa State University freshman student. The visitor discussed college life, coursework and balancing work and classes in college. 
  • A thank you to the district’s hardworking custodians. 

More information on these items and more can be found here

Cretsinger WEB

Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger shares the details of the district’s implementation of social-emotional learning.  

Update on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Implementation, as presented at the Iowa Association of School Boards annual conference
District Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger shared a presentation over social-emotional learning strategies being implemented at Marshalltown Schools. Cretsinger gave the same presentation at the recent Iowa Association of School Boards annual conference. 

He said a team of MCSD staff researched behavioral science, neuroscience, mental health conditions and treatment, child development and the effects of trauma to enhance the district’s social-emotional system of supports. 

Cretsinger said the work is ongoing and several years of implementation are expected before full results can be seen. However, he shared several promising figures from the first full year of implementation, including: 

  • The number of major office referrals dropped from the 2017-18 school year to the 2018-19 school year. 
  • The dropout rate decreased from 17-18 to 18-19

For more information, click here

IAHSAA & IGHSAU School Classification Equity Resolution
The board voted to join more than 40 districts across Iowa in asking the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union to consider changes to athletic competitions classifications for school districts based on socio-economic factors. 

“What this is asking for is for our respective state associations, similar to other states across the country, taking a serious consideration to providing a weighting factor relative to schools’ (federal) Free and Reduced Lunch percentages,” Schutte said. “The research as been pretty clear that money matters, both when it comes to educating children as well as in terms of their development for youth activities.” 

He said such a move by the IAHSAA and IGHSAU would mean schools with higher socio-economic needs would not face off against schools with fewer needs in state competition. Schutte shared figures showing higher-need school districts tend to be significantly outperformed by lower-need school districts statewide. Read more here

 

Class of 89 WEB

Marshalltown High School Class of 1989 members (from left) Amy Pollard, Julie Batterson, Alyson Hicks, David Hicks and Geoff Hubbard are recognized by Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, right, for their effort to get 700 books into the hands of district K-1 students. 

IASB awards WEB

Board President Bea Niblock, left, and former board Vice President Janelle Carter, center, were recognized for their Individual Achievement Awards from the Iowa Association of School Boards. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, right, was also honored with an Award of Honor from IASB. 

Recognitions
Hoglan Elementary School teacher Amy Pollard was recognized alongside fellow Marshalltown High School Class of 1989 members for a recent book giveaway effort. Pollard, David Hicks, Alyson Hicks, Geoff Hubbard and Julie Batterson were honored and thanked by Schutte and the board for their effort.

Board President Bea Niblock, former board Vice President Janelle Carter and Schutte were all honored with awards from the Iowa Association of School Boards. Niblock and Carter were recognized with Individual Achievement awards through IASB’s Better Boardmanship Awards Program. Schutte was recognized with an Award of Honor from IASB.

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 –

  • 402.6-R Staff technology use/social networking regulation (amended, second reading waived)
  • 903.3 Building visitors (amended, second reading waived)
  • New Policy 508.2 Open Night (adopted) 

Initial review – 

  • 903.4 Public Conduct on School Premises (marked as reviewed) 
  • 903.4-E Public Conduct on School Premises-Conduct Counts (Line added, will return for a first reading at the next school board meeting)
  • 903.5 Distribution of Materials (change made, will return for a first reading at the next school board meeting)

From Board President Bea Niblock
Monday’s board meeting was a night filled with good news. One of those highlights was the increase in enrollment.

The district lost 90+ students a year ago after the tornado, but has rebounded well with an increase of 72 students according to our certified enrollment count this year. And, our open enrollment out count has decreased. Our enrollment trend on both fronts is encouraging.
We all know that our future budgets are based on enrollment counts. And, state budget allocations have remained below 2 percent for the past 10 years. So, an increase in enrollment assures us an increased budget!” – Bea Niblock. 

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16  at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. Third Ave. 

November 18, 2019 Board Meeting

19 Nov
New Board WEB

A new set of school board members took their seats at the board table Monday. Pictured, from left, are the winners of the 2019 board election being sworn in: returning board member Sean Heitmann and new board members Jan McGinnis, Sara Faltys and Bob Untiedt.

New board members take their seats
There are new faces on the Marshalltown School Board after three new members and one returning member were sworn in Monday evening. 

Local attorney Sean Heitmann was re-elected in the November board election. New members include longtime teacher Jan McGinnis, McFarland Clinic administrator Sara Faltys and IVCCD Orpheum Theater Center Director Bob Untiedt. The four were sworn in by Board Secretary Paulette Newbold. 

Outgoing board members honored
Three former board members were also recognized Monday. Outgoing board Vice President Janelle Carter and members Ben Fletcher and Ross Harris were presented with certificates of appreciation by Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. 

Representatives from the Marshalltown Education Association spoke during the meeting’s public comment section to thank the outgoing members for their years of service and to address the incoming board members. 

“We wanted to say welcome to the new board members,” said Lenihan teacher Alex Klyn of the MEA. 

Outgoing board WEB

Three former school board members were honored at Monday’s annual organizational meeting. Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, second from left, recognized outgoing board Vice President Janelle Carter, left, and members Ross Harris, second from right, and Ben Fletcher, right.

Leadership elections held
With the new board members in place, the new board voted on which members would hold leadership positions. Incumbent Board President Bea Niblock was again chosen to lead the board. With former Vice President Janelle Carter leaving the board, Sean Heitmann was elected to take up the vice president’s position. 

Bea swear-in WEB.jpg

Bea Niblock, right, is sworn in as board president by Board Secretary Paulette Newbold Monday.

Heitmann swear-in WEB

Sean Heitmann is sworn in as board vice president by board President Bea Niblock. Heitmann replaces former board member and vice president Janelle Carter in the leadership position.

Calendar proposals for 2020-21 school year
Dr. Shutte presented two 2020-2021 school year calendar proposals to the board Monday. Option 1 closely mirrors the current 2019-20 school year calendar, including a spring break in March and an end to classes in early June, dependent on the number of snow days. The school year would start on Aug. 25, 2020. 

Option 2 has the same Aug. 25 start date, but does not include a spring break in March. There would be no school due to a professional development day April 1, 2021 and there would be no school on April 2 (Good Friday), nor on April 5-6. Barring snow days, the Option 2 calendar end date would be May 28, 2021. 

A survey will be sent out to parents and school staff to collect feedback on the two options. District administration and the school board will take the feedback into consideration and the board will make the final decision on which option to approve. 

The Option 1 proposal can be seen here

The Option 2 proposal can be seen here

Marshalltown Learning Academy showcase
Marshalltown Learning Academy Principal Eric Goslinga and teacher Nicole Critchfield shared facts and figures about the building’s academic program and students. Some highlights include:

  • MLA serves more than 100 students in grades 9-12 in a highly personalized learning environment. 
  • The school provides a quality learning environment for at-risk students using a non-conventional learning program. 
  • Semesters are treated as a set of standards for students to master rather than as a function of time. 
  • Students have access to work-based learning, industry credentialing, dual-credit courses (including in career and technical education areas). 
  • MLA’s program includes blended learning, in which some of the students’ work is done online and some is done in-person. 

For more information about the MLA educational program, click here

Student School Board Representative update
The three Student School Board representatives shared many updates with the board Monday. Included was information on the upcoming Holiday Stroll, a recent visit from educators from the country of Georgia, National Honor Society activities and the Marshalltown Area Healthcare Careers Club Asian Food fundraiser. 

One key part of the presentation included data about Marshalltown High School students taking dual-credit college courses. Currently, 10 students are on track to get their associate’s degree by the time they graduate high school. An additional 10-13 students will have at least one year of college done by the time they graduate high school. 

Click here for the full Student School Board representative update. 

Public hearing set for proposed use of SAVE funding on tennis courts
A revenue purpose statement for MCSD’s use of state Secure and Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) sales tax funding use was approved by district voters earlier in November. One project district leaders are considering for use of that funding is the reconstruction and expansion of the community tennis courts at the high school. 

For the funding to be allowed for use on an athletic facility, district Business Director Paulette Newbold said the board must hold a public hearing on the proposal. The board voted unanimously to set a public hearing for 5 p.m. Dec. 16, 2019 for the proposed use of SAVE funds. Newbold said more details about the tennis court project will be released prior to that public hearing. Click here for more information. 

Small vehicle purchase approved
After a recent regular vehicle check, district Transportation Director Rex Kozak reported one of the district’s small vehicles for transporting students was in need of replacement. Staff worked to repair the vehicle, he said, but it was decided a new vehicle was needed. 

The board approved the purchase of a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica from Dave Wright Auto in the amount of $25,675 to be paid out of the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) fund’s annual small vehicle replacement allocation. More information can be found here

Bond refinancing saves money
The board approved a recommendation to refinance debt ($7,329,000 in refunding bonds). With the approval, the debt now has a lower interest rate, resulting in more than $266,000 in savings to the district. Click here for more information. 

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

Donation accepted
The school board accepted a donation of $2,400 in the memory of late MCSD alum John Kunc. The funds will go toward Marshalltown High School Vocal Music. 

Policies
Initial review – 

  • New Policy – 508.2 Open Night (will come back for a first reading)
  • 102.E1 Annual Notice of Nondiscrimination (marked as reviewed)
  • 902.6 Board Proceedings (will come back for deletion at first reading)
  • 903.3 Building Visitors (will come back for a first reading) 

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Last night was the annual/organizational meeting.  The old board retired some colleagues and welcomed others to the board table.  Janelle Carter, Ben Fletcher and Niko Aguirre finished their service to the board and Sara Faltys, Jan McGinnis and Bob Untiedt joined the board.  Sean Heitmann was re-elected to his seat.  

Things start; things end. The end of one thing leads to the beginning of another. We will miss some of our colleagues and we welcome others to the board table.

My quote last evening came from Seneca, a Roman philosopher: ‘Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.’ Indeed!” – Bea Niblock. 

The next Marshalltown School Board meeting is set for 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2 at the Central Administration Office, 1002 S. Third Ave.

October 21, 2019 Board Meeting

22 Oct
MYF

Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented a check to Carrie Barr of the Marshalltown Youth Foundation in the amount of $1,619. The money was donated by Marshalltown Community School District staff during a recent jeans day.

MCSD staff donate $1,619 to the Marshalltown Youth Foundation

MCSD staff held a jeans day recently to raise money for the Marshalltown Youth Foundation. The money raised totaled $1,619. The check was presented to Carrie Barr of the foundation. The Marshalltown Youth Foundation helps families in need in the community in many different ways. It has an instrument lending program which helps many students participate in band and orchestra who otherwise might not be able to. The foundation also helps keep kids active by paying for registration fees for area youth sports for those families in need.

Other recognitions

VideoStudents

MHS video production students from left, Jaime Lopez, Tristen Osburn, Ellie Draisey and Tyler Hoskins.

Video production students honored
MHS video production students and teacher Jocelyn Frohwein produced a video that helped local human service agency Central Iowa Residential Services, Inc. (CIRSI) win a $30,000 technology award. Students who were recognized include Jaime Lopez, Tristen Osburn, Tyler Hoskins and Ellie Draisey.
“It was a great collaboration,” said CIRSI Executive Director Jeff Vance.

Award.jpg

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte and MHS Principal Jacque Wyant

MCSD honored by Forecast5
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant and Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte had the pleasure of attending the Forecast5 National Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois last week to receive one of six 2019 National Project of the Year recognitions for Bobcat Ready!  District Instructional Design Specialist David Stanfield was unable to attend the conference but his efforts were instrumental to this work. The student report card that was developed; in partnership with 5Lab, and various recognitions presented at the high school to graduating seniors set us apart from other districts throughout the country that are doing similar work.
See more on the award at this link: https://forecast5analytics.wistia.com/medias/snkqqqhp8e

Iowa Valley Chancellor thanks MCSD
Iowa Valley Community College District Chancellor Dr. Kristie Fisher thanked the district for their partnership, especially when it relates to providing dual credit opportunities.
Last year, 489 students at MHS and 9 at MLA took Marshalltown Community College credit classes while attending high school which translated to $800,000 worth of tuition savings. Also, 25 percent of MHS graduates enrolled in MCC or Ellsworth Community College.

Communications Director honored
Andrew Potter, Director of Communications, was recognized for his time with the Marshalltown Community School District.

Personnel items
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.

Hoglan Elementary School Showcase

Hoglan

Presenting an update on Hoglan Elementary School were, from left, Sara Nichols, Kami Uhde, Megan Turbiville, Abbe Hand, Heather Stanley and Amy Williams.

Principal Amy Williams and Hoglan teachers Sara Nichols, Kami Uhde, Megan Turbiville, Abbe Hand and Heather Stanley presented this showcase with a focus on the new CKLA literacy program. It stands for Core Knowledge Language Arts.
“CKLA was a huge learning curve for teachers as well as students,” Uhde said.
However, Uhde said that the recent parent-teacher conferences provided positive feedback from parents about the topics utilized in the curriculum.
“It’s been awesome to see the kids so excited,” Turbiville said.

Certified Nurse’s Aide Apprenticeship
District Curriculum and Professional Development Leader Dee Burt presented on the Registered Certified Nurse’s Aide Apprenticeship program at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.
Burt said she hopes this is only the start of many apprenticeship offerings for high school students. The board approved the adoption of the CNA apprenticeship program.

Student School Board Representative Update
Student school board representatives Carmen Araiza, Mia Barajas and Diana Sanchez  presented this report.

Resolution Supporting the Proposed Issuance of Approximately $8,250,000 School Infrastructure Sales, Services & Use Tax Revenue Refunding Bonds
A public hearing was held earlier in the meeting with no public comment.
Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold said due to low interest rates the district has the opportunity to refinance with a net savings of around $200,000. The board approved the measure.

Fiscal Year 2019 Special Education Deficit
Director of Special Services Matt Cretsinger spoke to seek authority from SBRC to address the district special education deficit. He presented this document.
During the 2018-19 school year the district provided special education to 661 students between the ages of 3-21.
The special education deficit is at $1.745 million, down from $1.922 million in the previous year.
After discussion, the board approved the request

MHS/Community Auditorium Name Change
The MHS/Community Auditorium Foundation met recently and recommended the approval of a new name for the auditorium. The recommended new name is the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center. The board approved the renaming.

MHS/Community Foundation Ad-Hoc Committee Request
This is to establish an ad hoc committee for the purpose of pursuing public art near the front entrance of the performing arts center. Board approved.

Security Management System Phase 3 Project
Director of Buildings and Grounds Chuck Springer presented bids for this project which will upgrade security at the elementary schools.
Two alternate bids were also recommended for approval including Alternate AC-02 for access controls at Lenihan in the amount of $73,714.56 and Alternate VS-01 for video surveillance (external) at all Elementary Schools in the amount of $112,827.62.
The board approved the bid from ADS in the amount of $532,897.57 for the Security Management System Phase 3 Project as presented. This includes alternates AC-02 and VS-01.

Board Policies
First Reading
402.6-R Staff Technology Use/Social Networking Regulation – To come back to a second reading after questions arose.
New 413.8 Twelve Month Operations, Maintenance & Transportation Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program – Adopted and waived second reading

Initial Review
900 – Statement of Guiding Principles – Delete first sentence and add IASB model policy language- To come back before board
902.1(new 607.3) Board – Community Relations – Rename and number – language of policy stays same- Marked as reviewed
New 902.1 News Media Relations – New policy from IASB- to come back
902.2 News Conferences and Interviews – Marked as reviewed
903.1 School-Community Groups – No changes. Marked as reviewed.

The board then went into a closed session for an expulsion hearing.

The next regular meeting of the school board will be at 5 p.m. on November 4 in district offices.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Last night’s meeting saw a donation of a kind we have not seen before, but so desperately need with our student population. We have a number of students who have negative lunch account balances.
Alfonso Medina, owner of La Carreta Mexican Grill, donated $1,167.85 towards negative student lunch accounts at MMS and MHS. This donation is hoped to have a significant impact for those who need it. Mr. Medina hopes that students will be better prepared to focus on academics by providing them with nutritious food and reducing the financial burden to these families.
What a great example of a business giving back to the community in a way that enriches our students’ lives!” – Bea Niblock

 

October 7, 2019 Board Meeting

8 Oct
NHI.jpg

Marshalltown High School students talked to the school board on October 7 about their experience at the National Hispanic Institute over the summer. Pictured, from left, are Veronica Herrera, Stephanie Zavalza Flores, Carmen Araiza, Uriel Campos Padilla, Jolcey Santana and Itzary Avalos.

MHS students talk about experience at National Hispanic Institute

An MHS student group gave this presentation after attending two separate National Hispanic Institute (NHI) gatherings in Schaumburg, Illinois and Rock Island, Illinois over the summer.
Students who presented included Veronica Herrera, Stephanie Zavalza Flores, Carmen Araiza, Uriel Campos Padilla, Jolcey Santana and Itzary Avalos.
“In NHI, they really teach you on how to become a leader,” Herrera said.
MHS teacher Hector Campos is the group sponsor said this group of students are both future leaders in the community and academic leaders at MHS. They are looking to recruit more students to attend NHI in the future and into fundraising opportunities to offset the cost of the program.

Recognitions

Custodians

Custodians

Pictured from left, Buildings and Grounds Director Chuck Springer and custodians Eric Smith (Lenihan) and Loma Green (Hoglan).

Eric Smith (Lenihan), center,  and Loma Green (Hoglan) represented custodians in recognition of last week having National Custodians Day.
“Thank you for all that you do,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

Principals

Principals

Principals were honored as part of National Principal Month. Pictured from left are Dave Glenn, Eric Goslinga, Kyle Young, Amy Williams, Anel Garza, Liz Jurgensen, Jacque Wyant, Ronnie Manis, Mark Lee and Tim Holmgren.

Many school principals were in attendance to be recognized as October is National Principals Month.
“I can say wholeheartedly it’s just a phenomenal team to work with,” Schutte said of the principals.

Personnel
For personnel items approved by the board, click here.
Included in the personnel report is the retirement of William Myers after 37 years of service to the district.
“We are very grateful for his longtime service to our district,” Schutte said.

Student School Board Representative update
MHS seniors Carmen Araiza and Mia Barajas presented this report for the student school board representatives update.

Chromebook purchase
This is for the purchase of 150 Chromebooks from CDWG for use by paraeducators in the amount of $42,000. Benefits of Chromebooks for paraeducators include: These benefits include: time clock accessibility, improved communications, student work assistance, student reporting, ease of access to professional development/training and access to translation support. The board approved the purchase..

SAVE presentation
Dr. Theron Schutte talked about this information item only.
“These dollars are instrumental in order for us to move forward on our long range facilities plan,” Schutte said.
Long range needs include: Miller auditorium, MHS air conditioning, Anson enclosing classrooms and others.
See below for more information on SAVE and the Revenue Purpose Statement.

During the 2019 Legislative session, the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education sales tax (SAVE or statewide penny) was extended from 2029 through January 1, 2051.  As part of that extension, there is a requirement that each school district seek voter approval for renewing and/or revising their existing Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS) on or after July 1st, 2019.

Renewing the Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS) is intended to allow for maximum flexibility as we continue to plan for infrastructure needs in the Marshalltown Community School District and is essential to our future.  The current RPS was approved by the voters in September, 2011. Adoption of a new RPS is required in order to use this funding through the extended sunset date in 2051.

In the Marshalltown Community School District, the proposed Revenue Purpose Statement is intended to be used for, but not limited to, the following:

  • To continue providing funds for property tax relief;
  • To provide funds for school safety and security infrastructure;
  • To provide funds to remodel, build, purchase and/or lease and furnish school buildings;
  • To continue to provide funds for the payment of principal and interest or retirement of general obligation bonds

If approved by a majority of voters, this Revenue Purpose Statement shall remain in effect until replaced or amended by the Marshalltown Community School District.

Ahlers Engagement Letter
This is to refinance 2013 bonds with the current interest rate market opportunity. Ahlers would be bond counsel for reissuance of bonds. The board approved the item.

Piper Jaffray Engagement Letter
Piper Jaffray would be fiscal agent for bond documentation to put out to bid. Anticipated savings for the district on refinancing the bonds is between $180,000-$230,000.
The board approved the item.

Series 2019 SAVE Refunding Bonds Participant Package
This is the document that Piper Jaffray to put out to market to refinance bonds.
The board approved the item.

Resolution for hearing on bonds
This is to set a public hearing for the refinancing of the bonds- The public hearing will be October 21. The board approved the setting of the hearing.

Buildings and Grounds Retirement Incentive
This policy for initial review. To come back before board.

Board Policies
Initial review
104-R2 Harassment-Students (Student Handbook Provision) – Marked as reviewed
104-E1 Harassment Complaint Form – Marked as reviewed
104-E2 Harassment-Witness Disclosure Form- Marked as reviewed
402.6R Staff Technology Use/Social Networking Regulation – Additional items added to policy on password protection. To come back before the board for first reading next time.

The next board meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on October 21.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“Last night’s meeting gave the board the opportunity to interact with staff and students.  That is always an engaging time for board directors.

Principals were recognized during National Principals’ Month.  Custodial leaders from their labor management committee, as representatives of all custodians, were recognized for National Custodians’ Day.

Then, students shared their experiences at the National Hispanic Institute.  Their plans for fundraising so that more students could participate in these experiences was encouraging.  And the student board representatives gave an update on activities happening at the high school.

A pleasure, indeed, to recognize and hear from staff and students.” Bea Niblock

Click here for a video of the meeting.

September 16, 2019 Board Meeting

17 Sep
Vests

Lonnie Hogeland, left,  and David Adland were recognized at the school board meeting on September 16 for donating vests to the school district for use by staff outside of schools.

Local business leaders donate safety vests

Lonnie Hogeland from L. Hogeland Auto Plaza and David Adland from Adland Engraving and Screen Printing were recognized for donating new safety vests for our staff serving as crossing guards at our schools.

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte thanked them as we continue to look at ways to increase safety around our schools. Handheld stop signs have been purchased by the district for those helping at school crossings as well.

Personnel items
Click here for personnel items approved by the board.

Students

Student School Board Representatives
School board representatives, from left, Carmen Araiza, Mia Barajas and Diana Sanchez presented their report on upcoming Homecoming week activities, band information and an athletics recap from the past week.

Schutte

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte

Reconstruction and Expansion of MHS Tennis/Pickleball Facilities
Dr. Theron Schutte presented this future proposed project which includes the  reconstruction and expansion of MHS tennis facility.  The courts have outlived their standard life time and are cracking in several places.

There is a need for quality courts in the future for not only MHS tennis programs, but for youth and community use.

The proposal would take the complex from an 8 court location to 12 courts plus the addition of pickleball courts, a restroom and parking. It would also make the facility ADA accessible.

The total preliminary cost of the project is at $2.2 million, which Dr. Schutte hopes can be split three ways between the school district, the city and a Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation grant. Sales tax funds would pay the district’s share of the project. There is a hope that half of the 12 courts can begin construction in the spring.

Dr. Schutte said he realizes there are more pressing facility needs in the district such as Miller auditorium and MHS air conditioning.  He said those are significantly higher priced projects and the reason why this tennis court project is coming before the board is the possibility of sharing the cost.

He will be presenting to the Marshalltown City Council on September 23. This was an information item only, no action was taken by the board on Monday.

Board Policies
Initial Review
102.E.6 Disposition of Disclosure Form –  Marked as reviewed
104 Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harrassment Policy – Marked as reviewed
104-R1 Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harrassment Policy (Investigation Procedures) – Marked as reviewed

The next regular meeting of the school board will be at 5 p.m. on October 7.

From Board President Bea Niblock
“The student board representatives gave their first presentation at Monday’s meeting.  Carmen Araiza, Mia Barajas, and Diana Sanchez shared a power point presentation with the board and audience.

The presentation included photos and information about Homecoming Week and sporting events.  The student reps have set a high bar for themselves in sharing high school news. We look forward to their participation in future meetings and sharing of presentations.” – Bea Niblock

Click here for the video of this meeting.