This week is National School Bus Safety Week

National School Bus Safety week takes place each October, serving as an important reminder to prioritize safety near school buses.

According to the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the 2020 National School Bus Safety Week theme is “Red Lights Mean STOP!” When a school bus displays flashing red lights, other vehicles must stop until the flashing red lights are no longer displayed. More information on required stopping for school buses from the Iowa DOT is available here.

The NAPT offers many school bus safety tips and resources for students, families, educators, and the wider community. School buses are crucial to ensuring Bobcat students are transported safely to and from school – it is vital for everyone in the community to maintain caution and awareness near school buses!

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JBS Marshalltown, UFCW Local 1149 donate thousands of water bottles for MCSD students, staff

Anson Elementary students show off their new water bottles Tuesday after a generous donation from JBS Marshalltown and UFCW Local 1149. Also pictured are (back row, from left): JBS Human Resources Director Niko Aguirre, Anson Principal Ronnie Manis, and UFCW Local 1149 Vice President and Business Agent Mike Graves. Water bottles were distributed District-wide.

Bobcat students and staff throughout Marshalltown Schools are sporting new water bottles thanks to a generous donation from JBS Marshalltown and UFCW Local 1149 this week. 

The 4,655 new water bottles will support health and safety within the schools by ensuring each person has access to their own personal water container throughout the day. Personal water containers are among the multiple health and safety strategies MCSD has implemented this school year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Marshalltown Schools is incredibly grateful for our ongoing community partnerships with UFCW Local 1149 and with JBS Marshalltown, which donated thousands of face masks for this summer’s MHS Commencement Ceremony Such strong community partnerships are crucial to the health, safety, and success of Bobcat students and the Marshalltown community. 

Fisher Elementary first grade students in Mandi Nunn’s class were happy to receive their personal water bottles Tuesday.
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Bobcat students’ musical talents showcased at MHS Band Extravaganza

The Bobcats Marching Band and Color Guard lit up the evening Monday during the annual MHS Band Extravaganza

Marshalltown High School Band and Color Guard students gave several excellent performances at Monday evening’s MHS Band Extravaganza at Leonard Cole Field.

The MHS Jazz Band, Marching Band, and Color Guard were each highlighted at the Extravaganza, with each group bringing unique and entertaining performances.

Enjoy these photos from Monday evening’s MHS Band Extravaganza!

Trombone soloist Evalitzy Rangel adds to a great Jazz Band performance
Joshua Reynolds, left, and Drew King, right, provide piano and bass guitar performances, respectively, at Monday’s Band Extravaganza.

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Sidewalk murals to be created at school buildings in memory of Christian Maxon

The Sidewalk Safety Mural Project will promote safety while honoring the life of Franklin Elementary student Christian Maxon

Marshalltown Community School District is partnering with the Arts & Culture Alliance and the City of Marshalltown to create vibrant sidewalk murals at local schools. In May of 2019, our community tragically lost an 8-year-old boy, Christian Maxon, after being struck by a car while crossing the street after school.

We believe the arts provide hope, healing and are a creative way to address and solve community challenges. It is our priority to honor and pay tribute to Christian and his family by increasing safety, awareness, education, beautification and engagement in the arts through this project.

“In 2019, the Alliance launched our newest program, Marshalltown Murals. From the beginning, it was our priority to expand the program by partnering with the Marshalltown Schools to incorporate murals within the community,” said Arts & Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson. “We believe this is a critical and significant opportunity to address the challenge of street safety in the school zones, while engaging students in a creative and educational way. We are honored to lead this project to pay tribute to Christian and his family.”

The project’s fall kick-off is possible thanks to a gracious donation by Jason and Jenny Matteson, who are sponsoring the mural at Franklin Elementary School. Jason and Jenny said the Sidewalk Safety Murals project “was extremely important to us – to promote safety awareness, as well as an offering of love and hope for Christian’s family.”

Murals will first be placed at three of the 11 schools this fall – Franklin, Rogers and Woodbury elementary schools. The remaining MCSD schools, as well as St. Francis Catholic School and Marshalltown Christian School, will be completed in the spring/summer of 2021. Franklin Elementary, the school Christian attended and where the accident took place, will receive the first mural. Each mural will measure approximately 10ft x 10ft.

Franklin Elementary’s mural will have a special dedication to Christian, including a lightning bolt which represents Flash, his favorite super hero, as well as his favorite color, blue.

The artwork on the left will be installed at Christian’s school, Franklin Elementary, while the artwork on the right will be put in place at the rest of the school.

“I’m hoping this campaign will remind all people to be hyper-vigilant and careful any time they are driving or crossing the street because even if you have the right of way and follow proper safety precautions, there is no guarantee that everyone else will,” said Christian’s mom, Brittany Maxon. “We want to bring awareness to everyone – children, adults, drivers, and pedestrians – anything to prevent another family from suffering our heartbreak. Christian would want that. He loved everyone and would want his loss to help bring awareness and keep others safe.”

MCSD Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the project serves as a powerful way to honor Christian’s life and as a critical safety reminder.

“MCSD is very excited to partner with the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance on the Sidewalk Mural Project in honor and remembrance of former Franklin Elementary student Christian Maxon. It is a step in the right direction of providing more education, support and attention to the critical importance of safe practices for motorists and pedestrians within our community,” Dr. Schutte said.

The Alliance’s Mural Selection Committee, which includes a local artist, an Alliance Board Member and a Marshalltown Public Art Committee Member, is working hard to finalize the mural design with the hand-selected artist, Lauren Gifford of Des Moines. The artist has granted us copyright of the mural, so we will be able to spread the message throughout the community. Our intention is to put the mural on signs to be placed at each of the schools’ busy intersections and crosswalks to share the message to drivers traveling through school zones. The signs will be translated into Spanish. 

The mural design and verbiage “Look Both Ways” was selected for many important reasons:

  • It is vibrant and bold – our hope is it literally stops people in their tracks to remember street safety.
  • The phrase is universal to everyone – people of all ages, from children to senior citizens, and people of all ethnicities and abilities.
  • The phrase is applicable to everyone – walkers and drivers, allowing the messaging to be spread community wide.

The painting will begin over the next couple of weeks, with the goal to have the first three murals completed by the end of October. The Alliance concentrate on fundraising over the winter months for the remaining schools. Each mural is $1,500 and we still need another $12,000 to complete this project at the remaining schools

“Christian was the most caring child I have known. I am blessed to be his grandmother. It is a great honor to have his memory kept alive with this project that will remind drivers to be extra cautious in school zones and remind the students to be careful when crossing the streets,” said Christian’s grandmother, Denise Balot.

The Arts & Culture Alliance, a non-profit organization, was created in 2004 to cultivate a community of arts and culture by supporting, promoting and enriching existing opportunities and by seeking new possibilities. Our mission allows us to focus on enhancing the quality of life in Marshalltown by making it a place in which arts and culture thrive and our community flourishes.

To make a tax-deductible donation toward the Sidewalk Safety Mural Project:
Please make checks out to Arts & Culture Alliance – send to PO BOX 386, Marshalltown, IA, 50158

Online Donations Accepted at *click the donate button and select sidewalk mural project

For more information or questions, please contact us at (641) 752-ARTS (2787) or Learn more about the project at

The “Look Both Ways” will also be displayed in Spanish.
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MCSD principals’ leadership, dedication celebrated during National Principals Month

Each of the 11 Marshalltown Community School District building principals is committed to ensuring the achievement and success of Bobcat students – we celebrate their incredible dedication and leadership this October during National Principals Month. 

The District’s school principals oversee student learning and safety at each of their buildings, keep in contact with parents and families, organize school events, share their insights as educational leaders, and so much more. They all continue to show great leadership through the turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Read on to meet each of our incredible school principals, each of whom shared what they love about their work: 

Anel Garza, Woodbury Elementary
“I enjoy interacting with parents, students, and staff in a collaborative way to do what is best for all our kiddos. The fun part is when you really get to know the parents and you get along with them like family. I love sharing that same great family feeling with our students and staff.”

Dave Glenn, Miller Middle School
“I most enjoy working with diverse groups of people. I work with teachers, students, support staff, district personnel, other principals and, of course, parents and guardians. Building meaningful relationships with all of these people in order to ultimately provide meaningful learning experiences for ALL students and increase achievement is a critical and most rewarding aspect of my day-to-day work.”

Eric Goslinga, Marshalltown Learning Academy principal 
“I enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with talented teachers and great kids to help students reach their goals.”

Tim Holmgren, Franklin Elementary
“What I enjoy most about being a school principal is leading staff that all want the same for kids and families – success! Our team takes on challenges and advocates for kids, acting with students’ best interests in mind.”

Dr. Mick Jurgensen, Rogers Elementary 
“I enjoy the variety of celebration and challenge that comes with being a principal. The joy is all about the students and making a positive impact on their lives … Personally, my ultimate reward is seeing my former students in our community moving our community forward in various roles and hiring former students to serve here at Rogers as employees. The joys of teaching kids more and more of the skills and knowledge in this rapidly changing environment has come from the challenge to be on top of the wave so children would benefit most from their time in school.”

Kristyn Kell, Miller Middle School
“What I enjoy most is the people – I love working with kids and staff; it’s truly about the relationships that are formed. It’s about making a difference in our students’ lives and making decisions based on what is best for them. At the end of the day, if I helped a student or staff member I did a job well done.”

Mark Lee, Fisher Elementary
“What I enjoy most about being a principal is working with teams to find solutions to challenges. I enjoy working with teachers to seek out the best methods to help all students to grow.”

Ronnie Manis, Anson Elementary
“I most enjoy my interactions with students and staff. I enjoy popping into classrooms to just sit back and enjoy watching the learning that occurs every day.”

Amy Williams Hoglan Elementary
“The thing I enjoy most about being a principal is helping students, families, and teachers. I enjoy working on teams with other adults who are passionate about serving kids and are willing to learn. It is rewarding to work with students and to help them learn and grow socially, emotionally and academically.”

Jacque Wyant, Marshalltown High School 
“My greatest pleasure in my role as principal has been disruption innovation: helping school communities develop better environments for learning for both adults and students. In Sioux City and Marshalltown, I have facilitated the integration of 1-1 computers, launched Professional Learning Communities, developed smaller learning communities like Freshman House and PIER as well as implemented Mentors in Violence Prevention. I enjoy bringing out the leadership abilities of staff and students as they work together to improve the school environment.”

Kyle Young, Lenihan Intermediate School 
“I enjoy knowing that no day as a principal is ever the same. We have the opportunity to directly support so many people. It’s a challenge and an honor to be in this position.”

Thank you to each and every MCSD school principal! You play a crucial role in ensuring Bobcat students are prepared to pursue a meaningful, successful future.

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Community Foundation of Marshall County – Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund announces grant to Marshalltown Community School District

Pictured, from left: MCSD Transportation Director Rex Kozak, Marshalltown Municipal Transit Director Kevin Pigors, and CFMC Executive Director Julie Hitchins smile with a $9,000 check from the Foundation toward student transportation services. Hitchins presented the check at Monday evening’s Marshalltown School Board meeting.

The Community Foundation of Marshall County (CFMC) awarded Marshalltown Community School District with a grant to support student transportation services on Monday, Oct. 5.

CFMC Executive Director Julie Hitchins presented the $9,000 Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund grant to the Marshalltown School Board at Monday’s regular meeting. The Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund received donations to assist those negatively impacted by the current pandemic.   

“Thanks to generous donations for pandemic relief efforts, the Foundation is pleased to provide this grant to ensure students are transported to school to ensure learning continues,” Hitchins said. “This is another great example of collaboration between the Marshalltown Community School District, the City of Marshalltown and the Marshall County Disaster Recovery donors to meet a need which is a result of the pandemic.”

The award funding will support the partnership between the MCSD Transportation Department and the City of Marshalltown Municipal Transit to ensure access to safe, high-quality transportation to and from school for all Bobcat students.  

“The MCSD Transportation Department is very appreciative of the grant from CFMC, which will help our students get to school using the City’s public transportation system. We look forward to working with the Marshalltown Municipal Transit team in getting students to school with this grant,” said MCSD Transportation Director Rex Kozak.

Marshalltown Schools thanks the Community Foundation of Marshall County for helping us meet Bobcat students’ school transportation needs! We are grateful to have excellent partners in the CFMC and Marshalltown Municipal Transit.

CFMC recognizes that this is an unprecedented time but anticipates a continued need for funding pandemic related efforts. Contributions to the Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund can be made online at  or checks can be mailed to the Community Foundation of Marshall County, 11 N. First Ave., Marshalltown, Iowa 50158.

If you have any questions, you can contact Julie Hitchins, Community Foundation of Marshall County Executive Director, at

The mission of the Community Foundation of Marshall County is to improve the quality of life in Marshall County by building charitable endowments and by addressing critical needs of our communities in partnership with nonprofit organizations and donors. The Community Foundation of Marshall County is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, a community foundation that is confirmed in compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.

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MHS senior Jablonski recognized by National Merit Scholarship Program

MHS senior Marek Jablonski has been named a scholarship competition semifinalist and a Commendable Student from a Rural School by the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Marshalltown High School senior Marek Jablonski has been named a scholarship competition semifinalist and a Commendable Student from a Rural School by the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Both honors reflect Jablonski’s commitment to academic success. He is one of only 16,000 students nationwide to be named as a scholarship program semifinalist.

“The next phase is becoming a finalist, and that involves writing an essay about what your plans are for and after college, activities and volunteering,” Jablonski said, adding he has already submitted his essay for consideration. 

In his essay, Jablonski wrote about a major project he began several years ago – a synchronized holiday light show – and how his academic interests in computer engineering have grown since starting that project. He has since become involved in the MHS BotCats robotics team, the MHS Math Team, Lego League and the National Honor Society.

The NMSC will announce the scholarship program finalists in February. In the meantime, Jablonski will continue to work toward his post-graduation career goals. 

“I’m planning on going to either Iowa State or Purdue for computer engineering,” he said. “Computer engineering is a good medium between programming and electrical engineering. You get to deal with software on the hardware level.” 

Congratulations Marek Jablonski for earning both of these major recognitions!

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MHS senior Klaudia Hernandez selected to state Board of Education Equity Committee

Marshalltown High School senior Klaudia Hernandez will bring an important student voice to the state Board of Education’s (BOE) Equity Committee this school year.

Hernandez was one of only seven students statewide to be selected to serve on the BOE Equity Committee. She is also serving as one of three Marshalltown School Board school representatives this year.

“I felt really happy and excited,” Hernandez said about being selected to the Equity Committee. “I was proud of myself.” 

The BOE Equity Committee works to ensure equity is embedded in education statewide. Hernandez said she wants to use her voice on the committee to help fellow Iowans find success in education.

“I know that there are many issues facing Iowans right now and I wanted to try and help solve them,” Hernandez said, adding she looks forward to meeting with the committee and learning more about how she can support equity in education.

Congratulations Klaudia Hernandez! You will do a great job of representing your fellow Bobcats and students across Iowa.

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Several evergreen trees planted near Marshalltown Tennis Complex thanks to MHS Class of 1969 donation

MHS Class of 1969 Vice President Lyle Jensen (left) and Secretary Billy Wilson (right) drop off several evergreen trees Friday.

Several young evergreen trees found a permanent home just north of the Marshalltown Tennis Complex Saturday morning, thanks to a generous donation from the Marshalltown High School Class of 1969. 

A group of Bobcat students, staff, and community members teamed up on the crisp fall morning to plant the trees, which will act as a windbreak for the new tennis facilities as they grow. The trees also represent the growing legacy of the Class of 1969, which has dedicated special focus to community support. 

“Our theme is ‘Bringing Back the Green to Marshalltown,’” said Class of 1969 Vice President Lyle Jensen of the group’s effort to replace trees lost to the 2018 tornado.

Jensen is also the vice president and treasurer of the MHS Bobcat Alumni Fund, which has seen $115,000 raised for 900 trees to be planted throughout the community over the next few years. Jensen said the tree donations have been a group effort, with more than 20 MHS alumni classes and 20 businesses lending support. 

“The MHS Class of 1969 is very proud of our heritage, of our graduation from this District and what they’ve done for us,” said Class of 1969 Secretary Billy Wilson, adding the recent tree donation effort is “something that our class is proud of, to give back to the community.” 

Marshalltown Schools thanks Lyle Jensen, Billy Wilson, and the rest of the Class of 1969 for yet another generous effort! We are grateful to have such dedicated, caring, community-minded Bobcat alumni. 

Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte (left) and Billy Wilson of the Class of 1969 (right) shovel soil onto a freshly-planted evergreen at the Marshalltown Tennis Complex Saturday morning.
MHS seniors Nic Price (left) and Ethan Benscoter (middle) join MHS Associate Principal William Terry (right) in planting one of 19 young evergreen trees Saturday.
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Marshalltown Schools exceptional custodial staff celebrated on National Custodial Workers Recognition Day

The custodial team at Marshalltown Community School District plays a vital role in the health, safety, and security of thousands of Bobcat students and staff every day. Today is National Custodial Workers Recognition Day, and we thank the dedicated custodians across the District for everything they do to maintain great learning environments for students.

Marshalltown Schools custodians work to clean, sanitize, and maintain hundreds of thousands of square feet of school building space. They also ensure school building security throughout the day and night, move equipment and supplies within the buildings, and have stepped up deep cleaning and sanitation efforts this school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am very proud of what each one of our custodians accomplish with their schedule,” said District Buildings and Grounds Custodial Supervisor Travis James. “I am proud of how they have taken on the disinfecting of the rooms and common places. Each one of our custodians take ownership of their building and are very responsible for them.”

Meet a few members of the excellent Marshalltown Schools custodial team below!

Teresa Bellus is a familiar face in several District buildings, from Central Office and Marshalltown Learning Academy to the bus barn and Four Oaks.

Bellus takes care to ensure commonly-touched areas are thoroughly disinfected throughout her buildings. She said she enjoys making connections with her fellow District employees.

“I like the daily interaction with the people,” she said.

Miller Middle School custodian Jeff Braddock goes the extra mile to ensure the building’s classrooms, hallways, offices, and other spaces are in great shape to provide the best learning environment possible.

Braddock brings a positive attitude to Miller every day, and he said there is a strong theme of “teamwork, teamwork, teamwork” among the six custodians at the building. He said student safety and security is always a focus of the Miller custodial team.

Scott Randall said one of his favorite aspects of being a the head custodian at Marshalltown High School is that he never knows exactly what they day will bring.

“There’s always something to do, it changes from moment to moment,” Randall said. “I love to keep moving, I’m one of those people who is always on the move, and I like a challenge.”

He said he also enjoys the responsibility of overseeing the many custodial duties at the largest school in the District.

Thank you to Teresa Bellus, Jeff Braddock, Scott Randall, all of their fellow MCSD custodial team members – you play a key role in ensuring our schools are safe, secure, and enriching places for young Bobcats to learn and grow. Happy National Custodial Workers Recognition Day!

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