National School Bus Safety Week at MCSD

By: Sarah Johnston, Communications Dept. Intern


It’s National School Bus Safety Week, and we want to recognize the Marshalltown CSD Transportation team for all they do to keep Bobcat students safe. 

This year’s National School Bus Safety Week theme is “1 Bus + 1 Driver = a big impact on Education.” The District strongly emphasizes the importance of educating young Bobcats on various skills to use on and around one of the District’s many buses. 

The District’s diligent bus drivers transport students on dozens of big, yellow school buses to and from school, sporting events, and other extracurricular activities. No matter where they take students, transportation staff prioritize student safety.

Here are some very important safety tips from Transportation Director Rex Kozak:

  • Flashing red lights mean stop for vehicles around a school bus — keep at least 25 feet away from a bus with flashing red lights to ensure students’ safety.
  • Flashing yellow lights mean slow down and prepare to stop.
  • Drive slower and maintain greater driving distance when a school bus is present.
  • Don’t drive distracted ­ maintain focus on the road and surroundings.
  • Be extra watchful for school buses between the hours of 7-8:30 a.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m. on weekdays, when school transportation activity peaks

Other school bus safety tips cover how to react when a school bus is approaching, how to act while riding on a bus, and what to do if an emergency occurs. For more information, visit

Thank you to the entire MCSD Transportation Team for taking great care of Bobcat students! 

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October is National School Principals Month

October is National Principals Month, and the Marshalltown CSD is proud to celebrate our team of exceptional principals! 

School principals play an essential role in the success of their students, both day-to-day and over the long term. These leaders show great dedication, empathy, and cooperation as they strive to provide the best learning environments for Bobcat students.

Meet each of the District’s principals below, and help us thank them for their hard work on behalf of students!

Ronnie Manis
Anson Elementary & MVA (K-6)
Mark Lee
Fisher Elementary
Tim Holmgren
Franklin Elementary
Amy Williams
Hoglan Elementary
Dr. Mick Jurgensen
Rogers Elementary
Anel Garza
Woodbury Elementary
Kyle Young
Lenihan Intermediate School
Kristyn Kell & Dave Glenn
Miller Middle School
Eric Goslinga
Marshalltown Learning Academy & MVA (7-12)
Jacque Wyant
Marshalltown High School
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Bobcats dive into Marshalltown YMCA’s Water Safety course

By Sarah Johnston, Communications Dept. Intern

PHOTO BY SARAH JOHNSTON: A middle school Bobcat participates in the YMCA water safety course.

During the month of October, 8th grade Bobcats get to spend their P.E. period at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA learning vital life-saving skills in the water. Over multiple sessions, students learn about water safety and what to do in an emergency. 

This week, the students were separated into groups and rotated between various stations, including a life jacket lesson, a “Submerge and Retrieve” activity, and a “Reach & Throw, Don’t Go” exercise. Later, the students advanced to activities like “Jump-Push-Turn-Grab,” “Swim-Float-Swim,” and treading water. 

During the life jackets lesson, some of the swimming techniques included safely jumping into the water, a comfortable backstroke, and how to react as soon as a person hits the water. 

PHOTO BY SARAH JOHNSTON: Bobcats practicing with life jackets.

“Use the back like a pillow and let your toes float up to the surface,” one Y aquatic instructor recommended during the activity.

At the “Submerge and Retrieve” station, students learned how to be comfortable underwater by blowing mouth bubbles while submerged. Once the students were comfortable underwater, the instructor handed out colorful diving rings for the students to retrieve. The activity quickly turned into a fun racing game, and it became clear that Bobcats love to swim.

During “Reach Out and Throw, Don’t Go,” students were taught what to do if they see a person drowning or struggling to swim in deep water. They learned to always tell an adult right away, and the instructor stressed the importance of not jumping into the water after another person.

Instead, the students were taught to lay flat on their bellies and reach out with whatever they had on hand. In the demonstration, they used pool noodles and the lifeguard ring. 

PHOTO BY SARAH JOHNSTON: YMCA Aquatic instructor teaching young Bobcats how to effectively tread water.

At the “Jump-Push-Turn-Grab” station, the students learned what to do if they were to accidentally fall into the water. They started by jumping into the water, then pushing off of the bottom of the pool, turning toward the edge, and grabbing the edge to get out.

During the “Swim-Float-Swim” and treading water lessons, students were taught what to do if they have to swim for a long period of time and how to conserve energy and strength in those scenarios.

This program was created after a tragedy in the Iowa River in 2012, when three children drowned. After the tragedy, the community came together and decided to implement a program to teach young Bobcats about water safety.

Thank you to the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Aquatics team for all of your hard work to educate Bobcat students about water safety!

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Bobcat students learn about healthcare careers through mock medical incident

MHS students Leslie Rangel and Cesar Corona acted as “victims” in Thursday’s mock medical incident exercise. UnityPoint Health and Marshalltown Fire Department personnel demonstrated how such real-world incidents are handled.

Blaring sirens, fully-uniformed firefighters and paramedics, and a LifeFlight helicopter all featured in a mock medical incident at Leonard Cole Field Thursday morning.

The exercise offered Marshalltown High School students a great opportunity to learn about real-world work done by rescue and medical personnel. UnityPoint Health and Marshalltown Fire Department professionals guided the students through incident response, from the arrival of the first firefighter/EMS crews to loading patients for airlift.

MHS Project Lead the Way biomedical sciences teacher Erica Malloy played a key role in organizing Thursday’s event. She said students interested in the healthcare field have many great career-based learning opportunities at Marshalltown High School.

“I thought this sounded like an exciting experience, allowing them to see multiple different careers working at one time,” Malloy said.

Austin White, who recently began his career as a firefighter, said high school students can learn much from reality-based exercises.

“I think this is a huge eye-opener to reality for teenagers,” White said. “We are able to demonstrate our side of the picture.” 

Dozens of MHS students interested in becoming healthcare professionals attended the mock incident demonstration. One of those students, Brandon Pelzer, said he enjoyed seeing what firefighters and paramedics do during major medical situations.

“It was very cool to see how, if there was an emergency situation … how it would take place and what would go down,” Pelzer said.

Thank you to UnityPoint Health and Marshalltown Fire Department staff for sharing their time, knowledge, and experiences in healthcare careers with Bobcat students! Check out more photos from Thursday’s mock medical incident below.

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Organizations team up to provide books to Bobcat Students

By Sarah Johnston, MCSD Communications Dept.

Donated books are making their way into MCSD classrooms thanks to a generous team effort by local organizations.

PHOTO BY SARAH JOHNSTON: Woodbury Elementary students holding copies of their “Comfy-Cozy Nest” books.

Bobcat students are enjoying copies of the Sesame Street book “Comfy-Cozy Nest,” which were initially provided to the local McFarland Clinic by Sesame Street in Communities. The clinic worked with the Marshalltown Public Library and the local Reach Out and Read organization to distribute the books to MCSD elementary schools.

So far, books have been distributed to Woodbury and Fisher elementary schools, and more are planned to be given to Franklin and Hoglan elementary students. Organizations like the Marshalltown Police Department, Mid-Iowa Community Action, and Child Abuse Prevention Services also received Sesame Street book donations. 

Sesame Street in Communities is committed to helping children through situations that they may have a hard time understanding. “Comfy-Cozy Nest” is about Big Bird having and coping with big feelings in a healthy way.

Along with healthy coping mechanisms, the book covers mental health responses to trauma and stress. Sesame Street in Communities donated the books to local organizations after several recent, stressful events, including the 2018 tornado, the 2020 derecho, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you to Sesame Street in Communities, Betsy Macke with Reach Out & Reach, Brenda Severson with McFarland Clinic, and Joa Laville with the Marshalltown Public Library for all of your efforts. 

If you would like copies of “Comfy-Cozy Nest,” please reach out to Severson at

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National Custodian Day celebrated at MCSD

By Sarah Johnston, MCSD Communications Dept.

Today is National Custodian Day! The Marshalltown CSD custodial team members are vital to our school community, and we want to recognize them and all of their hard work.

Jerri Hill

Dozens of dedicated custodial staff members, spread across the District’s 10 buildings, work to maintain hundreds of thousands of square feet of classrooms, hallways, restrooms, cafeterias, athletic- and activities spaces, all in service of about 5,000 Bobcat students. This includes daily efforts to keep the buildings sanitized and safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I take pride in this job, and I take pride in this building,” said Central Office and MLA custodian Jerri Hill, who added that much of the essential work done by custodians takes place behind the scenes. “I wasn’t made to leave things half done. I see a problem and I fix it.”

While Bobcat students are out enjoying their summer vacation, District custodians diligently clean every building from top to bottom. Leaving no desk unturned and no corner untouched, these amazing custodians make sure that the school buildings are ready, come August, for students to return and start their year fresh. 

PHOTO BY SARAH JOHNSTON: Teddi Wagner keeps Hoglan Elementary School clean each day in service of students
PHOTO BY SARAH JOHNSTON: Scott Kellogg is among the great custodians at Miller Middle School

Pride is felt among custodians across the entire District. Teddi Wagner is solely responsible for daytime custodial duties at Hoglan Elementary; she said “the people and the atmosphere” are her favorite parts of her work at Hoglan.

At Miller Middle School, Scott Kellogg, a custodian who has only worked for the District for a year, said that his favorite part of the job was “being a part of a team that works well together.” 

Thank you to the Bobcat custodial team for all of your hard work to make the Marshalltown Community School District a safe, clean, and welcome place for our young Bobcats to learn and grow. Happy National Custodian Day!

PHOTO BY SARAH JOHNSTON: Jeff Braddock brings a positive attitude to Miller Middle School each day
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MHS senior named Commendable Student by National Merit Scholarship Program

MHS senior Alivia Eaton has been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program as a 2022 Commendable Student.

Eaton earned the plaudit for being a student with exceptional academic promise, and she was recently presented with a Letter of Commendation by MHS and the National Merit Scholar Corporation.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for 2022. Although they will not continue in the 2022 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2022 competition by taking the 2020
Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Congratulations Alivia!

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School Tech Team celebrated on IT Professionals Day

PHOTO BY SARAH JOHNSTON: MCSD Tech Department staff members Ricardo Garcia, left, and Jose Ramirez, right, work on school devices.

Information technology (IT) professionals are key to the success of businesses and organizations around the world, and the Marshalltown CSD celebrated our fantastic Technology Department team on Tuesday – National IT Professionals Day 2021. 

Director of Technology Amy Harmsen said the Tech team includes several specialists in the areas of technology support, network security, student and staff device coordination, and more.

“My favorite part of working here is working with these people. Our team is really awesome and you can see they care about people,” Harmsen said.

District Server Specialist Sebastian Ramirez said the most rewarding part of the work is finding ways to improve the lives of students and teachers through new technologies. Several technology support specialists said they enjoy the problem-solving inherent to their work, whether helping a teacher get the most out of an online lesson or helping students learn how to safely and effectively use their Chromebook.

Thank you to our great team of IT professionals! 

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Bobcat Homecoming Royalty crowned

2021 Homecoming Queen Rochelle Avalos and King Dominick Garth

After the students of Marshalltown High School cast their votes for 2021 Homecoming Royalty this week, Homecoming King Dominick Garth and Queen Rochelle Avalos ascended the throne Thursday evening.

Lively displays of Bobcat Spirit have been seen throughout the week leading up to tonight’s Homecoming game against Fort Dodge. Thursday’s pep rally featured energetic cheer, band, and dance performances by students. The traditional Homecoming Parade down Main Street also made a triumphant return.

The Bobcats Football varsity game is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight at Leonard Cole Field. Tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 18, students will attend the Homecoming Dance. The dance begins at 8 p.m., with Homecoming pictures set to start at 7:30 p.m. See the Homecoming Schedule for more info.

Congratulations to Homecoming King Dominick Garth and Queen Rochelle Avalos, as well as Homecoming Royalty candidates Gannon Williams, Marco Herrera, Aaron Seberger, Austin Close, Emmanuel Gonzalez, Ziek Slocum, Kendall See, Jennifer Mendoza, Phoebe Hermanson, Rachel Smith, Bianca Andrade, and Lisbeth Avina!

Happy Homecoming, Bobcats! See more photos from Thursday’s Homecoming festivities below!

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2021 Homecoming Court announced

Stalzer Photography photo

Homecoming celebrations kick off next week at Marshalltown High School, including the selection of the 2021 MHS Homecoming King and Queen. We are excited to present this year’s Homecoming Court:

King Candidates

  • Austin Close
  • Marco Herrera
  • Dominick Garth
  • Emmanuel Gonzalez
  • Aaron Seberger
  • Ziek Slocum
  • Gannon Williams

Queen Candidates

  • Bianca Andrade
  • Rochelle Avalos
  • Lisbeth Avina
  • Phoebe Hermanson
  • Jennifer Mendoza
  • Kendall See
  • Rachel Smith

The 2021 Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned on Thursday, Sept. 16 at Leonard Cole Field, immediately following the Bobcat pep rally at 7 p.m. Congratulations to all of this year’s great nominees!

For more info on next week’s MHS Homecoming festivities, click here.

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