Pizza Hut, Wendy’s make delicious additions to student meals

Food story 1

Pizza Hut pizzas arrived at meal prep sites around the district this week, and fresh slices were added to students’ meals at school sites and on Meals Close to Home bus routes. Pictured, from left, are MCSD Food Service employees Amanda Torres, Karla Sperry, and Gabby Paz.

Providing meals to students is a Marshalltown Community School District priority, especially in the current time of crisis, and this week restaurants Pizza Hut and Wendy’s offered yummy surprises for students in support of the district’s meals program.

Students who picked up meals mid-week this week noticed a slice of Pizza Hut pizza included in their grab-and-go bag. A coupon for one free Wendy’s Jr. Frosty was also included with each meal. Both restaurant companies have locations in Marshalltown.

Food story 3

Free Wendy’s Jr. Frosty coupons were packed with student meals earlier this week, providing a fun surprise.

I am so thankful to Pizza Hut for donating enough pizza to feel all children for a meal, and I’m thankful to Wendy’s for providing the Frosty coupons,” said MCSD Food Service Director Lynn Large. “During the school year, Pizza Hut Day is one of the kid’s favorite meals and I hope this gesture lets the kids know just how much we are missing them.” 

She said the gesture also shows students how much the community cares about them during the difficult time brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s so awesome to see businesses come forward wanting to give back in this time of uncertainty,” she said.

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Heritage Spanish Resource Center classroom coming to Marshalltown High School

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MHS Spanish teacher Kristin Stuchis, second from left, applied for the The Lori Ann Schwab ’95 Alumni Grant to bring a Heritage Spanish Resource Center classroom to high school students. Pictured from left is University of Northern Iowa professor Dr. Elise DuBord, Stuchis, UNI student and MHS graduate Martha Ortiz Diaz and UNI professor Dr. Juan Carlos Castillo at a Heritage Spanish event last year.

A Heritage Spanish Resource Center will be coming to a Marshalltown High School classroom after a successful grant application by MHS Spanish teacher Kristin Stuchis.

“I am honored, humbled, and excited to receive the Lori Ann Schwab ‘95 Alumni Grant,” Stuchis said, adding the grant totals $1,650 toward the resource center. “The funds will establish a classroom Heritage Spanish Resource Center that features Latinx authors and is for students who grew up with the Spanish language. The HSRC will engage and empower students through stories that resonate more closely with their life experiences.”

Being a Grinnell College alum allowed Stuchis the opportunity to apply for the grant. She said she applied because she believes in the importance of providing relevant texts that mirror our students’ diverse stories and is inspired to contribute to the culturally responsive environment at MHS.

“These resources will broaden students’ perspective, help them realize that they have important stories to tell, and to discover that through writing that they have the power to make the world a better place,” Stuchis said.

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Elementary students find resourceful, creative ways to make art

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Rogers Elementary first-grader Zakarria Johnson (left) and Anson Elementary fourth-grader Keyla Castellanos (right) used objects found in nature to create art.

Creating art is an important part of the education of young Bobcats, and being unable to physically attend art classes has not stopped students’ creative drive.

Elementary art teachers Danielle Platt, Nancy Cross and Maggie Parks have encouraged their students to continue creating while they’re at home. The teachers have been compiling photos of students’ artwork throughout the closure period.

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Several students (and parents) have created unique drawings. Top: Fisher first-grader Piper Peitig; Center: art by  Franklin kindergartner Ashlynn Goings and her mother; Bottom: Franklin kindergartner Nolan Schmit shows off his colorful drawing.

“Art is therapy,” said Platt, who teaches Anson and Hoglan elementary students. “I know art helps me to think through life and can distract me from my troubles. So, when these kids do their art projects with me or with their families, it is helping them mentally and sometimes physically, too.”

Fisher and Woodbury elementary art teacher Maggie Parks said she has enjoyed watching students show their resourcefulness while working on art projects.

“One of my favorite activities was when the students created artwork with found objects outside, in the spirit of Andrew Goldsworthy,” she said. “Another of my favorites was asking the students to recreate a famous work of art by posing like it. This activity has been popular across the country thanks to the Getty Museum Challenge.”

Check out the images to see what MCSD elementary students have been creating during the school closure.

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Woodbury second-grader Theodore Lewis recreates Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” (left) and Anson third-grader Hannah Klaas gives her rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine” painting.


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Sibling students create daily publication, build creativity skills

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Sibling Bobcat students James and Lily Marquess are making the most of their time at home from school during the public health situation; the two have produced a daily publication – “Marquess Mayhem” – each day since schools closed in mid-March. 

James, a Hoglan Elementary 4th grader, and Lily, a Miller Middle School 8th grader, said the project has kept them both busy and entertained over the past several weeks. 

“I get to write about things that are big in my life,” James said. “I like learning things. I search, I learn, and then I try to summarize it.” 

He said he particularly enjoys writing about animals and events from his daily life. 

Lily said she is happy to have “Marquess Mayhem” to concentrate on during the unusual situation with COVID-19. Like her brother, Lily said she finds great joy in writing about things that interest her.

“I have an article that’s about a bunch of random facts,” Lily said. “I do the National Day article. There’s always something about that. Today was Dance Like a Chicken Day.” 

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The Marquess siblings, James (left) and Lily (right), work together on an edition of “Marquess Mayhem.”

The siblings said they have learned quite a bit from their project. James said he enjoys learning new things as he researches topics to write about, and he also enjoys sharing what he learns with his family and friends who receive the newsletter. 

Lily said she enjoys looking up facts, adding the project has developed her researching skills. 

The students’ mother, Bethany Currie, said inspiration for the publication came from a family friend, whose family makes a weekly newsletter to send out to loved ones. She said Lily and James devote a lot of time to ensuring each edition has fun, interesting information. 

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Marshalltown Tennis Complex construction project being live-streamed

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Heavy equipment is on-site at the Marshalltown Tennis Complex. This shot was taken from the new live stream of the construction project. 

Work has begun to improve the tennis complex at Marshalltown High School, and a live stream of the project went online Friday afternoon.

The live stream enables community members to check in on the project, which will add six new tennis courts, three new pickleball courts, and will include the renovation of the eight existing tennis courts into six new courts.

Additionally, the project will include a new parking lot along S. 2nd Ave., restroom and storage facilities, and lighting for the pickleball courts and the six new tennis courts.

The project live stream can be seen here, at the MCSD YouTube Channel, as well as on the MCSD website homepage.

The project was made possible with the help of the Marth-Ellen Tye Foundation and the City of Marshalltown. For more information, click here.

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MCSD nurses’ hard work recognized on National School Nurse Day

School Nurse Day

May 6, 2020 is National School Nurse Day, and MCSD’s nine school nurses have played a key role in the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This year, National School Nurse Day comes with the theme of “School Nurses: Supporting Students in Times of Crisis.” District Lead Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford said her team has stepped up to the challenge brought on by the pandemic. 

“The school nurse role has evolved since the coronavirus pandemic closed schools in March. Our school nurses have continued to make contact and provide support for our students with chronic  health conditions. They also coordinate with other school support staff to make sure students and families are getting school lunches, school learning packets and other supplies as needed,” Tool-Crawford said. “The nurses provide daily screenings for our food service, maintenance and transportation staff who continue to work in the district. The nurses also made cloth masks for these employees.”   

The district’s nurses continue to provide education to the staff and families regarding U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations during this pandemic; they will continue to make sure procedures are in place to keep Bobcat students and staff safe. 

Whether they are ensuring safety during a global pandemic or helping students stay healthy and happy during a typical school day, MCSD’s nurses provide quality care and education to young Bobcats. 

School nurses Christina Malcom of Miller Middle School and Megan Bell of Hoglan Elementary said there are many reasons they love what they do. 

Malcom, Christina

“I love being a school nurse because every day is different. Parents trust me to take care of the loves of their life for 8 hours a day and that’s not something I take lightly. I love my job, my students and the staff I work with. Thank you to the community for giving me this privilege and honor!”
Christina Malcom, Miller Middle School nurse

Bell, Megan“As a nurse working for the Marshalltown Community School District, I am lucky to be surrounded by an amazing group of nurses and health aids in each of our buildings. I love getting to know my students, and I miss the smiling faces that I would normally see in the halls each morning. I am lucky that I get to work with great teams in our buildings and within the district to help support our students and families”.
Megan Bell, Hoglan Elementary School nurse


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Teachers discuss why they love what they do in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week

Each year, the incredible work of teachers is celebrated during Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers at Marshalltown Schools shape young Bobcats’ minds and ensure their pupils are prepared for life after school; in recent weeks, they have stepped up their efforts to reach students while school is closed due to COVID-19.

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, several MCSD teachers shared why they love what they do:

Kochem, Heather

“I love teaching music because I love to see how my students start as timid musicians and grow into confident musicians. It is amazing to see what they blossom into and their excitement when they join band, orchestra and choir in middle school after they go through one of my elementary schools.”
Heather Kochem, Anson Elementary and Hoglan Elementary K-4 music teacher


Finch, Julie

“One of the things that I love about teaching is getting to teach children of kids I had in 5th grade. It is neat to see how those students grew up, became parents and then work with them again in that capacity.”

Julie Finch, Lenihan Intermediate School 5th grade teacher


Chandler, Shelly


“The kids, the kids , the kids! They are the lifeline to my teaching.”
Shelly Chandler, Marshalltown High School English teacher



Pinkerton, Dori


“I love the students and their ‘ah-ha!’ moments.” 
Dorinda Pinkerton, Marshalltown High School math teacher



Teacher Appreciation 1

MCSD administrators decided to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week by recording a reading of the poem “A Child’s in Need of Us” by former Pella Community Schools Superintendent Mark Wittmer. Check out the video

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Class of 2020 seniors recognized by MCSD

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MCSD Class of 2020 seniors are receiving free yard signs to celebrate their senior year and to recognize their resilience through the COVID-19 situation. Many students have also received their caps and gowns. Deliveries will continue this week. Pictured, from left, are seniors Hunter Youngblood, Jasmin Perez, and Andres Orozco.

Dozens of volunteers from Marshalltown High School and Marshalltown Learning Academy are distributing free MCSD Class of 2020 yard signs to senior students and their families in recognition of their unique senior year.

This year’s group of seniors has stayed strong in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic and all the changes it has caused to daily life. The situation has caused interruptions to classwork, extracurricular activities, social events and more.

“We had nearly 50 volunteers help with senior sign distribution – nurses, teachers, paraeducators, secretaries and administrators,” said MHS Principal Jacque Wyant of last weekend’s sign deliveries. “Parents and students were appreciative of the staff’s efforts to accommodate and recognize the seniors for a most unusual end to their senior year. Staff were excited to see and talk to the seniors!”

School volunteers also delivered graduation caps and gowns to students set to graduate this year. Additionally, a “drive-thru” at the high school enabled seniors and their families to pick up the yard signs, caps, and gowns.

Wyant said it is important to recognize this year’s seniors for the unique challenges they’ve faced at the end of the school year.

“This year has been bittersweet as both students and staff miss the stability that a daily schedule offers,” she said.

Signs, caps and gowns will continue to be delivered to senior students and their families this week. For more information, contact Jacque Wyant at or MLA Principal Eric Goslinga at

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Miller Middle School receives national recognition for commitment to empowering students

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Miller Middle School is one of 176  middle schools nationwide to be named a PLTW Distinguished School for the 2019-20 school year.

Miller Middle School has been recognized as a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW Gateway. It is one of just 176 middle schools across the U.S. to receive this honor. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PK-12 students and teachers in over 12,200 schools across the U.S.

“This recognition goes to show you the passion Mr. Troy Long and Mr. Gavin Althaus each has for their PLTW program and our students. Troy and Gavin are able to motivate and guide our extraordinary students to achieve their best. Also, special thanks to Pam Brewer-Michael for her continued support of PLTW programming  in our district,” said Miller Middle School Principal Pat Rial.

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, Miller Middle School had to meet the following criteria:

  • Offer at least one PLTW Gateway unit at each grade level;
  • Have more than 50 percent of the student body participating during the 2018-19 school year;
  • Have 25 percent of students advancing to high school participate in two or more units,
  • Have strategies and supports in place that support reasonably proportional representation with regard to race, ethnicity, poverty, gender and can support such claims with relevant data.

Through PLTW programs, students develop STEM knowledge as well as in-demand, transportable skills that they will use both in school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take. PLTW Gateway empowers students to lead their own discovery and uncover a range of paths and possibilities they can look forward to in high school and beyond.

It is a great honor to recognize Miller Middle School for their commitment to providing students with an excellent educational experience,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW. “They should be very proud of their work to ensure students have the knowledge and skills to be career ready and successful on any career path they choose.”

Miller Middle School is part of a community of PK-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporate and philanthropic partners across the country united around a passion for providing students with inspiring, engaging, and empowering learning opportunities. For more information about PLTW’s recognition program, visit

For more information on Miller Middle School’s PLTW Gateway program, contact Principal Pat Rial at 641-754-1110.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a mission-driven organization that is transforming the learning experience for millions of PK-12 students and thousands of teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. Approximately 12,200 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit

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Marshalltown High School Math Team qualifies for Midwest Regionals

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All five MHS Math Team students contributed to the team’s Midwest Regionals qualification. Top left – senior Jay Drummer; Top right – Ketcham brothers Trevor (left) and Derek (right); Bottom left – junior Marek Jablonski; Bottom right – senior Zach Swartz.

The Marshalltown High School Math Team impressed during state-level competition last weekend, earning a qualification for the Midwest Regionals competition.

The Math Team students – seniors Zach Swartz, Trevor Ketcham, and Jay Drummer; junior Marek Jablonski; and freshman Derek Ketcham – earned fifth place overall at the virtually-held state competition. The students were tested as individuals and also worked as a cohesive team.

“Each student competed at their own home with their parents proctoring,” said MHS Extended Learning Program teacher Susan Fritzell. “They did collaborate as a team for the ‘power’ question, in which they met together for an hour via a video chat. Otherwise, each student was on their own for the three separate components of the contest.”

Individual results for the MHS Math Team included: In the senior category, Zach Swartz placed fourth overall, Trevor Ketcham placed seventh, and Jay Drummer came in at 11th place. Marek Jablonski placed ninth among juniors, and Derek Ketcham placed 10th among freshmen.

Fritzell said it is unclear yet whether the Midwest Regionals competition – originally scheduled to take place in May in Kansas City – will occur virtually this year.

For more information on math team competitions and results, visit

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