MHS students in Pier program visit Grandview Heights residents

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MHS student Wendy Chavarria Figueroa talks with a Grandview Heights resident on Wednesday.

Several Marshalltown High School students are making a weekly trip down Olive Street to visit with residents of Grandview Heights Rehab and Healthcare.

The students – who are involved in the high school’s Pier program – and Grandview residents engage in a variety of fun activities, from fingernail painting to board games. Much of the time, the students and residents simply talk about their lives with one another.

“I just like being able to catch up with them, being able to talk to someone,” said MHS senior Alexis Garcia. “We come here every Wednesday.”

Fellow senior student Ariana Buenrostro said she enjoys learning from the Grandview residents she sees regularly.

“I just enjoy coming and talking to them and learning things about them. We talk about what their childhood was like,” she said, adding she especially enjoyed reading to residents during a previous visit.

The Pier students are set to keep visiting Grandview until late April. The Pier is a school-within-a-school program helping juniors and seniors get back on track with credits toward graduation. So far this school year, the Pier has graduated eleven seniors who needed a non-traditional pathway toward graduation.

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Luiselijio Alcantar has a conversation with a Grandview resident during Wednesday’s Pier visit.

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MHS students Ariana Buenrostro, left, and Alexis Garcia, right, have fun fingernail painting with Grandview Heights residents.


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Anson Elementary students enjoy readings and rhymes during Dr. Seuss Day

Dr. Seuss Day

Marshalltown Police Lt. Rick Bellile reads “Horton Hears a Who” to Anson Elementary third graders Monday. It was his last reading before he retires from the MPD. He has read to students on Dr. Seuss Day each year since 1999.

Anson Elementary School students enjoyed a day filled with “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “The Lorax,” “Horton Hears a Who!” and many other classic Dr. Seuss books Monday.

Dr. Seuss Day has been celebrated at Anson for decades, and dozens of community volunteers came to the school to read to the students and discuss the books.

One especially touching moment came when Marshalltown Police Lt. Rick Bellile read to students for the last time before he retires from the police department. He has read Dr. Seuss books to Anson students each year since 1999. Several MPD employees joined teacher Heather Pals’ third grade class for Bellile’s book reading Monday.

Employees from the Marshalltown Fire Department, Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters and radio station KFJB read to the students, as did retired MCSD teachers and Vic Hellberg of Hellberg’s Jewelers.

Dr. Seuss Day is held in conjunction with National Read Across America Day. March 2 is the late author’s birthday. For more information on National Read Across America Day, click here.

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MCSD Youth Art Show a hit


Hundreds of Marshalltown community members filed through the Fisher Community Center auditorium Saturday during the opening of the 2020 MCSD Youth Art Show.

The Fisher Community Center auditorium was packed with families, students and community members; all were there to see the colorful, quality artwork created by Marshalltown Schools students of all ages Saturday.

The open house kicked off a month where the students’ art will be available for public viewing at Fisher Community Center. The more than 400 paintings, pastels, sculptures, drawings and more can be viewed during regular building hours until Saturday, March 28.

The below photos from Saturday’s opening ceremony offer glimpse of the exceptional work by the young Bobcats. Please take some time to come by the Fisher Community Center auditorium and check out the display!

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Three MCSD staff members receive Employee of the Quarter honors


The MCSD Employee of the Quarter winners for the second quarter of the 2019-20 school year are (from left): Amy Paul of Marshalltown Learning Academy, Sheryl Underhill of the district Transportation Department, and Alison Schlake of Anson Elementary School.

The three recipients of the Marshalltown Community School District Employee of the Quarter Award for the second quarter have been named. Marshalltown Learning Academy paraeducator Amy Paul, MCSD Transportation bus monitor Sheryl Underhill and Anson Elementary School special education teacher Alison Schlake were presented with the awards.

Amy Paul 
Amy Paul works as a paraeducator at Marshalltown Learning Academy. She is dedicated to helping guide MLA students to success in the classroom. Several students said they appreciate her work.

“She can help explain (school work) into further details and can break it down for me,” said MLA senior Brandon Bryngelson.

MLA sophomore Angelina Lopez also said Paul has been great to work with.

“I see her daily,” Angelina said. “She puts me in a mode … to understand what’s going on. I also see how she helps other students.”

MLA special education teacher Mitchell Nims nominated Paul for the award.

“Amy goes above and beyond to help all students. She cares deeply about the progress they are making. She wants to see each student who she is working with grow and learn something every day,” Nims said in his nomination letter for Paul. 

Sheryl Underhill
Sheryl Underhill works as a bus monitor and helps ensure the safe travel of several students every day.

Underhill was nominated for the award by Transportation Director Rex Kozak. He praised Underhill’s excellent work and love of interacting with MCSD students and families.

“Sheryl’s work with the students is outstanding; she truly cares about every student she has the opportunity to engage with,” Kozak said in his nomination letter for Underhill. “Sheryl brings with her a positive attitude and a commitment to do her very best every day. Sheryl goes above and beyond to communicate with the parents and to ensure each student is met by an adult when they drop them off at their homes after a day at school.”

Alison Schlake
Alison Schlake is a special education teacher at Anson Elementary School. She has an outstanding work ethic and is committed to ensuring the best education for her students.

Schlake was nominated for the award by Anson instructional coach Jennifer Nelson.

“Alison utilizes district curriculum with fidelity and does her best to support her students in and outside of her classroom.” Nelson said. “She goes above and beyond for her students, working with teachers to accommodate daily assignments for her students to find success in the classroom. She also works closely with teachers to communicate about students and co-teaches when she can.” 

Nelson also said Schlake takes extra time to work on student success plans and to organize for upcoming work. She said Schlake’s dedication to her students is what makes her an outstanding teacher.

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Pictured from left: MLA special education teacher Mitchell Nims, MLA paraeducator and award-winner Amy Paul, MLA Principal Eric Goslinga and Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte.

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Pictured from left: Buildings and Grounds Director Chuck Springer, bus monitor and award-winner Sheryl Underhill, Transportation Director Rex Kozak and Director of Business Operations Paulette Newbold. 

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Pictured from left: Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, Human Resources Director Dr. Nora Ryan, Anson special education teacher and award-winner Alison Schlake, Anson instructional coach Jennifer Nelson, Special Services Director Matt Cretsinger and Anson Principal Ronnie Manis.

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MCSD Youth Art show slated to open this weekend

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The annual MCSD Youth Art Show is a great family event celebrating students’ artistic skills.

The annual Marshalltown Community School District Youth Art Show will be on display at the Fisher Community Center auditorium from Saturday, Feb. 29 to Saturday, March 28. The art show is a way to celebrate Youth Art Month and showcase the artistic skills of young Bobcats.

An opening reception will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday at Fisher Community Center, 709 S. Center St. Punch and cookies will be served at the reception. The public is invited to come and view the students’ incredible art displays during the reception, or anytime during regular Fisher Community Center hours. If the auditorium is dark, just stop in the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce reception office behind the glass wall and they will arrange to have the lights turned on for you.

Student artwork from grades K-12 and from all nine Marshalltown Community School District buildings will be on display, totaling about 400 pieces packed into the show.

On Friday – the evening before the opening reception – representatives from the MCSD Central Office will choose artwork for the Central Office Art Show. Artwork selected will be marked with a gold sticker. These works will be framed and displayed at Central Office for a year. As a “thank you” to the artists who lend their artwork to the show, students will keep the frame in which their artwork was displayed.

Come out to Fisher Community Center this weekend to see excellent artwork by MCSD students!

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MHS students explore nursing, pediatrics careers


MHS freshman Javarion Thompson enjoys an infant care activity at Marshalltown Community College.

Several Marshalltown High School students took a trip down Center Street Thursday to learn about infant care, pediatrics and more from  the staff and students of Marshalltown Community College’s excellent nursing program. 

The day consisted of a panel discussion from medical experts and educational activities in fields like pediatrics and OB/GYN. The event was part of the Iowa Valley Intermediary Program Career Discovery Series. 

 “Today, there has been a lot of education in different areas and hands-on activities,” said MHS school counselor Rebecca Whalen. 

Specifically, activities included education on the process of delivering a baby, postpartum care, child car seat safety, and much more. 

MHS sophomore Moses Towah said he learned how important the metric system is to nurses, nurse practitioners, midwives and others in infant care fields. 

“I learned how babies function, all the processes and things like that,” Moses said. 

Fellow sophomores Taylor Jones, Cassidy Wedemeyer and Emma Kuhlers said they enjoyed Thursday’s trip to MCC. 

“I know I want to be in the medical field. This has helped me learn about the pediatric part,” Emma said. 

Taylor said she is interested in the field of pediatrics and that she enjoyed the hands-on activities. 

“I learned a lot of things about the NICU and what a nurse practitioner is compared to a doctor,” Cassidy said. “It is definitely a field that I’m interested in.” 


MHS sophomores Taylor Jones (left), Emma Kuhlers (second from left) and Cassidy Wedemeyer (center) learn about infant car seat safety.

Many MCC students are graduates of Marshalltown High School, including several nursing students. They were able to give advice to the younger Bobcats during Thursday’s event. 

“My whole life growing up, I thought I was going to be a veterinarian. Everything changes, you think you’re going to go into one field and you may realize it’s not for you at all,” said MCC nursing student and MHS 2014 graduate McKenna Banes. 

She said she graduated high school with one year of college done. She completed an associate’s degree at MCC in a separate field; she then went to Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) to earn an associate’s degree in mortuary science before finding her way back to Marshalltown. 

“I really realized I wanted to be taking care of patients,” Banes said. 

MHS 2013 graduate Janet Fonseca also took a non-traditional path to MCC’s nursing program after graduating high school. She went straight to Iowa State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. She entered the workforce, but decided she had a passion for nursing. 

“I felt like I needed something that was more patient- and health care focused, and this program here at MCC, that’s what it’s doing,” Fonseca said. 

She said her advice to high schoolers is to look at several post-secondary education options, not solely a four-year degree. 

Vanessa Vergara, a 2017 MHS graduate, said her interest in the medical field started with the high school’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) biomedical sciences course. She also took human growth and development while in high school, increasing her interest in nursing.

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Marshalltown High School hosts Eighth Grade Parent Night


MHS Principal Jacque Wyant describes the Seal of Biliteracy and other recognitions students can work toward in high school.

The transition from middle school to high school is a big step for students and their families. Marshalltown High School staff presented information and guidance to ease that transition Tuesday.

Current eighth grade students and their families learned about the wide range of high-quality classes available to MHS students. The future freshmen were also encouraged to be involved in extracurricular activities, whether that be participating on the sports field or joining a club that matches a student’s interests.

A large number of MHS teachers and staff were on hand to speak individually with students and families about course offerings and to give general guidance about the high school experience.

More information will be shared with the incoming freshmen students and their families ahead of the start of the 2020-21 school year.

For more on course offerings, extracurricular activities and the great opportunities available to Marshalltown High School students, visit the school’s website.


MHS Project Lead the Way teacher Ryan Carroll, right, shows eighth grader Vania Madrigal Ibarra, a computer activity at Eighth Grade Parent Night.


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