2020 MCSD graduation rate tops 90 percent, the highest in more than a decade

The Class of 2020 achieved a graduation rate of 90.1 percent, the highest in more than 10 years.

Bobcat high school students achieved a graduation rate of 90.1 percent in 2020, marking an incredible milestone for Marshalltown Schools.

The 2020 graduation rate is the District’s highest in more than a decade, and it exceeds the 2019 rate by 4 points. The students represented in the 2020 four-year figure started their freshman year in 2016.

MHS Principal Jacque Wyant said the Class of 2020 started off strong when they entered high school thanks to support from the GEAR UP Iowa program.

“MHS started Freshman House in conjunction with the GEAR UP funding,” she said. “Focusing on post-secondary and transitioning to high school is the work of Freshman House teachers and upperclassmen in Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP).”

Wyant said that multi-pronged approach put a focus on the success of all students.

Marshalltown Learning Academy Principal Eric Goslinga said he and the entire MLA staff are proud of the high graduation rate in 2020.

“MLA staff are deeply committed to building relationships with students and helping students graduate and transition to meaningful post-secondary opportunities of their choice,” Goslinga said. “Our team won’t be satisfied, though, until we achieve a 100 percent graduation rate. High school graduation is important and necessary for this 21st Century economy, and we stand ready to help anyone willing to graduate to get across the stage and pursue the career of their choice.

In addition to the impressive graduation rate, the 2020 dropout rate in grades 7-12 was the second-lowest in the past 12 years, at 2.8 percent. Supports designed to address chronic absenteeism and grow academic proficiency have been key to the downward trend in the dropout rate.

The positive numbers from the 2019-20 school year show the incredible amount of passion, dedication, and commitment MCSD staff members have for guiding Bobcat students to success. The figures also show how much hard work and effort is put in by students and their families throughout each school year.

A student’s journey to graduation begins in preschool and kindergarten, and it continues through all grade levels; we are thankful to all the staff members across the District who provide a positive, enriching learning environment for students!

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Iowa Department of Education Director visits Miller Middle School, learns about abundant work-based learning opportunities at MCSD

Iowa Department of Education Director Dr. Ann Lebo talks with a Miller PLTW student during her visit Thursday afternoon.

Iowa Department of Education Director Dr. Ann Lebo visited Miller Middle School Thursday, and she got a firsthand look at the great work-based learning opportunities available to Bobcat students.

“A lot of our kids want to stay here, and it’s because of family and the culture,” said Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte. “We want to make sure that they’re dreaming big and that their dreams can be fulfilled right here in Marshalltown with the jobs that are available.”

Along with getting in-depth look at great work-based learning efforts taking place at Miller, Marshalltown High School, and Marshalltown Learning Academy, Dr. Lebo was able to tour the middle school’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and Modular Technology classroom areas.

In both classrooms, students work on a variety of projects designed to help them explore their career interests, from the medical field to aviation to engineering, and much more.

“To have that kind of opportunity at such a young age is really significant and a great example and model for others,” Dr. Lebo said of the work-based learning opportunities at MCSD.

Those opportunities have been strengthened by incredible partnerships between Marshalltown Schools and local businesses, with one example being the Marshalltown Business Education Alliance (MBEA).

Such partnerships have fueled key work-based learning programs, including pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities for students, teacher externships, the District’s two recent STEM Best initiatives, the Bobcat Ready college and career readiness program, the addition of ST Math and, most recently, the Career Trees program at the middle- and high school levels.

Students at Miller, MHS, and MLA will soon see large Career Tree graphics as they make their way to and from class. The Career Trees symbolize career paths available right here in Marshalltown, and the effort is being supported by 13 local businesses; Iowa Valley Community College District and Marshalltown Community College are partnering with MCSD to bring the Career Trees to students.

See more photos from Dr. Lebo’s visit to Miller below! Thursday’s visit served as the kick-off to the Director’s spring school tour focused on work-based learning, and the Marshalltown CSD serves as an excellent example of the benefits of work-based learning for students!

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, right, shares information about the many work-based learning opportunities available to Bobcat students during a visit from Dr. Ann Lebo.
MHS College and Career Readiness school counselor Miracle Mallory, left, discusses how the Xello program helps her work with students to identify career interests and develop career paths.

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MHS Industrial Arts students’ vehicle build project finds success at World of Wheels

MHS Industrial Arts students worked hard for several months to build this vehicle for the World of Wheels show in Omaha, which took place last weekend.

Several MHS Industrial Arts students found success at last weekend’s World of Wheels event in Omaha, NE, after several months of building a vehicle for the show.

MHS Industrial Technology teacher Lester Kadner said the students used car parts he had acquired over several years to perform the build. The students, using the welding and small engine knowledge they gained in the MHS Industrial Arts program, took those many different components and put together the 1928 Studebaker Dictator for the show; they were awarded first place in their category. 

While the vehicle retains much of its Studebaker look, Kadner said the drivetrain and engine were those of a 1997 Mazda vehicle. Also used in the build were parts from a Ford Ranger pickup truck and a 1932 Ford Roadster. Kadner provided the students with all of the materials used to build the vehicle.

MHS sophomore Dallas Santee Harding said the project matched well with his interest in auto mechanics. He said he looked forward to working on the vehicle every day.

“I work on motors and stuff at home,” Dallas said, adding he has learned a lot that he can apply to his hobby. 

Kadner said the build began last school year, and the project was voluntary for students interested in helping build the Studebaker for the Omaha World of Wheels show. He said he hopes to have the vehicle back at the school in the near future.

Check out these photos of the students putting together this great project!

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Duane Meyer Memorial donation boosts Bobcats Sports’ live stream game

Duane and Erma Meyer loved going to see Bobcat Basketball games, and thanks to a generous family donation, the new Hudl Focus Camera system now allows games to be easily live-streamed from the Roundhouse.

Well-known Marshalltown residents Duane and Erma Meyer loved going to the Roundhouse to watch MHS sports, and a generous family donation has added an exciting new dimension to Bobcats sports broadcasts. 

Randy Meyer

High above the bleachers in the Roundhouse, the new Hudl Focus Camera brings all of the sports action to live stream audiences on the Bobcat News Network YouTube channel. The camera follows the action by panning and zooming to ensure a great viewing experience. 

“Dad would be so proud … I could just see the huge smile on his face right now,” said MHS Class of 1981 alum Randy Meyer, son of Duane and Erma. “He would think it was the coolest thing.” 

Perry Meyer

Perry Meyer, Randy’s brother and MHS Class of 1977 alum, said the new Hudl system was a great way to celebrate his father’s life and legacy. 

“When our dad passed away, for one of the memorials we really believed that he would love for support to be provided to the Roundhouse and to Marshalltown Basketball,” Perry said.

He added he has enjoyed watching the live-streamed MHS Basketball games this season.

“To me, it was an amazing view, the way they have that camera mounted way up high in the Roundhouse looking down on the floor,” Perry said. “Our parents would have loved that, to be able to watch live-streamed basketball.” 

The brothers said their father was an Iowa high school sports superfan, and he had a special passion for MHS Basketball. As active community members, Duane and Erma could be seen in the Roundhouse stands consistently to cheer on the Bobcats.

“They both would be watching every game they could, listening to every game they could,” Randy said. “I’ve been absolutely thrilled with what the [Duane Meyer Memorial] funds have been used for.”

Perry gave a special thanks to the Iowa Hospital Association and the more than 20 hospital CEOs from northwest Iowa who contributed to the Duane Meyer Memorial donation. 

Marshalltown Schools is deeply grateful to the Meyer brothers for helping make the Hudl Focus Camera system a reality for Bobcat sports, as well as for their continued support for the District!

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Marshalltown Walmart donates supplies to MCSD

Thousands of school supplies and sanitation wipes were donated by the Marshalltown Walmart Supercenter Wednesday. Pictured, from left, are MCSD Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding and maintenance/utility staff members Cody Randall and Chris Robinson.

Marshalltown Schools received a trove of school supplies and sanitation wipes in a generous donation from the Marshalltown Walmart Supercenter on Wednesday. 

Valued at approximately $5,000, the donation will provide school staff and students with an influx of important items for day-to-day learning and safety.

Marshalltown Walmart store manager Scott Ferguson made Wednesday’s generous donation possible.

“We just knew that there was probably a need for it, and certainly the schools could probably use it,” said Marshalltown Walmart store manager Scott Ferguson of the donation. “It’s been a challenging year for everybody, and any way we could help out … that’s what we wanted to do.” 

Among the donated supplies were about 3,500 sanitation wipe packages, each depicting a colorful design and character. The wipes will contribute to the District’s sanitation measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. 

Marshalltown Schools thanks Walmart for this generous donation of important classroom supplies and for continuing to consistently support Bobcat students and staff!

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MHS Boys Bowling team crowned Class 3A State Champs

The MHS Boys Bowling team won the Class 3A State Championship and produced several impressive individual performances. Pictured, from left: Aaron Ratte, Dylan Cooper, bowling head coach DJ Wilder, Dru Wilder, Xander Pickett, Demitri Ferneau, Damon Borton, assistant coach Dustin Peterson, and Tyler Wilson.

The Marshalltown High School Boys Bowlers are this year’s Class 3A State Champions, a triumph that marks a new peak for the formidable team.

Several impressive individual performances helped lead the team to victory. Demitri Ferneau won 2nd place overall, while Damon Borton placed 5th overall and Dylan Cooper finished 10th overall.

After last year’s state runners-up result and this year’s championship success, the Bobcat Boys Bowling program will return next year as strong as ever. All of the team members are set to return next season, and they will be eager to repeat this year’s triumph.

The MHS Girls Bowling team also had an impressive season, winning their conference and breaking a school record high score. Both the Boys and Girls teams have enjoyed strong home support while hitting the lanes at Wayward Social. The future looks bright for Bobcats Bowling!

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MCSD joins Verizon Innovative Learning to provide internet access, classroom tech integration

An exciting new opportunity will bring important digital learning resources to Bobcat students this school year. The Marshalltown CSD is one of only 30 districts nationwide, and one of only two in Iowa, to be selected to join the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program this spring.

In partnership with the nonprofit Digital Promise, the program will provide free hotspots over the next two years to students in grades 5-12 who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches and do not have high-quality internet access at home.

“We are so proud to join Verizon Innovative Learning,” said Marshalltown Community School District Director of Technology Amy Harmsen. “We are excited to bring more opportunities for internet access and classroom tech integration to Bobcat students.”

In addition to free access, the program will provide training and classroom technology integration support for school staff. Staff will be able to work with an instructional liaison to help grow student learning opportunities through technology.

“This is a great opportunity for the Marshalltown Community School District,” said Senator Jeff Edler. “I was very pleased to learn that our Marshalltown district was one of only 30 districts in the United States to be selected for this program. It will certainly benefit those students eligible to participate.”

Verizon Innovative Learning addresses barriers to digital inclusion and is a key initiative under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. This new partnership will build upon the District’s efforts to provide equitable digital learning opportunities to Bobcat students. 

About Verizon Innovative Learning

Verizon Innovative Learning, Verizon’s education initiative targeting Title 1 schools in partnership with Digital Promise, addresses barriers to digital inclusion. It’s a key program under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. The program provides free 1:1 devices, free internet access and a technology-driven curriculum with the goal to transform the learning experience. Through exposure to cutting-edge technology, the program enables students to develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to build an innovative workforce of the future. Since 2012, Verizon Innovative Learning has committed a total of $535 million in STEM education efforts in support of digital inclusion. In 2019, Verizon launched its first 5G-enabled Verizon Innovative Learning classroom, with the goal of 100 in the coming years. The company is committed to providing 10 million youths with digital skills training by 2030. Learn more at CitizenVerizon.com

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Hundreds of MCSD employees receive COVID-19 vaccine

Lenihan’s Angie Lovell receives her COVID-19 vaccine Thursday

Staff members from across the Marshalltown Community School District received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose Thursday and Friday, bringing a new level of protection against the spread of the coronavirus.

District Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford and Hy-Vee Pharmacist Jamie Stalzer teamed up to give hundreds of vaccinations this week. After receiving their dose, each employee was monitored for 15 minutes before returning to their day; District-wide, the process was simple, easy, and efficient.

Check out photos from this week’s round of COVID-19 staff vaccinations below, and be on the lookout for more vaccination updates as the second round of vaccine doses approaches!

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte gives a thumbs-up as Jamie Stalzer of Hy-Vee gives him the COVID-19 vaccine Friday.
Fisher paraeducator Ann Soetenga gets her first COVID-19 vaccine dose
Director of Food Service Lynn Large gets her COVID-19 vaccine from District Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford

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Marshalltown School Board earns IASB Team Achievement Award

The 2019-20 Marshalltown School Board was one of just five boards in the state to receive an IASB Team Achievement Award honor. Niblock, Heitmann, Hernandez, Faltys, McGinnis and Untiedt also won Individual Achievement Awards from IASB.

Each year, the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) recognizes leaders in public education who show outstanding commitment and teamwork; Marshalltown Community School District leaders earned several 2019-20 IASB Better Boardsmanship Awards honors. 

The 2019-20 Marshalltown School Board received one of the most prestigious IASB honors – the Team Achievement Award – and was one of only five board teams in the state to earn that honor. The members of the 2019-20 School Board include President Bea Niblock, Vice President Sean Heitmann, Mike Miller, Karina Hernandez, Sara Faltys, Jan McGinnis, and former board member Bob Untiedt.

In addition, Individual Achievement Awards were presented to six members of the 2019-20 board, including Faltys, Heitmann, Hernandez, McGinnis, Niblock, and Untiedt.

Dr. Schutte

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte earned the Award of Honor from IASB for participating in a certain number of learning opportunities and having at least two board members receive Individual Achievement Awards. Dr. Schutte was one of just seven education leaders statewide to earn a 2019-20 Award of Honor.

Congratulations to our incredible Marshalltown School Board team!

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Marshalltown Virtual Academy will bring flexible, enriching education to students

The Marshalltown CSD is delighted to introduce the new Marshalltown Virtual Academy (MVA), which will offer flexible, personalized, enriching learning experiences to Bobcat students starting in the 2021-22 school year.

As a virtual learning option, the MVA will empower students and their families through flexible school schedules, personalized learning, and academic rigor. MVA students will also enjoy the same great extracurricular opportunities as their fellow Bobcat students, from school sports to fine arts to clubs and more!

Here are just a few of the benefits Bobcat students can enjoy through the Marshalltown Virtual Academy:

  • Flexible class schedules to suit your child’s needs and goals
  • Full access to school sports, fine arts, clubs, and other events and activities
  • Courses taught by MCSD’s very own highly-skilled certified teachers
  • Dual-language program offered (English & Spanish)
  • Inclusive programming for students with special needs, English language learners, and talented & gifted students 
  • Open to ALL PK-12 students – both current Bobcats and those new to Marshalltown Schools – from anywhere in Iowa!

PLEASE NOTE: If your child will be new to MCSD next fall, we must have them enrolled by March 1!

If you think the Marshalltown Virtual Academy would be a great fit for your child, please take our very brief interest survey as soon as possible. If your child will be new to MCSD next fall, we must have them enrolled by March 1! Take MVA interest survey here: https://bit.ly/2MOaXY7

To learn more about all of the ways the MVA can suit your child’s academic needs, visit www.marshalltown.k12.ia.us/marshalltown-virtual-academy/ or send an email to lstevenson@marshalltown.k12.ia.us (grades PK-6) or egoslinga@marshalltown.k12.ia.us (grades 7-12).

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