Marshalltown Schools P.E. programs receive new tennis equipment from USTA Net Generation grant

Hoglan P.E. teacher Blake Cutright (left) and Lenihan P.E. teacher Casey Moberly (right) practice a tennis exercise with new equipment from a USTA Missouri Valley “Net Generation” grant during professional development this week.

As crews get closer to completion of the Marshalltown Tennis Complex on the Marshalltown High School campus, excitement is also building for new physical education tennis opportunities for Bobcat students of all ages. 

Thanks to a grant from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Missouri Valley “Net Generation” program, District P.E. teachers will be adding new tennis activities to their classes this school year. The grant, which totals about $11,500,  provides new tennis rackets, tennis balls, nets, and other equipment to help students build their skills and enjoy the sport; P.E. teachers were introduced to the new equipment during professional development this week. 

“The equipment is very nice, we are very lucky to partner with the USTA. I believe the students will have a great time doing these activities, they are fun and will keep them engaged,” said Hoglan Elementary P.E. teacher Blake Cutright, who played collegiate tennis. “Tennis is a phenomenal activity for all ages; it is a life-long healthy activity. Our students will be physically active, will learn social emotional learning skills and will have a fun time doing so.”

District P.E. teachers get familiar with new tennis equipment made available through a USTA Missouri Valley “Net Generation” grant

Fellow P.E. teacher Casey Moberly at Lenihan Intermediate School also said the new equipment is a great addition and will help develop students’ skills in the sport.

“It is geared to beginner levels, so they can learn the game and control their racket and the ball,” she said. “Tennis can teach hand-eye coordination, agility, strength, speed, and focus. Tennis is also a safe sport option.” 

Marshalltown High School P.E. teacher Adam Goodvin said the new equipment will not only help develop students’ interest and skills in the sport, but will also introduce them to an activity they can enjoy as they grow up. 

“The biggest benefit is tennis can be a lifelong physical activity,” he said. “Students may develop a strong interest in tennis and continue to participate outside of P.E. class with friends or possibly competing for the school.” 

During this week’s professional development, the P.E. teachers were able to get hands-on experience with the new equipment. They practiced exercises that will help Bobcat students develop their tennis skills during classes this year. 

In addition to the new tennis equipment, each school’s physical education program is receiving $100 from USTA Missouri Valley to go toward the tennis curriculum. 

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Generational expert Mark Perna shares expertise on working with young people in special keynote

Generational expert Mark Perna describes the defining characteristics of younger generations – Millennials and Gen Z – at Monday’s special, virtual keynote. Check out the keynote recording below, and don’t miss out on this great opportunity to learn about what motivates young people to perform at their best!

Energetic, informative, insightful – these are just three words to describe author, speaker, CEO and generational expert Mark C. Perna’s special keynote to the Marshalltown and surrounding community Monday evening. 

Did you miss the presentation of “Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations” yesterday? It isn’t too late to watch! A recording of Monday evening’s virtual keynote is available here; however, please note that this recording will only be available for the next 14 days

The keynote addresses many crucial questions when it comes to young people entering the workforce, including:

  • How do young people decide on a career path?
  • How do they find what they are passionate about?
  • What is the relationship between career choice and lifestyle

Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to learn about the generations which will lead our nation and world forward – give Monday’s keynote a watch today!

NOTE/NOTA: This keynote recording includes Spanish subtitles/Esta grabación de la presentación de anoche incluye subtítulos en español.

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Marshalltown Schools celebrates IT Professionals Day

Technology Director Amy Harmsen, right, praises the District Technology team during a recognition of IT Professionals Day at Monday’s Marshalltown School Board meeting.

Marshalltown Community School District is blessed with a skilled, hardworking team of IT (Information Technology) professionals, and this year’s National IT Professionals Day on Tuesday, Sept. 22 comes at a time when their work is especially critical.

Along with providing crucial, regular IT services, the District Technology team has greatly expanded its student and family supports over the past several months of the coronavirus pandemic. When the pandemic situation caused schools to shut down in the spring, the Technology team stepped up to get Chromebooks into the hands of PK-6 students to facilitate voluntary home learning. 

MCSD family surveys also showed a need for home internet support. In response, the Technology Department has acquired and distributed hundreds of internet hotspots for students to use. The District also entered an agreement with Mediacom to temporarily cover monthly payments for low-cost, high-speed home internet for students. 

Read on to meet our incredible MCSD Technology Team!

Bartles, AlexAlex Bartels – Technology Support Specialist
Alex Bartels has a hand in everything at the Technology Department. No matter which technology-related task he is asked to handle, he steps up to the challenge. Bartels’ positive approach to new challenges has allowed him to broaden and deepen his IT skill set. 


Britt, MichaelMike Britt – Network and Security Specialist
Network and Security Specialist Mike Britt was integral in ensuring Chromebooks were issued to PK-12 students due to the pandemic shut down in the spring. He has stepped up in a major way to his new position, and he continues to bring his expertise and work ethic to the Tech Department every day. 


Claseman, AndrewAndrew Claseman – Server Specialist
Andrew Claseman is the newest member of the District Technology team, and the timing of his arrival was perfect. Claseman is knowledgeable and capable of handling the implementation of new technologies, but his humble character has meant he can effectively jump in and help however the team needs him. 


Garcia, JanetJanet Garcia – Technology Support Specialist
Janet Garcia has gone above and beyond to be personable while coordinating digital devices and troubleshooting tech issues with students, families and District staff. She is self-motivated and works hard to figure out even the most daunting of technical issues.


Garcia, RicardoRicardo Garcia – Chromebook Repair Technician
Another new and crucial member of the Technology team is Ricardo Garcia. He has taken on the new challenge of coordinating internet access for families, as well as repairing Chromebooks in the District. Those duties require a strong work ethic and problem-solving skills, and Garcia has handled it well with his capable nature.


Harmsen, AmyAmy Harmsen – District Director of Technology
Amy Harmsen’s tenure as District Technology Director began in February 2020, just weeks before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. She hit the ground running and, and she and the Technology Team have been running a marathon ever since. Harmsen said she immediately realized just how intelligent and capable a team she had inherited.

Harrington, JennJennifer Harrington – Student Technology Device Coordinator
Jenn Harrington plays a vital role in the District Technology Department. She puts in the time to ensure details are taken care of, and she is constantly thinking about how to be even more effective and efficient. Harrington has improved a multitude of Tech Department processes since moving her position.


Ramirez, SebastianSebastian Ramirez – Technology Support Specialist
Sebastian Ramirez has shown he is passionate about technology. He has impressive motivation and is always wanting to learn more. Ramirez has shown particular interest in understanding the District’s mobile device management strategy and network infrastructure.

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New MHS Homecoming royalty crowned

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Marshalltown High School has new Homecoming royalty after Friday evening’s coronation ceremony at Leonard Cole Field. 

Accepting the Homecoming King’s crown was MHS senior Sergio Zaragoza, while fellow senior Milagros Barajas took the throne as Homecoming Queen. In a unique coronation ceremony, the new king and queen were crowned just prior to the evening’s Homecoming football game.

The Homecoming fun on Friday evening was preceded by exciting performances from the MHS Marching Band at the high school that morning. 

From the parking area to the courtyard to the front entrance of the school building, Bobcat students and staff opened windows and stepped outside to enjoy the “Bobcat Fight Song” and other pep rally tunes. MHS Color Guard and Cheerleading team members brought energy to the performances as well. 

Check out the photos below to see more 2020 MHS Homecoming fun!

Please note: In order to maintain the health and safety of students, there will be no MHS Homecoming Dance this year. 

The MHS Marching Band starts of Friday morning with a performance of “The Bobcat Fight Song” on the high school campus.
The Bobcats score the first touchdown of the game.
MHS Color Guard and Cheerleaders perform outside MHS Friday.
The Bobcats offense prepares for the snap at Friday’s game against Fort Dodge.
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2020 MHS Homecoming Court

Please note: Each individual member of the 2020 MHS Homecoming Court was photographed individually and separately from the rest of the court. Their individual photos were digitally combined to create the above image. CREDIT: Stalzer Photography

The 2020 Marshalltown High School Homecoming Court has been named, and the 14 students up for selection as Homecoming royalty this year include: 

  • Queen candidates: Maggie Augustine, Emma Bair, Milagros Barajas, Holly Braga, Avery Case, Anna Diiorio, and Natalie Duncan.
  • King candidates: Brendan Bates, Ethan Benscoter, Malik Haynes, Noah Hermanson, Eli Thiessen, Carson Williams, and Sergio Zaragoza. 

The 2020 Homecoming King and Queen coronation is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 18, at Leonard Cole Field, ahead of the 7 p.m. Homecoming game, where the Bobcats will face the Fort Dodge Dodgers.

Homecoming Spirit Week kicks off today, and students are encouraged to show off their Bobcat Spirit with red and blue school apparel throughout the week. 

Please note: In order to ensure a safe, healthy and fun Homecoming week for everyone in the community, there will be no Homecoming Parade or float building activities this year. Additionally, Powder Puff/Powder Buff games and the Homecoming Dance will not take place this year. 

We look forward to an exciting Homecoming Spirit Week! Go Bobcats!

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Four outstanding MCSD employees earn special recognition

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MCSD Employees (front row, from left) Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Jennifer Harrington, Stacey Tool-Crawford, and Jennifer Gray earned a special recognition for going above and beyond in their work duties since the coronavirus pandemic began in the spring. Also pictured in the back row, from left, are Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, Director of Technology Amy Harmsen, MHS Principal Jacque Wyant, and Buildings and Grounds Director Todd Goulding.

Marshalltown Schools employees at all levels have been working hard in the face of challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic since the early closure of schools in March; in that time, four MCSD employees have performed spectacularly in their respective roles. 

District Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte presented special awards to Buildings and Grounds administrative assistant Jennifer Gray, Student Technology Device Coordinator Jennifer Harrington, District Lead Nurse Stacey Tool-Crawford, and District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson at the Marshalltown School Board meeting Tuesday evening. 

“We try to every quarter recognize employees who go up and beyond the call of duty in their respective roles,” Dr. Schutte said. “I wanted to turn that recognition into a special recognition for people who have really gone, in my opinion, way up and above the call of duty as it relates both to our COVID-related closure from the spring to the summer planning to the new school year.” 

Each awardee has shown outstanding work ethic, professionalism, and perseverance throughout the challenging coronavirus situation. 

Jennifer GrayBuildings and Grounds Administrative Assistant
Gray has been described as “the glue that holds it all together” at the MCSD Buildings and Grounds Department. She has been a crucial member of the team during a time when the department has been adding new safety measures throughout the District, from deep-cleaning to hand sanitizer stations to signage.

Jennifer Harrington – Student Technology Device Coordinator
Ensuring all Bobcat students had access to a District Chromebook at home was a major undertaking for the MCSD Technology Department, and Harrington has been at the center of that effort. She has also focused on coordinating device support for students and families going into a new school year featuring virtual and hybrid classes.

Dr. Lisa StevensonDistrict Director of Instruction
Ensuring MCSD students have access to high-quality, engaging curriculum in three different learning models during a pandemic is no easy task, but Dr. Stevenson was more than up to the challenge. She led the District’s Return to Learn planning process this summer and will continue to oversee the education of thousands of young Bobcats this school year.

Stacey Tool-CrawfordDistrict Lead Nurse
The coronavirus situation presented plenty of challenges this year, and Tool-Crawford has shown great leadership and initiative in response to the pandemic. She has been vital to the District’s planning of health and safety measures, communication regarding coronavirus, and keeping her colleagues up-to-date on the constantly-changing public health situation. She has also shown exceptional leadership for MCSD nursing staff during an unprecedented time. 

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Bobcat students welcomed back for the first day of school

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Lenihan students are welcomed to class Tuesday.

After several months of Return to Learn planning, implementation of safety measures  and staff training, Marshalltown Schools welcomed Bobcat students back to classes Tuesday. 

Whether students were learning in a school classroom or virtually from their living room, MCSD teachers, principals and staff were happy to interact with their pupils for the first time in a long while.  

Multiple safety measures were firmly in place by the time students arrived for classes Tuesday morning. Social distancing measures, hallway directional markers, a face covering requirement, readily-available hand sanitizer stations, and signage communicating health and safety expectations are all new, necessary additions this school year.

Beyond the changes to their physical surroundings, Bobcat students will also be supported by caring staff who have had extensive health and safety training – including coronavirus-specific training – thanks to the SafeSchools program brought to the District earlier this year. 

While this school year will present unique challenges for all public school students, families, and staff, Marshalltown Schools staff are committed to providing the safest, most enriching and engaging academic environment possible. 

See below for a look at the first day of school Tuesday. Let’s make it a great school year!

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Superintendent’s Stars recognized, staff welcomed back ahead of school year start

Hundreds of Marshalltown Community School District employees – from teachers and paraeducators to Food Service, Transportation, Buildings and Grounds staff, and more – are hard at work preparing for the first day of the 2020-21 school year on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The end of the 2019-20 school year did not go as expected, and the presentation of the Superintendent’s Star awards – given to exceptional MCSD employees – had to be delayed. During this week’s MCSD Staff Welcome Back ceremony, Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte recognized these 10 deserving Stars:

august-jenniferJennifer August – Instructional coach at Fisher Elementary
Jennifer has earned the respect of her colleagues over many years of teaching and coaching. She takes the time and effort to study and understand the curriculum in order to effectively support and coach teachers as they implement the curriculum in their classrooms. She has the ability to think outside the box and come up with appropriate solutions to challenges at the classroom or system level. Jennifer has a great sense of humor and is approachable by all staff and parents. She is a great asset for Fisher Elementary and the Marshalltown Community School District.

burt-deeDee Burt – Curriculum and Professional Development Leader (ret.) at Central Office
Dee was instrumental in the District’s efforts to develop Bobcat Ready college and career readiness program for Marshalltown High School and Miller Middle School. She worked tirelessly to create substantive and mutually beneficial school-business partnerships within our community – both formal work-based learning experiences and the development of the rich, meaningful Teacher Externship Academy.

Faas, ErinErin FaasTeacher librarian at Rogers Elementary
Erin has been helpful and flexible in giving students and staff one-to-one and/or small group support in academic, behavior, and technological areas. She provides a listening ear when people need to vent, breathe, or just connect. Erin takes on leadership roles in various teams and projects, and has helped the special education department when they need extra scheduling support. Her big heart extends to all, and she has gone over the top to help students, families and staff with new learning. Rogers Elementary and Marshalltown Community School District are lucky to have Erin Faas.

Holman-Lankelma, NicoleNicole Holman-LankelmaExtended Learning Program (XLP) Instructor at Woodbury, Hoglan, and Anson elementary schools
Nicole encourages all of her students to be the best version of themselves that they can be. She works with advanced students at the elementary level and does her best to meet their social-emotional health needs as well as develop their academic skills. She understands the gifted student and helps teachers tap into their potential, even when she is not at the school building that day. Nicole embodies positivity and shines wherever she is.

Long, TroyTroy Long – Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teacher at Miller Middle School
Troy’s entire personality is centered around building strong relationships with everyone he encounters. He humanizes his class, his teaching, and his role as an educator. He routinely connects the content of his course with real-life situations with which students can relate. Troy also connects with staff at Miller; he is a positive force who embodies the phrase “Life-long Learner.” He actively embraces different approaches and strives to incorporate best practices into his daily routine.

Miller, RyanRyan Miller – Paraeducator at Marshalltown High School
Ryan is dependable and performs his job up and above expectations. The special education department relies on Ryan each and every day. He shows compassion and respect to all the students he works with. He has a great sense of humor and attacks every day with a positive attitude.

Piscitelli, TedTed PiscitelliDistrict Transportation bus driver
Ted is one of the most caring individuals that anyone would want on their team. He is always concerned about the wellbeing of everyone and constantly goes above and beyond to make things better. Ted was instrumental in helping train new drivers and giving guidance to new monitors when they joined the transportation team. He carries his commitment on improving student experiences by making changes to his routes as needed; he is constantly looking at ways to improve pick-ups and drop-offs at homes and school. Ted is a leader through his actions.

Nancy Mayer, Calvin Scales, and Karla Sperry: MCSD Food Service Managers
Nancy, Calvin, and Karla have demonstrated their strength as a team. They rise to the occasion to get the work done so that our students are fed. They are the cornerstones for all of the positive happenings in the Food Service Department.
Nancy brings the attention to detail. She orchestrates all of the little things. Calvin has a natural knack for logistics, making sure things are done effectively and efficiently. Karla brings positivity every day, always ready to remind her Food Service team that “We’ve got this!” To say these three work tirelessly is an understatement. They continue to do more, and do whatever it takes to feed the children of Marshalltown. They pitch in however and wherever needed.

Dr. Schutte said the Superintendent’s Stars recognized this week are exceptional due to their strong moral compass, ability to build trust and relationships, work ethic, positive influence on others, problem-solving skills and motivation.

Addressing the many returning staff members during this week’s Staff Welcome Back event, Dr. Schutte said he is proud to be part of an excellent MCSD team.

“I can honestly say, having been a graduate of this fine school district, that I’ve never been prouder, I’ve never been more energized, I’ve never been more excited to do what we do on a daily basis in order to try to help all of our students and the families of our students be in a position of success,” he said.

This week’s Staff Welcome Back event featured a virtual performance of the “Bobcat Fight Song” by MHS Band students.

Marshalltown School Board President Bea Niblock also shared encouraging words with returning District employees. She emphasized the importance of communication with students and students’ families, coworkers, friends, and loved ones during the school year.

“We have the best educators and staff right here in Marshalltown,” Niblock said. “Every one of you believes all kids can learn. You are an amazing group of people, and I applaud you.”

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MHS Associate Principal performs rap song to share important message on face mask use

MHS Associate Principal William Terry raps about face mask use and safety in a recent video

Marshalltown High School Associate Principal William Terry is using music to educate students on proper use of face coverings this school year,

Terry, who arrived at Marshalltown High School this summer, recorded a video of himself rapping about the importance of face masks.

In the song, he encourages students to wear approved face coverings during the school day to protect themselves and their peers from exposure to the coronavirus.

Required face coverings are a key part of MCSD’s Return to Learn health and safety measures this school year. To learn more about the measures we are putting in place to keep students and staff safe, visit

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MCSD Transportation employee Kevin Beye featured in “School Transportation News”

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MCSD Head Transportation Mechanic Kevin Beye discusses his long career in the school transportation industry in a recent School Transportation News article.

MCSD Head Transportation Mechanic Kevin Beye was featured by School Transportation News in a recent article.

Beye has more than four decades of experience as a school transportation mechanic, and in the article he shares the many ways in which the career has changed over the years. The article also discusses the important role Beye plays as part of the MCSD Transportation team.

The MCSD Transportation Department oversees nearly four dozen school buses, as well as several smaller transportation, facility, and food service vehicles.

See the full School Transportation News article on Beye here.

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