How decisions are made regarding weather-related school closings, delays and early dismissals

(Spanish version below)

As we reach the midpoint of the winter season, I’d like to inform you as to how decisions are made regarding whether to have school or not due to inclement weather. Our District staff understands that our decision to open or close schools in bad weather has a big effect on families. We also understand that our students are better served – both academically and socially – by being in school. But, as always, our top priority is the safety of our students.

How Do We Make Our Decisions?
Please understand that we make the decision to open or close the schools in bad weather based on a careful analysis of all relevant factors, such as:

– Information on road conditions from our transportation staff and the City of Marshalltown. Amount of snow and ice accumulated.
– Forecast – whether precipitation is continuing. We pay particular attention to information coming directly out of the National Weather Service office.
– Building conditions (such as whether we have electricity and heat)
Parking lot conditions. Administrators talk to maintenance and custodial staff members who are responsible for clearing and treating school parking lots and sidewalks.
Temperature and wind chill. This is an extremely important consideration as some of our students walk to school and some must wait outside for the bus. Once wind chills reach -25 degrees and/or raw temperatures approach -15 degrees we begin to have serious consideration as to whether a late start or early dismissal may be advisable or whether or not school should be held.
– Weather predictions. We prefer not making our decision based on weather predictions, which are not always accurate. Sometimes this is unavoidable and in doing so we’d rather error on the side of safety.
What other area school districts are doing. We share information and consult with other local school districts and check whether they are opening or closing. As most are aware, the Marshalltown Community School District is much more urban (city) than rural. This is significantly different than all of our neighboring school districts that are comprised of mostly rural residences and roads. For this reason, there is the possibility that our schools may be in session when other surrounding districts are not.

Who Makes the Decision?
As superintendent of schools, I am responsible for the final decision, based on the above factors and recommendations from our Directors of Transportation and Buildings & Grounds.

How Is The Public Notified?
Immediately when a decision is made, we notify the public in several different ways. Notifications are posted on the MCSD website, www.marshalltown.k12.ia.us, on the District Facebook and Twitter pages, emails are sent to all parents through Infinite Campus (Campus Portal) and local media also receive notifications to post. When there is an early dismissal, we will also use phone call notifications. We are looking at ways to text message parents district wide as well for the future.

When Is The Decision Made?
My goal is to have a decision made no later than 5:30 a.m. so we can notify parents through our District messaging system, media through radio and television, and post the decision on our website. If I wait longer to announce a closing, some parents may have already left for work, leaving their children unsupervised.

Will We Close School If Conditions Worsen?
Keep in mind that, even if conditions worsen, we cannot reverse our decision in the morning without endangering students. Once we make the decision to open the schools, many parents rely on it and leave for work. If we then send students right back home, many will return to unsupervised bus stops and empty houses. If conditions get worse during the school day, we may need to have an early dismissal, but we will give adequate notice to all parents first.

Although my staff and I do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. If you do not feel as though it is safe for your child to attend school, use your best judgment on whether he or she should attend. Also, discourage teenagers from driving in bad conditions and offer them alternatives if weather conditions worsen.

I hope that this explanation helps everyone understand the process that our district staff use to make the best possible decision for all in our District.

Schutte, Theron copy.jpg

 

Dr. Theron J. Schutte, Superintendent
Marshalltown Community School District

 

 

 

 

 

SPANISH

Mientras alcanzamos el punto medio de la temporada de invierno, me gustaría informarles como las decisiones son hechas acerca del clima de cancelar clases o no debido al mal tiempo. Nuestro personal de distrito entiende que nuestra decisión de abrir o cerrar la escuela en mal tiempo tiene un gran efecto en las familias. También entendemos que nuestros estudiantes son servidos mejor – académicamente y social – estando en la escuela. Pero, como siempre nuestra primera prioridad es la seguridad de nuestros estudiantes.

¿Cómo hacemos nuestras decisiones?

Por favor entienda que hacemos nuestras decisiones de abrir o cerrar la escuela en mal tiempo basado en un análisis de todos factores relevantes, así como:

  •         Información sobre la condición de la carretera de nuestro personal de transporte y de la ciudad de Marshalltown. Cantidad de nieve o hielo acumulado.
  •         Pronóstico – si la precipitación del clima continúa. Nosotros ponemos atención particular en información que viene de la oficina del servicio meteorológico nacional.
  •         Condiciones del edificio (si tenemos electricidad y
  •         Condiciones del estacionamiento. Los administradores hablan con mantenimiento y personal que son responsables de limpiar y atender el estacionamiento y las banquetas.
  •         Temperatura y viento. Esto es una consideración extremadamente importante ya que algunos de nuestros estudiantes caminan a la escuela y algunos tiene que esperar el autobús afuera. Una vez que la temperatura del viento alcance grados de -25 y/o temperaturas alcancen grados  de -15 empezamos a tener serias consideraciones de empezar clases tarde o tener salida temprana o sostener clases.
  •         Predicciones del tiempo. Preferimos no hacer nuestras decisiones basadas en predicciones del tiempo, que no siempre son correctas. En ocasiones esto no se puede evadir y preferimos estar al lado de la seguridad.
  •         Lo que otras escuelas en el área están haciendo.  Nosotros compartimos información y consultamos con otros distritos escolares locales y revisamos si ellos van a abrir o cerrar. Ya que muchos están consiente que el distrito escolar de Marshalltown es más urbano (ciudad) que rural. Esto es significativamente diferente a nuestros vecinos de otros distritos escuelas que son compuestos de residencia rural y carreteras. Por esta razón hay la posibilidad de que nuestras escuelas estén en sesión mientras otros distritos no.

¿Quién hace la decisión?

Como superintendente de las escuelas soy responsable de tomar la última decisión, basado en los factores mencionados y recomendaciones de los directores de transportación y el mantenimiento de la propiedad.

¿Cómo es el público notificado?

En cuanto la decisión es hecha, inmediatamente notificamos al público en diferentes maneras. Notificaciones son puestas en el sitio de web, www.marshalltown.k12.ia.us, en la página de Facebook y Twitter del distrito, correo electrónicos son enviados a padres mediante Infinite Campus (Campus Portal) y los medios de comunicación locales también reciben notificación de publicar.  Cuando tengamos salida temprana también notificamos por llamadas. Estamos viendo en maneras de mandar mensajes de texto a padres en el futuro.

¿Cuándo es la decisión hecha?

Mi meta es de hacer una decisión no más tarde le las 5:30 am para notificar padres mediante nuestro sistema del distrito, comunicación mediante el radio o televisión y publicar la decisión en nuestro sitio de web. Si esperamos más tiempo para anunciar, habrá la posibilidad que algunos padres ya se hayan ido a trabajar dejando a sus niños sin supervisión.  

¿Cerraremos la escuela si el clima empeora?

Tengan en mente que si el clima empeora, no podemos hacer lo contrario de nuestra decisión en la mañana sin poner los estudiantes en riesgo.  Una vez que hagamos la decisión de abrir la escuela muchos padres confían en ella y se van al trabajo. Si mandamos a los estudiantes a casa, muchos regresaran a paradas de camión sin supervisión y a casas vacías.  Si las condiciones empeoran durante el día escolar habrá la posibilidad de tener salida temprana, pero daremos notificación a todos los padres primero.

Aunque mi personal y yo hacemos lo mejor que podemos en este proceso sabemos que muy seguido no existe una decisión perfecta. Si usted siente que no es seguro que asista a la escuela su hijo use su mejor criterio si el o ella debe asistir. También desanime que manejen sus adolescentes en malas condiciones y ofrezca alternativas si el clima empeora.  

Espero que esta explicación ayude a todos entender el procedimiento que nuestro personal del distrito usa para hacer la mejor decisión para todo nuestro distrito.  

Superintendente, Dr. Theron J. Schutte

Distrito Escolar de la Comunidad de Marshalltown

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MHS student named state finalist in Know Your Constitution contest

Carlson.jpg

Marshalltown High School junior Anna Carlson was selected as a state finalist in the Know Your Constitution contest from the Iowa State Bar Association.

Marshalltown High School junior Anna Carlson is a state finalist in the Know Your Constitution contest and was honored at a luncheon in West Des Moines on January 6.

Carlson was recognized for her performance on a quiz and essay on the Constitution by the Iowa State Bar Association. Carlson was the MHS champion and the winner of the local Iowa House district. She was one of 100 students recognized as state finalists out of the more than 1,000 students who took the quiz from across the state. This is the second straight year that Carlson has been selected as a finalist.

As part of the awards luncheon, students were able to hear from the keynote speaker the Honorable Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. MHS Extended Learning Program teacher Susan Fritzell accompanied Carlson to the event.

The Know Your Constitution Project is designed to enrich students’ understanding and appreciation of the Constitution.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MHS to host veterans night at basketball games on Jan. 13

Flag.jpg

Marshalltown High School will host its annual tribute to veterans night on Friday, January 13 at the Roundhouse during the varsity basketball games against Dowling Catholic.

All current and former military members will receive free admission for themselves and a guest.

The varsity girls will play at 6:15 p.m. followed by the varsity boys game. The salute to veterans will be held at approximately 7:30 p.m. between the varsity games.

The salute will include a medley of armed forces songs by the MHS National Anthem singers while veterans stand in recognition, special commemorative T-shirts for veterans, the presentation of colors and patriotic tunes by the MHS pep band.

MHS boys varsity basketball coach Scott Smith said last year’s event was an overwhelming success.

“It was a privilege to honor those who sacrifice so much so we can actually have the freedom to do what we do,” Smith said.

Posted in Uncategorized

Legislators, community leaders visit Marshalltown Schools

Woodbury1.jpg

Woodbury Elementary School Principal Anel Garza, right, talks to a group visiting the school on January 5 including, from left, Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, State Representative Mark Smith, Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Vision Marshalltown Executive Director Kyley Leger, Marshalltown Regional Partnership CEO David Barajas and State Representative Dean Fisher.

Local legislators, community and school leaders made three school stops in the Marshalltown Community School District on January 5.

The group included State Representatives Mark Smith and Dean Fisher, Marshalltown Regional Partnership CEO David Barajas, Vision Marshalltown Executive Director Kyley Leger, Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte and Marshalltown Schools Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson.

The group visited Fisher Elementary School, Woodbury Elementary School and Marshalltown High School to learn more about programs at the schools. The visit was especially important as the state legislature is set to reconvene on January 9.

Fisher Elementary
At Fisher the group, led by Principal Vicki Vopava, visited a first grade classroom taught by Mary Pepper and a preschool class taught by Brienna Wolf. Topics of discussion at Fisher included English Language Learners, preschool, third grade reading retention, student attendance and parent engagement.

Fisher1.jpg

Fisher Elementary School Preschool teacher Brienna Wolf, left.

Woodbury Elementary
The Woodbury stop, led by Principal Anel Garza, included visits to the dual language classrooms of Katie Hilby (kindergarten) and Becky Jacobson (second grade). Discussion topics included extensive information on the dual language program, mental health needs, the work of the guidance counselor (Heidi Williams) and other topics.

“We have an absolutely great program here,” Garza said of the dual language program, which has students learning in both Spanish and English. The dual language program at Woodbury is 13 years old and is a state leader.

Woodbury2.jpg

Woodbury Elementary School dual language kindergarten teacher Katie Hilby gives a lesson in Spanish to the class.

Marshalltown High School
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant led the group as they visited two Project Lead the Way classrooms – the biomedical science program taught by Erica Malloy and the engineering program taught by Mike Lazere.
Malloy said students get excited in project-based learning as it applies what they are learning to the real world.
Lazere said they are working with local engineers to lend their expertise and show students careers they can land in engineering. Marshalltown is a state leader in Project Lead the Way curriculum.

MHS1.jpg

MHS Project Lead the Way engineering teacher Mike Lazere, left

MHS2.jpg

MHS Project Lead the Way biomedical science teacher Erica Malloy, left

Fisher2.jpg

Fisher Elementary School Principal Vicki Vopava, top

Woodbury3.jpg

Woodbury4.jpgIMG_4879.JPGIMG_5033.JPGIMG_5046.JPG

IMG_4976.JPG

Posted in Uncategorized

Miller art students tour MHS studios

Visit.jpg

Marshalltown High School art teacher Rebecca Erickson gives a tour of one of the art studios at MHS to visiting eighth grade students from Miller Middle School recently.

Eighth grade art students from Miller Middle School visited Marshalltown High School recently to get a peak at what their future would hold if they continue in visual arts.

While there, the group toured the art studios at MHS and heard from art teachers Rebecca Erickson, Wade Judge and Kirk Niehouse.

The trip was intended to help middle school students become aware of the variety of classes they can register for and what prerequisites are required to take the art classes.

IDNUMBER_Baily_Miller.JPG

Baily Miller

“The middle school students were excited about visiting the high school and started discussing what classes they want to take,” said Miller art teacher Baily Miller. “Since eighth grade is the last time students are required to take a visual art class, I really want to try to push them to continue their art education when they reach the high school.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Lenihan students celebrate publishing books with a party

Lenihan.jpg

Students at Lenihan Intermediate School hold up books published by their fellow classmates on the original 13 colonies. The Route 66 neighborhood at Lenihan had a publishing party to read other’s books on December 22.

The Lenihan Intermediate School Route 66 neighborhood held a publishing party on December 22 to celebrate printing their own books.

After researching the original 13 colonies, students wrote an expository non-fiction book as part of literacy class. During the party, students read each other’s books and wrote comments on the books. Popcorn was also served at the party.

“The students seemed to enjoy reading each other’s books and eating popcorn,” said teacher Shanna Goos.

Lenihan2.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized

MHS performs holiday music throughout community

Orchestra at Southridge.JPG

The Marshalltown High School orchestra performed at Southridge Specialty Care on December 20. It was one of several community performances from the MHS music department during the holiday season.

The Marshalltown High School music department was busy this holiday season with several special performances in the community.

The MHS holiday singers, under the direction of Amy Ose, performed 15 times throughout the month of December including several Christmas parties, three visits to the Iowa Veterans Home, church groups and other performances.

The MHS orchestra performed at Southridge Specialty Care in Marshalltown on December 20.

“We played a small holiday concert for the residents and staff, and they really enjoyed the performance,” said orchestra director Maggie Williams. “Many of them sang along with our performance and said that they appreciated seeing a live orchestra perform their favorite holiday songs and carols.”

The MHS Jazz II band, under the direction of Brett Umthum, performed holiday tunes at MHS in the cafeteria as students and staff arrived in the morning on December 21. The band also traveled to Raymon Donco in Albion and performed for their employees during a company holiday party on December 21.

Singers1.jpg

MHS holiday singers at Iowa Veterans Home

Jazz II.jpg

MHS Jazz II at MHS cafeteria

Posted in Uncategorized