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Working together to improve Marshalltown schools

September 19, 2012
By Marvin Wade , Times-Republican

The board and employees of Marshalltown Community School District are encouraged by recent gains in attendance, achievement and school climate ratings. We are pleased with the success of Marshalltown High School students on the ACT and the Fisher Elementary expansion and renovation. Improving math scores have put the district on "delay status" under No Child Left Behind, which puts the district just one year away from removal from the District In Need of Assistance list. We take pride in Marshalltown being named an All America City and the strong community support of Not In Our Town.

At the same time, we share the public's expectation for better results from our schools - and for them to occur "sooner" rather than "later." This sense of urgency serves as a catalyst for district-wide reforms aligned to three objectives: 1) improve academic achievement of all students; 2) increase readiness for further education and employment; and, 3) ensure schools are safe and organized to promote student academic achievement.

For 2012-2013, MCSD has strategically implemented practices to improve student achievement and readiness for college and careers: tighter alignment of challenging curriculum, instruction and assessment at all grade levels; new specialized high school math courses; new elementary literacy materials; implementation of Project Lead the Way; instructional coaches in each elementary building; training for staff in five key initiatives; use of observation data to increase classroom engagement; preschool expansion into all elementary schools; plans to introduce fiber and wireless connectivity; and development of School Improvement Plans aligned with the district Strategic Action Plan.

Efforts to provide safer and more supportive schools include installation of safety and security equipment; a School Resource Officer and Juvenile Court Liaisons for secondary schools; a full-time learning supports specialist, media specialist, counselor and nurse in every school; and continued partnerships with parents, higher education, business, law enforcement, and community agencies such as Mid-Iowa Community Action, the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA and Marshalltown Parks and Recreation.

We continue to provide our students with many educational opportunities, including physical education, art and music in every school; a pre-kindergarten through 12 dual language program; four years of instruction in Chinese, French or Spanish; a comprehensive high school with 13 sports, 35 clubs/organizations and more than 170 courses; numerous alternative, career/technical and post-secondary education options; and instruction from some of Iowa's most highly qualified teachers.

We've had a great start to the school year and encourage community members to join our efforts to ensure MCSD remains a source of pride for all Bobcats - past, present and future.

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Dr. Marvin Wade is Superintendent of Marshalltown Community School District.

 
 

 

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