Friday, December 18, 2015

This Week in Our Schools - 12/14 - 12/18

Scroll down to view pictures of students and staff engaged in learning this past week throughout our district! We have a lot of exciting learning opportunities happening district-wide!

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Students is Mrs. Mohror's 3rd grade class rehearse their choral reading.

Mr. Welter-Frost's 4th grade class created angles using protractors.

Check out Colorado's Student Council's donation to Bags of Blessings!

Colorado 5th graders practicing for the holiday concert!


Miss Harder's kindergarten class made gingerbread men, students grew antlers and became Rudolph, and students took home a paper Christmas tree to decorate with their family and bring back to display at school! 

1st grade students in Mrs. Reed's class were hard at work writing their New Year's Resolutions!

Ms. Devrieze's 3rd graders tried out the new ST math program that Franklin Elementary had just started to use. The online program enhances the students' learning of the standards using a game-based format. The students have to go through the program and solve puzzles without worded directions. The goal is to improve student engagement and independence as they continue using higher level thinking strategies. 

Mrs. Calderon's 3rd grade English Language Learners read the skit "Light Up the World with Celebrations" (left picture) and wrote "If I Were Trapped in a Snow Globe!" (picture on the right).
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Mrs. Zitzow's kindergarteners made slime using the informational text they read for their English/Language Arts post assessment and decorated gingerbread men (thankfully none ran away!)!


First Graders in Mrs. Penzkofer's class show off the letters that they wrote and had sent to their reading pals.

First graders in Mrs. Luna's class showcase their posters that they worked on during English/Language Arts standards of problem and solution.

Ms. Pedersen's 1st graders sewed their own stockings to hang on their class tree. Chippy, the class Elf, brought candy canes for their stockings!
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Kindergarteners in Mrs. Evan's and Mrs. Green's class made gingerbread men, and then went on a hunt to find them when they came up missing from the oven.  After looking all over the school for them, they were luckily able to locate them back in their classrooms!

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Kindergarteners in Mrs. Green's class have been learning about 3D solid shapes in math. To end the unit, they made 3D Christmas scenes. They used ice cream cones for cones, sweet tart chewys for spheres, sugar cubes for cubes, and Mike and Ike's for cylinders. 

Lego League competed at the Putnam Museum last weekend. There were a total of 62 teams between the two days and three teams from Mulberry!  The team in green is Eagles-Eagles-Eagles Boom and comprised of 4th grade students.  They were awarded the Team Spirit award for their energy and team work.  The team in blue is Mulberry Master Builders and is comprised of 4th and 5th grade students.  They were awarded a Judges Recognition award for their project.  The team holding certificates and wearing medals is the Mulberry Eagles.  They are an alumni team who competed in their 4th Lego League competition.  They are one of three Muscatine teams competing in the state competition on January 16, 2016.

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1st grade students in Mrs. Roelfs' class pose next to their classroom elf, Ella!

This week the 3rd graders in Ms. Jacob's class finished their Animal Reports!  They worked really hard on these writing pieces and they look great!

Ms. Sulzberger's 5th grade class are enjoying  learning about the different phases of the moon!


The second annual Middle School Gifted/Talented Science Bowl was held on Monday, December 14, at CMS. Participants included 6-8th grade students.  Thank you to the science teachers, GT team, and parent volunteers who made the event possible! 


Mrs. Larson-Walgren and Ms. Knepper's 6th grade ELA students worked on their survival research projects.  Students used their Chrome books and worked collaboratively to peer edit their research papers.


Mr. Rivera's 5th period home room is getting into the holiday spirit!

West held their orchestra concert this week. Pictured below are three orchestra students before their concert and the 7th grade orchestra rehearsing prior to the concert.

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Mrs. Duffe's 6th grade math class learned about scale factors.  Students used a scale factor to create a scale drawing of a ginger bread house.  They also got to use their scale drawings to build their actual gingerbread house!

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Mr. Crews' Horticulture students created holiday center pieces from evergreens, poinsettias, candles, and other decorative items. 
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Miss Brown's Journalism II class assembles the MHS Today newsletter that is distributed monthly at the high school. 

Recently Mr. Mayer took a group of Computer Integrated Manufacturing and Manufacturing students to tour William Penn University’s Industrial Technology Department in Oskaloosa, Iowa.  The tour consisted of visiting the Manufacturing/Welding Lab, Wood Technology Lab, and the Electronics/ Alternate Energy Lab on campus.  Following the tour and lunch at William Penn, the students then got a tour of Musco’s Specialty Production line.  This line is where the company builds and designs prototype lights and specialty lighting fixtures.  
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Students in Ms. Ruesch's Biology class created a Stop Motion video over the cell cycle.

and here is their stop motion video!

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School Board member John DaBeet visited Mr. Battern's  government class. He spoke to the group about his role on the school board and as an elected official. Students engaged in discussion with Mr. DaBeet regarding current issues facing MCSD and future plans for the district. 
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McKinley staff got into the holiday spirit by donning their ugly sweaters!
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WMS English/Language Arts and Math teachers used morning professional development time to look at student data through data teams working toward greater student success.

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Elementary administrators, instructional coaches, and curriculum professional development leaders started talking through district initiatives trying to gauge each building's current reality. Lots of great discussion and clarifications arose.
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K-2 teachers received training in LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). Training was led by Mary Beilke from the AEA. The training was excellent, and Ms. Beilke modeled to teachers how the brain works and the parts utilized to read. 
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Board Briefs for Monday, December 14, 2015 Regular Meeting

Below is a synopsis of the board meeting actions and discussions that took place at the December 14, 2015 regular board meeting held at City Hall:

  1. Student Council updated the board on recent activities.
  2. House Representative Gary Carlson provided information on the state’s budget.
  3. Consent agenda was approved which included:
    1. Minutes of November 9, 2015 regular meeting.
    2. Employment Recommendations:
      1. Resignations: Ann Goodman, principal at Mulberry (at end of school year); Michelle Haugen, Grade 3 at Washington (at end of December, 2015); Ryan Reifert – Middle School basketball coach; Wesley Phipps – MHS Assistant Forensics coach.
      2. Schedule C Hires: Spencer Lloyd – MHS  Boys Assistant Basketball, Colin Hagerty – MHS Assistant Wrestling; Josh Battern – Model UN (shared); Elizabeth Thomas -  Student Council (shared).
    3. Student Teaching Agreement with Western Governor’s University.
    4. Bills and Claims against the district dated 12/14/15.
  4. The board cast their vote for Tim Bower as IASB Board of Director Representative.
  5. Approved the early retirement incentive program for FY16 which at this time includes only certified staff (teachers, administrators, and directors). The early retirement incentive is changed from previous years where the incentive is a flat amount rather than based on the retiree's salary.
  6. Approved the Jefferson Elementary Deconstruction Plans and Specs.
  7. CMS Principal Terry Hogenson, counselor Troy Kulland, At Risk ELA teacher Cara Shepherd, and At Risk Math teacher Micaela Haight presented Central's At Risk Student Program and the success they are seeing with the students. Student Ethan Russell spoke about the field trips that he was able to participate in as a part of this program.
  8. Superintendent Riibe reported on the School Improvement Advisory Committee which met last month. He reviewed the student and staff survey results and how next year the district will be focusing on the culture of the district. He also shared that parents are being surveyed and those results will be brought back to the board at its next meeting.
  9. The board set the date for the district’s policy review as Thursday, January 21 at 6 p.m. at the Administration Center.
  10. Jean Garner reviewed the financial statements for October and November.
  11. Alisha Eggers provided an update on the Food Service budget.
  12. Superintendent Riibe updated the board on the Washington School Study and noted that there will be a forum for Washington parents and the community on January 7 at 6 p.m. at CMS Auditorium. Washington Study FAQ.
  13. Superintendent Riibe provided information regarding the State Report Card which will be available to the public this Wednesday, December 16.  The intent of the report card is to rank each attendance center in the state of Iowa from Exception, High-Performing, Commendable, Acceptable, Needs Improvement, and Priority. He noted that the Report Card does not differentiate those schools with a higher percentage of free/reduced population students which he feels is unfair and does not show the entire picture. He commended our staff and administrators for all they do for our students every day.
  14. Announcements of Upcoming Meetings and Events:
    1. December 23 – Winter Break Begins
    2. January 4 – School Resumes
    3. January 7 - Washington Study Forum at 6 p.m. at CMS Auditorium.
    4. January 8 – Last Day of First Semester
    5. January 11 – School Board Regular meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall
    6. January 18 – No School – Teacher Inservice
    7. January 20 – MCSD Job Fair for Non-Certified Staff, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Administration Center
    8. January 21 - Board Policy Review Work Session, 6 p.m. at the Administration Center. 
    9. January 23 – MCSD Job Fair for Non-Certified Staff, 9 a.m. to Noon – Administration Center
    10. January 25 – School Board Work Session – 6 p.m. – Administration Center
To view the board book for this meeting, go to: Board Book - December 14, 2015.