Schutte gives Lions his goals for Marshalltown schools

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Dr. Theron Schutte, left, spoke on the current status of the Marshalltown School System. Noon Lions Program Chairman Alan Thoreson introduced the speaker.

President Wally Paige convened a regular meeting of the Marshalltown Noon Lions Club on Monday at The American Legion Club Hall. Following the meal and opening ceremony, Program Chairman Allan Thoreson, introduced Marshalltown Schools Superintendent, Dr. Theron Schutte, who spoke on the current status of the school system.

Schutte, a native of Marshalltown, and a product of the local school system, graduated from MHS in 1981. He received a 4-year degree from Central College, Pella. His chosen career path has been in education. He served teaching and administration positions in Clinton, Boone and Bettendorf, during which time he also achieved Masters degrees and a PhD. In 2016, Schutte was chosen to head the Marshalltown Schools system. He reported to the Lions that he was honored and very pleased to be back in the community. He and his wife, who is a native of Newton, are parents of two daughters and have become grandparents.

Schutte, talked of being able, due to a large number of vacancies at the time he arrived at his new job, to hire a team ready to work together to pursue several important goals for the benefit of children and youth. He spoke of three important objectives: The first goal is to “build a more positive culture.” Often the quality and the achievements of the Marshalltown Schools, is under-appreciated. A second goal is a “focused community effort” where the entire citizenry joins together to recognize, as well as strive to improve, its educational achievements. The third goal, Schutte spoke of is working for clear and achievable “outcomes” where children and youth are adequately prepared for life and vocational opportunity.

Superintendent Schutte stated that presently 70 percent of children in Marshalltown’s schools qualify for free or supported meals. This indicates a relatively high rate of poverty. He also stressed the importance of achieving accepted standards of reading proficiency by third graders. Falling behind at that stage is usually a valid indicator of future lack of success in school and in life.

Schutte pointed out that Marshalltown Schools are striving to keep up with modern “high tech.” All students from third grade through high school have access to electronic devices.

Further, he told, in terms of diversity, that the Marshalltown Schools currently reflect a 40/60 percent, white/other, ethnic make-up, which is a close parallel to the current diversity of America.

English as a second language is a major challenge for Marshalltown Schools, with an average of 7 to 10 years being required to become fluent in English.

Following his presentation, Schutte fielded questions from the group. He commented during his presentation that he has learned, once again after his return to the community, that “Marshalltown is a town that works together.”

President Paige reminded the Lions that the next meeting will be the monthly Board Meeting, 11:30 a.m., on April 17.