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COVID-19 impacts end-of-year reports

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO — Miller Middle School iJAG specialist Austin Hauser tests furniture made from balloons. It was a special project students worked on at Miller before the COVID-19 closure. The picture was used as a highlight in the end-of-year report to the Marshalltown Community School Board from principals Dave Glenn and Pat Rial.

Five Marshalltown Community School District principals gave the school board end-of-year reports during a special Tuesday meeting.

Anson

Anson Elementary Principal Ronnie Manis told the board the enrollment during the 2019-20 school year was 338.

After the COVID-19 closure, an average of 20 percent of the student population engaged in online learning. Staff at Anson provided students with book packets, consisting of three to five books, two times and sent video messages. Music lessons and science experiments were uploaded to the Anson Facebook page every week and Manis said there was high engagement.

“I thought the teachers did an admirable job in trying to stay in contact with those kids,” he said.

The highest demographic represented in that number was white with 17.8 percent of the student population. Fifty-eight students, or 17.1 percent, were chronically absent during the year.

“Our goal this year was 7 percent and we were at 9.8 last year,” he said. “Did not make that goal this year.”

Manis said they are taking steps to reduce chronic absenteeism through monthly recognition, perfect attendance flags for homerooms and weekly attendance meetings with a counselor and liaison. He said the school will focus on reducing chronic absenteeism next week.

There were 38 instances of behavior referrals at Anson and one of those was for bullying. The number of students with six or more referrals for behavior was two. Manis said most of the behavior problems — 31.6 percent — occurred in the classroom and during lunch recess.

The Anson Elementary student to teacher ratio was 20:1.

Lenihan

Kyle Young, the principal at Lenihan Intermediate School, said there were 811 students enrolled during the 2019-20 school year with an average class size of 27.

The highest demographic represented in the 811 students was Hispanic, with 55 percent of the population. Fifteen percent of the students were chronically absent.

One thing Young said he was proud of were the steps the school took when students went on extended trips.

“I thought the parents took advantage of that and were appreciative of that,” he said.

Following the closure, Young said there were pockets of high online learning but most classes averaged three or less students. However, 163 fifth graders earned Lexia certificates.

There were 13 students who had six or more office referrals for behavior and there were five students who engaged in harassment of others.

“Our goal was to have less than 1 percent of our student population involved in bullying and harassing,” Young said.

Young said 248 students participated in band, 87 in orchestra and 150 in chorus.

Miller Middle School

Principals Pat Rial and Dave Glenn said 805 students attended Miller. The largest demographic represented was Hispanic, with 56.4 percent of the population.

Of the total students, 18.8 percent were chronically absent.

Glenn said weekly attendance meetings are held at Miller and try to arrange transportation when needed.

Four students had six or more referrals for behavior. There were 11 reports of bullying.

“Our behavior data is a heck of a lot lower than last year,” Rial said.

After the closure, an average of 72 students participated in online Miller Middle School learning. Social emotional learning lessons were sent to students every week.

There were 269 students who participated in athletics, 149 in band, 24 in jazz band and 78 in orchestra.

Some of the highlights from the classroom included a caucus experience for the eighth grade social studies students and excellent participation in the annual spelling bee.

Marshalltown Learning Academy

Principal Eric Goslinga said the Learning Academy served 135 students during the year. Of the total, 112 were chronically absent, compared to 101 in the 2018-19 school year.

After the closure, students completed 869 hours of online learning and finished 64 courses.

There were no students who received six or more office referrals for behavior, but three who did get two to five referrals. Also, six students were suspended as a result of behavior.

Fifteen of the students graduated with the help of the Learning Academy, although Goslinga did say several more are pending but COVID-19 has made the work more difficult.

Marshalltown High School

There were 1,555 students at MHS, according to Principal Jacque Wyant, and the average class size was 28.

Following the closure, the high school monitored student online engagement by each week according to grade. The first week in June had the lowest online presence of all grades, with the highest percentage being sophomores at 4.9 percent.

The highest percentage of participation for all grades occurred during the last week of April. In the freshman class, 20.7 percent participated; sophomores, 19 percent; juniors, 24.4 percent; and seniors, 50 percent.

Of the total population, 238 students were chronically absent during the year and 18 received six or more office referrals. There were four expulsions and 129 suspensions. Wyant said there were three instances of bullying.

Nineteen students dropped out between Oct. 1, 2019 and March 6.

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