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JBS providing college, trade school tuition free

T-R PHOTO BY TREVOR BABCOCK — Marshalltown JBS General Manager Todd Carl presents information about the “Better Futures” program to the Marshalltown Community School District Board.

Marshalltown’s biggest employer is providing free college and trade school opportunities for their employees, including dependents of employees.

Members of Marshalltown Community School Board heard from JBS Marshalltown General Manager Todd Carl at Monday night’s board meeting about the “Better Futures Program,” in which JBS USA will give employees and their dependents the opportunity to pursue associates degrees and trade certificates tuition free, paid for by JBS.

Carl said one intention of the “Better Futures” program is to grow and sustain JBS’s workforce.

“In our ever-changing, evolving, labor force, we’re trying to find more and more sustainable ways to control turnover, to attract workforce and to sustain the future,” Carl said.

JBS is working in collaboration with Marshalltown Community College to help provide the program. Since the program launched in March, 34 Marshalltown JBS employees and/or their dependents have signed up for the program. The company expects at least 5 percent of their workforce to participate.

T-R PHOTO BY TREVOR BABCOCK — Curriculum and Professional Development Leader Julie Thede (right) presents the recommendation to adopt a new art curriculum along with Marshalltown art teachers.

Superintendent Theron Schutte thanked Carl for his efforts in supporting the community, including students in Marshalltown Community School District and their families.

“This is such a removal of financial barriers that so many of our kids and families have had,” Schutte said. “It’s really an unbelievable gift.”

In other business, the school board approved a recommendation to adopt an art curriculum for the 2021 to 2021 school year.

Curriculum and Professional Development Leader Julie Thede recommended the purchase of the FLEX Curriculum for $32,746, which offers a full art curriculum and lesson plans aligning with the state of Iowa’s fine arts standards.

“Currently we don’t have a purchased curriculum,” Thede said. “Teachers are creating their own lesson plans. This is going to give them a resource that is aligned with the Iowa fine arts standards. Teachers were creating lessons and trying to align them to the standards, this will be able to help them do that and free up their time to actually implement the lessons that they need to.”

Marshalltown High School Art Teacher Kirk Niehouse said the curriculum will help art education be more sequential.

“We’ll know what we’re teaching at the elementary level, so that by the time they get to high school we’re not repeating it for the fifth time,” Niehouse said.

The curriculum also connects to the district’s goal of increasing college and career readiness, specifically utilizing technology to create and present art. Responsive to cultural diversity, the curriculum is said to have an equitable representation of art and artists from various racial and cultural backgrounds.

In addition to the curriculum suite, Thede recommended the purchase of supplemental resources and equipment totaling $15,466.95 bringing the overall cost to $48,212.95. The purchase would include nine digital cameras, 18 information posters, 21 electronic drawing tablets and more storage and memory for nine district-issued laptops.

No action was taken by the school board on the art curriculum at the meeting.

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Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.

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