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Legislators, community leaders visit Marshalltown Schools


Woodbury Elementary School Principal Anel Garza, right, talks to a group visiting the school on January 5 including, from left, Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, State Representative Mark Smith, Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Vision Marshalltown Executive Director Kyley Leger, Marshalltown Regional Partnership CEO David Barajas and State Representative Dean Fisher.

Local legislators, community and school leaders made three school stops in the Marshalltown Community School District on January 5.

The group included State Representatives Mark Smith and Dean Fisher, Marshalltown Regional Partnership CEO David Barajas, Vision Marshalltown Executive Director Kyley Leger, Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte and Marshalltown Schools Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson.

The group visited Fisher Elementary School, Woodbury Elementary School and Marshalltown High School to learn more about programs at the schools. The visit was especially important as the state legislature is set to reconvene on January 9.

Fisher Elementary
At Fisher the group, led by Principal Vicki Vopava, visited a first grade classroom taught by Mary Pepper and a preschool class taught by Brienna Wolf. Topics of discussion at Fisher included English Language Learners, preschool, third grade reading retention, student attendance and parent engagement.


Fisher Elementary School Preschool teacher Brienna Wolf, left.

Woodbury Elementary
The Woodbury stop, led by Principal Anel Garza, included visits to the dual language classrooms of Katie Hilby (kindergarten) and Becky Jacobson (second grade). Discussion topics included extensive information on the dual language program, mental health needs, the work of the guidance counselor (Heidi Williams) and other topics.

“We have an absolutely great program here,” Garza said of the dual language program, which has students learning in both Spanish and English. The dual language program at Woodbury is 13 years old and is a state leader.


Woodbury Elementary School dual language kindergarten teacher Katie Hilby gives a lesson in Spanish to the class.

Marshalltown High School
MHS Principal Jacque Wyant led the group as they visited two Project Lead the Way classrooms – the biomedical science program taught by Erica Malloy and the engineering program taught by Mike Lazere.
Malloy said students get excited in project-based learning as it applies what they are learning to the real world.
Lazere said they are working with local engineers to lend their expertise and show students careers they can land in engineering. Marshalltown is a state leader in Project Lead the Way curriculum.


MHS Project Lead the Way engineering teacher Mike Lazere, left


MHS Project Lead the Way biomedical science teacher Erica Malloy, left


Fisher Elementary School Principal Vicki Vopava, top