MCSD, community partners collaborate on Return to Learn plan

R2L logoMarshalltown Schools is working with several community partners to ensure high-quality education continues when classes begin this fall, no matter what challenges are brought by the current public health situation. 

“The Marshalltown Return to Learn Team is composed of 73 people,” said District Director of Instruction Dr. Lisa Stevenson. “We are writing our plan with equity at the forefront of all of six of our teams.”

School districts statewide are working on Return to Learn plans in accordance with Iowa Department of Education requirements.

The MCSD Return to Learn team includes district administrators, teacher leaders, counselors, and nursing staff, as well as community organizations such as Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA), the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA, St. Francis Catholic School, Bobcat Academy, Marshalltown Community College, and Central Rivers Area Education Agency. 

Each of the six Return to Learn teams – including Data, Infrastructure, Health and Safety, Special Education/English language learner education, Academic Standards, and Social-Emotional-Behavioral Health – has met weekly this month to plan for multiple education delivery scenarios this fall. 

Those possible scenarios include fully in-person student learning, fully digital or online student learning, and a hybrid model in which both online and in-person learning take place.

The Return to Learn work in June has included the creation and delivery of several surveys for district employees, students, and families, as well as planning the best ways to deliver education safely next school year amid ongoing public health concerns. We greatly value survey feedback, and all MCSD parents and students in grades 6-12 who have not yet taken their survey are encouraged to do so; survey links can be found here

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Leaders from Marshalltown Schools and several community organizations work together during a weekly Return to Learn planning session.

Going forward
On July 1, Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte will affirm with the Iowa Department of Education that the district’s Return to Learn teams are creating plans and gathering key data. Additionally, the district will confirm the 2020-21 school calendar with the Department of Education; that calendar, approved by the Marshalltown School Board earlier this year, includes an Aug. 25, 2020 start date.

No final decision will be made on the district’s Return to Learn plan on July 1, but planning and data collection will continue as the district awaits further state guidance. The Marshalltown School Board will be responsible for making a final decision on the district’s Return to Learn plan.

“Ultimately, our plans need to allow for our District and its schools to be able to seamlessly transition from in-person teaching and learning to remote learning based on the health and safety needs of our students and staff,” Dr. Schutte said.

For more information, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s Return to Learn web page.