Dr. Lisa Stevenson's Updates

October 10-17

Culture, Communication, Collaboration

Good afternoon!

What a week of learning for me and many others in MCSD! I am a firm believer in "you don't know what you don't know" and fully support our staff getting out literally to visit other classrooms internally, visit other Iowa district, attend state and national conferences, and make connections online with other educators to improve our knowledge and skills. My work this week will reflects that :)

  • ITEC is the Iowa Technology & Education Connection group for our state. It represents the leaders, both classroom and administration, in integrating technology into instruction as well as personalizing and blending traditional instruction with technology. Here are some of the great resources we were able to access in this link. Our TLC staff (CPDLs, ICs), David Stanfield, Eric Goslinga, and I all attended. This team of 12 or so will be the main drivers to collaborate to plan a day of personalized learning on our all-day PD on February 17th to build a culture of integrating technology to build a personalized and blended learning environment for our students and staff.
  • DA (Differentiated Accountability) is an acronym that you will hear lots about this year and beyond. It is the new model for continuous improvement that the DE is using to monitor student achievement and progress. This fall/winter we have a team of 31 that is attending four different trainings over six days on the healthy indicators in the PK-6 system for literacy. We attended the first one in Ames on Tuesday. Anson, Woodbury, and Lenihan will have intensive site visits from this process on March 1-2. Our data has not been publicly reported by building, but will be this year by me at SIAC as we need to own this data and be solution-focused in our communications.
  • Wednesday was the first state-wide meeting for the 9 Competency Based Education (CBE) districts across the state. We met in Van Meter and had a day full of learning from the DE, Van Meter CSD, AEA contacts, etc. Our team includes representatives from MMS,MLA, and MHS including principals, coaches, and teachers. We learned lots about tools to assist monitoring standards referenced grading, blended/personalized learning, and competency based principles for anytime/anywhere learning.
  • Spread the Word Read by 3rd community committee met for the first time this school year on Wednesday night at MICA. Dr. Schutte and I were there as well as Rogers Elementary staff. I was impressed with the culture of this large community group has dug in the last five or so years to really look at chronic attendance issues, preschool participation, and and K-3 reading proficiency as measured by FAST and/or Iowa Assessments. I am looking forward to the continued work with this group as early literacy indicators are telling us that our students need even more support than we have given in the past in PK and K-3.
  • ST Math http://www.mindresearch.org/stmath presented to the K-6 principals, Matt, Shauna, and I on Thursday. Dr. Schutte and I are very excited about the possibility of having Marshalltown students in PK or K-6 use this digital, adaptive, gamified resource to supplement and our current and future Core/Tier I math instruction. CEO Matthew Pearson presented to us and I truly believe given our culture of investng in technology in MCSD that we are well-suited to use this resource to given our gifted students a chance to accelerate as well as a way to provide re-teaching in a brain-based way of learning math conceptually, abstractly, and then representationally.
  • Elementary Principals' meeting was focused on the big "rocks" of ST Math, Lexia Core 5, and preschool director/principal/preschool teacher/instructional coach job duties. We got an overview of ST Math and collaborate to decide on next steps of sharing with TLC staff and the Math Leadership Team. We also decided to stay the course with training ALL K-6 ELA teachers, SPED, Title, ELL, etc. on November 14th on Lexia Core 5, but each building site will determine its own implementation plan for the remainder of this year. We will regroup in June and make more plan for Year 2 and 3 that reflect systems thinking based on data driven results and recommendations from our DE DA visit on March 1-2.
  • Life has gotten very busy at CO for me the last week or so and the light appears to be at the end of the October. I am hopeful to get back into visiting schools weekly and even joining Lenihan students for lunch soon! My days have been back-to-back meetings and/or out-of-district for community, AEA, DE, or other state level work for almost the whole month of October.
  • Math Leadership Team met to collaboarte again to learn all about our second option for K-6 math adoption for Core/Tier I to be implemented next year. They learned about Envisions (See link below) from Pearson the first time and this week learned about Go Math! From Houghton Harcourt Mifflin (See link below). We have one more left to look at and hope to pick the highest quality choice to pilot on November 14th.
  • Teacher Quality Committee met for the first of three yearly meetings on Thursday after school. This group of 9-10 teachers and 9-10 administrators communicates the processes and uses of the Teacher Quality funds from year to year from the district perspective, building use, and individual teacher use.
  • It was fun to attend the Marshall County United Way Power of the Purse fundraiser! Pam Brewer-Michael joined me and there were other women from MCSD including Jacque as well as our very own Andrew Potter assisting the bidding. I know MCSD heard the "plug" at our kick-off and I am hopeful as a district we can continue to support our local community in these types of culture building events in the future.
  • Urban Education Network (UEN) met for Curriculum Directors for the first time this year on Friday. This group includes the 8 largest districts and 9 associate districts in Iowa. We spent the morning communicating about Smarter Balanced assessment systems and how Iowa plans to roll this out state-wide in place of Iowa Assessments in grades 3-11 in 17-18. I will be attending trainings this year to prepare MCSD for this charge. There is a link to SB below under Iowa Core.gov.


I will continue to focus on how we can improve our communication, our collaboration, and our culture in all that I do. I know that getting these "3 Cs" in sync is key to our success as an organization.

Have a great week!

Dr. Stevenson