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IVCCD Board pledges support to Bobcat Ready! initiative

The Iowa Valley Community College District Board of Directors learned about and declared formal support of Marshalltown Community School District’s “Bobcat Ready!” initiative when it met this month.

MCSD Superintendent Dr.Theron Schutte explained to the IVCCD Board that the research-based Bobcat Ready program identifies multiple college readiness and career readiness indicators that will put MHS students in position for success after high school. “Many years ago, only three in 10 high school graduates needed college training to obtain a good job and support their families,” said Schutte. “Today, we know that seven out of 10 of our graduates will need post-secondary training in order to be successful.”

Schutte said helping high school students and their parents understand the college ready and career ready indicators is the first step, and that begins in the fall. The work of the school district staff is then to help students achieve those benchmarks through providing rigorous academic programs, personalized and career-specific learning experiences, and social and emotional skills that prepare them to be global citizens. “We must look beyond standardized test scores and use multiple measures to assess and demonstrate that our students are ready to succeed in life beyond high school.”

The College Ready Indicators for MHS include a 2.75 grade point average and one or more additional academic criteria, including advanced placement exams, advanced placement courses, dual credit courses, college developmental/remedial English and or math, Algebra II, and completion of four years of English, math and Science (all with a grade of C or above). The Career Ready Indicators involve identifying career interests and meeting at least three behavioral and experiential benchmarks, including 90% attendance, 25 hours of community service, workplace learning experiences, industry credentials, dual credit coursework, two or more co-curricular activities, and no “good conduct” violations.

As the IVCCD Board approved a resolution endorsing the Bobcat Ready! program, Chancellor Chris Duree added, “Dr. Schutte is to be highly commended for this initiative. There is not one element of this that is not reflected in our mission statement.”

In other matters, the Board approved contracts with seven high schools to provide college courses to high school students next year, a jobs training agreement of $4,961 with ASI Signage Innovations of Grinnell, updates to selected fees associated with five college programs/courses, and the revision of numerous Board policies and guidelines.

The Board also approved a resolution to proceed with refinancing $4.4 million of current dormitory revenue refunding bonds. A special Board meeting will be held June 25 to authorize issuance of those bonds, which the District anticipates will save approximately $225,000 in interest payments over the life of the bonds, through 2030.

A donation of $1,000 from Church Women United of Iowa Falls was accepted for support of the Iowa Falls high school equivalency and English as a Second Language programs through Iowa Valley Continuing Education. It was noted that this group has donated more than $27,000 to Iowa Valley over the years, and the additional donation was accepted with gratitude.

The Board went into closed session to discuss collective bargaining strategy but took no action upon returning to open session.

The next Board meeting is a special joint board meeting with Hawkeye Community College, NIACC and Central Rivers AEA on Monday, June 4, at 4 pm in the Iowa Valley Continuing Education Center, Room 608, in Marshalltown. The next regular meeting of the IVCCD Board will be on Wednesday, June 4, at 4 pm at the Iowa Valley Grinnell campus, 123 6th Avenue West (room 145) in Grinnell.

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