Expulsion drought pleases school leaders

When it comes to student expulsions, leaders in Marshalltown schools say no news is good news.

After having to expel 26 of students over a two year span, the school district has had no student expulsions since the 2011-12 school year.

Marshalltown expelled 17 students in 2010-11 and nine in 2011-12. Of those 17 expulsions in 2010-11, 14 were for drug use or possession and others were for fighting, weapons or threats.

There were no expulsions in the 2012-13 school year and none so far this school year.

“We don’t know how long that will continue, but we’re thankful for it,” said Superintendent Marvin Wade.

Wade said they haven’t lowered the bar in terms of expectations for behavior. He feels their focus on letting students know what behavior they expect from them is working. It’s part of a program called Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS).

“We know that that makes some difference,” Wade said.

Lisa Koester, director of human resources with the school district, said they are headed in a positive direction with student behavior.

“People are working very hard to make sure students are held accountable, but are getting the education that they need,” Koester said.

Koester has said previously that the security cameras installed at the high school and middle school two years ago also could have had an impact on behavior.

Koester said they have tracked 12 formerly expelled students and have seven back in school and on track to graduate.

“That’s pretty good odds,” Koester said.