Saturday, December 06, 2014

Joplin school officials begin five-day Nashville junket

The Joplin R-8 School District, floundering after a spurt of might-as-well spending by the C. J. Huff Administration, only recently borrowed $45 million to keep the ship afloat.

Apparently, this brush with financial collapse hasn't changed the way the Huff Administration operates one bit.

At least eight of the district's top education officials (top administrators and teaching/learning coaches) arrived in Nashville today for a five-day "Learning Forward Conference" at the Gatylor Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

What the cost of this junket will eventually be to the district is unknown, but during its regular November meeting, the R-8 Board of Education approved spending $5,526 for registration fees.

For that money, those who attend will be able to attend the following activities:

-Cocktail Hour in the EdSurge- This is described as a "professional development tech playground," where the attendees can "choose different tools that can be used for professional development."

-PD Redesign Toolkit- This one advertises "Experience the Professional Development Redesign tool kit supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote professional development redesign and set conditions that foster innovation."

-PD Showcase- This session features vendors and providers presenting 25-minute demonstrations on "leveraging the power of technology to implement innovative solutions addressing your professional development needs."

-A concert by the Little River Band

The keynote speakers for the event include the following:

-Steve Gross- Gross will talk about "play and its tremendous benefits for all people and the organizations where they work."

-John Hattie- Hattie is a professor of education at the Melbourne Education Research Institute in Australia.

-Michael Ungar- Ungar is a family therapist and professor of social work at a university in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

-Pearl Arrendondo- Arrendondo, a teacher and daughter of a high-ranking gang member, is a "tireless advocate for technology-based curriculum."

-Barrington Antonio Young- Young is the youngest person to pilot a plane solo around the world.

Sponsors of the Learning Forward Conference include the following:

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
School Improvement Network
Wallace Foundation

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Anonymous said...

Randy, this is just small stuff. Huff is getting ready to ask the city for $5million to expand their early education program from 230 kids to 300. Where does he think the money comes from? It is STILL comes from the taxpayers. It is not free!!

Randy said...

I plan on writing something about that this weekend. And while I agree with you about this being a minor amount in the scheme of things, it is galling to see a chosen few being sent all over the United States at our expense while the teachers are now paid less than their counterparts at Webb City, Carl Junction, Neosho, and other southwest Missouri school districts.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand why CJ does not trade a speaking engagement to pay for this whole thing. I am sure the chosen few from R8 would love to hear that thrilling speech one more time.

Anonymous said...

-Steve Gross- Gross will talk about "play and its tremendous benefits for all people and the organizations where they work."
Too bad they don't believe in children learning through play; NOT tech play.

Anonymous said...

I agree this may be small stuff, but the small stuff adds up to tremendous amounts. I wondered how much was spent when they got on the kick of changing logos from Joplin R-VIII to Joplin Schools. Maybe it didn't cost much to change the paint job on busses, but that small amount may have provided a teacher with much needed teaching supplies.

Anonymous said...

I ask why doesn't someone put a stop to this ridiculous spending like a school board. Many in this town hope he will move on but the other side of this waste is a board that is not acting responsibly. They should be representing Joplin patrons and children instead of Huff but they aren't
So the only hope for change is Huff moving on. It can't cone too soon. While he "prays" about it this town is praying for him to go!

Anonymous said...

Many professionals attend conferences. A problem with this particular conference is it always falls at this time of year. That makes it next to impossible to send classroom teachers. If this was during the summer or even spring break, teachers could go as teams and come back with updated learning to reenergize themselves, their buildings and their teaching. As it stands now, this is a conference that looks like a vacation for people that teachers don't trust.

Anonymous said...

The new lettering on the buses was almost $5000