Saturday, April 25, 2015

Trips to Atlanta, Las Vegas casino on tap for Joplin R-8 officials

In the past few months, the Joplin R-8 School District has borrowed $74 million to keep afloat as it awaits payments (which are not guaranteed) from FEMA and SEMA, but that is not stopping Superintendent C. J. Huff from okaying trips to Atlanta and Las Vegas.

Bills included in the documentation for this month's R-8 Board of Education meeting indicate the Huff Administration is continuing its practice of recent years of attending the annual Model Schools Conference, sponsored by the International Center for Leadership in Education. This year's conference is being held June 28-July 1 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

The registration fee, which will be submitted for the board's approval Tuesday night, is $595 per person, and Joplin is sending five people for a total of $2,795. Of course, this is just the registration fee. A considerable amount will be added for meals, travel, and other expenses.

What will our educators learn from the conference?

According to the event's advertising, they will accomplish the following:

-Hear firsthand from teachers who have embraced rigor and relevance

-Build vision and leadership capacity systemwide

-Use technology to create relevant learning environments

-Embrace rigor, relevance, and relationships to prepare students for the skills they will need for tomorrow's careers

-Create a school culture that prepares students for our modern world by embracing diversity

-Encourage flexible thinking and celebrating creativity

If you are looking for evidence that many of the ideas that have been implemented in the Joplin R-8 School District come from this and similar conferences, a quick look at some of the sessions that are being offered should suffice:

-Communication Strategies to Increase Community Engagement (yes, it's about marketing the school)

-Increasing Rigor and Relevance

-How to be an Effective Instructional Coach

-Creating Rigorous and Relevant Simulated Workplaces for Student Success

Las Vegas

Not much information is available on the conference in Las Vegas, The board documentation shows $576.80 being spent for "convention and travel" for professional development at the Venitian/Palazzo Resort Hotel and Casino.

The documentation provides no details about what type of conference is being held or when, but a conference is being held at the Venitian July 6-10 and the amount the district lists would cover sending 10 people to that particular conference.

Other Bills

Among the other bills that will be presented to the board Tuesday night:

-$140 to Cloud's Meat, Carthage, for honey barbecue snacks, listed as "supplies"

-$371.52 to Embassy Embroidery for supplies for Bright Futures employees

--$895 for five people to attend something called "Summit," listed under convention and travel

-$385 for Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce membership

-$321,30 to Lodge of the Four Seasons under "convention and travel"

$233.78 to Rib Crib for a meal for the Board of Education at its March 24 meeting

-$500,000 for new laptops for all Joplin High School students

-$2,295 for Community Link- Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Directory, listed as "supplies"

-$79.90 to Domino's for "miscellaneous administration orders"

There are some interesting large and small expenditures that I will be writing about in upcoming posts


Anonymous said...

OK It's a small thing in the river of money flowing down the JHS sewer, but tell me again why we have to feed people who all make more money than most of the people in Joplin and who volunteered to be on the BOE?!? Just plain stupid.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

They've been sending people to this overblown conference since Ol' Bessie discovered personnel could spend TARP funds on trips with super deluxe accommodations. That was also when 13 TLCs were inflicted on the district to the tune of millions and millions of dollars. And the scores went into a downward spiral that continues. Giant. Waste. Of. Money.

Anonymous said...

Looking at these expenses kind of explains why R8 is in such desperately bad condition. Apparenlty they do nothing but eat at the AD Building. Maybe they should get off their collectively overfed, oversized rumps and get some real work done.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the last Model Schools Conference they attended the one with the theme of making more with less? That obviously was a waste of time and resources. They spent about 36 grand on that trip, as I recall. And still the scores went down and the spending went up. Total.Waste.Of.Tax.Dollars.

Anonymous said...

How to be an effectual instructional that would be interesting and a worthwhile investment. Will they demonstrate back stabbing, spying, and gossiping? That's what ours do best.

Anonymous said...

That conference is peddling the same hackneyed ideas that have been done to the point of being trite. And have they ever looked up the actual definition of "rigor"? I would guess not. Perhaps they should.

Anonymous said...

These conferences can not be helping the students. Sending the same people to hear the same messages in different exotic venues has not been effective in the past. Why would it work now? How about spending those dollars on KIDS! Students aren't given
snacks during MAP testing unless the teachers buy and bring them. Ironic isn't it?

Anonymous said...

-$371.52 to Embassy Embroidery for supplies for Bright Futures employees
Why is the school board buying wearing apparel for the independent non profit slush fund bright futures