Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Norm Ridder after first week: This system is sick
In a brief statement at the beginning of tonight's R-8 Board of Education meeting, Ridder confirmed what critics of the C. J. Huff regime and the former Board of Education have been saying for the past few years.
"Your system needs a lot of work," Ridder said, "lots of it.
"The system is sick."
In eight short days at the helm, Ridder has discovered that he cannot find reliable data within the school district. The data from one department does not match with the date from another department. "The only data that is solid is DESE's (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education data. I guarantee you we'll get that straightened out quickly."
The district is riddled with far too many initiatives and is heading off in all different directions, Ridder noted. The interim superintendent will be talking with people in all departments, including teachers, classified staff, and the public.
Ridder promised to have a thorough analysis by October 1 and a plan that will be put into effect after the first of the year and it will not be one of those thousand page volumes that sit on the shelf gathering dust.
"I'll come to you with a one-page strategic plan for this district. It's going to be really focused.
"You have way too many things going on."
The focus of the plan, Ridder said, will be to support teachers in their jobs and students with taking charge of their learning. "The system needs to support the teachers in a very strong way."
Ridder closed the statement by noting, "It's going to take longer than I initially thought."
The book that started the process that led to Norm Ridder being hired as interim superintendent is available in paperback locally at Always Buying Books and Changing Hands Book Shoppe in Joplin, and at Pat's Books in Carthage. It is also available in paperback and e-book formats from Amazon.com.