Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Norm Ridder after first week: This system is sick

After one week in charge of the Joplin R-8 School District, Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder is already seeing that the problems are far worse than he had originally anticipated.

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.


Anonymous said...

Just what a lot of us have been saying for years to DEAF ears.

Anonymous said...

This is how you take one for the team Mike Landis !

The operative word here is TEAM. Hope your miniature ears are burning !

Anonymous said...

This guy is going to be very busy, but he seems to have gotten a good idea already what he has to deal with. For those who have kept their rose colored glasses on about Huff, I would say the time has come to take them off and face reality. Ridder is right, the system is sick. But he can cure it with the help of the community.

I think the excitement is building. It will be a great year for R8 students and staff!

Anonymous said...

I know its early in the game folks but, I have a good feeling about this man. He seems very focused on the huge mess ahead of him. Mr.Ridder, I truly wish you the very best of luck sir. Your a brave man & I hope you figjt the good fight! Not only for our youth but,all the "good teachers that were able to stay strong & hold on!

Anonymous said...

This sounds so good. Hopefully not too good to be true. It seemed over the last few years that there was a new initiative every other week. That makes it so.hard to teach. I hope the teachers can finally have some say in what they do in their classrooms. This has been a very difficult district to work for.

Anonymous said...

Guess the Glob missed the first half of the meeting. Nothing about this in their article, except for the March 1st date. Thank you for the rest of the story.

Anonymous said...

I find it so interesting that in today's paper the Glob did not reference any of Mr. Ridder's comments about the problems facing the school district. Way to go Carol Stark! Hope you follow suit and lose your job just like Rohr and CJ.

Anonymous said...

Memo to the Glob:

Practice looking up synonyms for irrelevant and inconsequential.