Sunday, July 19, 2015

R-8 official, fired consultant claim success at national conference

Less than a month after the Joplin R-8 Board of Education voted for a second time not to renew the contract of an educational consulting firm, a top district official teamed with the consultant to tell a national convention audience about the success the firm had in Joplin.

Director of Curriculum,  Instruction, and Assessment Sarah Stevens and Paul Bloomberg and Barb Pitchford of Core Collaborative gave a presentation on "Impact Teams" at the 2015 Annual Visible Learning Conference July 13 in San Antonio, Texas.

Core Collaborative cost the district more than $100,000 during the 2014-2015 school year, not including tens of thousands spent on books from Corwin Press, which has a working relationship with Bloomberg, and the recent decision by the Board of Education to spend $300,000 over a three-year period on a testing regimen that Bloomberg recommended.

Stevens pushed the high-priced consultants from the beginning. Core Collaborative originally signed a $31,600 contract with the district to provide 10 days of training.

At the December 16 board meeting, a proposal, submitted by Stevens and okayed by Superintendent C. J. Huff and Executive Director of Elementary Education Jennifer Doshier, asked for another $64,000 for Core Collaborative..

In the documentation for the request, Stevens explains it in this fashion:

Dr. Bloomberg's work this far has been well received and certain areas are asking for more time to collaborate with him. The work will focus on the "formative process" outlined in the professional development plan as well as Visible Learning work around self-regulated learning.
After Stevens used an onslaught of testimonials from carefully selected teachers and principals to convince the board to pay the $300,000 for the testing system, she attempted the same tactics to push through a renewal for Core Collaborative, sending this e-mail to principals:

I will be taking the Core Collaborative contract to the board on Tuesday, May 26.
I am asking for a year long contract up to 30 days to include the days principals have asked for, departments have requested, and to finish helping with the bsip plans we have started and the work of self regulated learning. I will be also be including a couple of days for special ed iep work.
This is the same amount of days we used this year between three consultants with the Core Collaborative.

I would like a short blurb from you stating how the work we have embarked on this year with the core collaborative and visible learning has helped, guided, or changed the way your building is working together, performing, etc. If you feel inclined, include what you hope to gain from continuing this focus and support.

Please do not use the verbiage of Visible Learning since that technically was with Corwin, even though Paul (consultant Paul Bloomberg who heads the Core Collaborative) tied a lot of what we were doing all together to make it all fit. I will bring Visible Learning for Teachers to a different board meeting if JPDT votes to have it happen this summer.

I am hoping to provide a presentation to avoid the interviews and length of the last action item, but your visible support at the board meeting is always appreciated.

If you have teachers that have really taken hold of learning intentions, success criteria, feedback, impact (data) teams, etc. Please ask them to send me an email or quick video explaining. Even better would be to have the students speak (but that is short notice so I understand if that can't happen).

I have several videos of students speaking on their learning, so if you have some great ones with the work you have been doing or want to brag on your school, now is the time!

If you don't agree to having Dr. Bloomberg or his consultants back I need to know that as well so I can clearly say who is in support of it. Otherwise, I will speak as a whole for all of us.

The board rejected Core Collaborative by a 3-2 vote  with Jeff Koch, Debbie Fort, and Jennifer Martucci voting against it and Lynda Banwart and Mike Landis voting in favor of it.

Stevens took another shot last month with four new members on the board, claiming it would hurt teacher morale if the consultant's contract was not renewed. The same three board members voted against Core Collaborative and were joined by new board member Gary Nodler.

Banwart and new board members Ron Gatz and Sallie Beard voted for Core Collaborative.

(Photos- Top, Paul Bloomberg, Sarah Stevens, and Barb Pitchford at Visible Learning Conference. Bottom, Bloomberg, Stevens, and Pitchford at their presentation)


Anonymous said...

I thought Bloomberg was the worst PD I ever had. He is nothing but a bully and a fast talker. When we pulled the stickers up off the materials we received, we found that he had covered up the real creator's label. It appeared that he was plagiarizing his materials. Another con man, complements of R8. A wasted day and a lot of wasted money for that district and mine.

Anonymous said...

How do they measure success? What did they use for evidence? I absolutely despised Bloomberg days and celebrated both times he was voted down.

Anonymous said...

I find that top to be intimidating. It looks like some dreadful explosion is taking place.

I know. That's petty. But it is as unprofessional as it can be. I hope she didn't claim to represent all of us since Bloomberg is gone now. I'm embarrassed, if so.

Anonymous said...

So, who's making money out of this gig? Sarah? CJ? This guy was a hack.

Anonymous said...

Several questions come to mind:

1. Who paid for this trip? If Bloomberg and Joplin have parted ways, then R8 should not have paid for Sarah (and did anyone else go?) to attend the conference.
2. Are they not embarrassed to tell the "Joplin Story" if Joplin has rejected them? Does Bloomberg know he is no longer wanted?
3. How can Sarah tell the "Joplin Story" if the end of the story won't be known until the scores come in, and how will they differentiate between the impact of Bloomberg and the other hundreds of initiatives they have in place?
4. Who authorized this trip, if R8 paid for it?
5. Was she paid for presenting? If so, was she on vacation time, or did she double-dip? We know CJ did that all the time, so we can assume the rest of the central office staff would follow his lead.

We need answers!!

Anonymous said...

I heard Bloomberg and Pitchford are writing a book about the Joplin story. Really? They were here for a year. How much of a story, at least a truthful story, can there be? And who gave them the rights? Do they need rights to our data? Another group siphoning off a profit from the district. Sickening.

Anonymous said...

How does she get off representing the district when the district has fired Bloomberg? I hope Sarah is the next one fired. I got a survey from her assistant this week asking dangerous questions about how I felt about Bloomberg. I didn't answer it because I wasn't sure it was anonymous. The question about whether I would recommend this district to other teachers looked like a trap. Not sure if I liked the question about whether I would put my kids in R8, either. The answer to both questions? A profound no, as long as this woman and her ilk are in charge. I suppose the survey is an indication that she is still going to try to bring Bloomberg back. That might be a deal breaker for me.

Dusty Roads said...

Stevens just does not want the free junkets to end.

Anonymous said...

Are there other districts that claimed success?
R8 really should not have been represented since they've dropped this. Did they mention that at the conference?
I want to know who paid for her to be there also. If she has a 12 month contract, did she take vacation time to do this? Teachers have to turn in the money from jury duty or be docked. Was she docked?

Anonymous said...

Core Collaborative only became a business separate from Corwin in January of 2015. That does not give them a large enough bank of data to determine if they were successful in Joplin or anywhere else. When Joplin hosted a conference for Bloomberg during spring break, we watched the participants from out of town get up and leave in disgust. I'm glad the board stopped this. It's a shame Sarah hasn't, but it appears to make her feel important, so she just keeps on pushing a lost cause. Pathetic.