Thursday, August 20, 2015

Norm Ridder on KZRG: We are going to learn from our former superintendent

The messages being sent by Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder are giving Joplin R-8 teachers a glimmer of hope for the first time since the C. J. Huff era began in Joplin.

Teachers who talked with the Turner Report were pleased with Ridder's speech Tuesday at the annual back-to-school rally, in which Ridder let them know they would not have to work in fear, an acknowledgment of the situation that existed in the district for the past seven years.

During a just-completed interview on KZRG's Morning Newswatch, Ridder said more things which should meet with approval from his staff.

Among his comments:

"We're really going to find out what Joplin wants for our kids. We're really not going to pay attention to the state; we're not going to pay attention to the federal government. We're really going to tune, hone in, and let Joplin tell us, then we're going to do exactly what they tell us to do."

"The work ethic is strong here. Give them a mission and get out of the way."

"Technology can be a tool that can assist the kids in learning, but the paper is still going to be a part of that system.Technology is a good tool, a good thing, but to be totally absent from paper can be a problem."

After saying he was not happy with the MAP scores, Ridder added, "We need to compare ourselves to very similar districts and also compare ourselves to the top performing district in the state. The top performing district in the state, by the way, is Lindbergh. Guess who's the superintendent in Lindbergh? Jim Simpson. Jim Simpson used to be the superintendent here in Joplin. We need to find out, discover what they're doing. That's how we get smarter. It's basically find out what the needs of the kids are and make sure we can respond to that.and make sure we don't throw all kinds of new initiatives and programs at our teachers. Our teachers are very smart. We need to give them a system that will help them get better, but also help our kids get better.
How did the Joplin R-8 School District reach the point where it needed to bring in a Norm Ridder to right the ship? The story is told in my book, Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption, and the Joplin Tornado. A signing for the book will be held 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, August 29, at Always Buying Books in Joplin. Hope to see you there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dr. Ridder!
Finally, there is someone in charge who acknowledges the climate of fear.
PLEASE listen to employees (both past and present) and parents (current and recent grads').
PLEASE put people in administrative positions that are actually qualified.
PLEASE find out what has happened to all of the experienced teachers who left.

To all of the Huff and Besendorfer toadies: do everyone a favor and just pack up now. Don't let the door hit you.