Sunday, September 20, 2015

R-8 Board to hear update on strategic planning

Strategic planning services to determine the direction in which the Joplin R-8 School District will head will cost $55,000 for this year and then another $25,000 annually thereafter, according to documentation for the 7 p.m. Tuesday Board of Education meeting.

It appears unlikely that R-8 taxpayers will have to pay a cent for the first year. Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder says outside funding sources have been found to cover the $55,000. He will detail those sources Tuesday night.

The Board approved the services at a special meeting September 1. Ridder asked for authorization to hire Marc Maness of Opinion Research Specialists in Springfield, who worked with him in Springfield and Mehlville.

Maness has already begun gathering feedback from the community.

At the September 1 meeting, Maness detailed a three-phase plan that begins with extensive one-on-one interviews, lasting about an hour and a half each with teachers and staff, students, parents, and community members, with a secondary group, including board members, administrative staff, and teacher representatives also being interviewed.

Focus groups will be held during the second phase, and the ones who were interviewed during the first phase will be consulted again.

Feedback will come from additional channels as needed, Maness said.

The final phase features the development of surveys based on the information that has been received during the initial phases. A random phone survey will be used, as well as an on-line survey of parents and staff.

After the surveys are completed, Maness indicated, the board will be able to develop targets for the strategic plan, which will be developed by December 1.

"You won't believe how easy it is to be a board member when you know what the public wants," Ridder said. "We have a community that will respond to a sharp focus."


Anonymous said...

In the meantime, back at the ranch while all this ideology is being formulated, I am short $200 this month from last year's salary, and I don't know how I'm going to make my payments to everyone, which means I will get hit with late charges from someone and dinged on my own miserable credit. I can see how there needs to be some long-term planning, but some things that need to be changed are pretty obvious. Someone from the think tank that is Central Office should have seen this coming and done something to divert it, and perhaps Tina Smith might have given us warning (in language we could understand) more than a few days ahead of time. Since the charge for my union dues were not taken out this month, I can assume that I will be lucky to break even next month, if that. I predict the district will fail miserably in its lofty goal to attract and retain the best of teachers this year.

If Joplin wants to be known for something, why doesn't it really follow up and commit to that goal of attracting the best teachers anywhere. Treat teachers like they do in Finland and Norway, and then R8 will find out what most of Europe already seems to know--pay your teachers well, treat them like professionals, give them what they need, and you will need very little else in order to be successful in terms of student growth and teacher retention. That might ruin the vast incomes the parasitical education industry is raking in, but perhaps they can venture into teaching for a living. If they're good enough, that is. Right now I am joining a vast number of Joplin educators in considering leaving the profession altogether, even though I have been quite successful and have committed much of my adult life to education. I will never be able to have a decent, secure life followed by a secure retirement without branching out to some other profession. Pathetic, isn't it?

A tax-supported, overworked, underpaid union thug

Anonymous said...

This may sound harsh but have you ever considered instead of bitching and whining that perhaps you should do something to change your current path? If you're unhappy then do something about it. What I have found is the people who always do the complaining are never the ones to take any action. I'm not trying to take anything away from being in a bad situation but, damn, do something about it.

Anonymous said...


You have no idea in hell what you are talking about. None at all. Because teachers are angry that they work hard and come up short on their paychecks, you are hateful about their daring to say anything? You have no idea what anyone has done. One comment does not justify your harsh rebuke, so I am guessing you have something to fear by the changes that should take place, or you are just a hateful person by nature. What you have "found" is very short-sighted, and it reflects so poorly on you. You are doing exactly what you claim not to be in your last sentence. If we say nothing and suffer silently, is that better for you? It is by Turner's posts, comments, and more work than you can possibly imagine that we have gotten this far. If our unhappiness at losing a few hundred dollars from our checks with very short notice inconveniences you somehow, then that is just too damn bad. Changing our current path is what has cost you 2/3 of your teachers in three years. We've done plenty, 5:47, and we deserve far better than what we've gotten.

Anonymous said...

I did not read bitching and whining. I read tired and sad. You must be in a position where people respect you and your work. Lucky you. I am so sick of the disrespectful way educators are treated. Get your lucky arse into a classroom for a week. See how you feel after that...

Anonymous said...

My family insurance went up $270 a month and my personal insurance went up $19 a month. This of course was after I signed my contract for this school year. I'm stuck with a $3468 hit to my pay this year. I can't do anything about it this year but I can certainly do something about it next spring when it's time to sign contracts.