Saturday, February 13, 2016
Joplin R-8 eliminates teaching/learning coaches
The coaches will reportedly return to classroom teaching.
The positions were added during the C. J. Huff- Angie Besendorfer years, purportedly to assist teachers and help them with their classroom performance. Instead, they were often used as a spy network for Huff and Besendorfer.
The positions enabled some teachers with little classroom experience to put themselves on the fast track to administrative jobs for which they were not qualified- a case in point being the promotion of Sarah Stevens to curriculum director. Stevens was reassigned recently and has submitted her resignation, effective at the end of the current school year.
The promotion of unqualified people, including Stevens, was cited in the recent state audit.
The district also was investigated in 2013 for using Title I funds to put these coaches into place, while eliminating reading teachers.
For the past couple of years, the coaches have hopscotched around the country attending various seminars at the taxpayers' expense. Some of those had already been approved for this year before Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder took the reins of the school district.
Two of those junkets were examined in the October 26 Turner Report:
It has been a busy month for the teaching/learning coaches in the Joplin R-8 School District.
Today marked the first day of their three-day junket to Denver for the 2015 Teaching Learning Conference. The district paid for eight to attend at a cost of $4,400, a price that will go up once they return and submit their vouchers for travel, lodging, and food expenses.
Fortunately for the coaches, earlier this month they were able to prepare for the conference by attending a three-day institute for instructional coaches in Lawrence, Kansas, under the tutelage of Jim Knight, who delivered the keynote speech today in Denver.
During the morning session on the first day of the institute, the Joplin coaches learned "What Coaches Do," something which should come in handy for them after floundering for the past few years as upper administration alternately used them to push the latest initiatives and to spy on teachers.
The afternoon session was also on "What Coaches Do," either because they were not certain if the coaches understood during the morning or because the coaches had even more to do than could be handled in a morning session.
The second day's morning session dealt with "What Coaches Do," in case the coaches failed to understand what they do after one day of training. The afternoon session included another heaping helping of "What Coaches Do."
On the final day, the focus changed to "Mutually Humanizing Relationships."
The cost for the three-day institute was $3,300 for six R-8 teaching'learning coaches. That figure will increase when expense vouchers are filed.
How much of the $,3,300 was for "What Coaches Do" and how much paid for "Mutually Humanizing Relationships" was not revealed.