Monday, March 14, 2016

Joplin R-8 Board candidates answer JNEA questionnaires

The Joplin chapter of the National Education Association (NEA) recently interviewed candidates for four seats on the R-8 Board of Education and asked them to fill out questionnaires.

The information from those questionnaires is printed below and can be found on the Joplin NEA website.

The four candidates for two three-year positions are incumbent Jennifer Martucci, Sharrock Dermott, Mary Gaarder, and Melissa Rodgers.

Running for one two-year term are Lori Musser and Joe Brown.

Running for one one-year term are Christopher Sloan and Carlos Haley.

After interviewing the candidates, the NEA endorsed Martucci for a three-year term, Musser for two years and Sloan for one year.


I am in receipt of the Joplin NEA school board candidate survey. I appreciate your consideration of me to participate in the survey. I see teachers as a vital part of the educational process and I appreciate all the work they do. With that said, I must respectfully decline to participate in the NEA survey. As a school board candidate, I am not seeking the support of any groups or committees, as not to alienate any individual(s) from supporting my candidacy.

I value education and want each and every child in the Joplin School District to have the best opportunity possible to achieve academic success. Below is a brief bio for your reference and again thank you for your consideration.

Graduate of Missouri Southern State University - BS degrees in Computer Information Science and Business Administration
Graduate of Western Governor's University - MBA in Healthcare Management

Graduate of Missouri Hospital Association Leadership Series

Career History:
Freeman Health System (1996 - present) - currently Vice President of Compliance

Past President of MSSU Lionbackers (Athletic Booster Club)
Vice President of the Joplin Family YMCA Board of Directors
Destiny Church Finance Committee member
American College of Healthcare Executives member

School District Activities:
All-Pro Dad's
Watch DOGS

Carlos Haley, MBA
Facebook: carlos4joplin


B. Education

Attended Joplin Schools 1-6 grades—Irving and South Junior High

Springfield Schools—Cherokee Junior High and Glendale High School

BA in Antiquities from Missouri State University

MDiv Asbury Theological Seminary

C. Career History

a. Throughout college & seminary worked construction and delivery

b. Associate Pastor-Wesley United Methodist, Springfield, MO 1986-88

c. Pastor-Eagle Rock United Methodist, Eagle Rock, MO 1988-1990

d. Founding & Senior Pastor Christ’s Community United Methodist,

D. Civic/Community Activities

a. Habitat for Humanity Board

b. Wildcat Glades Conservation Board

c. Joplin Fire Department Chaplain

d. Officer Newton Co. Rescue

e. Coach Youth Sports-soccer, softball, etc.

E. School District Activities

a. Joplin Booster Club/Concessions-more years than I can count-chief

b. Project Graduation-2 years

c. Joplin High School Prom-3 years

d. Sock hop/Carnival worker

e. A dad who attended many a middle school and high school volleyball,

Joplin, MO 1990-present

burger flipper!!

girl’s basketball, track meets, cheer and dance games/performances

1. What factors led you to decide to run for the school board? I have been pleased with the positive changes I see beginning with Joplin Schools recently, and I hope to further those positive changes.

2. How do you see the quality of education for Joplin students when compared to surrounding districts? Do you believe the quality of education provided for Joplin students is improving?

My two daughters attended Joplin schools, Stephanie ’03 and Mallorie ’06, and I have been disturbed to see the recent downward trend. Both my daughters received great educations in Joplin schools, but in the last few years the schools have been more interested in publicity spin rather than educating our students. I hope to return to the common sense education that we had in the past while looking to the
future of Joplin and its citizens.

3. What are the critical issues currently facing the Joplin school district? How would you prioritize these issues?

a. Financial stability and responsibility: We need to endeavor to make our teachers salaries and benefits competitive to return this district to a district of choice for teachers and staff. We also need to balance this with fiscal responsibility.

b. Trust at all levels of the Joplin Schools: We have a lack of trust-especially between the buildings and central office. We need to make the central office staff a support for our building personnel, while we need a superintendent that is looking to the future of the school district.

c. A return to common sense education: A classroom teacher best knows what his/her students need as far as programs and support. The school principals, classroom teachers and parents need more
voice/choice in the education of their students, and we as a district need to quit allowing expensive consultants to try to tell us what our students need.

4. In a district with financial constraints, how would you prioritize the following items: 


1. Building & Grounds 3

2. Class Size 2

3. Curriculum Development 12

4. Equitable teacher plan time and workload 5

5. Existing Extra and Co-Curricular programs 11

6. Financial Reserve 4

7. New Programs 10

8. Professional Development 9

9. Reducing local tax burden 6

10. Salaries and benefits (maintaining) 1

11. Technology 7

12. Transportation 8

I am not even sure items such as curriculum, new programs, and the extra/co-curricular programs fall under the school board’s domain, so these are low on the list.

As stated in #3 the board needs to make sure that the teacher’s salaries/benefits are attractive to both new and current teachers. We should endeavor to make our class sizes at all grades a priority. If the teacher plan time and workload is not currently equitable this needs to be addressed. We also need to address the inequities among our buildings-especially we need to make sure all of our elementary schools are as equivalent as possible.

5. What factors do you feel will attract and retain a quality teaching staff for Joplin Schools.

First, the district needs to make sure we have an attractive pay/benefits package, as well as a pay scale with non-negotiable steps (obviously with normal economic times. Second, Joplin Schools needs to have clear discipline plans and procedures so our teachers know they are supported in the classroom. Finally, we need to de-centralize the daily decision making process. We need to
empower our principals and teachers to lead the educational process.

6. What are your thoughts in comparing Joplin teacher salaries to those in surrounding districts and in other parts of the state? Do you favor a tax levy election campaign that would focus on competitive salaries to attract and retain quality educators in Joplin?

When looking at district data compared to surrounding districts, we do have some catch-up on our salaries fortunately we do not have a huge hurdle. I feel if we can improve the working conditions for our teachers, and work to increase salaries and benefits we can compete. I currently do not support a tax levy because I do not feel with the current feelings in the community that we could successfully pass such levy.

7. How do you view the respective roles of the school board, administration and employees in determining the future direction of Joplin schools? The main focus of the school board should be to hire and retain the best superintendent possible-one who has a vision for the schools, and not for
themselves. The board should also handle budgetary and overarching policy decisions. The administration should handle district-wide issues, but day to day decisions should be with the teachers/principals/staff of the buildings—they are better equipped to handle those decisions.

8. How important are student standardized test scores in determining the success of Joplin schools? How much of a percentage should student test scores be in the evaluation of teachers? Unfortunately, we do have to look to student scores as a portion of our district focus since much of our accreditation and possibly funding can rest on those scores. I feel as a district it should only be one benchmark in determining our success. Since we are a public school in Missouri, we must abide by state board of education decisions as to the weight scores are given in teacher evaluations and school accreditation.

9. What is your opinion of the Competency Grading system for elementary students?

 I am currently researching this, but many elementary teachers are on board with this.

10. How do you feel about efforts to repeal the current teacher tenure law in Missouri? What do you see as the main purpose of teacher tenure? 

 Again, if the state of Missouri elects to abolish tenure then we as a Missouri public school will
abide by the state law. Personally, I see tenure as a safety net for teachers, in its original inception the point was to protect the teacher from vindictive parents-perhaps in smaller districts where a poor grade or cut from a team could get a teacher fired. I have no problem with teacher tenure. We do however, as district need to ensure that only the best possible teachers receive tenure. This means we
need to take very seriously the teacher evaluation process and make sure we are supporting new teachers so that they are growing and improving as professional educators.


B. Education

Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education

Master of Science in Guidance Counseling

Master of Science in Educational Administration

Specialist in Educational Leadership

C. Career History

I began my education career in Diamond, Missouri, in 1985, as a parent educator for the Parents as Teachers program. I did that for two years and then began teaching kindergarten at Diamond Elementary in 1987 and stayed there for three years. In 1990, I was hired in Joplin as a kindergarten teacher and taught for seven years. I then became a school counselor and did that for seven years. I ended my career as the principal at Columbia Elementary, where I served for 11 years. I also taught Summer School for several years in Joplin. I retired from the Joplin School district in June, 2012, and began working at MSSU in August, 2012, where I am still employed full-time. At MSSU, I serve as the Coordinator of Student Disability Services and also teach an early childhood education class and college academic skills classes.

D. Civic/Community Activities

Currently I am becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate where I work with a child in foster care and also with all of the different agencies involved with the child. I then provide my input
to the Judge which helps him/her to make the decision on what is the best placement for the child.

I am a founding member and currently sit on the executive board of the Operation Fairy Godmother program. This program has been operating for the past twelve years. We all know how terribly expensive Prom can be for a teenager and their family. Some kids can’t afford the fancy dress, shoes, makeup, tuxedo, etc. Operation Fairy Godmother takes that worry away and provides all the “fixins” for prom for area young men and women so that they can go to Prom and look and feel just as great as everyone else. We have expanded our services to provide for students in area schools as well as our Joplin kids.

E. School District Activities

I have served as a Lunch Buddy at both North and McKinley within the past five years. I also attend the Board of Education meetings as often as I can.

1. What factors led you to decide to run for the school board?

I had been thinking about running for the school board for some time. Things in the district are
changing for the better, thanks to the hard work of the current board, and I want to be a part of
making sure that our district continues to move forward in a positive direction. It is imperative
that we select the right person for the job of Superintendent. I want to ensure that a Superintendent is selected that will foster a culture of respect, acceptance and transparency for all stakeholders. I believe that I can bring a lot of things to the board such as common sense, reliability, respect and experience. I want to make a difference for the community and district that I love.

2. How do you see the quality of education for Joplin students when compared to surrounding
districts? Do you believe the quality of education provided for Joplin students is improving?

When comparing state test scores, our students do not fare well in relation to the students’ scores in surrounding districts. Although, the state places a lot of emphasis on these test scores, we all know that these scores are not the sole indicator of quality of education. I believe that our students receive a quality education because of persistent and diligent teachers that refuse to give up. Improvements can be made such as reducing the amount of “meetings” that teachers are required to attend, thereby reducing their time out of the classroom. Another way of improving would be to develop a solid curriculum based on developmental practice and then getting out of the way and letting teachers teach. The last improvement that needs to be made is to cut out all of the extra testing that takes place. I do believe the quality of education is improving some and will continue to improve with solid, knowledgeable leadership in place.

3. What are the critical issues currently facing the Joplin school district? How would you prioritize these issues?

There has been a culture of fear and mistrust that has developed over the past few years where
some teachers do not feel safe or respected within our district. This is beginning to improve and
needs to continue improving. The loss of many veteran teachers that have left for other districts, is detrimental. I feel this is a direct result of the poor culture that has existed and lack of raises in teachers’ salaries. The final critical issue that I want to address is the bulging budget. So many unnecessary positions have been added in the past few years that have taken money away from teacher salaries. We have to make some significant cuts to obtain a lean budget so that emphasis can be placed on improving teacher salaries and make us competitive again like we used to be. If I were to prioritize these issues, I would have to put an improved culture first, improving teachers’ salaries second and teacher retention third. Needless to say, if culture and salaries are addressed, then the retention issue will take care of itself.

4. In a district with financial constraints, how would you prioritize the following items (1-12)?

(2) Building & Grounds – Safety for students and teachers

(3) Class Size

(4) Curriculum Development – with teacher input

(5) Equitable teacher plan time and workload

(7) Existing Extra and Co-Curricular programs

(6) Financial Reserve

(12) New Programs

(8) Professional Development – presented by teachers and principals who know our

district, is based on data and research.

(10) Reducing local tax burden

(1) Salaries and benefits (maintaining) – I don’t want them maintained – I want

them improved.

(9) Technology

(11) Transportation

5. What factors do you feel will attract and retain a quality teaching staff for Joplin schools?

There are many factors that I feel will attract and retain a quality teaching staff for our schools.
A positive culture and salaries that are competitive with our surrounding districts are the two most important factors in my mind. I would also add that support for the teacher in regards to discipline and student behavior is also very important. Other factors such as equitable responsibilities both inside and outside the school, greater teacher autonomy in the classroom, increased funding for classroom resources and increased faculty control over school policymaking are also very important in attracting and retaining quality teachers. Finally, a strong teacher organization to advocate for teachers is an extremely important factor in attraction and retention of a quality teaching staff in our district. I think sometimes that the powers that be forget that teachers are the most important people in the school district and our funding and support should demonstrate that.

6. What are your thoughts in comparing Joplin teacher salaries to those in surrounding districts and in other parts of the state? Do you favor a tax levy election campaign that would focus on competitive salaries to attract and retain quality educators in Joplin?

Joplin teachers’ pay needs a lot of improvement. We are below most of our surrounding districts and districts across the state in beginning salaries. Where it really goes downhill for Joplin teachers is when you look at veteran teachers’ pay. Master’s level + 10 years of experience is below every surrounding district except for Seneca and Diamond, which don’t even come close to comparing with Joplin in enrollment numbers. Webb City has us beat in all categories and we would need about 1.3 million to get our pay even with theirs. I believe we can find that money in the budget with making some significant cuts at the upper administration level. I would need a lot of input from stakeholders before I would support a tax increase. I am not supportive of one right now because patrons have told me how upset they are with how high their current taxes are. I believe we can raise our teachers’ salaries to be competitive without a tax increase.

7. How do you view the respective roles of the school board, administration and employees in determining the future direction of Joplin schools?

The school board plays a very important role in determining the future direction of the school district by setting effective policies and through the hiring of an excellent superintendent. Of course, the school board needs to do this with stakeholder input. They also need to make wise decisions about the budget and make sure that they are fiscally responsible. Administration then needs to implement the board policies in an effective and appropriate manner. Administration needs to listen to the district’s employees by allowing their input, involvement in decision-making and through providing feedback. The employees are obligated to do their part in determining the future direction of the district by being willing to share their thoughts, views and expertise. It is also vitally important that the employees put forth a positive attitude about the district to the community.

8. How important are student standardized test scores in determining the success of Joplin schools? How much of a percentage should student test scores be in the evaluation of teachers?

I don’t feel they are as important as some other groups do. In a sense, they are important because state and federal laws require the testing but I believe that standardized tests don’t tell us the whole story of how successful our district is. Having said that, all of the other districts in Missouri are taking the same test that our students are so I do believe that we should at least be doing as well as other districts that are comparable to ours. DESE and our community compare our district to others using these scores and make assumptions about our effectiveness. We need to educate the community better about what standardized tests really measure. They don’t tell us how engaged our students are in the learning process or how each individual student is progressing towards their learning goals. Students know a lot of important things that are not measured by the tests. The test can’t possibly measure everything our students are learning. Children possess many types of intelligences and just because a student doesn’t do well on a math test doesn’t mean the student isn’t going to be a successful, productive and contributing citizen. There are also too many factors out of the control of the teacher such as student absenteeism, behavior, ability level and lack of parent support. The test can’t tell us what kind of instruction is occurring in our classrooms and it can’t identify the good and poor teachers. Teachers impact students’ lives in ways that can’t be measured on a test. Therefore, a
teacher and/or district should not be evaluated on test scores at all. There are many other factors and data that should be used instead.

9. What is your opinion of the Competency Grading system for elementary students? 

To be completely honest, I would need to find out more information about this. I would be very
curious about what research is available on this type of grading system and what the research
shows. I know that it is a huge change for all involved and change is very hard. I am guessing
that parents may not be fond of it because it removes the grades that they are used to seeing
and it also removes honor rolls. However, it also lets parents know if their child has mastered a
particular concept or not. Teachers would have to be extremely organized and focused on the
success criteria to use this system. Students may not put out their best effort because they are
not getting an “A” or “B”. For this to be successful there would definitely need to be a lot of
communication and training taking place for all stakeholders. I am looking forward to hearing
what our teachers think about this.

10. How do you feel about efforts to repeal the current teacher tenure law in Missouri? What do
you see as the main purpose of teacher tenure?

I am totally against repealing teacher tenure and I believe the majority of Missourians are as well. Tenure is a property right of teachers and should not be removed. Tenure provides protection for teachers against unjust firings and it ensures due process. Tenure should not be based on student performance on standardized tests either. Some critics feel that tenure is preventing districts from removing bad teachers. This is absolutely not true. It takes a teacher five years to receive tenure. If a teacher is not deemed as competent and effective, during those five years, then tenure should not be granted to that teacher. If it is granted then that is the fault of a poor administration and not the teacher’s fault.



Drury University – Springfield, MO

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, cum laude

Career History

I have worked for U.S. Bank for the past 21 years. There I have held many different positions ranging
from teller to Branch Manager to my current position of Private Banking Client Representative. I also am the Event Coordinator for our Employee Development Network, where I coordinate activities for the employees ranging from personal development, professional development, and community

Civic/Community Activities

I have taken an active role in the community by currently being a Board Member of the Coty of Joplin Personnel Board, and also member and community partner of the Martin Luther King Jr Board at Missouri Southern State University. I work directly with many groups as the volunteer community event coordinator for Development Network within U.S. Bank. Most recently I have worked with Art Feeds, Bright Futures, Ozarks Food Harvest, United Way, and Habitat for Humanity. Some of the past held positions include member of the Boys & Girls Club Board, and member of the City of Joplin Human Rights Board.

School District Activities

I am a member of the Parent Forum that is currently meeting once a month to help establish open
communication between the School District and the parents, as well as attend the monthly School Board meetings. I also have a child that is currently enrolled in Joplin School District, and I do whatever I can to take an active part in his education.

1. What factors led you to run for the school board?

I have a real passion helping children to succeed. Part of this success comes from the education
that they receive while in the public school system. That is the foundation that they will  springboard off of for many years to come as they venture into adulthood and all that life brings us. I feel that we owe it to our children to help them with a brighter tomorrow. I want to be a part of that! Although I have wanted to be on the school board for some time, it just finally became the time to act on it. I have set on other boards where children are concerned, and feel that on the school board l can act on my belief that we need to make sure that we are doing the best that we can to educate our children.

2. How do you see the quality of education for Joplin students when compared to surrounding
districts? Do you believe the quality of education provided for Joplin students is improving?

According to survey conducted by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE),
we have some areas that need worked on, such as teacher/student ratio, and test scores. With
these things being identified, I believe that yes, the quality of education provided for Joplin students is improving. Gaining the knowledge was the first part, with an action plan following.

3. What are the critical issues currently facing the Joplin School District? How would you prioritize these issues?

Financial accountability with the school budget, academic excellence, more teachers, and community partnership between everyone within the school district (community, teachers, students, Board, parents). Items are in order.

4. In a district with financial constraints, how would you prioritize the following items (1-12)?

1. Financial reserve

2. Class Size

3. Equitable teacher plan time and workload

4. Salaries and Benefits

5. Professional Development

6. Curriculum Development

7. Technology

8. Transportation

9. Building & Grounds

10. Existing Extra and Co-Curricular programs

11. Reducing local tax burden

12. New Programs

5. What factors do you feel will attract and retain a quality teaching staff for Joplin schools?

To attract and maintain quality teacher staff, we need to provide them with a development program that would include fair salary and benefits, annual teacher survey that would help to identify training opportunities and needed changes, and a third party exit interview that would allow us to understand reasons for leaving.

6. What are your thoughts in comparing Joplin teacher salaries to those in surrounding districts and in other parts of the state? Do you favor a tax levy election campaign that would focus on competitive salaries to attract and retain quality educators in Joplin?

I think it is important to understand where we as a school district stand when it comes to teacher salaries. Having comparable salary can increase the likelihood of retaining quality teachers who would want to leave based on salary alone. Before you start a tax levy campaign, you need to examine the budget and see if everything is on target as far as spending. Are there places where the budget can be cleaned up? If it has been examined closely and the determination is that everything is in align, have we looked at all other funding options that may be available to alleviate an expense that is currently being paid for out of the operating expense budget. I think then and only then should we consider a tax levy campaign.

7. How do you view the respective roles of the school board, administration, and employees in
determining the future direction of Joplin schools?

First and foremost, school boards are to look out for students. Education is not a line item on the
school board’s agenda—it is the only item. When making decisions about school programs, school boards incorporate their community’s view of what students should know and be able to do. School boards are accessible to the public and accountable for the performance of their schools, while also being the education watchdog for their communities, ensuring that students get the best education for the tax dollars spent. The administration is to ensure all schools, teachers, counselors, are collaborating towards a common goal while improving standards and opportunities. The employees are the first line of defense, as they are the ones most directly involved with the children. They will have the insight of what is and what is not working. They are best to make suggestions to the administration, who in turn make suggestions to the board, who in turn research and make decisions.

8. How important are student standardized test scores in determining the success of Joplin schools? How much of a percentage should student test scores be in the evaluation of teachers?

Standardized tests are used to evaluate the child, teacher, and school district by answering the question “is the child learning in class?” Because of this, standardized tests hold a heavy weight
on evaluating the progression of a school district. One of the ways that we can be sure that Joplin schools are progressing are by their test scores. These scores can help be an excellent guide for the school district to develop programs in the needed areas. The taxpayer also uses the tests scores as their measure of how well their tax dollars are being put to use. To a certain extent, yes, the teacher should be held accountable. It is up to them to ensure that each child is receiving the education that they deserve.

9. What is your opinion of the Competency Grading system for elementary students?
The competency grading system is one where the learner advances by what they know instead of advancing by the normal school year. Each child has a different way of learning, so the competency grading system would allow them to learn at their own pace. Some subjects they may excel in, while needing to spend quality time on other subjects. Competency grading would allow for different learning styles, and also different teaching methods.

10. How do you feel about efforts to repeal the current teacher tenure law in Missouri? What do you see as the main purpose of teacher tenure?

Current Missouri statutes for teacher tenure are that a teacher can reach tenure after five years
with the same school district. It says that the districts have to warn them if they are determined
to be deficient and given time to try and resolve any problems. I see this as a good thing. It will
give the teachers the peace of mind that they will receive due process before any action is taken
towards releasing them of their job. The school district can however fire a teacher, but they must file written detailed charges. Tenure allows for the teachers to request a public hearing with the school board. For the Joplin school district, I see tenure serving in the role to help attract quality teachers, by the benefits that it provides for the teachers, such as the due process features.


B. Attended Joplin Schools K-12 (Oakland, Eastmorland, South Jr., Parkwood)

BS Management Technology – MSSU


Studied for MBA at Missouri State University

C. I am a disabled veteran of the US Army and Reserve. I have worked in food service grounds keeping, maintenance, multiple construction fields, warehousing/inventory control,
manufacturing, sales, transportation, design and management. For the past 14+ years, I have
been employed by Allgeier, Martin and Associates, Inc. (a consulting engineering firm), in Joplin,
working in the areas of Electrical Substation Design and Storm Water Pollution Prevention.

D. I volunteered as a coach/manager/board member for Little League Baseball for over 17 years,
volunteered for American Legion baseball (Miners) for five years, volunteered for several years
as a coach/judge for AWANNA Clubs and try to be as involved as my work load has allowed in
various other community activities and organizations.

E. I have volunteered at different levels within the district for the past 20 years while my children
have been in school (over 38 years combined), for many of the clubs, activities and organizations
within the district. I served with the PTO at Royal Heights while my wife was president and on
the PTO (1995-2004), as the parent liaison/concessions coordinator for the high school baseball
team for four years, served on the Facilities Planning Committee, served as a judge for speech and
debate tournaments and science fairs for several years, served as a judge for other clubs/groups
within the schools and currently serve on the Superintendent’s Parent Forum.

1. My decision to run was based on my desire to serve and help to ensure that a new superintendent is hired who will carry on and improve on the work that has already been accomplished within our district, thereby creating the best possible learning environment for our students. The past few years there have been many complaints, people with special agendas and upheaval within our district; many of these have been personal and have not had a positive effect on the learning environment, students, or perceptions of the school district.

Most of those raising issues aren’t willing to step up and help – only to complain. My only agenda is to do what I can to help ensure that the students of our district have the best educational experience possible with the resources available.

2. From my experiences, I believe that the quality of education in the Joplin district is better than the surrounding districts, and has been accomplished with a much different mix of funding and
resources than many of those. The quality is improving, as it should and can always improve

3. Critical issues are varied and the next question lists many of them. In addition, I believe that
one of the primary issues is communication (two-way) with parents and achieving more parental
involvement in the education of their children. This may require availability of programs to help
educate some parents in not only what is happening in their child’s classroom and school, but
within the district, as well as instruction in how to help their children with homework. This area has been economically depressed for many years, with other communities in our region taking off, while Joplin has remained complacent with the status quo. Management and professional positions are hired from outside our community more often than not and we must find a way to reverse this. If our schools are doing a better job of challenging and educating our students, they will be more inclined to stay in the area and help our community prosper.

We are also losing a good part of our student base to private and parochial schools in our own community, as well as home-schooling. Many of these students, or their parents, feel that they
are not adequately educated and challenged in Joplin Schools, so they are willing to pay a
premium – in addition to taxes to Joplin Schools – to receive an education elsewhere. Others are disgruntled based on district policies that do not align with their views. While many of those
who leave for these reasons are top performers, there should be no reason that Joplin Schools is
not the first choice for parents and students alike and that all students are performing at high levels.

Overall, we need to instill a culture within the district and community that makes children and their parents want to choose Joplin schools first, makes those outside the district want to come here and emulate what we are doing and puts Joplin first on the list of teachers seeking a position.

4. 1) Salaries and benefits (all employees)

2) Class size

3) Curriculum development

4) Technology

5) Professional Development

6) New Programs

7) Building & Grounds

8) Equitable teacher plan time and workload

9) Financial Reserve

10) Transportation

11) Existing Extra and Co-Curricular programs

12) Reducing local tax burden

5. All of the above (#4) and making our culture for educators and students better.

6. Joplin has, over the course of a career, fairly equitable salaries compared to surrounding districts and similar districts in the state. We do not have the tax base to hire the numbers of teachers, at the salaries commanded, as many of the wealthier districts in the state. We have some great, caring teachers. Just as in any occupation, we have some who don’t care as much, not so great, some who don’t care for anything but a paycheck, some who need to move on. Until we can reduce waste, trim the teachers who are not great, caring, training, etc., a tax levy election will not have the support of the electorate.

7. All three feed off of each other: The Board sets major policy and hires a superintendent who will lead the administration; the administration ensures that the employees carry out the policy and suggest policy changes; the employees carry out the policies and report back, through differing means, of ways policies need to be changed or implemented. The BOE should not micro-manage or deal directly with individual issues, but rather set policy for the district as a whole.

8. Testing is supposed to be a means of determining knowledge level and progress. In that sense,
standardized tests are important in determining students’ progression and ability to learn and absorb what they have been taught, as well as how well they can take a test. Too much time is spent teaching to these tests and not enough on what really matters for success as a member of society. The success of Joplin Schools should not be judged primarily based on standardized tests and neither should teacher evaluations. Both should be evaluated based on progress students have achieved above a baseline set at the beginning of each course/term and goals set and reached. All students should take end-of-course tests to determine proficiency and level of competency within the subject and no student should be passed /graduated until predetermined levels have been met.

9. I believe the Competency-based systems are good in many ways, especially for elementary
education, but also that there must be a mix between competency-based and standards-based systems to fully realize a student’s progression. As with most things in life, many things sound good on either extreme, yet all have common ground gray areas that afford the best of both.

10. I feel the law should be repealed or revised. The law is, like most laws, very complex and this
one can easily be abused due to the multiple procedural requirements required to terminate a
teacher. Teachers are one of our most important resources. If they are performing well and with high levels of competency, they are helping to form the educational foundation for our most important resource – our posterity. If they are not performing well, or don’t have a high level of competency, they can inhibit the educational process and hurt our children’s ability to progress achieve and prosper. In no other position I know of (other than federal judges) can an individual be employed basically for life while holding such power. If someone in the medical profession is injuring patients - either knowingly or inadvertently – they can be terminated and have their license revoked. Lawyers who are not acting ethically, engineers whose work is not done properly or causes harm, police who injure others, etc., are treated the same. If I don’t do my job well, or financial or physical harm is caused due to my negligence, I get fired and it doesn’t matter if I have been employed with the same firm for 2 years, or 20. Tenure has been around for a long time, yet most of the reasons for its implementation are no longer valid. There do need to be protections for teachers, but most are in place for all workers/professionals now and, other than federal judges, no other position offers lifetime appointments (federal judges need term limits as well in my opinion).


I graduated summa cum laude with a BA in sociology from University of Missouri in Columbia. A few years later I earned my lifetime teaching certificate at UMKC and began my career as a teacher. In 2004 I earned a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from William Woods.I taught for 9 years in mostly parochial schools from 1977 until 1990. My husband’s job required us to move so I taught in several positions and locations.

In 1990 my husband and I moved to Joplin where we enrolled our 3 children in Joplin Public Schools. I was the Adult Basic Education coordinator for Joplin Schools for 4 years. I then taught at Joplin’s Park Academy for 1 year and at Duenweg School for 2 years. I taught 5th grade in Seneca Schools for 2 years. I returned to Joplin and finished my career teaching in the Gifted Program for 11 years. During my 29 years I taught from pre-school through 8th grade. When I was the Adult Basic Education Coordinator I was in charge of the budget, hired, trained and scheduled staff and worked with community groups to promote adult education. The last five years I have been a substitute teacher for Joplin and have logged over 2500 hours working in every Joplin elementary school as well as the Early Childhood Center.

Currently I volunteer at the Webb City Farmer’s Market. Soon I will begin volunteering as a reader for the blind and visually impaired. I am the vice president for my home owners association. Every year I volunteer some time to Bright Futures. After the tornado I worked on two CART committees to help plan Joplin’s recovery from the tornado. For three years I chaired various committees to get the Parish Center built for St. Mary’s Church. When my children were younger I coached basketball and softball teams.

Question #1

I decided to run for the school board because I have a passion for education and a deep desire to help our children. I believe I could bring a unique perspective to the board because of my extensive teaching background and my recent work as a substitute. It has given me the big picture of how our district is doing. I believe one of the most important qualities for a board member is to be able to listen to numerous points of view and help form a consensus. As a teacher I learned to listen with my eyes as well as my ears. One of my favorite sayings is, “Listen or your tongue will make you deaf.”

Question #2

Joplin students are getting a good quality education. I believe that Dr. Ridder is guiding the district in such a way that education for our students is improving.

Question #3

I believe that it is critically important to add the 10 days back into the school calendar. I also believe that it is vital to raise teacher salaries and build an Early Childhood Center.

Question #4/Prioritizing 12 items

#1 Salaries and Benefits – We must be competitive in recruiting and retaining quality teachers.

#2 Building and Grounds – Columbia and West Central need updating and the Early Childhood Center must be built.

#3 Equitable Teacher Plan Time and Workload

#4 Class size

#5 & #6 Professional Development and Curriculum Development – These go hand-in-hand. Teachers must be empowered to lead these.

#7 Technology - Our advanced technology in the classrooms is rightfully a point of pride in our schools.

#8 Financial Reserve –

#9 Existing Extra and Co-Curricular Programs

#10 Reducing Local Tax Burden

#11 Transportation

#12 New Programs

Of course, all of these areas are important and deserve attention.

Question #5

Higher salaries and pleasant working conditions will attract high quality teachers.

Teachers who are listened to and who feel empowered will stay in our system.

Question #6

Teacher salaries in Joplin are not keeping up with surrounding districts. We must find ways to raise the salaries. To do this we must first eliminate waste and make some systemic changes to our school system that will make for better working conditions.

Question #7

The administration is in charge of running Joplin Schools on a daily basis. The teachers do the vital work of the district. They pull the weight. The School Board is the sounding board for administration, teachers, parents and taxpayers. School Board members must truly listen to all constituencies and form a vision that everyone can rally around and work to achieve. The School Board hires the
superintendent and works to ensure that everyone is trying to accomplish the same goals.

Question #8

Race to the Top demands use of standardized test scores for teacher evaluations. We want that federal money and we want to be a top school district. We should use standardized scores but they must accurately reflect what goes on in the classroom. Individual student scores should be compared from the beginning to the end of the school year. Entire class scores should not be used. A student could grow two years academically but still be behind. The teacher would have done a great job, but the class score would not reflect that. It is a time consuming and tedious job to correlate individual student scores with teachers, but it could be done and it must be done if high stakes testing is going to determine teacher evaluations. If the stakes are this high then the comparisons must be fair. We want teachers to welcome all students to their classrooms not just top scorers. Also we want top performing students to be challenged each year. They need to show growth as well.

Question #9

The Competency Grading System confuses many parents and requires lots of documentation from teachers. Nevertheless it has several important positive aspects. Teachers know exactly what needs to be covered. Students have a better understanding of why they receive the grades they do so they take more ownership of their learning. Also the language is more positive. A child can see that at least in some areas they earned an M.

Question #10

The teacher tenure amendment did not pass in 2014. I think it is important to keep local control. Teacher tenure should protect teachers from being pawns in local politics, but it should not protect weak or burnt out teachers.

Thank you for your time. I firmly believe that teachers and students are the ones doing the vital work in our schools. By definition successful teachers have successful students. I am a “mama bear” for Joplin kids. I want the best for them. I know that for them to succeed their teachers have to succeed. I would appreciate your recommendation and vote.


B. Education

Memorial High School, Joplin, Missouri, 1985

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Accounting, University of

Arkansas, Fayetteville, 1989

Juris Doctor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 1992

Master of Laws (LLM), Taxation, University of Denver, 1993

C. Career History

August, 1993 – May, 2003: Attorney, Little Rock, Arkansas

May, 2003 – November, 2008: Attorney, Blanchard, Robertson, Mitchell &

Carter, P.C., Joplin, Missouri

November, 2008 – December, 2013: Chief Financial Officer and General

Manager, Carpe Diem Management, Inc., Joplin, Missouri

December, 2013 - Present: Director of Legal Services, The Empire District Electric Company, Joplin, Missouri

D. Civic/Community Activities

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church – Vestry, Two-terms

Joplin Kiwanis Club – 1994-Present, Past President

Jasper County Bar Association – 2003-Present, Past President

Mercy Health Foundation – 2014-Present

Spiva Center for the Arts Board of Directors – 2004-2010, Past President

Southwest Missouri Estate Planning Council – 2003-2008, Past President

Mount Hope Cemetery Board of Directors – 2007-2008

Freeman Hospital Foundation Board of Directors – 2004-2007

E. School District Activities

district, and my activity in the Joplin Kiwanis Club.

I have contact with Joplin schools through my children, who are students in the

Answers to Questions:

1. I decided to run for a three year term on the school board because I am committed to the complete success of Joplin schools and believe that I can effectively serve as a member of the Joplin Board of Education.

2. Joplin schools must be committed to operating in a condition of continuousimprovement. And our goal for Joplin students is that they set the standard for quality of education when compared to surrounding school districts. This goal demands the commitment of the district’s administrators, teachers, students and citizens.

3. Critical issues facing the Joplin school district include identifying the next Superintendent and meeting the Vision recently adopted by the Board.

4. I prioritize the items listed by JNEA as follows:

10 - Building & Grounds

7 - Class Size

5 - Curriculum Development

3 - Equitable teacher plan time and workload

8 - Existing Extra and Co-Curricular programs

2 - Financial Reserve

9 - New Programs

6 - Professional Development

12 - Reducing local tax burden

1 - Salaries and benefits (maintaining)

4 - Technology

11 - Transportation

5. I believe quality teachers are attracted and retained by providing a competitive compensation/benefits package, and presenting a career opportunity that is fueled by opportunity for advancement. I also believe that work environment and quality of life in the school district have significant impacts upon the ability to attract and retain teachers.

6. I have compared Joplin teacher salaries to those in surrounding districts and in other parts of the state. I favor pursuing any method available to ensure Joplin schools offer competitive salaries to attract and retain quality educators to our community.

7. I view the roles of the school board, administration and employees in determining the future direction of Joplin schools as being collaborative.

The school board:

- sets the vision and goals for the district;

- adopts policies that give the district direction to set priorities and achieve its


The administration:

The employees:

- hires and evaluates the superintendent;

- adopts and oversees the annual budget;

- manages the collective bargaining process for employees of the district; and

- acts as a court of appeals concerning issues of Board policies and implementation

- enforces all rules and regulations relating to the management of the schools, including financial matters and records management;

- keeps the Board informed of the condition of the district’s educational system;

- develops and recommends to the Board objectives of the education system;

- sees to the development of objectives adopted by the Board;

- communicates with the public concerning matters of public interest; and

- meet with employees of the district to discuss matters concerning the improvement and welfare of the schools

- specific duties should be set forth in the job description of each employee; and

- maintain responsibility to inform administration or, if necessary, the Board of

opportunities to improve the district

8. Performance evaluations are common for employees in all areas of work.

Evaluations should provide opportunities to award employees for meeting specified goals, and to
identify areas for improvement that may benefit all interested parties. Standardized testing may
effectively assess student knowledge of particular subjects and, therefore, be viewed as objective
evidence of teacher performance. However, there are a number of variables beyond teachers’
control that also impact standardized test scores - student aptitude being the most prevalent. All
variables should be appropriately weighted when evaluating teachers’ performance.

9. Competency Grading establishes standards-based grading aligned with state academic standards as measured by consistent and accurate student achievement data and common criteria. This methodology seems to present an objective measurement of academic goals. However, I believe that academic development varies most among our younger students. Therefore, it is likely more difficult to apply Competency Grading standards upon elementary students.

10. I have no interest in efforts to repeal the current teacher tenure law in Missouri. I believe the main purpose of teacher tenure is to convert employment from “at-will”, requiring termination for cause. Tenured teachers may also have additional due process rights prior to involuntary termination.


Thank you for the opportunity to once again address the JNEA and continue the dialogue we started last year when the JNEA supported my campaign for a one-year seat on the Joplin Board of Education. I am hopeful the JNEA found my service to the school district worthy of its ongoing support as I make a bid this time for a three-year seat.

 By way of background, my husband, Patrick, and I have been married for 25 years. Together we have 4 children; Chris, a freshman at Ashland University in Ashland, OH; Meagan, a senior at Joplin High School; Caroline, an 8th grader at Thomas Jefferson; and Marisa, a 5th grader at Thomas Jefferson. We moved to Joplin 15 years ago and are proud to call this community our home.
I received a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition with an emphasis on Health and Wellness from Kaplan University in 2010. My professional experience includes 11 years of combined years working for Stanford University, Fresno Community College, and Clovis Unified School District. In these positions I developed a broad range of experience in all fields of education from curriculum development, budgeting, human resources, grants and contracts management, accreditation and state compliance reviews, facilities acquisitions, and procurement. My background in education has well prepared me to make sound, sensible decisions for Joplin Schools. 

As a member of the Joplin Community, my civic involvement includes a seven-year term on the Joplin Swim Team Board of Directors where I served as member, President, and Past President. I am a current member of the Joplin City Parks Board. I have been Vacation Bible School Director at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, volunteer coach for various sports at the Joplin Family Y, and I assist Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci with addressing the needs of children in our community by organizing distribution of winter hats and sweatshirts to area school districts. 

In support of Joplin Schools, I have participated in the classroom as a room parent, math tutor, and teacher aide. I currently serve as a member of the Board of Education and committee member on the Policy Committee and the Data Team. I contributed to the Snack Pack program at Cecil Floyd for two and a half years. This year I worked with the district to offer healthier foods to our students. I have represented the Cecil Floyd community on several district committees for facilities and the bond issue. I served as Treasurer for the JHS Athletic Booster Club for the past two years, organizing the Senior Powder Puff Game last year and the Sports sign up/Physical activity. I was instrumental in starting a Men’s Swim Team at JHS in 2012, which has grown into a strong program over the past few years. 

Turning now to the questions posed by JNEA regarding my desire to serve on the Board of Education:

1) What factors led you to decide to run for the school board?
The education of my four children is extremely important to me. In the past several years, I have grown increasingly concerned with the District’s direction and my inability as a parent to advocate for my children with the district administration. Teacher morale has been at an all time low owing in part to the district leadership’s failure to provide the needed level of support. I do not believe the district is working with a realistic budget, and its financial stability is too dependent on the outside chance FEMA delivers additional funding. The district needs to be better stewards of the money taxpayers entrust to it. As a school Board member I will continue my mission of refocusing our district on 1) standards of high student achievement, 2) preparing college and career ready graduates, 3) being the employer of choice with high retention of quality teachers, 4) earning high patron/parent/student satisfaction, and  5) financial stability and responsibility.

2) How do you see the quality of education for Joplin students when compared to surrounding districts?   Do you believe the quality of education provided for Joplin students is improving?

When I look at data comparing Joplin Schools to surrounding districts, I see we have the largest class sizes, lowest math scores, and the lowest number of experienced teachers. This tells me we need a stronger curriculum to raise math scores, need to increase teacher retention so that we keep strong, experienced teachers educating our students, and need to hire more teachers to improve our student to teacher ratio. To improve the quality of education in Joplin, we need to address student behavior, overuse of technology, and lack of clear direction in curriculum. Students require supervision, guidance, discipline, and structure in order to learn effectively. As a district, we need to 1) allow teachers time for class preparation along with support from the district; 2) encourage teacher feedback and collaboration, with initiatives that are driven from the teachers; 3) use less technology and more student-driven instruction methods; and 4) emphasize quality of education over graduation rates. I see Joplin Schools making strides toward this improvement, but we still have a long way to go. 
Students must learn to be accountable for their behavior starting at the elementary level. Investing in their own success through the choices they make will make a discernable difference in how kids learn. 
If we can make these topics a priority in our district, we will truly place the educational needs of our students first. 
3) What are the critical issues currently facing the Joplin school district? How would you prioritize these?

Finances are always a concern, especially when the district is so dependent on being reimbursed for money already spent. Right now the district is facing a June, 2016 deadline to pay back loans, but we are unsure if FEMA reimbursements will come through to meet that deadline. Timely receipt of FEMA funds is therefore a major concern for the district’s financial stability. Other issues for student success include achievement in terms of not only test scores but actual student readiness, both academically and behaviorally, for the next level of learning. Pushing kids through without the fundamentals and basics they need to be successful does them a disservice. Empowering and supporting teachers to provide the structure and discipline needed to promote high achievement is an area of concern. We continue to lose good quality, experienced teachers because of a lack of support from the district leadership. As we work to improve in these areas, I see us commonly taking one step forward and two steps back. Strides are being made toward improvement. All of these issues are intertwined in their importance to the success of the school district. If our finances are not stable, then we do not have the resources we need to properly compensate our staff and provide quality learning for our students. As the current board works on the strategic planning, these will be my top priorities.

4) In a district with financial constraints, how would you prioritize the following items (1-12)?
1. Salaries & Benefits (maintaining or increase)
2. Curriculum Development
3. Financial Reserve
4. Class Size
5. Equitable teacher plan time and workload
6. Professional Development
7. Existing extra- and co-curricular program
8. New Programs
9. Reducing local tax burden
10. Building and Grounds
11. Technology
12. Transportation

5) What factors do you feel will attract and retain a quality teaching staff for Joplin Schools?

Factors I feel will attract and retain quality teachers in Joplin Schools include:

1) Equality in pay to neighboring districts. Joplin has the highest percentage of teachers with advanced degrees yet we continue to be one of the lowest paying districts in the area. There is a vast disparity between the ranking of our teachers and our district leadership compared to other districts in the State of Missouri. Offering more competitive salaries will go a long way in attracting and retaining the high quality teachers our students deserve.

2) Support of teachers. By providing clear and concise objectives in the classroom and providing access to interventions when students are not reaching grade level standards, teachers will feel supported with clear direction. Discipline is also a huge area of support that our district lacks and I often hear from teachers. Having administrators who have your back goes a long way in instilling discipline and structure in the classroom.

3) Allow teachers to teach. This can be effectively accomplished by reducing the administrative demands placed on teachers, which should be shouldered by the administration and provide a stronger academic curriculum. In the last year the Board attempted to relieve some of the burden of testing on both teachers and students to provide better and more instructional time. Finding the balance between instruction and assessment is always a struggle, however, teachers go into the field of teaching because they are passionate about learning, not testing. When teachers are given the tools to teach and left to do what they do best, they can build relationships with their students and enhance the learning experience, making their jobs much more rewarding. Feeling accomplished and appreciated through the success of their students will give teachers the desire to stay In Joplin Schools. 

6) What are your thoughts in comparing Joplin teacher salaries to those in surrounding districts and in other parts of the state? Do you favor a tax levy election campaign that would focus on competitive salaries to attract and retain quality educators in Joplin?

Joplin schools teachers are the lowest paid compared to neighboring districts, and according to the DESE website Joplin teachers make $7000 less per year than the state average. In comparing these two points, it is not surprising that many talented teachers are leaving our district to go elsewhere. I do not believe a tax levy is the answer. My feeling is that unfortunately, voters have lost confidence in the district’s ability to manage taxpayer money and would not likely support such an effort. I do feel, however, that it is the district’s responsibility to find the money in our current budget constraints to increase our teacher salaries to more competitive rates. I believe the district over-utilizes General Fund monies on programs which should be grant funded. By requiring programs to be grant funded, this would free up sustainable funds in the Operating Budget for salaries. In my opinion, the JNEA’s representation of the teachers and position with the collective bargaining process will help in this regard.

7) How do you view the respective roles of the school board, administration and employees in determining the future direction of Joplin Schools?

Working collectively toward a common goal of student success takes that cooperation and input of
everyone involved who impact student learning. In order to offer an exceptional education and develop the best vision for our district, employees, administration and the school board must work as equals to accomplish this. Teachers and staff who interact with the kids on a daily basis witness the struggles and obstacles that children face and are able to make suggestions as to interventions needed
to overcome these. These can include personal needs, educational interventions, or overall school related issues that need to be addressed by educational programs, services, or building projects. It is the job of the administration to bring together the community, parents, employees and board members to work to address these issues and make a plan for the future that can be implemented to move the district forward in a manner that not only meets but exceeds the needs of our community and students. The school board has the role of making policies and decisions that support this vision and holding the administration accountable for implementing the plan.

8) How important are student standardized test scores in determining the success of Joplin Schools?
How much of a percentage should student test scores be in the evaluation of teachers?

Standardized tests are one of the many indicators the State Department of Education can use to compare our students and district to other districts across the state and with Common Core, across the nation. Standardized tests only show a small snapshot of how well a student was able to navigate and take the test on any given particular day. They do not reflect the amount of learning that child has had over the course of the school year, nor the impact the teacher may have had on that student. Our instructional time has been limited because of an inordinate number of assessments required by the administration. I am hopeful that this is improving, but still puts an undue burden on teachers to meet standards that have not yet even been set yet. I feel that student test scores should be considered as a small part of a teacher’s evaluation, which should be more heavily weighed with professional commitment, professional practice and professional impact based on classroom observation, parent/student satisfaction and supervisor input.

9) What is your opinion of the Competency Grading system for elementary students?

Just as kids need concrete information to learn, they need concrete information on how they are learning and progressing. The competency based grading system in our elementary schools is too isolated with regard to skills. I have very competitive kids who understand that 90% is an A, 80% is a B, etc. The competency based grading is too subjective and not grounded in any concrete information. A child can completely master a subject, but if they don’t give the exact answer that the teacher has to look for in order to say they have mastered it, then the student doesn’t get credit for mastery. If a student receives a 95% on an exam, they have obviously mastered the material. My feeling is that the competency based grading misses a lot of soft skills, as well, that kids need to be successful. Through this means of evaluation parents and teachers miss out on a lot of teachable moments that make for better students. Growth is important, however, such subjective means of reporting it is unfair to our students.

10) How do you feel about efforts to repeal the current teacher tenure law in Missouri? What do you see as the main purpose in teacher tenure?The purpose of teacher tenure is to provide due process and promote longevity in the profession. 
Teachers who receive tenure are considered a “permanent employee” and as such are given seniority
and priority when issuing yearly contracts. One misconception that I think exists about tenure is that if a bad teacher receives tenure there is no repercussions if they are failing their students or district in their methods or outcomes. This is not true. Tenure simply means that there is a process by which the
District needs to go through to allow time for remediation and correction. If this does not happen within the timeframe given, that teacher can be let go. Repealing the tenure law, in my opinion would deplete the pool of future teachers and promote an environment of distrust and discontent among the
teaching staff.


Anonymous said...

As an elementary teacher, I DO NOT SUPPORT COMPETENCY BASED GRADING, and neither do many other elementary teachers I work with and know in other districts.

As Martucci said in her survey, competency based grading is very subjective. Teachers I know will skew a student's grade based on non-recorded grades and classroom observations. In Joplin, teachers only need three grades in the grade book per standard to determine if a student has mastered said standard.

As an elementary teacher, I have been allowed to determine a student's final grade on a standard. For instance, Student A received a 1 on an assignment at the beginning of the unit instruction, a 3 later on, and a 3 on their final. I could use my classroom observations and gradebook evidence to say that this student has not completely mastered this standard, and will receive a 3 as a final grade. Student B receives the same scores, but based on classroom observation, I can decide that he really has mastered the standard and should receive a 4 as his final grade. So even though I have no physical evidence to say he has mastered the standard, I can inflate his grade to make him feel better, but ultimately, to make me look better. Hey, I had x amount of students move from a 1 to a 4! I am awesome!

I've never met a teacher who moved a student from a 75% to a 100% on a grade card based on classroom observation...(And yes, I know and understand that a 3 does not correlate to a 75% and a 4 to a 100%, but that's how we explain it to parents, so that they can make sense of their child's grade.)

Competency based grading belongs in lower elementary (k-2), where it has been for many years. Traditional grading belongs in all other grades. The workload is completely different in grades 3-5, and therefore competency based grading should not be applied.

Anonymous said...

Randy, please investigate Eastmorland elementary and find out why they are so overcrowded with kids that don't live in the district. I know of at least two of the classes that are overrun with behavioral children that live in other districts. One of them is my child's class. It has caused so much anxiety with my child that we have had to seek counseling. I have approached the principal multiple times about it and I get blown off. My next step is to contact the administration office but I highly doubt it will do any good. My children have been there since kindergarten and this is the first time I have complained and I have been completely ignored. They are losing great teachers!