Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Joplin R-8 official: Our student records are a mess

During the last years of the C. J. Huff Administration, the Joplin R-8 School District had a director of communications, an event coordinator and even at one point used Bright Futures workers to nominate Huff and collect endorsement letters for the various awards he now cites in advertisements for his speaking engagement.
In one of the last acts before Huff began his retirement, he made sure his Chief Operations Officer Tina Smith had three new clerical workers to lighten her heavy workload.

While everything surrounding Huff was designed to boost public relations, there was one area that apparently did not receive much attention at all- ensuring that student records were complete, up to date, and easy to locate.

The Joplin R-8 Board of Education learned tonight that student records are in such bad shape, that the district needs to hire a part-time clerk go get them up to date.

That hiring took place only after Executive Director of Student Services Mark Barlass explained how desperately the position was needed.

"(Our records) are in quite a disarray," Barlass said."The issue we have with our records really wasn't addressed the way it needed to be. We're trying to clean up a long-sustained problem with our student records." He indicated the problem dated back several years.

"We just need to get it cleaned up."

"You have been trying to clean this up for years and you've never been successful?" board member Chris Sloan asked.

"We've never had the resources," Barlass said, adding that the records had to be relocated three times, including to the MODOT building following the tornado.

A clerical worker was hired to begin the process last year, Barlass said, but that person was needed to help with the recently created enrollment center.

Now, though, Barlass said, "We have realized it was an essential part we could not do without."

The haphazard student record organization has caused problems for Joplin High School graduates, Barlass said.

"On several occasions, signing letters for young men and women wanting to get employment or go to college and we were unable to find their student records.

"That's inexcusable,"

Board President Jeff Koch asked if the district was keeping up with current records. Barlass said that is being done. "There was a gap in addressing it after the tornado."

The reason for the gap?

"We haven't dedicated resources to it."

The board approved the hiring of the part-time clerical worker by a 6-1 margin with Koch casting the dissenting vote.


Anonymous said...

Joplin is special.

Anonymous said...

Very special.

Anonymous said...

School Record preservation and accessibility should have been the top priority of the Joplin School District. There are four constants in any person's life which, in fact, determine the course of that life. Birth Certificates, School Records, Military Records and Employment Records are essential to a person throughout his/her adult life. People need to get fired for incompetence over this matter.

Anonymous said...

Nothing special about a government organization changing its priorities and and neglecting what's ostensibly its real job. Note the transition in the quality of roads when you travel across a state boundary between Blue and Red states, good roads don't buy votes like transfer payments and the like.

Huff and his team had so many more important things to do, like set up palatial offices in the relocated administration building, that minor details like the basic blocking and tackling of accounting were afterthoughts at best.

(Something that's looking like it's going to become a very big issue as FEMA and its state equivalent are apparently denying reimbursement for the "might as well" spending and the district probably losing its lawsuit against the electrical contractor from the futile effort to get the new Joplin High open in time, it's hard to make their claim while continuing to employ the same firm...).

Anonymous said...

Barlass is part of the machine that put the R8 in this horrific mess.

He ought to be fired, but he won't. The district has to have a special education administrator.

Sleep well, Marky Mark

Anonymous said...

Barrsless and his staff ought to correct mess themselves,what an admission of incompetence

Anonymous said...

R-8, like many or probably most organizations, is so obsessed with have an endless list of Executive this and Executive that or Director of whatever that the actual day to day operations are totally ignored. I've noticed at a local big box store for every checker or stocker (who are working their butts off) there are from 5-10 "executives" wandering the store and watching them. In a sane world this "Executive", Mr. Barlass, would be demoted and the money saved used to hire someone to get the job done.

Yup. said...

This would be easily fixed with more pay for upper management. And more vacation time. And a pony.

Anonymous said...

True, and why your Director of Secondary Education was busy sending out weather reports, and your Director of Elementary Ed was attending conferences and the zoo in San Diego to figure out what she was doing in her job, nothing as far as records got taken care of. Sadly, all 3 of those people are still there. That's a problem.