Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Joplin R-8 official: Our student records are a mess
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.
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.