Saturday, October 29, 2016

Reader's message to Joplin R-8 parents: Demand change

(Note: A few moments ago, I received this comment on one of Friday night's posts about the resignation of Joplin R-8 Executive Director of Student Services Mark Barlass.)

This is a district that takes care of its own at the expense of any one who thinks differently, or conflicts with the initiative du jour, or tells a truth that they don't want to hear...ultimately, this good old boy system costs the kids an enormous price.

They may not send people packing as some have experienced, but they will twist words and marginalize the teacher in question until they have no value anymore or until they are so beat down that they can't continue. 

Ask yourself, parents: how many experienced, veteran teachers do your children have? There are a few, but not many. 

\How many "instructional leaders" are former coaches who have brown nosed their way up the pay scale, but know next to nothing about curriculum or pedagogy. Almost every secondary administrator, with very few exceptions. 

How many times a month is your child's teacher(s) out of the classroom for a "training" or planning session or other admin backed program? Ask them. It's unreal. No amount of improvement through new initiatives can make up for the lost instructional time. 

How many days a year do your children waste with NWEA testing, which does NOTHING to benefit students? 

Parents, pay attention. THIS is why Joplin Schools has the test scores that they have. This is why Joplin Schools can't retain people who know better. It has nothing to do with the students themselves, the demographics of the area, the low pay, or even, at this point, CJ. Huff, as Randy Turner would have you believe. 

The problems in the district are firmly rooted in an interest in maintaining an image, and more importantly, upholding status quo. I have never posted on this site before and probably will never again. I have tried to go through proper channels to express this, but am not heard. My heart breaks for Joplin Schools. 

Parents, if you see these things, demand that they be changed! Your kids deserve so much better than what they are getting.


Anonymous said...

This is a very correct assessment. If teachers aren't "escorted out" physically, they are metaphorically. There were so many lost last year. More than the district claimed. There will be again this year, too. Anyone who doesn't play along is, as the parent said, marginalized. Veteran teachers are anything but prized, and the same can be said for instruction time. It is constantly sacrificed for trendy programs and assessment, and those are run by new teachers with little experience who enjoy the flattery of being recognized by admin. It makes teaching in Joplin a perpetual challenge. I don't see many staying until they retire, and I'm about to join those leaving. I know I won't be missed. Just another cog in the wheel.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many Joplin kid a went to the big party in WC? Is it going to be like last year and it all gets covered up? They didn't want to ruin the fall sports season last year. That's done now, so will not ruining the winter sports season be their excuse for covering it up, or is it because of who those brats are. Either way they'll try to bury it. I hate it when my own kids see their would be mentors on social media bragging about their big adventures. It's all a pathetic joke. Costs lots of money and for what.

A Teacher said...

Agreed. Due to the ineptitude, unprofessional attitude, and bullying tactics of Mark Barlass and another administrator I have decided to serve as a teacher elsewhere. Last year, we took an anonymous survey on our administration. I was honest and have paid for it ever since. I once sought support and leadership and believed in the integrity of Joplin administration. No more. Unfortunately, some of our most vulnerable students have suffered as a result of the poor decision making of Mark and his cronies. I fear his poor decision making has caused great emotional distress to students and staff alike.

A Teacher said...

Due to Mark Barlass and another administrator some of our most vulnerable students have recently been caused unnecessary distress and trauma.
I will be leaving the district in May unless we have some rapid reform. I am an experienced and skilled teacher. However, I will not work any longer for a district that allows inept, unprofessional, principals/admin to beat down staff members and run personal agendas that cause small children emotional trauma. Last year, we were given an anonymous survey in regard to our admin. I was truthful. My responses were brought up in my summative with my principal. I have been degraded and harassed by my immediate supervisor ever since.

Anonymous said...

Well, Barlass was terminated, so we can presume his "cronies" will no longer have him as a shield and the current and future superintendent will continue cleaning house.

It's tragic, since there's no undoing the damage done to students' educations as they've passed through this dysfunctional district, but Huff was allowed free reign to damage the district for years, and it'll take years simply to recover, before any serious improvements can be made.