Monday, December 17, 2018

Joplin R-8 Board to act on $16,500 proposal to have Springfield firm talk and listen to people

In the proposal, it is referred to as "human-centered design research."

In the real world, where people don't use phrases like "human-centered design research," it means Joplin R-8 officials are asking the Board of Education to spend $16,500 of taxpayer money to talk to people and find out how things are going.

The proposal is scheduled to be discussed during the 7 p.m. Tuesday board meeting at the Memorial Education Center.

This would not be the first time the Springfield-based Opinion Research Specialists has worked wtih the district.

In 2015, Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder, who had worked with the company when he was Springfield Public Schools superintendent, recommended the board hire Opinion Research Specialists to survey the community, faculty and students about the perception of the district and school climate.

Ridder said much of the cost of the $55,000 survey, which came only a few months after the end of the controversial tenure of former Superintendent C. J. Huff, could be funded through grants.

Documentation supplied to the board for Tuesday's meeting indicates that did not happen.

The district paid the company $75,000 for its work in 2015 and follow-up work in 2016.

The proposal calls for Opinion Research Specialists to interview up to 20 Joplin R-8 employees and up to 15 Joplin citizens to find out how they perceive the district and up to 35 staff, parents and students to find out what they think about Joplin High School.

In addition to those in-person interviews, the proposal includes a phone survey.

In the board documentation, prepared by Superintendent Melinda Moss, explained why the expenditure for "human-centered design" is so necessary.

"The district has a significant investment in building a positive climate and culture through a robust and relevant strategic plan. Attending to stakeholder voice through human-centered design as a periodic checkup for student, parent, community and staff feedback can be a crucial school improvement component."

In other words, Moss thinks it is important that the district talk to people and see how things are going.

And if you can do some human-centered design while you're at it, so much the better.


Anonymous said...

Why not just throw it in a fire. At least you'll get the heat it generates! When will R-8 and the city of Joplin stop falling for these consultant con-artists.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet if they opened it up online, they could generate that information for next to nothing. And here's my opinion:
1-Forget the testing, testing and more testing. None of it is used to help the teachers teach. It's used to tell them that they can't do anything right. And the time taken for these tests means no teaching. Then there's the time teachers are forced to look at the 'informative data' that isn't real and doesn't help teach kids. Also, if the testing is gone, there will be time for kids to learn about things like who won WWII.
2-Don't ask for another tax increase. So far, all the money has been used to build ugly buildings and buy those stupid tests.
3-Hire some teachers with experience--you lost most of them with Huff and Bessie.
4-Have some real professional development for the teachers and offer them real support in the classroom.
5-Come up with some better ways to discipline kids than giving them candy and telling them they're just misunderstood.
6-Stop the bullies (including the ones in administration). That probably means getting rid of anyone Huff and Bessie really liked.
7-Make sure the students graduate with some common sense kinds of things they've learned like cooking, taking care of a car, budgeting, etc. How about wood and metal shop so they can build or fix something?
I know they'll say they teach those things, but they don't.
8-Get rid of that time waster they have in the high school where the kids have to sit around and talk about their feelings. Give them study hall or a real class. They'd be better off going home or to a job.
9-How about looking into the problems with kids who are hungry and homeless?
10-They don't need to let the Connect to Culture people take over the performing arts center. Even if they did raise or donate a ton of money for it, it's still the school and needs to be safe for students and teachers.
How about that? Didn't cost them a penny.