I wanted to give you an update on the latest comings and goings in the organization and communication with admin. And after re-reading this, it is LONG! This will stay on the blog so come back, re-read, let it digest and come back later. It will be here.
Tuesday, December 16 the Joplin Board of Education (BOE) met and made a few big decision. To begin, the Board voted 6-1 (the one no vote held by Debbie Fort) to spend $95,000 to buy navy blue seats for Gym 1 for Joplin High School. This money will be out of capital outlay. No, the money is not in the original debt it will be taken out of the outlay money. Dr. Huff hopes to recoup the money through selling the royal blue seats. I am sure many of you have read about this in the local news.
The second decision made is in regards to IPads and the state testing. In anticipation of the state test administered online the BOE voted to spend around $100,000 for keyboard for 800 IPads. Approximately 600 IPads are in the middle schools assigned to 8th grade students. The remaining IPads are on carts in the elementary schools. The money to pay for the keyboards will come from technology’s budget and leftover insurance money.
And, I am sure that you have read the email from Tina Smith in regards to Eagle Pride Fridays beginning in January 2015. We are very excited that our board members Randy Steele, Lynda Banwart and Debbie Fort had an opportunity to give teachers and support staff this professional jeans Friday to support our Eagles more than once a month. I personally think it is funny that the last time we had Jeans Fridays ended in 2003 - over 10 years ago. And yes we did have one year of NO JEANS. This is the cautionary tale, help keep our profession one that our students look up to and make sure we do the right thing. I really (and I mean really) do not want another no jeans year.
A few days ago I emailed our members and asked for questions to address during our Wednesday, December 17th meeting with Dr. Huff and his leadership team. I will be honest many members asked for JNEA to discuss raises. Dr. Huff has involved JNEA as part of the salary committee. However, we will not have answers until April at the earliest. He cited the district receives funds for teacher salaries (and other operating cost) from both State and City. At the moment admin will not know how much Joplin Schools will receive from the State. In addition, another issue is the TIFF. I will not get into the details as I know many of you read the Joplin Globe and have noted the articles regarding this subject. Bottom line, I have no answers for you. I will continue to advocate on your behalf to get some type of answer to if we will have a raise, not just a step.
I had a few questions regarding where our district is “going” with visible learning and curriculum overall. Yes, we are working towards becoming a visible learning district. Yes, principals and admin are focused to make this a reality. What does this mean for our teachers. We need focused PD. According to Sarah Stevens, she will be asking building principals to survey the teachers who did not attend the first training in November if they would like to have a training over the summer. For those who have no idea what I am talking about visible learning is using data to guide student learning. Yes, we do this currently but this approach gives the student a way to self-regulate their own learning. For more details on how a self-regulated school operates google Stonefield School New Zealand. The pages have youtube links. Interesting stuff.
Enjoy the break. Have fun with your family and friends. The next few months will be exciting and my hope is that we will make many big gains with our teacher voice. Remember, you make a difference!
Happy Holidays and HAPPY NEW YEAR,