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Friday, Jan. 29, 2016
January Board of Education Meeting Update
Thank you Joplin Schools Board of Education for serving our students, staff, parents, and patrons!
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, members of Joplin Schools Board of Education met for their January meeting. January is school board appreciation month, and board members were greeted with an assortment of gifts and creative handmade items from students and schools across the district. School board members volunteer their time and talent to help set the vision for the district. 

Meeting highlights:
  • Director of Safety Jim Hounschell and Executive Director of Secondary Education Jason Cravens shared the results of a recent district-wide safety audit. The audit focused on five key areas: grounds, traffic, visitors, interior, and communications. The audit provides a summary of district safety protocols and identifies areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Next steps include the formation of a district-wide safety committee that will review the results of the audit and help set priorities. Read the audit results.
  • The board unanimously approved the refinancing of bonds issued in 2007. The refinancing will save the district an estimated $7,655,349 over the next ten years. Learn more.
  • Dr. Ridder shared his self evaluation (system review) with the school board. The board will complete their evaluation of Dr. Ridder in the coming days and share those results in February. Read Dr. Ridder's system review.
View the complete agenda.

At the close of the meeting, Dr. Ridder shared the names of the candidates for the upcoming April 5 school board election. The candidates are listed below.

Two three-year terms:
  • Sharrock Dermott
  • Melissa C. Rodgers
  • Mary Gaarder
  • Jennifer S. Martucci
One two-year term:
  • Lori Musser
  • Joseph W. Brown
One one-year term:
  • Christopher Sloan
  • Carlos Haley
Watch the Jan. 26 meeting:

It's not too late to nominate your favorite teacher for the annual Golden Apple Awards

Golden Apple
Nominations are being accepted for the annual Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Golden Apple Awards until 5:00 p.m., Feb. 5, 2016.
Nomination forms are available at all Joplin public and private schools, at the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce at 320 E. 4th St., or online. Please call 624-4150 for more information.

Voter and parent survey results to help inform district strategic plan 

As part of the strategic planning process, Joplin Schools recently surveyed randomly selected parents and registered voters on a variety of topics including quality of teaching, student preparation for college and career, safety, trust, communication, spending, and satisfaction.

Areas of strength for the district include providing a safe environment for students and the quality of teaching at Joplin Schools. Opportunities for improvement include increasing transparency, spending tax payer dollars wisely, and involving citizens in decision making.  

Joplin Schools' staff members will be surveyed in February. The feedback from the surveys along with the feedback from student, parent, and teacher forums is being used to help develop the district's five-year strategic plan. That plan will be presented to the Board of Education for approval at its March meeting.
JHS/FTC robotics tournament draws 52 teams 

On Saturday, Jan. 16, the gyms at Joplin High School were filled with teams from high schools across the Four States for the third annual Vex Robotics tournament. This is the largest tournament of its kind in Southwest Missouri. This year's competition was called "Nothing But Net." It featured a basketball-style game where student built robots that could make baskets using colored balls. 

See the robots in action and learn more:

JHS Constitution Team heading to national competition
Photo courtesy of JHS Spyglass

Joplin High School's Constitution Team, led by JHS teacher Will Keczkemethy, recently competed in "We the People" statewide simulated congressional hearings held at The Missouri Bar Center in Jefferson City. The team was selected to advance to the national competition April 22-25 in Washington D.C. 

"We the People" is a nationally acclaimed civic education program from the Center for Civic Education helping students understand the history, philosophies and evolution of our constitutional government. Upon completion of the classroom study, students compete in a form of simulated congressional hearings. Students must demonstrate their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and our system of government in mock hearings, where they discuss and answer questions about the Constitution and its implications for current law. 

Business Expo visitors share their Eagle Pride

Visitors to Joplin Schools' booth at the recent Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo had the opportunity to show off their Eagle Pride at the JETHD photo booth. Check out the photos from the event!

JHS Show Choirs takes first and third in Mt. Vernon Mid-Winter Show Choir competition

Joplin High School Show Choirs recently competed in the Mt. Vernon Mid-Winter Show Choir Competition. Touch of Class received first place in their division. Sound Dimension received third place in their division and received the Best Ballad Caption award. Way to go!

Are you a homeowner or future homeowner?

Joplin Schools is partnering with St. Bernard Project to offer a free one-hour Homeowner Pre-Disaster training session to parents of Joplin Schools' students. Preparedness before disaster strikes means less damage, less rebuilding, and less stress during recovery. SBP rebuilt homes in Joplin after the 2011 tornado with its affiliate Rebuild Joplin. This training is in response to SBP's experiences and lessons learned during its work responding to disasters across the country, including Joplin. 

The sessions will be held at 7 pm., Feb. 2 and 3, at Memorial Education Center, 310 W. 8th St. Parking and entrance is on Pearl Ave. 

Meet Joplin Schools' Eagle of the Week

This weekly honor recognizes Joplin Schools' employees who demonstrate the qualities and behaviors that benefit the day-to-day operations of the district and promote student success. Joplin Schools' employees, parents, and community members can nominate a Joplin Schools' staff member for this recognition.  
Joplin Schools Eagle Minute brought to you by:
Jan. 29 & 30
Columbia Elementary

Jan. 29
JHS Winter Guard Dress Rehearsal
7:30 p.m.
Memorial Education Center gymnasium
310 W. 8th St.

Jan. 29
JHS Project Graduation Silent Auction
7-9 p.m.

Feb. 23
Joplin Schools Board of Education Meeting
7 p.m.
Memorial Education Center
We hope you enjoyed this issue of the Eagle Minute. If there are specific topics you would like to see covered, please email your suggestions to