The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

October 30, 2012

Joplin School Board authorizes tablet computers for all eighth-graders in district; purchase to cost $174,744

All Joplin eighth-graders will have a tablet computer in their hands by next year, the Board of Education decided Tuesday night.

On a unanimous vote, board members accepted a $174,744 bid from Apple for iPad tablets, with the goal of implementing a one-to-one technology initiative at the eighth-grade level by the 2013-14 academic year.

To bring the initiative to Joplin, the district is one of 20 nationwide that will partner with Project RED, a national, nonprofit organization, for collaboration and training. A one-to-one technology initiative already exists at the high school level, where each student has a laptop computer.

Board members also learned about standards-based grading, a system being piloted in a few Joplin elementary and middle schools that does away with traditional letter grades in broad subjects, and instead assesses students with terms such as “Met,” “Not Met,” or “Emerging” in a variety of skills.

Proponents of the grading system say it provides parents a more accurate picture of student learning and allows both teachers and parents to pinpoint where students need improvement.

“Grades are supposed to be our responsibility to share with parents and students and teachers what learning is taking place,” Jason Weaver, assistant principal at East Middle School, told the board. “(Asking that question) caused us to take a look at the kinds of grades that we give.”

Two parents opposed to the grading system addressed the board during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Melissa Braun said her son, a student at East Middle School, is more motivated and is more likely to set academic goals when he is assessed letter grades. She said the disappearance of a traditional grade point average does not motivate her son to do better in school.

She also said she disagreed with the fact that the system would allow students to redo work until the material is learned, as opposed to simply giving the student an “F” or a score of “0” for failing to do the work the first time. That, she said, is not representative of “the real world” or the work force.

“I do not feel like our current administration is making a good decision when it comes to standard-based grading,” she said.

Parent Tim Steele said he worries that allowing students to be flexible with deadlines or due dates could cripple them or desensitize them to such issues later in life.

“It’s not setting them up for the real world,” he said.

It was a point that concerned board member Phil Willcoxon, too, during a discussion by the board after the presentation.

“In the business world, if you don’t do an assignment, you don’t get to a board meeting, you don’t have a job,” he said.

Board member Jim Kimbrough said he would want to see individual standards assessed on a grade card, which the grading system does. But he also said the assessments of standards-based grading, to his mind, were comparable on the surface to the system of letter grades, with “Met” on par with the letter grade of “A” or “B” and “Not Met” on par with “D.”

“I like what I see,” he said of the grading system. “I guess I don’t understand why a letter grade can’t be in there.”

Board member Dawn Sticklen echoed similar sentiments, particularly questioning whether getting rid of GPAs would be beneficial to students.

“I think the theory is good,” she said. “The reality is when you get to middle school, there’s a ranking there, and there is a percentage of the student body that is motivated by that ranking, and it matters to them. Your class rankings, your grades, your GPA matter.”

Board President Randy Steele said the board is “still in the learning process” regarding the grading system. The board has neither approved nor disapproved its use in Joplin schools.

Bid approval

IN OTHER BUSINESS TUESDAY NIGHT, the board approved more than a dozen bid packages, including precast concrete, glass, drywall and ceilings, athletic and food-service equipment, and painting for Irving Elementary School; precast concrete, concrete footings and structural steel for Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center; and masonry for East Middle School.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • r041514recycledfashion.jpg Joplin High School students to model ‘recycled’ dresses at fashion show

    Audrey Kaman will walk the runway later this week wearing a dress she designed herself — made out of 250 doilies. “I’d say it’s a fun dress,” the Joplin High School sophomore said. “It’s not really elegant because it’s short, but it’s cute.”

    April 15, 2014 4 Photos

  • Shooter in Joplin murder sentenced to life in prison

    The teen convicted of being the triggerman in the murder of Jacob Wages was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole. At a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin, Circuit Judge Gayle Crane followed a jury’s recommendations in assessing Daniel D. Hartman, 18, two life sentences on convictions for second-degree murder and armed criminal action, and 15 years on a conviction for burglary.

    April 15, 2014

  • Interchange construction work near Carterville to create safer off-ramp

    As the Missouri Department of Transportation begins rebuilding eastbound ramps at the Missouri Highway 171 and Route HH interchange near Carterville this week, drivers can expect ramp and occasional lane closures. The $1.5 million project, funded by the state, will increase the distance between ramps for drivers traveling northbound on Highway 249 and exiting eastbound to Highway 171.

    April 15, 2014

  • Schreiber Foods schedules Carthage plant expansion

    Plans to expand a Schreiber Foods plant to eventually add 160 new jobs have been endorsed by a Carthage committee working with the company. Andrew Tobish, director of combinations for Schreiber, which is based in Green Bay, Wis., confirmed the project, which he said would be complete by late spring or early summer in 2015.

    April 15, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Wednesday’s paper.

    April 15, 2014

  • Local Jews offer reactions to Overland Park shooting

    Jews in Joplin and throughout the region are struggling to come to terms with Sunday’s shooting at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement complex in suburban Kansas City, resulting in three deaths. The suspect has been identified as Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, of Aurora.

    April 14, 2014

  • Suspect in Kansas shooting has long history as white supremacist

    Frazier Glenn Cross drew the ire of Joplin residents in 2006 when several hundred copies of his white supremacist newspaper were landing on lawns in the city. The White Patriot Leader spouted the usual Cross diatribe. A race war was imminent. The “newspaper for white Americans,” as it billed itself, ranted against an invasion of the country by illegal Hispanic immigrants, the proliferation of black culture, and a purported takeover of the government, banks and the media by Jews.

    April 14, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mike Seibert elected new mayor of Joplin

    Joplin’s new mayor pledged Monday night that the city will operate with more transparency and that work toward redevelopment will be the City Council’s priority. Mike Seibert, who withstood a challenge by another incumbent councilman in last Tuesday’s election to be the Zone 4 councilman, was elected mayor by a unanimous vote of the panel Monday night.

    April 14, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Members of the new Joplin City Council, in the wake of the April 8 election and turmoil that roiled to the surface last August, will elect a mayor and mayor pro tem. Read all of the details.

    April 14, 2014