After 6 hours on the road, we finally arrived in Joplin, Missouri. After a short rest at the hotel we went for supper with some member of the Joplin staff. After supper, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Angie Besendorfer, Director of Technology Traci House, and Director of Special Services Lisa Orem talked about the storm and the reaction of the district. They had 10 buildings damaged, over 250 classrooms lost, 54% of their student body was without a school to attend, and more than 3000 students were in the path of the storm. Amazing as it was, they started school on time in August. With many donations from all over the world, they were able to get their district back up an running.
It is quite amazing what they were able to do in just three short months. You never want this to happen to anyone, but you need to have a plan. One thing that Dr. Besendorfer made sure that we knew, NEVER have your students go in the hall during a tornado. Just the security camera footage from the schools in Joplin is a good reason why. She shared a story about a pop machine that went down one all, made a turn down another, and yet another turn and ended up in an elevator. And the halls weren't short halls either. The storm would go spinning one way, stop and then go spinning the other.
We are going to be touring a couple of schools, learning about their professional development system, and much more tomorrow. I will post again tomorrow night, as well as to #nnncjoplin. I am sure there will be several more posting to this hashtag as well, so join in our learning as well.