Newsletter << All NewslettersNov 05, 2013
Force of Nature vs. Community Nurture
“The morning after the EF-5 tornado destroyed six schools and heavily damaged four others, I realized things would never be the same again for the people of Joplin, Missouri.”
— Dr. Angie Besendorfer (MO ’96)
Dear Champions of Education,
What do you do when everything you have is destroyed? When all of your plans are deemed null and void by one unimaginable act of nature? How do you bounce back? How do you rebuild? How do you tell 3,200 students that even after a tragedy of this enormity—which took not only their school buildings but seven of their peers and one teacher—that everything will be alright again?
No educator, school or district wants to think about these questions, but on May 22, 2011, the city of Joplin, Missouri was faced with this very scenario. A slow-moving EF-5 tornado destroyed their schools and much of their town, but in its wake it left behind an even stronger community determined to find a “silver lining in the funnel cloud.” And find it they did, forging a new paradigm for 21st century education. How did they do it? What lessons did they learn that other educators can apply to their own schools?
With nature’s forces of destruction showing no signs of letting up the unpredictable havoc they wreak, we invited someone who had the answers to write an article for our Connections magazine. She’s the Assistant Superintendent of Joplin Schools. We know her better as Milken Educator Angie Besendorfer (MO ’96), and this is her story.
How Joplin Schools turned our worst nightmare into
a dream scenario
By Dr. Angie Besendorfer (MO ’96)
In this newsletter: Dr. Angie Besendorfer (MO '96)
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