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District Welcomes More Than 100 New Teachers

(August 2, 2019) -- The St. Joseph School District welcomed 107 new teachers to the district this week during its annual back-to-school training session.

The New Teacher Institute, held at Carden Park Elementary School, opened with an icebreaker led by SJSD Superintendent Dr. Doug Van Zyl.

This year's new teachers come from all walks of life. Some are fresh out of college, others are new to the district after serving in education in other cities and states, and several have made a career change.

"It’s kind of neat to see the similarities between a really large district versus the really small schools I’ve been in, in the past. And also, kind of neat to see the differences as well," said Tim Harding, who has spent 16 years serving in education.  

Breakout sessions throughout the day provided various resources to help teachers navigate in the new school year. Sessions included topics on assessment, curriculum, grade book and attendance, and leadership. 

Many new teachers, such as Stevey Beggs, the new Spanish teacher at Lafayette High School, were impressed with the software the district uses to assist teachers in building the curriculum for their classroom.  

“So far, I’ve learned a lot about curriculum and the BYOC, Build Your Own Curriculum, which is really helpful because the previous district I was in we had to build our own curriculum and just go off the state standards," said Beggs. "I’ve worked with the curriculum guides before coming here but the Build Your Own Curriculum is more interactive, which is very helpful, especially with planning.” 

Teachers also had the opportunity to meet with their mentors during the event. The district pairs each first-year teacher with an experienced teacher, to help guide them in their first year and to serve as a resource for any questions they may have. 

Following afternoon instructional sessions, a panel comprised of four second-year teachers discussed what they had learned in their first year and shared advice for all the new teachers preparing to enter the classroom.

Teachers report for the new year next week, with students returning on August 15.

Teachers working on laptops.