Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

Teachers’ return signals school about to start

August 4, 2005

Students' days of summer vacation are numbered, but teachers will be headed back to school even sooner - beginning next week.

New teachers will arrive the earliest to take part in an orientation to the schools and the district. This year, there are 13 teachers new to the district, two in their first year of teaching.

New teacher orientation will be Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 8 and 9.

Assistant superintendent Donna Hughes said much of the orientation would be spent familiarizing the teachers with student handbooks and state and local curriculum. Other topics will include making student improvement plans, wherein a team of teachers meets to brainstorm remediation strategies, and reviewing the schedule of state assessments. In addition, teachers will meet with district technology coordinator Jeff Andrews to learn how to use PowerSchool, a Web-based grade book for students, teachers and parents.

In addition to the introduction to the district, new teachers also will be introduced to their mentors. New teachers are paired with a teacher at the same school "to make them feel a part" of the staff, Hughes said. She said the mentor program was an important tool in teacher retention to help new teachers fit in. Principals assign mentors based on subject and personality, Hughes said.

Mentors also provide encouragement and feedback to the new teachers, Hughes said. Mentors and novices meet once a month and observe each other in the classroom. Hughes said the observation prepares new teachers for evaluations, which take place twice in the first 60 days of the school year each year until the teacher is tenured. Teachers are considered tenured when they are offered their third contract in the same district, Hughes said.

After new teachers complete their orientation on Tuesday, all teachers in the district will be back in their classrooms on Wednesday, Aug. 10, to set up for the semester. On Thursday and Friday, Aug. 11 and 12, all teachers will attend orientation. The seminars include a speaker who will speak about the best practices in instruction, Hughes said. Such orientations count as continuing education and earn teachers points that go toward renewing their teaching certificates, Hughes said.

After three days to a week of preparation, teachers should be ready for school to begin. The first day of school in Lansing School District is Aug. 15, which is a half-day.

New teachers listed

These 13 teachers are new to Lansing School District this year:

Lee Matzeder, elementary physical education

Jessica Asbury, first grade

Jennifer Leitsch, first grade

Felicia Yoakam, fourth grade (first-year teacher)

Sheila Martin, sixth-grade math and science

Jennifer Kolb, sixth-grade science and literature

Jacob Reeser, seventh grade

Mindy Coulter, eighth grade language arts

Rebecca Harris, middle school band/assistant high school band director

Luke Johnson, high school band director

Dustin Meyers, high school business (first-year teacher)

Wes Cackler, high school science

Christina Hoverson, high school math

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