New teachers take orientation workshop |

New teachers take orientation workshop

by Merrie Leininger

The first day of school can be just as exciting for the teacher as it is for the students.

Douglas County Schools provides a new teacher orientation that started this week, to help prepare teachers who are new to the district.

Brandon Swain of professional development said the first two days take place in August, then three more days are devoted later in the year to developing lesson plans.

The 28 teachers new to the community may or may not have plenty of experience under their belt, but the workshop helps them get settled into the Douglas way of doing things.

“We provide a common terminology and it helps build a culture for the district,” Swain said.

The first two days the instructors focus on classroom management strategies and help the teachers set up routines.

Swain said the Douglas County School District is the only one in the state who, for 17 continuous years, has held the new teacher workshop.

“It lets every teacher get on the same page and lets them know the expectations on them,” Swain said.

They also do follow up work by observing the teachers in the classroom then sitting down with them for a critique.

Because the teachers are all on different schedules, some have been in the classroom for months while some have not started yet.

Janine Molina, a 4th-grade teacher at C.C. Meneley, has been in her classroom for seven weeks already.

However, the workshop has helped her.

“I learned a lot of strategies,” Molina said. “When we get into small groups, I can talk about a problem I have and they will shoot out three different solutions I never would have thought of.”

Molina grew up in Gardnerville and went to Gardnerville Elementary, where the workshop was held.

“It helps that I’m already a part of this community, and I like to be able to give back to the community,” she said.

Lindsay Lucas has taught for three years in South Lake Tahoe and now will be teaching 3rd grade at Zephyr Cove Elementary School.

She said the workshop helped her by teaching her new things and reinforced old ideas.

“It helped me remember things I learned in my past experiences as a teacher and I learned how the district works,” Lucas said.

Beth Cressaty is a new teacher to the district, but not a new teacher.

She was a teacher years ago in California and then stayed at home to take care of her children.

After working for a while at Coldwell Banker, she decided to get back into teaching. She started as a kindergarten teacher at C.C. Meneley two weeks ago.

The workshop helped her more than any college class she ever took, she said, because of the interaction with other teachers.

Cressaty said she felt very excited about the start of school – for herself and for the students.

“I feel passionate about teaching. I think the start of the school experience is the most important. They come to school with a fresh slate and to be a positive figure to guide them in those first months is the ultimate,” Cressaty said.

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