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2021-22 New Teacher Orientation

New Teacher Orientation 2021August 5, 2021 - Special School District was pleased to welcome 217 new employees to New Teacher Orientation (NTO), held at North Tech, from July 27-29. The three-day event focused on readying recent hires, ensuring they have the supports and resources they need using a mission titled Equip, Empower, Excel.

Specific outcomes for all attendees were carefully structured. The orientation was designed to provide all with ideas, tools, and resources so they felt equipped to begin the school year successfully. Additional goals were for each attendee to be immersed into an empowering learning community and experience a strong sense of community overall. Finally, NTO aimed to ensure that all new staff felt prepared to excel in the first 30 days.

Among the attendees, we welcomed 148 teachers, 29 speech and language pathologists, 14 OT/PT/Music Therapists, 12 social workers, 6 school psychologists and diagnostic interns, 4 nurses, and 1 reading interventionist.  They attended sessions hosted by Chief Academic Officer Wendi Pendergrass, 2021 Teacher of the Year Erin Hemme, and a closing speech from Superintendent Dr. Keenan, welcoming them to the District. Administrators presented information on expectations and preparedness, family engagement, SSD processes, and the Special District National Education Association hosted an informative luncheon. Multiple breakout sessions offered networking opportunities and specifics for cohorts by district and specialization. Attendees were also treated to a session on mindfulness practices.

SSD’s Director of Professional Learning, Tina Makshe, coordinated the event with her team and was delighted with the results. “While it was a busy three days, everyone was eager to learn more about SSD and were fully engaged in each of the sessions,” she said, adding “what an amazing group of SSD new teacher level staff!”

Dan Kelly, Director of Human Resources, offered a welcome message to our new team members. “On behalf of the Human Resources Department, I would like to officially welcome you to SSD.  What makes SSD such a great place to work is our amazing staff is so committed to improving student outcomes.  I wish you a relaxing rest of the summer and the best of luck for a great upcoming school year.”

 Group photo of the New Teacher Orientation attendees