If preparation is the key to success, these incoming faculty members are all set for a great year. More than two dozen new Huntington UFSD teachers participated in a two-day orientation program, packed with helpful sessions that school officials hope will them off to a fast start with their classes.
District officials provided the group with an overview of the school system and discussed the district’s mission statement. Sessions touched upon learning communities and learning patterns, professional practices and classroom management techniques, state learning standards and all of the digital tools available to enhance the educational program offered to students.
The orientation program was organized by Beth McCoy, Huntington UFSD’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Following welcoming remarks by Superintendent James W. Polansky, Mrs. McCoy gave an informative and inspiring talk on “teaching in Huntington” that helped set the tone for the two day orientation program.
The incoming faculty members met key district administrators, including central office officials, principals and department leaders. The group gathered at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School for the program.
The new teachers also learned more about the district’s professional development program, including the Teacher Center and became familiar with Huntington’s teacher mentoring program. They even enjoyed a bus tour around the community, passing by all eight schools.
Segments of the program were devoted to discussing the establishment of family partnerships, how to start the new school year successfully, effective classroom management practices, professionalism and how to go about creating meaningful lessons.
Forging family partnerships was one of the most important areas covered. The topics discussed included:
• Making the establishment of a partnership with parents a priority
• Providing parents with regular, positive communications
• Providing personalized messages through home-school journals in which teachers communicate with parents regarding their child’s interests, strengths or weaknesses or concerns
• Providing parents and caregivers with practical suggestions on how they can assist in their child’s education
• Reflecting on the teacher-parent partnership plan and fine-tuning it so it results in improved parent involvement in student academic and social success
The new teachers were encouraged to: Reach out to parents during the first week of school; begin to establish routines on the first day of class; communicate clear objectives and expectations; hold students responsible for following routines and rules; build relationships with each student.
The group discussed positive classroom behavioral practices, establishing routines and relationships, positive reinforcement, teacher-student relationships and creating and implementing a classroom pledge where students create and vow to uphold a set of agreed upon expectations.
In a segment on professionalism, the new teachers were encouraged to lead by example. The group was asked to reflect upon the following points:
• Presentation is key; you only have one chance to make a first impression
• Be prompt
• Plan ahead and be prepared
• Set clear objectives and communicate with students about those objectives
• Collaborate with staff. They are resources
• Ask questions and look for feedback
• Demonstrate respect for all students and staff
• Practice confidentiality
All the different aspects of what comprises a great teacher were also discussed. The new faculty members were urged to remember the district’s mission “to educate students by effectively teaching an enriched body of knowledge.”
The new faculty members were asked maintain high expectations for all and to understand that strong classroom management and effective teaching practices “will lead to great outcomes for all students.”
Finally, the newest Huntington UFSD employees were encouraged to “keep calm and make a difference!”
Mrs. McCoy told all of the teachers that she is always available to them whenever a need arises.