New Teacher Academy  

August 28, 2015
On July 27 & 28 ESU 10 and the Teaching & Learning Department hosted 12 schools and 45 teachers to our first annual New Teacher Academy. Peg Coover and Jami Schaffnitt are the facilitators for this program and are excited for the opportunities and support it offers. The academy is designed to assist teachers in year 1 or year 2 of their teaching career with topics such as classroom management, instructional strategies, technology integration, data analysis and more. The intent is to increase educator effectiveness, develop a network for new teachers and ultimately assist in improving teacher retention. The first two sessions were well received and the academy will convene again in October and January with on-site sessions integrated throughout.

Highlights from our first days together were:
  •   A virtual visit from Shelly Terrell, author of “The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers.” We will be completing challenges from this book virtually throughout the year to assist our new teachers in getting their career started on the right foot. Topics such as developing relationships, setting goals, avoiding burnout and collaboration are just some of the great challenges in this book. It provokes teachers to dig deep and really set their eyes on growing into a great educator.

   •  Mark Johnson, principal at Bryant Elementary from Kearney Public Schools, gave our new teachers a pep talk on what he wishes new teachers knew from an administrator’s perspective. He encouraged the participants to be among the 90% who can make a difference by making that choice to be positive.

?-by Jami Schaffnitt, Teaching and Learning Coordinator

   •  Kristina Peters, eLearning Specialist and School Library Liaison from the Nebraska Department of Education spoke to the new teachers about having a safe, secure and professional digital presence. She shared the do’s and dont’s of being involved in social media as well as encouraged teachers to tap into the constant professional development available on Twitter.

   •  Classroom management, differentiated instruction and blended learning were topics discussed with time given to teachers to think about their first few days of school and plan out the strategies and procedures they would be using in their classrooms.

   •  A panel of veteran teachers from Kearney Public Schools were part of a Q&A session to provide guidance, tips and inspiration on getting through that first year! Panel members included: Roan Howard from Horizon Middle School, Jenny True from Northeast Elementary and Kevin Witte from Kearney High School.

   •  Participants of the New Teacher Academy were involved in an online community where they were able and will be able to share ideas, thoughts and resources pertaining to our new teacher group across the many miles that separate us.

Networking was the focus on these first few days of our New Teacher Academy and many new relationships were formed. We are excited to come alongside these new teachers and watch them grow into the greatest profession in the world!

-by Jami Schaffnitt, Teaching and Learning Coordinator