New teachers were welcomed to Liberty Central School District on Wednesday, Aug. 30, with a full day of introductions, instruction and icebreaker activities.
The 16 newest Redhawk faculty members met in the High School Media Center where they signed in, got their Chromebooks and were treated to breakfast.
The day began with opening remarks by Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sullivan, who also introduced the administrative team. He then outlined the philosophy of having permission to “fail forward,” meaning it is OK to fail at something as long as the failure is accepted and used as a stepping stone for future success.
The teachers learned about the district’s Five-Year Strategic Plan, as well as the annual District Comprehensive Improvement Plan and building level plans, and discussed why they were important. They also received an overview of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) process, SchoolTool, the DESSA social/emotional learning screener and other educational digital platforms, Leader in Me, Special Education, English as a New Language and Students in Temporary Housing, as well as technology information such as passwords, security and help desk information. The mentor-mentee program, required for all first-year teachers, offered at Liberty was highlighted during the orientation.
As a way to get to know each other early in the day, teachers paired up and were given 10 minutes to learn more about each other and then introduced their partners to the rest of the group.
The interaction continued throughout the day, especially during the program led by Betsy Conners, a PLC consultant. She addressed issues such as culturally sustaining education, professional learning communities, learning standards, learning targets and essential questions, and offered several group activities to help bring home her messages.
The day concluded with a look at “Overview of The First Days of School” by Harry Wong, which explains why some practices stand the test of time and offers suggestions on how to use them.
The teachers then wrote a letter to themselves, asking them what is their “Why” and where they expect to be at winter break, in respect to their strengths, accomplishments, instructional strategies and more. These letters will be returned to them at the end of the school year, offering them a chance to reflect on their first year at Liberty.
The goal of the new teacher orientation was to increase understanding of the processes and procedures at Liberty, inline with the coherence pillar of the strategic plan.