P-R program helps new teachers acclimate

September 16, 2018

The Pine-Richland School District is expanding its program designed to help new teachers transition not only to their new jobs but also the district itself to its paraprofessionals this year.

The district launched Pine-Richland Academy last year as a way of expanding the state-required induction program to new teachers in order to obtain their Level 2, or permanent, instructional certification to all teachers new to the district regardless of experience.

“Just because you’ve been teaching at another school district for five years or 10 years does not mean when you walk in the door at Pine-Richland, you have a complete understanding of our culture, who we are, how we do things, what our curriculum looks like and what our organization is like from top to bottom,” Owen Kenney, the district’s director of human resources and legal affairs, told the school board at its Aug. 20 meeting.

As the district developed that program last year, he said, officials discovered a gap in how they welcomed and developed the classroom paraprofessionals who support special education students, teachers and families.

In the past, Kenney explained, it was upon individual teachers to help the paraprofessionals assigned to their classrooms get up to speed. This year, following general orientation, the district provided additional training that included the basics of special education law and terminology.

The district plans to continue training in both September and October with programs that focus on the characteristics of specific disabilities and how those might present in the classroom as well as how paraprofessionals can better monitor students’ progress, provide appropriate cues and prompts and work toward not over-supporting students while fostering their growth and independence.

• The district debuted an 11-minute video that highlights the changes in the district over time as part of its celebration of its 60th anniversary. The video is available for viewing at pinerichland.org.

• Prior to the meeting, the board held a moment of silence for Lisa Corcoran, who served as an aide at Wexford Elementary the past six years and died suddenly Aug. 18.

• The district also recognized Richland custodian Edward Feil and Eden Hall Upper Elementary School paraprofessional Anne Cress, who retired this summer. Feil worked for the district for 10 years and Cress spent the last nine years at Eden Hall. She also taught third grade and worked as a substitute teacher.

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