New Inter-Lakes teachers, paraeducators, and guidance counselors and their mentors pause for a photo after the district's annual welcoming reception. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
October 03, 2018MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes School District welcomed its new teachers and paraeducators with an annual reception last week.
The district held its annual welcoming reception on Tuesday. New teachers, paraeducators, administrators, and guidance counselors were joined by their respective mentors and had the opportunity to meet with the school board, administrators, and members of the public.
At the reception, 13 new educators introduced themselves, though some new staff members were not able to come to the reception. New educators had the opportunity to introduce themselves, talk about where they came from and what their goals were for the year.
"You are now working in a community that is unbelievably supportive of education," said Inter-Lakes School Board chair Richard Hanson.
Hanson said every year the voters have approved the annual budget and the only changes that have been made is adding money back in that the school board had originally trimmed. He said the district also has experienced and supportive administrators and generous compensation.
"We, as a board, have been told we have ben unbelievably lucky to hire some of the best and brightest people," Hanson said.
Inter-Lakes has mentoring programs for new teachers and paraeducators. Superintendent Mary Moriarty said they are grateful that these mentors have stepped up and taken additional responsibilities to help the new staff grow.
"The good work is done every day in the classrooms and in the hallways of the schools," Moriarty said. "Thank you for doing that hard work."
The district has a mentoring program for teachers entering its 11th year and a paraeducator mentoring program in its second year.
"The purpose for these programs is to improve student learning," said Curriculum Coordinator Kathleen Hill. "We are trying to help teachers get off to a really good start their first year so they can have a positive impact in student learning."
The program also aims to improve teacher retention, as statistics show new teachers tend to drop out of the profession quickly. Hill said the program aims to help both the wellness of students and the wellness of new teachers.
"We also want them to be able to feel welcomed and feel part of what is possible," Hill said.
Mentors and mentees are required to meet twice a month, though Hill said they usually meet much more than that.
Each year all of those involved in the program will give feedback and the program is reviewed and changed accordingly every year. She said they have received positive feedback overall from both the new and mentoring educators.
"It's overwhelmingly a positive experience for those involved," Hill said.
Hill said she gets the feedback every year that the mentors learn as much as their mentees.
"I get that new feedback every year that mentors enjoy being part of this program," Hill said.