Symposium gives power of choice to new SJSD teachers

More than 100 new teachers will be teaching in the district this year.

Posted: Aug 1, 2019 6:26 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2019 7:49 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)  As students prepare to head back to class this school year, the St. Joseph School District's new teachers are preparing for their classes. 

A symposium was held Thursday for the district's new staff. The district is welcoming 107 new teachers to its schools this year, by teaching them everything they need to do to be ready for the first day. While the information they’re learning is pretty standard, the way they’re learning it is changing. 

"Teachers are getting some voice and choice in their professional development to start the school year," Nancy Kirby, SJSD curriculum advisor said.

Instructors said the amount of information needed for the new teachers can be overwhelming, and they wanted teachers to have a more active role in how they take in the information.

Kirby said teachers are learning everything from basic information to which curriculum they want to use this year, she also said having the choice in what they learn makes the process more impactful.

"We’ve had a choice of two things to learn about in the afternoon and two things to learn about in the morning." Morgan Dittemore, a new teacher said. 

Kirby said teacher input is critical, she said it's important that teachers to take away as much as they can from the experience.

"We really fine-tune our process," Kirby said.  "We ask teachers all the time what they liked or disliked."

Kirby, along with the new teachers said they hope to implement choice learning in their own classrooms this school year. 

"It's just been a great experience overall," Dittemore said.

The first day of class for the 2019-2020 school year is set for August 15th.

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