By Robyn Martinez
“We have the best students on the planet. And they deserve the best teachers – and here you are,” said Tempe Elementary School District Superintendent Christine Busch.
Busch’s remarks took place at the district’s new staff orientation event held at Bustoz Professional Learning Center where 141 new certified staff members were on hand for a day of learning.
Each year, Tempe Elementary hosts the orientation to welcome and help prepare new teachers, counselors, psychologists, nurses and other related service staff for their first year of work at the District. Bustoz Professional Learning Center is Tempe Elementary’s own professional development center complete with model classrooms, large meeting rooms and resources for teachers and staff members in all content areas.
“When planning this event, it was important to me that everyone felt the same support that I did when I started at Tempe Elementary,” said Teacher Induction Specialist Melissa Jorna. “TD3 really advocates for us to be a community and group of learners who push ourselves to grow and learn and become the best at what we do.”
Superintendent Busch greeted new staff at the beginning of the orientation, and shared encouragement about the importance of their role in the lives of children.
“Our life’s work is the most critical work that a society does, because our life’s work is about the children,” Busch said.
New staff members also heard words of wisdom from Tempe Elementary’s “Rookie of the Year” teacher, Edna Morales – an exemplary educator embarking on her second year with Tempe Elementary.
“Seek out support from colleagues in your first year as a teacher. Ask everyone in your building for help— that is what they are there for,” Morales said. “We are a team, we work together. That’s what we are teaching our students, and that is what we need to do as well.”
The support for staff extends to the community, as well. Margaret Hunnicutt, President and CEO of the local Landings Credit Union, shared some of the many ways their organization strives to help educators be financially successful. That includes pausing loan payments that occur over the summer, opening accounts for students and paying them for every “A” grade they bring in on their report cards, and more.
Following the welcome session, new staff members broke into smaller sessions to cover topics like routines and procedures, community building, and specific student engagement strategies. Later in the day, new teachers went out to various schools and spent time in a classroom of their designated grade-level or area of focus, and had the chance to interact with and learn from some experienced teachers of their specific grade.
“There were many great resources shared through this orientation that I will definitely use in my first year. I’m very excited to get started,” said new teacher Amandah Goodman.