Gina Flavin, school social worker, and Kaitlin Eaton, art teacher, board the bus with fellow new teachers as they tour Clarkston Community Schools. The five-day orientation included lunch at The Fed downtown. Photo by Phil Custodio
BY BRENDA DOMINICK
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Almost two weeks before school starts, a school bus is already out and about. But it’s carrying teachers instead of students.
“We started it last year and we got a great response from it. In the past, we would have them sit in a room for the three days, but now they moved to a different building for almost every presenter, via the school bus,” said Assistant Superintendent John Lucido. “By the time the week’s over, they’ve met every principal, they’ve heard about every building, and they’ve seen our entire school district. Then, we immerse them in the community as well.”
Clarkston Commnity Schools is welcoming 29 new teachers this year. The tour of the district is part of their week-long orientation.
Starting each day with a continental breakfast, the newly hired teachers are traveling by bus to downtown Clarkston, where they had lunch at The Fed on Aug. 13. They’ll also enjoy ice cream at Cook’s Dairy, in addition to learning about the districts’ policies, procedures, culture, and vision, and meeting other staff members.
They’ll meet with the Board of Education and Superintendent Shawn Ryan to get a comprehensive overview of the district, and also get a tour of each school.
All CCS schools except Bailey Lake and Clarkston Elementary will be welcoming new teachers to their staff.
“The new teachers are very appreciative they got to see the whole school district and that we gave them a little touch of the community of Clarkston and the culture,” Lucido said. “It really showed them that it’s all connected here at Clarkston Schools with the community.”
Debbie Clement, HR Coordinator and Certified Administrative staff, was instrumental in implementing this week-long orientation, Lucido added.
CCS Marketing Director Mary Ellen Rowe spoke to the new teachers on Tuesday about how they can share the exciting work they’re doing in their classrooms on the district’s social media and the website.
“There’s something special about our schools and the culture of personalized learning that our teachers create here,” said Rowe. “Photos and videos from the classroom help tell our story and paint a picture of what it feels like to be a learner in Clarkston.”
She also pointed to the district’s use of student engagement technologies like Seesaw (a digital portfolio platform implemented across the district last year) as another way Clarkston teachers showcase student growth and build school-to-home connections with families.
“Seesaw not only enables students to create digital portfolios, but also gives teachers another way to interact with parents by sharing videos of classroom lessons, field trips and more,” she said.
“We’re engaging with families in a meaningful way, and there’s that two-way communication. It’s a jumping off point for a dinner conversation that goes beyond, ‘what did you do today at school?’”
The new teachers will also be provided mentors to assist in their training and success for the year. Clarkston Community Schools start Aug. 27 with a half day.Visit www.clarkston.k12.mi.us for back-to-school dates and information.