SUBMITTED BY CHINOOK’S EDGE SCHOOL DIVISION
The annual New Teacher Orientation, part of what is considered to be one of the most extensive mentorship programs in the province, took place in Chinook’s Edge throughout the week last week.
Fifteen teachers who are either new to the profession or new to the division took part.
The four-day program is meant to increase their understanding of the culture and expectations at Chinook’s Edge, and to provide time and support as they begin mapping out specific plans and goals for the school year. As part of an ongoing mentorship program, each new teacher is also invited to be paired with a seasoned Chinook’s Edge teacher to share ongoing support, encouragement and professional development.
“This orientation week has been so helpful and positive,” said Samantha McWade, who recently graduated from Red Deer College. “We are all being supported and encouraged, and it has set a great foundation for the start of our teaching careers.”
Samantha will be teaching at École Steffie Woima Elementary School in Sylvan Lake. In a rare occurrence, her brother Sean is also starting his first year of teaching just up the road at ƒcole Fox Run School in Sylvan. Both graduated from Chinook’s Edge schools in Sylvan Lake, and are excited to begin their careers in their hometown.
“We will both be teaching at the schools we attended, which is really great,” said Sean, who graduated from the University of Alberta. “I feel as though this entire school system transported us through successfully and now it’s our turn to give back — not just to the school, but to the community as a whole. Before I went into Education, I took a degree in paleontology, because I had that passion since I was a kid. My teachers supported my interests all along the way. It’s important to me to provide that kind of support for students, to give every kid the resources and skills to become what they want.”
When asked what drew this group of teachers to become part of Chinook’s Edge, many mentioned the sense of community. The emphasis on collaboration, professional growth, and opportunities to work together as teams has become known beyond the division’s boundaries.
“This is a connected school division with a great sense of community. We knew through news articles and through others in the learning community that teachers in Chinook’s Edge are connected to people and programs well beyond the classroom. We could see that this division puts students first, and we are both feeling really lucky to become part of that. It’s a dream come true,” said Samantha.
Dr. Lissa Steele, Associate Superintendent of Learning Services, described this year’s entire group of new teachers as remarkable. “They are incredibly keen to dig in, they have been prepared and engaged. They are asking great questions and have connected strongly with each other. This group has created a community already and can connect with one another throughout the year and throughout their careers with Chinook’s Edge.”