New teachers set up for success through orientation program

The annual New Teacher Orientation, part of what is considered to be one of the most extensive mentorship programs in the province

by Sandy Bexon

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 School Division last week.

Twenty 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.

“They establish strong connections with one another and create networks of support that will ensure their first year in Chinook’s Edge is highly successful,” said Dr. Lissa Steele, Associate Superintendent of Learning Services. “We really want to make sure our new teachers have the best start possible. One of the most rewarding aspects of the program is the sense of community that is created, so that they can launch their teaching careers knowing they are part of a strong and supportive school division.”

Jaleesa Hallgren is one of the teachers who took part in the program and, although she taught for two years in a different school division, she was impressed with the amount of new information and resources that she discovered at the orientation. Mostly, she was excited by the level of enthusiasm in the room.

“I’m so impressed by how meaningful and helpful the orientation program has been, I really wish every new teacher could have the experience they provide in Chinook’s Edge,” said Hallgren, who will be teaching Kindergarten at C. P. Blakely School in Sylvan Lake. “I love the collaboration among this group, and it is so good to have all these strong connections. It’s fantastic how approachable and friendly everyone is in this division. It is a highly professional atmosphere, but it’s also friendly and energetic.

“My goal and passion is to make a positive difference in the life of every child I come into contact with. I’m excited to work alongside my students and witness their new discoveries, and set them up with strong foundations for learning. I hope they’ll come to love school and to love all learning as much as I do.”