Park city welcomes new staff
Adjusting to early mornings was one of the complaints uttered at a new teacher orientation at 8 a.m. Aug. 14. In an effort to ease teachers into the school year, the Park City School District (PCSD) treated 62 new teachers to a catered pancake breakfast as part of a three-day welcome event being held Aug. 13 through 15 at Ecker Hill International School.
Holding a pancake breakfast for new hires at the PCSD has been a continuing tradition. It gives school board members and district superintendent Ray Timothy the opportunity to get to know new employees in an informal setting.
The three-day introduction given to new employees is also a time for the district to familiarize incoming staff with district policies and procedures as well as share job-specific information explained Kathy Anderson, event organizer and Jeremy Ranch Elementary School reading specialist.
According to Anderson, the district welcomed almost twice as many new employees as last year. Anderson said that the high employee turnover was caused by the exceptionally large number of teachers who retired last year. Timothy said that they are finalizing the last few contracts but he thinks all positions have been filled for the upcoming school year. Another big group of teachers is expected to retire after the 2008-09 school year, added Anderson.
Jeremy Ranch Elementary School principal Shaun Kuennen said that many of the teachers are new to the district, but aren’t new to teaching altogether. Kuennan explained that the district has an easy time attracting teachers from other areas because people want to live here. Tina Brunetti, who will teach second grade at McPolin Elementary, described Park City as "teacher heaven." Brunetti comes to Park City from the largest school district in the nation, Clark School District in Las Vegas, Nev. and says that she’s pleased to be in Park City because when she is walking down the halls, people know her name and the school board and administrators get involved with teachers and students.
Anderson described the new district employees as a diverse group. Coming from farthest away is Xinli from China. Xinli was hired by the district to teach Mandarin Chinese at the middle school level. Ecker Hill International Middle School principal Greg Proffit explained that Xinli comes to the area as part of a teacher exchange orchestrated by the Chinese Language and Culture board. There are 16 teachers in the state of Utah teaching Mandarin Chinese through the exchange program, said Proffit.
Of the 62 new teachers, 10 are new to teaching, about five are Park City High School graduates, and two from as far away as Alaska explained Anderson. Short introductory biographies will be included in upcoming issues to introduce new teachers to the community.
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