New teachers undergo orientation

PARKERSBURG – Dozens of new teachers are preparing to enter to Wood County school classrooms for the first time next week.

This week, they are undergoing orientation with a variety of school officials.

Fifty-eight new professional employees are attending introduction seminars over two days at the central office, the MIS department and the Stout Memorial Church, according to Judy Johnson, director of curriculum and instruction.

The first half of Wednesday officials will go over expectations, legalities, meet the central office staff and meet requirements to complete the mentoring program, Johnson said.

“The other half of the day they will train at MIS on the technology components such as Live Grades, calling in for a sub through our SEMS system, navigating the Edline website, online library system and getting an email address.”

Today, Johnson said officials will go over effective strategies, professionalism and digital learning.

The group is so large this year officials divided it into two groups, Johnson said.

Pat Law, superintendent of schools, said 58 new teachers – including some substitutes – is “unusual.”

“We have a high number of new hires,” he said, noting the system had 67 professional retirements to replace. According to the superintendent the system had 65 service and professional employees retire last year. This year, 119.

“It is a larger number than we had in the past,” Law said.

Bob Harris, assistant superintendent of pupil and personnel services, said officials still need to fill 29 full-time teaching positions.

“Yes, it will be an issue,” he said. “The issue is we won’t have someone to start the new year.”

Harris said vacant positions at the elementary school level garnered anywhere from 36 to 190 applicants.

“The sheer volume requires a great amount of work on behalf of principals,” he said. At the secondary level Harris said officials are having issued finding certified individuals to fill the needs.

Harris said the school system will rely on substitutes to fill in the until full-time teachers are found. Students report to school August 22.

Most years, we do have at least a couple of positions as we move into the school year,” Law said.

Another issue with the large amount of new hires is need for additional mentors for new teachers. Harris said the vast retirements has also left a hole in the mentor ranks. Officials are also recruiting teachers to undergo the two-day mentoring training.

“We are going to need more mentors than ever before,” Law said.