On August 7-9, School District 45 welcomed over 30 new teachers and staff and held a three-day orientation for certified staff.
The orientation began on Monday morning with a Welcome Breakfast at Medinah Banquets, where new employees were treated to a breakfast buffet and heard from District 45 leaders, including Superintendent Dr. Anthony Palmisano, Board of Education Vice President Carol Klamecki, and Villa Park Education Association Vice President Katie Bolin.
At the Breakfast, Palmisano introduced local community leaders and District 45 administrators. Klamecki introduced the Board of Education to the audience and addressed the new hires.
“We are excited to be here at the start of another new school year,” Klamecki said. “We are glad you are here, and we hope you find a home in our District.”
During the three-day orientation, new employees received information from departments within the District, including human resources, technology, curriculum and instruction, and the District’s business office.
Kate Cross, a new District 45 employee who will teach second grade at Ardmore, participated in the three-day training and appreciated all of what she learned.
“It’s been great so far,” said Cross. “There’s a lot of information shared, but everyone’s provided a good balance of information we need without overwhelming us.”
Cross said she is looking forward to connecting with her students and their families, saying she loves helping kids succeed.
Cross added that one of her takeaways from the training was how much the District valued and encouraged collaboration among teachers, administrators and families.
“There’s definitely an emphasis on everyone collaborating to prepare students for the dynamic world they will face in the future,” she said.
District 45 Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Annetta Spychalski, along with her department, led the final morning of the orientation with an activity emphasizing collaboration, where participants were asked to share information about themselves to begin building connections.
Spychalski felt this year’s group seemed incredibly excited.
“They want to be here and dig in. And it’s our job to enculturate them into our D45 family because they’re ready for it,” she said.
One of the key features of the new employee orientation is the mentor program, where new certified staff members are paired with District veterans in the same or similar positions.
The mentor program is intended for all certified staff, where new employees receive a mentor. The pair gather regularly over two years for meetings, observations of one another, reflection, and lots of discussions.
“For new educators, their mentors provide a backbone for curriculum,” said Dr. Spychalski. “We give an overview, but it lands on the mentors, instructional coaches, and everyone else in the building to support them and grow trusted relationships as they work.”
When asked what new teachers are thinking about on the final day of their District orientation, Dr. Spychalski smiled.
“Our teachers are very anxious to enter their classrooms and explore their environment and resources,” said Spychalski. “Teachers are very structured and systematic, so I know they are thinking, ‘I can’t wait to get to my school and get started on what I need to do for next week.’”