First day on the job: New teacher workshop proves to be essential for district

Harrison Lipsiea Journal Reporter
First-year instructors at Devils Lake Public Schools look on as Lake Region Special Education Director Bette Nelson makes a presentation Thursday at the new teacher workshop.

New instructors reported for their first day of school at Devils Lake Public Schools Thursday morning.

Well, kind of.

The school district held its annual new teacher workshop for instructors that will be in their first years at Devils Lake Public Schools for the 2015-2016 school year.

It was a full day for 13 teachers that have been hired at schools in the district. From a morning breakfast to a meeting with administrators, the instructors got an idea of what Devils Lake Schools are all about.

"It's been great," Kaitlin Bachman, a native of Langdon, who will be a second-grade teacher at Prairie View, said of the workshop held Thursday at the Sweetwater Elementary Library. "There was a lot of great information that was very helpful. I think the workshop is a great way to get introduced to the school district."

The itinerary included a number of presentations by school administrators and directors. Topics of discussion included classroom management, drop-out prevention, teacher growth and professionalism, to just name a few.

Each year, administrators use comments provided by first-year instructors to make updates to presentation topics during the new teacher workshop, Dr. Deb Follman, Sweetwater Elementary principal, stated.

"We try to use that feedback to revise the workshop and make it better each year," Follman told the Journal. "The ultimate goal is that all the new teachers feel welcomed to Devils Lake Public Schools."

It's a positive tool for administrators as well as they have the opportunity to meet the new faces of the district.

"I think it's very positive to get to know all the new instructors," Kim Krogfoss, Minnie H Kindergarten Center principal, stated. "It's also a nice opportunity to present some valuable content about the school district. More than anything, it's a chance for the teachers to know that there are people to go to if they have a question."

In addition to all the information made available, the workshop is also a time for the newly-hired employees to meet their colleagues. It's good to know that there are other instructors also new to the district, Shelby Boucher, who will be a special education instructor at Sweetwater Elementary, pointed out.

"Really nice to get to know some of my future colleague," the native of Rugby and former LRSC student pointed out. "It's a great chance to get to know other people new to the district."

English teacher Chris Bredeson, who will be working at the LACTC, added, "The workshop is a great way to get back into the school year. I have really enjoyed meeting the other new instructors as well."

The new staff members all agreed that the event was a good kickoff to the 2015-2016 school year. There are resources available to the instructors as the year gets underway.

There are mentoring programs provided through both the state and Devils Lake Public Schools. Instructors in their first year of teaching participate in the state-wide program while experienced teachers new to the district are in the local mentoring system.

"The mentoring system has been an awesome opportunity. It's been very successful in providing first-year instructors with a positive experience," Follman stated. "The district tries to do as much as it can for staff members new to the district. I think both the workshop and mentoring programs play important roles in providing a successful experience for teachers in their first year."

For now, the instructors are enthusiastic regarding the upcoming school year. It's an exciting time they said.

"I am really excited to spend time with students and help them build a love for reading and writing," Bredeson, a graduate of Adams-Edmore High School.

Boucher added, "It's so exciting. I can't wait for that first day. I'm looking forward to meeting my students and their families. It should be a great year."

New instructors at Devils Lake Public Schools for the 2015-2016 school year include: Julianne Greening, fourth grade, Sweetwater; Breanna Haugland, social studies, LACTC; Brandi Olson, guidance counselor, LACTC; Jade Brown, special education, Prairie View; Shelby Boucher, special education, Sweetwater; Andrew Berge, math, CMS; Kaitlin Bachman, second grade, Prairie View; Steve Stevenson, special education, DLHS; Lauri Bennet, special education, CMS; James Clark, special education, CMS; Ryan Strid, music, CMS and DLHS; Darcy Blegen, fourth grade, Sweetwater; and Chris Bredeson, English, LACTC.

Pulled Quote:

“The district tries to do as much as it can for staff members new to the district. I think both the workshop and mentoring programs play important roles in providing a successful experience for teachers in their first year.”

Dr. Deb Follman

Principal Sweetwater Elementary School