Lots of new staff at schools

There are many new faces joining the students and staff at public schools across the district this year.
The Rainy River District School Board has hired a total of 25 teachers for the 2005-06 school year—12 elementary teachers and 13 secondary.
In addition, the board has hired 17 occasional teachers—13 elementary and four secondary.
Diane Ross, the board’s human resources administrator, said the hirings are largely due to a number of teachers on pregnancy leave, as well as a high number of retirements at the end of the 2004-05 school year.
The large number of new hires “just brings us up to where we need to be,” she noted.
“It’s very good. We miss our experienced people, for sure, but we’re also really very fortunate to have some wonderful new teachers,” she added.
While some of those teachers have come from far away, others are products of the local education system.
“We have a good little handful of young people that have gone through their studies and done their practical teaching experience and now have chosen this board. So the cycle continues.” she said. “And that’s great. We don’t need to sell our district to people that have grown up here.”
Twenty-seven of the board’s new teachers came out for orientation day and signed up for the board’s teacher mentoring program.
“Each of those teachers is paired with an existing contract teacher so they have support in their first years of teaching, and that’s a really unique program,” Ross explained. “That program is really exceptional, really stellar. It’s not common around the province.”
In fact, the board was recognized in 2003 for its teacher mentoring program at the Symposium on the Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession in Toronto.
Kendall Olsen, principal of Riverview and McCrosson-Tovell Schools and one of the organizers behind the program, was invited to the symposium to give a presentation on the program.
“Retention is about mentorship, because it holds them. It’s one thing to recruit, but you want them to stay,” Ross said.
“If you help to make their year satisfying and productive, then we’re optimistic that they’ll choose to stay with the board. And that’s good news for everyone,” she added.