CCISD welcomes new teachers
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cicely Siller is receiving her master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University Central Texas tomorrow, but earlier this week she spent two days in orientation as one of Copperas Cove Independent School District’s 94 new teachers.
Siller is a 10-year veteran of the education field and her husband is active duty military. This year is Siller’s first at CCISD, where she will teach Resource Math at S.C. Lee Junior High.
She’s very excited that she’s teaching in Copperas Cove, as she said the teaching methods used here line up with what she’s been studying in her master’s degree program.
“I’d heard a lot of good things about (Cove). At A&M, we study UDL and backwards design, the theoretical part of it, and I was really excited that Cove was interested in the practical application, making sure kids have access,” Siller said. “What I love about this district is they focus on student-centered learning, to be actively learning. Teachers need to focus on purposeful lesson planning.”
Along with her other new teachers, has been assigned a mentor, Sandra Cahill, who’ll be Siller’s mentor for the next two years. Mentors are the new teacher’s go-to person as they get to know their districts, and in some cases, begin their careers in education.
Hillary Stacey is also a military spouse and is starting her first year as a teacher, teaching 9th grade English at Copperas Cove High School. Stacey is a former news editor-in-chief from Utah who recently completed an alternative teacher certification program for Texas. Prior to moving to Texas and starting the teacher certification program, she worked for a national publication as an editor.
“During that experience and working with columnists, working through the writing process, I really found my love of teaching there,” Stacey said. “So, I decided to make a career switch.”
Stacey said the orientation has helped ease a lot of her anxieties.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, with this being my first teaching assignment. Everyone has been so welcoming. The information they are giving us here is invaluable. Just building a community and getting to know everybody, and what their expectations are for me, is invaluable.”
Jill Guerin, Director of Secondary Education for CCISD, said the new teacher orientation is all about support, finding support for them, and showing all 94 of the new teachers, the Cove way.
“We have done this for eight years now,” Guerin said. “There are two days of instruction from instructional coaches who provide the training, go over some high yield instructional strategies, classroom management, routines and procedures, special education 101. We do backward design, how to design a lesson beginning with the end in mind.”
Retention is part of the reason the district has the orientation followed by the mentoring program. Guerin said the mentors and mentees met each other Monday evening at a dinner. Each new teacher has a mentor on their campus that they will have for two years.