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Warwick Valley’s new teachers attend two-day orientation

on September 7, 2017

The Warwick Valley Central School District welcomed 15 new teachers at its annual New Teacher Orientation, an intensive two-day workshop that introduced the educators to the District, their mentors, and the Warwick community.

New teachers tour Sanfordville Elementary School

During a two-day orientation, the District’s new teachers toured Warwick Valley’s schools.

Led by Cindy Leandro, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, the orientation, held Aug. 30-31, offered a detailed overview of the District’s missions and goals, as well as presentations from administrators and their new co-workers. In all, dozens of District teachers, administrators, and staffers participated in the orientation, but the effort, said Superintendent Dr. David Leach, is well worthwhile.

“We must invest in our human capital,” Dr. Leach told the group, “and that is you.”

Dr. Leach told the new teachers, gathered in the community room at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center, to expect feedback, to be prepared to reflect on their work, and to continually study their craft. The hiring process at Warwick is exhaustive, he said, as the District is committed to bringing the best and the brightest into their classrooms.

“If you’re here, you should be proud. You deserve to be here, and you’re going to be working with a great group of students,” said Dr. Leach, adding, “Give it everything you’ve got. Keep your eye on the prize, and that’s the child.”

Warwick Valley’s Human Resources Department hosts an extensive orientation late each summer for the year’s coterie of new teachers. A proper introduction to the District and the assignment of a mentor arms the new teachers with knowledge and, in each of their mentors, a seasoned source of advice and assistance, said Mrs. Leandro.

“They all come to us with talent and skill. They’ve graduated from wonderful universities. But no school can teach you what you really need to know about Warwick Valley, our expectations, or community,” said Mrs. Leandro. “We take orientation very seriously. This program is about giving our new teachers a strong foundation.”

On the first day of the workshop, the new teachers heard from colleagues who joined the District this time last year. The “veterans” offered advice, reassurance, and encouragement, and Michael Johndrow, Executive Director of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the new hires about the local community, its history, its culture, and its opportunities.

“Our mentors are experienced professionals who will meet with, guide, and observe the new teachers in the classroom setting,” said Mrs. Leandro.
She and the building principals seek out exemplary educators to serve as mentors to their incoming colleagues, she said, good mentors help their partners stay fresh, focused, and, confident.

And though the one-to-one mentor relationship is invaluable, the new teachers were told that virtually every member of Warwick Valley’s teaching community is there to help and support them. No one, said Mrs. Leandro, should ever feel alone.

“All of our new teachers, after they’ve been here a while, always tell me they felt like they had multiple mentors everywhere,” she said.

On the second day of the workshop, the new teachers boarded a school bus from the Middle School/High School campus for a tour of the District, including stops at Park Avenue Elementary and Sanfordville Elementary to meet the principals and hear a bit about each school.

New teachers on a school bus for a tour of the District

New teachers boarded a school bus for a tour of the Warwick community.

Back at the Education Center, they later met District and building level administrators and heard presentations on the following subjects:

Cyber Security and Data Management (Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Services, James Yap)
Literacy Across all Content Areas (Middle School Associate Principal, Melanie Lofaro)
Getting to Know Individualized Education Programs (Director of Special Education, Meghan McGourty)
Working with Service Providers, such as speech therapists, counselors, physical therapists, and other clinicians who may work with students (Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Chris Fox)
Taking the Initiative (Sanfordville Elementary Principal, Johnna Maraia)
Wellness, and the Importance of Balance in a Teacher’s Life (Park Avenue Elementary Principal, Sandra Wood and High School Social Studies Teacher, Holly Marcolina)
Making Friends with the Right People (High School Principal, Dr. Larry Washington)
The Importance of Inter-Personal Skills (Middle School Associate Principals, Melanie Lofaro and Kris DeFilippis)
Best Teaching Practices (Cindy Leandro and Melanie Lofaro)

As they embark on their new teaching careers, Dr. Leach told them that while they each may have a different resume or specialty, they share traits that helped them to attain their new positions.

“We’re looking for someone who is hungry, who wants to do better, and who doesn’t become complacent,” he said “Embrace the opportunity and go for it,” Mrs. Leandro said. “Make a difference in somebody’s life.”

Joining the Warwick Valley Central School District are:

Warwick Valley's new teachers for 2017-18 gather together

Welcome Warwick Valley’s newest teachers!

Breanna Angeloni, Middle School Reading
Kathleen Bettello, High School Cosmetology
Erin Boyle, Sanfordville Elementary School Special Education
Taylyn Carter, Sanfordville Elementary School K-6 Elementary (PIE)
Daniel Cecconie, High School Media Communications
Megan Howard, Sanfordville Elementary School Special Education
Lauren Hughes, Sanfordville Elementary School K-6 Elementary (PIE)
Christina Mendez, High School Spanish
Janice OKeeffe, High School Science
Kathleen Randall – High School Spanish
Scott Sibilla – Park Avenue Media Specialist
Elizabeth (Elyssa) Slawinski – High School English
Ruth Trovato – High School French
Brittni Troy – Sanfordville Instructional Technology Facilitator
Brian Zambrzycki – High School School Psychologist

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