New teachers started their jobs this week with an orientation and a welcome to Charles County Public Schools. So far this school year, the school system has hired 138 teachers, including 74 secondary, 29 elementary and 35 special education. As of Aug. 13, there were four teacher vacancies.
The message of the three-day orientation was "Be the Difference," and Superintendent James E. Richmond urged new teachers to cause children to want to succeed and to be the difference by motivating and providing excitement and encouragement for students. "Welcome to a great profession," Richmond said. "Please don't ever lose your passion for children."
Before heading to staff development sessions, new teachers were treated to musical and JROTC performances by students as well as advice by Charles County Public Schools top teachers, the Board chairman and a student.
Board Chairman Roberta Wise used Mary Madden's poem "Seashells" to get her message across. Madden compares seashells to students, and ends her poem with the following:
"The shell you have in your hand is unique.
It was carried to shore by the
ocean just for you.
What will you do with it now
that it is yours?
Each student in your class is unique, too.
Each one is in your hands now.
What will you do with your students now that they are yours?"
Wise, a former Teacher of the Year, asked the new educators to keep the poem in mind as they start their careers. Kerrie Seberg, the 2012 Charles County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, encouraged teachers to take in the tons of information presented to them over the next several weeks, filter it and use what works. "Our students are on loan to us for 180 days and we have an obligation to make the best of this time," she said.
David Bradshaw, the Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher, said his advice is to share and reach out to colleagues for help and to make meaningful connections with the students in their classes. "Lead with your heart ... I challenge you to be the leader our students need," he said.
Dion Anderson, a Westlake High School student and president of the Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC), said teachers who can get the most out of students are always the favorites. He said he likes teachers who listen to him and who are excited and willing to help a student outside of the classroom.
Charles County Public Schools employs 3,469 people. There are 2,041 teachers, 1,113 support staff, 72 technical employees and 243 administrators.
"No profession is more rewarding than teaching," said Elizabeth Brown, president of the Education Association of Charles County (EACC).
Returning teachers start on Tuesday, Aug. 21 and school opens for students on Monday, Aug. 27.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,700 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 caring community schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator (students), or Connie W. Armstead, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646; (301) 932-6610/870-3814. For special accommodations call (301) 934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.