The Turlock Unified School District welcomed the city’s newest teachers on Monday at the annual New Teacher Orientation, giving the instructors a chance to become familiar with their new environment and meet one another.
The district hired 65 new teachers this year, and in a year where many school districts around the state have struggled to find employees, the large number of new hires was welcomed by Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jason Maggard.
“Though the district is always sensitive to the teacher shortage, thanks to community support and our relationship with Stanislaus State we’ve been able to attract some really qualified people,” said Maggard. “Thankfully this year, we didn’t experience any difficulties.”
Elizabeth Slatton is a product of the district’s relationship with the town’s university, having come from Oakdale to attend Stanislaus State. Now, Slatton will begin the school year as Special Education teacher at Dutcher Middle School.
“I loved Turlock,” said Slutton on why she decided to become a teacher within TUSD. “They offer so much support that I knew I’d be a better teacher. I love working here because everyone is so nice.”
As Maggard mentioned, community support is another reason why TUSD has a number of teacher applicants to choose from. Ashley Sullivan attended Turlock schools while growing up, which influenced her decision to stay in Turlock to teach.
“I had a good experience here and wanted to give back,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan will teach sixth grade at Cunningham Elementary School, where her nephews is currently a student.
“I’m excited about this school. My nephew goes here and they have a lot of cool events that a lot of schools don’t have, like their movie nights,” said Sullivan.
At the New Teacher Orientation, educators were able to meet one another and were introduced to the Board of Trustees, Superintendent and other administrators. Each teacher was required to undergo training on the state’s teaching requirements, which was provided on individual computers.
“We felt that before they got into class, it was imperative they got the mandated training,” said Maggard.
The first day of school is Thursday, and thanks to the orientation, the city’s new teachers will walk onto their new campuses feeling prepared.
Over the next four issues the Turlock Journal will publish short biographies on TUSD's new teachers.