700 new Philly teachers begin training ahead of school year

Philadelphia teacher orientation
Photo credit Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — With the start of the 2019 school year one month away, nearly 700 newly hired Philadelphia teachers gathered at the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush in Northeast Philly Monday to start a week of orientation, coaching and planning.

Maria Lobron, one of the hundreds of new-hires, is beginning her first full-time teaching position at Hunter Elementary School in Kensington, and she’s going through the same range of feelings her students may experience.    

"I’m a combination of a lot of different emotions," she said. "I’m nervous, but I’m excited. I’m a little scared, but I’m looking forward to the future."

650 new @PHLschools teachers gather for a week of orientation at the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush in NE Phila. pic.twitter.com/NL3AO5TVeK

— Mike DeNardo (@_MikeDeNardo) August 5, 2019

After a few years at a charter school, Johana Nunez will begin teaching at Juniata Park Academy.

“I come from public schools, so I always knew I wanted to make the transition back and serve the students that live in the community that I live in,” she added.

Superintendent William Hite said the week of orientation is designed to help new teachers start on the right foot.

"We have a first-year teacher retention rate of about 90 percent," he said. "But we want them to remain beyond the first year or the second year or the third."

Hite encouraged the teachers to connect to their new colleagues, share what works, and to never stop learning.

"We know that part of them feeling more comfortable is developing them and inducting them in a way that is part of a system and a structure," he continued. "That’s why this week has been put together."

The new school year starts on Sept. 3.