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New Teacher Academy offers support for beginning educators

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Catherine Soto, a Prosper ISD teacher, speaks to beginning educators at the third annual New Teacher Academy. Photo by: Michael Modecki

Approximately 50 teachers who will enter Texas classrooms for the first time this fall received some extra mentoring and support during the Texas Woman’s University New Teacher Academy, held Tuesday, July 19 on the TWU Denton campus.

Now in its third year, the academy is designed for graduates of TWU’s teacher education program who are within their first three years of teaching. The program was developed by TWU associate professors Sarah McMahan, Ph.D., and Rebecca Fredrickson, Ed.D.

“Research shows that beginning teachers need mentoring and support,” McMahan said. “With this academy, we want to show our recent graduates that our commitment to them didn’t end with the commencement ceremony.”

Sessions addressed classroom management strategies, writing across the curriculum, lifelong learning, protecting yourself as a teacher and Genius Hour, a new approach to student learning. A panel of administrators, directors and educators also answered questions and gave advice to the new teachers.

Catherine Soto attended TWU’s New Teacher Academy last year as a new graduate and returned this year as the keynote speaker. Soto, a fourth-grade dual-language teacher in the Prosper Independent School District, encouraged the first-year teachers to have fun, set realistic goals and make time for what’s important.

Marian Fleischmann, a December graduate who will teach in south Dallas this fall, said the academy was helpful to her as a beginning teacher – particularly the session on writing. “It fits what I’ll be doing,” said Fleischmann, who will teach English as a Second Language or writing to middle school students.

Jalisa Jackson, a May graduate who will teach third grade in the Fort Worth ISD, said the sessions gave her tools she’ll need as a first-year teachers.

“Questions that I didn’t know to ask were answered here,” she said.

Attendees Bethany Weston and Kelsea Raborg announced they’ve begun a Facebook page for TWU graduates who are first-year teachers.

“We did a similar network while we were student teaching and wanted to continue that,” Weston said. “We’ll be going through many of the same things, and I think we should be there for each other.”

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Page last updated 3:24 PM, April 30, 2020