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New White Plains Teachers Get Ready For School

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains resident Tim Mosher was one of 45 new teachers and faculty who assembled Thursday at White Plains High School for the final day of orientation.

Many of those 45 are new hires like Mosher, while some joined the district during the 2011-2012 school year and had missed the orientation, requiring them to take it now. Thursday, all took a workshop focused on special needs students, in addition to exploring their respective curriculum maps with instructional coordinators to help them prepare lesson plans.

“It gives them an opportunity to meet fellow new teachers and share concerns so we can address them even before they get in the classroom,” said Lenora Boehlert, assistant superintendent for human resources. “The idea is they go into the classrooms and hit the ground running.”

Mosher will teach fourth grade at George Washington Elementary School. He grew up in Rockland and moved to White Plains a few years ago. He previously taught at Success Charter Network in Harlem and now is looking forward to working in his own city. The four-day orientation, he said, was helpful in preparing him to get started.

“It’s been very informative, engaging, and the message is just get out there and do what you do,” he said.

Boehlert said the four days included two sets of training: instructional and infrastructure. In addition to working on lesson plans and curriculum development, teachers and faculty have taken workshops on technology, special needs students, English as a second language, cultural competence and other subjects. They also took a tour of the school district to familiarize them with the community, something that Diana Lopez said calmed her nerves about starting a new job.

“We got to see all the schools, which was very nice because I’m not familiar with the area,” said Lopez, who will teach Spanish in both Highlands and Eastview middle schools. “I was very scared Sunday night. I didn’t know what to expect, but I came in Monday morning and the environment was so welcoming, and I now feel more confident and at ease.”

Kalyn Smith of Cornwall in Orange County will teach special education at Church Street Elementary School. She previously taught in the Pelham Bay neighborhood in the Bronx.

Also new to Church Street is Laura Baker, a recent graduate of the University at Albany, SUNY. Baker will be the library media specialist. She has been doing substitute work at schools upstate since graduating in December, and said she is very impressed with the White Plains school district, and the area in general.

“I’m very excited to start working with the kids,” she said. “I fell like I’ve won the lottery.”

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