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YUHSD welcomes new teachers for the 2019-2020 school year

Yuma Union High School District welcomed 62 new teachers Wednesday and Thursday, July 24-25, 2019 at the district office as part of their onboarding orientation ahead of the 2019-2020 school year. New teachers during a human scavenger hunt game.

New teachers along with instructional coaches and principals from all six YUHSD schools toured Yuma County aboard buses for part of their first day. The tour served as an opportunity for teachers to see all district campuses, including the future Somerton High School site, as well as learn about the history of local agriculture.

The tour was conducted with YUHSD Chief Communications Officer Eric Patten and YUHSD Chief Academic Officer Eric Brooks serving as guides alongside Tanya Hodges, the Regional Coordinator for the University of Arizona’s Agriculture, Technology & Innovation Department, and others from the university. During a stop at Arizona Western College, the group was greeted by AWC President Dr. Daniel Corr, who shared information about his school’s partnership with YUHSD and the increased number of high school students taking advantage of dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities.

Later in the morning, the buses returned to the district office where lunch was provided by AEA Federal Credit Union. AEA staff members also introduced a new program called “Sunnysiders,” which is intended to provide teachers networking opportunities and showcase interesting leisure opportunities in Yuma. The remainder of the afternoon was spent hearing from a range of presenters, including Go Ag, Yuma Insurance, and the Arizona Educators Association intertwined with a number of interactive, team-building activities.  

“This is one of the best experiences I’ve had starting at a district,” said new Yuma High School Chemistry teacher Mario Martinez. “It was very interactive, very friendly. I felt very welcome here. For me, I’ve taught for 30 years with another district, and nothing like this has ever happened with new teachers. So, I think it’s very powerful that you do this with them. You get introduced to, not only the teachers who are new, but to the Yuma community as a whole.”

On Thursday the group spent time working on instructional best practices and discussing the AVID instructional model. They were at the district office for half of the day and then got to see their classrooms for the first time on Thursday afternoon.

The entire day and a half program was supported by local businesses and partners, including AEA, Go Ag, Cafecito, The Press Café & Bistro, and Bare Naked Soap Co.  

“We do new teacher orientation for a day and a half to really help build relationships among staff members, and build bonds, not only in the schools, but across schools,” YUHSD Director of Educational Technology & Learning Management Melissa Ellegood said. “Hopefully, in building those relationships you are able to sustain teachers for years upon years, growing veteran teachers.”

The new school year saw a 34.4 percent reduction in the rate of turnover for YUHSD teachers. However, the district is still seeking to fill some positions. For more information about working for YUHSD, please visit: https://www.yumaunion.org/Page/151

Dr. Corr takes a selfie with new teachers

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org