Danelle Ecker, a new Copperas Cove High School Texas history teacher, said the first day of class is a moment she has been eagerly awaiting.

The approaching first day has her feeling excited and nervous, as it is her first year teaching, she said. But Copperas Cove Independent School District’s new teacher orientation helped calm those nerves.

“It is nice to learn how to be creative without being a creative person,” Ecker said. “Learning what is going to help me throughout the year has been great.”

Ecker was one of 49 first-year instructors to attend the district’s first day of orientation Wednesday and one of 113 new-to-the-district teachers to attend the program Thursday and Friday.

“Brand new teachers have different needs than teachers that are just new to the district,” said Kelly Avritt, director of curriculum and instruction.

The district wanted to provide an extra day of learning for first-year instructors to explain different methods of planning and to establish the expectations of the district, Avritt said.

On Thursday and Friday, staff and board members were introduced, teachers were given the best practice methods for teaching content and district policies were discussed.

“It gives us a common language ... a common philosophy to work from,” Avritt said.

Another benefit of the orientation was the establishment of relationships between teachers and staff. “The networking is really important ... this is where they are going to build their support groups,” Avritt said.

Allison Underhill, who will teach theater arts for the first time this year, was glad to attend the orientation, she said. She learned about various ways to plan lessons and the expectations of the district.

“It has been super informative,” Underhill said.

“This week and next week we get to see what planning looks like for the year, and what to expect from the students,” said Skylor Williams, a new chemistry teacher.

Like most new teachers Underhill was excited to get into the classroom, she said.

“I wanted to teach theater at the high school level since I was in high school,” Underhill said. “I think it is neat to see that student break through their shells and develop talents they didn’t know they had.”

Orientation is just one of many programs and resources teachers have at Cove ISD to ensure students and teachers are striving to do their best, Avritt said. “We couldn’t just skip this event,” she said. “This equips them for the first day and being successful all year.”

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474

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