New Nashville Teachers Academy part of school district’s plan to keep teachers in the classroom

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Metro Nashville Public Schools held its first-ever mandatory new teacher academy for its new recruits on Tuesday in a bid to prepare — and eventually retain in the district — educators for years to come.

About 400 teachers were in attendance Tuesday and will participate in training over the next two days on the realities of life in Nashville classrooms. The crowd of educators included new faces to teaching, as well as veterans new to the district.

“Everyone knows (the realities of teaching),” Julia Kay, a 13-year-old educator who recently moved from Seattle, said of the training. “It’s not all puppies. There are tears involved.”

Presentation of the district

While the district organized the induction process last year, this is the first year the district has found it necessary to have instructors. Metro Schools is struggling to combat a high attrition rate among educators in the first three years in the district.

About 55% of teachers leave the district within three years of joining the district.

Teachers, during training, move from Tuesday to Thursday in sessions that involve classroom training, familiarity with the district, and mentorship. Educators are paid for the three-day session.

After: How Nashville Schools Are Working To Cope With Large Numbers Of Teacher Leaves

The academy is a departure from previous years where any introduction to the district was limited.

“For new teachers, it’s such a big district that it’s hard to connect at times, so having a way to find someone they can ask questions is really, really great,” said Jamie Bonkowski. , an educator from Bellevue Middle School who served as a facilitator for new teachers.

Academy looks at the challenges of Nashville and Opportunities

Mayor Megan Barry and Nashville Schools Superintendent Shawn Joseph addressed the crowd.

Barry, in his statements, listed the realities of the school district, filled with the challenge of teaching many children with limited resources at home, but also the opportunity to do great things for children.

“All of you can make a difference in someone’s life, and I’m so grateful you chose us,” Barry said.

The hope of those running the academy is that educators leave the training with an idea of ​​what it takes to succeed in the district.

Martinique Guice, an educator with some teaching experience, said that from day one, resources that would have taken years to identify were placed in front of her immediately.

“And I feel like you’re able to get to know people from other schools and network and, you know, stay in touch with those people throughout the year,” Guice said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

A chance to find mentorship

Guice added that she felt she found in Kay that she could bounce ideas off her in the months to come. Kay said that as a long-time educator, she understands the difficulties Guice is about to face and will help him along the way.

“The first three years of teaching in any district are the hardest,” Kay said. “The biggest problem is that you feel alone, you feel like you don’t know what to do, you don’t have the resources and you feel lost.

“Whenever you have a support system, have someone to turn to, and have an outlet, you will be more successful.”

Reach Jason Gonzales at 615-259-8047 and on Twitter @ByJasonGonzales.

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