The Kyrene School District welcomed 90 new teachers to its staff this past week.

With the first day of school still a couple weeks away, teachers new and old have begun preparing for Aug. 6.

Throughout the week, new teachers met with members of the Kyrene administration and their colleagues to prepare for the 2012-13 year.

One of the biggest changes has been the push toward common core standards, a national tool to evaluate student achievement. The new system, which will replace AIMS by 2014, is focused more on cognitive demand and recall of information.

“When I started teaching 35 years ago, it was more of a trial and error system to find out what worked and what didn’t,” superintendent Dr. David Schauer told the group of new teachers. “But this is an exciting time to be in education. It’s a time of change and we don’t know what the future will be like.”

The 90 new teachers were hired due to retirements, resignations, teachers taking a leave of absence for conditions like a pregnancy, or the running out of contracts, a district spokesperson said. For teachers who did resign, the district takes note of why and will report those reasons to the governing board at a future date.

But for those teachers, fresh out of their bachelor’s program, the opportunity to work within Kyrene was one they couldn’t pass up.

“It’s a lot to take in up front but they are very proactive in making sure we know where to go and who to talk to,” said incoming Akimel A-al teacher Matt Thomas. “You just have to take it day-by-day. On the first day, you’re nervous but you’re excited.”

The week-long introduction to the district involves meeting with pro teachers, veterans of the district who can help make the teachers comfortable in their new environment.

“It is very comprehensive,” said Lindsay Damm, incoming language arts teacher who is a graduate of Desert Vista and Akimel A-al. “They show us curriculum mapping so you know how to plan for the year.”

Added Ann Waltz, incoming teacher at Centennial, “everyone plans it differently. It’s all about making sure the kids are successful.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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