Skip to main content

Davis Journal

School’s back in session, district welcomes 275 new teachers

Aug 10, 2023 10:20AM ● By Becky Ginos
Jessica Ringle (left) and Cassi Weidenbacher have fun with signs and silly glasses at the new teacher orientation event. They will both be in art programs at Crestview Elementary and Heritage Elementary.

Jessica Ringle (left) and Cassi Weidenbacher have fun with signs and silly glasses at the new teacher orientation event. They will both be in art programs at Crestview Elementary and Heritage Elementary.

FARMINGTON—School’s back in session and the Davis School District welcomed 275 new teachers, counselors and other licensed professionals. Last week they all came together for an orientation event to give them the tools they need to start out the new year.

“Principals, district administrators and a drumline cheered them on as they arrived,” said Allison Riddle, Elementary Mentor Coordinator. “Teachers were shocked that they were celebrating them.”

The district is all about supporting teachers, she said. “We have classes on best practices and classroom management, SEL strategies and help to support them in setting up their classrooms. We’re all a big machine that supports them behind the scenes.”

 Riddle said the district has actually hired less new teachers. “We’ve had greater retention this year. A district our size keeps growing and some teachers are retiring so new positions are available. Other teachers are moving into leadership. We always have openings in special education. We work hard to attract new special education teachers and pave the way for aides to become licensed teachers.”

They’ve hired more kindergarten teachers this year too, she said. “Now that we’ve gone to full day we need more teachers. Some schools have a mix of half and full day. It’s a slow process to change.”

Some Title One schools in the district started full-day kindergarten last spring, said Riddle. “The data is clear that full-day kids do very well. It was incredible to see the results of the end-of-year progress that was made.”

Title One schools had funding last year and they chose to use it for that, she said. “This year the legislature provided funding for every school to do full-day kindergarten.”

Parents are curious and waiting to see what happens, Riddle said. “All principals have the flexibility to have students leave at the half-day if parents don’t want a full day. It’s a big change for a public school. It’s an exciting adventure to go all day.”

Teachers talk to presenters at Farmington High School. Photos by Becky Ginos

Teachers who did a full day enjoyed it, she said. “They felt like it was a fun break. It gave them more time beyond math and English. They get to see the whole child the whole day. It will be bumpy at first but we’ll look back later and can’t imagine going back.”

The district also welcomed teachers from all over the world for the dual immersion program, said Riddle. “We have 10 or 11 from France, Spain and China.”

One of the goals is a focus on Professional Learning Communities (PLC), she said. “It’s a strategy to get teachers to work together as a team. To specialize the work they’re doing to solve problems.”

The idea behind PLC is that education is too big for one person to do, said Professional Learning Supervisor Daron Kennett. “The group works in concert to get the students what they need.”

Collaboration leads to the best outcomes, he said. “If teachers feel like they’re in a community and supported, they're much more likely to stay in the profession. It takes time but it’s worth doing.”

“I’m very excited to get in there (Mueller Park Junior High),” said Claire Roberts, a new teacher who just graduated from Weber State University. “I did my student teaching in Davis. I also did long term substitute teaching at MPJ with seventh graders. Now I’ll be teaching eighth grade (and they’re moving up) so I’ll have those same kids.”

Roberts said she didn’t know what she wanted to do. “I’d been a math tutor and I thought I should do that. Everything fell into place. I feel blessed. It feels like the perfect fit.”

Seeing the kids again is what she’s most excited about. “I want to help them not be so anxious about math,” she said. “The relationships I build with the students – that’s the kicker of the whole thing.”