New teachers getting acclimated to Natchez-Adams School District

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 28, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Twenty new teachers got their first taste of the Natchez-Adams School District Wednesday.

The teachers, new to the district and new to teaching, spent most of Wednesday on paperwork and will learn district software today before hitting the schools on Friday.

Teacher turnover was smaller this year, with about half the number of new teachers at this week’s induction as at last year’s.

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The new teachers are spread across mainly the elementary schools, Human Resources Manager Beverly Raines said, with only one new teacher at Natchez High School.

The Reading First grant the district received to implement a new reading program in grades kindergarten through fourth-grade allowed for several new positions. Federal funds also opened up some new teaching slots, Raines said.

Of the 20 new to the district teachers, seven are straight out of college.

James Coleman Jr. is a recent graduate of Alcorn State University and will teach third-grade at McLaurin Elementary.

&uot;I’m kind of nervous,&uot; he said. &uot;But I’m excited about working with the students. Experience is always the best teacher.&uot;

Experience is something Shawnette Cheatham will bring to her McLaurin class. Cheatham, a Natchez resident, has spent the last nine years teaching at Wilkinson County schools. Family influenced her to apply for the Natchez job so she could stay in town.

&uot;This is really going to be new,&uot; she said. &uot;I’ll have to adapt. But my new principal is pretty much the same as my old one. They have the same goals &045; to be a Level 5 school.&uot;

Cheatham said the biggest adjustment would be the discipline policy since Wilkinson County schools allow corporal punishment and Natchez schools do not.

April Wallis brings several years of experience in West Point to McLaurin too. Wallis moved to town because her husband got a job here. In West Point she taught first-graders, but she’ll be teaching third-grade now.

&uot;I’m excited about the change,&uot; she said. &uot;They’ll be more independent.&uot;

NHS’s new teacher Michael Campbell is a recent ASU graduate.

&uot;I’ll be teaching math and trying to make it fun,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m excited about helping the students.&uot;

Friday the new teachers will meet their mentors at their schools and begin building relationships that will get them through the first year, Raines said.

The teachers will join the rest of the district Monday for convocation at 9 a.m. at the Convention Center, and they’ll work in their classrooms through Thursday.

School starts Aug. 5.