New NISD educators get ‘Tools for Teaching’

Posted Monday, Aug. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Class is not in session until next week, but teachers new to the Northwest are already getting schooled on the fast-growing district.

The district ended the previous school year with 17,800 students, and an additional 1,200 students are expected when the new school year begins Aug. 27. The student population boom is the driving force behind the district hiring 212 new staff members for the new school year, including 75 new teaching positions. About 33 of the district’s new teachers have no previous teaching experience.

One of the reasons for the new positions is the opening this fall of Wayne A. Cox, Northwest’s 17th elementary school. Emily Conklin, Northwest’s communications director, said the new positions are based on population growth and represent additional teaching positions. Teachers are staffed based on set student-to-teacher ratios, Conklin said.

Northwest began preparing the new hires with its New Teacher Academy earlier this month. Teachers spent the week of Aug. 12-16 attending a series of professional training sessions. They also received words of advice from mentor teachers. The academy includes curriculum overviews, technology training and a three-day initiative called Tools for Teaching.

“The Tools for Teaching process has been in place at Northwest ISD for the last five years and centers on building positive classroom relationships between students and teachers,” Conklin said.

Teachers not new to the district return Aug. 20 and are spending the week attending district-wide and classroom-specific training sessions and preparing their classrooms. Teachers who are not new to NISD return on contract Tuesday, August 20 in preparation for the first day of school on Tuesday, August 27. Teachers will spend a full day receiving training on curriculum updates and instructional strategies. The sessions are taught by several of Northwest’s master teachers, Conklin said.

Northwest is ensuring the district’s teachers have the right high-tech tools and training. Conklin said each teacher will receive a Dell Latitude 10 tablet or Apple iPad. The faculty will also go through a half-day training session on technology integration in the classroom. District Trustees have also made sure the students are up with the times. High school students will receive Dell Latitude 10 tablets and middle school students will receive netbooks.

Learning their Way Around

New students might get lost a time or two at the new Cox Elementary but the district is making sure teachers are up to speed on their new surroundings. Cox Elementary teachers will receive building tours and have received communication – including video updates -- from Principal Deborah McCune about the status of the new building, Conklin said. The school’s web site,, has information for families and faculty about the new campus.

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