On August 8-10, 2022, District 45 welcomed 35 new teachers and staff to the District as part of a three-day orientation for certified staff.
The orientation began with a Welcome Breakfast at Medinah Banquets, where new employees were treated to a breakfast buffet and heard from District 45 leaders, including Superintendent Anthony Palmisano, Board of Education President Judy Degnan, and Villa Park Education Association Vice President Katie Meyer.
At the Breakfast, the District also introduced the new hires to local community leaders and District 45 administrators. Board of Education President Judy Degnan addressed the new hires and talked about the spirit of our District.
“We want you to feel at home here,” said Board of Education President Judy Degnan. “That’s our goal. Our District is small, but we’re mighty, and we’re passionate about our staff, students, and families.”
Over three days, new employees received information from departments within the District, including human resources, technology, curriculum and instruction, and the District’s business office.
This year, one of the new hires is Jon Phelps, who will teach 8th-grade science at Jackson Middle School. Phelps appreciated the opportunity to make early connections.
“It’s been great. I’ve had a chance to meet lots of people, especially my colleagues at Jackson,” said Phelps. “I feel very prepared.”
Camryn Silhavy, who will teach 2nd grade at Westmore Elementary, said she felt very welcomed and included during the orientation days. Many things stood out for her, including the longevity of the District 45 staff.
“I learned that the retention rate of teachers in District 45 is high, and that’s important to me,” said Silhavy. “It’s nice to know that people want to stay here and are motivated to serve our students and families.”
Silhavy added that she found the presentations on curriculum very helpful, as well as meeting with her mentor, instructional coaches, and interventionists. Through the discussions, they were able to break down the components of the American Reading Company (ARC) Reading Program and Eureka Math. “We were given lots of resources to be successful.”
One of the key features of the new employee orientation is the mentor program, where new certified staff members are paired with District veterans who are in the same or similar position.
The mentor program is intended for all certified staff, where new employees receive a mentor. The pair gather regularly over a two-year period for meetings, observations of one another, reflection, and lots of discussions.
“We really try to keep it meaningful to all the participants,” said assistant superintendent for human resources Dr. Brian Graber. “It’s about developing the mentor and the protege relationship.”
The mentor program features two tracks, one for new employees and the other for those with two or more years of prior experience.
Dr. Graber added that the goal is to try to recognize the experience that teachers may have already had while making sure that their transition to District 45 is efficient and meaningful.
“We have a great group of new hires this year,” said Dr. Graber. “They are so sharp and are catching on so quickly.”
Dr. Graber hopes all the new hires are very successful in District 45.
“I hope they know how much they are valued and appreciated, feel good about the work they are doing, and that they look forward to making D45 their home for many, many years.”