Metro school districts welcome new teachers for orientation like never before

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Monday was the first day of school for some educators in the metro.

Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools; Kansas City (Missouri) Public Schools and Shawnee Mission School District all welcomed new employees for what’s sure to be a school year like no other in our lifetimes.

“Normally we welcome them in a big fashion, but we are usually on one of our high school campuses,” said Dr. Robin Wilson, director of KCK Public School’s Professional Development Program.

Taking a page from drive-by birthday parties, KCKPS is doing drive-by orientation.

The district’s 265 new employees, including teachers, counselors and social workers, visited several tents to pick up their ID’s, a welcome bag and laptops before heading off to their assigned schools for three days of virtual orientation.

“We had board members out here. We had cabinet members out here. We had a variety of staff out here just to greet them and welcome them,” Wilson said, “So I think they still they feel fairly special and energized about the start of the school year.”

Shawnee Mission also began its three-day orientation program for 30 new employees.

Professional learning was streamed to school district buildings where new employees reported instead of the typical way the district has rolled out the red carpet in the past.

“We have charter buses that take them around to high schools take them around to their neighborhoods, principals do some funny games,” Director of Secondary Human Resources Mike Schumacher said of past orientations.

“And then they all show up (at district headquarters), and we great them with cheerleaders and bands and things like that. But unfortunately we can’t do that this year.”

Instead, the district welcomed teachers and is helping them to communicate in a whole new way.

“Really for us in curriculum, it means just focusing on those crucial competencies grade level to grade level from course to course,” said Erin Smith, SMSD coordinator of curriculum and instruction. “What do students really need to know for lifelong success?”

KCK Public Schools is going 100% virtual for the first nine weeks of school. Shawnee Mission should know by the end of this week how many students will be in the classrooms with teachers and how may will be learning from home. KCPS did not respond to FOX4’’s request for an interview.



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