A program to encourage new teachers to continue in the teaching profession, which started last year at El Dorado High School, was a huge success. Plans are to continue the program at the high school during the 2017-18 school year and then set up Teacher Leader programs in other schools in the district in the future.

During the recent meeting of the El Dorado School Board, Melissa Powell, director of personnel and public relations for the district, talked to board members about the program, and said new teachers responded to Teacher Leaders with enthusiasm. The pilot program started during the 2016- 2017 school year.

“This year, every new teacher will have a teacher leader,” Powell said, explaining that one of the great things about El Dorado School District’s Teacher Leader program is all the leaders, “love to teach.” Teacher Leaders observe teachers in the classroom, conduct professional development sessions, support the teachers and help teachers plan and write lesson plans.

Alyssa Folk, a math Teacher Leader, said Monday night, that new teachers “feel supported” by other teachers and their Teacher Leaders. “The overall experience was extremely positive. Teachers said they had support without judgment, received encouragement and resources that helped teachers and students be better prepared. It’s been very successful.”

“We chose the right Teacher Leaders,” Powell told board members, describing them as “very approachable, great teachers and self-motivated, with a desire to help others.”

Other Teacher Leaders at El Dorado High School include Kaitlyn Noble, social studies; Stephanie Fussell, English and Sheri Rankin, science. These Teacher Leaders teach in the classroom for half a day and then serve as Teacher Leaders for the remainder of the school day.

Powell and Mark and Geni Smith, two El Dorado School District administrators, went to Denver to observe how their Teacher Leader program works and the ESD has been modeling the local program after the plan in Denver Public Schools. She said after the Denver school district implemented the Teacher Leader program, that first year they had 56 new teachers and they all continued teaching for their second year.