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International teachers come to Colleton classrooms

About 90 new employees with the Colleton County School District were recently welcomed to Colleton County as part of a community-wide ceremony.

Walterboro Mayor Bill Young was among those who attended the 4-day-long event. Additionally, dignitaries with both the city, Colleton County and the Colleton County School District were on hand to welcome new teachers and district staff. The event was also coordinated by the Walterboro-Colleton Chamber of Commerce, and featured area vendors and chamber members and officials.

The event also featured a new teacher induction program for first-year teachers who are new to Colleton County.

Lynn Stroble, a now-retired principal and local educator, Stroble is working with district officials as part of the district’s first-year teaching program. The program is a support system for teachers who are both new to education, and who are new to the United States. Colleton County has been using international teachers since the early 2000’s, said Stroble.

“We were one of the first districts in South Carolina to really embrace the out-of-country teaching program,” she said, adding that Colleton also has unique programs that help to get educated professionals to gain their teaching certifications.

“We feel like it’s important to get everyone here, to feel welcomed and to introduce them to the county,” she said. “If you feel welcomed somewhere, it makes a big impact.

As part of the outreach, Colleton County Superintendent Dr. Franklin Foster told personal stories to the new hires, sharing how his mother was a janitor in a school system. “It shows that our district officials are relatable, and it gives them a big support system,” said Stroble.

“Our district and our community were also able to be there, to welcome our new educators.” said Stroble.

Several area churches also participated in the new hire event. “Our churches are a resource,” said Stroble. “These new hires need to get know people, and feel connected and supported.”

The event also featured a bus ride for all new hires. The tour gave them a first-hand look at rural parts of Colleton County. “It showed them how far our county spreads, and where Edisto Beach is and where Cottageville is,” she said. “Things that are common to us are educational and cultural conversations to them.”

Now, district officials are working to help new teachers locate local housing, said Stroble.

The new hires are part of a massive outreach effort and recruitment process that the school district conducted throughout the summer. Prior to these new hires coming on board, the district was experiencing a teacher shortage, with dozens of former teachers announcing their intention in May to not return to Colleton’s classrooms.

As of press deadline on Tuesday, the school district only had about nine teacher shortages. 

 

Heather Walters (1410 Posts)