New teachers get acclimated with Petal School District


At the conclusion of the 2017-18 school year, 13 employees retired from the Petal School District, representing approximately 231.5 years of service to the district and the community.

But the next new crop of educators is ready to step up for the upcoming school year, as 41 new teachers received their formal training earlier this week.

The week started Monday morning at the school district’s central office, where the teachers were told what to expect – and what will be expected of them – as they begin their careers at Petal schools.

“We’ve given them a little bit about the characteristics of our district, as far as our free and reduced lunch rate, our accountability rating, that type of thing,” said Margaret Tynes, director of human resources and federal programs for the district. “But our main focus is just for them to be exposed to our expectations and our culture.”

After that initial training, the teachers headed to Carterville Baptist Church for lunch before returning to the central office for suicide prevention training, which was headed up by Gavin Guy, chief of the Petal School Police Department.

Tuesday began with breakfast at First Baptist Church, followed by a tour of every school in the district. At the end of the day, the teachers were allowed to visit their individual schools.

“(The school tour) is just so they can be exposed to the principal at that school, and get a visual representation of what that school looks like,” Tynes said.

Teachers also will participate Thursday in CRASE Training (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events) at the Petal Performing Arts Center. The seminar, which is held at schools across the country, is aimed at providing civilians and teachers with strategies, guidance and plans for surviving and keeping others safe during an active shooter event.

Of the 41 teachers, 17 are first-year teachers, with the others coming from other school districts. Seven of the new teachers are graduates of the Petal School District.

“We are excited that we’ve got people who aren’t from Petal, who are going to be able to bring their years of experience into Petal,” Tynes said. “And we’re very excited that we’ve got brand-new teachers that we’re going to able to influence.”

For those interested in meeting teachers at the various schools, “Meet the Teacher Day” will be held from 1-6 p.m. Friday at Petal Primary School and from 3-6 p.m. at Petal Elementary School and Petal Upper Elementary School.

“I’m very excited,” said Jana Perry, who will serve as the new assistant principal at Petal Primary School. “I’m looking forward to getting to work with amazing professionals in the school, and wonderful children in our classrooms.”

Jariel Davis, a new teacher at the primary school, said she also can’t wait to get started at her new position.

“I know I’m in a district where I I’ll get the support I need as a new teacher,” she said.