Teacher Signing Day: Petal School District celebrates with teachers

By HASKEL BURNS,

For years, collegiate sports have held National Signing Day to showcase and honor the newest recruits to their team.

That tradition has found its way to the Petal School District in the form of Teacher Signing Day, held for the first time April 4 and 5 at Petal Upper Elementary School. During the inaugural event, four new teachers were welcomed to the school after a ceremonial signing of their contract.

“It’s something special for the teachers that will be joining our staff next year,” upper elementary principal Emily Branch said. “We wanted to celebrate them becoming a part of our family, and welcome them to the Petal School District, and specifically to Petal Upper Elementary School.

“It’s also a chance to celebrate teachers and highlight the importance and the joy of the profession itself.”

Teacher Signing Day varies somewhat from the usual procedure, in which new teachers sign their contract at the district’s central office. In this case, fellow teachers cheered the new signees on, and each new teacher was presented with a school T-shirt and mug before photos were taken.

“I was able to give them an official welcome to our school,” Branch said. “We also had all the teachers from the department they will be joining there in the room, so they would have a chance to meet all of them.

“Also, the department could welcome them to the team, and it’s a way to generate excitement (for the new teachers) and have them looking forward to the work they’ll be doing next year.”

Branch is considering taking Teacher Signing Day – which was the idea of assistant principal Ben Wade – into other districts around the school as well.

“He just had the idea that this would be something really good to do for our staff at Petal Upper,” Branch said. “So now I’ll be sharing that idea with the other principals in the district to see if that’s something we want to start doing district-wide.”