As parents and children prepare for the new school year, so does the Marshfield R-1 school district. Last week, the school had all the new hire teachers gather to completer their orientation. The new teachers were a mix of new and experienced, bringing fresh perspectives welcomed to the Marshfield School district. Some of the newest Bluejays took the time to speak about teaching in a new district and the four-day workweek Marshfield adopted.
Kicking things off is Autumn Baker, a teacher for the Early Childhood Special Learning and Integrated Classroom. Her classroom will have a mix of students with and without special needs, ages 3 to 5. Before coming to Marshfield, she taught early childhood special education and elementary special education in Republic.
Several factors brought Baker to Marshfield: "We (My husband and I) have several connections to the community; my father is the director of the Webster County Baptist Association. We have some friends who work for the district. We have two kids, so my husband and I wanted a smaller town feel. We heard a lot of good things about this school district as well working and living here. With the Early Learning Center opening up it was a good opportunity for me to head on over," Baker recalled.
With this being Marshfield's first year of participating in four-day school weeks, a decision that was approved by the Marshfield School Board back in Jan of this year. Baker is used to this kind of work week, "In Republic, my classes were four days a week. Even though the students have more significant needs. I mean those 3 year olds especially since they are so little, the four half days were actually a really good introduction to school for them."
Baker also touched on the benefits of having a work day, "I'll get to collaborate with my other preschool teachers and prep my stuff for the class. I was excited when I interviewed. I asked, 'What does Monday look like? Will there be meetings? Will we have time to work?' They said, 'yes, there will be some meetings, but there will be dedicated planning and prep time, which is big in preschool. There is a lot of stuff you need to prepare for." Baker also enjoys the extra time she will get with her kids, "Giving them an extra day to rest or just having the time to take them to the doctor or get a haircut, we can do that and will not have to work around the work schedule."
Another teacher joining is Catherine Forbeck; she will be teaching first grade in Hubble. This will be her first year teaching after graduating from Missouri State in May. Forbeck shares that she had always loved teaching, even when she was younger, "I've always loved kids, and I think every teacher has gone through this phase where they played pretend classroom when they were little with their stuffed animals. So I have always thought about being a teacher".
With a passion for teaching being her drive, that is what led her to teach here in Marshfield. Forbeck revealed, "When I graduated I started looking at other places, I'm from the St. Louis area so I thought about going back home. But I knew it was hard to find jobs there so I stayed in the Springfield area. I applied for Marshfield and when I came to my interview, I felt immediately welcomed by everyone who was in the room. I read all about Marshfield… and learned that the community is really close, so that got my attention. When I got to know the staff more at Hubble I felt connected like I was at home. It just felt right." That support will be great as Hubble prepares for the new year.
Forbeck is excited about the benefits the four-days will bring, "I think it will benefit me because I am a first year teacher. I know that teachers get burnt out really easily. I think having a four-day workweek will help me to plan and collaborate more with my team. So that I can prepare myself and be more effective."
That feeling of support is also felt in the Shook building as Madeline Davis, Marshfield alumni teaching fourth grade and, like Forbeck, will be her first year. "Last year, I was a teaching assistant, and I fell in love with the building, atmosphere, and teaching community around me. If I was having a bad day, I knew there was somebody around the corner that was going to help me have a better day or just someone I could talk to. If I had a problem that I did not know how to solve, somebody else in the building could help me solve it."
Davis shares in the excitement of the four days, "I subbed in schools during the pandemic that did four days so they could have a day for cleaning. So I'm excited about the four-day school week because we will have meetings where we learn new things and experience extra educational opportunities."
The R-1 School district's decision to go with the four-day work week even attracted a teacher whose resume includes working in Oklahoma and all over Missouri. Daniel Kelsay has been teaching for a total of 14 years and will be a 7th-grade science teacher for the Jr. High.
Kelsay dives further into his decision to join Marshfield schools, "I'm from Hartville, so it has a similar community feel. My previous job was a long commute; working here is a shorter commute which helps out. I've worked in the four-day work week before and liked it. With a four-day work week, there is an opportunity to work on craft and professional development on Mondays and have a bit more work-life balance."
Kelsay further continues on about the importance of this balance: "This job can wear on you for a while if you do not learn how to manage your work life. You could pour countless hours into this job, you know the work is never completely done, but you have that balance." With the R-1 school district starting this new work week, Kelsay feels relieved, "I feel the district has the teacher's well-being at the forefront. The pandemic opened many people's eyes, and the mind shifted and prioritized the importance of how you want to spend your time."
The feeling of home, security, and community echoed throughout all the new Bluejays, even the high school. John Cherne III will teach health education and be the Head of the Boys' Basketball team this year. Cherne has taught in classrooms in Tennessee, Kansas, and Missouri.
He came back to Missouri for family, "I have two sons who both have grandkids and a 12 year old daughter." Cherne expressed his excitement for having the opportunity to teach "It is a great community. We lived in Marshifield when I was younger so I'm very familiar with the area. … The beginning of the school year always brings a little apprehensive and nervousness when you start something new. I'm just excited to have kids in the building and hear the noise". Cherne assures that even the new school week will not affect the Bluejays basketball practice.
The new school year will present many opportunities for growth for the students and the teachers. Overall, it looks like the school district is taking the proper steps to ensure a bright future for everyone. Here is the list of all the teachers joining the 2022-2023 school year.
Hubble Elementary and Early Learning Development Center: Autumn Baker, Catherine Forbeck, Shanna Hayes, Bailey Wade, Julie Ipock, Allissa Lexa, Linda Allison, Michelle Cramer, and Emily Yeager
Webster Elementary: Carrie Carr, Judson Heppard, Whitney Crosby, and Kara Smith
Shook Elementary: Debi Kristine McBride (Kristi), Taylor King, Lisa Palubicki, Jenessa McCulloch, Sierra Mann, Madeliene Shepherd (Davis), and Laura Day
Junior High School: Tricia Denzer, Paige Moles, Chelsie Lawrence, Katherine Austin, Zachary Leonard, Daniel Kelsey, Eli Hungerford, Christa Gordon, and Taylor Caffey
High School/District: Hayley Holtz, Angela Beisner, Austyn McAnarney, Sharon Deese, Jennifer Green (Jenny), Aimee Quinlivan, Brandy Heithold, Josephine George, John Cherne III, Colin Bernskoetter
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