While starting at a new school is an adjustment for students, it’s also a big move for teachers. On Wednesday, the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce worked to ease that transition by offering new educators a tour of Neosho.
While starting at a new school is an adjustment for students, it’s also a big move for teachers. On Wednesday, the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce worked to ease that transition by offering new educators a tour of Neosho. Two school buses escorted the 56 incoming Neosho R-5 educators around town, as part of the Neosho Chamber’s 45th annual New Teachers’ Tour. The group made stops at several landmarks in the Neosho community, learned their way around town, and located each of the Neosho R-5 school buildings. Tiffany Leary, who will begin teaching at the Neosho Middle School as a sixth grade communication arts teacher next week, is moving to the area from Baxter Springs, Kan. and is currently working to learn her way around Neosho. She said Wednesday’s tour was a helpful welcome for her. “I think it really connects me to the community,” Leary said. “They’ve shown a lot of support this morning and that’s very important to me being a new teacher in the community. It’s very welcoming.” Leary said the tour also provided an opportunity to get to know her soon-to-be coworkers. “It connects us to the other teachers that we’ll be working with, so overall, it’s just a wonderful experience,” Leary said. Shana Griffin, executive director of the Neosho Chamber, said the tour has evolved over its 45 years. She said it began as simply a welcome to the new teachers, but has since grown with the addition of the tour and gift bags. Along with the tour, each new teacher received a goodie bag filled with donations and promotional items from Neosho Chamber businesses. Several Neosho area banks also provided lunch for the teachers. “It’s a way for us to welcome the teachers to our community,” Griffin said. “It’s just our way to introduce them and show them around town.” Though they opted not to go on the tour, the seven new Crowder College instructors also received welcome bags from the Neosho Chamber businesses. On the tour around town, each bus had its own tour guide, with Josh Hughes, chairman of the Chamber’s education committee guiding one bus, and local historian Tom Higdon leading the other. Besides learning their way around town, the teachers were also shown different educational opportunities in the area. At the Newton County Historical Society, teachers heard a presentation from a historical society board member regarding the old-fashioned learning opportunities the society offers, including allowing the students to pretend to be pioneers, and exploring the old schoolhouse and log cabin. Following the stop at the Historical Society, the teachers’ next attraction was the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, where hatchery manager Dave Hendrix and assistant manager Rod May gave a short presentation on what the hatchery has to offer. They also offered teachers a tour of the facility. The Neosho tour also included a stop at the Neosho-Newton County Library, where the teachers heard from library director Ginny Ray, who informed them of the resources offered at the local library. Griffin said the number of teachers taking the tour was larger this year than last, when the tour had welcomed 45 new instructors. The Neosho R-5 school district begins its 2012-2013 school year on Wednesday, August 15, while classes at Crowder College kick off on Monday, Aug. 20.