Posted on August 12, 2021
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Categories: News from SDP

PHILADELPHIA — The School District of Philadelphia welcomes nearly 600 new teachers and counselors this week at the District’s annual New Hire Orientation.

Due to uncertainties of the pandemic during initial planning, this year’s week-long training is taking place virtually. The orientation, which kicked off Monday, provides new teachers and counselors with professional development and networking opportunities while covering a variety of topics, including developing impactful instruction, creating inclusive and equitable routines and supporting students through trauma.

“We are excited to welcome to our District nearly 600 new instructional staff,” said William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D., Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. “New Hire Orientation provides us with the opportunity to establish a strong adult culture within our newest cohort of teachers who are choosing to invest in our students and inspire this next generation. I am excited to watch this group join the rest of our educators in making an impact on our students.”

Professional development opportunities will continue to be offered to new teachers and counselors throughout the school year.

This year’s new hires bring diverse backgrounds and experiences. Forty-five percent of new teachers and counselors identify as people of color, including: African American (20%), Asian/Pacific-Islander (5%), Latinx (5%) and other racial groups (15%). Among this year’s new hires, 77 percent will teach grades K-8, and 23 percent will teach high school grades.

Sherry Burl, who will be teaching fifth grade English Language Arts at Commodore John Barry Elementary School, is looking forward to being in a classroom with students and credits the New Hire Orientation with making her feel more prepared to welcome students.

“This week has been an amazing experience. Everyday, my knowledge of instructional techniques and information on skills and support content continues to expand,” said Burl, who graduated from Drexel University with her Bachelor’s in 2015. “As a product of the District, it’s always been my desire to give back, and I am excited to have an amazing opportunity to do so.”

Nakia Ross, who will be a special education teacher at E. W. Rhodes School, is also excited about having an opportunity to engage with students, many of whom have been receiving instruction remotely since March 2020.

“This week has been extremely helpful. I’m excited to take what I’ve learned and bring it back into the classroom this year at Rhodes,” said Ross, who spent the last eight years as a classroom assistant at the school.

Staff and teachers will return on Monday, August 23, 2021. Students return to full-day, in-person learning for the 2021-2022 School Year on Tuesday, August 31.

For the latest Back-to-School updates and information, please visit