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New Employee Orientation gets makeover, positive reviews

2015 October 15
by HISD Communications
The first 'class' of the new New Employee Orientation.

The first ‘class’ of the new New Employee Orientation.

For new employees, starting a new job can be an exciting but sometimes overwhelming experience, especially at an organization as large and progressive as the Houston Independent School District.

That’s why the district’s New Employee Orientation (NEO) recently went through a major makeover, thanks to a highly collaborative effort across multiple HISD departments. Now, the all-day session is held every Monday and includes more valuable information designed to introduce employees to HISD’s culture and how they play an integral part in producing Global Graduates.

The first “class” completed the inaugural redesigned NEO on Monday, Oct. 12, at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, and initial reviews were positive.

Shameika Sykes-Salvador, a Teacher Development Specialist new to the district, said her knowledge of HISD was limited to what she could find on the district’s public-facing website. After attending NEO, she has a much better understanding of HISD culture and processes.

“I’ve been in education for 17 years,” Sykes-Salvador said, “and at first, I thought, ‘Can’t I just go online and read this somewhere?’ But I’m glad I did come. It was very helpful.”

Brian Nguyen, an onboarding program specialist, said including resources — such as a 30-, 60- and 90-day checklist, appraisal training, and awareness of required district training for all employees — gives them the tools they’ll need to hit the ground running as they begin their careers.

“We looked to understand what it was like to be a new employee and thought about what information was critical to be successful in this organization,” Nguyen said. “There’s a lot of information out there, and new employees can easily feel overwhelmed. We chose to focus on what employees needed most to make a smooth transition into HISD.”

For Sykes-Salvador, that’s exactly how she felt when the day wrapped up.

“Once you’re not a new teacher anymore, it seems (other organizations) forget about you,” Sykes-Salvador said. “They think you know all the ropes. I found it to be very helpful. I like the way it was set up, that it wasn’t just for teachers or instructional employees.”

For more information on New Employee Orientation, email

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