It is like a bad dream – principals wake up to a classroom full of students, but no teacher to instruct. This common fear has become a real-life, daily problem for many schools across the country. Our schools have a growing list of absences with a shrinking list of substitutes.
Substitute teachers are an important group of educators in our schools. Why? Substitutes spend a substantial amount of time with our students. Like other professions, teachers may be absent for a variety of reasons such as sickness, personal issues, or even professional development. Based on a study conducted by the National Council on Teacher Quality, they estimate that teachers could miss an average of 11 days out of a 186-day school year.
It’s clear – we need substitutes to keep our schools running – and we need continuity in the classroom to ensure consistent learning continues. However, many school districts nationwide are facing shortages of substitute teachers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our UKG customers are faced with this dilemma and have turned to board members for ideas on how to assist.
Jefferson County Schools in Alabama increased their substitute teacher pay from $75 a day to $90 a day for a certified teacher substitute, and increased long-term rates from $135 a day to $220 a day in hopes to help entice more substitutes to work.
"At any given time, teachers could be out for a number of days...," Superintendent Gonsoulin said. "We have to be able to be Johnny on the spot in order to address that. Again, it's been an unusual school year, but we're thinking the steps we're going to put in place, it'll address some of those issues."
Other districts have followed suit. Escambia School District in Florida approved new rates which represented a 15.6% increase for all educational levels.
How can we increase fill rates and ensure our classrooms are covered? Increasing pay has proven successful for many districts, but the utilization of technology can also assist. UKG has teamed up with Red Rover to provide a best-in-class solution for schools to help fill classrooms, while also more efficiently tracking their time worked for pay. Red Rover has proven to increase fill rates with their modern absence management solution. Pair this with the UKG workforce management solution, and districts can create efficiencies that allow schools to spend less time on administrative processes and more time on nurturing student success.