LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Schools across Kentucky are looking to the community for help as they work to navigate a shortage of substitutes exasperated by the pandemic.
From staff and educators filing for retirement to COVID-19 fear and quarantines, there's been a strain on the system across districts.
Administrative leaders, including superintendents, have stepped in to fill the void in various positions.
Bill Parker, Superintendent for Scott County Public Schools says the issue is causing everyone to get creative.
"Today, we went to school, and we had 117 staff members out that is incredibly high pre- COVID. But now that we're in this time that we're in, we're not even blinking an eye and just finding a way to make it work," said Parker.
One solution they are looking toward is extra help from the community.
To become a substitute teacher in Kentucky, you have to have at least a 2.5 GPA and have completed at least 64 college credit hours.
Classified substitutes have different requirements depending on the school. Substitutes in Kentucky must also pass a background check.
Classified subs may cover as instructional assistants, hall monitors, or in a nutrition department. A certified sub is required to cover a teacher’s position in the classroom.
Parker's looking into the Emergency Non-Certified School Personnel Program to open the opportunity of becoming a substitute to those with a high school diploma or GED.
"We've got a great community here in Scott County and the local officials have reached out and said, 'Hey, can I help?' And so, this is why we started thinking about this program because, we've got some local officials that are great people, they just don't have to meet the requirements. So in order to get them in classrooms, we see this as a potential way that we could use their services," explained Parker.
With the Emergency Non-Certified School Personnel Program, districts who apply can use persons with a high school diploma or its equivalent, when all other qualified substitutes are unavailable.
"What you do in that in that program is you provide three days of additional training to folks. And once they get that additional training, they can be assigned to a specific school," said Parker.
Parker says it's tough to quantify how many subs they need because that number changes daily and includes more than just educators. Substitutes also work on their own schedules.
Here is information for how you can sign up to help local school districts:
Scott County Public Schools
Contact: Human resources director, Damon Stefanic, 502-863-3663, email@example.com
Need: Substitute Teacher, Substitute Classified Instructional Assistant, Substitute Daycare, Substitute Custodian, Substitute Nurse, Substitute nutrition aid, and After School Aide.
Woodford County Public Schools
Need: The need for substitutes differs each day. We aren't looking for a specific number of subs, but we are always taking applications. It is helpful for us to have a large pool of substitutes, especially in the pandemic.
Requirements: Our classified substitutes must have a high school diploma or GED. Ideally, certified substitutes will have a teaching background, but realistically, we prefer our substitutes to have at least two years of college completed. Due to the current high need for substitutes, those with a high school diploma or GED but less than two years of college can also be considered for the certified substitute position. To apply, please visit Woodford County Public Schools - Frontline Recruitment.
Woodford County Public Schools - Frontline Recruitment
Frontline Education is closely monitoring the spread and impact of COVID-19. We are here to help! If you are a jobseeker or current employee with questions on the current process or policies, we suggest contacting the district and reviewing the current guidelines as presented by the CDC. If you require technical assistance with applying, our learning center and support team is available.
Bourbon County Public Schools
Need: both certified and classified substitutes. They're having a training Feb 7.
Requirements: High School diploma or Ged, 25 years of age, approved background check, receive required hours of district training, and have a desire to teach and a passion for children and education.
Emergency Certified with 64 college hours $115.00 day
Emergency Certified enrolled in a teacher education program $115.00 day
Certified Teacher $125.00 day
Long Term Certified Sub $135.00 day
Retired Certified Teacher $160.00 day
Madison County Schools
Contact: (859) 624-4500
Need: We do not have a set number of substitute positions in our district. Our substitute application process is open from Sept. 1 to April 1 each year. Prior to the pandemic, we would average about 500 to 550 substitutes on our active list. Since the pandemic, that number has dwindled to around 250 on the active list. That includes subs for teachers, paras, cooks, bus drivers, etc. The decrease in numbers had actually begun before the pandemic, but certainly, COVID has significantly impacted the number of applications we are receiving and the number of substitutes we have on our active list.
Requirement: Qualifications this school year include a high school diploma and at least 4 years of work experience. Traditionally, qualifications include 64 college credit hours with a GPA of 2.5 or higher for certified positions and a high school diploma or GED for classified positions.
Those interested in applying for substitute positions can visit our district website and click on the employment tab, scroll until you see the sub position of interest, and then click apply to follow the prompts.