Substitute Teachers Needed

Training offered for college grads with a bachelor’s degree
Posted on 07/25/2019
A substitute teacher in a classroom with students.

By Gary Weckselblatt

The Quakertown Community School District is asking residents with a bachelor’s degree to consider becoming a substitute teacher.

“This is a great opportunity for an adult with a degree to contribute to the community in a way that will really have an impact on our young people,” said Barb Philips, QCSD’s human resources manager. “People can choose when they want to work, and have a schedule as flexible as they choose.”

Guest Teacher Program

Quakertown, which contracts with ESS for substitute teachers, pays $95 a day. After 40 days, a substitute’s pay increases to $105 a day. The daily rate for a long-term sub who has the same assignment for 20-plus consecutive days is $120.

Finding quality substitute teachers has become a growing problem over the last several years throughout the U.S., including Pennsylvania.

A 2017 Pennsylvania School Boards Association analysis found that since 2010, there has been a 58 percent decrease in the number of teaching certificates issued in the state. The analysis also found that the number of new teachers graduating from college in 2016 fell 38 percent compared to 2000.

A recent story in the Herald-Standard story, highlighted in the Pennsylvania School Boards Association newsletter, detailed how teacher shortages nationally and statewide has led to a greater struggle in finding substitute teachers.

Since 1996, the number of undergraduate education majors has declined 55 percent nationwide, and since 2009, the number of newly issued in-state instructional teaching certificates has dropped by 71 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Pennsylvania used to issue licenses to more than 14,000 new teachers annually. In 2016-17, the state issued 4,412, according to the Herald-Standard..

Quakertown has employed a variety of techniques to cover a class when a substitute is unavailable. Principals and other administrators have filled in, as have guidance counselors and teachers, who sometimes sacrifice their planning time.

“Schools have a unique challenge in managing employee absenteeism,” Mrs. Philips said. “When a teacher is absent, you have to make other arrangements. In our classrooms, student instruction and support must continue even when the teacher is unable to be there.”

To help with the situation, ESS is holding a two-day program to help college grads put their bachelor’s degree to work. The Guest Teacher Classes, which cost $95, will be held at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit August 7-8, September 26-27, October 30-31, and November 20-21. Classes are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The BCIU is located at 705 North Shady Retreat Road, Doylestown. For more information and to register, please contact Caitlin Ruthardt at 856-482-0300, ext. 3538, or email CRuthardt@ess.com. 

“We’re truly hoping this can make an impact,” said Zach Schoch, Quakertown’s chief operating officer. “Everyone has been struggling.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.

 

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