Solving the substitute teacher shortage at Spokane schools - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Solving the substitute teacher shortage at Spokane schools

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The substitute teacher shortage is an issue Spokane Public Schools is dealing with. But this is an issue extends across the state and the nation. The substitute teacher shortage is an issue Spokane Public Schools is dealing with. But this is an issue extends across the state and the nation.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The substitute teacher shortage is an issue Spokane Public Schools is dealing with, but this is an issue extends across the state and the nation.

SPS is looking at a variety of options to solve this problem. They’re seeing if their substitutes can work more days, asking if retired educators would come back as substitutes, and looking at possibly hiring emergency substitute teachers.

But students say they are seeing the effects. Chase Thames is a sophomore at Shadle Park High School. He says most of his substitute teachers have been fine.

“The only problem that I've ran into is just like in my foreign language class my substitute teacher didn't know Spanish so that was pretty tough,” he says.

The district is facing some not-so-typical issues.

"I’ve had a lot of like math teachers and stuff that are getting put into my English class and they don't know that subject very well and it's not their forte,” Thames says.

He adds that his friends’ grades have been affected by this too.

The district says they know how important it is to have quality substitute teachers, which is why they’re putting their efforts into filling the gap.

“You have to have someone who is able to step in and keep the learning going and our substitutes are those folks for us,” says Mary Templeton, certificated director of personnel at SPS. “They are crucial, crucial, crucial for our students and their learning.”

The district says the shortage comes partly from hiring more teachers, especially with the expanded school days for elementary students. They hired 55 more teachers, and most of them came from their substitute pool. They’ve been working on finding more substitutes over the summer.

The district currently has a pool of 450 substitutes. They would like that number to be closer to 500. A substitute teacher with Spokane Public Schools is paid $116.52 a day, which the district says is the highest in the county.

But for students, like Chase, they want to see a solution and soon.

“I just don't really want my grades to be jeopardized,” Chase says.

So far this year, SPS has had 49 school days. Of those, there were eight days when they were short 20 subs, and they had to fill those positions with administration or cover with other building teachers because of the shortage.

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