TCSS looks to hire more substitute teachers

Published 10:00 am Thursday, August 20, 2020

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The Troup County School System is looking for more substitute teachers and documented new, virtual training opportunities for substitutes during Tuesday night’s work session.

Chief Human Resource Officer Derek Pitts said TCSS had 163 substitutes as of Tuesday, compared to 268 active substitutes last year. Pitts said some substitutes had opted out this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pitts said there are typically a little over 100 sub assignments each day, meaning TCSS doesn’t have a lot of leeway to fill the positions available on a normal day.

“That doesn’t mean all 160 are ready to work every day of the week either,” said Superintendent Brian Shumate.

Pitts unveiled a six-step program for training substitutes that was developed in partnership with West Georgia RESA.

The training includes a welcome to TCSS; classroom expectations; diversity training; code of ethics training; training on Canvas, the system’s learning management system; and AESOP, the substitute-platform system.

Pitts said that typically TCSS has a couple of substitute teacher trainings a year, with one in the spring and one in the fall. If someone wanted to be a substitute, they had to wait until one of the trainings.

“I wanted something that was a little faster turnaround,” Pitts said. “I wanted something that we could do, obviously virtually. And then we could have something to where we could quickly get whoever wanted to be a sub, get them trained, get them onboarded and get them into the position pretty quickly.”

Board Chairman Kirk Hancock said that substitutes are asked to do so much now with the additional of virtual instruction.

He asked Pitts how TCSS is going to handle long-term substitutes for situations where a teacher might have to quarantine for 14 days due to exposure to COVID-19.

“Our principals are getting very creative with how to do that,” said Assistant Superintendent Penny Johnson. “The key is flexibility.”

Assistant Superintendent Chip Medders, who formerly held the HR position, said that substitutes can make anywhere from $70 to $125 a day depending on education and experience.

Pitts said TCSS has a substitute training set up for Aug. 26. He said 45 people are expected to attend, which would put TCSS at around 200 substitutes.

Pitts said the school system is also reaching out to retired teachers since it’s likely they’d be more comfortable with the learning management system and be more prepared for a longer substitute assignment.