Howard-Suamico School District combats substitute teacher shortage

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- With the new school year in full swing, some administrators area already worried should teachers need to take the day off.

“Having a substitute teacher shortage affects student learning when there isn’t consistency in the classroom,” says Elisia Lewis, human resources manager at the Howard-Suamico School District. “Kids need consistency and they need special and close relationships with their teachers.”

Administrators say there’s likely a substitute shortage because it’s a difficult position to fill.

“We have to find teachers who are okay changing schools every day, possibly grade levels, and even content areas,” Lewis says. “That isn't always easy.”

That’s why the Howard-Suamico School District is working to combat the problem.

For the second year, the district is hosting a substitute teacher summit – working to draw in substitute teachers and keep them in the district.

“It gives us quality one-on-one time with them, and also just ensures that even though they are professional educators and they have licensures in their content area, we're keeping them up to date with the things we feel are very important,” Lewis says.

In Wednesday’s summit, administrators work with substitutes on things like literacy in the classroom, and building relationships between students and their subs.

“When we have quality and loving substitutes that we can rely on, that we know will be in the classroom when our regular teachers can't be, that positively impacts kids,” Lewis says.

According to district officials, substitute teachers are required daily throughout the Howard-Suamico School District. Of the pool of nearly 100 substitutes, up to 70 percent work regularly within the district.

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