Montgomery County School Districts Already Experiencing Shortage of Substitute Teachers

PI Substitute Teachers
Image via Steve M. Falk, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Carole Hoy, principal of Gulph Elementary School in the Upper Merion School District.

Upper Merion School District, like many school districts in the Philadelphia region, is already feeling the acute shortage of substitute teachers, write Kristen A. Graham, Maddie Hanna, and Melanie Burney for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I’ve never seen it like this,” said Caitlin Navarro, human resources director for the Upper Merion School District.

To help with this issue, the district has been working on hiring more building substitutes.

This represents a bigger financial commitment for the district since these substitutes are assigned to a school and paid for the entire year, but makes it more attractive for potential workers.

The shortage has forced principals to come up with a variety of scenarios to ensure all of the classes are covered.

Carole Hoy, principal of Gulph Elementary School in Upper Merion, has resorted to dividing up classrooms to split them among the available teachers. Sometimes she taps reading specialists to step in and lead classrooms.

This, however, starts a ripple effect that shuts down specialized programs for that day.

Still, the situation is unsustainable. If an absence happens that Hoy did not plan for, “it may blow up my system,” she said.

Read more about the Montgomery County shortage of Substitute Teachers in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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