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Cedar Springs in need of substitute teachers

Cedar Springs in need of substitute teachers
Do you have the credit hours to become a substitute teacher? Our kids need you.

By Judy Reed

Local school districts may have returned to in-person learning, but there is one problem putting a strain on their ability to keep students in the classroom during this pandemic: a shortage of substitute teachers. And they are turning to the community for help.

“It’s all hands, on deck,” remarked Matt Blood, human resources director for Cedar Springs Public Schools. 

Blood said there are a lot of parents and others in our community who may not realize they have the qualifications to be a substitute teacher. To become a substitute teacher, you need a minimum of 60 credit hours from a college or university. If you have the credit hours, you can apply online at EDUstaff (https://www.edustaff.org/). CSPS will reimburse you for any expenses that you may incur while registering to become a substitute teacher for them.

Once approved, you will be able to select the school you wish to pick up substitute days at, based on your availability.

So what’s the problem? Why do they have a shortage of substitute teachers?

Blood said that they have approximately 200 teachers in the district. In the past, whenever they’ve needed substitutes for things such as teacher training days, sickness, etc., they would put in a request to EDUstaff for substitutes and any substitute teacher in Kent County could respond. But they aren’t getting the responses they used to. And it’s not just happening to Cedar Springs.

“It’s what caused many districts to go to entirely remote learning,” explained Blood. “Right now, we are doing pretty well, but when we went into fully remote learning, we had a lot of staff needing to be quarantined.”

They aren’t doing the training days they used to do, but still have a problem covering teacher absences.

They have had to get creative with staffing. They hired eight floating subs, who work every day in their home building. “They work wherever the need is in their building and they keep pretty busy. If they are not in the classroom, they are serving as an interventionist or something else.”

They also made an exception for retired Cedar Springs teachers to serve as subs. “You cannot sign up through EDUstaff if you are a retired teacher,” explained Blood. “So Cedar Springs made an exception that if you are a retired teacher from Cedar Springs, you can sign up through an online application.” Retired teachers can find the link to the application at https://csredhawks.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx.

Blood said he was unsure why there was a shortage of substitute teachers, but it could be a number of things: they may not want to take the risk of subbing in many different districts; they may have kids at home doing remote learning; or it may just be the fluctuations of in-person and remote learning. Whatever the reason, they need to get more substitutes lined up—and Blood hopes that members of the community will step up to help.

“They just need 60 credit hours of college in any field, care about kids, and be willing to carry out the lesson plan,” he said. “Our main goal is to stay open.” They do not need to have received the vaccine.

If interested, fill out the form at: bit.ly/CSPSSubTeach and then register at edustaff.org. To see ad click here.

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