Like many schools across the state, the Baraboo School District is in need of more substitute teachers.
District leaders hope to capitalize on recent licensing changes implemented by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to bring more “guest teachers” to Baraboo schools.
“In our area, we are really looking for substitute teachers in all areas,” said Colleen Bradley, a human resources specialist for the Baraboo School District. “The DPI also has noticed that we’ve had these problems with finding substitute teachers, so they lifted some of the requirements.”
The DPI lowered the requirements for a three-year substitute teacher’s license in the fall from a bachelor’s degree to an associate’s degree earned from an accredited university. Potential subs still must obtain a permit through the DPI and complete a training course. The application process costs $125.
“Expanding” the “flexibility” of licensing requirements for substitute teachers, along with a host of other “emergency rule changes,” were implemented by the DPI to reduce staffing issues for Wisconsin schools, according to an agency report.
The three-year substitute permit allows substitutes to take on short-term teaching assignments, which are less than 45 days. The permit allows a sub to teach at any Wisconsin school that wishes to hire them, according to DPI rules.
Bradley said the Baraboo School District offers training for applicants. She said the program includes instruction on student behavior and classroom management, as well as other important educator skills. The district also has potential substitutes shadow another guest teacher for a day.
“That gives them the opportunity to come in, ask any questions that they want and get a feel for if this is something that they really like,” Bradley said.
Bradley said the district has about 65 guest teachers on call and hopes to raise the number to 100. She said unfilled positions can create staffing issues.
“We may have unfilled positions, and that’s hard on the school, especially if it’s a teacher missing — we need someone in the classrooms,” Bradley said. “Sometimes we’ll have to bring a principal in there or an associate principal.”
Bradley said subbing for the Baraboo School District provides flexible hours and the ability to create a schedule. Guest teachers receive calls from the district when there’s an open position and can choose to accept or decline assignments. They also can opt to block calls during busy times.
To apply, Bradley said applicants can fill out an application on the district website. They then will be asked to come in for an interview and background check, followed by the permit application process, training and teacher shadowing.
“We’re very supportive,” Bradley said. “We try to help them through the whole process to get that permit that they need and get the training that they need.”