Westside Responds to Substitute Teacher Shortage

Westside will move back into 100% attendance in green mode on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Westside will move back into 100% attendance in green mode on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The Westside District has always had a shortage of substitute teachers, but this problem has only gotten worse due to COVID-19. Westside Administrators have been working hard to make sure no class goes without a teacher, so they have been filling in for certain jobs. Some examples of this include principals teaching P.E. for a day, or Superintendent Mike Lucas stepping in for lunch duty. Either way, the district is working together to keep kids learning.

Principal Jay Opperman spoke about the measures being taken to make sure every class has a teacher.

“There are multiple days where we have more open positions than substitute teachers,” Opperman said. “To cover classes, we may have [substitutes] cover more classes than they originally [were] supposed to, [and] we also have teachers from the same subject stepping in to cover for other teachers.”

Opperman said that the switch to yellow mode will be most helpful at the lower education levels.

“The switch back to 50% [capacity] I believe will help more at the lower levels, such as middle school and elementary, because classes can be combined, but at the high school it will help more just with the density of people in the school,” Opperman said.

Director of Communications and Engagement Brandi Paul spoke about other ways the district has responded to the substitute shortage.

“Even before the pandemic, the metro-area faced a shortage of substitute teachers for classrooms,” Paul said. “What the district has done to help with the shortage is hired ‘select subs’, so they [are] basically full-time employees that float around the district and help, along with our amazing administrators, principles, and EAs who are stepping up to [substitute] in classrooms.”