Marlaine Ells at Hunters Lane High School in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, July 21, 2017. Ells is a Spanish teacher and mentor to young educators at the school.
Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean
Metro Nashville Public Schools is facing a substitute teacher shortage for the third year in a row.
District officials, however, said they have a better handle on the issue this year after restructuring substitute teacher pay in March and launching stronger recruiting efforts.
“Things have improved a little,” said Amber Tyus, Metro Schools recruiting and staffing support specialist.
District officials also hope further changes will make the job more attractive, including restructuring bonus pay.
The district is set to announce that it will begin offering $30-a-day bonuses for substitutes that work a full week.
Before, the district would offer a $25 a day bonus for substitutes that worked a full two weeks. Less than a quarter of substitutes were meeting the requirements.
The district pays over $100 a day to substitutes with a professional degree, and made changes to its pay structure in March.
“We hope the changes certainly will keep us competitive and maintain that edge we have as the highest paying district for substitutes,” Tyus said.
In total, Tyus and the district want a roster of about 2,000 substitutes. That number is far below where Nashville started the school year — at 900 substitutes.
The list of substitutes has grown to 1,100, Tyus said.
But the district also cleared its roster of about 500 substitutes at the beginning of the year. The substitutes either didn’t meet requirements to work in schools or weren’t answering calls to work, Tyus said.
Metro Schools also hired about 100 substitutes from last year as full-time employees.
“We want the substitute job to serve as a pipeline,” Tyuss said.
As well, Tyus has been busy recruiting, she said, reaching out to students at universities. The district is even targeting students that are pursuing degrees outside of education.
“This is a nationwide epidemic and other districts are battling this issue,” Tyus said. “It is not unique to Metro Schools, and we are trying to be creative and inventive in the way we are going about things.”
Reach Jason Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByJasonGonzales.
Metro Schools’ substitute pay
Metro Schools is looking for more substitutes after starting the school year with only 900 fill-in teachers. The district offers bonuses for substitutes that work a number of consecutive days.
For more information on how to become a substitute, email email@example.com.
Certified substitute teacher — $115
Substitute teacher with bachelor’s degree or higher — $100
Substitute with two-years of college — $90
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