As school district administrators strive to meet rising academic standards with funding that often falls short, many challenges occur. Since school spending matters when it comes to student achievement, money must be spent wisely. To be truly impactful, school improvement efforts must be sustainable.
In the course of educating the district’s students, schools provide a variety of services, including meal preparation, facilities management, transportation, and staffing. Each of these processes must regularly be evaluated to determine efficiency and cost-effectiveness, which often leads to the updating or replacement of outdated practices.
Since personnel is the largest expenditure for districts of all sizes, taking an alternate approach to staffing in education may have more impact than is evident at first glance. It not only supports meaningful instruction, but can significantly simplify administrative responsibilities.
The Multitude of Tasks Involved in Substitute Teacher Staffing
A multitude of tasks are involved in the process of getting qualified substitute teachers into district classrooms. They involve multiple human resources and business office personnel at both the central office and school building level. Here are just a few of the administrative responsibilities involved:
- Obtaining personnel control numbers and confirming budget
- Creating a position and describing it in sufficient detail to attract the desired applicants
- Posting the position on community job boards and online; monitoring and sorting responses
- Interviewing applicants, checking their references, and verifying their credentials
- Processing and monitoring background checks
- Arranging for and filing payroll, withholding, benefits, and direct deposit paperwork
- Scheduling and conducting introductory orientation training
- Dispatching substitutes and tracking timesheets for all applicable locations
- Maintaining employee records and submitting compliance reports
- Administering corrective action when necessary
When these functions are performed by central office personnel and overseen by an assistant superintendent, the details of managing many daily employees in multiple locations can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. And when market conditions dictate, as they currently do, that the search for sufficient substitute teacher applicants and the required processing cycle for new hires must continue throughout the year, it requires ongoing attention and dedicated manpower to support year-round recruitment.
Calling on the Expertise of an Educational Staffing Agency
If upon evaluating your current substitute staffing process you have decided to consult with an educational staffing agency, there has never been a better time. With the goal of improving service and controlling costs, a staffing agency can take on the entire burden with each of its corresponding responsibilities and handle them efficiently. They offer effective options designed to safeguard instructional continuity while lightening the load for individual school districts. Professional development and specialized training are highlighted. Integrated technology systems make scheduling and data tracking easier than ever.
When trying to decide which staffing company to choose as your partner in this important endeavor, it is essential to research their track records. Getting an accurate understanding of their offerings is important, as is viewing a breakdown of their management support structure. You will want to understand what they offer substitute teachers in terms of benefits and extra incentives, and hearing feedback from school districts currently working with a staffing company can also be very valuable. In addition, learning about awards and recognitions the company has received broadens the picture, as does their record of action in partner communities.
Counting the Benefits and Tallying the Improvements
Once you begin working with your new educational staffing partner, you should see changes right away. Initially, you will be impressed with the communication and support offered by your local management team right at your side through the entire process. Soon you will be able to track conversion rates as your valued, active, original substitutes are acquired by your staffing partner.
Throughout the process, you will track both qualitative and quantitative data as you evaluate your substitute staffing partnership. Qualitative reports will include feedback from teachers and building administrators, as well as evaluations from orientation and professional development sessions. Quantitative data will consist of fill rates, the number of requests and callbacks, as well as the number of new hires and the longevity of employment. Your decision to seek help with staffing in education should yield easily identifiable gains that you can track through a variety of parameters.
Since current market conditions dictate that the search for qualified substitute teacher applicants must be ongoing throughout the year, many school districts are choosing to partner with an educational staffing company. This choice can improve fill rates and safeguard staff morale, but it also simplifies the administrative responsibilities for hiring and processing as teacher shortages affect the availability of substitute teachers as well. With this headache relieved, district administrators can focus on student outcomes knowing they have made a sustainable decision that positively impacts their school communities.
Contact ESS for a look at innovative staffing solutions. With substitute teacher options to serve the needs of districts large and small, we will address fill rates and protect staff morale while relieving the administrative burden at both the central office and school building level.
Phil has been supporting school districts across the country for more than 12 years. He works hands-on with districts implementing customized solutions to improve their substitute teacher and support staff programs. When he’s not increasing districts’ fill rates, Phil can be found swinging his clubs on a golf course.