District implements permanent substitutes

Kaitlyn Jiang, asst. news editor

At the start of the 2022-2023 school year, District 225 introduced a new position: Instructional Assistant District Substitutes, or permanent substitutes, Principal Dr. Barbara Georges said. Three permanent substitutes were hired for the English, Social Studies, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Departments at South and North, Casey Wright, Associate Principal of Administrative Services, said.

Instructional Assistant District Substitutes are certified teachers hired by the district for a specific department, Wright said. However, they may substitute for any class in which a teacher is absent regardless of department, he said. 

“The goal is to keep the class moving so that students can learn [continuously],” Wright said. “That’s the same goal for a daily substitute. The advantage of a permanent substitute is that they’re full-time employees. They build relationships with our students, and we’re able to call upon them whenever we need them.”

Administrative assistants for each department, including Dawn Pollina, Administrative Assistant for the CTE Department, report teacher absences each day, and a computer system assigns Instructional Assistant District Subsitutes to classes. Each morning, Pollina looks at the assignments and lets other administrative assistants know when the permanent substitute for her department is free.

District 225 implemented this position after a shortage of substitutes was caused by Covid-19, which made it difficult to ensure all classes had a substitute teacher, Wright said. Unlike regular substitutes who can choose classes they want to substitute for, permanent substitutes provide consistency because they are always in the building, Georges explained. 

“[The district] felt [implementing permanent substitutes] would be better than depending on the external staff pool that all high schools in the area share,” Georges said. “The district felt it was important for consistency to hire permanent substitutes starting [the] first day of the school year.”

Daniel Ham, Social Studies Department Instructional Assistant District Substitute and parttime Social Studies Teacher, believes that being a permanent substitute created familiarity between him and his students.

“I get to meet so many students [being a permanent substitute] and I’ve been building relationships [with them],” Ham said. “It builds a sense of community between substitutes and students.”

As a permanent substitute, Ham believes that it is more effective teaching and substituting for teachers in his department, as he is a licensed teacher and is better able to teach subjects relating to Social Studies.

“Instead of having to last-minute grab a [teaching] plan or showing a movie, [permanent substitutes] make school more efficient in terms of allowing the teacher to keep the flow or rhythm of students’ learning,” Ham said.