Field Trip Podcast
Field Trip Podcast
Nov 17, 2021
No Substitute for Customer Service (2021)
Play • 21 min

Note: This episode was originally released in 2018, but with districts around the country facing a worsening substitute shortage in 2021, the story remains relevant today.

When a teacher is out, a substitute to take over for the day isn’t a given. Many districts have a difficult time keeping a pool of substitutes that’s adequate to cover all vacancies. Today, we speak with Spring Grove Area School District about how they tackled this problem. With a focus on customer service, here’s how they built a reputation among substitutes for being a great place to work.

Barbara Valencia works in HR support at Spring Grove — but earlier in her career, she was a substitute classroom aid. And she saw how tough it is to walk into an unfamiliar building and stand in front of an unfamiliar class, every single day.

Barbara spoke to us about:

  • Why the job of substitute teaching can be so difficult
  • The steps Spring Grove has taken to entice substitutes to seek out positions in the district
  • What any school district can do to make substitute teaching more attractive
  • The impact this work has on fill rates, morale and the quality of students’ education

Field Trip is a podcast from Frontline Education.

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