Missouri Board of Education to consider proposal intended to boost available substitute teachers

Substitute Teachers Graphic

Missouri is in the market for more K-12 substitute teachers during the COVID-19 time. The level of need varies around the state depending on the district, grade, subject, and region.

According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the number of candidates preparing to become full-time teachers has been declining steadily over the past six years. This challenge has increased the demand for long-term substitute teachers and the demand could grow even more if any full-time teachers have reservations about being in a traditional classroom setting this fall.

Currently, substitutes must complete at least 60 semester hours of college-level credit to get a license. Tyler Madsen, DESE Assistant Director of Communications, says the state Board of Education could decide Tuesday whether to give them the alternative of instead completing a minimum of 20 hours of state-approved online training.

“So that would give a couple of options to help districts and charter schools throughout the state fill a potential a shortage for substitute teachers this fall,” Madsen tells Missourinet.

Under the proposed emergency rule change, topics covered in the training would include professionalism, honoring diversity, engaging students, foundational classroom management techniques, basic instructional strategies, and working with at-risk youth as well as students with special needs.

“It would be a wide variety of areas a teacher encounters every day in the classroom. It would give those substitute teachers a solid baseline for entering into the classroom,” says Madsen.

The cost to the state and to the job seekers is also expected to be discussed during the board meeting – and whether the proposed training goes far enough.

“Because it’s an emergency rule, if they do vote on it as it stands, it could go active in a matter of days. So, what we’re doing right now is trying review that online training so that it will be ready as soon as that rule goes into effect,” says Madsen. “There is work already being done here at DESE on that behalf to try to make sure that if everything stays in line and approved by the state board, that we would be ready to roll out with it ideally within days of next Tuesday’s state board meeting.”

Missouri has 555 public school districts and charter schools.

Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in Jefferson City.

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