Substantial Bright Spots

Bright Spots is a bi-weekly post, highlighting schools, districts, organizations and cities across the country taking proactive steps to improve the substitute teaching experience. Do you know of a bright spot we should highlight? We’d love to hear from you.


September 19 – 30, 2016

Community College Substitute Teacher Certification
Atlantic Cape Community College is helping prepare substitute teachers in the Atlantic/Cape May region of New Jersey. The Community College is offering a 10-hour program that provides an overview of the role and expectations. Students receive assistance with the substitute teacher application and certification process, along with one Continuing Education Unit.

Small District Substitute Training
Choteau Public Schools in Montana may be on the smaller side, with only two schools serving 325 students, but they’re not scrimping when it comes to getting great teachers in the classroom.  Superintendent and Elementary Principal, Chuck Gameon is bringing together current and potential substitute teachers over dinner to ensure they all have the training and support needed for the 2017 school year.

Guest Teacher Program
The way we talk about substitute teachers matters — and not just to the substitutes themselves — but to students, teachers and parents. Altoona Area School District in Pennsylvania is picking up on a local trend to introduce a Guest Teacher Program. By inviting adults in the community with specific expertise and training in specialized areas, like math and science, the district is planning to maintain consistency and regular instruction for students, even when their regular teacher isn’t available.

Rewarding Loyalty
Yakima School District in Washington is taking steps to recruit and retain more regular substitute teachers for their district. In a bold move by the Teacher’s Union and School Board, the district will recognize and reward longevity in the district, increasing substitute teacher pay after 30 days; beginning on day 31 substitutes will be eligible to receive the per diem rate for beginning full-time teachers.

Growing Their Own
St. Lawrence Valley Teachers’ Learning Center provides professional development for 2,300 educators in 17 districts across the region. While they reimburse districts for the cost of substitute teachers, so that full time staff can attend PD, they recognize that there aren’t always enough substitutes to go around. That’s why the center is recruiting and training substitutes from across the region, hosting sessions with SUNY Potsdam — for free.

Do you know of a bright spot we should highlight? We’d love to hear from you.

BrightSpots photo courtesy of Seasonal Spots by RonEskins (CC BY).