Our work is based on partnerships with school districts, non-profits and individuals committed to exploring new opportunities and ensuring our most valuable resource – student time – is used in the best way possible. We help you access the information you have, inspire you with new ideas, support you to articulate a meaningful strategy, and then lower the bar to action by providing templates, tools and structures for implementation.

Check out these ideas for how we might start working together. 

Substitute Data Dashboards

Learn what’s really happening in your sub system

How many subs in your pool are active? How does coverage vary across sites? Are most sub requests pre-planned or last-minute? The answers may surprise you. Check assumptions, debunk myths and geek out by diving deep into your sub system data. You’ll receive interactive data dashboards built to harness the power of Tableau (without purchasing software!) each fall, winter and spring. Use data to help you understand where to focus your energy and develop solutions.
Our dashboard currently supports districts using eSchools SmartFind Express and Frontline Aesop/Absence Management.


  • Get started with a preliminary data dive for $349 (includes one time dashboard and consultation call)
  • Additional services related to data coaching, strategic planning and presentations also available

Leadership Development

Building capacity at all levels

An effective sub system starts with strong leadership. From HR directors to sub desk managers, all have a role to play in improving the substitute teaching experience. To play that role, they need to see themselves as leaders and develop new skills.

Sub System Leaders Course (Begins January 2018)

Designed for HR directors and/or assistant superintendents responsible for subs, this course helps you create a plan to attract and retain subs — plus design an onramp for subs to pursue full-time teaching. This 10-week course is two hours per week, with a mix of self-paced coursework, assignments and one-on-one coaching.


Whether you’re trying something new with your sub system, feeling stuck or want inspiration based on what other districts are doing, coaching can help. Our coaching model works for district staff at all levels — from those managing the tactical and day-to-day to those defining the strategic vision. We help you restructure work and use time more efficiently to get to great results.

Professional Development for Subs

Setting subs up for success in the classroom 

Make sure your subs are prepared, confident and able to make the most of class time. Investing in your subs means they’ll be more engaged with your district — and in the classroom. Complement your HR and job system training with classroom management techniques and more.

In-Person Trainings

Substantial’s energetic trainers lead trainings with current and prospective subs on everything from getting credentialed and what subbing is like, to teaching techniques and tips for engaging with students. 

Blended Online/In-Person Trainings (Coming Soon)

We’re developing online and in-person training modules you can offer to your subs year round. Get notified about upcoming training offerings by signing up for our newsletter.

District Partnerships

Customized engagements that amplify capacity

Districts partner with Substantial to improve their substitute teaching experience. We’ll help you break out of existing patterns so you can improve how you recruit, train and support subs. Each partnership is customized based on your unique needs. The districts we’ve partnered with tell us they loved how we embedded ourselves in their team, both to bring capacity and build capacity We don’t pretend to have all the answers — just optimism and experience helping people in districts improve processes. Learn how we worked with Arlington Public Schools to recruit and train more subs.

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Substantial is a fiscally sponsored project of Playworks Education Energized (“Playworks”), a California based nonprofit public benefit corporation. Playworks is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code and our Federal Tax ID number (FEIN) is 94-3251867.