Mishawaka schools try permanent placement in light of substitute teacher shortage

The School City of Mishawaka is looking to tackle their substitute teacher shortage problem.

“Our goal is to have people in the classroom when the regular teacher is gone, that can keep some level of high quality instruction,” said Superintendent Dean Speicher.

Finding and keeping support staff is invaluable for this district.

But it’s a not-so-easy goal to accomplish.

Two years ago, we first reported on this problem the district was facing.

Two years later, the superintendent says some things haven’t changed, but things are getting better.

“It’s a big improvement and you know it’s not unique to the School City of Mishawaka,” said Speicher.

During the first semester the district was able to fill 88 percent of the absences by certified teachers.

So there was about a 12 percent need for fill-ins.

That need for program assistants staff fill-ins was 30 percent.

“That’s part of why we wanted to try the full time subs, because they’re going to be on site, and if a teacher does become ill as school begins, we have somebody there that will hopefully fill in that classroom,” said Speicher.

The school board approved a plan on Monday that would give the part-time teachers more of a routine schedule.

In the past, subs would be called in to any of the nine schools in the district when needed.

The new plan calls for all subs to be assigned to schools.

The high school would get three permanent subs, the middle school would get two and the elementary schools would each get one.

This is good for productivity and morale, according to the superintendent.

“By having them assigned at a school permanently for four day a week, this is the beginning of welcoming them to the family, them getting familiar with the school, familiar with the students, familiar with the staff,” said Speicher.

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