TUPELO – The Tupelo School District soon will hire full-time employees to serve as substitute teachers at its elementary schools.
The district’s School Board recently approved a job description for the permanent substitute teacher position. The district expects to hire six such educators soon, Superintendent Gearl Loden said. That would put one person at each of its third- to sixth-grade schools, with another rotating between the four kindergarten to second-grade schools.
The district already has full-time permanent substitutes at its middle and high school, Loden said. The goal would be to hire individuals with degrees in education, maybe those pursuing their teaching licenses.
The newly-hired employees would be the first substitutes used at their assigned school, allowing them to develop a familiarity with that building. If no substitute is needed, they could provide tutoring to students. They also could attend training on various district initiatives.
“We believe it will help us improve student achievement and help with the recruitment of individuals into the teaching profession,” Loden said. “…We wanted to do a better job of training our substitute pool, and this will be a good start.”
The move also comes in response to a requirement in the new national health-care law that companies must pay health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours in a week. In order to streamline the number of its substitutes who cross that threshold, the district opted to create the new position.
“The last thing we want to do is have a person who is certified and a quality substitute and to tell them you can’t substitute because you have gone over an amount of hours,” Loden said. “That would hurt instruction. This will help instruction.”