Clark-Pleasant hires permanent substitutes

Clark-Pleasant Community Schools has hired two permanent substitute teachers to fill a constant need for them at Whiteland Community High School.

Aaron Harris and Donnie McGinnis started their new full-time positions Jan. 6, and will get paid between $14.40 and $20 per hour, earning more if they have a degree in education, said John Schilawski, assistant superintendent.

There is a daily need for at least two substitute teachers at Whiteland Community High School, which employs 94 full-time teachers, Schilawski said.

Clark-Pleasant administrators analyzed the daily need for substitutes at the high school and decided having two full-time substitutes on staff would satisfy that need most days, spokesperson John Venter said.

“We’re always evaluating the need, but we don’t want so many permanent subs that they go unused, just enough so they’re useful and effective,” Venter said.

When there is an emergency teacher shortage on any given day, staff members are often forced to cover classes, Venter said.

“Maybe a counselor or treasurer or some other school personnel that’s not teaching, assistant teachers, maybe some administrator or other staff member might have to go in and watch a classroom and be a substitute for a day, and they can’t do their normal job,” Venter said. “That doesn’t happen often, but it’s super stressful when it does.”

School officials have used a system of calling teachers from a pool of substitutes provided by Kelly Educational Services, a vendor that would assign substitutes to Clark-Pleasant schools based on need. Kelly does the work, going down the list of substitutes and calling to see who is available, after which they are assigned to local schools.

But by Clark-Pleasant schools employing the permanent substitutes, school officials won’t be left scrambling to fill last-minute vacancies via a third party, Venter said.

“The problem we’re trying to solve is the building has so many teachers in it, the likelihood that we’ll need a sub (every day) is very great,” Venter said.

Both Harris and McGinnis previously served Clark-Pleasant schools, one as a substitute with Kelly Services and the other a former coach and instructional assistant.

They are not required to have knowledge in any specific subject area, but some of the requirements for the position include taking attendance, knowing how to navigate the building and the schedule of class periods. Harris and McGinnis were required to pass a criminal background check and both were required to have college degrees, Venter said.

Hiring two substitute teachers who are already familiar with Clark-Pleasant schools is advantageous, Schilawski said.

"The two we’re (hiring) are both familiar with the school district; they’re not brand new to us," Schilawski said. "We did go through an interview and application process and screening, and these are the individuals who rose to the top."