Oakwood sees great response to substitute crisis meeting

Jan. 7—OAKWOOD — Oakwood's Aspiring Substitute Teacher Academy led to 20 part-time substitute signups.

The plan of action meeting at the Oakwood Grade School library was to address the teacher shortage crisis.

The school district invited interested persons with at least 60 hours of college credit to sign up.

"That was a phenomenal night for us," Oakwood Superintendent Larry Maynard said.

There were 23 guests and 15 Oakwood school district staff, administrators and board members in attendance. Junior high student council members also helped at the event.

Finding substitute teachers is a systemic problem, Maynard said.

There are fewer young people going into education careers in terms of pipelines, he said.

Maynard said that creates problems initially.

For instance, the school district couldn't fill four full-time staff positions this school year with licensed persons and had to hire full-time substitutes.

"They're doing a great job," he said of the substitutes.

When the school district pulls those people up from the possible substitute teachers, that lessens the other pool of people for aides and other positions.

The district is thin with resources.

The substitute teacher shortage crisis meeting Wednesday night has helped with short-term solutions.

"They answered that call," Maynard said, but added, "Long-term problems are not going away soon."

However, he said, "It was just a positive night."

He said it was great having so many people in the room, asking how they can help our schools. It was basically a recruitment night.

"It was really an encouraging night for all of us," Maynard said.

Long-term plans will continue to be looked at, but "that was a great start. I can see us doing this annually," he added.