The focus at the beginning of the year has been to build up our substitute pool and to look at how we can approve our fill rate of absences. Each year we lose some of our substitutes because they get other employment or because they don’t complete the required paperwork or training. This year we also lost additional classified substitutes due to requiring them to meet minimum hiring standards set by the state. So far we have 7 new applicants for classified who are either hired or in process, 7 new applicants for emergency certificated substitute and 11 new applicants for certificated substitute. I sent out a survey to our current substitutes to better understand how we can attract them to the district. Enjoying working at the school ranked high as did feeling prepared to do the job and so at a recent administrator’s meeting the principals brainstormed about how to create a more welcoming environment and help substitutes know the jobs better.
I have reached out to Lower Columbia College and Clark College and have begun discussions about having opportunities to talk to their students about interview skills and also about applying to be a substitute. I will have a table at the Woodland Works Job Fair at Woodland High School on October 24, targeting potential classified substitute applicants.
This month I went to the WSPA School Law Conference and attended sessions on Unfair Labor Practices, Balancing HR Operational Practices with Legal Considerations, Accommodating Employees’ Mental Conditions and Last Chance Agreements. I also had great conversations with other attendees which helps me to know processes at other districts.
At the end of September I did a class at WSU for students in the teaching program. This enables me to get our district’s name in front of hopeful candidates and I give them the tools needed to better equip them for the work they will be doing as student teachers in the coming months.
OSPI recently did three webinars on changes in certification. I sent the information I learned out to the certificated staff to hopefully prepare them so they won’t have surprises when they go to renew their certificate.
Lastly, I had two opportunities to teach Woodland students. The first was in the four (4) Leadership classes taught by Mrs. Uhlenkott at Woodland Middle School. Students are preparing to apply for jobs for Junior Achievement BizTown and my teaching focuses on doing their homework on the type of job they want and making sure to fill out the application neatly and completely. I end with practicing eye contact and handshakes. The second opportunity was at Woodland High School and I teamed with Asha Riley to talk with students grouped by grades for 20 minutes in preparation for the job exploration fair they will attend on October 24 as part of their CLC. I talked with them about eye contact, active listening, and handshakes. I was very impressed with the attentiveness of the students and some stayed after to ask questions or practice shaking hands.