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District wants more substitutes
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Wednesday individuals interested in becoming substitute teachers for the Newton County School System participated in the district's second substitute workshop of the school year.

NCSS Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Donald Dunnigan said 37 were trained at the first workshop on Aug. 29 with another 40 scheduled to be trained Wednesday.

After the half-day workshops the candidates must complete one full day of classroom observation to be added to the county's roster of substitutes.

Dunnigan said only a few of the workshop attendees have completed their classroom observations and turned in the appropriate paperwork.

"There's really no set number of how many subs we need," Dunnigan said. "We like to train as many we can so when we have teachers out, we have a pool of people who can come in."

He explained that on any given day an average of 40 teachers are absent and need a substitute to come in to teach their classes. That figure amounts to an average of two teachers per school everyday.

"In the past we haven't had a way of tracking those numbers with a good system," Dunnigan said.

This year the SubFinder software was updated at the central office and will

provide current and accurate information about teacher absences.

The system has approximately 200 to 300 active substitute teachers on its roster, according to Dunnigan, however, substitutes often become inactive for various reasons.

"That's why we have to keep training," Dunnigan said.

He said a common reason for substitutes to become inactive stems from mothers requesting substitute assignments at their child's school. When the child goes to middle school, many choose not to continue.

The system allows substitutes to choose whether they want to be available for all schools in the system, a grade level or certain school.

"It's nice, but on the flip side it creates issues because you'll have a perfectly qualified sub just sitting at home when a school they didn't specify has three vacancies."

Substitutes in Newton County also need only have a high school equivalency, but those with higher education degrees are paid more on the system's pay scale.

"From my perspective, I would love to say you have to have two years of college," Dunnigan said, "but talking with some people in they community, they thought if we did that, we would have a hard time finding substitute teachers at all."

The NCSS human resources department will no longer hand out applications. They are still accepting the approximately 400 they gave out before the first workshop.

Two other workshops are set for 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 and Oct. 10 at the Board of Education.

"If we need to add additional sessions because more people come in, we will, but we're waiting to see what will happen with the next two sessions."

For more information call the Board of Education at (770) 787-1300.