Sub Shortage

B-A is like most schools nationwide in dealing with a limited pool of substitute teachers


Ethan McGee

Mr. Cites is one of the frequent substitutes seen at Bellwood-Antis, but the list of reliable subs is shrinking here and nationwide.

Emilee Astore, Social Media Editor/Staff Writer

Administrators all over the county are coming to grips with a rising trend of substitute teacher shortage.

“For us, substitute shortage is a big issue. It’s one we struggle with all the time,” said Bellwood-Antis School District Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy.

Bellwood-Antis’ pool of subs is not very large.

For us, substitute shortage is a big issue. It’s one we struggle with all the time.

— Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy

According to high school principal Mr. Rick Schreier, teachers understand that Bellwood-Antis has a shortage so they do their best to help us out. They will often fill in for an absent teacher during their planning periods.

McInroy added, “There are times where I would have to fill in for teachers at my previous schools. I didn’t mind because I love being around kids and watching them grow and learn but it is hard because I would have had other things I could have been doing.”

The faculty could have a better job to do other than covering classes, as well, like to get planning done, grading or prepping for classes, but instead, they’re often using their time to fill in for a sub that isn’t present. Luckily, Bellwood-Antis has teachers who are willing to do so.

“Obviously, having a shortage of substitute teachers is an inconvenience. And, also, our absences of teachers isn’t very high; we don’t have many teachers who miss on a regular basis which is good. It is hard sometimes because calling for subs can give a person a little bit too short of a notice,” said high school principle Mr. Scherier.

Because of the district’s lack of subs, it recently advertised in the Altoona Mirror and had three new subs move onto the list.

The system the district uses for making sub positions openly available – an online system called Aesop – can potentially work with other school districts also so they are more readily available when they are needed.

“We have a system called Aesop where we log which teachers are here and which teachers are absent,” said McInroy. “It basically sends out an auto call to the substitutes who are on our list. Once the auto call is sent out, the substitutes decide if they want to come in or not.”

Bellwood-Antis is very lucky to have a lot of retired faculty who come in on their own time and sub for teachers (Mr. Yingling, Mr. Nelson, Mrs. Claar, Ms. Williams, and Mr. Perry).

Behind the scenes the secretaries come in in the morning and identify all three buildings for a lack of subs. They get on the phone and try to call all of the subs on the district’s list to see if they’re willing to come in; checking with as many people as they can. So that process starts at about 6:45 or 7 a.m. trying to get substitutes in who have not already signed up to work. So it is extra work trying to find subs on days that school has shortages.

“I must say, we are very fortunate to have the subs that we have and they are very loyal,” said Schreier. “I wish we had more of them, however, so that way we could spread wealth and get more experience for the kids.”

The board plans to begin to find a solution to this inconvenience over the summer.