Customized substitute teacher program with Vigo County School Corporation (VCSC)

09/24/2020
Customized substitute teacher program with Vigo County School Corporation (VCSC)

A district gets reliable service excellence delivered through a customized substitute teacher program from local staffing experts.

The Vigo County School Corporation (VCSC) serves the communities in and around Terre Haute, Indiana, covering a population of roughly 107,000 residents. The district is home to nearly 16,000 students in 28 schools: 18 elementary schools, five middle schools, and five high schools. Before forming a partnership with Kelly Educational Staffing® (KES®) to manage its substitute teacher staffing program, VCSC was unable to fill all classrooms when teachers were absent. Today, service excellence from a local KES team ensures that substitute teachers are scheduled on a moment’s notice, saving the district both time and money.

Results at a Glance

The challenge

The Vigo County Schools were challenged by a number of factors that led to consistently low placement rates for substitute teachers across the district, averaging as low as 85 percent. The existing substitute teacher pool was not large enough to fulfill all requests on peak absence days. Vigo County also requires at least 60 credit hours of college coursework for substitute teachers, demanding a year-round recruiting focus.

VCSC had previously launched an automated substitute teacher placement technology, but that system was limited in functionality. A significant expense was required to upgrade the tool and increase recruiting efforts to effectively resolve the district’s main issues. As with most public school systems in the state, Vigo County was also confronted by financial challenges—making it especially cost-conscious when considering any alternative staffing solutions. Classes that were left without a substitute teacher were often covered by teachers or administrators during their free periods, further impacting staff morale.

The solution

The VCSC board voted to approve and deploy a solution managed by KES in the summer, leaving about six weeks to implement and build a qualified pool of substitute teachers big enough to better accommodate Vigo County Schools. A local KES team transitioned most of the district’s incumbent pool: about 200 total employees. Intensive recruiting efforts yielded nearly another 100 additional qualified substitute teachers before the school year began. To improve sourcing results, the team formed partnerships with nearby Indiana State University and St. Mary of the Woods College, both offering excellent education programs.

As KES sourced, screened, and orientated new employees to the district, the team also worked to implement a new automated internet- and phone-based absence management system. This 24/7 technology featured more robust reporting options than its previous tool, and offered three different ways for the district to contact substitute teachers—via phone- and IVR-based response, email blasts, or web alerts. The KES team provided training and support to VCSC staff along the entire transition and beyond, through customized meetings and key relationships with local school contacts. These improved communication efforts led to more advanced notice, and higher-quality placements

The result

Just one year after moving to the Kelly Educational Staffing solution, annual placement rates for the VCSC substitute teachers climbed from 85 percent to more than 99 percent, and continue to remain at this level to date. Ongoing training and support of new substitute teachers, as well as of Vigo County staff, ensures that most of the program’s administrative burden is removed from the district and handled directly by KES. The automated technology even provides key data needed for state reporting.

Year-round, targeted recruiting has helped the district to retain a more appropriate pool for a system of its size. Kelly Educational Staffing provides a range of 120 – 140 substitute teachers each school day and as many as 240+ on especially active professional days. The district now maintains a bench of roughly 315 substitute teachers, covering a staff of more than 1,000 regular teachers across all Vigo County Schools and filling nearly 20,250 absences in its most recent school year.

Improved communications have also worked to enhance service and ease-of-use for administrators across the VCSC. Reporting shows that just 15 percent of absences are now submitted on the same day, and 53 percent are submitted within two or more days prior to the start date. Efficient operations enabled by the KES process and technology allow 81 percent of all absences to be filled in less than an hour, and 94 percent in less than six hours from the time of notice.

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