Twin Cities School Seeks Parents To Alleviate Substitute Teacher Shortage

5October 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A school in one of Minnesota’s largest districts is asking its families to help fill its desperate need for substitute teachers.

Lisa Carlson, the principal of Woodland Elementary School in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district, left a voicemail last week for her hundreds of students’ parents.

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“[It was] a plea for substitute teachers, noting that there was a shortage in the district, and at Woodland specifically, and if anyone was willing to go out and get their licensure, that she would appreciate it,” said Bree Axelrod, a mother with three children in the district, including a fifth grader at Woodland.

Axelrod says she barely hesitated to apply. Carlson says nine parents have responded with interest. She says Woodland has needed more substitutes on 12 of the first 20 days of school this year. The district overall is down 300 substitutes from normal staffing levels.

(credit: CBS)

“You just need them,” Carlson said. “You can, you know, move people around, shift people around, and try to teach myself, but it just really is hard to run a school when you don’t have enough coverage.”

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The only prerequisite for the job is a four-year college degree. Then the applicants take a licensing class, go through a background check and in about 30 days, they’ll be ready to be trained by the school district.

Part of Carlson’s recruiting pitch is the $165-per-day salary and the opportunity to work every day.

“I have the time to be able to help and give back, and I thought it would be a great way to kind of support the staff and teachers that have given so much to me,” Axelrod said.

The district says it’s also short several other support roles like custodians and food service workers.

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Saint Paul Public Schools told WCCO it’s also dealing with a substitute teacher shortage.

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