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District considers lowering standard for substitute teachers


The Grand Coulee Dam School District may change the qualifications for a substitute teacher so that more people would qualify.

According to the Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction, Washington state requires a substitute teacher to have a bachelor’s degree or higher, to have completed a teacher preparation program, an alternative route program leading to certification, or three years of out-of-state teaching with an out-of-state certificate, fingerprints, and a background check.

An emergency substitute teaching certificate, on the other hand, used when a school has already exhausted their pool of subs, only requires fingerprints from the state, with additional qualifications determined by the district.

The district currently requires at least a two-year college degree to be a substitute, but Superintendent Paul Turner asked the school board Monday to think up another requirement someone could meet to qualify, such as having worked a number of hours in a classroom setting as a paraprofessional, or having a journeyman certificate or other credentials other than a two-year degree so the number of people who qualify could increase.

Lisa Lakin, principal for Lake Roosevelt Elementary, said that she filled in for classrooms between 10 and 20 days last school year when no subs were available. She said they have resorted to creative solutions such as combining classes when they couldn’t find a substitute. “It’s a real concern,” Lakin said.

But running a classroom full of kids can prove challenging, others noted.

“People are usually good with the curriculum,” said Lake Roosevelt teacher Sandy Hood at the meeting. “It’s really classroom management, people management.”

The board plans to present ideas for approval for new qualification standards at a future meeting.

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