Beverly Hills High School

Beverly Hills Unified has been experiencing a relative decline of substitute teachers

When a hardworking teacher can not seem to attend to his or her classes, the teacher and his or her students rely on substitute teachers to keep the period under control. For the current school year, the number of substitute teachers available has been experiencing a relative decline, according to Beverly Hills High School Principal David Jackson.

Throughout the year, more substitutes have been moving on to different jobs, adding some difficulty to temporary teacher replacements. However, studies show that this decrease has been nationwide. From New York to Texas, all the way here to California, schools have been struggling with this newfound disruption in education.

“It’s not unique to us. Everybody around us–Culver City, Santa Monica, Malibu–they’re all short on subs,” Jackson said. “My wife’s a retired sub and they keep calling her to come back.”

The Beverly Hills High School Unified School District has between 50 to 75 subs in its system, which serve all five schools in the district.

“That sub pool is between five schools. And there are some days that we have eight or nine teachers out, and if you only have 50 subs that day–and some are busy and some have doctor’s appointments or whatever–it really shrinks down,” Jackson said. “We have some subs that will only do elementary school. They’re a little intimidated by my big kids. I don’t know why, because my big kids are good kids.”

This issue is currently being handled by Human Resources, which is posting fliers, answering requests, analyzing applicants and calling whomever they can to assist in the resolution. As a result, there have been a great deal of substitutes who were recently just hired. The application process, however, is a lengthy one.

“There’s a packet of information that you need to fill out. Then you need to go get a TB test and then have it read three days later to make sure that you do not have TB. Then you have to give a live scan fingerprint test that goes to the Department of Justice, and they have to clear you that you don’t have any felonies or DUIs or something that we would consider not hiring you because you’re dealing with kids,” Jackson informed. “Before we put an adult with my kids, we have got to make sure the kids will be safe.”

The school has only experienced one blissful day where all of the teachers were present. For the rest of the days, somebody needs to teach an absent teacher’s lesson, or at least be present there to supervise the class. Occasionally, teachers can not be covered, hindering the affected students’ education. This is when Jackson take matters into his own hands.

“It’s a problem now. When I don’t have substitutes to go around, like last week where I had three teachers gone, that’s 15 classes that I have to cover. And I actually went and covered first period classes. It was a Spanish class, and I speak no Spanish,” Jackson explained. “It impacts the learning. Sometimes I have to take the kids and put them in the library. Sometimes I have to combine two classes. The best scenario is to have our regular teachers here, because they are the experts in the classes they teach.”

Currently, teachers request substitutes using the “Sub Finder System.” They can request a specific sub, or Sub Finder will assign a substitute.

As Human Resources and administrators work toward a gradual solution, the school is not in a detrimental condition with this decline of substitute options. Favorites like Mr. Eve, Ms. Ringo and Mr. Kraft are still available to make sure students keep on task. So do not worry, sticker quizzes are not in jeopardy.

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