In a school year like no other, where our lives and learning systems have been thrown into disarray, the Saratoga Springs City School district got creative about reorganizing their staff to meet the needs of this new normal.
The key for the district to move forward in these uncertain times has been to proactively identify innovative ways to utilize their existing resources and staff, said Maura Manny, Saratoga School City District Director of Community Outreach and Communications.
One of their main strategies has been to reallocate elementary teachers to serve as virtual instructors. Because the district has adopted a hybrid model of education this year (which also includes the 20 percent of students who have elected to learn remotely), they now have 23 classroom teachers who are now teaching virtually. In November, families will have the option of changing how they’ve elected to approach learning however, so the number of remote learners may soon change.
Another change on the horizon will involve the 4th grade students, who are now on a schedule that has them learning in-person two days a week and remotely for the remaining three days.
The district is planning to switch to a full five days of in-person instruction for these students. To accomplish this, they anticipate hiring additional temporary teachers in the coming weeks. These teachers will still be required to have all the appropriate certifications and credentials as tenured teachers.
REVOLUTIONARY MEETINGS & SPACES
The educational model that Saratoga Springs has adopted has come with challenges, but also has its advantages.
To adhere to social distancing protocols, staff interviews are held remotely. Their hybrid schedule, combined with more parents and guardians providing transportation for their children, has eliminated the need for the district to hire additional bus drivers.
School spaces will also continue to evolve to accommodate the 4th graders returning to a full-week of in-person learning. Non-traditional communal spaces will be transitioned into classrooms.
SUBSTITUTE SHORTAGE STILL A LOOMING PROBLEM
Even before recent changes, all of the school districts in the area were seeing a shortage in substitutes. The problem of filling substitute vacancies has now expanded, with openings existing in a number of staffing positions. Teachers, monitors, aides, and other opportunities are all available.
Partnering with the WSWHE BOCES to help address this need, a virtual information session will be held for interested candidates on Thursday, November 5th. Learn about the school districts, open substitute positions, and how to apply to be a substitute. Session times are 12 pm -1 pm OR 3 pm-4 pm. Pre-registration is required. For more information, go to www.wswheboces.org/page/substitute-information-session.