There is ample research showing that, after the influence of parents, teachers have the greatest impact on a child’s education. The more qualified the teacher, the better the education.
We are fortunate to have many fine teachers in Yavapai County. But what happens when they need to take an extended leave of absence? Or when we can’t fill a teaching position? In those cases, we depend on a substitute teacher. We expect substitutes to be just as qualified as the teacher they’re sitting in for, whether for a day or a full semester. It’s vital that they are.
That’s why we’re excited to be entering into a public-private partnership that will ensure districts have top quality substitute teachers. The Yavapai County Education Service Agency and Educational Services Inc. will handle hiring and placement of substitute teachers for Prescott, Chino Valley, Mayer, Bagdad, Camp Verde, Ash Fork, Seligman and several other rural districts, as well as schools within the Verde Valley. We are grateful for the vision shown by the district superintendents who crafted this plan. These leaders thoroughly understand the importance of providing top-tier substitutes in their classrooms.
The nuts and bolts are simple. YCESA staff, which provides some back-office services for the county’s school districts, will interview and select substitute teachers. These substitutes will then become employees of ESI, which will pay them and provide benefits and continuing education.
This simple arrangement creates tremendous benefits:
• It shares talent among multiple districts. Under the system in which each district contracted for its own substitute teachers, Chino Valley might not know about a top-quality substitute in Prescott and vice versa. This larger pool of teachers should reduce or eliminate those instances when a substitute can’t be found, which forces a school to combine classes to the detriment of teacher and students.
• It saves districts money, which they can dedicate to the classroom.
• It expands employment opportunities for those with a passion to teach.
• It increases professional development opportunities for substitute teachers, further increasing the quality of instruction. ESI provides its teachers free, online continuing education. Better-trained teachers means better instruction.
The result? Districts benefit. Substitute teachers benefit. But the biggest winners are our children, who get the same quality of instruction from their substitute teachers as they do from their regular teacher.
That is the goal of everything we do. Education in Yavapai County is focused on what is best for the students you entrust to us. This partnership helps us deliver on that promise.
Tim Carter has been Yavapai County school superintendent since 2005 and is currently the president of the Arizona State Board of Education. Stan Goligoski has been the executive director of Yavapai County schools since 2014. Mr. Carter and Mr. Goligoski can be reached at 928-771-3326.