Davenport schools need more substitute teachers, and this problem is not unique to the Quad-Cities. According to the Chicago Tribune, a lack of available subs has reached a crisis level at many school districts across the Chicago area, and a nationwide shortage of substitute teachers was a chronic problem long before the arrival of the pandemic.

The New York Times reports that “The nation’s schools need thousands of more teachers, full-time and substitute, to keep classrooms open during coronavirus outbreaks.” Some states and districts have even suspended college course requirements, or permitted abbreviated online training, for emergency substitute teachers.

Davenport is currently in need of substitute teachers,” said Jami Weinzierl, Director of Human Resources & Equity for the Davenport Community School District (DCSD). “This will actually be beneficial to many members of the community – particularly to teachers currently looking for work. They can earn extra income and make an impact with youth in our community.”

Weinzierl, who is from Geneseo, IL, joined the DCSD in July 2020. Previously, she worked for 18 years for Cobham Mission Systems as a Human Resources Manager and later, as an H.R. Technology Functional Consultant.

“The COVID pandemic has definitely increased the need for substitute teachers,” Weinzierl said. “With COVID, situations can arise where staff members may be out for 10 to 14 days, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Or, a staff member’s child could have tested positive for the virus.”

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The virus is preventing some experienced substitutes from returning to schools. “Not every substitute wants to go into the classroom,” Weinzierl said. “Some may wish to avoid possible exposure to the virus because of their age or pre-existing health concerns.”

Weinzierl noted that at this time, all types of substitute teachers are needed. “Substitutes are needed at elementary, middle school, and high school levels,” she said. “We need them for all types of classes, including English, math, science, social studies, art, physical education and more.”

To meet the credentials to become a substitute teacher, employment candidates must have substitute authorization. These guidelines come from the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. If applicants do not meet these guidelines, they may need to take classes being taught by Eastern Iowa Community College.

To apply for a position as a substitute teacher, potential candidates should go to the Employment Section of the DCSD website, www.davenportschools.org.

“If they have a teaching license or are working toward one, they could become a full-time employee someday, if they wish to pursue it,” Weinzierl said. The timespan between application and the start of work, including a background check, could be as short as seven to ten days.

To find out more about the Davenport Community School District, visit http://www.davenportschools.org/.

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.