Calling all subs

Do ArkLaTex school districts have enough substitute teachers for a pandemic?

Do schools have enough substitute teachers? The numbers and what's being done to recruit more.

ARKLATEX (KSLA) - Over the last six months, for Jantzen and Rory, hitting the neighborhood streets on their bikes has been their go-to choice for fun.

“It’s been a really long summer,” jokes their mother, Courtney Nannah.

KSLA News 12's Doug Warner interviews Benton High School principal Teri Howe.
KSLA News 12's Doug Warner interviews Benton High School principal Teri Howe. (Source: KSLA)

Since mid-March, there has been no school playground for the kids, and when school gets started in two weeks on August 20, not even a classroom for these two.

“We just went from 3 or 4 months with school shut down to jumping back into school. And that just doesn’t make sense to me,” shares Nannah.

She says her children will participate in virtual learning from home, and as a substitute teacher for Bossier Parish schools, that means she’ll be staying home as well.

Nannah is one of roughly 200 Bossier Parish substitute teachers who sign up and qualify to teach each year.

The last couple of years she logged classroom time at Platt, Princeton and T.L. Rodes Elementary schools.

Bossier Parish substitute teacher, and mother, Courtney Nannah watches her children ride their bikes.
Bossier Parish substitute teacher, and mother, Courtney Nannah watches her children ride their bikes. (Source: KSLA)

“I have had more people reach out about subbing. I was surprised,” admits Benton High School principal Teri Howe.

She says she understands that some substitutes may decide to sit out this fall, but she’s pleased to see others quickly step up to help out.

“We have parents who like to do that because they know the school, the kids, and the community,” says Howe.

Howe says Benton High School successfully operates, annually, with just five or six substitute teachers.

Texarkana I.S.D. reports it has 150 subs for the start of the fall semester, Waskom I.S.D. has roughly two dozen, and Caddo Parish Schools has well over 1,600.

As for one day returning to the classroom as a substitute, Nannah says it depends on when the country gets a better handle on the coronavirus.

“Next year, I’ll feel more comfortable when we get through the test year of it,” says Nannah.

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