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Caddo Schools requesting parents step up amid substitute teacher shortage

In Caddo Parish, district leadership has had to return to the classroom to fill in as needed....
In Caddo Parish, district leadership has had to return to the classroom to fill in as needed. Now, Caddo Schools is asking parents to apply for substitute teaching positions.(file | file)
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 12:27 PM CST

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The pandemic coupled with the already-present teacher shortage has schools in critical need of help in the classroom.

In Caddo Parish, district leadership has had to return to the classroom to fill in as needed. Now, Caddo Schools is asking parents to apply for substitute teaching positions.

“We’re asking our parents to step up to the plate,” said Leisa Woolfolk, chief human resource officer for Caddo Parish Schools. “If you have a high school diploma, if you have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree... we need your help.”

Woolfolk said staffing is a day-to-day issue.

“Usually, Monday through Thursday or Monday through Wednesday, we’re okay... but Friday just hits us,” she explained.

It’s to the point, several district administrators, including Woolfolk, have filled in in the classroom. December 2021 was the toughest time to manage staffing in the district.

“Three Fridays in December, for example, we had people from human resources... special education, Title I, academic affairs, all of our divisions that we had certified employees that weren’t already in a classroom, they were deployed.”

This problem, and their approach, is not unique to Caddo Parish.

Caddo Parish Public Schools is struggling to find enough substitute teachers due to the pandemic.
Caddo Parish Public Schools is struggling to find enough substitute teachers due to the pandemic.(KSLA)
Caddo Parish Public Schools is struggling to find enough substitute teachers due to the pandemic.
Caddo Parish Public Schools is struggling to find enough substitute teachers due to the pandemic.(KSLA)

“The same problems Caddo Parish is having, we see that all around this entire area and throughout our state, really throughout our entire nation,” said Jordan Thomas, executive vice president of Red River United.

She said there was already a teacher shortage prior to the start of the pandemic. COVID-19 has only made this problem worse.

Woolfolk told KSLA she is advocating for higher, more competitive wages for substitute teachers.

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