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Shortage of substitute coverage

Issue Addressed:

Shortage of substitute coverage


We started the process by contacting personnel executivesat about 20 businesses industries and universities located in Waltham. We asked them if they would like to bepart of an industry/school sytem partnership and allow volunteers from their companies to spend one half day a month as replacement teachers in the Waltham Public schools. The time commitment also encompassed two half day training sessions and an all day visit to the assigned school. Twelve firms gave us the thumbs up to advertise for volunteers. We created a brochure and postings and mailed them out. As people began to respond, we set up a series of interviews and began the screening process. This took place in June and July. It was at this time that we gave them a choice between middle and high school and told them that they would almost all be working in pairs. We then assigned each pair of volunteers to the teacher that he or she would work with for the entire year. In early September we held our first industry orientation. We started that process with the rookies. We gave them the goals and objectives of the project. We had them break into small groups to draw and discuss their ideal teacher. We had them jot down questions that they would like to ask a veteran volunteer and then we brought in the veterans to answer those questions. This session ended with a social hour where the volunteers were joined by their cooperating teachers and information sheets were exchanged with phone numbers and directions. The volunteers were also given a homework sheet. This encouraged them to gather information on their assigned school. In between the first and second orientation we had the volunteers visit their cooperating teachers in their schools, go to classess and meet their students, and also meet the key players (principals, housemasters, guidance teachers, etc.). At the second orientation we discussed discipline. We went through a laundry list of causes of misbehavior and hints as to how not to exacerbate a situation. We ran through the latest TIMSS data and spent a great deal of time outlining strategies for creating positive expectations. We are well into the second year of this program for RET and we have not experienced even close to a major glitch. Volunteers are now comfortable enough to bring math projects from work and some spend time working with kids on their free time. We have made one foray into elementary school with a State Dept. of Public Works Executive who is working in a fifth grade. The experts on this are clearly EDC. They have a manual on the process that they produced several years ago. The bonus for us is the public relations it produces for the system and for public education in general. I am constantly hearing that the volunteers cannot believe how creative teachers are with meager resources. The volunteers take electronic easels for granted and the concept of paper rationing is not part of the corporate culture at any level.

Unresolved Issues:


Thomas E Foley, 1/2/1998


Leveraging Support



1. I would like to embelish EDC's role in this process....

2. Questions: Partnerships with business are becoming popular. This particular arrangement...

3. These are not really visits. They are scheduled substitutions. The...