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Districts like Pleasant Valley are struggling to find substitute teachers — here's how you can help

The Pleasant Valley Community School District superintendent would like to have about 10 more subs regularly available when the school year starts.

BETTENDORF, Iowa — The new school year is just about a month away for students in the Iowa Quad Cities. 

As students prepare for the start of the year, school districts are making a push to find even more substitute teachers.

"We are always looking for more subs," said Pleasant Valley Community School District Superintendent Brian Strusz.

The district sees about 5-10% of its staff out on a given day, Strusz said. The district can cover about 35 teachers daily needing substitutes, he explained.

"Anything over that, we will struggle to fill the classroom," Strusz added.

Strusz said he would like to have about 45 substitutes regularly available on a daily basis to feel comfortable heading into the school year. 

But, Strusz said hiring substitute teachers is not the only dilemma the district is facing. The district is also constantly hiring substitute paraeducators, Strusz said.

"We are hurting our own pool because we're hiring them, so we are always short substitutes for our paraeducators," Strusz said.

There may be a possible solution. This weekend, Eastern Iowa Community College is hosting classes for people wanting to become a substitute teacher in the state of Iowa.

"I don't believe it's the emergency it was two years ago during the pandemic when they just had no subs available to them, but every school is in the need of subs and having a pool of people they can bring in," said Jim Schneider, who teaches the certification class at EICC's downtown Davenport campus.

During the height of the pandemic, interest in that class increased. Schneider's class would include about 15 to 20 students at that time, but it has since declined, Schneider said.

"A lot of people who might have been filling that pipeline for subbing early on, have found something else along the way," Schneider said.

The weekend-long classes are on Saturday and Sunday. Both start at 8:30 a.m. each day and go until about four in the afternoon. College leaders say there is space available.

You can learn more about the class and register by clicking here. There are also other dates later in the fall.

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