Pearland ISD is reaching out to PTA parents for substitute teaching work, a move described as “original” and “beneficial.”

PEARLAND, TX (KTRK) — Heather Anderson has five children at Pearland ISD and noticed something unusual during her senior year.

“I’ve seen situations where they couldn’t find substitutes and had to split the kids in that class into multiple classrooms so they could still get the education they deserve for the day,” Anderson said.

Pearland ISD isn’t the only district in Texas having trouble finding substitute teachers, according to Zeph Capo, president of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.

Capo said the spare pool shrank across the board during the peak of COVID-19.

“This has been particularly difficult during the pandemic, especially in school districts like HISD and others,” Capo explained. “A large number of the substitutes we depend on are actually retired school district teachers who were rightly concerned (and) unwilling to come into schools and classrooms.”

While things aren’t at pre-pandemic levels, Capo said the replacement shortage is flattening out.

HISD said the number of applications they receive for replacements each week has increased significantly compared to previous years, and Fort Bend, Cy Fair and Pearland ISD said they had no shortage of replacements.

To keep it that way, for the first time in the district’s history, Pearland has turned to PTA volunteers as potential replacements.

“I thought it was great,” Anderson said of her initial reaction to the concept.

Anderson is the President of the Sam Jamison Middle School PTA, which sent its members a letter informing them of the Pearland ISD plan.

PTA members across the district had until the end of September to apply, and those selected had an orientation on Friday.

In a statement to ABC13, Pearland ISD said in part:

The Pearland Independent School District is always looking for creative ways to recruit substitute teachers. These are individuals interested in making a positive impact in students’ lives and helping them reach their highest potential.

The district recently identified PTA volunteers as strong candidates to join the backup team because of their passion for education and their connection to the universities where they volunteer.

Pay ranges from $150 per day for certified educators working long shifts to $80 per day for ungraduate parents working daily.

Typical district representatives are required to work a minimum of five days a month, but this does not apply to PTA parents.

Lowering that standard is why Anderson, a former teacher, signed on as a substitute.

“That may have given me the final impetus to offer what I’m good at, which is teaching, and do it more formally in the classroom to help students in that regard, rather than just in the endeavors that I volunteer on.” this campus,” she said.

What do outside experts think of this plan?

Capo said it is original and useful when used in the short term.

“Obviously, PTA members have the best interests. You’re a stakeholder in the school, and the more people that get invested in the school, the better that culture really gets,” he said. “But they probably don’t necessarily have a lot of experience mentoring children, especially at the curriculum level.”

For updates, follow Chaz Miller on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. Pearland ISD is reaching out to PTA parents for substitute teaching work, a move described as “original” and “beneficial.”

Russell Falcon

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