Filling in Where Needed

On a regular school day, you normally wouldn’t find Sully Elementary’s Principal John Tuck leading a small group discussion about math with second-graders. When the early morning notice came that there was a need for a second-grade substitute, Tuck took the news in stride and filled the role himself. This year, it’s not unusual to see him filling in as a substitute throughout the school. Sometimes it's just for a class period and other days it’s for a large chunk of the day.


Substitutes are a vital part of providing continuity in classrooms. Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is facing a substitute shortage, exacerbated by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. School division leaders have gotten creative in meeting this challenge, including putting out an “all hands on deck” call to school support staff at the LCPS Administrative Offices in Ashburn. 


In January, up to 100 school support staffers substituted throughout the division on any given day. Some of these staff members are former teachers or administrators, while others stepped into a classroom for the first time. Members of the The Department of Digital Innovation (the IT department) who had never been in a classroom as educators took a team approach. They all went to the same school on their designated day to substitute. Despite having some “first day jitters” they left happy and ready to return as needed.

The Transportation Division has also worked to shuffle staff so that those who hold commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) can cover bus routes while staff members who don’t hold a CDL can cover their roles. (Chief Operations Officer Kevin Lewis spent several days as a bus attendant.) Management staff from the Office of School Nutrition have stepped into kitchens around the division to cover staff absences in cafeterias. It’s a team effort that helps to alleviate some of the strain caused by the Omicron variant.

To address the overall instructional substitute shortage, LCPS recently introduced two incentive programs with increased pay for days worked beyond 25 in the current school year and an increased daily rate for "High Volume Days.” For more information about how to sign up to be a substitute, click here!





Published January 31, 2022