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EDUCATION LOOKING TO BUILD TEACHER POOL

Reports are the perennial teacher shortage is getting worse, so the Education Department is reaching into the community in an attempt to build up a contingency substitute teacher pool.
The government is offering $16 an hour for professionals with at least a bachelor's degree who will agree to work in the classroom for two or three hours a week.
Alscess Lewis-Brown, director of human resources, said the goal is to be prepared in September if an unusual number of teachers do not return to the system. Union leaders and others have been warning that the territory's public school teachers are being lured away by better pay and benefits elsewhere. (Starting salary in the Virgin Islands is $22,571.)
"This year is a little troubling," Lewis-Brown said. "It seems that there is more of an exodus plan. It may not be as bad as the projections are," but "we want to have a contingency plan."
The department recently issued a press release asking professionals – particularly with expertise in math and science – to consider part-time substitute teaching.
"We're going to ask them for their transcripts, and we're going to do background checks on them," Lewis-Brown said.
The part-time subs will be used only in high school and junior high school, she said. Currently the department does have some permanent, full-time substitute teachers for elementary classes. But for the upper grades, "we don't have a pool."
There, the only people who act as subs are those who have been hired as full-time teachers but are waiting for their NOPAs (Notice of Personnel Action) to be processed.
Ideally, said Lewis-Brown, she'd like to line up about 20 people in each district to be available to work a few hours a week.
"We have funding" for them, she said. The Legislature has appropriated $100,000 for each district for substitute teachers. "Right now, we have just gotten a new allotment."
The department will save money with this program, said Lewis-Brown, because it will not incur any expenses for benefits for the subs.
She stressed that participants should not worry about getting paid because "the subs get paid as they work."
Anyone interested in the program can reach Lewis-Brown at 774-0100, ext. 352; or 773-1095.

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Reports are the perennial teacher shortage is getting worse, so the Education Department is reaching into the community in an attempt to build up a contingency substitute teacher pool.
The government is offering $16 an hour for professionals with at least a bachelor's degree who will agree to work in the classroom for two or three hours a week.
Alscess Lewis-Brown, director of human resources, said the goal is to be prepared in September if an unusual number of teachers do not return to the system. Union leaders and others have been warning that the territory's public school teachers are being lured away by better pay and benefits elsewhere. (Starting salary in the Virgin Islands is $22,571.)
"This year is a little troubling," Lewis-Brown said. "It seems that there is more of an exodus plan. It may not be as bad as the projections are," but "we want to have a contingency plan."
The department recently issued a press release asking professionals - particularly with expertise in math and science - to consider part-time substitute teaching.
"We're going to ask them for their transcripts, and we're going to do background checks on them," Lewis-Brown said.
The part-time subs will be used only in high school and junior high school, she said. Currently the department does have some permanent, full-time substitute teachers for elementary classes. But for the upper grades, "we don't have a pool."
There, the only people who act as subs are those who have been hired as full-time teachers but are waiting for their NOPAs (Notice of Personnel Action) to be processed.
Ideally, said Lewis-Brown, she'd like to line up about 20 people in each district to be available to work a few hours a week.
"We have funding" for them, she said. The Legislature has appropriated $100,000 for each district for substitute teachers. "Right now, we have just gotten a new allotment."
The department will save money with this program, said Lewis-Brown, because it will not incur any expenses for benefits for the subs.
She stressed that participants should not worry about getting paid because "the subs get paid as they work."
Anyone interested in the program can reach Lewis-Brown at 774-0100, ext. 352; or 773-1095.