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Missouri State Board of Education to shorten hours for substitute teacher training


The Missouri State Board of Education announced the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would offer a new certification process for all substitute teachers.

The new process is set to start on Dec. 31, 2021. Still, the state is asking the Secretary of State and Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to allow the new amendment to begin in the earlier part of November.

The new amendment will allow individuals to take a 20-hour DESE-approved course instead of the traditional 60-semester hour course.

The State Board said this certification process was essential because of the substitute teacher shortage that has occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Columbia School Districts are especially hurting because of the lack of substitute teachers this school year.

Noelle Gizlow, president of the Columbia Teachers Union, said teachers had been forced to cover classrooms they aren't assigned to because of the lack of substitute teachers.

Gizlow said, "We are in critical sub shortage across the state, and I think anything we can do to facilitate people onboarding and becoming available to a sub is a good thing."

Todd Fuller with the Missouri State Teachers Association agrees teachers are overwhelmed.

"A lot of our members have been telling us that they're burnt out because of their not only teaching their class, but then they're being asked during prep times and during lunchtime to teach other classes for teachers that are either out or sick," said Fuller.

The board voted to bring the amendment forward because of previous success and feedback from school leaders and other stakeholders.

Department of Elementary and Secondary education, Paul Katnik said, "The feedback we got was pretty overwhelming. A lot of instances these folks with the 20-hour training were even more prepared than folks with 60 semester hours."

The training will cover professionalism, honoring diversity, engaging students, foundational classroom management techniques, basic instructional strategies, supporting students with special needs, and working with at-risk students.

Kennedy Miller


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