When Frisco ISD entered into a partnership agreement with ESS Educational Staffing in the 2019-20 school year, it had the needs of teachers and paraprofessionals in mind. The District educator fill rate was 86% in 2018-19 and the District hoped to see that percentage increase to at least 95% over the course of the 2019-20 school year.
When positions go unfilled and teachers must cover classes for their colleagues, it can impact student learning and the ability of teachers to collaboratively plan quality and engaging lessons for their students.
“When teachers and paraprofessionals have consistent access to qualified substitutes, students directly benefit,” said Anna Koenig, human resources managing director. “Thanks to our ESS partnership, the overall fill rate for teachers and aides increased by 10% from the previous school year.
“This meant more educators were able to stay home knowing that their students continued to receive a quality education in their absence.”
The overall fill rate from September 1, 2019 through March 6, 2020 was 96%. This includes a teacher fill rate that increased by 7% and an aide fill rate that increased by 22% from the previous year.
“With the addition of the ESS system this year, the sub rate at Spears increased dramatically from past years,” said Spears Elementary Principal Rebecca Bustillos. “I would estimate that our fill rate has been close to 100% with very few unfilled absences.”
As the District hires more educators, absences proportionally rise as well. Even with more educators than ever, the substitute fill rate went up across all grade levels in the 2019-20 school year.
While this is great for students and educators, it was also beneficial to administrators who were able to hire from a qualified pool of candidates already working on their campuses as substitutes.
ESS hired over 720 subs in the 2019-20 school year, creating a pool of more than 1,400 staff members. By the end of the school year, 25 have been hired as teachers and 17 hired as aides within Frisco ISD.
Throughout the year, ESS also took on responsibilities beyond recruiting, onboarding and paying substitutes. They also:
Maximized orientations by incorporating Safety Training
Provided classroom trainees classroom awareness on FISD specific protocols
Created parking passes for substitutes
Created compact safety protocol cards for ESS badges
Conducted orientations with newly graduated teachers to capitalize on quality candidates
Established an open-door environment for substitutes seeking more information or needing additional assistance
Rigorously assisted in locating certified substitute candidates to fill crucial job openings
ESS also worked hard to build relationships by visiting and learning about the unique needs of individual campuses.
“Our ESS representative has been very responsive to any needs or questions,” Principal Bustillos said. “They have promptly responded to all emails and have even provided a cell phone for more immediate contact which can be absolutely vital when we are preparing classrooms each morning.”
With the proven track record of ESS, the Board of Trustees voted to extend the contract for another year at the June 11 workshop, but the work of ESS is not done. Frisco ISD will work with ESS to continue to:
Increase the fill rates for aides.
Monitor the fill rates for the month of May in the upcoming school year.
Provide additional targeted training to substitutes to meet the District needs.
Recruit more certified subs for hard to fill positions such as upper level math and science.
“With uncertainty of how the pandemic will impact the upcoming school year, it is more important than ever that we continue to maintain and grow upon our substitute pool,” Koenig said.
In order to substitute for a teacher in Frisco ISD, one must be a certified teacher or hold a bachelor’s degree. Only certified Texas teachers may substitute in long-term or vacant teaching positions. Aides must have a high school diploma or equivalent. All substitutes must pass a background check, have positive references and complete required preliminary training.
Those interested in substituting can find requirements and general information here. Apply by visiting the ESS website.