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Dec 01, 2022

Why subs should be part of your strategic plan

When annual planning comes around, schools often center their missions around similar ideals, like supporting each student’s academic, social, and emotional growth. While schools factor in relevant and stimulating curricula and teacher development, some accidentally omit planning for the unexpected (yet all too familiar) teacher absence.

By factoring substitute teachers into annual planning, schools will have ample resources to provide a rich learning environment that supports students throughout their educational careers.

Strategic planning goals

Annual planning gives school leaders a thorough and comprehensive road map to help guide them toward long-term goals. When building out that strategy, here are some key objectives to keep in mind:

Focus on the students 

A recurring component of your annual strategy (likely) focuses on the development and support of students. Providing them the necessary resources and curriculum is key to support their academic, social, and emotional needs. 

However, teacher absences are inevitable, ultimately resulting in students spending approximately two-thirds of a school year with substitute teachers during their K-12 career. In order to provide your students with the best and most consistent learning experience, consider including substitute teachers in the strategy planning processes. Planning for teacher absences allows schools to be ready with a substitute teacher, ensuring that student learning never stops. 

Invest in your teachers

Sustaining and nurturing your current pool of teachers and administrators is likely in your annual plan. But while a pay increase and casual Fridays seem like an attractive option, maximizing opportunities for professional development and growth is where the real investment comes into play. However, in order to provide this opportunity, schools will need backup in the classroom. 

Enter: substitute teachers. 

By having an arsenal of qualified substitute teachers in your back pocket, full-time teachers will be able to take time to hone their craft with PD, while leaving their classrooms in trusted and qualified hands. Supporting your teachers and granting them both autonomy and growth opportunities will boost their job satisfaction, allowing them to stick around for the long haul.

Embrace innovation

While there’s no specific definition for innovation in the school system, the spirit of the term encapsulates creativity in trying new things, as well as looking at problems with an open mind to address them in fresh ways. An innovative education system helps students prepare for ‘the real world’ by providing them opportunities to develop relevant skills such as adaptability and resilience. 

Including substitute teachers as a component of an innovative learning strategy exposes students to multiple perspectives, outlooks, and ways of thinking. These highly qualified and knowledgeable educators provide a unique opportunity for students to learn how to work and communicate with new people. 

Consider your budget

When planning the annual budget, it’s a good idea to factor in unexpected expenses. Luckily, substitute teachers are in no way an unpredictable need and should be included in all initial strategy sessions. Teacher absences will happen whether you plan for them or not; get ahead of the curve and allocate sufficient resources to ensure that you can hire and afford substitute teachers and keep the learning going.

Strategic planning requires a deep dive into what is and isn’t working in your school system, and adjusting based on current priorities. This year, make substitute teachers a priority.

Partner with Swing to ensure that you have qualified and reliable substitute teachers in the classroom when you need them most. With our platform, ensure that every classroom is staffed, no matter the length of the request. Incorporating subs means anticipating future needs and allowing time for professional development, ensuring a rich and consistent learning environment for students and staff.


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