Across all of Team DPS, each of our roles is important, as we all work together to put Students First. That means our students’ classroom experience is our most important priority, especially with how much in-person learning and support has been lost during the pandemic.
Like school districts across the country, we are faced with a severe substitute-teacher shortage that is impacting our classrooms and students across the district.
While in the past a guest-teacher request was filled about 90% of the time, we currently are able to fill only 64% of requests for support in the classroom. This gap is leaving our students without the support of the guest educators they need. In many cases schools have been forced to combine multiple classes, and there have even been days of learning lost for an entire class. The problem has been covered by many of our news outlets -- learn more about the situation in these recent stories: Denver Post | Chalkbeat | Fox31 | 9News | Denver 7
We share this with you, as a member of Team DPS, to ask for your help.
We have been, and continue to be, aggressive and creative in finding new ways to provide the staffing our classrooms and students need, including by increasing guest teacher pay. But severe staffing shortages remain, and we must look within to find the support we need for our kids.
While all of our central-support team members provided support to our schools in 2020-21, this year we are asking for your help to step into our classrooms -- on a voluntary basis -- for anywhere from four hours to a maximum of one day a week, either as guest teachers or early childhood education and special education paraprofessionals. For those who answer the call and are salaried employees, we have made the decision to invest available funds to support classroom learning, and you will earn extra-duty pay of up to $25 an hour, on top of your normal salary, for going above and beyond the call of duty in support of our scholars and our schools.
Please note, we know how important your regular role and responsibilities are to DPS and our students, and it’s expected that you will continue these duties in full. If you’re interested in an extra-duty role in our schools, please work with your manager to make a plan about how to best incorporate this school support into your work plan.
Below are answers to some of the questions you may have. If you need additional information, please reach out to HR_Guest_Teacher@dpsk12.org.
Please consider this opportunity, which will make a real difference in the education we’re providing to our students. We all came to DPS to put Students First, and there’s never been a more important time to do that.
Jen Jones, Interim Chief of Talent
Michael Ramirez, Deputy Superintendent of Schools