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Supporting Our Local School Districts

A Message from the Dean

As you may be aware, many of our local K-12 schools are facing significant teacher shortages due to the COVID-19 case surge. Teacher absences are especially troubling as schools make efforts to maintain in-person learning and support students — particularly those who need support the most.

As a partner to several local school districts, we are committed to supporting their students and educator teams during this difficult time. One way to do this is to connect them with per diem substitute teachers who can provide relief to understaffed schools. As graduate students with a professional commitment to education, we believe this could be a wonderful opportunity for HGSE students to contribute to local communities, gain valuable workplace skills, and earn additional resources.  January is often a time for students to explore outside activities, and for those residing locally who are not currently enrolled in J-term courses, this may be an important way you can both learn and make a difference for students. For those with additional availability, this option could extend well beyond January.  Although this opportunity is geared towards students in the Boston area, school staffing shortages are being felt globally.  We encourage those who are in other areas to inquire about opportunities to help at their local schools, whether by serving as a substitute teacher or engaging in other volunteer activities.

We have connected with several public school districts, including those in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea, and Newton. While each has its own process for hiring and placing substitute teachers, all have straightforward information to get you started quickly and safely. These are paid positions, and time commitments can range from one to five days/week, depending on the needs of the district. Students must adhere to all employment requirements imposed by the district, and in most cases, a Bachelor’s degree is necessary, though no special certification is required. HGSE is also imposing a requirement that students involved in substitute teaching must test twice a week via the Harvard Color system to limit the spread of COVID.

In support of students who choose this option, HGSE will be sponsoring small-group support sessions facilitated by a HGSE faculty member. These will be designed to help students reflect on and share their experiences as well as to gain additional guidance. While all substitute teaching positions are paid positions, we also know that some of you may be interested in earning course credit. You can learn more about this possibility through our Field Experience Program (S-997).

Warm wishes,

Mandy Savitz-Romer
Nancy Pforzheimer Aronson Senior Lecturer in Human Development and Education

Bridget Long
Dean and Saris Professor of Education and Economics

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