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Local

Sycamore District 427 passes substitute teacher agreement with regional education office

Substitute teacher plan looks to maximize resources

Sycamore School District 427 Superintendent Kathy Countryman listens during a meeting.
Sycamore School District 427 Superintendent Kathy Countryman listens during a meeting.

Note to readers: This story has been edited from an Oct. 12 version to reflect that substitute teachers need only 60 hours of college credit or an associate's degree to substitute teach, not a bachelor's degree.

SYCAMORE – Sycamore schools now have teamed with DeKalb County education officials to help with short-term substitute teacher shortages.

The Sycamore School District 427 Board unanimously approved during its meeting Tuesday night an intergovernmental agreement between the district and the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education that allows the district to use the office's training program for short-term substitute teachers.

District 427 Superintendent Kathy Countryman said the intergovernmental agreement comes after Illinois lawmakers passed a law that mandates school districts to develop short-term substitute teacher training programs to help address the statewide shortage of teachers and subs. Countryman said Regional Superintendent Amanda Christensen created the regional office's certification program a few years ago but the agreement needed school board action to help meet those new state requirements.

"Being able to access this training through the regional office is a benefit to the district without cost," Countryman said.

The state now only requires a short-term sub to have an associate's degree related to whatever subject class in which the sub is needed. Countryman said the DeKalb County regional office looks at credentials and does background checks for prospective subs and sends the school district a list of people who would like to sub within the district.

According to the DeKalb County Regional Office of Education's website, the substitute application fee with the Illinois School Board of Education is $100, which can only be paid online and with credit card only, and applicants also must pay $50 to be registered for five years through the state's Educator Licensure Information System. The license also needs to be registered in the region the applicant plans on subbing in, according to the regional office's website.

Since the district often finds itself short on subs, Countryman said, she wants to encourage people that have the credentials to be a short-term substitute teacher to look into the training within the regional office.

"We're looking for people who like to work with children and serve in that role," Countryman said.

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