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BOE discusses options to avoid teacher burn out

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Chilton County Board of Education discussed potential ideas to help teachers who have both in-person and virtual students  and other personnel measures during a meeting on Sept. 24.

Superintendent Jason Griffin said the school system has posted positions for two elementary teachers in each of the following subject areas to handle the online students: English, math, science and history.

Griffin said these would be filled by retired teachers, however, he is doubtful enough will apply.

“If that does not happen, then we are going to try to hire enough subs (substitute teachers) to … try to give teachers some additional planning time,” Griffin said.

He said several school systems have taken this second approach.

“I have had retired teachers reach out to me and say I would love to do it, but not in the current circumstances because of the health crisis,” Griffin said. “So, I think we are probably going to be looking at hiring subs to give some additional planning time.”

Board member Keith Moore expressed concerns that retired teachers may not be familiar enough with technology to teach online courses.

A third option would be to add more e-learning days to the school calendar, where students would be required to complete work at home.

“On the other end of that spectrum, when you do that, you are telling parents that they are going to have to take care of their kid that day, so childcare is going to be an issue,” Griffin said.

Moore asked about providing a supplement of additional compensation for teachers to handle the online students.

“I think we are going to have a lot of people that would like to do that,” Moore said.

He said Bibb County has chosen to give teachers $8,000 for taking on online classes.

“My understanding is that they are getting burned out, so (is) that money going to make up for them being tired and burned out?” board member Jacqueline Sullivan said.

Moore said teachers who have been working five years or less “might jump at the chance” to earn several thousand more a year.

When asked what teachers have said would help them, Griffin said, “They want an e-learning day every week, and they want to be paid a supplement.”

He said some school systems have implemented e-learning days every other week, but not every week.

Limited home access to high speed reliable internet in some parts of Chilton County means some students would not have the access needed to complete at-home work electronically on a regular basis.

If there is not a response to the jobs posted, another solution is expected to be presented at a later meeting.

During the Sept. 24 meeting, the Board hired a teacher for Maplesville High School, a teacher for Chilton County High School, a psychological/ behavior employee, several substitutes and several leave requests. Purchasing the 21 new school buses was also approved.