New rules for Arizona substitute teachers allow them to work for a longer period of time at the same school

The Arizona State Board of Education made changes to the rules surrounding substitute teachers on Jan. 24.

Substitute teachers will now no longer be limited by how many days they can work at the same school. Another change, the board of education can issue emergency substitute certificates for two years instead of one.

There's still a 120-day limit for emergency substitute teachers, but school leaders can ask that to be waived.

The changes take effect immediately.

Simone Dotson started subbing in Glendale last fall. Pretty quickly, the military veteran got a permanent position.

"Right now it is becoming an issue more than when I started simply because of COVID-19," she said. The work’s been steady, but that’s because there’s definitely a need in her district.

"There’s substitutes that really want to teach and get that classroom time and don’t want to move or leave that position. So as far as the rules changing, I’m not against it," Dotson said.

Phoenix high school teacher Catherine Barrett has been covering other classes outside of her subject to help her district. She thinks the change is a good move.

"They are so needed. Especially for our profession which is service leadership, we have parents out there asking us how they can become substitutes, now we have those answers for them, so let’s embrace them, let’s bring them into this profession." Barrett said.

The Arizona Rural Schools Association helped propose the changes, hoping that in rural areas, the candidate pool becomes bigger.

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