Morrice Area Schools hire substitute teachers to help remote learners

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 7:05 PM EST
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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Morrice Area Schools is thinking a little farther outside the box to help its online learners during the coronavirus pandemic.

The small Shiawassee County school district is plagued with big needs from online learners at the high school, where 50% of students learn in-person while the other 50% learn remotely. The difference is creating a learning gap that the district is trying to fill.

“We have a couple of subs that live in the community that we call on all the time,” said Michelle Falcon, who is six weeks into her tenure as superintendent at Morrice Area Schools.

She already has been put to the test of making sure remote learners have the same one-on-one attention as in-person learners. That’s why Morrice High School is now using two substitute teachers to help after a unanimous decision by the district’s Board of Education on Monday.

How it works? The subs each come in twice a week for one period, which is 50 minutes. That allows the teachers to work one-on-one with remote learners who may be failing or struggling in a class.

The district considered implementing a virtual day or tacking on time at lunch and also putting into place a half day each week for online learners, but Falcon said the other options start to interfere with scheduling and also don’t give adequate time for students to work with their teachers.

The district is in its second day of using the substitute teachers and Falcon said it’s being well-received.

“What we’ve found is a couple of teachers have said OK, we want it the same day. Instead of Tuesday and Thursday, I want it the same day, so that way the students I help virtually, they know Tuesday is my day,” she said.

Morrice Area Schools plans to use the substitute teachers for the next few weeks through the end of the third marking period. The district will reassess the need for the subs later in March.

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