GCU students stepping in as 'rescue substitutes' in Glendale

Classroom generic
Posted at 2:35 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 21:14:30-05

GLENDALE, AZ — The Glendale Elementary School District is adopting the idea of ‘Rescue’ substitute teachers.

“I showed up today and was instructed that I was going to be teaching a P.E. class,” says Dru Jenkins, Grand Canyon University junior.

Jenkins is one of the district’s five brand new ‘Rescue' substitute teachers. It all started with a phone call from a Grand Canyon University professor. She asked the Glendale Elementary School District if GCU education students could help fill the need for substitute teachers.

Jacque Horine, Director of HR for the Glendale Elementary School District says, "I jumped at the opportunity that, 'yes, we are interested what do we need to do? Let's get them started.'”

District leaders adopting a plan to get GCU students emergency substitute teaching certificates, as Arizona schools continue to face a teacher shortage from the pandemic.

The latest Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association survey results show:

31% of teacher vacancies across the state this year remain unfilled.

While 47.7% of the vacancies are filled by teachers who don’t meet the state’s standard certification requirements.

"I think as a district, we are doing anything and everything to fill those classrooms,” says Jacque Horine, Director of HR for the Glendale Elementary School District. “Obviously while maintaining safety and making sure our students are still learning and getting quality education on a daily basis. And this is a great opportunity for Grand Canyon students.”

The GCU ‘Rescue Subs’ use their time for practicum hours. They’re not assigned to a classroom long-term, but rather go where they are needed that day.

Glendale Elementary School hopes that in turn, GCU students consider teaching for the district in the future.

“It’s great knowing I can singlehandedly step up to the plate and make a difference in the field of education,” Jenkins concludes.