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Virginia Beach public school administrators, staff fill in as substitutes

Virginia Beach City Public Schools is increasing the pay for its subs. Many Central support staff are also answering the call to sub!

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Staffing shortages are hitting Hampton Roads school divisions hard, especially when it comes to finding substitute teachers.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools is increasing the pay for its subs. Many Central support staff are also answering the call to sub!

On Friday, it was Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence’s turn. He tapped into his principal past, subbing at Kempsville High School.

“I was a high school principal for many years, so it feels like getting back on the saddle,” Dr. Spence said.

He’s one of hundreds of Virginia Beach City Public Schools employees helping to tackle substitute shortages by filling in themselves.

“We certainly want to be part of the solution,” Dr. Spence said.

The initiative started in November.

“We made a decision to have all of our central support staff with instructional licenses to go out and support our schools by substituting in the classrooms and as administrators,” Dr. Spence said.

He said people without licenses are filling-in, in other areas.

“We have folks filling in as custodians, clerical staff,” Dr. Spence said.

These non-traditional subs get the whole experience.

“We just had a fire drill, some of the daily things we do, lunch duties, but then ultimately getting down to what we are here for which is instruction for our students,” said Kempsville Assistant Principal Caitlin Stravino.

Stravino said the support is reassuring.

“Everybody is willing to sort of step outside their comfort zone is really helpful and really valuable,” Stravino said.

The division is trying everything, even creating pay incentives to attract new hires. Dr. Spence said his team will keep brainstorming ways to move the division forward.

“We know they are not going to solve every problem,” Dr. Spence said. “But we really want our VBCPS family to feel, hey we are here with you and we appreciate all the things you do, all your hard work.”

Last month school division leaders said that all staff members will get a $1,000 bonus on December 15.

All positions considered ‘hard to staff’ will receive another $2,500 split over several paychecks, starting in January.