5th grade teacher Jericho Kaylor helps students with a writing project

Like many school districts across the country, the Ridgefield School District is facing a shortage of substitute teachers. This has led districts to get creative in their recruitment efforts and to authorize the hiring of “emergency substitutes” to help fill the gap. Becoming a substitute teacher is easier than you may realize, as a teaching certificate is not required to be an emergency substitute teacher.

Under Washington state law, emergency substitute teachers are allowed when there are no regularly certified substitute teachers available. Because of a confluence of factors—COVID restrictions that require teachers to stay home with any sign of illness, the significant increase in the number of students in the school district, and the general labor shortages affecting every industry—Ridgefield schools typically use all of their regularly-certified substitute teachers each week. Together, all of these factors have kept emergency substitute teachers in high demand. 

While a bachelor’s degree is required to be an emergency substitute teacher, it does not have to be in the subject matter that is being taught. Successful applicants do need to have some experience working with youth and with people from diverse backgrounds, as well as some knowledge of teaching techniques. In addition, applicants must be able to meet the state-mandated COVID-19 requirements, including wearing masks while at school and providing proof of vaccination (or an approved religious or medical exemption). 

Emergency substitute teachers should be willing to accept open substitute work in the Ridgefield School District across all grade levels, content areas, or programs. Substitute teachers are able to see and respond to available job postings through the online Aesop Substitute System, but many positions will still be on short notice and will require contact via phone or email. 

To apply for a position as an emergency substitute teacher, find the job posting at https://ridgefieldwa.tedk12.com/hire/.

Enhanced pay for certificated substitutes

Of course, the Ridgefield School District is also still in need of certificated substitutes and has recently increased its rates to offer more competitive pay. As of November 8, 2021, the new rates for certificated teachers and emergency substitutes are $173.81 for a full day, and $114.76 for a half day. Once a substitute has worked 25 full days (or 50 half days), the rates are  enhanced to $192.01 per day for full days, and $126.60 for half days.