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    Implementing a new substitute teacher program: The easy way!

    Implementation Steps for Kelly Education

    Every school district considering outsourcing wants to know exactly what it's like to work with Kelly Education to solve their substitute teacher staffing challenges.

    As the experts supporting thousands of schools across the country, we understand that it’s important for districts to visualize, step-by-step, what will happen before the partnership ever begins. From sharing data to training your team on our processes and tools—this article aims to paint the picture of our strong partnership from the beginning. 

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    How we implement a new substitute teacher program. 

    True partners want a real relationship, not just an agreement on paper. That’s why we work closely with you to accomplish your goal of having qualified substitute teachers, paraeducators, tutors, therapists, and other essential staff in your classrooms every day. 

    Introduction Meeting. 

    First, congratulations! You’ve made an investment in the betterment of your students and school community. In choosing Kelly Education to manage your substitute teacher program, you’ve alleviated a huge burden from your principals, front office staff, and full-time faculty.  

    We begin every new partnership with a brief planning meeting to make some initial introductions and design the agenda for the formal kick-off meeting. This includes aligning on key district stakeholders, discussing initial technology access needs, and beginning the process of transitioning your current substitute teachers to Kelly Education.

    Recruiting Begins. 

    Most districts are surprised to learn that we jump on recruiting new substitute teachers right away. We’ve already done the homework about your school district’s market. We have much of the information we need to get started as soon as the contract is confirmed. Of course, as your new partner, we want to exceed expectations. It’s go time! 

    Depending on whether you have 20 or 200+ schools, our team is working on your digital and grassroots recruiting efforts. We know how to attract quality candidates on local job boards. You should expect that we will deliver a detailed recruiting plan at the kick-off meeting.Recruiting assets

    We’re the experts in market-specific recruiting, onboarding, and hiring. We had incredible success with Baltimore County Public Schools where we added more than 1200 substitute teachers in our first year. And we don't rest. Just when our recruiting teams think they’ve seen it all, a new tactic emerges. Know that you have the power of our entire team across the country sharing innovative recruiting best practices from districts and the  corporate world.  

     Data Exchange. 

    Simultaneous to our recruiting efforts, we’re digging into the data our district partner provides immediately after the planning meeting. It’s crucial to the success of the program that we can understand: 

    • How a district’s current absence management system integrates with other human resources software tools.
    • How a district reports compliance and FTE, especially when federal funding is attached. 
    • How employee data is securely shared and stored. 

    Being able to evaluate this data ahead of our kick-off meeting makes the meeting more productive. 

     Kick-off Meeting. 

    Now, it’s time to really roll up our sleeves and deepen our relationship. Our kick-off meetings are designed to be a working meeting that drives the timeline for implementation. The goal is to mitigate the chances of hitting bumps—and after 25+ years, we know where those bumps exist. 

    Our district partners need to know exactly what is happening with the program launch and how we get it done.  It’s also a chance for district leaders, from human resources to IT, to share more specific challenges and concerns with us as we navigate the nuances of each individual implementation

    After the meeting, action items for Kelly Education and the district are clearly spelled out. Districts should leave this meeting understanding that we’re not a vendor—we’re an extension of your human resources team. 


    Effective, timely communication to everyone who will be impacted by the transition makes all the difference for a successful implementation. We work collaboratively with our district partners on creating a clear communications plan so current substitute teachers, full-time faculty and staff, and even the community are aware of the change and how it will affect their day-to-day.

    We always provide our partner districts with suggested language so all stakeholders understand why the district chose Kelly Education, how our partnership will benefit them, and any next steps required from them.

    Current Substitute Orientation. 

    We’re excited to welcome our new employees to Kelly Education. We understand that they might be nervous about this change, so our top-notch implementation team is deployed to support their transition.


    We want them to know that we’re grateful for their commitment to the school and students—and we expect that none of that will change. However, there may be small adjustments to how they take an assignment, how they get paid, and the benefits they have access to. 

    We offer multiple orientation meetings to the transitioning substitute educators where they complete the I-9 process and ask any questions they may have.

    We work with our district partners to make sure that we’re offering these meetings at convenient times and locations for the folks on the district's approved transition list. 

    School District Training. 

    Depending on the size of the district –– and whether it had been using software or spreadsheets –– we lead training sessions in person or virtually. In either case, we customize the training to meet needs and make sure users are comfortable with the technology.  

    Recently, at a very large district, we trained about 1800 school administrators, principals, and front office staff in how to use the absence management technology. Though the tech is user-friendly, we always provide ample time to help those who need a little extra support in navigating the tool.   

    Go Live. 

    Before the program goes live, we turn on the absence management software in advance to make sure everything is working properly. This way, you can be confident that day one will be smooth sailing.

    If you currently utilize an absence management program, the conversion to a Kelly managed system is seamless.

    man and woman looking at statistics on computer

    Continuous Review. 

    After the program is up and running, we schedule a meeting to close the implementation phase. At this meeting, we bring back the team who sat in the pre-planning meeting to be sure that we met (and exceeded) expectations and promises outlined from the start. Because we've been working closely through implementation, there aren’t usually surprises here.  

    The best part of this meeting is that we can celebrate the successful implementation and the new partnership. Together, we align our goals moving forward.  

    Finally, we’re right there with you in the coming days, months, and years. We continuously track data, review progress, and schedule regular check-ins. You will have questions and new situations arise that will require new tactics. There may be slight adjustments. We've got you. After all, our job as your partner is to make your job easier. 

    For further assistance in growing, retaining, or managing your substitute educator talent pool, consider a consultation with our Kelly Education team or explore our Comprehensive Blueprint for CHROs: Your Guide to Building an Effective Substitute Teacher Program. 


    About the author: Cheryl Courier is the vice president of operations for the south region of Kelly Education. Leveraging a team of recruiters, onboarders, talent advisors, client relations managers, and corporate marketing, payroll, and compliance support, she is committed to bringing efficiency and professionalism to every encounter with our school district partners. Cheryl is always passionate about using data to innovate solutions that meet our customer's staffing challenges.


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