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    K-12 Education

    Aiken County, SC district finds success with new partner for substitute teacher program.

    Teacher with elementary students

    The Aiken County Public School District (ACPSD) is a public school system located in South Carolina just northeast of Augusta, Georgia. The district serves 23,000 students and employs 3,300 people including 1600 teachers across more than 40 schools. Like many districts nationwide, ACPSD was grappling with low substitute teacher fill rates. 

    Initially, ACPSD contracted with a large educational staffing vendor to address this issue. However, within a few years, the district grew dissatisfied with the vendor's performance and its inability to fill classrooms, often at 60%. A lack of trust had developed between the principals and the vendor, prompting the district to seek new proposals for the contract in 2021, including substitute educators, paraprofessionals, clerical, and custodial workers.  

    Jennifer Hart, the district's Chief Officer of Human Resources and Administration, emphasized the need for a proactive partner who could identify gaps and recommend solutions without being prompted. "We wanted a partner who could see that we needed help before we had to ask for it,” she explained. 


    Staffing vendor underdelivered on fill rates and failed to remain communicative as challenges arose.


    District issued an RFP to find a stronger data-driven partner and selected Kelly Education.


    Our unmatched service model, backed by data analysis, increased ACPSD's talent pool and fill rates, and significantly reduced the number of incidents.

    A new partnership with Kelly Education. 

    This marked the beginning of an innovative partnership with Kelly Education. The Kelly Education team, consisting of a client manager, recruiter, and onboarder, established a solid presence on-site and successfully expanded the substitute pool from a mere 100 to over 650—consistently filling more than 160 absences per day. 

    Kelly Education® didn't stop there. It initiated an internal absence audit and comprehensive market analysis of comparable pay within that region. The district, known for its fiscal conservatism, was impressed by this data-driven approach, which paved the way for further program improvements. 

    Hart was able to present the tangible data to her Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer. This led to honest discussions about developing strategies to reduce high teacher absences and increasing substitute pay.

    As a result, substitute teacher fill rates have increased by a substantial 25 percentage points since Kelly Education took over the program in August 2021, as compared to the most recent September 2023 fill rate data. Hart lauded Kelly Education as a true partner rather than just a service provider. 

    “It’s a true partnership, not just a responsive client relationship. They don’t make excuses. There is a consistent desire to find ways to improve fill rates and troubleshoot together. That’s the key difference.” said Hart. 

    Evidence of the quality of new substitute teacher pool. 

    Kelly Education's robust screening process, which includes checking certifications and backgrounds, along with comprehensive onboarding training, has improved the quality of the substitute teacher pool. Hart noted the substantial reduction in reported incidents and attributed this positive change to the new onboarding process and training. 

    “I get reports whenever an incident is reported and the number of incidents is far reduced from what they used to be,” says Hart. “I do believe that the onboarding process and the training provided have made a positive impact on our substitutes’ performance. The move from regular complaints to no complaints has been fantastic.” 

    I would encourage any of my peers across the region to evaluate the authenticity and partnership that Kelly Education can offer. That's not a commodity today—where a business has an interest in your success and not just their own.” 

    -  Jennifer Hart, ACPSD Chief Officer of Human Resources & Administration

    New process yields results. 

    Change management can be challenging, especially for school districts. Initially, principals were apprehensive about contacting a fulfillment center instead of an individual to fill absences. However, having a consistent, trusted client manager eased the transition, and now the Kelly Education client manager frequently visits schools to address their specific needs. 

    As the partnership evolves, Hart is confident that open communication via the Kelly Education workforce management processes will continue to address the ever-changing human resources challenges in her district.  

    Your expert guide to building an effective substitute teacher program. Get it now.



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