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    K-12 Education

    Q&A: New Jersey district uses partnership to stabilize staff—and keep students learning.


    During COVID-19, Kelly® Education innovated to help Gloucester City Public Schools maintain instruction.

    The Gloucester City Public Schools enrolls nearly 2,200 students in three schools and is located just outside of Philadelphia in southern New Jersey. In an interview with District Administration, superintendent Dennis Vespe, who has been in his position since 2017, discusses how Kelly Education supported the district during the pandemic.

    What benefits have you seen from working with Kelly Education for your staffing needs?

    Our board of education decided to use a staffing service back in 2015. It is much more cost effective and efficient for us to use a staffing provider to manage the process of recruiting and hiring substitute teachers or certain other positions. It also removes the administrative burden of those responsibilities and ensures that we place highly qualified employees in those positions, since Kelly Education has access to a much broader pool of quality candidates than we as a school district could access.

    We had been using Kelly primarily for substitute teachers, long term subs and paraprofessionals or teachers’ aides. We were so pleased with the results that in 2020, we expanded the partnership to secretarial positions and IT staff.

    How did COVID-19 impact your district financially?

    Like nearly every district around the country, it hit us hard. There were many added costs, such as purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE), air filters and HVAC equipment, as well as paying for additional cleaning and disinfecting of our facilities. Fortunately, additional funding provided by recent legislation has helped tremendously.

    It has been very challenging, but we benefited from an incredible team effort by our educators, administrative team, and partners like Kelly Education to adapt and find creative solutions.

    “We absolutely would not have been able to get through COVID-19 and maintain instruction like we did without Kelly Education."

    - Dennis Vespe, Superintendent

    What role did Kelly Education play during the pandemic?

    Kelly Education played a key role for us in maintaining remote instruction. They worked tirelessly to meet our needs, not only with substitute teachers, but also by providing us with paraprofessionals in classroom facilitator roles. These employees worked in classrooms when a teacher was doing remote instruction from home. This was a new strategy that we first implemented during COVID-19. These classroom facilitators were so important. When teachers needed to teach remotely, the facilitator would be in the classroom to assist students, helping to answer questions and ensure that students were doing their work and staying engaged. That made remote instruction much more effective. Kelly Education provided us with those employees, and they were invaluable. We absolutely would not have been able to get through COVID-19 and maintain instruction like we did without Kelly Education.

    How do you see the effects of COVID-19 impacting the future?

    Nationally, I think one of the silver linings from the pandemic’s impact on schools is that we better understand the need for creating a balance between online learning and in person instruction. I think you’re going to see distance or online learning incorporated more commonly in schools because of the lessons we have learned. Any students who need to study remotely could access their classes online in a similar way to what we’ve been doing during the pandemic.

    Similarly, teachers could teach remotely if they needed to be out of the classroom for a time. For us, we will continue the classroom facilitator model we’ve used for remote instruction. Kelly has been a key part of that strategy by providing those paraprofessionals, as well as meeting our needs for other positions. Our partnership with Kelly Education is vital to our strategy in the future.

     Article commissioned by Kelly Education and written by District Administration.

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