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    K-12 Education

    Staffing partnership helps large urban district significantly increase teacher fill rates.

    two elementary students working at table smiling

    Oklahoma City Public Schools nearly triples the size of its substitute teacher pool with Kelly Education.

    Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) is one of the largest districts in the state serving more than 34,000 students at 61 schools. The district had been struggling with low substitute teacher fill rates before COVID-19, but when the pandemic hit, the numbers plummeted from a consistent 50% to 30-40%.

    Jason Brown, current deputy superintendent of OKCPS was leading human resources at the time. He needed an effective fix to increase coverage of teacher absences and filling vacant positions caused by pandemic-related attrition. OKCPS employee, Brad Herzer, suggested a staffing solution.

    “We needed an external partner to help us instead of trying to do it ourselves,” said Herzer, now assistant superintendent of human resources. After hearing positive reviews from nearby districts struggling with similar retention issues, Herzer and Brown decided to engage Kelly Education.

    Alleviating concerns about a staffing company.

    “Moving to a staffing agency was a major concern among existing personnel as well as the community,” Brown admitted. “Kelly Education worked diligently to earn the trust and respect of all stakeholders at OKCPS. They worked closely with school administration and secretaries to ensure everyone was comfortable with Kelly Education procedures.”

    The district board approved the contract to partner with Kelly Education® in October 2021, planning to roll out the initiative to all 61 schools by January 1, 2022.

    “(Kelly Education is) continually striving to make things easier on our entire operation, and keep us up to date with fill rates, communication, and personnel changes.”

    - Jason Brown, Assistant Superintendent

    Software agility helped to streamline implementation.

    Despite the ambitious timeline, Kelly Education knew that its versatility in scheduling and absence management platforms would lead to success.

    “Kelly streamlined everything for us. Because our teachers didn’t have to learn a new system, it made implementation much easier,” said Herzer.

    The current roster of 200 substitute teachers was able to easily continue as Kelly Education employees with benefits offered through Kelly. And principals were happy because there was less burden on them since all the technical work was going on automatically, behind the scenes.

    Technology plus people delivers HR results.

    Due to the large size of OKCPS, Kelly Education provides two onsite account managers. One manager focuses primarily on recruitment and job fair events while the other tackles operational and technical issues to onboard and manage the substitute workforce.

    “Kelly Education is constantly looking at our data and seeing what they can do to improve our numbers,” says Dana Leach, current director of human resources at OKCPS. “They act as an extension of our HR department, since we can directly call them as we would to any member of our team. When you see someone actively in the office, you think about them more and you are able to include them in more projects.”

    In seven months, Kelly Education increased the number of substitute teachers supporting the district’s 2,919 teachers from 200 to around 575. This helped to boost teacher fill rates by 30 percentage points, with some days exceeding 90%.

    “They are continually striving to make things easier on our entire operation, and keep us up to date with fill rates, communication, and personnel changes,” says Brown. “While spending time on-site, they assist our internal team and recruit new talent. As our district continues to confront budgetary challenges, our partnership with Kelly Education will create considerable cost savings while maintaining effective and safe student services.”

    Article commissioned by Kelly Education and produced by District Administration.

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