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Thomas College allows education students to work as substitute teachers to help fill shortages

Thomas College in Waterville, Maine.
Linda Coan O'Kresik
Bangor Daily News
Thomas College in Waterville, Maine.

Thomas College in Waterville says it's changing requirements for students in its education program in hopes of helping to alleviate school staffing shortages.

In a press release, the school says it will now require students to spend 200 hours in the classroom before starting their advanced field work and student teaching. The college is encouraging students to work those hours as substitute teachers in Maine schools.

According to the Kennebec Journal, Thomas enrolls about 100 students in its school of education. And Jon Moody, the superintendent for Skowhegan-based SAD 54, said those additional staff members could make a big difference in his district, which is currently in need of substitutes and nearly a dozen ed techs.

"I'm excited for colleges that are willing to take this step, and have their students, who want to get into schools, leverage that. And also provide a service for the district," Moody said.

The online job board Serving Schools lists dozens of Maine districts with needs for ed techs and teachers

Moody said his district is also considering raising pay to help attract more staff.