Substitutes save the day

As the school year comes to a close, many students have come back to WHS to learn in person for the last marking period. However, most do not know about the unsung heroes of this year: the permanent substitute teachers. 

The work of all WHS’s devoted substitute teachers was pivotal for in-person learning to run smoothly, as many students and teachers were forced to work from home due to the dangers of COVID-19. WHS Principal Mary Asfendis recognized that, “the substitutes were necessary to enable students to be in person while their classroom teacher was remote. Their dependability gave students the important opportunity of learning in person.”

The list of substitutes (see graphic) contains the names of the individuals who were in the building on a regular basis and would be available to classrooms if teachers could not be present. This year the number of substitute teachers was limited due to the pandemic.

Barbara Ball, Human Resources Specialist for the Westfield school district, found it particularly difficult to hire subs this school year. “Prior to the availability of vaccines, it was difficult to find substitutes. Even a number of the people who have been valued substitutes for years in the district weren’t ready to return in September,” Ball said.

Now, thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, many teachers have returned to their classrooms. WHS Physics Teacher Mark Harper expressed his thanks as he made his return to the building, “I am grateful to those substitute teachers and colleagues who remained off-screen but kept an eye on my students through the year.” 

The substitute teachers have been extremely helpful to WHS no matter how empty the halls and classrooms were; as Ball put it, “Substitutes are always a valued and integral part of the Westfield Schools, but never more so than this year.”