How Swing Education Is Rethinking Substitute Teacher Recruitment

Posted by Amanda Del Signore on Tue, Dec 12, 2023 @ 11:51 AM
Amanda Del Signore

22 spotlight Square-Dec-12-2023-04-49-01-0608-PMStevie-winner Swing Education is an online staffing marketplace that connects substitute teachers with schools.

Founded in 2015 by former K-12 educators and administrators, Swing makes it easier for schools and districts to find reliable, qualified substitute teachers when they need them most.

With over 500,000 absence days filled to date, Swing is dedicated to improving the experience of finding substitute teachers, becoming a substitute, and keeping student learning on track. Swing serves more than 2,800 partner schools across California, Arizona, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, New York, and Washington D.C.

Understanding Both Sides in Substitute Teaching
Substitute teaching jobs are tough to recruit for, manage, and fill. One complication is that quite often a teacher's absence isn’t discovered until that morning when schools scramble to post an opening. This uncontrollable and unavoidable reality, coupled with the dramatic shortage of substitutes who are qualified and ready to go, is a significant problem.

On the other side of this coin—considering this problem from the substitute teacher’s perspective—are the challenges the substitute teacher faces. Substitutes may only find out at 7:00 am that there is a job opening; they may know very little about the school or the class or perhaps have never been a substitute in that particular school. They worry about how long it will take to get paid or how long the commitment will last.

The process of how to fill short-term or even long-term teacher absences with substitute teachers has barely changed in 50+ years—even the modern communication modes of emails, text messages, and robo-phone calls are not any more effective at solving the problem in the angst-driven and uncertain process of finding substitute teachers.

How it Works
The basics of how Swing works are as follows: Schools post a request in the Swing community that instantly notifies hundreds of substitutes that have been pre-approved and screened by Swing. Substitutes register for the job and the school accepts, or “assigns,” the substitute. The schools do not need to recruit or manage their own substitute pool, although Swing can easily work alongside existing substitute programs.

Swing handles the recruitment of substitutes in the region of its partners and manages the payroll so that substitutes do not need to wait weeks or months for payment from the district as contractors. The school’s platform tracks data so that it is easy to see which substitutes are a good fit, discover new substitutes, and track successful placements.

Swing brings a 21st-century solution to a 20th-century problem. Swing leverages social communities and technology to not only improve communication but also put power back into the hands of substitutes and the schools that need them. Instead of scrambling to find anyone who will answer the phone—or, for the substitute, being completely in the dark about if there is only one opening today or 10—now both stakeholders have power: schools have the power to match the best person for a particular need, and substitutes have the power to pick the best job for their day or week ahead.

Since being founded in 2018, Swing has 2,800 school partners and 4,000 substitutes in the community and has filled 500,000 absences for teachers.

Swing Education won a Silver Stevie® Award for Best Human Capital Management or Talent Management Solution in The 2023 American Business Awards®.

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