The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School


The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School


The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School


Staff Shortage Affects Student Learning

Staff Shortage Affects Student Learning
Sage Denham

Several Pali teachers say they still struggle to find substitute teachers amidst a staff shortage present in California. This has been an ongoing issue since 2015, according to the Department of Education.

According to Spanish teacher Patricia Perez del Amo, the substitute shortage seen last year was caused by multiple long-term absences of teachers in similar time frames, as well as some teachers not finishing the semester. This created a shortage of substitutes available to cover for those teachers.

Director of Academic Achievement Monica Iannessa said that last year’s substitute shortage heavily affected Pali, especially in the language department.

Iannessa said that while Pali may have enough available substitutes, some don’t have the expertise necessary to cover certain classes.

“Some subs are talented in what they do, and some may have to teach outside of their expertise,” she added.

Substitute teacher Rachel Powell said that she has faced some significant difficulties in the past, such as substituting for classes not in her discipline or failing to receive proper benefits.

During a Pali Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 17, 2023, Director of Human Resources Dr. Martha Monahan presented a substitute pay increase. This motion was approved by the board, which increased the substitute salary from $31.00 to $35.45 per hour. In addition, the long-term substitutes, who are employed for 90 days or more, saw a wage increase to $47.85 per hour. This raise went into effect on Oct. 1. 

However, full-time teachers who filled in as substitutes are paid their normal salary, causing the school to spend more money on covering classes. 

Powell believes that a solution to this problem includes improved treatment and appreciation of substitutes. 

“I hope support for ongoing subs continues to expand, such as paid holidays, benefits and a dedicated place to keep our belongings,” Powell said. 

The Spanish language department has been affected the most by this shortage, according to Iannessa and Perez.

Perez said that she offers extra support for students whose Spanish abilities have been impacted due to teacher absences in previous courses.

“We cannot control when and why a teacher has to be absent,” she said. “I am very aware that [some] students did not come to me prepared with what they were supposed to know, so I try to reteach things and review.” 

Senior Ashley Pomeroy had a substitute Spanish teacher for the last two months of her junior year because of the long-term absence of her Spanish 3 teacher. She believes that having a Spanish substitute for an extended period of time slowed down her learning process. This has had further repercussions for Pomeroy in her current Spanish 4 class. 

“There’s an obvious knowledge gap between me and the rest of the class,” she said. “I’ve never been great at Spanish, but the fact that I had a long-term sub did not help.”

These challenges are not limited to Pomeroy. 

“Most of my friends were afraid of being so far behind that they didn’t even take Spanish 4,” Pomeroy added. 

However, Pomeroy said she is grateful for the support she receives for the course.

“I’m very lucky that my current teacher is understanding about [students’ needs],” Pomeroy said. “Especially since not practicing Spanish for a while impacted me.”

Powell said that substitute teachers continue to do their best despite these challenges.

“Subs want to be valued as much as any other student, staff or faculty,” she said. “I am committed to making Palisades High an educational and inspiring experience for all.”

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About the Contributors
Lila Bigalow
Lila Bigalow, Staff Writer and Videographer
Lila Bigalow is a sophomore, first-year staff writer and videographer for Tideline. She was a writer for her middle school magazine, and she attended a journalism course at NYU this past summer. She is excited to expand her knowledge on journalism and is appreciative of the opportunity to do so. Through her writing, she hopes to inform students on relevant topics and offer a new perspective. In her free time, Lila enjoys dancing, reading, baking and running for the Pali track team.
Sage Denham
Sage Denham, Staff Writer
Sage Denham is a first-year staff writer for Tideline. She is extremely excited to broaden her skills and interests through this program and very grateful to be working with such an incredible staff. Outside of Tideline, Sage enjoys musical theater, singing and acting in the Pali High musicals, Acapali, FNL, and Advanced Choir. One of Sage’s main passions is working with kids- serving as the Director of Communication for the Siblings Project at Pali and a counselor at St. Matthew's Day Camp. She can also be caught reading, running, creating artwork, baking, and spending time with loved ones.