During the last couple of months, the Carbon County Board of Education has been exploring the possibility of using district administrative interns to fill in for absent school principals.
At the Nov. 8 meeting of the board, the panel revisited the issue.
In the past, the district has usually relied on a current teacher in the building to fill in for the principal on an as needed basis.
But employees in the district trying to obtain administrative certificates view absences as an opportunity to gain experience toward completing certification.
"I think we need to look down the road to establish a workable situation in this area," pointed out Carbon High School teacher Bruce Bean at the board meeting. "It would be a good way to have interns get some experience."
While the practice has actually been used at times in the district, people involved said the procedures, time constraints and compensation for providing the subservice need to be formalized. The district has no formal policy regarding the matter.
"I did it and it was an eye-opening experience," said Bean after the meeting.
Bean had filled in for a principal at one of the elementaries after years of teaching and coaching at the high school level.
"I found myself doing things in that job I never would have expected," commented Bean.
The center of the issue has been how to compensate interns for filling in at schools while gaining administrative experience.
District employees currently involved in administrative substitutions are using personal leave to fill in at different schools. The employees are asking the district to allow them to use professional leave instead.
With the current policy of using an educator from within the school to fill in, the teacher gets a "guest" substitute for the day to assume classroom duties. No such policy exists for an intern who comes from another school.
"I think this could be a great program which could benefit the district," said board member Barry Deeter after Bean's comments. "This could provide some real future benefits for the district."
While the board seemed interested in the prospect, there were concerns about situations that could arise. Questions about how long interns might stay at a school, at what point they would fill in and how the matter could be regulated were issues brought up during the discussion.
While most of the board members seemed to think the idea was a good concept, they voiced the fact that the devil will be in developing the details.
"I just think we need a succinct policy on this," said board member Jim Leonard, referring to the different kinds of situations that could take place due to the types of absences principals might have.
"I would like to see something drafted that would limit the number of days an intern would spend at a school and what the situation might be if people needed to stay for a lengthy period of time. We just need to study this more," added Leonard
The board agreed to consider implementing a policy regarding the matter and members will continue to study the principal intern option duing the next few months.