Mailer a success for WCSD

The Washoe County School District looked at its substitute teachers list and thought it was a bit sparse. Therefore, the district decided to go fishing, using a postcard sent to 60,000 local addresses last month as bait.

Fortunately, the fishing expedition was a success, reports school district spokesman Steve Mulvenon.

The mailer, designed by the school district’s communications office and paid for by the district’s human resources office, raised some eyebrows—and gained subsequent media attention—with its plea for the public to step up and teach. “Make a difference at our schools,” it read. “Substitute teachers needed.” It then listed the requirements to become a substitute and told potential subs to stop by the school district offices at 425 E. Ninth St. to apply.

Mulvenon said the district decided to do the mailer because the substitute database was down to only 800 people at the start of the year.

“That sounds like a ton of people, but substitutes are very selective in what schools they want to work in, the days of the week they want to teach, the grade levels and subjects they feel qualified to teach in, and so on,” Mulvenon said.

This meant that on any given day, the number of potential substitutes for certain schools and classes was very small, since substitutes always have the option of saying no to an assignment.

The goal of the 60,000 post cards—sent to targeted zip codes at a cost of $10,600, Mulvenon said—was to increase the pool of substitutes to more than 1,000 people. The goal was reached, he added.

"The last time I talked to [the people in the human resources office], they said, ‘Don’t do any more publicity for us, thank you,'" he said. "They’ve had a steady stream of traffic."