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There’s a National Substitute Shortage, and Schools & Students are Suffering

Jane McDoe
Content Marketing at Ready2Teach
December 15, 2020

Why?

When you set off on the entrepreneurial journey, you are often asked why. ‘Why did you chosen this area to build a business,” or “why is this product need at this time?”

This is the Ready2Teach ‘Why.’

As an engineer in my past life (and still am at my core), I naturally love to look to step back and analyze a scene, identify any problems or pain points within said scene, then—with the pain points in mind—deconstruct and find a better/more efficient way to solve the problem. Thus it was as we set off building what today is Ready2Teach in Utah.

Along with my engineering background, I have also moonlighted as a teacher of engineering. Teaching is something that runs deep in my veins and I gained that love from my father. Because of the respect and admiration, I also understand the hardships of a teacher and, over the last few years, have been watching a disturbing trend grow throughout our nation—shortage of teachers in the workforce. With the number estimated at 110,000 teachers needed across the nation, the education system is doing all it can to hire all qualified teachers. And, with all teachers being hired, the supply of substitutes to aid when the teachers get sick, have a family emergency or just need a day off has dropped significantly. It has dropped so much that more than one of every four teacher absences go unfilled due to a depleted Sub pool.

But this is not just happening out ‘there,’ it happening in my kids’ classrooms. I saw this problem and the engineer in me kicked in and I wanted to find the best solution.

Now.

It’s wild to think back over the last two years—from working our tails off to make things happen to losing sleep because there’s so much happening there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Needless to say, growth takes a lot of work and we’ve had a blast doing it, but there are a few moments that stand out:


I. January 2018, Ready2Teach added its first customer, Noah Webster Academy, and successfully launches its solution, bringing Absence Management stability to their processes

This small, yet significant, milestone validated our minimal viable product (MVP) as well as confirmed that the project we had worked so hard to launch was essential to the market.

Our value proposition states that Ready2Teach ‘connect[s] qualified educators to schools by leveraging state-of-the-art technology to breakdown entrenched barriers, streamline day-to-day tasks while significantly reducing costs for the education industry’s absence management.’ From this first customer acquisition two years ago to our first school customer in Arizona this past week, this value prop drives me and the R2T team daily.

II. Less than 18 months following signing on its first school, Ready2Teach gains the largest market share in the Utah charter school space

If there’s one thing I learned during the startup process, it’s that leading with your mission matters, and our mission drives us is to create the ideal experience for subs and schools, so they can focus on what really matters — the kids. As we’ve continued to strive to match our output with our mission, it’s been amazing to see the response from the education industry that has driven us to this milestone.

We’re grateful for our school partners are energized daily by the feedback we receive and want to continue pushing to accomplish our mission. Like us, they believe it’s time to bring absence management into the 21st Century—putting all the power in their hands and at their fingertips. We’re giving the power back to the school, and that’s what fuels us.

III. January 2020, Ready2Teach launches best-in-class Absence Management SaaS offering.

Although both the previous milestones were huge steps forward for both validation and staying power, releasing the brand new, state-of-the-art Ready2Teach software has put us where few have gone in this space and, ultimately, this gives Ready2Teach platform to expand into more spaces than just our absence management services model. While our services business is continuing to grow, the rate of scalability is much slower than a SaaS product. So, as we continue to scale the business as a whole, the Ready2Teach software offering can be gaining market share on its own—putting us one step closer to our vision of ‘a streamlined, industry-leading service and technology connecting schools to qualified substitutes, substitutes to job opportunities, and students, schools and subs to success.’

Conclusion

As a team, we know from first-hand experience what’s broken with the absence management process that persists throughout the EdTech space in conjunction with current major providers. We’ve been in our customers’ shoes. Our team is nimble and, therefore, commit to never stopping to innovate and scale until we improve the substituting experience for schools and subs everywhere. I hope you’ll join us on our journey.

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