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Port Arthur ISD hiring high school seniors as substitutes, tutors to service elementary school campuses

"We can get a new opportunity to see if we want to really make this our career."

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Port Arthur Independent School District is revolutionizing the way it finds and hires their substitute teachers. 

Officials are now looking within the district and training their own students to rise up to the challenge and help teach the next generation.

In about two weeks, 28 Woodrow Wilson Early College High School seniors will start a new kind of high school job. 

"We can get a new opportunity to see if we want to really make this our career," said senior Jailee Snodgrass. 

Snodgrass and Nancy Lee are two of the seniors who will start working at PAISD elementary schools as subs and tutors. 

"I always wanted to work with children so I felt like wow, that's a really great opportunity," Lee said. 

These students already have enough college credits to qualify as substitute teachers. They'll be part of a brand new initiative.

"They will be able to serve in either capacity either as a substitute teacher or as an individualized small group tutor," said Woodrow Wilson Early College High School Principal LaSonya Baptiste.

Baptiste says they started brainstorming about a month ago.

"So that's when we thought about our need, how we can serve in house with our elementary students and their campuses," Baptiste said. 

The senior students had their first training session last Friday.

Student Success Teacher Yolanda Avery will continue working with the group as they navigate their new jobs.

"It was really neat to see their eyes light up when we explained the program to them. Some actually said I've been wanting to try something like this all my life," Avery said. 

Now, they've got this once in a lifetime opportunity.

"It's really exciting to see a lot of the seniors in my class, my classmates who are wanting to be in the education field to actually fulfill their dream and actually becoming a teacher and a substitute teacher first," Snodgrass said. 

Principal Baptiste says they're hoping to continue this initiative the next school year if all goes well. 

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