Software automates process of finding a sub

TRAVERSE CITY – The success of Integrated Systems Consultants (ISC), a technology services firm with more than 500 customers, has enabled its founder to seek out new frontiers for his custom software applications.

In 1992 Gilbert Mosher launched Professional Medical Placement (PMP), designed to help place qualified doctors with area hospitals in need. Then he went nationwide fitting high-level financial people in jobs with America's top Fortune 200 companies. Now PMP is helping our school systems with an application that sounds as simple as it is long overdue-software for school districts that fully automates and streamlines the substitute teaching process.

"We worked with various schools to come up with an end-to-end web-based program that also includes a human resources package," says Mosher.

Mosher calls it "WillSub." When a teacher wakes up sick or needs some time off, finding a substitute to fill in has-up until now-been a chore. Secretaries in the school's main office start scrambling, making calls, scribbling on Post-It™ notes, and pushing paper and lesson plans around to teachers, administrators, and the incoming sub. The system to date has been clunky, frustrating, and time-consuming.

So Mosher asked: What if everyone was hooked up to the same software network?

"In less than 18 months, we now cover 3,000 area teachers and 100 schools," says Mosher.

And that's just in northern Michigan. Some of the schools already signed on are the Charlevoix-Emmet ISD, the Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle ISD, as well as Clare and Gladwin schools. While they're not in the Traverse City market yet, it's on Mosher's radar.

The plan is to take the program nationwide.

"We're thrilled with all of it," Mosher said.

With the WillSub software management system, a teacher simply telephones or logs onto their computer, and punches in the days they need off. From their own office, administrators approve the absence and with a click of the mouse, the totally automated process of finding a substitute begins.

Flexible and hassle-free; no more early morning or last minute midnight calls to the substitute on the day they're needed. Substitutes hooked up to the system select the grade levels (Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and High School) that they prefer substituting for, and also rank the schools in order of preference; for example ranking near-by schools as a 1, and more distant schools as a 2 or 3.

Teachers can then send notes, file lesson plans with their fill-in, and stay in constant touch while they're away. Meanwhile, administrators get up-to-the-minute information about a teacher's substitute requests in real-time on the computer's screen. WillSub also allows administrators to see which teachers are absent any particular day and who will be substituting for them. Convenient "This Week" and "Next Week" views give a quick overall perspective on current absenteeism. It even allows substitutes to be paid for their time by direct deposit.

These are just some of the technological highlights to the WillSub program. And the best part of all, according to Mosher, is that it doesn't really cost the school system a dime.

"We simply charge a percent of what this new technology saves the customer over doing it the old way," says Mosher.

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