Staffing Sustainable Hybrid Learning Options

In many schools, at some point this year, students will be attending in-person while others are attending virtually.  Educators are working to find staffing strategies to provide and sustain high-quality hybrid learning options.  This article includes examples from Chippewa Falls, Elmbrook, and, Portage and asks you to share staffing strategies that are working for you. The strategies that members share can be found on the AWSA website here.

Chippewa Falls

Background: The District created 30 day plans to approach this school year.  Resources from DPI, the CDC, our county health department, and referencing plans from other districts in our state helped us develop our plans. These plans were created by a cross section of our staff during the summer to communicate at the start of the year. Four committees were created: Operational, Elementary Instructional, Secondary Instructional, and Health and Wellness. The original Reopening our Schools document went out to families to explain how we were approaching in-person learning, remote learning and virtual learning.  The health of our community allowed for us to provide in-person instruction five days a week to start the school year. Weekly meetings with our county health experts allows for adjustments to plans as needed.  Along with providing in-person learning we also offered a virtual learning option for families.  

Staffing: In-person and temporary remote learning is provided by classroom teachers while the virtual option is staffed by instructional coaches and teachers who applied for a stipend as well as interventionists.  Therefore, classroom teachers focus on in-person learning, unless they applied for a stipend to support virtual learning. In addition, some instructional coaches applied for the stipend.  Our interventionists were shifted to be teachers of contact for our virtual students due to nearly 700 families choosing the virtual option to begin the year. 

Submitted by Jerim DesJarlais, Principal, Halmstad Elementary School


Background: As we began the 2020-21 school year, all Elmbrook Schools families were provided the choice to return to school in-person or participate remotely.  Approximately 30% of our families elected the virtual option.  Additionally, staff were surveyed around their teaching preference (virtual or in-person) so that we could retain our talented staff while accommodating employees with pre-existing health conditions.Our goal throughout our reopening planning has been to create continuity of learning for students and families as we traverse throughout a very unique year.  As the year has progressed, we have continued to collaborate with our county health department and other area school districts to refine our plan and consider potential adjustments.  Additionally, the school district has convened a Medical Advisory Team, to identify and review pertinent data, discuss mitigation measures, consider the latest research, and advise the administration and Board of Education around potential modifications to our plans.  Finally, our system has prioritized transparency of communication with our community through the use of a district dashboard that provides real-time data related to the prevalence of COVID-19 in our schools and greater community.  Additional information about Elmbrook Schools reopening can be reviewed on the district website.   

Staffing: Within our elementary and middle schools, building administrators utilized the final weeks of August to schedule and reallocate staff across our 7 existing brick and mortar schools and a newly created virtual school.  Given the large number of offerings available in our two comprehensive high schools, it was determined that scheduling a separate, virtual school would present challenges.  Instead, the school district made a significant investment in camera and conferencing technology so that all classrooms could be extended into students’ homes.  As a result, all of our high school courses have students participating both in-person and remotely through Zoom.  Additionally, a few of our classrooms are staffed by teachers working remotely with the assistance of a student supervisor in the classroom.  Families will be provided the opportunity to change their preferred learning environment at the conclusion of the first quarter.

Submitted by Micahel Sereno, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning, Elmbrook Schools 


Bartels Middle School is a 6-8 building and the only middle school for the Portage Community Community School District. Over the summer, the District sought out information from the community and the staff on the right path to take for the 2020-2021 school year and decided that the Middle School and High School would offer a hybrid option to families: Students could a) attend school in-person two days a week and virtual the other three days or b) have their student attend school in a fully virtual format. Our elementary schools are operating in-person instruction five days a week.

Staffing: We have 6 CORE teachers for each of our 6th, 7th and 8th Grade Teams. They are responsible for all of the students in Math, Science, Social studies and English during our seven period day whether they are virtual or live with us two days a week. ENCORE Teachers also have a full roster with kids that are live and virtual but many of their schedules are already split every-other day. The expectation is that all students receive five lessons a week from their CORE Teachers. Many of our teachers have live Google Meets scheduled for all of their classes daily so kids at home can join in when the live instruction happens. All teachers and students use Google Classroom to keep track of what activities are expected and submit work through that virtual platform. Some teachers have used a Flipped model for many of their virtual students because matching up the times for them has been difficult to say the least.  Attendance is taken every morning first hour for ALL of our students, live and virtual. Robo calls go out to anyone that has not participated in their first hour. This has been a learning experience to say the least.

The teaching staff deserves credit, too, for their flexibility when it comes to rooms and hallways supervisions, cleaning and other safety protocols, and their desire to help in any way they can during this unusual time. The Professional Teaching Union has been more than helpful and cooperative in making our plans work because they were a part of developing and refining them along the way.  

Our office staff has done an outstanding job keeping track of attendance for live, virtual, quarantined and otherwise sick students. We have had to have teachers instruct their students virtually when they are ill or even quarantined. We have used aids that usually supervise Study Halls and other duties, learn a lot about Google Classroom. We have even had our support staff lead Google meets for study sessions and check in on Labs and other activities when students are not able to be here live.

Submitted by: Tim Rueth, Principal, Bartels Middle School 

If you have developed effective strategies for staffing hybrid learning please use this form to share your practices with your colleagues.


Read more at:

Elementary Edition - Secondary Edition - District Level Edition