FAQSFOR OPERATORS, ADMINISTRATORS, TEACHERS, AND NURSES
What employee groups are required to record their absences using the SFE? All school based principals, assistant principals, teachers, and nurses are required to record their absences using SFE. “Teacher” includes all employees who are represented by the TABCO bargaining unit (e.g., guidance counselors, library and media teachers, reading teachers, etc.)
How does a SFE administrator receive an access ID and a personal identification number (PIN) to log into WebCenter? The Substitute Office determines the parameters for creating a SFE access ID and PIN. A SFE access ID and PIN are assigned to the location and provided to the principal to share with all administrator users for that location. More than one person can have the access ID and PIN and each is responsible for maintaining its confidentiality.
Do new employees have to register in order to use SFE? Yes. Employees who have not registered with SFE must call (410) 427-3031 and follow the prompts to register as a new user. Employees will create a PIN. Directions are found under Quick Reference Brochures received by every employee.
How do employees access SFE? SFE can be accessed by telephone and the internet, use the same telephone number, (410) 427-3031, and web address, sems.bcps.org. The access ID (the home phone number minus the area code) and the PIN must be used for both platforms.
How can employees receive their PIN if they have forgotten it? Employees who have forgotten their PIN must call the Office of Temporary Services at (410) 887-8954 to have their PIN reset. Once the PIN is reset, employees must call (410) 427-3031 to re-create a new PIN. Directions are found under Quick Reference Brochuresreceived by every employee. The brochures can be found on the Temporary Services web site at http://www.bcps.org/offices/personnel/temporary_services/
Can employees change their PIN? Yes. Access the system at (410) 427-3031 with the current access ID and PIN. Follow the prompts to change the PIN.
Do employees have to register every time they call in? No. Employees only have to register once.
Can employees request/designate specific substitutes to cover their classes? Yes. Based on the substitute’s profile, substitutes registered with SFE can be specified or prearranged for particular assignments. These same substitutes could be entered on the school’s preferred list with or without a classification.
What is a preferred list with a classification list? A preferred list with a classification is created by the school’s SFE Operator and determines the order that substitutes are called for particular assignments at that school. This list considers the subject/class being covered. Each substitute is assigned a number. Substitutes with the lower number are called first.
What is a preferred list without a classification? The school’s SFE Operator also creates a preferred list without a classification and it identifies substitutes that may work in any subject area assignment at the school. Substitutes from this list will be called after the school’s preferred list with a classification has been reviewed by SFE for possible candidates.
Can preferred lists be structured in such a way that substitutes are called in order of seniority? Yes. Within a preferred list with or without a classification, the substitutes can be assigned a particular number. That number could correspond to the seniority placement. A level one substitute would be called first.
What is the maximum length of a work day for a substitute teacher? The maximum length of a work day is 7 hours which includes a 30 minute duty free lunch. However, in general, substitute teachers are expected to be in the building 15 minutes before the assignment’s start time and 15 minutes after the assignment’s end time. Assignment times may vary depending on the needs of the job.
Are substitutes expected to perform cafeteria duty, lunch duty and related assignments that are part of the absent teacher’s assignment?
Yes. Substitute teachers are expected to perform all the duties that were assigned to the absent teacher. Schools may also ask substitute teachers to perform other instructional related assignments beyond the absent teacher’s assigned duties.
Can substitutes be used for other assignments in the building when they have a free/planning period? Substitute teachers may be utilized for other supervising and/or instructional duties if there is no planning that needs to take place during their normally scheduled planning time.
How are substitutes prearranged or specified? To prearrange or specify a substitute for an assignment, you will need the access ID number of the substitute. The access ID is the substitute’s telephone number minus the area code. The substitute’s access ID number must be entered when the teacher creates the job in SFE. When a substitute is prearranged, indicate that the substitute has accepted the assignment. The system will not call the substitute. When a substitute is specified, indicate that the substitute has not accepted the assignment. SFE will call the requested substitute until 7:00pm the night before the assignment begins, the specified substitute declines the job, or the specified substitute becomes unavailable for the dates and times of the job.
How will the SFE Operator know who has called into the system for a substitute, who the assigned substitute is, and whether all positions are filled? Information regarding the status of absences in the building can be obtained via the telephone at (410) 427-3031 or the internet at sems.bcps.org by anyone authorized by the principal to access the information. Information about the absence or vacancy will include dates/times, name of absent employee, status of job (open or assigned), if assigned (name of substitute) and reason for absence.
If more than one SFE user shares the same home phone number, is their access ID the same? No. The first SFE user’s access ID will be the permanent telephone number minus the area code. The second SFE user’s access ID will have a zero added to the end of the permanent telephone number minus the area code.
Is the system connected to payroll? Yes. Teachers, nurses, and administrators report their absences using SFE. The school’s SFE Operator must “verify” the information for each absence daily. Absences are posted to the payroll system from SFE when verified. If the job is not entered in SFE, the substitute will not be paid and the employee’s leave usage will not be processed.
How do we secure substitutes on “special days” (e.g., Team Thursdays, Senior Awards, HSA Testing, Commencement Rehearsal, etc.)? The SFE Operator must create a vacancy. A vacancy is a job for which no employee is absent but a substitute is needed. Employees can also create absences with “Other Board Business” reason code. This also allows jobs to be created for which no employee is absent but a substitute is needed.
How far in advance can a teacher request a substitute? A teacher may request a substitute up to ninety (90) days in advance.
How are absences entered into SFE if a teacher works in multiple locations in the same day? Teachers are assigned to a school based on their pay location. Teachers can pre-arrange with a substitute teacher and use the special instructions when using the telephone or web center to inform substitute teachers of their work schedule.
How are absences entered into SFE for itinerant teachers? Itinerant teachers are set up with a “home” location. Home location is based on the school to which teachers want their pay check delivered. When prearranging with a substitute teacher, itinerant teachers should use the special instructions to inform the substitute of their work schedule.
What should occur if an employee cancels an assignment in SFE but does not notify the substitute of the cancellation through SFE or personal communication and the substitute reports for the assignment? The substitute arrived at the school on “good faith” that he/she would be working that day. Therefore, the substitute can be offered an open assignment and paid for the full day he/she committed to the school. Media center or instruction related work is appropriate. If no assignment is available, the substitute should be paid one-half day’s assignment and permitted to leave.
Are long term assignments filled through SFE? No. Long term assignments will continue to be arranged as they are now. The principal will identify and select the long term candidate and work with the Office of Temporary Services. Once the candidate has been selected, the job will be entered in SFE.
If a teacher leaves after arrival due to illness, who is responsible for obtaining a substitute for the remainder of the day? The responsibility rests with the administrator responsible for class coverage. The absence must be recorded in SFE.
What do we do if we use teachers to cover a class rather than a substitute? The teacher’s absence must be entered in SFE and coded “no substitute required.”
What happens if the system is temporarily unavailable due to a power failure? SFE can be accessed via the telephone and the internet to perform the necessary daily functions. If the internet is down, the SFE operator should access SFE via the telephone. Schools are also expected to print a backup list of substitutes in case SFE is unavailable on both platforms. Substitutes will be contacted from this list by school personnel.
Who do I call with questions regarding the system? Call the Office of Temporary Services at (410) 887-8954.