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Early Childhood Substitute Teacher - The Primary School

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Job Title
Early Childhood Substitute Teacher
Job Location
East Palo Alto, CA
Job Description


The Primary School is creating a new school model that brings together all of the adults in a child’s life, including parents, educators, and medical and mental health providers, starting from a very early age. We recognize the entrenched racism that exists within our public systems and the unjust impact this has had on families of color. Our aim is that children and families most impacted by systemic poverty and racism receive the multidisciplinary support they deserve to be well, learn, and thrive. 

Long-term, we hope to create a game-changing school model that can be replicated across the country. As we continue to learn and grow, we plan to share what we’ve learned and pursue policy and systems change on a local, state, and national level. We are supported by a growing coalition of philanthropic partners, building on the generous support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Our approach has three defining characteristics:

  • We start early. We start working with children as young as 18 months and provide full-time school starting at age three to reach them at a critical stage in development. 
  • We partner with parents. We believe that when parents thrive, children thrive, so we support the wellness and growth of parents alongside the growth of their children.
  • We integrate services. Our unique model unites health care and education, building a multi-disciplinary team and holistic system of care around a child’s full needs.

In 2016, we opened our flagship school in East Palo Alto, California, with our first class of four year olds. We have grown to serve over 300 children and their families through a birth to three program, parent wellness program, full-day preschool, and elementary school, which will grow through eighth grade. In 2021, we opened our second site in the East Bay.


We are continuing to grow our East Palo Alto site and are excited to launch 7th grade for our 2024-2025 school year. In our school program, we currently serve over 96 students across two preschool grades (3 and 4 year olds) and about 350 students for  kindergarten through fifth grade. Integrated into our program are the other core components of our model including our parent program - partnering closely with parents throughout their child’s development and providing wellness programming for caregivers; our birth to 3 program - coordinating early developmental screenings and intervention services; and our medical home partnerships - working with existing health care providers in the community to coordinate care for children.


The Substitute Teacher reports to the Early Childhood Program Director. They work with the support of the grade level to support classrooms when a teacher is absent. The substitute will teach both Preschool and PreK grades throughout the year, so they will need to be skilled at working with different age levels and building relationships quickly. While this person will not be responsible for instructional planning, they will be responsible for the execution of plans. Should there not be a need for a substitute, the Substitute Teacher will float between classrooms that need extra support and care. This person will need a strong academic and social-emotional background to be able to adapt to various environments.  This position follows an  instructional calendar.

Job Type: Full-time, and  Temporary (2024-2025 school year)
Work Location: In-person 


The Substitute Preschool  teacher will be responsible for:

  • Build relationships and actively engage with all students in the classroom
  • Provide general support for Lead and Associate teachers while in classroom 
  • Facilitate specific social skill/behavioral interventions for individual students and/or small groups - both inside and outside of the classroom
  • Attend regular professional development and meetings with the Behavioral and Emotional Support Team.
  • Support parent sign-in/-out process, transition to/from classroom, and/or other operational procedures
  • Communicate information gathered from children or families to appropriate staff
  • Regularly, support  in one classroom for the entire day if there is a coverage need due to teacher absence. 
  • Collaboration with Classroom Teams to practice skills and jointly problem solve
  • Regular communication with and outreach to families.
  • Instructional delivery in large group, small group, and individualized formats
  • Ongoing collaboration with entire ECE division  to sustain enriching, positive, joyful classroom climates and rigorous academic content
  • Collaboration with other teachers to practice skills and jointly problem solve
  • Participation in reflection and coaching, both 1:1 with the School Leader and in group context with colleagues
  • Full participation in Professional Development with all teaching staff

The critical features of this role are described above but are not all encompassing; as our school grows and evolves your responsibilities may shift accordingly.


  • You have a minimum of 12 units of ECE. You already hold or can apply for a CTC permit.
  • You have a Bachelor's degree, Master’s preferred 
  • You have a minimum of 3 years of experience as a classroom teacher and hold deep and diverse instructional competence. (50 days of 3+ hours per day within 2 years)
  • Your work demonstrates a practice of creating transformative classroom culture for all kids. You are committed to social justice and take proactive steps to build an equitable classroom practice
  • You enthusiastically utilize data to understand what a student needs and to personalize instruction accordingly
  • You have a parent- and family-centered mindset
  • You recognize the multidimensional needs of children and families, because in your own way, you’ve been trying to weave education, health, and family support services together for your students
  • You get that starting a new school and organization is no easy task and are not scared - in fact, you’re energized - by the idea of putting in the long hours and deep commitment needed to bring The Primary School to life
  • You are unafraid of diversity and engage confidently across differences.
  • You are kind, humble, and collaborative

A Plus If

  • You have an understanding of early childhood education and child development.
  • You speak fluent Spanish.
  • You live in or have ties to the East Palo Alto community.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the functions. While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to talk, hear, and communicate with both adults and children. The employee frequently is required to use hands or fingers, handle or feel objects, tools, or controls. The employee is frequently required to stand, walk, sit, and reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this position include close vision, distance vision, and the ability to adjust focus. The noise level in the work environment is moderate to high.


Annual salary range begins at $68,640. Compensation is commensurate with qualifications and experience, plus excellent health benefits (health, dental, and vision), 401k retirement plan, flexible spending account (FSA), dependent care FSA, and generous paid time off, including a competitive paid parental leave benefit. TPS will cover 93% of the total premium cost for individual team members in our HMO and PPO plans, and 95% for individual team members in our HDHP plan. TPS also covers 50% of enrolled partners and/or dependents' costs on all three of our medical plans (HMO,PPO, HDHP). 

To ensure fair and equitable compensation for all of our employees, The Primary School has a no-negotiation policy on all offers extended. Final offers are determined using role descriptions, job market data, internal parity, and semi-annual benchmarking. We hope that this policy, paired with ongoing transparency in our compensation process, will make TPS a more fair, inclusive, and diverse culture. 


TPS values diversity; people of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Please complete the online application and submit your most recent resume. These short-answer questions are designed to replace a cover letter, so take your time with them and copy in your answers from a separate document. If you feel that the questions do not accurately capture what you have to offer The Primary School, you are also welcome to attach a cover letter. Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis so we encourage you to submit yours soon. We look forward to reading your application!

The Primary School provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.The Primary School complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the organization has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

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The Primary School Headquarters Location

East Palo Alto, CA

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The Primary School Company Size

Between 50 - 500 employees

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