AESOP automates the substitute teacher quest on the web

AESOP automates the substitute teacher quest on the web

Marrying the internet with a telephone service has allowed Frontline Data (Malvern, PA, www.aesoponline.com) to offer schools AESOP, an ASP system for securing substitute teachers. Michael Blacks tone, ceo, says the company started with two customers two years ago. That number is expected to rise to over 100 customers by the end of the year, plus the system is now serving as the backend for Kelly Educational Staffing, a division of Kelly Services, Inc. (Troy, MI, www.kellyservies.om that provides substitute teachers to approximately 950 school districts.

Outsourcing the quest for substitute teachers is most often a solution for large districts. Other options are manually calling from the list of approved substitutes or automating the process using an interactive voice response (IVR) system. The latter, says Blackstone, requires districts to make a substantial upfront investment in hardware, software and telephone lines, as well as annual maintenance fees.

AESOP (an acronym for Automated Educational Substitute Operator) is priced from $1 to $4 per teacher per month, with the price difference depending on district size. The company does not require contracts longer than a month. However, inputting the data and promoting use is a bit of investment in district time that is likely to hold customers for a longer period of time.

Within seconds after a teacher enters information on needs for a substitute (either by voice or the web), the system has that information posted on the web and can automatically place appropriate calls to potential substitute teachers. The call center, like the web database, is centralized at Frontline Data. Substitutes can also proactively look for job opportunities, and a calendar tool is available on the system. Administrators can get a quick overview of activity, and the data are designed to be easily extracted to payroll systems.

The agreement with Kelly Services will significantly expands the company’s business. Kelly has one implementation under way and has several more planned as they move into 2002. Kelly’s services extend beyond scheduling to screening all substitutes. Their service aims to relieve administration of recruiting, screening, hiring, training and orientation, scheduling and payroll, quality control, and management/retention of the substitute teachers.

Blackstone hopes to make additional agreements with companies currently meeting human resource and payroll needs of schools. Education is currently Frontline Data’s first and only business, but Blackstone anticipates expanding the system to other industries needing substitute personnel such as libraries, childcare, medical and emergency personnel.

The company is funded entirely by one of its three partners, Ed Cone. Cone previously owned Graco Children’s Products, Inc., a highly successful business that he sold several years ago.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Nelson B. Heller & Associates

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group