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What To Do About Teacher Absenteeism?

Guest blog post by Jaclyn Zubrzycki

What is your district or school doing this year to make sure learning's happening when teachers are out? As the school year kicks into gear, absenteeism is likely far from your mind. It's not flu season yet, and health, energy, and enthusiasm are all (hopefully) high. Yet research suggests that many teachers will miss more than ten days of school this year, and that the way schools deal with that absenteeism can have a real impact on school climate and student achievement.

Join the conversation during our webinar on substitute teachers next Thursday, September 6 at 2pm, during which you can learn about some innovative strategies districts and schools are using to keep teachers in the classroom and to ensure that substitutes are well-prepared when they're not—and, perhaps, share some of your district's approach to the issue.

While I was researching this article on substitute teachers, I talked to several districts that had attempted to improve training and support for those on their rosters. New York City, Indianapolis, and Clark County, Nev., for example, have all been involved in multi-year efforts to improve training for substitute teachers.

On the other hand, I talked to several charter schools that do not employ subs at all, and in this commentary, retired superintendent John Fitzsimons argues against having substitutes altogether at the high school level. Other states are grappling with whether retired teachers should be allowed to teach while receiving state pensions. And Raegen Miller, who will be presenting some new data on teacher absenteeism at the webinar, pointed out to me that some schools are avoiding questions of teacher absenteeism altogether as they move to online models.

There's a lot to talk about in this surprisingly dynamic field. We look forward to hearing from you at the webinar.


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