Some of us may recall those old-school logic puzzles—ones with multiple variables and rules— that often required a pencil and paper to diagram the solution. Managing teacher absences, and the substitute placements to fill them, can sometimes feel like such a mind-bending conundrum unless you have the right tools at hand.
Let’s imagine a hypothetical brain teaser, on which we’ve placed some arbitrary conditions to reflect the potential chaos that a school administrator could experience on any given week:
In sum, this is not a logic puzzle an administrator really wants to solve on paper. Nor would this be a pleasant task to manage with a software management system that is cumbersome, outdated, and unable to keep pace with so many shifting variables. But variations on this type of scenario are not entirely uncommon when it comes to school absence management.
Every teacher needs to take time off on occasion. But chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing 10 percent or more of total school days, is on the rise, according to Education Week. “In 2021-22 alone, 49 percent of schools had higher chronic teacher absenteeism…compared to the prior school year.”
To make matters more urgent, teacher turnover, which predates the COVID-19 pandemic but grew more acute in its wake, has also hit a new high, according to this March 2023 Chalkbeat analysis. “Turnover was at its highest point in at least five years — typically around 2 percentage points greater than before the pandemic,” reads the report.
These factors have necessitated efficient ways to track and manage the inflow and outflow of teachers, both in temporary and permanent situations, and the substitute and “extra duty” teachers who are needed to cover for them.
To manage the challenge of absence management, school districts need to be nimble, flexible, and smart. Especially in the current gig economy, fast communication and simple, streamlined tools are vital to attracting and retaining much-needed subs, who have a choice of where and when they work. Not only will the right systems save your own sanity, but they’ll also make the substitute’s decision to return to your district an easier one.
Use the checklist below to evaluate your current absence management system, or download a one-page version here. Ideally, your system should include all of these features.
If you find that your evaluation of the current system you have in place leaves you with a headache-inducing logic puzzle rather than a surefire solution, talk to us. Just click below to arrange a demo with a Red Rover expert.
P.S. Here’s the solution to the logic puzzle. If you need to peek at it, you might find our absence management software to be an easier method!
Ms. Evans filled in for Ms. Adams on Monday.
Mr. Davis filled in for Mr. Brown on Wednesday.
Mr. Davis filled in for Ms. Carter on Thursday, assuming that Ms. Evans should not be in school immediately following a fever.
Mr. Foster was unavailable on any of the days needed.
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Insights | June 01, 2021