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2018-19 Look-back: Teacher Absences & Fill Rates

Employee Absences

When it comes to employee absences and substitute management, do you know what to expect for the upcoming school year? Understanding historical trends can help you prepare, so let’s take a look at select month-to-month data from the 2018-19 school year, published by the Frontline Research & Learning Institute.

Teacher Absences

As in previous years, May saw the highest teacher absence rate, with an average of 1.87 absences per teacher. The month with the second-highest absence rate was October, with 1.78 absences per teacher. This is consistent with previous years — although the absence rate was higher overall during the 2018-19 school year.

Average Number of Absences per Employee

It’s likely that you can expect this October and May to be high-absence periods as well. For that reason, you may wish to proactively engage your substitute pool and encourage substitutes to work more days during those two months.

Fill Rates

The months with the highest teacher fill rates during the 2018-19 school year were August, September and January. August and September are not surprising — after all, there are fewer absences to cover at the beginning of the school year. What is interesting is that January had the third highest fill rate (85.9 percent) despite not being a particularly low-absence month (1.44 absences per teacher, on average).

And like previous years, the lowest fill rates (78 percent) were seen in June. As such, it may be a good idea to remind employees and substitutes alike to finish the year strong.

Substitute Activity

Data from the 2018-19 school year reinforces that an active, engaged substitute pool is a key part of maintaining acceptable fill rates. Lower teacher-to-substitute ratios are associated with higher fill rates, and a pool of substitutes working more days on average supports higher fill rates as well.

Average Teacher/Sub Ratio by Fill Rate

These metrics — and many others — are available to you through the Frontline Research & Learning Institute’s National Employee Absence & Substitute Data Report. In addition, clients using Frontline Absence & Time can access interactive tools in-product that track their district’s data alongside national, state and like-district benchmarks.

Learn more

Additional Resources

Looking for ways to build a stronger substitute program? Check out this white paper from Frontline Education to learn how you can better engage substitutes in your district: Changing Perceptions: Substitutes as Educators

Elizabeth Combs

Elizabeth Combs began her career as an elementary school teacher and Director of Administrative and Instructional Technology at Patchogue-Medford School District before moving to Imperial Software Systems, a professional learning services company, where she eventually served as President. She then held positions at My Learning Plan Inc. as President and Chief Strategy Officer. With degrees from the State University of New York at Geneseo and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ms. Combs has a passion for leveraging technology to support educator growth and over two decades of experience developing solutions rooted in best practices for professional development.