Engage in Civil Discourse. Find Common Ground. Learn more at TheLineK12.com

First Semester Report: Employee Absences & Substitute Activity

Employee Absences

With the first semester of the academic year over, it’s time for a mid-year review. Let’s look at employee absence and substitute activity data from the Frontline Research & Learning Institute and see how the 2018-19 school year is progressing in three key areas.

Teacher Absences

This year — like past years — has seen the majority of teacher absences attributed to illness. And like previous years, there’s a close correlation between flu activity (as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and illness-related employee absences. Professionally related reasons, such as field trips and professional development, also continue to take teachers out of the classroom.

Overall, the teacher absence rate in the first half of the 2018-19 school year has closely mirrored that of the previous year.

See data from the 2017-18 school year here.

Teacher Fill Rates

Although teachers have not been absent more often this school year, fill rates have decreased slightly compared to previous years.  Days in the middle of the week continue to have higher fill rates. This is the case even when teacher absences are more prevalent during the middle of the week — such as the month of December, when Tuesdays saw the highest fill rates, despite also having the highest percentage of absences.

Teacher Fill Rate by Day of Week* (December)

  • 18.8%
  • 24.4%
  • 18.2%
  • 18.6%
  • 19.9%

*Based on data from teacher absences only.

Substitute Teacher Activity

The percentage of non-working substitutes has increased compared to the 2017-18 school year. In December, for example, over 63 percent of substitutes did not take jobs. This may contribute to slightly lower fill rates — especially since substitutes who did take jobs worked roughly as much as they did in previous years, rather than working more days to make up for substitutes who didn’t work at all.

What do these findings mean for you? Learn how you can engage substitutes and improve fill rates in this blog post on FrontlineEducation.com

Raegen Miller

Raegen Miller is the Research Director for FutureEd. Immediately prior to joining the center, Raegen served as vice president for research partnerships at Teach for America. Raegen also worked at the Center for American Progress on issues of human capital and fiscal equity in elementary and secondary education. Earlier, Raegen was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow affiliated with the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. He holds a doctorate in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he taught courses on applied data analysis and the foundations of schooling and teaching. Raegen’s work in education research and policy is grounded in many years of teaching high school mathematics. Raegen completed his teacher training at Stanford University, and holds an M.S. in mathematics from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.