Findings Point to a Distinct Opportunity for Improvement in Process and Collaboration on Professionally Related Absences

Malvern, Pennsylvania. — April 5, 2016 . The Frontline Research and Learning Institute today shared its first major report that details findings on professionally related absences from more than 4,500 K-12 organizations nationwide. The report indicates that of all employee absences for a three-year period, from July 2012 through June 2015, nearly 1 in 5 is for professional reasons, such as professional development, school business and field trips that are approved or directed by district- or school-level administration. Of all professional absences, one-half are for professional development.

“We know that K-12 organizations grapple with strategies to reduce professionally related absenteeism in order to improve effectiveness and increase instructional time,” said Elizabeth Combs, Managing Director of the Institute. “When we look at Frontline Institute data, we see many important clues about the how and why of absences, as well as ideas about how departments can work together to better support instruction and continue to advance professional development.”

Is the Absence Reporting Window Too Small?

One major finding, illustrates that almost one-third of professionally related absences are reported within four days of the absence, which is surprising given that these types of absences are typically planned weeks in advance. This short window makes it increasingly difficult to find substitutes who are available to fill these absences.

Perception vs. Reality

In addition to the aggregated data obtained through millions of district records, the Institute conducted a survey of Human Resources (HR) as well as Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) professionals from K-12 organizations nationwide. The survey revealed a lack of collaboration between HR and C&I personnel with 40 percent of respondents indicating that collaboration was rare or non-existent. Data shows that 50 percent of HR professionals want to reduce the time spent on professionally related absences, while 75 percent of C&I staff believe the time spent on professionally related absences should be maintained or increased.

“It is the hope of the Frontline Research and Learning Institute that this information and our observations will enable school district personnel to begin to engage in meaningful conversation regarding ways to effectively reduce these professionally related absences through strategic collaboration,” said Combs.

About Frontline Technologies: 
Frontline Technologies provides cloud-based K-12 software that empowers more than 7,300 school districts and millions of educators to positively impact student learning. From recruiting, hiring and absence management, to professional learning and evaluation, Frontline partners with the education community to support the entire educator lifecycle. Built on a foundation of best practices, Frontline gives organizations the tools to focus on data-driven decisions, collaboration, meaningful growth and application to classroom practice. Frontline Technologies corporate headquarters are located in Malvern, Pennsylvania, with offices in San Francisco and Chicago.