As we prepare for the upcoming school year, nearly every campus will have a student attendance goal. Which will mean nothing. The brutal truth is that student attendance is not an issue at the vast majority of schools. My theory on student attendance goals is that we have them so we are assured of having at least one goal that we accomplished by the end of the year. Students show up, it’s what they do.
Now, adults… That is an entirely different matter.
Every campus should have a teacher attendance goal. Check your stats form last year. Your teacher attendance rate was lower than the student attendance rate. And that is before you factor in on-duty but off-campus days (training, coaching, conferences, etc.).
All those teacher absences mean that a substantial component of your academic program is actually a baby-sitting service. Because, if you believe that consistent quality instruction is being provided by substitute teachers, you are sorely mistaken. And that is not a crack at substitute teachers. In general, they do they best they can do with no training, poor or missing substitute lesson plans, and little leadership support (the problem is us, not them).
For this year, set the goal for your teacher attendance rate to match the student attendance rate. And to give yourself a chance of achieving such a lofty goal, incentivize teacher attendance like you do student attendance. Celebrate and reward those who show up. I did staff shirts for perfect attendance over the previous 6 weeks. I worked in a district that would” buy back” a couple of personal leave days for staff who had perfect attendance during the year. Both of these incentives increased teacher attendance.
And for those who have a problem with this, recognize that paid leave actually is a disincentive to regular attendance.
Think. Work. Achieve.
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