A successful substitute program in any school district must thoroughly analyze its data to make the most out of its existing substitute pool. It is essential to gather insightful data by tracking employee absences and substitute assignments to anticipate successes and failures and respond accordingly. By tracking this data, your district can become proactive in taking steps to improve your substitute program’s performance.
The first step in collecting data on your substitute program is to implement an absentee management and substitute placement system. These systems have become increasingly popular in school districts across the country, and for good reason. Absentee management systems have helped school districts by streamlining employee absence entry and automating the substitute assignment process.
Absentee management systems benefit district staff, substitutes, and administration alike. District staff can easily enter absences and leave lesson plans for potential substitutes 24/7 through the web-based systems, and substitutes can view and accept assignments any time of day. For district administration, the greatest advantages are the digital records that these systems provide.
These systems automatically record the day and time at which each absence is entered. District administration can observe trends in employee absence frequency and the time of day at which absences are reported. This information has tremendous influence over substitute coverage – absences reported with little to no lead time are significantly harder to fill. Tracking this data to increase teacher accountability and cut down on last minute absence submissions will improve the odds of filling your classrooms.
Tracking employee absence trends will improve the efficacy of your substitute program in other ways too. District administration can use trend information to forecast your district’s future needs and plan accordingly. For example, if the district observes significant increases in absences during certain days of the week or certain months of the year then they can take proactive steps to ensure adequate substitute coverage during those times. Absence forecasting and preparation will make all the difference in district fill rates and administrative relief during times of high absence volume.
Data collection and analysis should focus not only on employee absences, but also substitute working days. Specifically, districts should be monitoring and striving to improve a metric called substitute efficiency. Substitute efficiency compares the number of days a substitute worked in a month with the total number of available working days in that month. A higher substitute efficiency means your district would be able to fill more absences and fill the absences with substitutes that are familiar with your district and understand your students.
According to ESS | Source4Teachers’ data from the last three school years, substitutes work an average of 4.13 days out of 19.5 possible working days in a month, translating to an average substitute efficiency of 21 percent. With substitute efficiency this low, districts are forced to recruit additional substitute talent. Unfortunately, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor indicates that new substitute candidates are becoming harder to find, with 20,000 fewer people working as substitutes between the years 2013 and 2016. This downward trend in substitute availability suggests that districts should concentrate some of their efforts inward – track existing substitute efficiency and take steps to encourage substitutes to work more frequently.
Many districts may find it challenging to implement advanced systems and comprehensive data analysis in the face of budget cuts and resource limitations. In recent years, it has become increasingly common for districts to seek substitute program assistance in the form of outside partnerships. One such partner, ESS | Source4Teachers, is solely focused on managing substitute programs more effectively than districts are often able to accomplish internally, while simultaneously relieving districts of administrative duties and freeing up valuable resources.
Over the last 17 years, ESS | Source4Teachers has developed the nation’s most dynamic substitute program leveraging advanced technologies and program data insight. Our team carefully analyzes each partner district’s substitute and absence data to create an efficient, successful partnership.
For more information on how ESS | Source4Teachers can improve substitute program performance in your district, please visit www.ESS.com or contact our team at (877) 983-2244.