Study says Cleveland Metropolitan School District teachers miss a lot of school

CMSD says absences have decreased

CLEVELAND - A new study says Cleveland teachers, on average, take more days off than teachers in 40 other cities.

However, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District says teacher absences have been decreasing in the past couple of years.

The study was conducted by the National Council on Teacher Quality which found two-thirds of Cleveland teachers missed more than ten days during the 2012-2013 school year. The average number of absences in Cleveland was 15.6 days, more than twice as many days as teachers in Indianapolis.

"Clearly, we need our teachers in classrooms," Lora Cover, the district's chief talent officer, said. "If our teachers are in classrooms we'll be much better at affecting student growth in those classrooms."

Cleveland schools have been focusing on staff attendance for the past couple of years. Cover said it has decreased the number of days off across the board. Teacher absences have dropped to around ten days.

"We're making sure people who have chronic attendance issues, we're looking at and following up to see if there's something going on that we can help with and if not, that we're taking the right actions to make sure that they are not in our classrooms and we can bring in people who can be in our classrooms," Cover said.

The teachers' collective bargaining agreement also includes a provision that rewards teachers for outstanding attendance. Cover admits, however, there's more work to do.

"The fact that we have sent out a number of notifications reminding people they can't be taking days off or if they are to make sure they're following the right procedures, reminding people before different  holidays that we need them in classrooms has gone a long way to move that number down," she said.

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