Study: Teachers' attendance could impact students' learning - WNEM TV 5

Study: Teachers' attendance could impact students' learning

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A new study shows many teachers spend a lot of time out of the building when kids are in class and that puts the students at risk of lower achievement.

A story published in Thursday's Washington Post examined data from the National Bureau of Economic Research. It found more than one in four of the country's full-time teachers are considered chronically absent from school.

That means a teacher misses more than 10 days of regular classes for non pre-approved reasons, such as sick days, maternity leave and personal time.

The newspaper said superintendents and education officials they spoke to claim students need consistency in the classroom. Adding a parade of substitute teachers can cause serious detriment to the learning process.

"We were below 80 percent and that wasn't good," said John Lagalo, principal at Bridgeport High School.

Lagalo was talking about the attendance rate for teachers a few years ago. He said a change in attitude by administrators and staff sparked a dramatic decrease in teacher absences. A rate that was once at 80 percent is now at 90 percent.

"We make it a place that you want to come to work. You know, and you want to make a difference not just with the kids, but the other teachers. And we look out for each other so it really has become this team atmosphere that we don't want to let each other down," Lagalo said.

Andrew Betka, teacher, said he enjoys coming to work every day.

"We have a great staff. That's one of the big things. We all have each other's back. We joke around with each other. We support each other. If we have a problem, any problem of the day, we talk to each other. We help each other work through it," Betka said.

Other staff said when they do miss a day of school their colleagues will let them know about it in their own way.

"These guys are awesome for trying to give me a hard time and I love these guys," said Tony Ladrig, teacher.

Ladrig misses a couple of days last week because he was at a professional development conference.

"We pride ourselves on coming to school every day, trying to be leaders for our students and showing them the right way," Ladrig said.

That pride is why Lagalo believes his students are getting a great education.

"They're going to come in in a better mood because they get to see their favorite teacher and they walk out of here in a better mood because they learned something," Lagalo said.

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