Clark County district teachers miss more classes than teachers across Nevada, US

No matter the neighborhood, seniority of staff or student demographics, schools face a very similar issue across the Las Vegas Valley: Teachers missing more class than their peers across the state and U.S.

Teacher absence statistics. Clark County, Nevada (Gabriel Utasi/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

About 56 percent of all teachers in the Clark County School District were absent for more than 10 days of school in 2013-14, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal analysis of new federal education data.

That’s slightly higher than the statewide average of 49 percent, which a recent study from the Education Week Research Center cited as the second-highest rate of teacher absenteeism in the country. Only Hawaii, at 75 percent, posted a higher rate than Nevada.

Clark County schools more than doubled the national rate of about one in four teachers missing more than 10 school days. And the average rate of teacher absences here remained fairly consistent across the district.

Whether schools were housed in the urban core, suburban ring or outlying rural areas, teacher absenteeism hovered around 56 percent.

The average rate shifted between 57 percent and 59 percent for Clark County schools with higher shares of students from low-income households, English language learners and first- and second-year teachers. Teacher absenteeism fell only slightly, to just 52 percent, at schools with the lowest shares of low-income students.

The federal data, which the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office released last month, reports absences for personal and sick leave. It does not include days that teachers missed for professional training and offers no detail on the exact number, or reasons, of absences for each teacher.

Regardless, district officials agreed with research that indicates the more school days that teachers miss, the less learning takes place in the classroom.

“Bottom line: If teachers are out and a substitute comes in for one day a week or six months, it’s detrimental to students,” Mike Barton, the district’s chief student achievement officer, said Thursday.

“It also causes an expense to the district,” he said. “If you’ve got substitutes reporting and the teacher is out … you’re paying. That adds up throughout the year.”

Raegan Miller, a research fellow at the Center on the Future of American Education at Georgetown University, has studied teacher absences. In a 2007 paper, he found that 10 teacher absences can lead to a “statistically and educationally significant” drop in student performance on math tests.

In Clark County, teachers contractually work 180 school days, meaning 10 absences works out to about a day a month.

“There’s a lot of teachers who are not absent at all in a given year,” Miller said.

However, “56 percent of teachers being absent more than 10 days strikes me as a lot,” he added.

In Clark County, teachers can earn up to 15 days of paid sick leave each year, and any remaining days roll over to the next year.

That’s also true for Nevada’s second-largest school district in Washoe County, where only 23.5 percent of teachers missed more than 10 days of school in 2013-14, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Miller, who said 15 sick days may seem “generous” to the general public, also stressed that it’s “completely legitimate” for teachers to use a benefit provided in their contract.

Barton, however, suggested the local teachers union should renegotiate that benefit.

“They have the same agreement that we can always do better with student achievement,” Barton said. “I would hope that they’re open to the idea of revisiting the 15 days and also considering incentives.

“I don’t want to be insensitive about this. People get sick,” he added. “I understand that, but 15 days is quite generous.”

A representative for the union declined an interview request, but Barton pitched the idea of rewarding teachers for not using a portion of their sick days.

Some districts, according to Miller, require teachers to pay a fee for each sick day they claim after a certain number.

“Teachers respond to incentives, but the details matter,” Miller said.

Aside from the generosity of the district’s sick leave policy, Barton and Miller also agreed that principals can use absenteeism rates as a gauge of their school’s culture and working conditions.

The logic, they both point out, goes along these lines: the less stressful the job, the more likely teachers won’t want to miss class

Encouraging positive morale tops the priority list for Chris Lounsbery, principal of Sandy Valley High School.

His campus, about 50 miles from downtown Las Vegas, had just 17 teachers serving 131 middle and high school students in 2013-14, according to the federal data. Only two of Lounsbery’s teachers missed more than 10 days that school year.

“Class sizes do play a role in that,” said Lounsbery, who estimated most classes have 15 to 20 students. “Attendance is a very complex issue, but in Sandy Valley specifically, our teachers are highly motivated to be there every day.”

At that rural community’s high school, the attendance of both students and teachers spiked when the campus switched to a four-day week.

Lounsbery acknowledged not every school can move to that model but encouraged principals to remain creative when considering incentives or other ways to lower teacher absences.

“Check on the morale of your teachers,” he said. “If there’s high absenteeism, maybe you want to look at more positive incentives or maybe ways of having conversations about dedication and commitment. The two should go hand in hand.”

Contact Neal Morton at nmorton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @nealtmorton.

ad-high_impact_4
News
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like