IPS teacher attendance among the best in the nation

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Jodi Schill loves her students, her school and her job.

"Me, personally, I like to come every single day," Schill said. "When I don't come, I have anxiety and I worry what goes on in the classroom. I know the classroom runs itself but I like showing up every day, seeing the kids every day and I love being here. I am at a school that I love so I don't mind showing up every day."

Schill is an 8th grade social studies teacher at Harshman Middle School.

Apparently she is not alone. A new report released by the National Council on Teacher Quality says Indianapolis has an average six teacher absences in a given year - the lowest in the nation, followed by the District of Columbia and Louisville, Ky. Cleveland has the highest average absences at 15.6 followed by Columbus, Ohio and Nashville, Tenn.

"Consistency really is important for student learning," said Teresa Meredith, President of the Indiana State Teachers Association. "When a student knows what the expectation is and they have a consistent presence of their classroom teacher, they can't get away with much....If the teacher is in and out of the classroom, it breaks that sense of continuity or stability in that classroom."

At 37 percent, Indianapolis had the highest number of teachers who were present every day out of the 40 school districts included in the study. Elsewhere, it was determined about 16 percent of those teaching in the largest school districts are considered chronically absent and out of the classroom 18 days or more for illness, personal time or professional training. IPS sets the example for urban school district teachers all across America.

"I believe it shows IPS teachers are dedicated; Teachers, staff, cafeteria, custodians - everyone is dedicated to furthering the students to do the best we can possibly do," Schill noted.

IPS does have some incentives to help. It is one of nine districts that offer leave days or payment for excellent attendance. The district also allows teachers with 97 percent attendance to carry over up to four personal days.