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High absentee rates reported among Portland Public Schools students on Monday



Last Updated on December 20, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: Strained School System Coping with Absences Amidst Teacher Strike Fallout

Word Count: 322

Portland Public Schools faced significant challenges as nearly 20% of its student population, or approximately 9,000 students, were absent on Monday. The district had previously informed families that absences would be excused this week, as five days originally scheduled as a winter break were reclaimed as instructional time due to the recent teacher strike.

As the week progresses, both student and teacher absences are expected to rise, placing additional strain on the already struggling school system. Monday saw 85% of educators reporting to work, with substitutes covering for the majority of those who didn’t. However, on Tuesday, the number of absentee educators rose to 630.

In response, district administrators are implementing measures to address the staffing shortages. Substitutes, central office workers, fellow teachers, and other helpers have been enlisted to fill vacancies. Despite the challenges, no school buildings were closed, and disruptions were minimal during the first two days.

At Duniway Elementary, absences reached 20% among students and six educators on Tuesday. However, all teacher absences were filled by substitutes, allowing the school to concentrate on maximizing instructional time throughout the week.

To incentivize substitute teachers, they are being paid more than usual. Nevertheless, tension has arisen among certain union members, such as teacher aides and paraprofessionals, who are only receiving their regular hourly rate despite having to work five extra days this year.

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Friday is anticipated to be particularly challenging, with seven out of the 16 teachers at Duniway Elementary expected to be absent. The principal has devised a plan to fill some of the vacant positions.

The make-up days are crucial for the district, particularly for high school students who need to accumulate credits and prepare for college entrance exams. At Duniway Elementary, efforts will be made in January to catch up with the youngest readers who fell behind schedule due to the teacher strike, employing strategic intervention.

Parents, teachers, and students are encouraged to share their feedback on the ongoing situation by contacting reporter Sami Edge to shed light on the effectiveness of the measures taken.

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Robert is a talented writer and educator with a focus on MBA courses. He has years of experience teaching and writing about the intricacies of business education, and his work is highly regarded for its depth of insight and practical application. Robert holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from a reputable institution, and his academic background gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing MBA students. He has a talent for breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand language, making his writing accessible to a wide range of readers.

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