Managing Absence Plans
About Absence Plans
Absence plans are the core of SubPlans -- they are the plans that your teachers write to facilitate student learning, when they're out of their classrooms. It's important to understand what the absence plans do and what they look like, so you and your team can leverage them effectively.
You'll interact with absence plans primarily from the homepage of SubPlans, which is your 'Absence Plans' Dashboard. However, there may be times that you will interact with them differently -- viewing plans from the 'Teachers' page or impersonating a teacher to take an action on their behalf.
Types of Plans
There are 4 types of absence plans:
Duplicating & Sharing Plans
Two really exciting teacher features of SubPlans are the ability to duplicate and share absence plans. Here's how they work:
- Duplicate: teachers can create copies of any existing plan in their own account
- Share: teachers can provide a read-only link to any plan and share it with anyone who has a SubPlans account. Teachers who receive the link can make a copy of the plan to their own drafts and edit. Admins who receive a link can only view the plan.
Get the Most from Duplicating and Sharing:
- Encourage your teachers to start with one basic plan for their day, and then duplicate their first plan, and so on and so on -- the goal is to reduce redundant text entry.
- Encourage your teachers to team up and share plans: if every teacher is required to have 3 emergency plans, have grade level teams divide and conquer -- every teacher creates 1 plan, and shares with the others. Then edit as needed.
- Spread great practices, easily. When it comes to sub plans in particular, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. If you see a teacher who creates a great plan, or activity -- you can share it with your other teachers via a single link.
Active plans are assigned to a particular absence date -- which means they are a plan that is scheduled to be used. On your 'Absence Plans' Dashboard you'll always see active plans first for today and all plans. Your most common action in SubPlans will be to print these active plans and get them in the hands of your subs.
To print an active plan:
- Find the plan you'd like to print
- Click print
- A new tab or window will open with the PDF plan and a pop-up printer dialog box
- Follow printer dialog instructions to complete printing
Note: plans are designed to be printed in black and white. Two-sided printing is fine, except you may want to print the End of Day Report separately, so that it is on its own separate page.
Sub Access Codes & Online Portal
When a teacher activates an absence plan, a unique 6 letter code is generated that will allow access to the online sub portal and the corresponding absence plan until midnight on the plan's absence date.
You, or the teacher, may choose to share an access code with a sub in advance of the absence date -- which is great! It allows subs time to prepare or at least anticipate what's coming. This is particularly useful for an absence of several days, where the teacher will likely create detailed plans in advance.
Handling online access for subs
- Most subs will have a smart phone to access the online portal if they choose to.
- However, in the event a sub does not have a web enabled device, or chooses not to use it. There are a few options:
- Remember: everything online is supplementary or redundant; subs receive everything they need in the printed PDF
- You can print one copy of the supplementary online content to have on hand
- You can offer subs the option to use an extra chromebook or tablet to access it, if one is available
Emergency plans are plans that are designated as complete and ready to be used in case of an emergency absence. In many districts there is a contractual requirement for the number of emergency plans each teacher must have on file -- you can use SubPlans to collect and track these emergency plans.
When you preview an emergency plan, it will look like a complete PDF sub plan -- but it's missing the information generated when a teacher activates a plan. You can impersonate the teacher and activate the plan on their behalf in a few easy steps.
Get the Most from Emergency Plans:
- Check in on emergency plans regularly. You may find it most helpful to track Emergency Plans on the 'Teachers' page, where you can quickly scan the number of emergency plans by teacher.
- Encourage collaboration: there's no need for every teacher to create all their own emergency plan activities. This is somewhere that you can use the share function to share great ideas easily and effortlessly.
- Encourage fun! Emergency plans are often dominated with worksheets and movies, take a leap and try something different -- what about a chess tournament? Or a debate?
- Encourage peer-to-peer learning. Sub plans, and emergency plans in particular, are most often comprised of solo activities. Yet, more and more we are asking students to collaborate, teach themselves or each other, and to think critically. Why not use absences as a time to put those skills to the test? Especially if that's what students are used to.
Draft plans are works in progress. In your 'Absence Plans Dashboard' you can quickly view all draft plans for all teachers in your school.
When you preview a draft plan, it will look like a complete PDF sub plan -- but it's missing the information generated when a teacher activates a plan. You can impersonate the teacher and activate the plan on thier behalf in a few easy steps.
Get the Most from Draft Plans:
- Sort by column. At the top of each column you click the header to change the sort order for the table. This is helpful if you want to look by teacher or last modified.
- Think of your question first. There can be a lot of drafts, so just browsing them might be hard to digest. Think of what you want to know, and then see if you can find the answer -- it might be here or it might be in another area of the application.
Archived plans are not available in the main 'Absence Plans' Dashboard and that's because there are many, many archived plans! You can view archive plans by teacher.
Archived plans are a historical record of every absence plan at your school. Once an absence date passes and a plan moves to the archive, it can no longer be edited. However, they may always be duplicated or shared to build off them for the future.
As a school admin, archived plans allow you to go back to any date and review the absence plan for that date -- a read-only view of the activities outlined for the day, along with directions. This is helpful for coaching teachers on future plans, or, for responding to parent inquiries about a particular date.
Note: archive plans show only the timetable portion of the plan -- as the rest of the sub plan information does not change absence to absence
End of Day Reports
The last page of every sub plan is a consistent end of day report. The top half of the report is for the absent teacher, and the bottom half of the report is for the school administration. Substitute teachers should bring the bottom portion back to the office, but make a habit of asking them. If a sub brings back the whole page, you can return the top portion to teachers in their mailbox.
It's important to keep improving on your substitute processes and getting feedback from subs is the best way to do this. Here's our suggestion for how to keep learning from your End of Day Reports:
- Designate a place to collect the reports. Make sure it's clearly labeled and everyone knows to collect them there. Every day ask your office staff to collect them and scan the reports; alert you if anything major comes up.
- Create a list of preferred subs -- not what you enter into your sub assignment system -- to collect contact info for the subs who come to your school.
- Once every 2 weeks, update your preferred list with contact info from the End of Day Reports
- Once every month, review the end of day reports to gain insights into what's happening at your school when you have subs. Keep adjusting your process and plan accordingly.