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Absence and Substitute Management (Aesop) Frequently Asked Questions

Substitute Management

Questions on our absence and substitute management tool formerly known as Aesop? You’ve come to the right place!

Here are a few of the most frequent questions we hear from school districts who are researching Frontline Absence & Time for automated sub-calling and leave management. Don’t see your question here? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Why isn’t it called Aesop anymore?

Once upon a time, we only had one product — Aesop. And ever since then, we’ve enjoyed hearing everyone’s ideas about what the name actually means. Did we name it after a famous Greek storyteller? Or could it stand for Artificial Earth Satellite Observation Program? It actually stands for Automated Educational Substitute OPerator.

It’s still automated, and it still finds substitutes for education organizations, and it still operates. But it does more than that, so Aesop is now the absence and substitute management tool within a larger Frontline solution (Frontline Absence & Time).

Will teacher absences increase with an automated management system?

Some districts worry that an automated system will make it easier for teachers to take unnecessary absences because it requires less accountability than talking to a “real” person.

But in fact, the opposite is often true. A study by the Substitute Teaching Division of STEDI.org showed that when principals have access to teacher absence monitoring technology, absenteeism lowers by nearly 14%.

With our tools, central office and campus users have access to electronic reports on everything from leave reasons and balances to the most common absence types and high absence days. You can use this data to monitor trends, have conversations with employees and encourage attendance.

It’s all about using the data that you have!

How much does Frontline Absence & Time cost?

Districts pay a monthly subscription based on the number of active employees on the system (not including substitutes). This subscription actually includes just 10 months of the school year; two summer months are free. Districts also pay an initial setup and training fee. Please contact us for a quote.

Teachers and substitutes do not pay anything to use the system through their local school district(s).

How will we get the most qualified substitutes in the classroom?

Research shows that between kindergarten and 12th grade, students will have spent the equivalent of 2/3 of a school year with someone other than their regular teacher. So it’s important who is filling those absences. Frontline Absence & Time offers a sophisticated set of tools to ensure the best sub is placed each time.

For one, you can set up specific skills and requirements to match a qualified substitute to the absence (for example, requiring a “math” skill for a math teacher absence).

If you wish, you can also create district-, school- and teacher-level preference lists and exclusion lists to further refine who the absence is pushed out to when. For example, you can set more specific criteria further out and then open the job to a wider pool as the start time gets closer. You can even let teachers specify a list of favorites, too, and you can allow both teachers and substitutes to leave feedback.

We also offer online video courses to train substitutes and paraprofessionals to be more effective in the classroom.

Will we lose the personal touch if we switch to an automated system?

While it’s true that Frontline Absence & Time is not a live person, we’ve built a lot of options into the system to help you keep a personal touch in your interactions with your employees.

For example, many districts are using our software’s web alerts to send messages to teachers and substitutes right within the system, and others are using the custom Letter Writer tool to send out helpful communication on a regular basis. We’ve observed that the districts that proactively send helpful tips to their substitutes often seem to have a more satisfied substitute pool.

Who is using Frontline’s absence and substitute management system?

With school districts in every state using our software, there’s a good chance a district near you is using the system! To date, over 4,000 school districts have partnered with us, representing more than 1 million teachers and 500,000 substitute teachers nationwide.

And Frontline Absence & Time isn’t just for teachers, either! Many districts have also discovered the benefits of also tracking and managing leave for other district employees: custodians, bus drivers, para-professionals and even administrators.

Does it integrate with my other software systems?

The built-in Report Writer tool makes it easy for you to export the data you need to share data with many of your other payroll and other HR applications. Plus, our team offers a variety of custom options, including custom-built reports, automated file transfers via SFTP and web services connections.

In fact, we have experience integrating our solutions with more than 100 other software systems!

Is there an app?

Frontline Absence & Time includes mobile-friendly websites for building-level users and employees, making it easier to access critical features on the go from any smartphone, tablet or other internet-enabled device.

With the campus (building-level) mobile site, users can approve absences, assign a substitute, view the daily absence report and more. Our mobile site also includes all the same permission settings as the full site for a consistent experience. The teacher mobile site makes it quick and easy for teachers to create an absence. Current users can access their account at m.aesoponline.com.

Substitutes can also use the system on mobile devices, or use the Jobulator app, a subscription service that constantly checks our system and notifies substitutes when a new job becomes available for them. You can learn more at www.jobulator.com.

Does Frontline Absence & Time integrate with my other software systems?

No, Frontline is not a recruiting or staffing firm. However, we do partner with a number of great staffing companies who do offer these services if you are interested in getting some help recruiting and hiring substitute teachers.

What Frontline Absence & Time does do is track all of your substitutes’ job offers, work history, demographic information (which can often be imported from your other HR systems), and even ratings and feedback on job performance (if you choose to use this feature).

And with Frontline Recruiting & Hiring, you can easily recruit, hire and onboard new substitutes in a fraction of the time. And because our solutions integrate, you can quickly transition new substitute data into our absence and substitute management tool.

Is our district too small to use Frontline Absence & Time?

Would you be surprised to find out that some districts with less than 5 teachers use our tools to manage absences and subs? In fact, more than 500 districts with 100 employees or less use it for sub-calling, leave tracking or both.

Since the subscription is based on the number of employees on the system, it’s more affordable than smaller districts often think. No matter the size of your district, everyone has room to reduce paperwork and increase efficiency, and that’s exactly what Frontline Absence & Time helps you do.

How does Frontline Absence & Time fill jobs?

The system is designed to work exactly the way you want it to! That’s why we were the first to come out with online substitute placement (formerly known as Aesop) and we continue to offer flexible options.

You may be interested to know that the vast majority of absences are not filled over the phone but by proactive substitutes looking for and accepting jobs online. That’s why it’s important to provide communication to your substitutes and to use the tools available in the system to set your requirements and preferences for substitutes for each assignment.

However, many districts still find value in the automated calls to fill absences, especially last-minute absences. Many districts also fill absences by going into the system and assigning a sub of their choosing manually, as well. The choice is up to you!

How many phone lines will I get?

We don’t think you should ever have to worry about things like phone lines when it comes to filling absences. That’s why we don’t delegate a few phone lines to your district (and then later add more or even charge to add more as you grow).

Instead, we provide unlimited phone capability to all our clients and we don’t charge you for extra phone capacity.

What hardware or software do I need to install?

None.

End of story! Our tool formerly known as Aesop is Software-as-a-Service, with zero hardware or software installed at your district. You never have to worry about power outages – the system is monitored 24/7 in our redundant state-of-the art data facilities, ensuring 99.99% system uptime.

Better yet, the system is multi-tenant SaaS — different than others in the industry — which means instead of each district having their own server (and we all know servers can go bad!), everyone is using the same version, which is then hosted across our many servers. That means if one server goes down, the system keeps running; it also means when we make an update, every client benefits from the update immediately!

How is Frontline Absence & Time different from Aesop?

Despite the name change, our software hasn’t changed in terms of functionality. The Aesop product name has been retired, replaced by a functional descriptor (“absence and substitute management”). And to support our goal of giving every district a full picture of employee time and attendance, Aesop is now bundled together with the time-tracking system formerly known as VeriTime — the two tool sets together form Frontline Absence & Time.

Learn more about Frontline Absence & Time  

Allison Wert

Allison (Ali) Wert is the Content Marketing Manager of the award-winning content team at Frontline Education. She has been writing about education topics for nearly 10 years and specializes in best practices for K-12 strategic human capital management. Under her leadership, the team at Frontline was recognized as the Winner of CMA's 2017 Project of the Year and Best Content Marketing Program. Ali also helps to manage marketing for the Frontline Research & Learning Institute and The Line.